AI War - 4.000 Release

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Statistics For The Curious

  • Between 3.120 and 4.000, we pushed out 81 distinct public beta releases over 170 days. That's an average of one release every 50 hours. This is with a major chunk of Tidalis's development happening in the middle (it was released July 16th), AND a signficant period with no public releases while we ported AI War from .NET/SlimDX to Unity3D.
  • Community contributors assisted us with over 800 distinct bugs and suggestions-that-were-implemented (counting 95 distinct contributors).
  • The combined release notes for those 81 betas total over 300 kilobytes of text.
  • Believe it or not, this massive document (which is just under 31,000 words long) is the abbreviated, organized version of the full release notes (part I and part II, which were over 55,000 words -- or, 222 pages of a novel.

Highlights

This release is unreservedly huge. It's a full re-imagining of AI War, practically a sequel (but free to existing customers). Frankly there were more updates here than in a lot of sequels we've seen. So it is with some difficulty that we compile these highlights, as even the list of highlights is enormous, yet omits a lot of major changes. Listed here are just the things that have changed in the base game itself, this isn't even including all the stuff that was added as part of the new Children of Neinzul micro-expansion. So here we go:

  • A grand total of 147 new ships have been added to the game. Again, this is NOT counting the new ones added as part of CoN. Most of these new ships went to the AI or are things that the players must capture, but there are also dozens and dozens of goodies for the players in the form of new warheads, new mercenaries, new turrets, and new lines of command stations.
  • An enormous graphical overhaul has taken place. Every special effect in the game has been replaced and majorly improved, the HUD and GUI has been completely redesigned and has a cleaner feel to it, and the starfields/nebulae have seen a rather startling improvement as well. Those new ships come with a bunch of new prerendered-3D graphics, as well.
  • The soundtrack to both AI War and The Zenith Remnant have been completely remastered and re-edited, and in a number of cases have new live performances for trumpet and electric guitar (adding to the existing live vocals and piano). The soundtrack for Children of Neinzul was also done at this new quality level, of course. Additionally, two completely-new bonus tracks have been added for free to the base AI War game, and an old track ("Thor") that had been dropped due to quality issues is back and awesome with a live performance.
  • The interface has been streamlined all over the place, in ways that have really been exciting our hardcore fanbase (who helped design some of the changes). The biggest amongst these changes are perhaps the more-readable galaxy map, the new context menu (alt+right-click) with things like Auto-Gather-Knowledge and special Transport-Unloading logic, the complete removal of "control nodes" in favor of a much cleaner set of menus, and a larger display-on-demand minimap replacement (hold T).
  • Many new teach-yourself-to-play-better features have been added: or, as we like to call them, "discoverability features." The new Objectives and References tabs provide a lot of guidance for players without hand-holding them, a new Tip of the Day system on the main menu shows player-submitted tips, and all of the tutorials in the game have been completely redone and updated, and are more helpful than ever before. A fan even did some awesome new video tutorials for us, which replaced our older 2.0-era series of the same.
  • Along the theme of streamlining: Knowledge raiding has been completely rebalanced to no longer be easy or necessary, returning it to the proper role of "last ditch effort to get out of a hole". This was a really tedious activity since players were embarking on it too often. Similarly, the endgame was ALWAYS a grind in the old versions, to the point where very few players actually won games, but now the endgame has been completely redone and is more exciting and full of back-and-forth power struggles than ever. Gameplay activities that were tedious have been cropped and replaced with something more fun, with a great deal of public player testing and feedback.
  • Brace yourself: but the entire combat, repair, economic, and construction models have been almost completely rewritten. To the novice player these changes are subtle enough that it feels like basically the same game. To the more experienced player, these changes are a dream come true, shaving off rough edges left and right and leaving something simpler and more elegant in its place. We had a corps of 95 community members giving us feedback, after all, so there's been a lot of vetting of this from both newer and experienced players. The main benefits of these particular changes are simplicity, transparency-to-the-player, and internal accuracy in outlier situations.
  • As part of the new combat model, the old concept of "shields" (as distinct from "force fields") has been removed, and the random-hit-chance and range-related components of the hit chance calculations are gone. In place of this is a new, simpler, and far better "armor" system that affects damage output instead of hit chance.
  • One key simplification in this new version is the removal of all the internal ship-specific damage multipliers. In their place, we now have a small number of new "hull types," and ships get visible bonuses against them. This also removes the "Strong Vs and Weak Vs" display in favor of both the raw hull attack multipliers display and a new Reference tab when really detailed data is needed (presumably not often).
  • Following on with those massive changes, every last ship in the game has been rebalanced to a heavy degree, sometimes pretty much completely. With a game of this scope, we expect there are still some rough edges in there, but overall it's far better balanced -- and easier to understand the balance in a meaningful way -- than ever before. As part of this, the turrets and starships have both become a lot more specialized and interesting, and more of them are available to players right from the start of the game.
  • Performance has gotten a major boost in general with the new version, but additionally we now have new "Performance Profiles" that let the game more easily run on a variety of hardware. Best of all, these profiles can be swapped in and out in realtime while playing. This lets borderline computers lower their simulation/graphics load temporarily during a massive battle, then turn those factors back up when the battle concludes. The game in general also now does a better job of degrading its framerate instead of its overall run speed, which is an enormous boon for multiplayer games where one player is on iffy hardware. And as if all that wasn't enough, we also have a variety of simple new performance-diagnosing tools right in the Players tab that lets players see each others' framerates, how fast the game is running at the moment compared to realtime, and other helpful things like that.
  • This next change is also a shocker: we've reduced the default ship caps in the game. The game has always advertised having 30,000+ ships in realtime, but the truth was that often players were running more like 70,000 to 120,000 ships in large games. This was simply more of a CPU drain than it needed to be, and tended to make a lot of the AI worlds a grind. We now have Unit Cap Scales that you can set in the lobby -- and the old "High" option is still there -- but the new default uses about half as many ships, which is still significantly more than we've ever advertised as supporting. And for iffy hardware, you can actually quarter the number of ships in the game, which is ideal for slower laptops or similar.
  • Part of the reason for the shift away from just huge numbers of fleet ships is our new emphasis on larger centerpieces. The AIs have massive new command stations and guard posts, as well as mobile Guardians that not only defend but launch often-brutal counterattacks. Going along with these are the exciting new AI Eye that emphasizes de-blobbing, the new AI Barracks that lets the AIs store up overflow reinforcements for later use, and the AI Carriers which are the late-game AI equivalent of transports. All of these new things take the place of turrets, which the AI no longer uses at all, and in general they lead to a vastly different feel of game. It's a lot quicker to resolve battles (without making you rushed -- just no longer a grind), and in general it makes planets feel more unique and fun before you even get into the various special weapons that have always been a cornerstone of AI War.
  • The AIs aren't the only ones who have been getting a makeover, though. We already mentioned that players now get a lot more starting turrets and starships for free (and both of those unit classes are now far more central to the game). Players also now get a lot more knowledge in general (3,000 per planet now, instead of 2,000), and the player economy -- especially in the early game -- has had a massive boost. Your typical income without economic upgrades will be almost double what it used to be, meaning you can field far more ships, faster, including starships. Speaking of faster, the player ships used to be 1.4x faster than the AI ships, but now they are a full 2x faster. This asymmetry plays well into the enhanced feel of the player as a guerrilla warrior against a superior foe. This unique aspect of the game is really emphasized a lot more, now, and players have responded really well to it in beta.
  • Did we mention Mac OSX support? Thanks to our switch to the Unity 3D engine, AI War is no longer just for Windows. And while Linux isn't directly supported, we have word that it runs flawlessly in the latest versions of WINE. And, along these lines, AI War no longer has any prerequisites -- installation and setup is far more painless than in the past.
  • And these were just the highlights. Read on if you want all the gory details: it's taken us 170 days, 81 releases, 95 testers, and untold man-months to get this awesome new version out. We're really excited not only about what is represented here already, but what this re-launch of the game will enable us to do both with future free updates and future paid expansions. Thanks to everyone for their support during this long process!

AI Updates

  • A semi-major new "Scrap Wave" mechanic has been added for the AIs. Any time there are more than 100,000 ships currently in the game, and comparably little is going on in terms of threat/attack/wave counters, the AI will scrap a large number of its ships and then send a wave that is half the size of the number of ships scrapped.
    • The AI is prejudiced toward scrapping and sending the lowest-tech mobile military it has, but that will really vary based on what it has available. If all the AI has is Mark V stuff, this will be a much worse event than if the AI still has a lot of lower-tech stuff.
    • In general, the size of these waves is 1,000 ships multiplied times the difficulty of the first AI player. The number of scrapped ships will be about twice that.
    • Generally if there are more than about 1,000 threat/attack/wave ships already out in the galaxy, then the AI won't do a scrap wave. Otherwise it will do continuously scrap waves, one after the next, until it is back down to fewer than 150,000 ships.
    • In the end, if you're like most AI War players you'll never-ever see this mechanic at all. But if you've got a beast of a machine and love playing 30+ hour-long games on the largest maps, then this will help keep things from bogging down completely.
  • AI players are no longer allowed to reinforce their planets if there are more than 175,000 ships currently in the game.
  • There are now AI-specific versions of the following golems that are used by the Golemite: Armored, Artillery, Black Widow, Regenerator, Botnet.
    • Those versions don't have some of the restrictions that the human-controlled versions do, but neither do they buff reinforcements or waves, and they have 1/2 the normal health for golems of those sorts.
  • The AI, on difficulty 7 and up, will now use Mobile Repair Stations on some of its planets. These are pretty rare, but add to the challenge of those particular planets like the addition of a mark I or mark II fortress does. The chance for these goes up with higher difficulties.
  • New "AI Barracks" have been added.
    • Built by the AI to contain offline overflow units from its planets when it has too many units to keep online. Each barracks contains 200-1200 ships that will come active when the barracks is attacked or destroyed, or when the planet of the barracks no longer belongs to the AI.
  • The internal calculations for border aggression have been revamped extensively in the wake of the recent AI ship cap reductions. It's hard to express exactly what effect these calculation revamps will have, since it varies by AI Progress, difficulty level, and other factors, but in general it should make border aggression not happen until later, while at the same time making it more pronounced for high AI Progresses on higher difficulties.
  • The thresholds for the number of AI units that can be in cold storage before becoming part of border aggression and attacking the human players has been reduced by 2000 overall. This puts it into equivalency with the new, lower ship caps, but it also is going to lead to... well, pain, in the case of some existing savegames with massive numbers of ships already in place out in the galaxy.
  • Previously, Border Aggression could be really vicious, sending vast quantities of ships cumulatively into threat when there are a lot of planets all with fewer than 200 excess ships on them (the minimum to make a barracks). And it could also be really vicious in sending a lot of core or mark IV ships at the players when they were used to seeing mark I or II ships in a game.
    • Now the Border Aggression will never kick in at all if the attack + threat level is already 500 or more.
    • Additionally, when ships would be released via border aggression, and those ships have a tech level that is more than 2 marks higher than the current tech level of that AI player (so, mark IV/V ship with a mark I AI tech level, or mark V ship with a mark II AI tech level, basically), then these excess ships are simply exploded rather than being released. This keeps the ship caps pruned as needed without causing a ridiculous spike in difficulty and without having players ever get swarmed with core ships early in the game.
  • Previously it was possible for the AI to get an inordinate number of MRS's on a single planet; it is now generally limited to 2 per planet.
  • AI's no longer use any form of turrets, and any turrets that the AIs did have are now removed from old savegames (including turret remains). This includes sniper turrets, spider turrets, tractor beams, the works.
    • Larger-form AI-only replacements for some of the more notably types of turrets will see a resurgence, but they will be easier to see (and thus to strategize against). This will also have a positive performance impact, with fewer AI units doing the job of a larger number of older turrets.
    • The emphasis is instead on letting the AIs make use of their ship caps with mobile ships that actually pose a natural form of counterattack risk to players (and which are more interesting, anyway, in the hands of the AI).
  • Decoy drones are now capped at 4 per planet for the AI, and speed boosters are now capped at 10 per planet for the AI. Decloakers and tachyon drones are now capped at 4 and 2 per planet for the A (and the ship caps for the human players have also been reduced to those levels from 10 and 10).
  • The AIs now have a per-planet ship cap of 6 engineers of each mark level.
  • The Ship cap scales now affect the size of the maximum allowed wave size per-wave for the AI. Before it was always 2000, but now that gets affected by each ship cap scale as you'd expect.
  • There is now a separate ship cap for starships in a wave compared to fleet ships, to ensure that starships don't get excluded if there are a ton of ships in the wave (while at the same time ensuring that they don't get absolutely gigantic because of the golems or similar).
  • Most AI-controlled wormholes now have a Tachyon Guardian at them, putting the scouting balance approximately back to where it was before the AIs lost turrets. The difference now, however, is that if these tachyon guardians are destroyed, the AI is very unlikely to rebuild them (though it sometimes will). This makes it possible to "carve paths" for scouting, whereas before it wasn't really feasible to do that.
  • A certain number (varies by difficulty) of guardians are now seeded at each command station and guard post belonging to the AI, except for special forces guard posts. These ships are mobile and powerful, and present a more serious counterattack threat than the recently-added new guard posts, which are stationary. In other words, if you launch an attack and botch it, then you it's possible you might have a bunch of guardians turning offensive and coming after you.
    • The AI does not get any guardians at all on planets adjacent to the player home planets. This is consistent with ion cannons, AI Eyes, etc.
  • During each reinforcement of a planet, the AI is now allowed to add a single guardian to either the command station or one of the guard posts. It is only allowed to add a single guardian per reinforcement, and the command station or guard post in question can't already have its cap of guardians. If the AI is unable to add a guardian, it does not get any recompense.
  • The AI will no longer abandon guard posts to pursue the scout starships of the player.
  • The logic for border aggression now scales with the unit cap scale, and also is vastly more tame during the early game in particular, but also pretty much in general. UNLESS you have a mega ton of ships, then it gets a bit more aggressive than before, so it now is more reactive to what you do.
  • The AIs now send leech starships in waves and reinforcements at lower tech levels than they did in the past.
  • The AI players no longer build anti-starship arachnids on their planets in response to player starships arriving. That's outmoded thinking, as the AI already has plenty of stuff around for the starships.
  • Fixed bug where minor faction ships firing upon AI guardians (and other AI ships guarding a guard post) could lead to those AI ships turning into threat, by no fault of the human player.
  • It is definitely now not possible for starships or guardians to be part of cross-planet attacks or border aggression.
  • In recent releases, AI ships that were guarding could still "break their tether" at the end of their guard radius, which would turn them free and into threat. Now they remain tethered unless fired upon. This does not apply to coordinator-ships, namely hybrid hives.
  • The ship ability "AI Will Abandon Post To Pursue," and its related functions, has been removed.
  • The per-guard-post cap of guardians is difficulty-dependent:
    • On difficulty 5 and below, the only guardians that the AI gets are the "freebie" tachyon guardians.
    • These are always there at every difficulty level mentioned hereafter.
    • On difficulty 6, the AI only gets a single guardian at each guard post, and it cannot ever rebuild these when they die.
    • On difficulty 7+, the AI can rebuild guardians, but only gets a single one per guard post (and only starts with one).
    • On difficulty 8+, the AI can rebuild guardians and gets two per guard post (and starts with two).
    • On difficulty 10+, the AI can rebuild guardians and gets three per guard post (and starts with two).
  • If the AI sends reinforcements to guard something that turns out to be dead (which happens legitimately, if somthing dies at just the wrong time), those reinforcing ships now fizzle and disappear.
  • AI Waves in general are now more of an interesting event, like they were in the pre-2.0 versions.
    • On difficulty 6+, waves are 3x larger.
    • On difficulty 7+, waves are 6x larger.
    • On difficulty 8+, waves are 9x larger.
  • Also, the single-starship-with-every-wave is now only included on difficulty 6 and up.
    • However, on difficulty 8+ it now includes two of them.
    • And on difficulty 9+, it now includes three of them.
  • Added a "grace period" where the counters for roaming enclaves and preservation wardens don't start counting up until a certain time has elapsed. Currently it's 20 minutes * (10 - AI Difficulty) for the roaming enclaves, and the same (except 15 instead of 20) for the wardens. So for Diff 7 that's 1 hour, and 45 minutes, respectively.
  • AI ships now automatically come into existence out of waves in FRD mode. This gives them a faster reaction time in their first few seconds of life, rather than waiting a second or two for commands from the AI thread.

General Large Gameplay Additions

  • The starting human outpost now contains:
    • Home Command Station
    • A special MkI forcefield that covers a much larger area (but has the same durability as a standard MkI),
    • A Space Dock.
    • A Starship Constructor.
    • One each of Energy Reactor MkI, MkII, and MkIII.
    • Ten each of metal and crystal manufactories.
    • On higher difficulties, a mobile builder and a mercenary space dock.
    • Depending on difficulty (the higher the more), a number of the new Home Human Settlements and Human Cryogenic Pods.
  • This one is a HUGE and exciting change to the base game: the endgame has been completely overhauled for AI War. Previously, the home planets for the AI were always very similar to one another, and often they were something of a grind.
    • The chief problem was that things were too centralized on a single unit on those planets: the AI home command stations. You had to destroy those, and that was really the only goal; therefore, that was super hard if you didn't have enough firepower, or really easy if you did.
    • Now the emphasis is on a distributed network of specialized, much stronger guard posts, as well as a much weaker central home command station. However, the central home command station can't be touched until all the new AI Core Guard Posts have been destroyed, which means that there are many goals on the planet before you actually get to the final goal of killing the command station itself.
    • There are 9 new types of these specialized guard posts, with various abilities. Rather than enumerate those here, we'll let you discover those in-game. Some are more rare than others, and your seeding is different every time, which makes each AI home planet quite unique now. There is also room for expansion over time with more specialized guard posts in addition to the first 9.
    • The overall net effect is that you can take on the home planet a chunk-at-a-time now, and you can successfully destroy a chunk and then come back much later without having lost any progress. This is a big improvement over the old system, where you had to build up overwhelming force and win all in one big push; again, that tended to be either too hard or too easy (usually too hard).
    • Going along with the above, there is now quite a bit of strategy and puzzle-style challenge to figuring out the best attack pattern and order for actually clearing the guard posts on the AI home planets. Some of the guard posts are likely to support one another, and so your success depends on your ability to make and execute plans here. The goal is to make the endgame as strategic as the early and middle game, rather than it always devolving into a grind or a cakewalk right at the end.
    • Lastly, the AI home planets previously had really inflated ship caps, in that even if you destroyed guard posts it was impossible to neuter the AI home planets at all. This is no longer the case, and the AI home planets can now have their effective ship caps whittled down over time. This way the battles remain epic, but not laggy or grindy, hopefully. More tweaks may be needed to this over time, too.
    • All of the above DOES affect all existing savegames loaded in the new version. Enjoy!
  • Added "Blitz" combat style which is like Fast and Dangerous but the ship speed is doubled again. Also, "Normal" has been renamed to Epic/4X-like and "Fast and Dangerous" has been renamed to "Normal".
  • Added "Blitz" combat style which is like Fast and Dangerous but the ship speed is doubled again. Also, "Normal" has been renamed to Epic/4X-like and "Fast and Dangerous" has been renamed to "Normal".
  • The keyboard bindings are now able to be edited. The editing interface is on the settings menu, and the bindings themselves are stored in inputbindings.dat, separate from all other settings for ease of sharing, etc.
  • The way that the "Game Speed" options (+/-) on the keyboard work is now completely different.
    • Previously, the options went from 0 to 10. Now, they go from -10 to 10... meaning that time can be slowed down as well as sped up.
    • Additionally, in the past when the speed was increased from 0 to 1 it more than doubled the speed of the simulation, whereas increasing it all the way to 10 had very little change compared to the initial shift with 1. Now the speed scaling is a lot more linear, which is quite helpful.
  • There is a new "AI War Pre-4.0 Settings Importer" application that allows players to import pre-4.0 settings files into the new 4.0 version. Unfortunately, the new versions of AI War can't directly read the legacy settings files because of a bug in the Mono framework (regarding deserializing generic collections, if you're curious).
    • Our settings importer tool also moves across savegame files as a convenience, although there is no compatibility issue with them.
  • For CoN:
    • Added Hybrid Hives AI Plot.
    • Added "Advanced Hybrids" AI Plot; if the base Hybrids plot is enabled and the Advanced one is not, then the highest tier of Hybrid classes will be disabled (including stuff like the re-coloinzer, which is not quite implemented yet). Also slightly influences the tech level of equipment available to the lower classes, for instance the first Attacker type will only be able to get a mkI forcefield (instead of mkII) if Advanced Hybrids is off. If you select Advanced Hybrids and not the base Hybrids plot for an AI player, once you start the game it will act as if you had checked both.
    • Added Neinzul Nester (harder) AI type, which starts the game with Neinzul Nests on most of its planets (half of them on Diff 10, scaling down for lower difficulties).
    • Added Neinzul Rocketry Corps minor faction that initially seeds Neinzul Silos on roughly 8% of the AI planets on the map (fairly distant from any human homeworld, with the mark level of the planet on which they are placed. On higher difficulties the silos can be of higher level (indeed, IV and V only ever show up on diff 8+).
    • Added Neinzul Youngster (moderate) AI Type. Its waves' fleet ships are always Neinzul younglings (a mix of all 5, so basically always schizo), and it launches 2 times as many waves as normal. Its planets are defended pretty lightly.
    • Added Support Corps (easy) AI Type. It launches no waves of its own but mixes support ships (MRS's, decoy drones, etc) into the waves of its ally. Support ships are also mixed into normal reinforcements for all AI planets.
    • Added Warp Jumper (hard) AI Type. It can launch waves against any human planet without a warp jammer on it. If a wave is "remotely" warped in, it will spawn on the edge of the planet (50000-70000 range out from the center), rather than on a wormhole. As a consolation, this AI's planets will not have warp gates, and thus will cost 15 AIP instead of 20 to take.
  • Added Neinzul Preservation Warden minor faction. When this is enabled:
    • The game will periodically check if it should spawn one of these enclave starships. They are always allied with the AI.
    • The original spawn points are generally on AI core worlds.
    • The enclave starship will then wander towards human territory and be antagonized by any extractors on nearby planets and release its younglings to attack the humans.
    • Once it reaches human territory it typically thinks that the place is a dump and starts on a journey back to an AI core world.
    • The chance of enclave spawn and the rate of youngling production is directly related to the number of extractors currently running in the galaxy.
  • Added Neinzul Roaming Enclave minor faction. When this is enabled:
    • The game will periodically check if it should spawn one of these enclave starships.
    • When spawning, it randomly picks between AI-ally, Human-ally, and Enemy-to-all versions of the roaming enclave starship.
      • The AI-ally ones will spawn somewhere in AI territory and move towards human territory to raid it (typically having had time to build up a few youngling squadrons). When damaged to 50% or less it typically retreats to AI territory to regen.
      • The Human-ally ones will spawn on a human planet, produce (internally) at least one squadron of younglings, and then try to raid AI planets. When damaged to 50% or less it typically retreats to human territory to regen and rebuild its squadrons.
      • The Enemy-to-all ones will spawn on an AI planet that borders a non-AI planet, and typically run away as it gets shot at by lots of stuff. These don't really have anywhere to run and tend not to last long, but they can still spice things up a bit.
  • Not really gameplay, but this is huge: completely remastered soundtracks for AI War and TZR!
  • There is now a Unit Cap Scale lobby option that allows players to choose between the following options (Normal is now the default, and is applied to all existing saveganes; players may recognize that High was the previous default):
    • Most large-cap ships have half the standard cap (Fighter MkI = 50), and are roughly twice as expensive, twice as strong, etc.
      • This puts the lowest possible load on the your CPU when you have the biggest-possible battles.
    • Normal caps (Fighter MkI = 99), costs, and strengths.
      • This puts a moderate load on your CPU when you have really large-scale battles.
    • Most large-cap ships have double the standard cap (Fighter MkI = 198) and are roughly half as expensive, half as strong, etc.
      • This puts a lot more load on the your CPU when you have the biggest-possible battles.
  • A new in-game music track, "The Last Chapter," has been added to the base game.

Co-Op Improvements

  • The effect on overall ship caps from having more players is now more severe; this keeps the performance more in line even in larger multiplayer games.
  • The "would you like to reconnect to the disconnected server?" message now only pops up once every 60 seconds at most, rather than immediately popping up again after you are disconnected. This makes it actually possible to use the menus to quit and do something other than reconnect, etc. It also will no longer actually pop up when the player has the in-game menu or the settings menu open.

Performance Improvements

  • Some internal networking changes have been made as the start of phasing in a new, more memory-efficient network/savegame format over time. These first changes add a very slight bit of memory/CPU efficiency on the game host, including in single-player games, but mostly they are laying the groundwork for more extensive future changes.
  • Made a rather notable performance improvement to ship explosions (which are just visual, not part of the simulation itself):
    • Explosions on other planets or otherwise out of your view no longer actually happen, thus saving a goodly amount of sim CPU load when taken in aggregate.
    • When in far zoom, the little debris is too small to see with explosions anyway, so it now doesn't render that, either. That only happens on larger ships anyway, but this saves the GPU and CPU load of both generating and then rendering this. A much more minor update than the first, but still notable.
  • A significant new early-out performance improvement has been made for range checks. Especially when there are a lot of ships that are out of range of a battle on a planet (such as those at other guard posts), this now has a notable boost to performance.
  • Some performance increases, notably for cases where there are a ton of human ships on a planet with no AI ships. These changes may result in it taking a little longer for a ship's protections (being under a forcefield, counter-shooter, etc) to update, and for engineers to find something to auto-assist when idle.
  • A number of small performance improvements all throughout the application, moving away from the System.Drawing structs to custom ArcenPoint, ArcenRectangle, and ArcenSize structs. These structs are more efficient in terms of RAM and CPU, and are Unity-compatible, which the others were not.
  • The seek CPU efficiency of teleporting engineers has been increased significantly.
  • TryFindAssistTarget (engineers looking for something to repair or assist) is now separate from the TryFindOtherTargets throttle, and has been cranked down since those searches can take so long.
  • TryFindTachyonTargets (tachyon emitters checking for cloaked ships in rage) is now separate from the TryFindOtherTargets throttle, and is fairly generous since even a partial second's delay can make a difference between your turrets eating the raptors for lunch and the raptors eating your command station for theirs.
  • Some performance improvements to collision checking, target list filtering and sorting, and the generic basic range checking function.
  • Some performance improvements to the "move ship" logic that handles a lot of every-cycle logic for non-cold-storage ships.
  • A minor performance improvement to CheckForTargetListUpdate.
  • Added a separate throttle category for ships that have only overkill targets, so that those ships are more likely to update their target lists in a timely fashion when non-overkill targets show up.
  • Some small performance improvements in overall main loop code and AI determination of "how much strength is protecting ship X".
  • A major refactoring in the internal codebase has taken place, fixing a number of bugs and also leading to some performance gains (mainly RAM more than CPU, but also some CPU).
  • Some more efficiency improvements to the AI thread.
  • More internal optimizations that make loading savegames faster than ever, reduces RAM use a bit more, and somewhat lowers the overhead of having a lot of ships moving around in the galaxy. Also makes rendering lots of ships on the screen slightly more efficient, and corrects a few display-related bugs.
  • Changed normal wormhole exit behavior to automatically set destination to a point on a (filled) circle around the wormhole. Previously ships would sit directly on the wormhole and wait for a collision check; many versions ago this just meant the game slowed to a crawl while the collision checks ran, and in more recent versions the collision-checks-allowed-per-cycle throttle meant that ships just sat on the wormhole forever and got eaten by AOE. Now they should immediately fan out a bit and check for collisions when they stop.
  • TryFindAssistTarget throttle made more sensitive to the cost of the actual target searches, so that engineers on planets with smaller allied unit counts will be able to get through faster.
  • Previously it was possible for the automatic AI engineer retreat logic to place an undue load on the CPU, fixed to pace these calculations.
  • A substantial new performance improvement has been made to units on "cold storage" planets with no enemies present: basically, the entire processing of the planet is skipped except every other turn (even for things like special forces or free units on those planets, if other ships on that same planet are in cold storage), which reduces background simulation processing (in other words, not human player ships or battles) to a pretty enormous degree.
    • To clarify, a turn is 200ms long.
    • The "statistics" for things like the number of attacking ships, threatening ships, etc, are also now only recalculated every other turn, which also helps with load to a much more minor degree.
    • Any ships that are moving on planets of this sort now move twice as fast, since they are artificially only moving half as often. This keeps it from actually altering gameplay in meaningful ways (though players will likely still find something!).
  • Converted some remaining string.concat list-building blocks to StringBuilder.Append, to prevent some (non-impossible) cases that would cause out-of-memory crashes.
  • There are no longer any prerequisites for running the game.
  • The game no longer uses GDI+, so it is no longer at all dependent on system fonts, and programs like FRAPS are able to record the menus as well as the actual gameplay.
  • Thanks largely to the removal of the GDI+ components, the game application itself opens markedly faster now.
  • The draw-framerate is now independent from the simulation-framerate.
    • This is a huge benefit, because now the draw framerate automatically drops under serious load (like a big battle), which lets the actual simulation speed stay at 100% during play in many cases.
      • Thus the game doesn't slow down to a crawl during big battles (it just gets briefly choppy, if that), which passes much more quickly and is markedly less frustrating.
      • Also, if one player has a slightly underpowered machine during a network game, it is less likely to slow down the simulation for the other players, which is also excellent.
  • In-game textures are now streamed into the game in a queue, rather than loaded-all-at-once when first encountered. This avoids choppiness and momentary lag when loading savegames and similar. This does cause images to be invisible and then pop-in during that same time, but that's much preferable in the main.
  • The methods for rendering general in-game shots is now 1/5th as GPU-intensive as before. The method for rendering missile shots is now 1/9th as GPU-intensive as before. The method for rendering explosions are now about 1/2 to 1/4 as GPU-intensive as before. The method for rendering the new uv-animated line effects is about 1/5 as GPU-intensive as the old "fuzzy line" effects. Paired with new graphics, they also look better, which gives a double bonus to this shift.
  • There is now less apparent lag when first loading a game, as the AI thread is started right at the tail end of the load process rather than during the first frames of the game.
  • In general, the lobby is now vastly faster and more responsive, whereas before it was rather laggy because it had some logic being run many times more than it needed to be.
  • The planetary summary now combines various icon layers into intermittent textures, which makes it use on average 5x fewer draw calls to the GPU, and lower transient per-frame memory as well.\
  • The buttons along the bottom of the screen (and buy buttons, etc) have been massively upgraded to be far more efficient.
  • Performance Profile can now be changed from the Scores tab of the Stats screen.
  • Added Performance Profile dropdown to Game Options tab of Lobby.
  • Added "FPS" and "Viewing" columns to the Scores tab of the Stats window; FPS so you can see what kind of performance other players are getting locally, and Viewing so you can tell what they are looking at (and switch to that view yourself by clicking the button).
  • The AI now keeps its guarding ships (except for the really ultra-long-range-ones) in low-power mode until there is actually a need to use them, and then it brings them out of low power mode and often puts them into free mode. This makes those ships more of a counterattack risk, as well as in general keeping the CPU usage of huge battles on AI planets to a minimum when a bunch of the ships wouldn't be involved in the battle, anyway.
  • Some fair performance improvements have been made to large battles on AI planets with a lot of low-power ships.
  • A huge amount of extra performance (in certain cases) has been gained by setting a maximum time-per-sim-frame that causes fewer sim frames per draw frame to be rendered when there is severe lag. This makes it so that in situations of extreme lag, the game will remain responsive (though running slower), while in situations of mild to moderate lag, the game will remain at full speed (though drawing fewer frames). Note to other Unity developers: Time.maximumDeltaTime is awesome.
  • The FPS line from the F3 Debug menu now includes a "Game vs Realtime Speed" that shows the correlation between the system clock and the game clock. 100% would be a perfect correlation, and in general the game hovers close to that. However, when the game is running faster than realtime, it will go above 100%, and when it's running slower than realtime it will be below 100%.
  • A new Game Speed label has been added to the Players tab of the Stats window (where you can adjust your performance profile). This label shows how well the game is running at the moment, as well as giving advice on if you need to use a lower performance profile or not.
  • A memory/CPU performance improvement has been added relating to when gamecommands are compressed or not. Actually, this is a slight savings on network bandwidth, too.
  • Added code to clear various static temp-working lists right after they are used to prevent them from holding on to references to ships from previous games (and thus planets from previous games, and the ships on those planets, etc; technically it shouldn't still have a reference the planet but you never know), and dead ships from the same game. All this would have lead to the game requiring more memory than necessary.
  • Significant reduction in transient memory allocation on the AI thread, to reduce the frequency of Garbage Collector activity in the app in general, and thus the frequency of hiccups in the music and input handling, etc.
  • Saving and loading of games is now going to cause a small bit more of a hiccup in game execution, but will also use massively less memory and should have almost no chance of causing out of memory errors.
  • There is now a bit better of a speed throttle on the way that data is sent to the AI thread, leading to less lag on the main game thread when there is a bunch that needs to be sent to the AI.
  • The way that the AI thread gets updated data about units in the game is now through a separate data channel from the way that it gets commands to send waves, updates about planet ownership, and other things. This has several advantages. First, because we're able to avoid boxing some structs, this is much more memory-static. Secondly, it prevents the AI thread from getting sluggish on processing things like waves because of a backlog of units to update in ultra-high-unit-count games (north of 70k). Third, it allowed for the better speed throttle mentioned above, without causing a more general lack of correctness on the part of the AI thread.
  • An ENORMOUS performance improvement has been made for the game host in large unit-count games in particular. The AI thread sync logic is now using generic queues instead of lists, resulting in state-sync operations happily taking under 8ms for 15,000 synced units, rather than taking 8ms for only about 20-30 synced units. This effect will be most pronounced in games with more units.
  • Another similar large improvement has been made to the pooling of explosions, shot graphics, etc.
  • A similar, but smaller improvement has been made to the sending of large, mult-part network messages.
  • Yet more work has been done to improve the rate of memory utilization in the mono gc.
  • The game is now strictly limited to 12 open disk threads at a time. Previously it would usually be that few or fewer, anyway, but in a few cases it could get higher and this could lead to jerkiness on windows and potentially crashes on OSX.
  • The last of memory-rootedness fixes, for now, has been put in place. The amount of permanently-added memory after loading a savegame is now only about 2mb.

Interface Improvements

  • Added context menu; the default context menu for your current context can be opened via Alt+Right-click. There is also a keyboard-only bind that you can set if you want to be able to open it at one keypress.
  • Added "Special Move" item to context menu (when you have ships selected, on planet view) that allows setting of group/formation/attack/frd/queued flags via mouse rather than the various (and sometimes obscure) key combinations.
  • Added "Stop" item to context menu (when you have ships selected, on planet view) that emulates the "end" key command that cancels all standing commands, formation (if you're on sticky formations, those don't clear with normal moves), etc.
  • Moved Auto Explore command from the A+E+X key combination to the context menu (only when you have selected ships and at least one is a scout).
  • Auto Explore now functions in the absence of unexplored planets (either you've explored them all or you started with all explored), and applies similar auto-pathing logic to unscouted or not-scouted-recently planets (preferring the unscouted, then the not-scouted-for-5-hours, then the not-scouted-for-1-hour, etc).
  • Auto Exploring scouts no longer try to evade after exiting a wormhole, instead they should shortly pick a new exploration/scouting destination and get moving that way.
  • Auto-explore is now non-random and much more even in deciding between equidistant planets of the same level of "I need to scout this". So if you have 5 unexplored (or unscouted, in an everything-starts-explored game) planets connected to your home world and build 10 scouts there and put them on auto-explore, 2 each will go to each of those 5 planets. At least, that's the idea.
  • Existing "counter-shot radius" drawing logic (which also draws tractor range, tachyon range, etc) will now draw engineering range if the ship has one and does not have a counter-shot or other auxiliary range.
  • Added "Auto Gather Knowledge (Science Only)" to the context menu. When executed, selected science ships will be automatically issued the following orders:
    • if not on friendly planet, no orders
    • else if on friendly planet but there's knowledge left to get, and not under a strong forcefield:
      • if command station is under strong forcefield, set destination to that forcefield
      • else if there are allied forcefields on the planet, set destination for the one nearest to the command station
      • else set destination for the command station
    • else if there's a planet I can reach through a friendly-planet-only path that has knowledge left to get, set destination to the nearest one (if there are more than one equidistant it picks the first one in the list every time, no random, so groups on one planet will all go to the same other planet).
    • else no orders (but periodically check again)
    • (note: friendly planet is defined as a planet with an orbital command station owned by a player on the same team as the science ship's owner)
  • When the energy count is being shown for ships (either by pressing Alt+A, or via the net energy being low for you), transports now show their own energy plus that of all the ships inside themselves.
  • Command Stations are now shown on the Planetary Summary icon lists on the galaxy map.
  • The DEF build category was really a misnomer at this point, and has been renamed to SUP instead (Support instead of Defense, which more accurately describes those ships).
  • The lobby tooltips now show the costs for each of the starting ship classes (mark I only, but still).
  • The ship costs (complete with icons and coloring, etc) are now always shown in the ship tooltips, rather than only in the buy menus. This makes it so that players don't have to go to the buy menus in order to make construction decisions.
    • Additionally, this gets rid of the need to have energy use on the line with the ship caps, etc.
    • And lastly, it now lets the repair cost move out of the abilities section and into the costs line.
  • Hovering over the net energy display at the top of the screen now shows the positive and negative energy amounts that factor into that, for the local player and any teammates.
  • In the tooltips for ships, AI Progress increase/decrease conditions are now shown in highlighted yellow on the same line with resource production, to emphasize this more since AI Progress is essentially a very important resource.
  • In the tooltips for ships, the immunities are now split out from the other normal abilities to make it so that they don't crowd out the rest of the abilities for things such as golems, etc. Now the immunities are shown in a slightly more concise notation, on a separate line, in a different color.
  • The "Number of Simultaneous Shots" is no longer treated as a special ability for display purposes. Instead, when a ship has multiple simultaneous shots, there is now simply an "x2" (or whatever number) notation next to the main attack power.
    • This makes it quicker to gauge the real attack power of a ship without having to dive into the abilities, and also takes up less visual space. The actual functionality it describes is unchanged.
  • Added 2 galaxy map display overlays: detected hybrids and detected hybrid facilities. Only displays info on planets that you current have visibility.
  • Control Nodes have been removed and replaced with a Controls interface, accessed via the CTRLS button in the lower-left corner of the screen.
  • Added new galaxy-wide control: Engineers Do Not Auto-Assist Low Power Ships; it doesn't interfere with directly targeted repairs and can be useful in preventing your engineers from spending your entire economy on repairing a golem that's been damaged in battle.
  • External invincibility for command stations (provided by certain destructible guard posts) is now visually shown on the command stations, and shown in the hover info for the command station with a count of how many external guard posts are contributing to that invincibility.
  • The icons that are shown at the top of the intel summary are now sorted by short name (displayed in the line below), rather than just being ordered effectively randomly as they were before.
  • The ships that show up with an icon on the intel summary view have their own text line directly below in purple, but they were also still showing up in the larger lists of my/allied/enemy ships further down. Now they have been removed from those lower lists (but not the counts of enemy ships by mark level), so as to make those lists more focused and easier to read.
  • Command Stations and Guard Posts now get their own line of icons in the intel summary in the galaxy map. This prevents them from completely overwhelming all of the other special ship icons by their presence.
  • Refactored the ship category buttons at the bottom of the main screen to a two-tier model letting the player drill down to either the full list, the low-power list, the non-low-power list, or a list of a specific ship-type.
  • Added some basic alert messages when a human planet is under attack by Hybrids, Preservation Wardens, (hostile) Roaming Enclaves, or hostile warheads.
  • The lobby has been completely reworked, and avoids potential rendering problems that a minority of players were suddenly seeing based on the old way the lobby was redirecting window output from one window handle to another.
  • The way that links between planets are drawn in the galaxy map has been altered substantially:
    • Previously, supply was shown via a darker thicker line underneath the main link lines. That has been removed, and now the main lines normally draw a bit thinner, and then become thicker to denote supply.
    • The relationship between the two linked planets are now shown via the color of the line.
      • Gray lines now denote unknown relationship, or a link between two neutral planets.
      • Yellow lines now denote links between friendly and neutral planets.
      • Green lines now denote links between friendly planets.
      • Orange lines now denote links between friendly and enemy planets.
      • Red lines now denote links between enemy planets or enemy and neutral planets.
  • Core Fabricators, Experimental Fabricators, and Experimental Starship Fabricators are now listed with space docks, starship constructors, etc on the "Space Dock" button at the bottom of the screen.
  • The various messages that show near the top of the screen (Paused, Game Does Not Have Focus, You Win, etc) can now show more than one of these messages at once (like if you're paused after you've won and/or the game does not have focus).
  • A number of keyboard control changes have been made. If you don't like them, the beauty is that you can now remap them as you wish, but we wanted to take this opportunity to clean up the keycodes to make them as sensible as possible -- they grew up a bit unevenly as the game has developed, and there were a few things that have been bugging us for a while.
    • Ship contruction keycodes have been made consistent:
      • It is now possible to build queue-constructed ships in groups of 10 by holding alt.
      • It is now possible to build directly-placed ships in groups of 50 by holding ctrl.
    • Ship selection modifier keycodes (when using hotkeys such as S to select science labs, or when clicking items on the planetary summary) have been made more consistent with the general selection modifiers (when just dragging selection boxes):
      • When holding Shift, it now adds the new ship to the selection rather than centering on it.
      • When holding Space, it now centers on the ship.
    • The button for showing control group assignments, and for showing ship movement/attack lines, and for toggling on all the attack power modifier overlays, has been changed from Ctrl to Alt.
      • This keeps the lines, etc, from getting in the way when players are just using the Ctrl key normally, which is a lot -- and still makes it readily accessible to see these lines and control groups at an easy click of the button, though.
    • The keyboard shortcuts for "frame skip" have been removed, as that feature no longer exists (it's no longer needed).
    • The keyboard shortcuts for "game speed" can now go between -10 and 10, rather than 0 and 10. This allows players to slow down time as well as speed it up.
  • The glow around planets that are alerted to the human presence is now red instead of yellow, as with the new blending, etc, the yellow was extremely hard to see.
  • The resource bar has seen some rework, making it a bit more concise and relying on icons and tooltips instead of spelling out things like "knowledge" in it. On the flip side, a few things that were previously unlabeled (like the number of planets under attack at the moment) now have a label.
    • Warnings about energy levels are now shown directly in the resource bar, and more concisely, with a tooltip over them to explain further.
    • The game speed modifier is now shown right next to the game clock in the upper left, and the game clock flashes red and white when slowed down, and green and white when sped up.
  • A new ship selection scrollable window now shows up whenever ships are selected, making for a significant update to the old selected ships button and dropdown.
  • The Planetary Summary window on the right-hand side of the screen has seen significant visual improvements that make it easier to quickly read, especially during battles or multiplayer games.
  • The position and styling of both chat messages and alert messages have been changed a bit, emphasizing readability and keeping the screen as clear as possible for actually showing gameplay.
  • The main menu is now nigh unrecognizable, it's seen so much rework.
  • Our license key screen is now miles better, as well. It lets you enter all of your license keys on one screen, rather than having a separate screen for each (with the expansions buried in an expansions tab of the settings window). Now it's all on one place, accessible directly from the main menu, and should cut down on confusion as to which license key the application is asking for at any given time (a fair number of people tried to enter their expansion keys as a main key, for example, if they bought the game and expansions at the same time).
  • The current combat style is now shown on the galaxy stats screen, since that's now the only way to see that data while in the game itself.
  • The "Hide Ship Recharge Bars" settings option has become a "Show Ship Recharge Bars" option, because these bars really don't need to be shown for most people and they cause significant visual clutter and extra graphical load.
  • The "Show Ship Bars In Far Zoom" settings option has become a "Hide Ship Bars In Far Zoom" option, because these bars are really important to being able to see the battlefield at a glance from far zoom, and need to be on unless people specifically want to disable them for performance reasons (which isn't likely to be needed, these days, anyway).
  • It is now possible to see the AI Plots in the Galaxy Stats window (before it wasn't possible to see what AI Plots were enabled in-game, which was a problem of sorts).
  • The Debug window (hit F3 to see) has been reworkd a bit to be more compact and yet more helpful.
    • It includes one new line of particular interest, under the GAME SPEED header, that is FPS / Draw Calls. The FPS number gives a pretty good indicator of the frames per second (averaged from the last 3 seconds), and the Draw Calls tells how many sprites were actually drawn to the graphics card for the non-GUI parts of the game (So all the ships, backgrounds, explosions, all that).
      • Both of these help to give a more empirical look at both graphics card performance and graphics card load.\ for when players report that something seems laggy.
  • Added a new context menu: Special Unload.
    • Two ways to open: right-click the Unload button (left-click still does the usual basic unload), or use the new OpenSpecialUnload keybind (context: with-selection, defaults to LeftCtrl+U); if your selection does not contain any transports with ships in them, the special unload menu won't display.
    • Displays 1 button with the total number of ships loaded into transports in your selection.
    • Displays 1 button for each distinct ship type (so fighter I, fighter II, bomber I, etc), with the number of that type.
    • If you left click one of the buttons, it will give the order to unload 1 ship of that category.
      • If the SpecialUnload_MakeUnload_10 keybind (defaults to LeftShift) is active, it does 10 ships instead.
      • If the SpecialUnload_MakeUnload_50 keybind (defaults to LeftCtrl) is active, 50.
      • If the SpecialUnload_MakeUnload_All keybind (defaults to LeftAlt) is active, all of that category (so Alt-clicking Fighter I will unload all fighter Is held by all the transports in your selection, and Alt-clicking the top catch-all button will act very much like the basic unload operation).
    • While the window is open, the SpecialUnload_CancelUnload keybind (no default binding) is also available; it will cancel any unloading of the ships in your selection, without cancelling any other orders.
    • Note that this works with fortresses, etc, not just "Transports" proper.
  • Added UnloadAll keybind (context: with-selection, no default binding) that is just an alias for the basic Unload button.
  • It is now possible to hide the tutorial instructional messages by holding down the Alt key.
  • Since there is a bug in Unity where keys can get into a held-down state permanently (until that key is again pressed and released) after an alt-tab or similar window switching, we've now put in a safety feature: whenever keys are held down for more than four seconds, the name of the key being held down is shown.
    • During normal play, except in a few cases such as holding down to see some sort of overlay (ship lines, attack ranges, etc), this would never even come into practice. But when someone can't understand why no ships are clickable, etc, and it's because the alt key is behind-the-scenes being held down, now there's an easy visual cue that should get most people to automatically tap the key in question, which solves the problem. Should save a lot of frustration for folks down the line.
  • The Select Starship Constructor key (T) has been removed. The Select Space Dock key (D) now also selects Starship Constructors, fabricators, missile silos, and mercenary space docks in addition to the prior function of selecting space docks and advanced factories.
  • The attack-move function has been moved to X, and the "open move menu" function has been moved to left alt.
  • There is now a Master Sound Volume slider on the audio tab of the settings screen. This allows for the relative volumes of all the various sound effects to be left alone, while the overall volume of all sounds are adjusted. This affects everything except the volume of music.
  • Objectives tab of Stats screen now handles all the stuff the old mission display did (and a bit more), and also provides mouseover-tooltip and click-to-view-object (where applicable) support.
  • Removed Pause-All-Constructors and Lone/Group-toggle button from the bottom global button row, replaced with:
    • Map button, toggles between galaxy and planet view (will also be used for showing the minimap, when that is implemented).
    • Controls button, opens a new window for changing a variety of galaxy-wide and planet-specific settings.
  • All Control Nodes have been removed and replaced with the Controls window. Grief and career counseling is available to those engineer drones suffering existential angst as a result.
  • Implemented a replacement for the minimap. It is not part of the normal GUI but rather an overlay that you can trigger by holding either the Middle Mouse Button + the MakeMiddleMouseScrollingUseMiniMapScale key (context: PlanetView, defaults to LeftShift), or the ShowMinimap key (context: InGame, defaults to T).
    • The ShowMinimap keybind (not the middle-mouse-scrolling one) can also be used to "peek" at a planet by holding it and either mousing over a planet in the Galaxy View (it will display the minimap for that planet)

(obsolete)

or a wormhole in the Planet View (it will display the minimap for the planet on the other end of the wormhole)

(obsolete) . The peek displays obey the usual rules for visible intel, etc.

  • The count of enemies at the current planet is now shown as an alert in the upper left, rather than as a hard-to-see flashing number on top of the command stations quick button.
  • The current wave multiplier and reinforcement multiplier, if any, are also now shown at the upper left as an alert. That way players aren't surprised by massive waves if they have a golem at a planet, etc.
  • The pause function is now mapped to both the pause key and the p key.
  • Low-power ships now show up as grayed out even in far zoom, which is quite helpful.
  • Implemented Special Move context menu section, and the Unit Commands context menu section.
  • The "Random" options are now highlighted in light red in the lobby AI type dropdowns. This makes it significantly easier to see them, and to tell the groups of AI types apart from one another (the randoms divide them up into sections). The Technologist AI Types, meanwhile, are shown in full red as a warning.
  • Added Messages tab to Stats window, displays all messages (chat log, AI Progress alerts, etc) received during the session. Those messages do not persist into a savegame, so when you load a game this log will be blank.
  • The mouseover tooltip on the "Planets" section of the resource-display now displays the name, orbital-command-station-type, and number-of-attacking-ships for each planet under attack.
  • The Strong/Weak data is no longer shown in the tooltips for ships. It is still possible to generate this data (we use it for internal ship balancing purposes), but it's no longer exposed through the UI. There were several problems with it in this past: 1) it was difficult to understand; 2) it was overwhelming to new players; 3) it was often misleading even to advanced players; 4) for anyone playing the betas, it was pretty much perpetually out of date, as it takes us 40 minutes to generat the strong/weak data and we don't do that too often.
  • In place of the removed Strong/Weak lines in the tooltips, there is now an "Attack Multipliers" line. This shows the multipliers that ships have against other hull types. Many players have wanted to have this for a long time, but in the past it was always too much data (and too complex) to show effectively in-game. Now that it's been simplified down to vs-hull-type rather than vs-ship-type, it's a lot less data and a lot easier to quickly parse and understand. The hope is that it will also be less overwhelming to new players, and promote more strategic fleet building in general, as the older strong/weak approach was just too nebulous for anything except immediate decision making ("what do I have that's good against X," etc).
  • The number of starships included with each enemy wave is now shown in the alert for the wave.
  • Added new Reference tab to the Stats screen, it's a fairly powerful tool for seeing which ship types are strong against which.
    • Added a "View Reference" option to the when-ships-are-selected context menu, it opens the Reference tab for the selected ship's type (if multiple ships selected, the first ship's type is used).
  • The per-second costs of metal and crystal are now shown in a smaller parentheses in the ship costs line in tooltips. This will help with planning economic expenditures without diverting attention from the total fixed cost of these ships.
  • Previously, the max zoom level was determined based on the screen resolution. Changed to be resolution-independent.
  • Clicking the Map button in the lower left hand corner will now (if on the planet view) pop-up a brief menu with a button for switching to the galaxy map, and a button for displaying the minimap. This method of displaying the minimap differs from the existing button (T) in that the minimap will remain displayed until you click the Map button again, or hit T (or whatever you've bound that one to).
  • There are now separate sliders for the mouse wheel zoom speed and the keyboard zoom speed.
  • There is now a "MESSAGE LOG" button in the upper-right corner of the screen during the game, which goes straight to the messages tab of the stats window.
  • The planetary summary overlay in the galaxy map has gotten a bit of a visual revamp.
    • It is now tall and thin, rather than fat and wide.
    • The counts for the icons at the top are actually now legible.
  • Added a small helper window to the right of the global game-button window on the galaxy map, that displays the current galaxy-display and current galaxy-filter, clicking them allows you to change them.
  • Tachyon Guardians are now shown as icons on the intel summary for planets, as they are very relevant for scouting.
  • Added several features to the Reference tab of the Stats window:
    • Filter By "Scope" can be used to restrict the compared types to:
      • Ships in My Selection
      • My Ships On This Planet (empty if you have no scout intel)
      • Friendly Ships On This Planet (empty if you have no scout intel)
      • Hostile Ships On This Planet (empty if you have no scout intel)
      • My Ships (anywhere you have scout intel)
      • Friendly Ships (anywhere you have scout intel)
      • Hostile Ships (anywhere you have scout intel)
      • Ships I Can Build (default) (currently doesn't account for fabricators or advanced factory)
      • Ships I Can Build Or Unlock
    • Filter By "Category"
      • Noncombatants
      • Non-warhead Combatants (default)
      • Fleet Ships
      • Starships
      • Turrets
      • Warheads
    • The ship types now use TypeName instead of ShortName for description, and so are easier to identify.
    • Also, mousing over a ship name (either the select-dropdown or the first column of the grid) will display the buy-menu detail tooltip for that type.
    • Clicking one of the names in the first column of the grid will select it in the dropdown.
    • Scrollbar on the grid has been removed in favor of paging buttons, this is important for performance when the actual data set is very large.
    • In addition to the "View Reference" context menu item when you have ships selected, if they have a target-to-destroy there will be a "View Target Reference" item that will open the reference tab with the target selected in the dropdown. If there are multiple targets amongst the ship in your selection, it picks the first one it finds.
  • A new Tip of the Day feature is now on the main menu, providing player-provided randomized tips on each startup, which players can cycle through.
  • The game itself has been updated so that on first run on Windows it now prompts players if they want to run the importer or "begin fresh," and the importer can be launched via a button in the settings window for those players who will be playing the game via a distribution service that doesn't use our start menu shortcuts.
  • Added Mouse tab to the Input Bindings screen; it's just a static listing of controls and cannot be edited, but it is necessary for completeness.
  • By default, the screen no longer dims and the music no longer stops while paused. That option can still be unchecked in settings to go back to the old default if players wish.

Graphical Improvements

  • Updated icon for Heavy Beam Cannons to a new graphic donated by HitmanN.
  • The graphics for the Mercenary Space dock have been overhauled so that it now looks like an evil version of the regular space dock.
  • The borders of the far zoom icons have been made consistent between all the various screens, including the lobby and the intel summaries, and in general look a little less ragged.
  • The accuracy of drawing angled lines has been improved fairly substantially.
  • The following modules now use a new shot-movement mechanic to fire their multiple-shot bursts in a brief sequence rather than all at once, to give more of the desired visual effect (gameplay impact should be minimal) :
    • Riot machine gun modules now fire 12 shots per salvo with a reload time of 4 seconds, instead of 3-shot salvos with a 1-second reload.
    • Riot laser modules now fire 8 shots per salvo per 8 seconds instead of 4 shots per salvo per 4 seconds.
    • Hybrid machine gun modules (I-IV) changed from firing 2/3/4/5 shots per 1-second reload to 10/15/20/25 shots per 5-second reload.
    • Hybrid laser cannon modules (I-IV) changed from firing 1/2/2/3 shots per 4-second reload to 2/3/4/5 shots per 8-second reload.
  • A new and better-looking game HUD visual style is now in place. This new visual style is also intended to improve readability while also increasing performance.
    • The GUI for the game no longer uses bordered text -- this both aids in readability for some players, as well as improving performance, and with the higher-contrast window backgrounds this is more readable than ever.
    • All of the in-game fonts have been replaced and improved with prettier, sharper, more-legible fonts that also contribute better to the sci-fi theme and feel less spreadsheet-like.
  • The status text over most of the in-game ships (poor efficiency, exhausted, knowledge income, etc) now appear with a nice little bounding box that makes them look better and also easier to read. These boxes now conveniently disappear when moused-over, so that they are never in the way of what the player is trying to click on. When the Alt key is held, all of these also now disappear, which makes it even more convenient.
  • The galaxy map has seen a number of improvements.
    • The planet graphics in the galaxy map are now much-improved, and make use of shaders and rotation to make themselves look much more realistic.
    • The lines between the planets on the galaxy map also now use shaders and have a much more modern, realistic look to themselves.
    • The little row of ship icons below each planet has been removed from the galaxy map, as that was useless clutter that made the galaxy map harder to read and which most people didn't notice anyway.
  • Flares are now shown on top of player ships, rather than under them. This is a longstanding request from players who found them too hard to see when under ships. Holding the alt key now hides the flares, so you get the best of both worlds.
  • A completely new starfield generation algorithm is now used -- it looks a lot better, is incredibly more varied (not every planet has the same kind of starfield background), and has nice parallax depth to itself. It is way faster to draw than the old SlimDX style of starfields, which is another excellent bonus.
  • A completely new nebula generation algorithm is now used -- it also looks a lot better, and is way way faster to draw than the old SlimDX style of nebulae. The nebulae no longer have parallax scrolling, but the starfields themselves do a plenty fine job enough of that, and this overall effect looks better.
  • The way that the galaxy map in the lobby is drawn has been completely reworked to look better.
    • The "obstacles" (black holes, asteroid belts) are no longer shown at all, as they were distracting and just getting in the way of the relevant visuals, anyway -- they are still shown in-game, though, of course.
    • The scale and quality of the lines and graphics shown in the galaxy are now far superior to what they previously were, making them easier to read.
    • The galaxy map in the lobby now scales on both the X and Y axes individually, again to allow for the maximum visibility on varying scree resolutions.
  • Every last shot/weapon visual effect in the game has been completely redone in a much higher-res, fancier fashion.
  • The explosion visuals have been completely replaced and upgraded.
  • In recent releases, damage smoke had been unintentionally disabled. It has now been re-enabled, and has been notably upgraded to look a lot more realistic at the same time.
  • The shot hit effects have been revamped so that it is much easier to tell when a shot has hit (and it just looks cooler, too).
  • Shield blocks now have a much more distinctive visual look, so that it will hopefully be more obvious to players that something is actually happening out of the ordinary there.
  • All of the old "fuzzy line" effects have been replaced with much fancier and better-looking uv-animated special effects.
  • Beam weapon effects are now animated, and have a different color and animation per mark level (from 0 to V).
  • Improvements to angled line drawing accuracy.
  • A completely new way of drawing the savegames on the save and load pages is now in place. This new method is a lot easier to read, and is by-column instead of by-row. It also manages to show the last-modified date of each file in a very compact and attractive format, and allows quickly sorting by date with the press of a single button. The save and load have never looked so good.
  • Starship Constructors now have their own icon in far zoom, which a lot of people have been asking for for a while.
  • Recharge bars no longer show for ships that have fewer than 2 seconds total recharge, even if the recharge bars are turned on.
  • Ships no longer blink in far zoom when they are shot. The health bars are so efficient to draw now (and are now on by default) that this was no longer needed. And the blinking seems not to have been working for a while, anyway.
  • "Niche icons" have replaced all the older "niche text" instances on ship icons in far zoom.
  • Force fields have been updated with a new visual look that is very transparent except at the edges, which solves the issue of them stacking and looking opaque, as well as just plain looking better.
    • A huge thanks to I-KP for providing the base image that was used for this.
  • The effect that goes around individual ships under a force field now matches that of the force field itself, which looks incredibly better and also is tons more clear. No more mysterious green circles to denote this!
  • The visual look for non-attack ranges such as counter-shooting radii, etc, has been updated to look better.
  • Added "Reduce Visual Stimulation" toggle to the Graphics tab of the Settings window. Not intended for general use as it really cuts down the graphical quality by disabling many of the animations, but helps some players who are sensitive to strobing effects, etc. No guarantees that it disables everything it should; if you use this feature and find something that it should be disabling, please let us know.
  • The expansion logos are now drawn on the main menu in addition to the main game logo if the expansions are installed and enabled (full or trial mode).
  • The explosions and shots now render under the far zoom icons in far zoom, making it easier to see what's going on clearly in that strategic view.
  • Shots and explosions now won't shrink beyond a certain size in far zoom, which makes the battles a lot easier to see from very far zoomed out.

New Ships

  • Added a new "Home Human Settlement" unit that is only found on the starting human home planets.
    • One of the last free civilian cities, filled with living humans. They aid your cause by producing a moderate amount of metal and crystal, but the AI Progress will go up by 5 if the city is destroyed.
  • Added a new "Human Cryogenic Pod" unit that is only found on the starting human home planets.
    • Due to overcrowding in the last human cities, a good portion of the remaining human population has to remain in cryogenic sleep. After the war is over they can be brought back to life, but for the meantime they contribute to the war effort through the excess solar energy produced as a byproduct of their freeze chambers.
    • The AI Progress goes up by 1 if these are destroyed.
  • Added Flak Turrets: mkI, mkII, and mkIII. Graphics donated by HitmanN (with preliminary work and idea by superking, many thanks to both). The Flak Turrets have only received preliminary balancing, intended to be good against zenith viral shredders, cutlasses, and vampires, and mediocre against other very light ships, and only minorly effective against anything much bigger)
  • Two new units have been added: Fortress, and Fortress Mark II, which are scaled down (and cheaper) versions of the Fortress Mark III.
  • There are now three separate levels of basic AI command stations, same as the basic human command stations have three levels.
    • The AI command station variants have 5X more health than their human counterparts, and no longer have the human-specific abilities such as resource/energy production, warp detection, build menus, etc.
    • The AI command stations are now the only ones that cause AI Progress to increase. That was previously already the case (the AI Progress went up only when a command station controlled by the AI was destroyed), but now that these are two separate units the tooltips are substantially briefer and clearer.
    • Existing savegames and new games now use only AI command station variants for the AIs, as follows:
      • On the AI home planets, they use AI Core Command Stations (same as always).
      • On Mark I and II planets, they use AI Command Stations Mark I.
      • On Mark III planets, they use AI Command Stations Mark II.
      • On Mark IV planets, they use AI Command Stations Mark III.
  • Previously, there were only 4 types of command stations that could be built by players. Now there are 10, providing vastly more functionality and branches for varying strategies.
    • The previously-existing warp jammer command stations have not been touched.
    • The prior Mark I-III command stations have been renamed to Economic command stations, but their functionality is unchanged.
    • There are now Mark I-III Military command stations.
      • Military Command Stations provide very little in the way of economic gain, but have much more health and the ability to shoot at enemy ships.
    • There are now Mark I-III Logistical command stations.
      • Logistical Command Stations provide very little in the way of economic gain, and can't shoot at enemy ships, but they vastly increase the speed of all allied ships in the current system. They also have middling armor and a smallish force field.
    • Mark I of the Military, Economic, and Logistical command stations are all available at any time, and have no ship cap. Marks II and III have to be individually unlocked per branch, and each branch has a ship cap of 6 per mark II/III command station.
  • The old lightning warheads are now lightning warheads mark II. New lightning warheads mark I and III have been added. The lightning warhead mark I does much less damage but in a larger area, and for one less AI Progress point. The lightning warhead mark III does much more damage but in a much smaller area, and for only one more AI Progress point.
  • EMP warheads mark II and III have been added. For extra AI Progress points, they will paralyze enemy ships for longer intervals. The higher-mark EMPs are more AI-Progress-cost-effective than using multiple of the existing mark I EMPs.
  • In Zenith-Remnant-Enabled games, there are now Mercenary Beam Frigates.
  • There are new Mercenary Parasites and Mercenary EtherJets which allow for new strategic options in any game, but with the usual overly-high costs of mercenary ships.
  • Previously, there was only a mark I scout starship. Now new unlockable mark II, III, and IV scout starships have been added. Each has progressively better tachyon beams, health, and movement speed, as well as higher costs and progressively lower ship caps. The mark IV scout starships also are perma-cloaked like the regular mark IV scouts. The difference is that these scout starships can be unlocked at any time, unlike the regular scouts. But on the other hand, to unlock all the way through tech IV with regular scouts only requires 3,000 knowledge (and you get a single mark IV scout). In the case of the scout starships it requires 9,000 (and you get two mark IV scout starships).
    • These are in no way intended to replace the main scout line, but they do provide a new similar-but-different-in-the-specifics alternative for some circumstances (for one example among many: if there are no advanced factories remaining on the map, and you REALLY need a perma-cloaked scout). Unlike regular scouts, these are also useful for combat support because of their counter-sniper flares, tachyon beams, etc.
  • Previously, there were only mark I and II ion cannons. Now, mark III, IV, and V ion cannons have also been added. These new ion cannons can be purchased by humans from the trader for an exorbitant fee, and can be captured from the AI but apply significant wave multipliers against that planet. Like their lower-level cousins, they insta-kill all non-insta-kill-immune ships with a mark level equal to or lower than their own mark level. In the case of the mark V ion cannons, this basically means that the best way to take them out is starships.
    • These will be seeded into existing savegames, but the seed rules in general are as follows:
      • Mark III ion cannons are only ever seeded for AI players of difficulty 6 or higher, and at most with 1 per planet.
      • Mark IV ion cannons are only ever seeded for AI players of difficulty 7 or higher, and at most with 1 per planet.
      • Mark V ion cannons are only ever seeded for AI players of difficulty 8 or higher, and at most with 1 per planet.
      • Even though there can only be one ion cannon of each mark level per planet, you could indeed see situations where you have a mark III and a mark IV ion cannon both on the same planet. The likelihood of each mark level of ion cannon appearing is diminishing as the mark level increases. However, the likelihood of each is increased as the difficulty of the AI player is increased.
  • Mark II and III metal and crystal harvesters have been added as four new unlockable technologies.
    • The mark II technologies cost 2000 knowledge each, and the mark III technologies cost 2500 each. Combined, therefore, they equal the cost of unlocking mark II and mark III economic command stations, respectively. However, these can be unlocked piecemeal, or in addition to the economic command stations, which adds a lot of flexibility.
    • The gather rate of the mark I harvesters is 12 (same as before), and the new mark II gather rate is 13, and new mark III gather rate is 14. That might not sound like a big improvement, but when you have a lot of harvesters throughout the galaxy that can add up to a serious degree. When you don't have many harvesters, however, that's not all that worthwhile.
    • There is, however, a second benefit to these new harvesters: they cost the same to build as the regular harvesters, but they build significantly faster (2x as fast at mark II, 4x as fast at mark III). On highly-contested planets where harvesters are frequently getting killed, this makes these an attractive alternative to harvester exo-force-fields.
    • Command stations will automatically build the highest tier of harvester available, which is always desirable since the higher tiers of harvester don't cost any more than the lower-tier ones (aside from the knowledge cost to unlock them in the first place).
      • However, please note that the existing harvesters will NOT automatically be upgraded, as the destruction and reconstruction of them could tank your economy at a bad time. To upgrade all your harvesters, simply go to each planet, click the select all the harvesters from the planetary summary, and delete the old ones. New, higher-mark ones will appear in their place.
    • Please keep on the lookout for any odd behavior related to the new harvesters, as these were rather intensive to add to the game in a code sense. The chance of subtle bugs with these is pretty high, because a lot of various ships interact with them in a lot of various ways.
  • Transport Ships Mark II have been added:
    • These cost far more energy to operate, but they slowly heal all ships contained within themselves; Neinzul Younglings are healed faster.
  • New Mark II and Mark III Tachyon Warheads have been added in addition to the existing Mark I Tachyons. The new higher marks cost more AI Progress (and more metal and crystal), but have far more health (better for deep strikes), do more localized damage, and cause enemy ships to be decloaked for much longer.
  • New Mark I and Mark II Armored Warheads have been added in addition to the existing one, which was renamed to Mark III. The new lower marks have the same level or armoredness, but cost a lot less to build, cost only 10 or 15 AI Progress to use respectively instead of 20, but do less damage to a smaller area. When you can't get lightning warheads to a target that you're unable to kill any other way, these guys are the way to go, but they're definitely very costly and not to be used casually. The new lower marks at least provide some more flexibility when going after smaller groups of ships, or lower-health ships.
  • Nuclear warhead mark II has been added (costs 750k metal and crystal):
    • Causes a multi-planet nuclear explosion when destroyed by enemy forces or by scrapping. Destroys all resources and most ships on the planet on which it is set off and all adjacent planets. Does not affect core ships or starships. Also causes supply to be permanently lost for all teams at that planet, meaning you then cannot use science labs, docks, etc.
    • Be VERY careful not to detonate it on OR adjacent to a planet belonging to your team! AI Progress jumps upward by 500 every time a nuclear warhead is detonated, so this is something to be done with extreme care.
  • Nuclear warhead mark III (doomsday device) has been added (costs 7.5 million metal and crystal):
    • When this warhead is destroyed by enemy forces or by scrapping... the effect is nothing short of a galaxy-wide catastrophe that destroys all resources and most ships on EVERY planet. It still does not affect core ships or starships, but it causes supply to be lost for all teams on all planets.
    • You can still win the war after using a weapon of this magnitude, but be wary of the terrible cost! There is not much of a galaxy left to inhabit after an event such as this, and the AI Progress will jump upward by 5000. This chilling piece of hardware truly belongs amongst the weapons we wish we could disinvent.
  • 9 New types of Special AI-Homeworld Guard Posts that have to be destroyed before the home command station itself can be destroyed.
  • Five marks each (I-V) of nine new guard posts have been added to the game. These are specifically NOT for the AI homeworlds, but are now used in place of all of the previously-existing guard posts and stealth guard posts that used to be in the game (special forces guard posts have not been altered.
    • These new, specialized guard posts vary in rarity and effect just as do their counterparts on the AI homeworlds, but these have very little overlap in terms of specific function with the homeworld-specific guard posts. Also, with the exception of the "AI Command Station Shield Guard Post," none of these new guard posts protect the command stations from being destroyed.
    • The primary function of these specialized guard posts is to make the assaults on AI non-homeworld planets more interesting and varied. These first 45 new guard posts should be considered the first steps into this new design paradigm for guard posts, rather than the end-all designs. In other words, there is lots of room for growth in terms of variety and function with these, same as with the guard posts for the homeworlds.
    • The secondary function of these new guard posts is to raise the difficulty on the non-homeworld planets. Or, more specifically, to counteract the lowered difficulty that is also contained in this release in the form of the lowered AI per-planet ship caps. These guard posts now form the centerpieces of more varied sub-battlefields within the larger battlefields of each planetary area.
  • Dreadnought I/II/III renamed to Siege Starship I/II/III and given much more distinctive role:
    • Speed from 12 to 8.
    • Shields from 1500 to 200.
    • Base health from 300,000/600,000/900,000 to 1000,00/120,000/140,000.
    • Attack rate from 80/70/60 to 160 for all 3 marks (this means it used to fire once per 4/3.5/3 seconds, and now all fire once per 8 seconds).
    • No longer able to fire on fleet ships (this actually makes its autotargeting behavior much more efficient at its real job).
    • Base attack power from 3200/4800/6400 to 6400/11000/15000.
    • Engine damage per shot from 150/250/350 to 5000/7500/10000.
    • Multiplier against normal forcefields from 1 to 30.
    • Multiplier against starship-based forcefields from 1 to 15.
    • Multiplier against turrets from 1 to 30.
    • Multiplier against heavy defense from 21 to 30 (this includes fortresses, and 1/2 bonus against guard posts and 1/3 against ion cannons).
    • Multiplier against hybrid facilities from 1 to 10.
    • Multiplier against warheads from 0.2 to 1.
    • Removed multipliers against Fighter, Bulletproof-fighter, Microfighter, Zenith Autobombs, Zenith Bombardment, Raider, Teleport Raider, Teleport Battlestation, and Munitions Boosters.
    • Autotargeting now prefers starships (the 30x multiplier against them is still there).
    • Knowledge unlock cost from 2500/4000/6000 to 3000/5000/7000.
  • For CoN:
    • Starship Class: Neinzul Enclave Starships Mark I-IV.
    • Bonus Ship Type: Neinzul Youngling Commandos Mark I-V.
    • Bonus Ship Type: Neinzul Youngling Tigers Mark I-V.
    • Bonus Ship Type: Neinzul Youngling Weasel I-V.
    • Bonus Ship Type: Neinzul Youngling Vulture I-V.
    • Bonus Ship Type: Neinzul Youngling NanoswarmI-V.
    • Neinzul Regeneration Chamber.
      • Stationary structure with the capacity to contain 500 Neinzul Youngling ships inside itself. The player cannot manually load the regeneration chamber, but Neinzul Younglings will automatically seek shelter inside the Regeneration Chamber when their health drops below 30% if they have no other orders. While inside, Neinzul ships are regenerated at the inverse of their normal self-attrition rate, and then are automatically ejected when their health is fully restored.
    • Mercenary Neinzul Enclave Starships (mark I). That lets you always build Mark I ships anywhere if you're willing to pay 300k metal/crystal for one of these. Of course, a much cheaper alternative is to spend the knowledge to get some actual regular Enclave Starships from the main Starship Constructor.
    • Neinzul Cluster (I-V versions) AI defensive structure; also added Neinzul Cluster-Bomber AI type (moderate) that starts with a cluster on every one of its planets that isn't right next to a human homeworld.
    • Neinzul Privacy Cluster, a rare form of Cluster that emits tachyon beams and is antagonized by scouts as well as normal military (no other cluster is antagonized by a mere scout). This type of cluster is seeded on roughly 1 out of every 20 planets of a Neinzul Cluster Bomber AI.
    • Neinzul Nest (I-V) structures, which are like clusters except that they are also angered by the humans controlling their planet or an adjacent planet, or killing AI units on their planet or an adjacent planet. They also have a greater capacity than normal clusters. They also differ from clusters in that they have no attack of their own but can take vastly more damage and cost 10 AIP if destroyed instead of 2.
    • Neinzul Viral Swarmer (only one mark) and Neinzul Viral Cluster I-V (which is a cluster that only has the swarmers), and Neinzul Viral Enthusiast (which has viral clusters on every wormhole).
    • Neinzul Bomber (only one mark) and Neinzul Bomber Cluster I-V (which is a cluster that only has the bombers), and extended the Neinzul Cluster-Bomber to pick Bomber Clusters half the time and normal Clusters half the time during initial map generation.
    • Neinzul Silo (I-V) structures. When a Silo's planet is on alert, it periodically generates minor-faction-controlled warheads that will target human planets and cost no AIP when used (since the human is not using them).
  • 50 new types of Guardians have been added to the game (5 each of 10 different overall types): Sniper, Spider, Tractor, Tachyon, Lightning, Flak, Artillery, Heavy Beamm, Laser and Raider. As with the guard posts, the variety of types of guardians will grow with time.
  • A new AI Eye unit is now seeded throughout the galaxy. Raider-type aggressive AIs use fewer of these, turtle-type AIs have one on pretty much every planet.
    • AI Eyes are a direct feed back to the AI core network: when player ships gang up on the AI overwhelmingly, alarms are tripped and higher-level AI ships come pouring out of the Eye. Either kill the eye first, before bringing in your gigantic fleet, or just do guerrilla-style raids on planets with an Eye. Specifically, the AI Eyes make sure that your ships only ever outnumber the AI ships 2:1.
  • A new AI Carrier unit has been added to the game:
    • Built by the AI to contain offline overflow units from its planets when it has too many units to keep online, and to then deliver those units as a payload to key human planets. Each carrier contains 200-1200 ships that will come active when the carrier is destroyed. After a single barracks is built at a planet, the AI builds carriers instead.

Ship Logic Updates

  • Previously there was just a single "engineering rate" for ships that could assist construction or do repairs. Now there are separate repair rates and construction rates for engineers.
    • This lets them do construction at the same rate as always, while doing repairs much faster than in the past, which in turn makes them more viable once again as an alternative to Mobile Repair Stations.
    • This also makes a clearer delineation on not allowing Mobile Repair Stations to assist the construction of units.
  • Snipers and sniper/spider turrets now use a new Railgun ammo type that strikes its target instantly, leaving a faint white line flashing in its wake as it does so. This fixes the issues with overkill and wasting incoming sniper shots, as well as simultaneously making it easier to see where sniper shots are originating from.
  • EMP Warheads and Tachyon Warheads all now do a small, localized amount of area damage when they explode, in the manner of a lightning warhead but with a much smaller area of effect and level of damage. This gives an added bonus to the use of these warheads, just to sweeten the deal a bit.
  • "Mines" have now become "minefields." The following changes now apply to all mines, including regular, EMP, and Area mines.
    • The max health of mines is now 8x higher, as is their regen rate.
    • The metal and crystal costs of mines are now 6x higher.
    • The ship caps on mines are now 4x lower.
    • Minefields are now 16x larger than the older mines used to be (256x256 instead of 64x64).
    • The damage dealt by an individual minefield is now 3x what it was before, and is now shown in the tooltip.
    • Minefields now take 3x longer to build.
  • These changes will affect existing savegames, but human players may still have a large number of mines in play that will suddenly look all overlapped and be way above the ship cap for the player. Once these mines are exploded, they won't rebuild if the player would be over ship cap. It's a bit of an advantage to mine-loving players who upgrade older savegames; the mines can simply be scrapped to counteract this.
  • Individual ships are now only able to hit any minefield once per second. So, for example, if Ship A hits minefield 1, and if it survives that hit, it then has 1 second of immunity to pass by minefields 1, 2, 3, etc. If it moves so slowly that it is still touching minefield 1 after a second has passed (and minefield 1 and Ship A are both still alive), then Ship A will hit minefield 1 again. This would also happen if a ship was tractored or paralyzed on top of a minefield -- it would keep getting hit once per second until either the minefield or the ship was exhausted.
    • This is PER SHIP only. So if Ship A hits minefield 1 and gains immunity, that doesn't matter for Ships B or C, which could also hit minefield 1 on that exact same instant.
    • This also does not apply to area effects. So if Ship A hits minefield 1, and minefield one does area damage or paralysis to Ships B, C, and D, then B, C, and D still can hit minefield 1 or other minefields. In fact, Ship B could collide with minefield one, damaging itself and doing area damage to Ships A, C, and D.
  • Mines are no longer all-or-nothing damage, now that they are minefields. If their damage would overkill the ship that hits them, they now only deal the actual damage that would kill the triggering ship. This in turn reduces the amount of damage taken by the minefield itself, and if there is an area damage effect, it also reduces how much area damage is taken by the other nearby enemy ships.
  • Previously, there was a constant rate of engine repair, which meant that ships with high engine health would take a REALLY long time to have their engines repaired. Now the rate of engine repair scales up so that ships with high engine health don't take extra time any longer. The base rate of engine repair has been halved, though.
    • Additionally, the repair speed bonuses of higher-level engineers now also apply to engine repair, whereas before they did not.
  • The recharge rate of ships is no longer affected by fast & dangerous or blitz combat styles.
  • The way that ships that have a failed shot that disappears (because of a dead target/overkill) get a "freebie" has been updated so that they always do, rather than only if their shot was fired in the last second.
  • The paralysis penalty for after teleporting ships move is now a bit more severe, but is capped at 5 seconds. People had complained a bit about the balance with them, and this was something I'd been meaning to do for a while.
  • The internal mechanics of cloaking, recharge, tachyon, emps, and paralysis have all been altered significantly in a way that is now performance-profile-indepdendent, as well as requiring less processing overhead in general.
  • An entirely new method of doing ship repairs is now in place. The old method was uneven, and would often result in too-high costs for some ships and too-low costs for others. Now the cost of repairing ships is simply 1/4th the metal and crystal it costs to build them, over a span of a half as long as it took to build them in the first place.
    • Note that this is prorated by how much the ship is actually damaged. Assuming that a ship was damaged down to basically zero hitpoints (not possible without it exploding), the above costs would be true. Assuming that a ship is less than fully damaged, it will cost only the percent time/damage to repair equivalent to that. So, a ship that is half-dead would take only 1/8th the metal and crystal that it would have taken to build it, and one quarter the time it would have taken to build it.
  • An entirely new method of doing ship construction costs is now in place behind the scenes. The actual effect on gameplay is hopefully going to be minimal (unless we introduced bugs with it), but it's a lot more efficient and is performance-profile agnostic, and fixes a number of prior bugs.
  • Regeneration, attrition, and self-attrition are now dealt out in per-second bursts, rather than as a continual stream.
  • Though the overall ship caps have been reduced by about half in the normal cases, the ability for players to get lots of higher-level ships has never been better (and the challenge posed by higher-level AI waves has also never been higher):
    • The ship caps on mark III ships (for humans only) are now about 114% of their prior values.
    • The ship caps on mark IV ships (for humans only) are now about 280% of their prior values.
    • The ship caps on mark V ships (for humans only) are now about 330% of their prior values.
    • The size of mark II waves of ships (for AIs only) are now about 112% of their prior values.
    • The size of mark III waves of ships (for AIs only) are now about 133% of their prior values.
    • The size of mark IV waves of ships (for AIs only) are now about 175% of their prior values.
    • The size of mark V waves of ships (for AIs only) are now about 171% of their prior values.
  • The base move speed of teleporting ships is no longer 1, but instead is 10. Thus they aren't quite so painful to use in situations where their teleporting ability gets stripped away (such as with gravity drills).
  • Electric shuttles are now a lot more effective about not getting right on top of their targets.
  • Players are now limited to a pair of mark I, II, and III cloaker starships. However, the unlock costs for the mark II and III cloaker starships have been dropped from 3000 and 5000, respectively, to 1000 each.
  • Ships are now all constructed twice as fast for players, in all combat styles, game speeds, etc. Now docks actually have some utility without engineers, and it takes fewer engineers to make them really do what one would want in terms of time-to-build.
  • All of the move speeds in the game have been increased by a linear 10. The main effect of this is to make the slowest ships not seems SO slow, but in general it still increases the speed of everything by a slight bit so that it's not too sluggish.
    • This does affect Epic/4X, Normal, and Blitz combat styles. For normal this is actually an increase of 20, and for Blitz it's an increase of 40.
  • Space tugs have been removed from the game, as they have always been fiddly and problematic, as well as a moderate micromanagement need.
    • The Mobile Repair Stations now have 5x more health, 2X the repair boost rate, and 2X the move speed. They are definitely now the pinnacle of battlefield repair support, but without the fiddly-ness.
  • The old "Shields" mechanic (not to be confused with force fields) has been removed.
    • Previously, this caused ships to have a reduced chance of hitting targets depending on their range. Now shots always have a 100% chance of hitting if the ship is in range (which simplifies the use of range circles greatly, and also reduces the need for ships to close range).
    • This also removes the random element from attacks, which is a positive thing for a strategy game of this style.
  • A new Armor Rating reduces the power of all shots by its value, but not below 5% of the incoming shot.
  • The old "Attack Min Range" that was preventing snipers from firing if a target was too close (and causing them to back up if they could) has been removed.
  • A new "Retreat Range" has been added for mobile snipers (in other words, not sniper turrets) as well as Raptors, sentinel frigates, and zenith bombards. This causes those ships to try to keep a certain distance between themselves and the enemy they are firing at, thus preserving themselves.
  • A new "Hull" field is now shown by the Armor field. The Hull and Armor fields don't have any impact on one another.
    • The Hull type is one of the following: Scout, Light, Medium, Heavy, Artillery, Neutron, Swarmer, Ulra-Light, Close-Combat, Command-Grade, Refractive, Composite, Turret, Ultra-Heavy, Structural, or Polycrystal.
  • The old system of ship type bonuses has been removed, replaced by simpler (and fewer) bonuses against hull types, instead. This is a lot easier to keep track of for everything, and while it does represent a simplification that we'd been reluctant to make in the past, the other recent added complexities make this a welcome change.
    • As a side effect of this, the balance of ALL ships has been altered quite heavily. With all the other recent changes, that was inevitable anyway, so we thought it was a good time to also slip this in, while we were rebalancing anyway.
  • Cluster bonuses and penalties to attacks have been removed. This affects autocannon minipods, fortresses, zenith electric bombers, sentinel frigates, and microparasites. These ships have all be rebalanced significantly to account for the removal of these abilities.
    • These abilities were ones that were just not all that fun, and were a bit fiddly, and which didn't add anything much to strategy. Hence their being pruned.
  • The behavior of certain "planetary roamer" AI ships, mainly starships but also melee ships and a few others, has been overhauled. The planetary roamer status is now not a permanent condition, and means that the AI can use the starships in a more intelligent offensive-oriented fashion.
  • Astro Trains moved from optional-ship-category to AI Plot. This plot is automatically enabled for Train Master AIs (it is no longer possible to start a new game against a Train Master without trains; we may add a "Vanilla" AI Type later on to fill that role).
  • Self-building units with either a metal-cost-per-second over 1100 or a crystal-cost-per-second over 1100 will no longer be auto-assisted during construction (but you can manually order units to assist).
  • Ships being unloaded from a transport now must go through the full reloading process before they can fire. This is not normally a big deal but does make it harder to insta-gib stuff with Sieges unloaded from a transport.

Balance Updates

  • Orbital Command Station upgrades now provide more metal/crystal income, in order to make those upgrades more worthwhile. If you consider that an individual harvester produces 12 of metal or crystal, and if you consider how many harvesters can be built on most planets versus how much knowledge is required to get the command station upgrades, the upgrades were previously of lesser value than they should have been.
    • Mark II now provides 40 of each instead of 28 of each.
    • Mark III now provides 64 of each instead of 40 of each.
    • For the sake of comparison, the Mark I still produces 16 of each, and the Home command station still produces 80 of each.
  • Science Lab, Science Lab Mk II,and Advanced Research Station can no longer gather knowledge from AI-held planets.
  • Added Stationary Science Lab (Mk III) that can gather knowledge from AI-held planets, but costs nearly 4x as much as a MkII lab and normal construction takes half an hour.
    • Also, it doubles the reinforcements of the AI at that planet, and enrages all of their ships so that they'll attack the lab. You really need a solid beachhead and a lot of incentive (or to have neutered the planet already) to do a knowledge raid now.
  • Science Lab Mk II move speed from 16 to 20, knowledge gather rate from 2 to 3.
  • The amount of available knowledge per planet has been increased from 2,000 to 3,000 to account for the influx of all the cool new technologies that people are able to play with. This also rebalances the game a bit in light of recent difficulty increases, and further marginalizes the need for knowledge raiding on any sort of regular basis.
  • Transports are now such a core part of the game that they are something to always unlock. Thus that was simply a penalty of 1000 knowledge that always had to be incurred. Transports no longer have to be unlocked.
  • Mobile Repair Stations are far more powerful than they once were; their knowledge cost has been increased from 2,000 to 4,000. Their metal and crystal costs have also been tripled, to 18,000 and 9,000, respectively. Their health has also been reduced from 390k to 300k. This encourages players to not lose them, and keep them near but not right on top of the front lines, which thus makes them not so overpowered.
  • The knowledge costs of engineer drones mark II and III have now been reduced by 1,000 each.
  • Mobile builders now use 100 energy instead of 1500. Cleanup Drones now use 25 energy instead of 150, and Remains Rebuilders now use 25 energy instead of 1500. Engineer drones now use 1000, 500, and 250 energy for marks I-III instead of 4000, 2000, and 1000. The experimental engineer now uses 4000 energy instead of 12000.
    • These changes all make it more effective to keep a larger fleet of the various sorts of engineers around, whereas before there was too much incentive to need to micro them when energy was low.
  • The energy cost of the missile silo from 40k to 10k.
  • The energy cost of all the starship lines has been doubled, except for the raid and leech starship lines.
  • The attack power of the fortress has been halved, but the number of shots it gets has been quadrupled.
  • The number of shots that the superfortress gets has been doubled.
  • The knowledge cost of unlocking the flagship has been reduced from 2000 to 1000.
  • The knowledge cost of unlocking the spire starship has been increased from 4000 to 6000.
  • The knowledge cost of unlocking the Mark I dreadnought has been increased from 1000 to 1500.
  • The knowledge cost of unlocking the Riot Control Starships have been increased from 1500, 2250, and 3250 for Marks I-III to 2500, 3500, a 4500.
  • The knowledge costs of Tractor Beam II and III turrets have been increased from 1000 and 2000 respectively to 2000 and 4000.
  • The knowledge costs of Gravitational Turrets III and III have been reduced from 4000 and 6000 to 3000 and 4000.
  • The knowledge costs of Laser Turret II and III have been increased from 2000 and 3000 to 2500 and 3500.
  • The knowledge costs of MLRS Turrets II and III have been reduced from 2500 and 3500 to 2000 and 3000.
  • The knowledge cost of the Counter-Missile Turret has been increased from 2250 to 4000. The effective range of counter-missile turrets has been increased from 1400 to 6000.
  • The effective range of Counter-Dark-Matter Turrets has been increased from 1400 to 8000, and the effective range of Counter-Sniper Turrets has been increased from 1400 to 4000.
  • The metal/crystal costs of all the Counter turrets has been quadrupled, and the energy use of them has all been doubled.
  • The health of Mark II Leech Starships has been increased from 160k to 320k, and the health of Mark III Leech Starships has been increased from 160k to 480k.
  • The following munitions boosting range changes have been made:
    • Light Starship from 900 to 3000.
    • Flagship from 1100 to 4000.
    • Zenith Starship from 1200 to 5000.
    • Spire Starship from 1400 to 6000.
    • Core Starship from 1600 to 8000.
    • Mark I Munitions Boosters from 1200 to 5000.
    • Mark II Munitions Boosters from 1400 to 6000.
    • Mark III Munitions Boosters from 1600 to 7000.
    • Mark IV Munitions Boosters from 1800 to 8000.
  • The munitions boosters are only able to boost a certain number of ships based on the "circular area" of those ships compared to the range of the munitions booster. By increasing the ranges so much, that would therefore have made munitions boosters vastly more powerful.
    • Instead, the circular area that is actually allowed has now been divided by 6.
    • This actually weakens the lower-end munitions boosters by a bit (in terms of how many ships they can boost), but at the same time their vastly increased range makes it so that (such) precision placement of them is no longer needed for the optimal effect on a fleet, and the highest-tier munitions boosters are actually stronger than they were before.
    • The overall effect is thus to make these far easier to use effectively, and to create more of a power gradation between the lower-tier ones and the higher-tier ones.
  • The following shield boosting range changes have been made:
    • Mark I Shield Boosters from 600 to 3000.
    • Mark II Shield Boosters from 800 to 4000.
    • Mark III Shield Boosters from 1000 to 5000.
    • Mark IV Shield Boosters from 1200 to 6000.
  • Previously, armor boosters (previously shield boosters) did not have any limits on how many units they could boost; they were simply limited by their incredibly small boosting ranges. Now they follow a "circular area" limitation that is exactly like that of the munitions boosters.
  • Attrition Emitters can no longer be paused, and now only use 10k energy instead of 18k.
  • The energy use of Zenith Electric Bombers has been reduced from 10k to 1k (except for the Core variant, which is now 2k).
  • Cloaker Starships also now provide both counter-sniper and counter-dark-matter protection, in addition to their cloaking duties.
  • Scouts and Cloaker Starships now have a much-increased cloaking booster range. This does not affect how many other ships these units can boost, however, as there was already a finite cap on that.
  • Ships in transports now still cost the normal energy they would cost outside the transport.
    • Previously, transports could be used to too great of effect in terms of minimizing energy needs simply by loading ships into them.
  • The SuperFortress has been buffed again, and the Fortress line has been tweaked in general. Fortresses now have very long range, longer than any non-sniper turrets or units, but a bit weaker attack on average than before.
  • The existing Fortress is now renamed to Fortress Mark III, and has had its stats (and costs) increased somewhat.
  • The Cursed Golem can no longer drop below 1 health from self-attrition.
  • The health of booster trains and regenerator trains have both now been reduced 10x, to 20 million instead of 200 million. The regular astro trains still have 200 million health, while turret trains still have only around 10 million health.
    • Turret Trains are now autotargeted by player ships like any other ships would be.
    • The three types of Turret Trains have now had their attack increased by a linear 1000 points.
  • Warheads, Fortresses, Golems, Starships, and Mark V ships now all no longer absorb EMPs, but now only are immune to them instead.
  • Golems have been majorly rebalanced, to create a new strategic landscape for them -- they have long been the most underused units in the game.
    • There is no longer and AI Progress cost associated with golems in any way, from repairing them or otherwise.
    • Golems now have significantly higher repair costs after being initially repaired to be operational.
    • Golems now require supply, which means that they are useless for long-range raiding.
      • This encourages a (sort of) new school of strategic thought relating to adjacency to keep the golems relevant on offense. Certainly no other units emphasize this to the same degree, anyway.
    • Golems now require proximity to AI warp gates in order to function -- they have to be within one hop of an AI warp gate in order to attack, etc.
      • This prevents players from using golems to play "goalie" on their home plants, which could have created impossible-to-lose scenarios for players.
      • Thematically speaking, this is related to the golems being reliant on exo-galaxy signals echoing from the ancient Zenith civilization. These signals are normally not able to be picked up at all, but AI warp gates cause them to be amplified to the point where they are faintly available.
    • The cumulative effect of these changes is that golems are no longer such a strategic risk, and they provide some new excitement on the front lines, but are not useful at deep defense or on long-range raiding.
  • Acid Sprayers have been completely rebalanced.
    • They have 10x more base damage, and 10x less bonus against Zenith ships.
    • They now have 50% of Zenith bonuses against starships and resources, 40% of Zenith bonuses against engineers, and 25% of Zenith bonuses against turrets.
    • They now have 10x lower shields.
  • The ship cap of sniper turrets has been doubled, and their cost has been halved.
    • The cost of spider turrets has also been halved, but the cap of spider turrets is the same.
    • These changes don't affect the AI, but make the sniper turrets more useful for human players.
  • The Avenger no longer repairs nearby ships.
  • Sniper attack values have been increased 10x, and their reload speed has also been increased 10x. This makes them more of a "volley" type of unit, good at dealing a lot of damage right when ships enter their field of view, but then taking quite some time before they can do it again (about 60 seconds of reload in most cases).
    • The above applies to both snipers-the-unit and sniper turrets.
  • Scouts are now immune to sniper shots.
  • For a long time, shots have sped up to 10 more than the speed of the target they are chasing if the target they were chasing is faster than them. However, now shots speed up to 40 more than the speed of the target if 40 more than the speed of the target is greater than the speed of the shot. This makes it a bit more possible for slower shots to hit faster targets, hopefully without making it too overpowering of a change.
  • Ion Cannons, Orbital Mass Drivers, Counter-Spies, and Core Warhead Interceptors all now have only 120,000 attack range. This covers pretty much all of a planet anyway, but is no longer so large as to be considered a sniper shot. Thus, ships with immunity to sniper shots are no longer immune to these weapons.
  • All of the fabricators now use only 0 energy instead of 10000.
  • The ship cap of lightning warheads has been reduced from 8 to 6.
  • The ship cap of EMP warheads has been reduced from 4 to 2.
  • The Mercenary Space Dock now costs 0 energy to use (this is a mercenary outpost, after all), but the players are now limited to having two of them.
  • All tractor-beam generating units are now immune to paralysis.
  • Gravitation turrets no longer have any effect if out of supply.
  • Regenerator golems now no longer regenerate ships if they are in low-power mode or are out of supply.
  • Previously, any ships of radius 256 or higher would not be translocatable. That only applied to things like golems and superfortresses, really. Now any ships of radius 120 or higher are not translocatable, so that applies to many starships, all the regular fortresses, etc.
  • The ship cap on mark I force field generators has been increased from 5 to 9.
  • Flagships, zenith starships, and spire starships have all been made more 1000 knowledge more expensive.
  • Mark II fleet ships now only cost 2,500 knowledge to unlock instead of 3,000 knowledge.
  • Mark III/IV fleet ships now cost 5,000 knowledge to unlock instead of 4,000 knowledge.
  • The ships that the Zenith Trader will build for the AI has been updated to give better weighting to the ships based on their level of power, and to include the new, more-powerful ion cannons at a fairly low likelihood.
  • The speed of the energy bombs fired by resistance fighter/bombers, neinzul bombers, and zenith bombards have all been doubled.
  • The health of light starships, flagships, zenith starships, and spire starships have all now been doubled.
  • The metal and crystal cost of nuclear warheads has been increased from 50k each to 75k each.
  • Previously, no ships had any attack bonuses against ion cannons. Now bombers and similar (anything with bonuses against "heavy defense" structures) has 1/3 their normal "heavy defense" bonus against ion cannons. This makes especially the higher-level ion cannons not quite so fearsome in the hands of the AI, as well as not so permanent-bottlenecking in the hands of the players.
  • The recently-added mark III, IV, and V ion cannons can now be captured by players on planet ownership change. However, they increase the size of incoming enemy waves to that planet by x4, x6, and x10, respectively. These are definitely not something to capture on border planets without first killing all the adjacent warp gates!
    • The recently-added mark III, IV, and V ion cannons can also now be purchased from the Zenith Trader, but they are ridiculously expensive in metal and crystal.
  • Tachyon Warheads now have a ship cap of 2 per player rather than 4 per player.
  • Riot Starships are now immune to blades, which is thematically fitting for them and also makes them not so incredibly prey to vampires.
  • Transports, frigates, scout starships, raid starships, and riot starships are now immune to area damage. This significantly increases their usefulness in situations against things such as grenade launchers, lightning turrets and lightning warheads, and a few other upcoming nasties.
  • Core Warhead Interceptors can now be captured by taking over the planet the interceptor is on (now that warheads could be incoming from the AI, this makes sense, but previously it did not).
  • Attrition emitters, human cryogenic pods, planetary cloakers, counter spies, omega drives, rebelling human colonies, captive human settlements, home human settlements, AI troop accelerators, advanced research stations, and datacenters are all now immune to Dark Matter weapons. This protects them from astro trains, munitions boosters, and a few other similar things.
  • Scouts with cloaking boosters no longer will ever boost ships with a mark level lower than their ship level. Thus the in multi-level scout groups, the lower-level scouts will support the higher-level scouts, thus maximizing the chance of overall survival within the group.
  • Border aggression now only kicks in when there is Threat + Attack of less than 4,000, to avoid latency based on extreme amounts of border aggression on top of waves, etc.
  • Grenade Launcher shots can now only damage a finite number of ships within their explosion radius (like the Flak Turret), specifically 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16 for the mark I, II, III, IV, and V versions respectively. The actual attack power of these shots has been increased by 50%, in hopes of maintaining the danger of the unit while removing the previous problem of them being capable of exterminating nearly infinite quantities of enemy ships (particularly when AI worlds could accumulate over 1000 core grenade launchers).
  • The reinforcement penalties on all of the golems have been massively reduced, making them significantly more powerful.
  • The max starships that a starfleet commander can have are now 1/3 per planet what it was previously, hopefully making this AI type more reasonable.
  • Starships and warheads now build 3x faster than before, or basically an equivalent rate to space dock units.
  • AI planets now get fewer slots added to their ship cap per command station and guard post (it was 250, but now it is 150). Their overall max ship cap is also now lower (1000 per AI player, rather than 2500 per AI player), and on home and core AI planets it is a little higher but still lower overall (1300 now instead of 2500). These changes are logical given the huge new guard post strengths on the home and core planets (and the new ones coming for regular plants), making it now more about those large structures and less about the huge groups of smaller fleets grouping it out; though of course when the AI attacks the human players, you still get that same dynamic as always. Without changing the game TOO much, this really lets us save on sim/graphics performance as well as making the offensive actions less of a grindy.
  • AI planets now get only about 2/3 of the reinforcements per reinforcement wave that they used to. This avoids having all the planets hitting ship cap (and thus running border aggression constantly, etc). Between this and the above change, this should cut down on the occasional grindyness somewhat, and make sure that the sim speed doesn't have as much risk of dropping in battles.
  • The infiltrator bonuses have been nerfed about 10x, especially against heavy defense units, as mid-sized groups of infiltrators could kill them in mere seconds.
  • Electric shuttle shot-stagger-time increased from 12 cycles to 22, but now tracked separately for mark I, II, III, and IV. There is now a significant advantage from stacking different mark levels of electric shuttles together, rather than the previous penalty due to lack of control over which marks fired when the stagger was over.
  • Lightning turrets now use shot-stagger-time too, 12 cycles and tracked separately by mark I, II, and III (and entirely separately from electric shuttles).
  • Wormhole guard posts now have 20 million health instead of 2 billion, which means that they can be killed after being stunned via an EMP, but they take a lot of firepower to do so.
  • Special Forces Guard Posts now have 4 million health instead of 400k. Their attack range has been reduced from 1500 to 1000.
  • Made engineers, cleanup drones, and rebuilders blind.
  • Bonuses against heavy defense now give a bonus against Avengers too.
  • Metal and Crystal Harvesters no longer require energy to operate -- they produce enough energy for themselves directly.
  • When AI ships in old savegames are converted to a new type (such as all the guard posts), those now start out at full health rather than whatever their health was previously.
  • The engineering range on mobile repair stations has been increased from 15,000 to 20,000.
  • Engineers (including mine layers and cleanup drones) no longer have teleportation. However, they do all now move at speed 100 and they have vastly larger enginering ranges. They also no longer automatically move toward targets to heal (they just heal what's in their considerable range). All in all, this makes engineers vastly easier to control; something that was a learning issue for new players in the past, and an annoyance for experienced players.
  • Remains can no longer be gifted.
  • Fortresses now have infinite engine health, as they are unable to have their engines repaired.
  • Fortresses now only take 2 hours to fully repair themselves from nearly-dead, rather than 3. SuperFortresses now take 3 hours to repair themselves from nearly-dead instead of 5.
  • Siege starships can now hit one type of fleet ship: the Force-Field Bearer. Hard.
  • The various minor faction Neinzul ships are now all immune to reclamation.
  • The mark I and II engineer energy costs have been reduced from 1000, 500 to 250, 200. This makes it far easier to keep a large standing fleet of them on various planets now that they aren't teleporting.
  • The mark III and Experimental engineers are now once again teleporting, for players who really love that feature. The metal/crystal costs of the mark III engineers have been increased somewhat to compensate, however (about a 50% increase).
  • All mercenary ships (except the Mercenary Enclave Starship) are now equivalent to MkIV ships (instead of MkII). They cost 10x the metal and crystal of their normal MkIV counterparts.
  • EMP Mines now paralyze their targets for 10 seconds instead of 3.
  • Riot control tazers now paralyze their targets for a full second instead of half a second.
  • The zenith paralyzers i, ii, iii, iv, v now paralyze their targets for 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 seconds at a time, rather than the older 0.2, 0.4, 0.8, 1.8, 3.2 that they previously did.
  • The recharge rate of snipers and sniper turrets has been decreased from 60 seconds to 30 seconds.
  • The recharge rate of spider turrets has been increased from 7.5 seconds to 15 seconds, but their attack power and engine damage have both been doubled.
  • The recharge times of the flak turrets and heavy beam cannons have been nerfed a bit for the lower levels, and are a tad better for the higher levels now.
  • The recharge time for some of the melee ships is now worse, as there is no smaller than a 1 second delay between attacks now.
  • Various ships that had partial-second recharge times (3.5 seconds, 9.8 seconds, etc) now have been rounded to either one second or the other (not always to the nearest second -- some subtle balance tweaks here).
  • The way that mining golems work has been revamped fairly substantially. Rather than coming in from way out in deep space (where it is difficult for players to even get to), and then exploding when they reach the planet center, they now just appear somewhere in the planetary gravity well and explode after 90 minutes of existence.
  • Turrets have all had their costs, health, and attack powers have all been increased 3x.
    • MLRS turrets have also had their number of shots increased 3x.
    • Missile turrets have also had their range increased 3x (although that range no longer goes up with higher marks of them).
    • Tractor beam turrets are each now able to tractor 3x as many ships as before.
    • The attack range of laser turrets has also been cut in half.
    • The attack power of spider and sniper turrets has only been doubled, but their firing rate has increased 3x.
    • These changes exclude heavy beam cannons, counter-anything turrets, gravitational turrets, and lightning turrets.
    • It has been observed that players almost always tend to build turrets only in multiples of 3, if not more. This means that, if that's the lowest granularity of management really needed, that turrets are requiring more than 3x to 18x the cpu processing power during large battles compared to what they could be using. Plus it's harder to keep track of 18 things compared to 3 things, and in cases where it doesn't make a strategic difference that's undesirable. Hence this change.
  • The attack bonuses of the various types of turrets (except flak turrets) have been doubled, making them a bit more specialized and also definitely more powerful against their bonus types.
    • Missile turrets have also been weakened against those kinds of ships they are particularly poor against (fighters, raiders, that sort of thing).
    • Laser turrets have basically had all their bonuses completely redone, too.
    • These changes exclude heavy beam cannons, counter-anything turrets, gravitational turrets, tractor beams, and lightning turrets.
  • Snipers mark I-IV now all have 1/5th the ship cap they used to relative to other ships, and cost 5x as much, but now also do 5x as much damage and have 5x as much health. Even better, they also fire 5x faster than before, which makes them considerably more dangerous.
  • Zenith Paralyzers now fire way less frequently, but paralyze their targets for far longer.
  • The resource cap for players has been increased from 600,000 to 999,999 in light of some of the recent economic and gameplay changes.
  • The amount of resources gathered by mark I, II, III harvesters is now 20, 28, and 36 instead of 12, 12, and 16. The research costs of mark II, III harvesters has gone up to 3000, 4000 from 2000, 2500.
    • The overall intent of this change is to make the capture of resource-rich planets even more worthwhile. Also, to make there less of an imperative to HAVE to get the economic upgrades in multiplayer in particular. Let's keep things moving, not so much waiting around!
  • Orbital command stations are no longer free in metal and crystal to build. This makes sense, and solves the issue of not being able to build new command stations.
  • Home Command Stations now generate 300/s metal and crystal rather than 80/s. The home cores now generate 320, 340, and 360, rather than 100, 120, and 140.
  • Economic/military/logistical I, II, III command stations now generate 32/16/24, 80/32/48, 160/64/96 rather than 16/4/4, 40/10/10, 64/20/10. This is a significant boost to both the military and logistical command stations, and an overall boost to the player economy. These boosts are intended to keep the game moving, and players able to replenish their stores of ships that they lose in battle with the more-heavily-armed AI opposition.
  • Mercenary ships previously were completely uncapped, but this led to some particualrly undesirable situations. Now they have a cap that is 3x larger than the base cap of their ship cap (but, now that these are mark IV ships, they are a fundamentally different sort of unit, anyway).
  • Anti-Starship arachnids now fire twice as fast and have twice as high of shields. They also now have half as much a bonus against starships, but twice as much attack power in general.
  • Ion cannons are no longer able to shoot at warheads in general (before it was just their high mark level that was preventing it).
  • Shield Boosters have become Armor Boosters, and can increase the Armor Rating of a ship up to 200%. A ship can only have it's armor boosted by one ship at a time.
  • Shield Inhibitors are now Armor Inhibitors, and remove all the Armor Rating from all enemy ships at the planet.
  • Zenith Polarizers now get a bonus based on enemy Armor Rating, since Shields are gone.
  • Radar Jammers now halve the effective range of all ships on their planet.
  • "Immunity To Beam Weapons" is now separate from "Immunity To AOE".
    • The following AOE-immune units are no longer immune to beam weapons:
      • Missile Frigates
      • Transports
      • Raid Starships
      • Riot Starships
    • The following AOE-immune units are also immune to beam weapons:
      • Scouts
      • Scout Starships
      • Cleanup Drones
      • Non-forcefield-generating modules
  • The various turret lines are now far more specialized in what sort of ships they best counter, which makes the use of them a lot more interesting. This is also something players have been asking for for a while.
  • Fabricators (the capturable specialized factories) now cost 0 energy to run (instead of 5000), to make them a more straightforward "I want this" for the player, since they already have to balance the benefits against the costs of actually taking the planet.
  • Short-range turrets no longer have any crystal cost, and now have doubled metal costs. MLRS turrets now have had their metal and crystal costs swapped (making them more expensive on metal than crystal, now).
  • Orbital mass drivers are now able to attack guardians.
  • Engineer drone health has been increased 10x, as has mobile builder health. Cleanup and rebuilder health was already at or above these levels.
  • Engineer drones, cleanup drones, rebuilders, and mobile builders all now cost 0 energy to operate. When the player energy availability is in shambles, it's no fun not being able to build engineers to help the new reactors along.
  • Bomber starships no longer have multiple shots. They also now have 200x higher base attack power, and no bonuses against any hull types. They also no longer deal any engine damage, and have higher engine health. Their reload speed has been halved. They are simply ultra-strong raw-damage units against any target, but with a slow reload speed.
  • Siege Starships also now have no bonuses against any other ship types, but now have 3x overall stronger attack. This solves the problem of them not being strong against starships in recent releases.
  • Human players are now allowed to build mark I-III bomber starships. The Bomber Starship Fabricator is now the Bomber Starship Mark IV Fabricator. AI players will also now use all these starships, too.
  • The following starships no longer require technology unlocks, and are available to the players right at the start: Bomber I, Leech I, Raid I, Siege I. The goal here is to make starships clearly more central to the game, with players having a starting selection of these as well as fleet ships, so that they can make more informed decisions when deciding what to upgrade.
  • Similarly, the following turrets no longer require technology unlocks, and are available to the players right at the start: Laser Turret I, Missile Turret I, Lightning Turret I, Flak Turret I. The goal here being that players start out with more of a varied arsenal, and can experiment with various turret types without having to gamble knowledge that they might not want to spend. The idea being that then players will be able to get more familiarity with turrets in general, and can then make more informed decisions.
  • Missile Turret II and II now costs an extra 1000 knowledge each, and Flak Turrets II and III now cost an extra 750 each.
  • Previously, there was a 5x health boost being applied to a lot of various types of ships, but now it only applies to the fleet ships built at the space dock. This makes things a lot less confusing for us internally, and brings the starship health down substantially (they were extremely overpowered until recently).
  • The energy required for tractor beam turrets and gravitational turrets was excessive, and has been reduced by 10x.
  • Space Docks, Starship Constructors, Missile Silos, Mercenary Docks, and Advanced Factories all now take 1,000 energy to run. This is a 10x reduction for most of them, but it brings mercenary docks up from 0.
  • Home human settlements and human cryogenic pods are now both immune to blade attacks.
  • There is a new "Player Home" force field generator that is now seeded with the player starting position. It has a size equal to those "Core" force fields that the AI uses on their home planets, but the strength is only that of a mark I human force field generator. This gives a bigger protection radius, but no more protection-time-when-under-attack than in the past.
    • Once this force field is lost, you'll have to build from your standard pool of force fields, as these can't be rebuilt.
  • Wormhole guard posts are no longer perma-cloaked, and now have a small, token attack like the passive guard posts. These can now be seen and attacked if you wish, although they have 400 million health, so in MOST cases that's a colossal waste of time. But in an event where you have a ton of firepower and the desire to clear a wormhole without clearing the planet, you can do so.
    • Having these visible also helps to reduce confusion about spawned guardians for things like turtles, where there are multiple wormhole guard posts instead of just one.
  • The way that the health scales up for the higher-level vampires was previously far out of balance. Those have been nerfed back down to reasonable levels.
  • No ships in the game now have a damage bonus of more than 50x against any hull type; this keeps things a little more sane, with things not being QUITE such hard counters, though of course it's still significant.
    • Armor ships now have 10x higher attack, and 10x lower attack bonuses.
    • Acid Sprayers now have 4x higher attack, and 4x lower attack bonuses.
    • Resistance fighter/bombers, resistance frigates, and anti-armor ships now have 2x higher attack, and 2x lower attack bonuses.
    • The AI Arachnid Guard Posts are now unable to hit smaller craft (like the siege starships cannot), but their range has been increased and their base firepower has been increased massively. All of their hull-specific bonuses are now gone.
  • Anti-Starship arachnids no longer have any bonuses against any type of hulls, and now have 4x higher base attack. They were one-shotting light starships before.
  • Players now get two mark II scouts at the start, rather than just one, and now get more manufactories of each type.
  • The health for all fleet ships is now 40% higher. The intent here is to make them a little sturdier, and that's hard to do when their base health is just so low.
  • The counter-missle, counter-sniper, and counter-dark-matter turrets no longer require supply.
  • Player ships now move 2x as fast as enemy ships, rather than 1.4x as fast.
  • The health of captive human settlements, home human settlements, and human cryogenic pods, has all been increased 10x.
  • The bonuses for the armor ship have been shifted around such that they are now just generally great against small, light craft in addition to turrets, command stations, and structural stuff.
  • Core Warhead Interceptors are no longer destroyed with the AI command station. This means that they can actually be captured now.
  • Ion Cannon reload times now scale with the unit cap, so they still fire every 2 seconds on High, 4 seconds on Normal, and 8 seconds on Low. This is to maintain relative balance against fleet ships. This means that they are now less effective at stopping scout swarms on Normal and Low (since scout caps don't scale), but we do not anticipate many complaints from that.
  • Zenith Polarizer damage is now multiplied by the square root of the target's armor rating instead of by the target's armor rating. Base damage increased by 12x.
  • The ranges of the human tractor beam turrets have been significantly increased.
  • Previously, black hole machines had an infinite ship cap, but they now have a ship cap of 2.
  • The following Zenith Trader costs have changed in light of the new (more powerful) player economy:
    • Black Hole Machines are now 4x more expensive.
    • Ion Cannons Mark I and II are now 4x more expensive.
    • Higher-mark Ion Cannons are now 2x more expensive.
    • Counter Spies are now 4x more expensive.
    • Super Fortresses are now 4x more expensive.
    • Orbital Mass Drivers are now 6x more expensive.
    • Zenith Power Generators are now 3x more expensive.
    • Planetary Armor Boosters and Inhibitors are now 6x more expensive.
    • Radar Jammers I and II are now 5x more expensive.
  • Zenith Power Generators now produce 400k energy instead of 200k, owing to their increased cost. They also now have a 4x wave bonus, rather than a 2x bonus.
  • The ship cap of transports has been dropped from 60 to 20, but transports now only cost 1/5th the former amount of energy.
  • The health of scouts is now 7x lower; they were overpowered, lately.
  • The AI Progress costs of the Zenith Reserves have all been about cut in half.
  • The AI Progress cost of the Distribution nodes has been reduced from 2 to 1. Also, the possible and minimum amounts that they give out have both been been doubled. And, in the case of a trojan node, the amount that they take away has been halved.
  • On non-friendly planets, speed boosters now can no longer increase speed to more than 2x of the original value. They can still boost stuff up to near-light-speed on planets controlled by the same team.
  • Vampire claws no longer have armor, to make them not quite as hard to kill. It's still necessary to use the right counter (laser turrets are good, check the reference tab), but now swarms of fighters can bring them down too, in a pinch.
  • Sentinel Frigates are now immune to insta-kill.
  • Harvester Exo-Shield regeneration increased so that self-healing from nearly dead to full takes 30 seconds, instead of 2 hours.
  • The artillery golem no longer self-damages as it attacks. It has vastly less health, though, and now only fires half as often.
  • The armored golem is no longer self-damaging as it attacks, but also has vastly less health -- but vastly more armor.
  • The botnet golem is no longer self-damaging, but now has a lot less health and far lowered move speed.
  • Lightning Turrets now have extremely high armor piercing ability, as well as a hefty bonus against refractive hulls.

Misc Changes

  • Extended "warp in the clowns" cheat to take 2 additional parameters (separated by commas), the first is a case-insensitive ForegroundObjectType name, the second is the base wave size (which is multiplied up down and sideways, but allows relative control).
  • Added support for use of "any" as the second parameter of the spawn-immediate-wave cheat, so "warp in the clowns,any,1" will send in a wave of any, but will use the 1 size modifier instead of whatever the AI Progress would dictate at the time. Note that the impact of the size parameter is very different in the "any" case than if you specify an actual ship type; generally it results in much larger numbers (so you probably want to start with using "1" as the size parameter, and work up from there).
  • MkIV scout now no longer evades after exiting a wormhole.
  • added parametrized version of knowledge cheat: "Give Me K,x" (where x is an integer >= -50000 and <= 50000) changes using player's knowledge by x.
  • added parametrized version of ai progress cheat: "Get Angry,x" (where x is an integer >= -2000 and <= 2000) changes AIP by x.
  • A new, Unity-friendly way of handling version numbers has been implemented.
  • Only a very few ships (a couple of Golems) had differing metal and crystal repair costs. These have been adjusted so that metal and crystal costs are always the same, and the tooltip is now more concise with simply specifying the repair rate as something that is always applying equally to metal and crystal.
  • There is a new internal format for storing player data inside savegames, which makes it easier to find issues and desyncs relating to player data.
  • Immobile AI ships that were at a planet the last time the planet was scouted are now visible through the fog of war (as in many other RTS games).
  • The game now randomly selects from all the possible title music tracks (from the base game and any installed expansions) when deciding which title music track to use.
  • Warhead silos and starship constructors were seeded onto enemy planets as a capturable for human players to take over in the past, mainly so that players would be sure to eventually discover these constructors if the players were not diligent in exploring the build menus. However, now that these constructors are seeded at the start, this is no longer needed, and it was sometimes confusing to players anyway (some thought that the silos or starship constructors would be used against them, which was not the case). These will no longer be seeded into new games on AI planets.
  • PermaMines have been removed from the game, as the game has evolved to a point where they just didn't make sense any longer (free transports is a big part of that, plus the permamines just involved too much micro in general). PermaMines have been changed into regular mines.
  • Added 24 achievements. 1 for the base game (win a game with the Avenger plot enabled), and 23 for CoN.
  • Human-controlled attrition emitters now do not damage AI-held units that cause AI progress on death (like distribution nodes and zenith reserves).
  • Cloaker starships now prefer to cloak ships with transport capacity or buy menus over other ships. However, this preference will not let it "kick out" an ship already chosen by the starship for cloaking in order to "make room" for a transport (or whatever) that has just come into range.
  • The AI will no longer use the following ships as homogenous waves:
    • Forcefield Bearers
    • Munitions Boosters
    • Zenith Autobombs
    • Shield Boosters
    • Youngling Nanoswarms
    • Zenith Paralyzers
  • Astro trains in general (including turret trains), and also astro train stations, are now a lower priority for player ships to auto-attack. This will help somewhat with ships getting distracted by turret trains, but if ships are already latched on and firing on it, it may still be 5-10 seconds before they decide to shoot at something else, so this may not have as large an effect as some might prefer.
  • The settings screen will never prompt players to restart the game now (previously it did on resolution changes and on expansions being enabled/disabled). Yay!
  • It is no longer possible to manually select a starfield type in the game settings -- a completely new starfield generation algorithm is now used.
  • Same as with the starfields, it is no longer possible to select styles of nebulae, as they are now handled differently and better. Also, nebulae detail levels can no longer be set in the game settings, but nebula can now be turned off via a toggle if desired.
  • The option "Scale Game On Large Monitors (Keeps game objects the same relative size on larger and smaller monitors, but may cause lowered overall quality)" has been removed, as it no longer applies on the new platform (it looked awful on the old platform, anyway).
  • The "Disable Very Far Zoom" option has been removed from settings. It's long-since been clear that nobody in their right mind would want to do that.
  • The "Disable Cleartype" option has been removed from settings because it also has no meaning on the Unity platform (text comes from prerendered textures, never from the OS, now).
  • The "Default Frame Skip" option has been removed (as has the "frame skip" feature in general), because Unity 3D manages the render-vs-sim framerate automatically (and does a much better job of it, we might add).
  • The "Extra Tooltip Font Size" option has been removed, as fonts can't be dynamically resized in the same way on Unity 3D the way we're using the fonts. BUT, because the game now supports true fullscreen, that shouldn't ever be a need any more, anyway -- this feature was added for a few players so that they could compensate for the text looking too small when viewed at their overlarge desktop resolution.
  • The settings option "Use Simple Render For Far Zoom Icons (Slower, But Prevents Invisible Icons On Some Graphics Card Drivers)" has been removed, as with the new Unity 3D system there is no risk of the invisible icons -- again, yay. Now it's definitely always nice and fast for everyone, and there's one fewer confusing settings options.
  • The "Always Show Selected Units Hover Text" settings option has been removed, as the new Selected Ships window has replaced the entire older way of handling selected ships (and this new way is much better).
  • The "Combine Planetary Summary Icon Colors" and "Hide Planetary Summary Icon Counts" settings options have been removed, as the planetary summary has been revised substantially enough that these sorts of options really don't have any solid purpose any longer (and we're really making an effort to weed out settings options of that sort, so that the useful ones are easier for players to look at and find).
  • The settings options "Disable Blending of Shot/Explosion Effects" and "Use Simple Shot Effects" have been removed from the settings screen, as these were performance-boosting settings that no longer are needed with the new special effects rendering methods now employed by the game.
  • The "Disable Explosion Debris/Embers" option has been removed, as the debris/ember emission has been taken out of the engine in favor of more complex base explosion effects (the end result looks better and runs more efficiently).
  • The "Show Window Toolbar" settings option has been removed, as unfortunately that's not something we can control in Unity.
  • New settings options have been added that make it possible to set the windowed resolution to anything, or to set the fullscreen resolution to a list of general resolutions, and to toggle which one is presently active. Basically, the identical setup to Tidalis.
  • The Unit Relative strengths is no longer compiled into the game itself, but is now in a UnitRelative.dat file that is in the RuntimeData folder. This lets players update the relativestrengths file if they are so inclined (sometimes it takes us a while to do it).
  • Previously, the game only ran in a "faux fullscreen" mode that was the size of the player's desktop resolution. For many that worked very well, but for some that made the fonts unusably small. Now, thanks to Unity 3D, the game supports both true fullscreen as well as windowed mode.
    • Unfortunately this means the loss of the "faux fullscreen" mode, which we're sorry to see go, but that is not yet something Unity 3D supports.
    • The game also now supports resizing (and changing between fullscreen and windowed modes) in realtime. Previously, the game had to be restarted whenever sizing changes were made.
  • A brand new Tidalis-style in-game updater is now included. This beats the pants off any updaters we used in the past in terms of speed, efficiency, and overall flow.
  • The screenshots function (F12) was previously unable to function on some computers. It should now work for everyone.
  • The screenshot function, plus any external video recording software (FRAPS, XFire, etc) previously would not pick up the menus in the game because of their GDI+ nature. Now this works with all of them.
    • Also previously, externally-inserted overlays like the Steam interface and XFire had to have special support (as in the case of Steam) to avoid conflicts between the overlay and our GDI+ menus. Now that is no longer a consideration either, it all works as you'd expect.
  • Our installer is now much better. The old versions used MSI packages, which are clunky and extraordinarily slow. It helps that we now have no prerequisites for the game, but the installer is miles better even discounting that.
  • The update checker now uses the main Arcen site, rather than Amazon S3, as we have the bandwidth to spare for that sort of simple thing and it will no longer cost us anything.
  • The update checker also now is substantially more flexible in terms of being able to download update files from any other server (as specified in the update file), rather than only from a server compiled into the game itself. This uses a tad more bandwidth for update checks, but the added flexibility is well worth it.
  • The old version of the "AI War Pre-4.0 Settings Importer" did not work because it was in a folder with a file called AIWar.exe in it. Based on how .NET looks for file assemblies, that was causing it to look at the wrong file for trying to bind. Now the importer has been updated to run instead from inside the RuntimeData folder of the game install folder, which bypasses this issue.
  • The tutorials window has had some changes: the link to the videos page, and the link to the community wiki, have both been removed. A direct link to the "Fast Facts: A Crash Course On AI War" has been added.
  • A number of refinements have been made to the tutorial playback engine (scrolling messages, clickable messages, etc).
  • All of the tutorials in the game have been revised fairly substantially.
  • The DebugMustAuthCyclesIncrement (F4) and DebugAuthCycles (F5) key bindings have been removed, as the ability to make the game simulation run slower (and the addition of the debug log) make this pretty unneccessary now.
  • The debug-related keybindings for F6, F9, and F10 have all been removed.
  • The toggle score display (F2) option has been removed, as the score is no longer shown directly on the screen at all times.
  • The main score now shown in the scores panel of the stats window is the adjusted score (which is what is mainly used on scoreboards). The raw score is now also still shown -- this was the old score that is shown in-game -- but it is given a lower priority.
  • The score benefit from using mercenary ships has now been slashed 10x.
  • When there are multiple available title music tracks, as is the case when players have an expansion installed, the game will now pick randomly between those songs and play them at the title menu and lobby. That way it's not always the same track just looping instantly, and all the title music tracks can still be enjoyed when you've got the expansions.
  • Removed the Galaxy Display for starship constructors, since they are already counted in the All Constructors display.
  • It is now possible to see the screen/viewport sizes in the F3 debug menu.
  • AI planets with most units in cold storage and no human presence generally only process every other sim cycle (but double the movement, etc); this looks odd when viewing such a planet via complete-visibility, and now that the game actually syncs some of the local-interface data for each human player across the network, we have changed this so that an AI planet currently being viewed by a human player will never use the every-other-cycle model.
  • Ship damaged smoke and embers have been removed.
  • Player Home Command Stations are now considered mark V.
  • Advanced Research Stations are now considered Mark V ships.
  • Warheads are now actually marks I-III rather than all being mark V.
  • The AI force fields versus the human force fields are no longer colored differently. The reason for that has long since passed, and consistency is now more important.
  • The ships included in the Strong/Weak data export now exclude starships, turrets, command stations, guard posts, golems, heavy defenses, astro trains, and anything that is not classified as "extended mobile military."
    • This is because, for balance purposes, these various ships can't be quantified in a useful way by this export. So it saves signficant time creating the export to ignore them. In this specific release, for example, it cuts the number of pairings of ships down from 11,902 down to 4,877. Additionally, it's saving some of the slowest pairings, which is even better.
  • The "excel xml" files that were previously being exported often had problems being read in many programs, including Excel 2007. They were using an older Excel 2003 format that was not widely supported, and that was not even working for the Arcen staff any longer. The game has now been updated to export true .xls files in the BIFF8 format, which is supported by pretty much every spreadsheet program since Excel 97.
    • Special thanks to the awesome open source excellibrary component for this, which we're using a stripped-down version of for this.
  • Previously, Mark V ships were sometimes called Core ships, and sometimes called Mark V ships. Some of the ships even had different names at the core level: Core Predator, Core Leech, etc. All of these have now been made consistent, using the Mark V nomenclature. There are still some references to "Core" in the game, but that's meant as "on or adjacent to the AI home planet," rather than "Mark V." That distinction was always there, but muddied by the fact that mark V ships were also more generally called "Core." This should hopefully avoid some confusion in the future.
  • Now if there is any threat within the first 60 seconds of a new game, those threatening ships are instead added to special forces. This catches any overflow from the start of a game, just in case.
  • Moved F3-Debug part of ship-mouseover-tooltip to the next-to-cursor tooltip box, since there wasn't room for it in the main tooltip-window anyway.
  • If a guard post has more than two guardians assigned to it, it will automatically prune down to two guardians. This is a safety measure just in case something happens with the normal logic for making sure that guardians don't get too plentiful per-guard-post.
    • Note that there is a single "freebie" tachyon guardian at every AI-controlled wormhole that is not guarding any of the guard posts, and which therefore doesn't count.
  • Added some "defensive programming" to prevent crashes due to occasional problems loading sound files on OSX.
  • The old "Snap Cursor To Window" game setting has been removed, as there is no way to do this in Unity.
  • By default, LeftShift and RightShift are now treated as the same key (same with LeftAlt/RightAlt and LeftCtrl/RightCtrl). There is a new toggle on the interface tab of the settings screen to make the game treat those two separately.
  • There is also a new toggle on the interface tab of the settings screen to suppress the normal "multi-building-while-holding-shift" behavior that happens when, for example, placing tractor turrets by holding down the left-mouse-button and shift. The default behavior is the same as it's always been, but with this toggle you can use shift solely for the purpose of "do not clear the item out of my cursor when I place one".
  • The number of available sound effects at any one given has been chopped in half, to avoid a crash issue on some OSX machines. It shouldn't really affect playback even in large battles, as there was already a different kind of limiter, but it should prevent the crash.
  • The pause text at the top of the screen now shows up in the same position on the galaxy map that it does on the planetary view. It also now moves out of the way when you move your mouse cursor there.
  • The armor booster tooltip has been updated to be more clear, saying 3X instead of 200% (they are actually equivalent).
  • Autosave is now enabled for tutorials.
  • The license keys entry textboxes now automatically strip out extra whitespace and newlines, making it easier to cut-and-paste into them from various external sources.
  • Previously the loca-strings for the GalaxyDisplay and GalaxyDisplayFilter items included a description of which keys to press to trigger them. Since the keybindings are now dynamic those were no longer necessarily accurate and have been removed. In the future we can have them display the actually-currently-bound key like some of the other context menus but that will require some refactoring of those particular menus that will have to wait until post-4.0.
  • The way that sound effects are pooled has been adjusted downward once again, to keep the amount of disk access and sound over-bleeding to a minimum. This makes the battles sound a little less chaotic, which is another plus, and hopefully it will help (or fix) the remaining OSX crash. This is a mild boost to performance on both platforms, incidentally.
  • The "this key has been held down for x seconds" display no longer shows when the hud has been disabled (for those scenic views).
  • The description of the Harvester Exo-Force-Field has been made more brief.
  • The Harvester Exo-Force-Field has been renamed to Harvester Exo-Shield, its original name, since there's no longer a reason to differentiate between force fields and shields. Also, Force Field Bearers are now back to being called Shield Bearers, for the same reason.
  • Music is now paused during multi-step processes (GameInit, StartGameFromLobby, and LoadGame) to avoid skipping, and since the music track changes from the title screen to in-game anyway.
  • The pdf game manual has been updated and revised.
  • The tutorials are all now played on Normal speed rather than the former Epic. This prevents the ship movement, etc, from feeling sluggish, and doesn't really make the game feel any more difficult since the AI ships almost never take the initiative here, anyway. Better first impression, and all that.
  • The intermediate tutorial in particular has been hugely revamped (even moreso than the other three, which saw huge updates):
    • It now introduces the CTRLS screen, including rebuilders and engineer FRD automation.
    • It now covers using starships as a key part of every offensive, as well as the benefits of scout starships.
    • It now includes a LOT more offensive/defensive tips that players really ought to know when playing for real.
    • The tutorial now includes a much more natural difficulty progression, so that players won't feel so lost when starting their first real post-tutorial campaign without the hand-holding.
    • It now includes tips for a better economy, as well.
    • Knowledge Raiding is no longer included in this tutorial, as it's now quite secondary.
    • It covers getting surprised by the enemy, and instructing the player to pause to have time to react.
    • It also now skips the part on ion smashing, as the other parts of the tutorial are now more interesting and basically cover that, making this a lot less interesting.
    • The intermediate tutorial is also now six steps shorter than before, although a lot of the existing steps are more robust and interesting than before. It should take about the same amount of time to complete as before.

Bugfixes

  • Fixed a couple of potential desyncs.
  • Difficulties 8, 9, and 10 were supposed to be getting 1 extra wave per difficulty level, but were only getting 1 extra wave overall. This was a longstanding bug, and was a big contributor to why waves seemed undersized in difficulties 9 and 10 compared to other parts of the game. Fixed.
  • Fixed hang bug that happened when generating a 120-planet spokes (or potentially tree) map with some seeds. In those cases it will now fail to place all 120 planets, but not by much, and the game won't hang.
  • Fixed bug where the local player could not place a construction using an ally's builder if the local player had exhasuted the ship cap of that unit (even if the ally still had ship cap left).
  • Fixed two internal overflow exceptions that previously could potentially have caused desyncs.
    • Both of these also lead to some small speed boost, especially for games that are already running very fast.
  • Fixed an overflow exception when ships with more than 2 billion combined health were selected together.
  • Fixed a couple of potential overflow exceptions related to focus firing (these may have contributed to desyncs in prior versions).
  • Fixed arithmetic overflow relating to the devourer golem's auto-target logic.
  • Some of the internal calculations for how ships wait at wormholes have been reworked, in hopes of making them never get accidentally stuck in cold storage or stuck just waiting permanently at a wormhole.
    • For super-high AI Progress games there was a check in particular that was causing issues here.
    • Freed AI ships are now vastly more effective at traveling between their own planets in fluid groups now.
  • Fixed bug where crystal harvesters were not properly auto-rebuilding if there were no _metal_ harvest points eligible for auto-rebuilding.
  • Previously engine-damage-focused units would not sustain fire properly on engine-dead targets if there were only engine-dead targets left. Fixed so that they should keep firing in that case.
  • Fixed a bug where the predicted path of ships on the galaxy map (shown when hovering the mouse over another planet) was different from the path actually executed by issuing a move order via right-clicking the target planet.
  • Fixed some potential desyncs for cases where a player played a game, quit it without quitting the application, and joined a multiplayer game.
  • Fixed a bug in game-loading code that was confusing the values of CloakingPartialCount and CloakingRechargeCount.
  • Fixed an obscure crash bug relating to ship movement.
  • Fixed an overflow error in the adjusted score calculations which sometimes was resulting in players with invalid reported scores.
    • Note: in the process, this also makes some subtle changes to how adjusted scores are calculated, but the effects should be minor overall.
  • Fixed a very longstanding subtle bug (from the 2.0 days) with net energy fluctuating when ships are passing through wormholes. This was extremely tough to track down, and in the end we completely rewrote the net energy handling to fix it.
  • Black hole machines will no longer appear on planets with dyson spheres, as this was causing a huge build-up of non-decaying dyson gatlings that didn't want to destroy the black hole machine (since that would cause AI progress, etc) and were thus more dangerous than intended when "freed".
  • The human-controlled Command Station Home Cores, and the AI-controlled Core Command Station, did not have their internal mark levels correctly set. Fixed.
  • Fixed a bug where using Manage Players to open a new Active slot with blank name or name of "???" and then having someone join in that slot would lead to an immediate desync.
  • Cloaking starships now check for ships to cloak after loading and before the first sim cycle, to prevent embarrassing moments when you park in the wrong lot.
  • Units now check for protections (e.g. forcefields) and supply after loading and before the first simulation cycle, to prevent some of the significant combat differences when reloading in the middle of a fight.
  • Dyson Gatlings are now immune to black hole machines. Removed the logic added in previous version that removes black hole machines from planets with a dyson sphere (as this could be disconcerting to the joker who builds one via Zenith Trader and sees it disappear when loading the game).
  • Fixed a major and subtle desync based on floating-point precision. A bit of floating point math recently slipped into part of the simulation based on some of the changes to our FInt struct, and this may have been the cause of the elusive desyncs that a tiny minority of players have been recently seeing. This fix may also have some minor performance improvement implications.
  • Fixed a bug that was causing engineers to bunch up on ships in an ineffectual manner.
  • Fixed bug where heavy beam cannons could shoot at astro trains but would never actually hit them.
  • Previously, "experimental" ships could not get into transports. Fixed.
  • The attrition rate of transports is now shown via an ability in their tooltip list of abilities.
  • Fixed a bug that was causing the wrong tooltip to be displayed when in ship-placement mode.
  • Fixed a longstanding bug with the Zombie reclamation ability (botnet golem) that was causing ships it reclaimed as zombies to come in at half health at most.
  • Fixed a longstanding bug that was causing all player planets to be treated as out of supply right upon loading the game. This was causing force fields to blink off for a second right after load, as well as tractor beams to lose the ships they were holding for an instant, etc.
  • Fixed a desync relating to loading multiplayer savegames with AI ships caught in player tractor beams.
  • Shots and explosions are no longer visible through the fog of war.
  • Fixed a rare overflow exception with wormhole guard posts being repaired.
  • Fixed arithmetic overflow exception crash that could occur if the AI tried to launch a wave against a planet with an inordinately high total wave multiplier (multiple golems and zenith-power-generators, etc).
  • Fixed bug where fully repaired but not activated Golems (not activated because you don't have enough energy) would revert to 25% health after save and load.
  • Fixed typo in the Zenith Starship description.
  • Fixed bug where ai tech level was not always properly recalculated when setting the negative AIP offset (like when loading the game).
  • Fixed a bug where a CPA could quietly not happen at a specific AI tech level and difficulty level.
  • Fixed bug where units approaching an enemy strong forcefield from the left would pass through and wind up on the right side (and sometimes stop in the middle). The forcefield still stopped their shots, but it was disconcerting.
  • Previously loading a game where the total AI Progress was over a tech threshold but combined with the negative modifier would be under the tech threshold would result in it acting like it was above the threshold. Fixed to properly factor the negative modifier.
  • Previously, the addition of new expansions that a player did not have enabled in the lobby at a given time would still affect the seeding of the ship types placed on the possible starting planets in the lobby. This has been changed so that new expansions won't affect the random seeding in this fashion when they are turned off.
    • This may change the seeded values for some prior maps that were incorrect if players had only the base game and not the first expansion, for example.
  • Previously, not all cloaked ships were guaranteed to be turned off when cloaking was disabled, though most were. The code for this has been changed around a lot now to make it more automatic that all cloaking ship classes are definitely turned off when the lobby option for that is selected. Same goes for things such as tractor beams, etc.
  • Fixed a bug where Zenith SpaceTime Manipulators previously did not have a proper metal/crystal/energy cost set.
  • Previously, both eyebots and commandos were being selected like scouts because they have the scout ability. Now they are instead selected like regular mobile military ships.
  • Fixed bug where ship caps would display in the lobby as if there were always 8 human homeworlds. Changed to display the cap according to the actual selected number of homeworlds (or 1, if none selected) and to multiply the result by the number of homeworlds currently selected by the local player (or 1, if none selected). This may still result in some misleading cases, but may be the best that can be done for now.
  • Fixed bug where Zenith Autobomb could aoe-damage secondary targets that normally are not auto-targeted (because they cause AIP on death, or whatever). Will still damage the target if directly targeted at it. Also did a sweep to ensure this behavior for other forms of aoe.
  • Added missing -100% value to handicap dropdown.
  • Fixed obsolete Munitions Booster tooltip.
  • Fixed bug where loading a game with inbound schizo waves would display the wave alerts like a non-schizo wave.
  • Units out of supply (that require supply) will no longer try to attack, chase, etc.
  • Fixed bug where the Zenith Trader's buy menu would display "X of Y in service" numbers for one of the AI players instead of the local player.
  • Gifting multiple units at once now combines into one game command, preventing hangs when gifting rather large amounts of units at once.
  • Fixed ambiguity in unexplored planets option description.
  • Fixed a bug that was causing move orders of thousands of ships to take more processing time than necessary.
  • Previously it was possible to attempt to save a game with an invalid filename ("CON" is not a valid windows filename, it is a reserved device name), fixed to disallow this and to give the user a clear error message as to why.
  • Previously it was possible in rare cases for the CPA-like Waves option to result in the AI wave ships being spawned way, way, waaaaay out in the middle of nowhere. Added some preventative measures to wave positioning to ensure a certain minimal sanity of the initial position.
  • Previously it was possible to add an item to a production queue that was not allowed by the technology of the constructor's owner (by multi-selecting that constructor with constructors owned by a player that did have the technology), fixed to check tech prereqs for each builder in the multi-select case.
  • Previously, transport ships mistakenly had an infinite ship cap when they were supposed to be limited to a ship cap of 60 per player. Fixed.
  • Previously there was a bug that would cause units in cold storage not to be affected by nuclear explosions. Fixed.
  • Previously teleporting units (like engineers) were completely immune to speed boosting, even if their teleportation was shut down by a grav drill or a game option. They are now no longer "officially" immune to speed boosting, but act as such unless their teleportation is somehow shut down.
  • Fixed bug where holding control could let you see the location of exo-galaxy wormholes on planets you had not scouted yet.
  • Fixed longstanding bug that was causing inordinately high threat counts to stay forever and ever, because the AI considered the Dyson Sphere a constant high-level threat and thus thousands of special forces ships would collect and gawk at it in lieu of actually shooting (since the Dyson is invincible).
  • Fixed inaccuracy in science station description.
  • Fixed bug where mines were not regenerating health if all enemies left the planet before they had a chance to regen.
  • Fixed bug where minor faction ships wouldn't run any "what next?" logic if no enemies were in the system.
  • Fixed a bug where AI ships in cold storage on a planet with a planetary cloaker would not be treated as cloaked.
  • Fixed a bug where minor faction ships (like dyson gatlings) would sit around on a planet because some cloaked enemy units were present, despite the fact that said minor faction units could do absolutely nothing about said cloaked enemy units.
  • Scout starships are no longer counted in the "EnemyStarships" group, which prevents them from very easily making AI planets go on-alert.
  • Fixed bug where Heavy Beam Cannons were still firing at ships immune to area-of-effect damage (like Missile Frigates, which recently were made immune-to-aoe).
  • Fixed bug that would make the estimated build time be wrong for a self-building unit that was being assisted by higher-than-mark-I engineers, due to the multipliers on those higher mark assistants.
  • Fixed bug where Alarm Posts would not trigger when being killed, instead of having a 50% chance to trigger as they should.
  • Transports are now always subject to the gradual-unload rule when on a hostile planet (they can still bulk-unload on a friendly planet or a neutral planet that is in-supply).
  • Transports can no longer be scrapped on a hostile planet (they can still be scrapped on a friendly or neutral planet).
  • MkII Transports gradual unload rate increased from 10/second to 20/second (mkI is still 10/second).
  • Fixed some longstanding ants-in-the-pants issues with AI melee and autobomb units (frequent switching between destinations).
  • Fixed bug where tractoring an AI Ship and then killing it while there was an AI regenerator (like a regen train) on the planet would cause it to properly respawn on an adjacent planet but then be snapped back to the original planet due to tractor (and often way out of range at that point). Now will properly break the tractor first.
  • Fixed a bug where the spent metal/crystal in the Economy Stats tab was often being over-reported. This won't fix existing savegames, but should prevent the problem in new ones.
  • Fixed bug in auto-assist logic where repairers were not properly prioritizing lower-health-percent ships.
  • Fixed bug where AI engineers repaired broken golems (they couldn't activate them afterwards, and the golem would revert to original broken health if captured by the humans, so no big deal before).
  • Fixed bug where paralyzed ships could be put into cold storage, which would stop their de-paralyze countdown.
  • Fixed bug where planetary summary sidebar item mouseover was displaying a controlling player name and color despite the fact that it's generally impossible for this to be a truthful representation since units from multiple players can be combined into one planetary summary sidebar item.
  • Added protective mechanism to prevent a crash when closing the game after disconnecting the original sound output device.
  • Fixed bug where a ship with a target-to-kill would not clear that target if all remaining enemy ships on the planet are killed at the same time as that target and no other targets are available. This would lead to an FRD ship converging on the target's last location and staying there until other enemies come along.
  • Fixed bug that was allowing a hive golem to keep producing wasps in low-power mode. It can still produce wasps outside supply, this is intentional.
  • Fixed bug in the remove-ship-cap cheat that would stop a fleet ship queue when it hit the cap that wasn't supposed to be there.
  • Previously there was a bug that would overwrite the first buy-tab of a multi-tab constructor (like a starship constructor) with a pause button if it was still self-building, even though it already has a pause/play button on the top button row. Fixed to not have a pause button on the tab row.
  • Fixed a bug in the galaxy view planet-mouse-over metal/crystal income display that would count the last non-paused metal/crystal rates of a paused manufactory in the total, leading to inaccuracies if there were manufactories on the planet that had been paused since the game was last loaded.
  • Fixed bug where some minor faction units (like the mining golem) were getting orders from the AI thread that conflicted with their proper behavior. The AI thread now no longer issues orders for those units.
  • Some players were running into cases where tractor beams were not acting for a number of seconds after enemies exited a wormhole due to throttling, so moved tractor-beam target-checking throttle into central throttle logic, made more intelligent about how much load the operations actually involve.
  • Now when a constructor is unable to complete the item at the front of its build queue due to insufficient energy, any engineers assisting it will be properly flagged as failing to assist. Assuming they were not directly ordered to assist that constructor, they will shortly start looking for other building projects they can assist (like, hopefully, a new energy reactor).
  • Fixed bug where it was possible to see a dyson sphere on the planetary summary sidebar of a planet where you had never had any visibility.
  • Fixed bug where out-of-supply AI units would display a message intended only for player ships (talking about too far from "your" planets, etc); now has an AI-only message.
  • Fixed a few bugs that would sometimes allow the placement of harvesters on resource points that were still covered by AI guard posts.
  • (Really) fixed a bug where stuff caught by etherjets and then killed and regenerated by the AI on another planet was being snatched back to the original planet in a totally different position. Now will not be snatched back.
  • Fixed bug where the galaxy-map planet intel overlay would not display the top two rows of icons (if any) for planets that were not owned by the players and did not have enemy ships.
  • Fixed bug where mk III harvesters were not "redding out" like mkI and mkII when no spots were available.
  • Fixed bug that hid the pause button when both normal military ships and a Riot or Enclave starship were selected (since those have buy queues).
  • Fixed a longstanding bug where grenade and flak ships did not realize they could not damage immune-to-aoe ships and would fire ineffectively.
  • Previously, regen was still taking effect when units were still under construction. Fixed.
  • Fixed a long-standing bug with icon-grouping where ships inside one icon group that continuously "switch" which one is the lowest health would result in the health bar "jittering" back and forth. An example is placing two tractor turrets, and the health "racing" as they grow. Now it won't switch unless there is a >= 5% difference in health, or there is a full-refresh of the icon grouping data (which happens whenever you move the view at all, etc).
  • Previously, it was possible for starships and other planetary-roamer type ships that were included in a wave to an AI planet to simply be planetary roamers instead of actually attacking the player immediately. Fixed.
  • Previously, it was possible for the paused and similar messages to get lost behind the chat messages window. This was particularly troubling in the tutorials. Fixed.
  • Previously, loading a savegame from a tutorial could lead to wormhole positions being switched around, and probably some other similar stuff like that. Fixed so that the start of a tutorial now does a full sync to make sure it's consistent with all that logic.
  • Fixed a longstanding bug where loading savegames of tutorials with incoming waves was resetting the wave timers.

Community Contributors

  • We wish to express our gratitude to our community for its tremendous help in testing, bug reporting, suggestions, patience, good humor, and encouragement. In particular, the following members have helped us with at least one bug or suggestion (the number in parenthesis is a rough count of the number of distinct cases they helped with) :
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