AVWW - Beta Series 2 Release Notes

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AVWW - Beta Series 3 Release Notes

Beta Series 2 Statistics

Beta Series 2 spanned from November 8th through February 29th, and it was a busy period indeed! 1063 distinct changes were made as part of 44 different releases over the course of 114 days.

A full 76 players are thanked. Some big hitters:

  • Toll with 42 mentions
  • martyn_van_buren - 25
  • BobTheJanitor - 24
  • Terraziel - 23
  • jerith - 21
  • bluddy - 19
  • GrimerX - 17
  • Hyfrydle - 14
  • zebramatt - 14
  • tbogue - 13
  • Dizzard - 11
  • KDR_11k - 10

Overall, there were 9 major feature additions including:

  • Enchants
  • Missions
  • Multiplayer
  • Ducking!
  • The Ability to swim!
  • And did we mention multiplayer?!

Other notables:

  • 4 new spell gems
  • 13 new enemies
  • 7 new Mission Types
  • 9 new music tracks
  • Plus, we had at least 15 major revisions to existing mechanics in the game.
  • This period also included a complete overhaul of the GUI, the HUD, and the entire look of the game.
  • Tons of additions to make the game more accessible and easier to get into for new players!

Beta 0.900 Smooth As Butter

(Released February 29th, 2012)

  • Ducking no longer offsets your character 20px downward through the floor; it's now only 5px.
    • Additionally, ducking only now makes you 1/2 as small as you had been, rather than 1/3 like it was before.
      • The reason for this change isn't a punishment, but rather since we implemented ducking we reduced the overall hitbox of the character's heights in general. So that meant that the ducking was suddenly incredibly more effective than it even had been, which hadn't been the intent of the general hitbox correction.
  • The pause menu now properly shows attack powers of the enemies in terms of damage that makes sense, rather than as a percentage of your max health.
  • The textual popups for falling damage, lava damage, water damage, and temperature damage are now shown in the form of actual damage rather than in the form of a percentage.
  • The amount of falling damage, lava damage, water damage, and temperature damage, etc, that players take has been reverted to the amounts prior to the last release. The consensus wasn't exactly universal on this, but it does make good sense that having upgraded health should make you more resilient to various environmental factors as well as to enemies.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for pushing this one.
  • Moderate inner light stash changes:
    • Settlements now include a moderate inner light enchant that players can pick up under the same multiplayer rules that this worked in stash rooms.
      • In place of moderate inner light enchants, the stash rooms now will seed enchant containers instead (it was not previously possible to get enchant containers inside of stash rooms).
    • In each region, there are some specialized items (snowsuits, heatsuits, etc) that can show up in their stash rooms. Previously, the game could add as many of these per stash room as it might randomly decide to do.
      • Now, once it has seeded one such stack of special items in a stash, it instead seeds enchant containers where it would have seeded duplicates previously.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for... suggesting... this. ;) Oh, and Terraziel and others, too.
  • The chance of getting crates instead of wood platforms in stash rooms has slightly improved.
  • Fixed a bug that was causing the standard mission opt-out popup text to appear before secret missions.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for reporting.
  • Cardboard Box health halved from the standard static object health.
    • Thank to BobTheJanitor for the suggestion.
  • Changed the word "Vulnerability" in the enchant descriptions to "Damage Taken". So Minor Resilient Form's base effect is "-15% Damage Taken" now.
    • Thanks to GrimerX for pointing out the need for more clarity.
  • The mechanics of ducking have been changed a bit in order to make going down ladders easier.
    • Prior to the addition of ducking, you could hold the down key while you ran, and then easily get down any ladder. Since the addition of ducking, which stops you from moving unless you have the powerslide enchant on, this has made getting down small ladders an exercise in frustration.
    • To solve this, ducking now only kicks in while you are holding the down key and NOT holding the left or right keys.
      • So you can once again hold down while running left and right, making it trivial to get down any ladder, and ducking won't even come into play.
      • But at the same time, when you want to duck or powerslide, just jam the down key and stop moving in whichever direction.
    • Thanks to Toll, BobTheJanitor, and Dizzard for reporting.
  • Fixed up spell balance a bit, based on a new DPS analysis tool we quckly cooked up:
    • Attack power of fireball increased from 400 to 600.
    • Mana cost of the ball lightning increased from 44 to 88.
    • Tidal pulse attack increased from 500 to 600.
    • Cooldown on energy pulse has increased from 1.5 to 4 seconds, its mana cost has increased from 60 to 120, and its attack has increased from 500 to 2200.
      • As an added note, energy pulse no longer strikes background objects. That was annoyingly deforesting areas for a lot of players.
    • Forest rage cooldown decreased from 1.5 seconds to 0.75 seconds, and mana increased from 35 to 65.
    • Creeping Death attack increased from 2000 to 3000.
    • Plasma bolt attack increased from 250 to 350.
    • Gold boomerang attack increased from 560 to 2000.
    • Miasma whip cooldown time increased from 0.5 to 0.66 seconds, and mana cost increased from 40 to 60.
    • Launch meteor damage increased from 2400 to 4800.
    • Meteor shower damage increased from 1200 to 2400.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for suggesting a balance pass on spells after all the recent game changes.
  • Fixed an issue that was making players slide down the side of crates slowly.
    • Thanks to Smiling Spectre for reporting.
  • Related to the above issue, also fixed an issue where it was sometimes possible for "I'm standing on a crate" to not register properly, leading the player to be unable to jump.
  • Fixed a rather dramatic issue with texture preloading failing to load the actual spells and abilities for players or enemies. This would lead to in-game loading lag (potentially heavy, depending on the speed of your disk) as textures were loaded during battle.
    • The downside is that this required changing quite a few things that we'd rather not have changed right before a major releasem, because of the risk of bugs (enemies using the wrong spells, or not being able to cast spells, or players using one ability and getting the wrong projectile would be the risks here).
    • But on the other hand, this was a rather severe performance problem for older machines in general, and we just couldn't leave this in when so many people are about to look at the game for the first time. Fingers crossed.
      • Actually, thanks to Josh for testing literally every player spell in the game after this change to make sure that they all still worked. They do.
    • Thanks to Bluddy for bringing this to our attention a couple of weeks ago, although we never could find it (as luck would have it) until today.
  • Fixed a crash bug from the prior version that prevented deep sea travel by ship.
  • Fixed a very longstanding issue where hyper-animation could result in some cases when your framerate was too high (usually over 100fps).
  • Fixed an issue where dangerous objects like stinging nettles were still allowed to spawn in settlements and mission staging areas and such.
  • When you enter a secret mission staging area, there is now an opt-out explanation that explains what those are (and how they are different from regular world map missions).

Beta 0.586 Sheer Cliffs

(Released February 28th, 2012)

  • Added a "Acquire 2+ Tier (current tier + 1) Ranged Offensive Spells." button to the Things-to-do section of the planning window; it will show up until you have two ranged offensive spells of the next tier (or tier 5 if that's the current tier) of different elements.
  • Fixed a bug that could lead to array out of index exceptions when objects moved outside the chunk area briefly.
    • Thanks to KDR_11k for reporting.
  • An expert start now starts the game as if 25 missions have been won, meaning various of the unlocks are skipped and more mission types are available right at the start.
  • Fixed a bug from recent versions where enemy health bars were not reliably showing up because of a change to make offscreen boss bars not show up when they are in unexplored territory. Now it just properly applies to enemies that are offscreen.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for reporting.
  • The terrain of the junkyard flats, ice age, and thawing ice age areas are now substantially more cavernous and unique.
  • Wooden crates are now much more plentiful in stashes, and are recommended to have more for adventuring when going out into the wild. These are now invaluable for certain kinds of terrain where you otherwise can't get up a giant cliff any other way other than making a tower of crates.
  • In new settlements, there is now a coffer of 30 crates in them to emphasize their importance.
  • MP: Fixed a bug where wind shelters (and ocean buoys, for that matter) could not be created.
    • Thanks to TyberZann for the report.
  • Added a "Get (profession) skill level (number)" buttons to the Things-to-do section of the planning window; it will show up when the settlement has a guardian power scroll but not a (sufficiently skilled) corresponding character to cast it.
  • Stash rooms now have more "sets" of objects in them. Previously they had between 1-3 sets only. Now it's between 3-5.
    • Thanks to Smiling Spectre and BobTheJanitor for reporting.
  • Creeping Death tier 2 no longer requires umbra ember to learn, meaning that it can actually be learned before the continent tier hits 2 (that was not previously possible).
  • Welkin Gel, Charred Amber, and Magma can now be found right from tier 1 onward.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for reporting the problems that could be caused when this was not the case.
  • The victory or defeat message no longer pops up right in the center of the screen. It's now considerably closer to the top of the screen, meaning it is less visually in your way while still being noticeable.
  • When there are very few arcane ingredients available for players (due to their continent tier being low and/or not having unlocked many arcane ingredients via unlockables), the game now supplements world map missions with raw gems in place of too many duplicate arcane ingredients. Once there are more arcane ingredients available, the raw gems stop showing up in this way.
    • This specifically does _not_ affect secret missions or missions that are created via guardian power, since those would be kind of lame rewards for those specialized cases.
  • More opt-out messages now help to explain the game as you move around the world:
    • The first time you enter an ocean region on the world map, it warns you of impending death if you enter that region without being able to breathe underwater.
    • The first time you are in a mission that is won and which gives you tier orbs, a message explaining the tier orbs pops up.
    • The first time you are in a mission that is won and which gives you a guardian power scroll, a message explaining the basics of guardian power scrolls pops up.
    • The first time you open the guardian powers interface on either the world map or in the settlement, it gives you a message specific to that area, explaining a bit about what you can do.
  • When you don't have any guardian power scrolls that are usable from the settlement, previously the settlement was just showing you a blank window that was kind of confusing and definitely not very polished looking. Now it shows you a more informative popup explaining what is going on.
    • Same thing, but with a different message for the guardian powers button on the world map.
  • Made a few changes to a few tier 2 basic spells to make it so that new players can actually learn some new spells a bit easier:
    • Fireball tier 2 now requires magma instead of clay.
    • Forest rage tier 2 now requires earth essence instead of clay.
    • Energy pulse tier 2 now requires welkin gel instead of clay.
    • Tidal pulse now requires sea essence instead of clay.
  • Fixed the falling damage (and heat and cold and lava and water damages) all being too kind and being based off your original max health rather than your current max health. Upgrading your health no longer makes you any more resilient to falling, walking into a volcano, or falling in acid water.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for reporting.
  • MP: fixed a bug where item drops (the lumber from a blown-up settlement fence or the gems from a raw gem vein, for example) would be populated with twice as much stuff on the client.
    • Thanks to TyberZann for the report.
  • Sea Essence is now not unlocked until you reach the same unlock condition that is used for coral.

Beta 0.585 Go With The Flow

(Released February 28th, 2012)

  • Fixed a crash bug in the planning section of the prior version that would occur for players in some worlds only when the game tried to look at what enchants they had in their inventory at present.
    • Thanks to Minotaar, Saolite, Ixiohm, and martyn_van_buren for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug in multiplayer that could cause crashes when players were using warp gates, due to the server trying to center a nonexistent view on a nonexistent local player.
    • Thanks to Toll for reporting.
  • Both oceans and ocean shallows now have surface boss nodes that will work instead of being all glitchy.
  • If a mission would be granting you a make-structure guardian power that you can't use because of already having a building of that type (or a scroll of that type), the mission now changes to give you something else instead.
  • Bosses no longer do that shrinking thing from a version or two back; it was confusing and led to some undesirable cases with overlords getting stuck, etc.

Early Game Flow Improvements

  • Two new classes of unlockables have been added: win number of missions, and win number of missions of type.
    • These are particularly important to the new player experience, because they allow us to do some important early-game gating to avoid players running into advanced missions too soon.
  • There are now nine new unlockables, all centered around winning a certain number of missions or a certain number of missions of a specific type, that provide a more natural flow to the early-game missions.
  • The game now restricts the number of missions that are available right at the start to 2 instead of 7.
    • As you complete more missions (of any sort), the number of missions on the continent gradually creeps up to 7.
    • This, again, is a way of easing new players into things without giving them too many choices right at the start.
  • Guardian Power Scrolls are no longer available right at the start of the game. These don't start appearing as mission rewards until you have completed 4 missions of any sort.
    • This gives new players a bit of time to collect some arcane ingredients, and some time to get used to the flow of missions in general, before they start having to choose between guardian powers and rare commodities as mission rewards.
  • World-map missions no longer seed in windstorms or in ocean shallows areas at the start of the game. This gives players a chance to get more used to the missions in general before they start having to deal with these added complications.
  • New opt-out messages that help to explain the game as you do new things for the first time:
    • The first time you enter a mission staging area.
    • The first time you enter the world map.
  • The V key now opens the planning menu, instead of the unlockables view -- that's a lot more relevant now.

Beta 0.584 Supply Train Map

(Released February 27th, 2012)

  • Various tweaks to the intro mission textural wording, including two new gravestones that briefly explain a few things not covered previously.
  • There is now an opt-out message shown whenever you enter a settlement, explaining a bit more about glyphbearers and their role. Presumably most people would opt out of this message after seeing it for the first time, but it's definitely handy information.
  • Fixed a couple of issues that were making guardian stones and the workbench clump up by the chunk exit in recent versions.
  • Fixed an issue where sometimes the cavern mission staging rooms would have their mission exits and signposts confusingly obscured by plants in front of them.
  • Fixed a bug that was leading to duplicate entries (generally with different quantities) in the settlement stockpile display.
    • Thanks to Moo for the report.
  • Added a mouseover to the settlement stockpile grid to show you the description of the corresponding resource.
  • The game now includes message signposts in addition to the message tombstones.
    • Any of the "notice" type messages, as opposed to the literal "epitaph" type messages from the intro mission have been converted to use the new signposts instead of tombstones.
    • The idea here is that, since the majority of the messages during the intro mission are epitaphs anyhow, not over-using that idea when it's just a message and not an epitaph is an effective thing to do to make it so that when you see a tombstone you really think "somebody must have died here."
  • At the edge of any settlement chunk created in the new version of the game, there's now a signpost warning non-glyphbearers not to go out into the wilds.
  • Fixed a number of frustrating seeding issues with signposts, tombstones, and coffers.
  • Fixed several bugs relating to collisions with full-solid objects that your character could jump on top of (mainly crates):
    • Your falling velocity was not being properly reset, so if you walked off a crate you would plummet like a stone.
    • It wasn't quite counting as a touch to the ground, so your double jump or ride the lightning would be triggered erroneously.
    • It wasn't quite registering your collision height just right, so you were able to sometimes float slightly above these boxes instead of standing right on them like you should.
    • This also applied to other objects stacking up, like wooden platforms or crates that you stack on top of one another.
    • Thanks to Smiling Spectre and TyberZann for reporting.
  • Previously, holding the jump key down as you hit could prevent falling damage. Fixed.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for reporting.
  • The brightness of the surface chunk nodes with links to underground caverns is now substantially brighter, making them stand out more and hopefully making players take notice of them more easily.
  • MP: Fixed a bug where summoned rhinos were still using the old model of being simulated on the client. This is quite appropriate for fireballs and whatnot but caused a lot of trouble for these because they save to disk and run their own AI, etc.
    • This also gets rid of the cause of the "rhino doing AI on client" message that was spamming people's logs in MP sometimes.
    • Thanks to Toll and others for the report and save.
  • MP: Fixed a bug where entering a not-previously-visited region on the second continent (and perhaps the first continent in newer worlds) would fail on the client the first time (subsequent attempts to enter the region after reconnecting would generally work).
    • Thanks to TyberZann for the report and Toll for the save and help reproducing the bug.
  • Fixed a bug where battleground missions were trying to seed blue whales as enemy minions. Seriously.
  • The small and large wooden platforms have been removed, simply making the midsize ones "wooden platforms." This makes it so that you don't have three inventory slots taken up for one function, etc.
    • Thanks to GrimerX and Toll for suggesting.
  • Minimap:
    • Player and ally-player (in MP) locations now show the icons used for the dungeon map, instead of the blinking blips there before.
      • These icons have also been visually improved.
    • In cases where enemies are shown on the minimap (bosses, battleground enemy minions, etc), they're drawn as icons instead of blinking blips.
      • Regular enemies and bosses have different icons.
    • Warp gates now show the icon used for the dungeon map.
    • Enemies now only show on the minimap if that part of the chunk has been "revealed" on the minimap.
    • Enemy health bars for distant enemies (primarily bosses) now no longer show if the enemy is part of the minimap that has not been revealed.
  • The mission signposts now only show info about the mission in question, nothing about the region or other stuff in it.
  • Mission details now show the word "Rewards" on the line that shows the icons of the rewards, to make clearer that these are not costs or whatever else.
  • If you have the custom mouse cursor enabled, the game now draws an alternate cursor when it is over a GUI element that can be left-clicked.
  • Diluters now only seed if the continent's tier is greater than or equal to the Diluter's "target" tier (the tier to which it reduces the orbs).
  • The dungeon map and region map no longer get "stuck" after a resolution change.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for the report.
  • Fixed a bug in the prior version where opting out of many of the messages wasn't actually saving to disk properly.
  • Fixed a bug where the intro mission music was not properly playing in recent versions.
    • Thanks to TyberZann for reporting.
  • Added a new easy rock theme that now plays in settlements in which the continent has been saved from the overlord; it's a lot more upbeat than the normal settlement music.

Planning Menu Improvements (Part 3)

  • The encyclopedia now includes a "Supplies Manifest" section with two different items in it.
    • These vary between spell scrolls, deployable items and traps, and enchants that you can find via stash rooms.
    • Essentially, this is the guide that even experienced players have been long waiting for when it comes to finding stuff that you can venture out into the world to locate. There's some key tidbits in here that even the developers hadn't remembered offhand, such as where to find decoy fireworks or the best place to find glyph transplant scrolls in abundance.
    • Thanks to TyberZann and many other players for suggesting this.
  • In the encyclopedia, combined the incomplete and complete unlockables into a single line item to make that a bit more concise and less overwhelming.
  • There is now a section of the "Where To Find" menu that has "Where To Find Supplies."
  • Under "Things You Should Do," it now has a section for "Vital Supplies You Are Short On" when there are basic supplies that you need more of to really stand much of a chance in the game.
    • This doesn't cover very much, mostly just wood crates and wooden platforms, but it does also recommend having at least 32 vitality stones on hand (to remind players to collect these), as well as two glyph transplant scrolls (since switching between characters is so important if you've got one character that you've upgraded a bunch).
  • Under "Other Activities Of Interest," it now has a section for "Other Supplies It Is Wise To Have."
    • This covers a bit of a broader spectrum, but still doesn't go crazy with what it recommends. It advises having a heatsuit and snowsuit in your inventory, getting an acid gills enchant, keeping at least two elusion and transmogrify into bat scrolls on hand, and keeping even more crates and wooden platforms around.
  • Enormously simplified the actual crafting screen itself.
    • Rather than being a labyrinth of subsections, it now only has two sections:
      • Equip Spell lets you equip any spell you already know at least tier 1 of from a flat alphabetized list. Given the nature of how spells are learned in this game, that should never be prohibitively too huge a list even if there are hundreds of spells in the game.
    • Learn New Spell just gives you a flat list of spells that you actually have the resources available to craft (or craft a higher tier of) at the current point in time. This, too, should always be a reasonably finite list, so there was no reason for all the sub-categories.
    • The Crafting Grimoire, of course, is about planning for the future and thus very much needs all of the categories and subcategories that it has. That hasn't and won't change, and is really useful. There was just no reason to overwhelm players with this outside of the encyclopedic parts of the game.
  • Previously, the Crafting Grimoire was only showing spells for which all of the ingredients had been unlocked -- you didn't have to _have_ the ingredients, but the ingredients had to be unlocked.
    • This was confusing for a lot of reasons, and made it hard to figure out what ingredients to go try to unlock if you wanted a certain spell.
    • The motivation for this was to make it so that all of the later-game spells aren't just laid out for anyone to see as soon as they start the game, but in the end we've decided to just go ahead and show them all -- with a catch.
      • In the Crafting Grimoire, any spell that doesn't yet have all its ingredients unlocked still appears in all the listings, but when you click for its details it just shows you its name, graphic, and needed ingredients. You can't see any stats or descriptions of the spell until you unlock it.
      • We figure that this serves the double purpose of giving new players something interesting to work toward unlocking, while at the same time keeping the details hidden so that there is some mystery as to what is coming up.
    • Thanks to Penumbra and BobTheJanitor for reporting some of the confusion and complexity the old way of doing this was causing.

Beta 0.583 The Elusive Lumbermancer

(Released February 26th, 2012)

  • Fixed a bug with the collision box of cardboard crates being off in the Y axis.
    • Thanks to Toll for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug that was making the jump rotation backwards when you jumped to the left. Ironically, this was a really old fix for jumps doing that (pre-public-alpha) conflicting with the recent generalized fix for all entity rotations.
    • Thanks to Toll and Attilha for reporting.
  • Fixed another visual bug where spells were not rotating around their center properly in many cases.
  • Fixed an issue where some spells (forest rage being the prime example) wouldn't animate properly when fired straight up or down.
  • When hovering over a spell in your ability bar, it no longer shows the attack power, element, and mana cost. Those things are just not something that are that needed so frequently, and having them show without the remainder of the information from the full inventory popups made it seem like that was all the information there was. Now, instead, the message just says "Details In Inventory" and the name of the spell, and gives the three hotkeys for the three different kinds of inventory (which otherwise can tend to elude new players for far too long).
  • Previously, when enemies of any sort would shrink, their weakspots were not shrinking, which led to all sorts of unintended hilarity. Fixed.
    • Thanks to Toll for reporting.
  • Made the "boss goes to 40% size" behavior patterns substantially less common than in the prior release.
  • Fixed an issue with enemies rotating the wrong way when moving up inclines in the prior version.
    • Thanks to Toll for reporting.
  • Elusion scrolls now cost 100 mana to use rather than 400.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for suggesting.
  • Condensed the material compendium so that the "locked" and "unlocked" categories are no longer needed.
    • Instead, in all the material compendium windows it now shows or doesn't show the button background (as happens elsewhere) so that you can see at a glance from any screen what has and has not been unlocked, without needing so many overwhelming categories.
  • Glyph transplant scrolls are now a bit more common to find in stash rooms, since you'll be using so many of them.
  • Fixed a draw issue from the last few weeks with the urban crawler wheels not rotating while it moved.
  • Fixed an issue with urban crawlers acting strangely on angled ground.
  • Certain large monsters now collide with one another, so things like urban crawlers, crashed landspeeders, and minibosses-and-up can't stack up anymore.
  • Fixed several visual issues with multi-part monsters where they were not flashing as a whole, not sinking into the ground as a whole, etc.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for reporting.
  • Made the "Abandoned town" regions have a lot flatter surfaces (while still having crazy surface tunnels when appropriate), so that things like townhouses and urban crawlers can spawn more and work better.
  • When players already have a citybuilding structure in their settlement, or when they already have a guardian power scroll in their settlement that will let them seed that structure, the game will no longer seed missions that give that structure as a reward (since it would be unusable and useless anyhow, why makes players wade through those).
    • Thanks to Toll for suggesting.
  • All new visual tilesets are now in place for the backgrounds of ice age surface tunnels and caverns. The caverns now use much more dramatic coloring that in three tilesets that are now utterly unique compared to the surface tunnels, and the surface tunnels now use two different tilesets that are more neutral in color (like before), but higher quality.
    • Given that these are the first areas that players see when first starting a new game, it made sense to ensure that they were as high of quality as possible.
  • The thawing snow, and one of the ground tilesets used for small towns, are also now more attractive.
  • Six new kinds of underground background tilesets have been added, making for more variety and feeling of mystery to the undergrounds. Normally that's not the focus for this specific week, but it was quick to do and adds a fair bit.
  • The world map tooltip now says specifically what key to press to enter regions, rather than saying "the confirm key." This is perhaps the last holdout of that old way of saying it.
  • Fixed a bug wherein skipping the intro mission would lead you to having a secret mission chunk in the starting region.
    • Thanks to Marisa Park for suggesting.
  • Made it so that tiny little shacks and single-room outbuildings will never have secret missions inside them.
    • Thanks to Moo for suggesting.
  • The "skip intro mission" checkbox has been removed from the start new game dialog. Instead, there are now two dropdowns:
    • The first lets you select the difficulty right from the start of the game. It also now notes that the Master Hero difficulty is "best for experienced gamers," because a lot of that srot of crowd tends to find hero difficulty too easy.
    • The second lets you choose between three start types: Normal, Advanced (Skip Intro Mission), and Expert (Start On Second Continent).
      • Since so much stuff is being held back until the second continent now, as a way of easing new players into the game, we needed to have an option where expert players could start a new world without having ten hours of hand-holding in front of them.
  • The wording on the spellgem workbench has been clarified substantially to aid new players.
    • Thanks to Marisa Park for suggesting.
  • Updated the difficulty system a bit, so that there are now six difficulties instead of 5:
    • Adept is now what was previously Hero (the default).
    • Hero is now what was previously Master Hero (best for experienced gamers).
    • Master Hero is now what was previously The Chosen One (hoo boy, that's tough).
    • The Chosen One has now been bumped up to an even higher difficulty threshold that was not previously in the game.
  • Fixed a visual bug with some ugly lines at the top and bottom of a lot of skies; most notably in the lava flats, but actually in others as well.

Easing First-Continent (And Upgraded-World) Guardian Power Woes

  • Old worlds being upgraded into the new version will ensure that all of their settlements now have a lumbermancer, aquaurgist, and stonebinder in _all_ of their continent settlements, not just the first continent's settlement.
    • Additionally, all main-continent-settlements in all old worlds will be upgraded to include residential and storage towers, lumbermancy focal stations, stonebinder tri-towers, and aquaurgist wells.
  • Any new worlds created now include residential and storage towers, lumbermancy focal stations, stonebinder tri-towers, and aquaurgist wells on their first continent's settlement.
    • Subsequent settlements on later continents start with nothing. This is basically a form of easing the player into the game, so that they don't have quite so much running around to do before they can use any guardian powers. On subsequent continents this sort of restriction is actually more interesting because it makes you play a bit differently until you get your settlement off the ground; but with your first settlement (or first experience with guardian powers in the case of upgrading an old world), it's just overwhelming.
  • The professions of NPCs that can be rescued via secret missions are now considerably less random. In order of preference, if your settlment is missing the following professions amongst its NPCs your secret mission NPC's profession will be:
    • Lumbermancy, Stonebinding, Aquaurgy, Apothekinesis, Forgical Arts, and finally Technozoology.
    • If you have at least one of each of these types, then it's completely random like it used to be. But this will prevent frustrating situations where you're looking for a specific profession of NPC for ages, and coming up with nothing.
    • Note that this does not affect the Seek Survivors guardian power, which is still completely random.

Planning Menu Improvements (Part 2)

  • The planning menu is now divided into four and only four sections, under which all else is now organized:
    • Continent Status
    • Things You Should Do
    • Where To Find Stuff You Want
    • Big Honkin' Encyclopedia
  • Most of the reference-type information, including the tips and advice, has been moved under the "Big Honkin' Encyclopedia" heading.
    • The motivation here is that this information is something that is needed to be referred to much less frequently, and which new players don't need to try to internalize right from the start, so hopefully they will appropriately view this as a place to find answers to questions _when they have them_ as opposed to something overwhelming they need to read right away.
    • At the same time, the salient bits that actually help you, for instance, "find stuff" or which are important for guiding you in "What to do next" are being pulled out in more concise fashions into the other sections.
  • As the first example of "Things You Should Do," there is now an "Unlockables To Pursue" list that looks at unlockables that are reasonable for you to pursue given your current status.
    • It excludes obvious things that are completely impossible for you to unlock yet (such as killing enemies you haven't yet unlocked), and it also excludes things that would require way too high of a tier for your current tier.
    • It also only shows stuff that is actually incomplete, of course.
    • The Big Honkin' Encyclopedia still shows the full lists of complete and incomplete unlockables if you feel like going over there and looking at them for any reason, but that list is 51 items long at the start of the game, while the "to pursue" list is only 24 items long at the start of the game.
  • Added a subsection of "Things You Should Do" called "Other Activities Of Interest (But Less Vital Importance)"
    • Unlockables that unlock only cosmetic (like new general game objects without gameplay significance) or negative things (like new enemies) are put under this new subsection.
      • This moves 15 of the starting unlockables into that section, since most of those involve unlocking a harder monster once you've shown some mastery of an easier monster.
    • This whittles the main "unlockables to pursue" list at the start of the game down to only nine entries, all of which are focused on either unlocking new kinds of NPCs or unlocking new materials.
  • As the first example of "Where To Find Stuff You Want," the currently-unlocked crafting ingredients and building materials now have categories under that section. Other stuff to follow in the next release.

Beta 0.582 Still Paddling The Old Knew

(Released February 25th, 2012)

  • Fixed a bug in the grid control that would cause exceptions when it was set up to "freeze first row" and was trying to render while not having any rows populated.
    • Thanks to khadgar for the report leading to the discovery of this (in the settlement stockpile window when there was no data to show).
  • Fixed a bug in the settlement stockpile window where it was clearing out its header row before populating the grid (thus never showing the header row, and "freezing" the first data row).
  • The settlement stockpile window will now not come up if you're on a ship outside of any particular continent's area, and will instead show a popup explaining that there's nothing to show. It wouldn't hurt anything to show it (it would just be blank), but it would be confusing.
  • Fixed a bug where if one window was popped up over another, you could click buttons on the underlying window through the window on top.
  • Greatly reduced the parallax factor on citybuilding structures, thereby eliminating hopefully all of the strangeness in how they looked.
  • Made some changes to the parallax y factor on the backgrounds that should hopefully eliminate the remaining oddities seen there.
    • Thanks to Bluddy for reporting.
  • Ocean World-Map Travel:
    • Ocean-shelf squares (the ones you can enter, not the "deep sea" squares that are not actually part of any continent) no longer have the "suck-in" effect when you walk onto them.
      • But now when you enter these squares, you will always be dumped into the middle of the region instead of the outermost chunk (where previously you could easily get back out). Previously this hostile-drop only happened when traversing multiple steps into the ocean.
    • Entering an ocean-shelf square now requires one of the following:
      • You're traveling in a ship (from the port regions).
      • It's adjacent to a solid-ground square.
      • It has one of the new Ocean Buoys (which are created via a new guardian power).
      • It's adjacent to a region that has an Ocean Buoy.
    • While on an ocean-shelf square and not in a ship, the game will now draw a canoe instead of your character on the world map. The idea is that you're using readily-available small-craft, but such craft have limited ability to traverse the ocean.
  • The "Warp To Origin" button on the world-map in-game menu (opened via the escape key, normally) has been renamed "Warp To Settlement" and will now send you to the settlement of the continent you are on, rather than region 0,0 (the settlement of the first continent).
    • If you are in the deep sea (the non-enterable ocean squares), this button won't work but will show a popup explaining why. It's easy enough to sail onto the ocean shelf or bordering port region of the desired continent and then use it.
  • Updated the settlement structures window to use the new click-instead-of-mouseover logic, thereby making it consistent with the other windows in that section.
  • Added invincibility-granting popup message for when the continent tier goes up.
  • Added a couple invincibility-granting tutorial popups that can allow you to opt-out of seeing them again (there's now a reset button for opt-outs on the settings menu, too) :
    • When you enter a region with a windstorm.
    • When you move into chunk that is higher tier than the continent and higher tier than the chunk you just left.
  • The learn-spell and equip-spell crafting screens have been updated so that they no longer have tooltips, but so that they instead:
    • Have confirmation popups that appear when you click them.
    • Have mouseovers on the materials on these windows, so that you can actually find out where to get the materials without having to go to the planning menu.
    • Properly wrap the row of material icons after 10 icons, so that it doesn't get insanely wide on high-tier spells.
    • The planning window's crafting grimoire has also been updated to match.
    • Thanks to tbogue, jerith and bluddy for suggestions on this.
  • Fixed an issue where bosses like crippled dragons could get stuck in walls when changing forms.
    • Thanks to tbogue for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue where some bosses, most notably the crippled dragons and urban predators, could stick their head through a wall and breathe fire or fire missiles on the other side of it.
    • This required a pretty major extension to the collision hitbox logic, but so far all seems well.
    • Thanks to Toll for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue with urban predators drawing in front of shots and the character.
  • Crates are no longer seeded in attics and basements -- instead, cardboard boxes are. The cardboard boxes still fill these spaces just as much as the crates previously did, but the cardboard boxes are vulnerable to piercing attacks (unlike regular crates). This makes them not only quite easy to clear out, but really fun to clear out.
    • Thanks to jerith for inspiring this change.
  • Crashed Landspeeder Robots will no longer seed in such a fashion that they are hanging off cliffs.
  • Urban Crawlers will now deal with walls and cliffs a bit more sensibly in terms of not clipping through them, while still having the same hitbox for meleeing you and taking spell damage.
  • Both Tidal Pulse and the Giant Amoeba shots now have smaller hitboxes, making it so that they can fit through smaller passages as well as so that they are easier to dodge. This also should solve the problem of giant amoebas being unable to fire shots when backed into a corner.
  • Meteors from monsters have had their collision box adjusted as well, so that they are easier to dodge and also fit through a bit smaller spaces.
  • Fixed an issue where sometimes crates would have the wrong background behind them in underground areas.
    • Thanks to khadgar and TyberZann for reporting.
  • Some bosses now have alternate behaviors where they shrink to 40% size.
    • This makes them particularly fearsome, because they can go into areas that normally would be safe for you, and they are harder to target.
  • Fixed a bug in the previous version where some shots would draw with strange rotations when fired at some angles (specifically: Energy Pulse, Forest Rage, Gold Boomerang, Urban Predator Missile)
    • Thanks to Armanant for the report.
  • Fixed a bug where Decoy Fireworks could not be placed indoors, and thus trying to use them appeared to do nothing at all.
  • The green flying health drops now disappear after 30 seconds if they have not been used by then. This prevents massive longterm "external stockpiles" of health in battlefield missions, etc.
    • Thanks to eRe4s3r for the suggestion.
  • Enemy-Detection-Reduction (like from the stealth enchant, or the stealth mission effect) now does not apply to "minor" monsters like dragon breath fire and tiny fairy swarms.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for reporting that Fairy bosses in stealth assassination missions were largely crippled because of this applying to the swarms.
  • Put in a couple of sanity checks that could potentially have led to multiplayer issues; the issues were definitely real, but not sure if these sanity checks are the cure. If you still see the issue in the next version, please let us know.
    • Thanks to TyberZann and Toll for reporting.
  • Fixed a regression in the prior version that was causing all underground boss rooms to be small and glitchy.
    • This fix won't fix pre-existing rooms, but will prevent further glitchy ones from appearing.
    • As a part of this, also updated the logic for underground boss rooms in general, so that they are now far more interesting and dangerous. They no longer include ladders to climb on, and they tend to be more open in general, meaning that you have to provide your own ways to get around as you fight.
    • Thanks to Armanant, Ixiohm, Terraziel, jerith, Moo, Entorwellian, Dizzard, and Hyfrydle for reporting.
  • Now that underground boss rooms are more open, we can do more with them -- and players have long complained of the monotony of too few boss types down there. So...
    • Crippled Dragons and all three kinds of giant amoebas can now seed in underground caverns as bosses.
    • Giant shadow bats can now also seed in interiors as bosses.
    • Fairies can now also seed in exteriors as bosses.
    • In general as we add more boss types, we'll try to make them more available in different circumstances rather than restricting them so much to just a few areas. That in turn will lead to more interesting enemy combinations in general, and just generally more varied circumstances.
  • Previously, when your character was miniaturized and did something like duck, they would sink into the ground far too much because some offsets weren't being scaled properly. This probably also affected some enemies when the enemies weren't at full scale and were bobbing up and down, etc. Fixed.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for reporting.
  • When the player "walks" into ocean, seaport, or ocean shallows tiles in the world map, they are now automatically shown in a canoe rather than somehow walking on water.
  • Finally fixed a bug that was still allowing players to leap out of their sailing ships into ocean regions. Now you have to go out in a canoe, which has been the intent from the start.
  • The intro mission story has been updated to reflect the current lore of the game better, rather than the state of the lore from a year ago.
  • Fixed a bug where macro game environmental threats (ice pirates) could spawn on deep sea ports.
  • "Environmental threats" (at the moment, just ice pirates) are now another game mechanic that is not unlocked until the second continent. While very fun and interesting, there is enough going on for new players on the first continent without also having to deal with this.
  • Commodities are now known as Common Ingredients. Rare Commodities are now known as Arcane Ingredients.
    • A few of the commodities are only used for guardian powers. These are now in their own category, combined with consciousness shards (also used for guardian powers), called Building Materials.
    • Thanks to eRe4s3r for originally raising the issue, and then many players for weighing in with suggestions, including BobTheJanitor, Terraziel, Penumbra, Dizzard, KDR_11k, zebramatt, and Moo.

Beta 0.581 Oh, Carp!

(Released February 23rd, 2012)

  • The game will now remember a player's last active "usables" inventory row so that if you quit (or disconnect, in MP) and come back you'll have the same row selected as when you left.
    • Thanks to Admiral for suggesting this back during the early public versions.
  • Piercing shots can now pierce static objects on battlegrounds, just not actors, making them basically as useful as non-piercing spells, rather than way less so.
  • The confirm messages for quit-game and exit-to-operating-system now explicitly state that all progress will be saved before the game is ended.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for the suggestion.
  • The guardian power interface now lists powers that are not currently usable (for whatever reason) in red, instead of the same color (albeit with a different background) as usable powers.
    • Thanks to Itchykobu for the suggestion.
  • Player footfall sounds are now suppressed during storm rush, because the frequency of sounds would prevent playing "you've been damaged" audio feedback, etc.
    • Thanks to Bluddy for the report.
  • Fixed a bug where windstorm movement was not applying to player entity jumps when the player entity had previously stopped moving.
    • Thanks to Toll for the report.
  • Made item pickup collision boxes a bit bigger so that it wouldn't be as hard to pick them up on slopes.
    • Thanks to Toll for the report and save.
  • Enchant descriptions now "fold" multiple effects which apply to the same stat into one line, so instead of a -10% falling speed and -20% falling speed both showing as separate lines, it shows -30% falling speed.
    • Thanks to jerith for the suggestion.
  • Secret missions can now seed in a region with a settlement.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for pointing out that they weren't.
  • Fixed a bug in the previous version where the upper inventory row could sometimes cause errors if you clicked an empty slot (the errors were harmless, but probably unsettling).
  • Elusion Scrolls can now again be used to warp out of a mission area, but doing so will abandon the mission. As the amended description reads:
    • Extremely rare and powerful scroll that allows you to escape directly to the world map.
    • WARNING: using this inside a mission area will immediately abandon that mission and all progress on it, without a confirmation. This is to allow the scroll to be used as a "panic" escape mechanism if you so choose. You probably do not want to keep this in a place where you could accidentally trigger it.
  • Fixed a bug where both the 9th and 10th ability slot were displaying the keycode description for the 9th slot.
    • Thanks to mrhanman for the report.
  • Fixed a bug where clicking an unlock on the unlock screen and then clicking another one without closing the popup from the first would result in the popup showing the second unlock's text but without having properly re-initialized.
    • Thanks to Penumbra for the report.
  • Boss Gangs can now only pick "fairy" for one of its three picks; once it does so both green and red fairies are removed from consideration for the remaining picks for that gang.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for pointing out the... deleterious performance effects of a fairy-only gang.
  • Put in some crash prevention that could previously happen when trying to get the name of an overlord that did not exist.
    • Thanks to TyberZann for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug where running the game as a multiplayer client and then being disconnected from the server and starting a game locally would not switch the process into Single-Player mode properly, causing all manner of problems.
    • Thanks to TyberZann for the report.
  • Fixed a bug from the prior version where all staircases (and switch rooms) were reversed in where they had their doors.
    • Thanks to Armanant for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug that was allowing doors and other objects to appear almost (or literally) on top of one another) in the prior version.
    • Thanks to mrhanman, Ixiohm, Terraziel, Moo and TyberZann for reporting.
  • Fixed numerous cosmetic bugs with the rotation of game entities.
  • Ever since the switch to upgrade stones instead of vitality stones, the game has accidentally been deducting 1 too few stones from your inventory whenever you do an upgrade. Fixed.
    • Thanks to Armanant for reporting.
  • Removed the escape menu button that allowed players to abandon missions. That was basically a "get out of jail free" card for any dangerous situation in a mission, which was never the intent. If you get absolutely stuck in a mission, there is still an "Abandon Character" function that suicides you like usual. And if you have a precious Elusion scroll, you can abandon a mission that way. And if you simply go to the mission exit, for that matter, you can abandon it that way, too.
    • Thanks to khadgar for noting how cheap this was.
  • Fixed an issue with the underground NPC rescue missions where sometimes the caves would be too small for the NPCs to fit through the passages to the exit.
    • Thanks to khadgar for reporting.

More Work On The Ocean/Underwater Experience (And Three New Enemies)

  • New Enemy: Carp. The Elephants of the Sea.
    • They seed in Ocean and Ocean Shallows regions.
  • New Enemy: Blue Whales. The... machineguns of the sea?
    • They also seed in Ocean and Ocean Shallows regions.
  • New Enemy: Balck Whales. These are minibosses, and you don't want to mess with them if you can help it.
    • They also seed in Ocean and Ocean Shallows regions. However, you'll only find them in underground cavern boss caves, because the surface boss chunks are still messed up in the oceans.
  • Ocean and Ocean Shallows regions no longer receive "migration" of monsters from other regions, nor do their monsters migrate to other regions.
  • Underwater caves, and particular underwater boss caves, are now really different in how their mapgen works. They're a lot more open and spacious, so that the whales and such have plenty of room to get you and there are fewer places to hide. Bring along crates or wooden platforms for mobility and cover!
  • Made it so that the ladders are now completely omitted from the ocean and ocean shallows caves. Seriously -- bring crates or wooden platforms!
  • Fixed an issue that was causing goodies like granite rocks to seed in pools of water or lava more than they should have in the prior version (it shouldn't be happening except in the ocean shallows and oceans from now on; and swamps, actually).
    • Thanks to Terraziel, mrhanman, and Moo for reporting.

Beta 0.580 Volcanic Gangs

(Released February 22nd, 2012)

  • Fixed bug where stealth assassination missions were saying they would result in the building of a wind shelter (they don't, and shouldn't be fibbing so).
    • Thanks to Moo for the report.
  • Corrected an omission in the rescue-npc mission success logic: it was supposed to be triggering the "Rescue NPC from (whatever time period)" unlocks, but the code just hadn't been written to do that.
    • Thanks to Jalen Wanderer for reporting that the unlock wasn't happening.
  • Fixed a bug where it was possible to warp out of a mission area using an elusion scroll.
  • The first continent settlement will now always have a lumbermancer, stonebinder, and aquaurge. Old worlds lacking any of those in the first continent settlement will have npcs with the appropriate professions added upon load.
  • Crafting unlocks are now done per-player.
    • All crafting resources still go into the settlement stockpile, but each player can spend each resource once (they only see their "own" amount remaining, and have no idea what other players have left).
    • This allows different players (either in MP, or succession-SP if playing with different accounts) to specialize differently; one person can choose to be a green-focused character, while another can choose to be red-focused, etc.
    • Note that guardian powers still pull from the stockpile "globally", so that's still something you'll need to coordinate in MP, but no resource used to pay for a guardian power is (or ever can be) used for a crafting recipe, so there's no conflict.
  • It is now possible for game mechanics to be unlocked via the unlockables system. This is a rather broad concepts, but it's helpful for us in terms of giving a natural flow to the game -- as we already do with spells, regions, monsters, and other stuff.
    • As the first example of this, it is no longer possible for any NPCs to get to skill level 4 or 5 of their profession until the second continent is unlocked. This mechanic is just too complex for the start of the game when players are learning the rest of the game mechanics, but it's something that is quite cool once you have progressed beyond the basics.
      • This is a great example of our general philosophy with content gating in the game: give it to players on a schedule that feels non-overwhelming and fun, rather than just dumping everything on them at the start.
  • The conditions for all of the personality building unlocks have all been adjusted so that they do not appear until the second continent or beyond. And many now don't appear until the third continent (since having more of them makes that part of the game harder, it's a natural progression this way).
  • Fixed a bug where playing a world, quitting the world (but not the application), and starting a new world would carry over the total enchant points from the previous world.
  • Made a lot of "ability rejected due to..." and similar error messages only log to ArcenDebugLog.txt instead of also logging to the chat window. That way you still have the info but you don't think something went wrong unless... well, unless something obviously goes wrong :)
  • Several updates to the continent-generation logic. This won't affect existing continents, but it will affect new continents in new and existing worlds:
    • Every continent is now guaranteed to have at least two batches of ocean/ocean shallows tiles. Previously they often did, but weren't required to. So that could make sea essence and coral really hard to find.
      • Note that these batches might all be next to one another, and thus seem like one big batch. And further note that the size of the batches are not guaranteed, so there will be _some_ ocean but it might really vary quite a lot. And ocean shallows nor ocean individually are guaranteed, but you will have one or the other (most likely both, but you never know).
    • As region types are unlocked, it is now a requirement that each continent will include at least one region of every unlocked type at the time of its creation. This means that continents will naturally tend to get a bit larger as the game goes on, and it also means that you won't be crippled by an inability to get some resource that is only found in some specific continent. The first continents already had a looser form of this guarantee, but now all continents have this sort of thing.
    • Rather than just every continent having a single port region, there are now between 3-6 port regions randomly scattered about on each. You might get unlucky and have a "port section" where all the ports cluster, or they might be spread out more around your landmass. The idea with this one is to make for easier travel between continents.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for suggesting the changes for oceans and ocean shallows.
  • The miniature spell can no longer be triggered by double-tapping the down key. That's what ducking is now for, and having that trigger miniature accidentally is annoying. Miniature is still a hugely useful spell, but it's one that you're more likely to switch between outside of combat, so it doesn't need to be hot-bound.
  • Fixed an issue with a "large atrium" room template file that was causing rooms to be divided in half with one part inaccessible. This was not a new error, but large atrium room templates were not used commonly enough in the past for people to notice (but now they are one of several types of room templates used for mission staging areas).
    • Thanks to KDR_11k, Jalen Wanderer, and Underfot for reporting.
  • Fixed a fairly rare crash bug that could happen during dungeon generation in the prior version.
    • Thanks to mithrandi for reporting.
  • Fixed the rescuable-npc tooltip to not try to show a profession skill level.
  • Fixed a multiplayer bug where an npc in a rescue-npc mission trying to pick up the flying green health drops would crash the game (and, even when the crashing was fixed, still didn't work).
    • Thanks to The Mimic for the report.
  • Made it so that only skelebot males will ever seed in far-future rescue missions. The female skelebots are too tall to comfortably try to get through the passages and rescue.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for reporting.
  • Reverted the basements and attics to using 3-high hallways so that they are comfortable to traverse again. However, also made it so that they are now commonly filled with tons of crates in various places, making them something you have to punch through in a new fashion.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for reporting the problems with the 2-high hallways.
  • Fixed a whole host of issues that would happen when you completed a mission and then kept trying to explore the mission area. Since the mission had been dumped from memory, the game didn't know how to keep generating the building or caves or whatever from that mission, and this led to all sorts of oddities and crashes. Fortunately this was only something that people who were interested in extra side exploration would even run into. This won't fix any existing missions that are messed up in this way, but it will prevent new missions from having this issue.
    • Thanks to Jalen Wanderer for reporting.
  • Fixed a rather serious bug in the prior version that was preventing "goodies" (like granite, iron veins, etc) from seeding in caverns and surface tunnels.
    • Thanks to Terraziel, jerith, Moo, and Clovis for reporting.
  • The darkness intensity around the giant shadow bats has been cut in half. When we changed the darkness model granularity a few releases back, this made the giant shadow bats incredibly more opaque. At first this seemed like maybe a fun thing, but with more playtime it became obvious that it was, instead, rather annoying.
    • Thanks to Bluddy for suggesting.
  • Fixed an issue with a number of objects like warp gates, mission entrances, workbenches, and similar, which were using the wrong collision depth. Now their _draw_ depth is the same as it was -- so they are placed nice and forward where they are easy to see -- but they won't get placed in front of buildings anymore, like they were when their collision depth was set too far forward. (Collision depth affects draw depth, but in this case only draw depth was what was needing to be changed).
    • This won't fix existing buildings that have their entrances blocked by (visible or invisible) mission entrances or similar, but it will prevent it from happening in the future.
    • Thanks to Toll for reporting.
  • There are now a lot of new pieces used in creating the procedurally-generated rooms, leading to overall more variance in them.
  • Fixed a longstanding bug where idling on the world map in MP would cause you to be disconnected from the server.
  • The world clock will now stop running if no player has used an ability in the last 30 seconds or so (this is for both MP and SP). The concept of "an ability" is pretty broad, though, so you won't be able to do much of anything without the clock running.
  • Previously, characters were safe from heat and cold ambient damage inside buildings. Given the rundown state of buildings after the catastrophe, that's no longer the case.
  • Previously, characters could take heat/cold damage in mission staging areas. That's kind of counter to a mission staging area, so now they do not.
  • Fixed a bug where a summoned rhino would just stand in one spot after you left their chunk and came back after a while.
    • Thanks to martyn_van_buren for the report.
  • Battlefield allied minion shots now have +150% projectile speed and -60% projectile lifetime. They now travel the same distance but much faster, which helps keep them viable during windstorms. The windstorm effect still reduces their effective range, however.
    • Thanks to GrimerX and Toll for reporting that the windstorm effect was preventing the projectiles from progressing at all.
  • Whenever you exit to the world map your mana is now restored to maximum.
    • Thanks to c4sc4 and Toll for feedback leading to this change.
  • Fixed really longstanding bug where pressing confirm while paused in front of a building would cause you to enter that building after you unpaused.
    • Thanks to Admiral for the report.
  • Fixed bug where the mission-details display wouldn't display the icon or name for a secret mission if the icon had not already been loaded previously.
  • Fixed a couple longstanding bugs where wind shelters would not cover the entire intended area.
    • Thanks to Toll for the report and save.

Interface Clarity / Usability (Part 1)

  • The older text-heavy world event log has been removed, and in its place a much leaner, more graphical, and quicker-to-parse continent event log has been put in its place.
    • All older events from older worlds are being purged as part of this -- sorry about that. But the level of detail being logged in the new system doesn't correlate to the old.
    • The continent event log can be found under the continent status section of the planning menu, rather than being out cluttering up the escape menu.
    • The continent event log just shows a series of 64x64 sized icons in a paginated format, with the icon telling you what happened and in what order.
      • You can mouseover the event log entry to get the name of the entry, and you can click the entry to get the descriptive text of that entry as well as what date (in the new seasonal calendar for Environ) it happened on.
    • Events logged are as follows: Lieutenant Killed, Overlord Killed, NPC Killed, Player Character Killed, Guardian Power Mission Complete, Secret Mission Complete, World Map Mission Complete, Continent Reaches New Tier.
      • Previously there were a bunch of other events logged: things like mission failure or expiration, vengeful ghost spawning, when overlords or lieutenants arrived, when wind shelters are put up, etc; but those things mainly had the effect of cluttering up the log and preventing you from seeing the actual bird's eye view of what has happened on the continent. And a lot of things are easily inferred from other events that we are still logging (a vengeful ghost is kind of a given when a character dies, and a wind shelter being put up is kind of a given when you complete a wind shelter mission; etc).
  • Fixed a bug in the prior version where all the enchant slots would disappear while you were dragging an enchant around under some circumstances (such as having no enchants equipped, or having no enchant equipped in the valid slot for the enchant type you are dragging).
    • Now it just hides all the enchant slots that are not relevant for the enchant type you are dragging -- what it was supposed to be doing in the prior version, but wasn't quite.
    • Thanks to Hyfrydle and Moo for reporting.
  • Improved the View Settlement NPCs window to be a bit clearer, and to no longer include mouseovers -- instead you click for the information, which keeps the mouseovers from getting in your way as you look at all your NPCs.
  • Rather than saying "press confirm to do something," the game now says "press E to do something," and changes out E if you actually rebind the first keyboard key.
    • Thanks to Amy Brann for suggesting.
  • Gave the non-tooltip treatment to the unlockables menu. Now you can click to see the details of what needs to happen for an unlockable, rather than having a big in-your-way tooltip popping up all the time.
    • Additionally, made it so that on the button itself, without any need of a tooltip, you can now see your progress toward the "kill X enemy of type" sort of unlockables.
      • Thanks to GrimerX for suggesting the progess change.
  • Gave the non-tooltip treatment to the guardian power listings.
    • They now show their information when clicked, rather than when moused-over, and that information is now a bit more concise and attractive.
    • When you are clicking to actually try to use the scroll, it now shows a confirm popup with the same information and with a Yes/No prompt that lets you decide if you really want to use it or not.
  • The Guardian Power Grimoire is now called the Guardian Power Encyclopedia, and it now only includes guardian powers that have actually been unlocked in the current world (same as the Crafting Grimoire only shows spells that have been unlocked).
    • Early on in the game this is crucial, because this keeps the list of guardian powers much lower, rather than having 30+ personality buildings cluttering up that display before they are relevant.
  • The "default controls" label on the main menu now says "current controls" instead, and now shows the actual current controls the game is set for.
    • As part of getting this to make sense, we had to reset some of the internal keybindings. If your controls were customized prior to this version and now have reset, then simply reset them and that's all there is to it.
    • Also, the default keybindings for the enchants and usables inventories have been switched. That way the order of importance goes from left to right, which makes a lot more sense. Feel free to rebind to what you're used to, obviously.
    • Thanks to zebramatt for suggesting.
  • Rather than having the text for the numbers of each slot in your ability bar baked into the graphic, it now actually draws the primary keyboard key that those abilities are bound to. Thus if you prefer to rebind your keys for easier access for your own preferences, you still retain an on-screen indicator of what ability corresponds with what key.
  • When your inventory is open it now shows at least two rows, even if you have no items.
    • Thanks to zebramatt for pointing out the confusing new-player-experience with this.
  • Fixed an issue with the region menu and the guardian power window being able to draw over top of one another oddly.
    • Thanks to jerith for reporting.
  • In recent versions, the amount of damage blocked by higher level shield spells was being incorrectly reported in the crafting menu. Fixed.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for reporting.
  • Fixed a couple of places where the amount of CP for the next tier would show a really negative number once you hit tier 5.
    • Thanks to Toll for reporting.
  • Added the "Next Continent Tier Increase" line on the escape menu, so that you can see how close you are to the next tier increase without hovering over the planning button.
  • If the current chunk's tier is higher than that of the overall continent, there is now a line that says "Chunk Tier (Higher Than Continent Tier)" in red on the escape menu, and shows what the chunk tier is. This happens from going into deeper caves, mainly, at the moment.
  • If you're in a mission, the escape menu now shows the name of the type of mission you are in, and whether it has ended or is still in progress.
  • Because of persistent confusion about dungeon depth, the depth is now shown in the escape menu when it is not zero. This way people can tell for sure if they have reached the depth at which they are supposed to be in order to complete an unlockable.
    • Thanks to mithrandi for inspiring this change.
  • The actual region type name is now shown in the escape menu, as well as the flavor-text region name that was previously shown.
    • Thanks to mithrandi and Bluddy for inspiring this change.
  • Fixed a bug where some formerly-keyboard-navigable windows were not handling the escape key and instead the escape menu would open immediately. Now those windows are given a chance to handle the escape key; if any of them does so it stops looking for windows to handle it and does not open the escape menu on that particular keypress.
    • Thanks to jerith for the report.
  • Many updates to the Tips & Advice section:
    • Lots of outdated information updated.
    • Added a new Civilization Progress section.
    • Fixed the buttons in the reference menu to once again properly word wrap when needed.

Jumping/Movement Changes

  • The "sliding while ducking" feature, despite being something that a lot of players really like, has been removed as a general feature.
    • This was something that, in inexperienced hands, was far too easy to trap a player in a small hold that they could slide into but then not walk out of, etc.
    • Thanks to Bluddy for suggesting.
  • A new "Powerslide" enchant type can now be found and applied to your legs.
    • This gives back the "sliding while ducking" ability for players who find it and want to use it -- therefore, those players keen to have that ability still can, but newbies don't get bitten by it.
  • Previously, if you walked off a ledge without jumping, you could then get a "free" double-jump in the air. This inherent ability has been removed.
    • This is a rather fundamental change to the way that the jumping mechanics of the game work, and something we've been meaning to do for a while, so we wanted to go ahead and get this in prior to beta 3 so that a bunch of new players don't get used to it.
  • Added in several new variants of falling speed reduction as optional modifiers for a few legs enchants, so that you can now fall more slowly depending on the enchants you get and what their combinations are.
  • Added in both double jump and triple jump enchants -- these let you double or triple jump "for free," unlike ride the lightning (in other words, no mana cost).
    • These can also be combined with ride the lightning in order to make them triple and quadruple jumps, effectively.
    • These also let you do things like the older style of walking off a platform and then jumping in the air -- walking off the platform counts as one of your "jumps," however, so a double jump will just let you do one air-jump after walking off the platform (in other words, the way things used to work). And then a triple jump lets you do two air jumps.
  • When players are holding the down key to duck, two things now also happen:
    • If normally that player falls slower (thanks to an enchant), the slowing effects of that enchant will be ignored.
    • The player will also fall with an acceleration twice that of normal regardless of enchants -- meaning that this is more helpful as a way to quickly dodge enemy attacks, for instance.
  • Heatsuits and snowsuits (the full-body kind that you equip) now make it so that you can jump slightly less high, are a bit more resistant to knockback, and move a bit slower. Actually, their handling characteristics are exactly identical to the neutral skelebot males.
  • Heatsuits, snowsuits, and neutral skelebots are now considered "heavy characters" when used, and have the following new characteristics:
    • Their movement in water and lava is less restricted than other characters, even without the special acid gills enchants. And this applies to lessening movement restrictions in lava, which even the acid gills does not.
    • Heavy characters are unable to double-jump or triple-jump, although they are still able to use ride the lightning.
    • Heavy characters always fall at their fastest possible rate (as if you were holding down with a normal character), so pressing down doesn't do anything. And that also means that fall-speed-reduction enchants don't do anything.
    • Heavy characters are never immune to falling damage (there again, those enchants don't work on them).
    • Heavy characters also can't have their jump height or jump rates increased.
    • Why all these restrictions on heavy players? Because when we want to have a platformer-type challenge, you've got to put on a heat suit. And that disables most of the things that would make platformer-type challenges a joke (you can't even transform into a bat, since the bats also take heat damage). This lets the pockets of fiery platforming remain unaffected while your mobility can shift in all sorts of interesting ways throughout the rest of the game.
  • The collision hitboxes for all player characters have been tightened downward from their head to their neck or so. This gives more wiggle-room for dodging enemy spells.
    • It also makes it incredibly easier to jump into small spaces that it seems like you should be able to, but which you baaaaarely couldn't before.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor (and probably others, over the months) for suggesting.
  • Completely redid the premise of the way that world map movement works. It is now precise and smooth, like Zelda 2, rather than snapping to grid tiles like Final Fantasy 1.
    • This doesn't have any larger gameplay ramifications, and in multiplayer other players will still jump around like they always did (for now), but it makes the world map experience a lot more fluid and reduces some headache-inducing jitter.

Underwater Exploration Improvements (Part 1)

  • When pressing the down key in water or lava, you now move down at a much faster rate; making dodging something that is at least a little more viable under normal circumstances.
  • The negative movement effects of being stuck in lava are now even more severe than before. Lava is, after all, rarer now. And it's deadlier than ever.
  • There is now a "Good Swimmer: Move Much Faster In Water" effect that can randomly be applied to acid gills enchants. These thus let you move almost like normal in underwater areas, although you still float down much more slowly.
    • This _vastly_ reduces the frustration of trying to do much in oceans or ocean shallows, making them actually viable for play.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for inspiring these.

Two New Mission Types

  • Added a new mission type "boss gang." This has both an interior and and underground variant:
    • Destroy Boss Gang In Building
      • Several powerful monsters have taken up residence in a building in this region, hoarding treasure. The bosses are concentrated all in one room, so the fight could be difficult for you, but if you triumph the treasure will be recovered.
    • Destroy Boss Gang In Cave
      • Several powerful monsters have taken up residence in a cave in this region, hoarding treasure. The bosses are concentrated all in one room, so the fight could be difficult for you, but if you triumph the treasure will be recovered.
    • The idea with this new mission type is that it's kind of like doing a boss tower all at once instead of in three stages. So you have three boss rooms' worth of bosses all in one extra-large room to house them all.
    • As an added twist, these rooms are large enough that any kind of miniboss can be used in them -- so bosses that you normally only see underground, or inside, or on the surface, all get thrown together instead. Shadow bats plus amoebas plus fairies? Giant skelebots plus urban predators plus shadow bats? The combinations you find here are really quite different from regular boss rooms, and so it's very much a mosh pit in a lot of respects.
  • Added a brutal new mission type "lava escape." This again has both an interior and an underground variant:
    • Lava Escape In Building
      • A sweet cache of resources has been found at the top of a building... that is sitting on a mysteriously selective volcanic fissure of some kind. Most glyphbearers will die within seconds of leaving the mission staging room -- don't say you weren't warned. If you really have that much of a desire to flirt with death, put on your heatsuit and start making a mad dash upwards for the switch at the top -- your suit has a readout which will alert you to how close you are to the lava.
    • Lava Escape In Cave
      • A sweet cache of resources has been found at the top of a cave system... that is sitting on a mysteriously selective volcanic fissure of some kind. Most glyphbearers will die within seconds of leaving the mission staging area -- don't say you weren't warned. If you really have that much of a desire to flirt with death, put on your heatsuit and start making a mad dash upwards for the switch at the top -- your suit has a readout which will alert you to how close you are to the lava.
    • We should note that these missions are incredibly fun, but the margin for error is very low -- depending on your action difficulty setting, the lava moves at different speeds, by the way. On master hero, you can hardly make any mistakes or you die.
    • This is a great time to use glyph transfer to bring along some NPC you don't care about, rather than your buffed-up hero, if you want to test the waters; send in the cannon fodder! Buffed up stats won't really help you with this type of mission, anyway.
    • This is also one of those areas of the game that breaks the general "death should be the result of a series of mistakes rather than the result of a momentary twitch mistake" rule. From the get-go, we've always said that the lava flats would feature that sort of hardcore platforming, and this sort of mission is basically just taking the concept of the lava flats and applying it to a completely-optional mission that can pop up in any form of region.
    • Last note: if you absolutely hate these, you will lose nothing by completely ignoring every one of them you see; that really goes for most mission types, honestly. Our goal is to explore a wide variety of gameplay types with these missions (which has always been our goal, if you look back at blog posts and interviews from a year ago), but to make it not penalize you for not playing types of gameplay that you hate. We very much are sensitive to the fact that hardcore platforming challenges, while something that a minority of AVWW players (including Chris) will love, it's something that probably a majority of them (including Keith) will be less enthused with. So these sorts of hardcore platforming challenges will be used pretty sparingly, but they will exist as optional fun things for those who like that sort of thing.
    • Thanks to Professor Paul1290 for originally suggesting this way back in October.

Beta 0.579 Secret Daring Rescues

(Released February 19th, 2012)

  • Since the conversion to the new population pattern styles for monsters, clockwork probes have been mistakenly not seeding at all in the game. Now they appear during the industrial revolution grasslands properly (if unlocked via the kill 40 water espers unlockable).
  • Fixed a bug from the last two versions in which the insides of buildings were complaining about not being able to find a couple of files. Those error messages were harmless (it didn't actually need those files, but was mistakenly trying to preload them).
    • Thanks to Toll for reporting.
  • After a mission is completed in a region, no more missions (secret or otherwise) will spawn in that region for 14 days of gametime (140 minutes of realtime, so a bit over two hours).
    • This helps to keep missions generating all over the continent in a more interesting fashion, rather than ever clumping up in the same places repeatedly.
    • If this time interval seems too long, we can of course change it. However, the sunrise and nightfall spells are also another way to reduce these timers more quickly -- they allow you to skip forward in time.
  • This really only affects old worlds: the maximum number of lieutenants who can come to help an overlord at once are now 10. Normally there are only 3 lieutenants on a continent anyhow, so for any reasonably recent game this changes nothing.
    • Thanks to poor c4sc4 for reporting that he had 132 lieutenants show up to help his overlord. Having a savegame from early alpha with 70x oversized first continent is an interesting test case.
  • Added in new menu icons for the regions; updated the region window to use these and show its headers in a more attractive way. Visual improvements to the rest of this popup menu will be forthcoming later.
  • All of the world map icons for the evil outposts, overlord lairs, settlements, boss towers, and wind shelters have been updated. They no longer have a pixelart look, but instead match the rest of the graphics and make the world map look more like a map and less like an abstract representation.
  • The mission details window that showed up when you pressed confirm in front of the mission information sign now simply shows up whenever you walk by it.
    • Thanks to zebramatt for the suggestion.
  • The mission information sign no longer shows up or does anything if there is no mission available in the region (or, more specifically, it goes away after you complete the mission instead of just showing the general region info window).
    • Thanks to martyn_van_buren for inspiring this change.
  • The region-detail-window (seen when right-clicking a region on the world map or looking at a mission instructions sign) has been redone again to have far less text and in general look better.
  • Made a change to the number of items that spawn in Ice Age Hallways so that hopefully more clay will spawn in them.
    • Thanks to jerith for pointing this out.
  • Fixed some bugs with sometimes players remaining invincible when they should not have been.
    • This was not a new bug, but it's one that has only become easily visible to players recently because of the invincible marker on the health bar.
    • Thanks to martyn_van_buren, jerith, and Terraziel for reporting.
  • Previously, all of the evil buildings only had one background kind of bricks in them. Now there are 8 total kinds of backgrounds used in these.
  • Added 16 new outdoor boss arenas that are particularly hard to traverse -- all of these are variants off the existing outdoor boss arenas that are easier to traverse.
    • These are used in the lava flats, the deep, the deciduous forest (the kind of forest you don't find until continent 3), and the swamp. They'll also be used in certain kinds of missions.
  • It is no longer possible for more than one crashed landspeeder to seed in a chunk.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for suggesting that there were far too many.
  • Clay is now unlocked by finding a stash in a townhouse of any tier, rather than tier 2 or up. This way you can actually get some long-range tier-2 spells before reaching tier 2.
  • Some dungeon node spawning rule changes for regions that haven't yet had their surface dungeon generated (or in new worlds):
    • The evil outposts will now be located between 5-7 chunks into a region in almost all cases (rather than being 3 from the end, which could easily be 20+ chunks in.
    • Similarly, overlord keeps are now located between 10-12 chunks into a region.
    • If those locations aren't available for whatever reason (very unlikely), then it will choose completely randomly from the available regular surface nodes. So it's valid that you might see an overlord keep at distance 1 or distance 20 still, but incredibly unlikely.
    • With these changes, the new larger regions become something that you can optionally explore if you feel inclined to do so, without actually being forced to do so.
  • Missions now expire after about a week's time (by the in-game calendar). Missions spawned by guardian powers last about twice as long.
    • In reality these don't function as much of a constraint, just a way of rotating out missions you don't want to play (particularly if you spam-cast Nightfall or Sunrise).
    • Thanks to Terraziel for reminding us of the need for some way for missions to go away without being played.
  • Fixed an issue in recent versions where sometimes chunks inside mission areas would get a warp gate.
  • Regular buildings outside of the lava flats and the deep no longer will have lava seeded inside of them -- the lava is too difficult for those situations (by design).
  • Lava is no longer so watery-looking as it was in the last couple of versions. Once again you lose yourself if you fall into it, and once again you're probably dead if you do. Don't fall in lava if you can help it. ;)
  • When a player clicks the dungeon map while not standing next to a warp gate, no message of any kind is now shown.
    • Thanks to jerith for suggesting.
  • Glyph transplant now costs 200 mana rather than 400. This is too important a spell for it to be out of reach of so many characters.
    • Thanks to martyn_van_buren for suggesting.
  • Several room mouseovers still mentioned profession books. All mentions of profession books have finally been stricken from the game, as they are definitely not coming back now (other, cooler things have replaced them).
    • Thanks to GrimerX and martyn_van_buren for reporting.
  • The health of the urban crawler has been tripled, making them much more formidable.
  • Fixed up all the monster types so that they now drop the appropriate kinds of drops -- non-boss stuff dropping health always, instead of just giant numbers of consciousness shards, etc. There were a number of more recent monsters, such as the clockwork probe, that had the wrong kind of drops.
    • As an added bonus, made the game warn the programmers about this in case it detects the wrong setup in the future, so we'll notice if things get off. Lots of other parts of the game already help us self-check like this, but now this does also.
    • Thanks to martyn_van_buren for reporting.
  • Whenever a spell that slides along walls has been stationary for about 0.4 seconds, it now dissipates rather than just sitting there for its remaining time to live. This really changes the feel of amoebas in particular, in a good way.
    • Thanks to a wide number of players for suggesting this.
  • Warp window strangeness fixes:
    • Previously, the tooltips for the dungeon/region maps were sort of showing, but in a glitchy way, when you were viewing the warp gate instructions popup. Now these tooltips are properly suppressed when that popup is open, because tooltips on lower items isn't supported in this fashion when a popup window is open.
    • However, previously it was also not possible to actually warp to a node on the dungeon map while having the warp instructions up. Now it is -- the confirmation popups appear above the regular popup window's layer.
    • Thanks to jerith for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug that could cause crates outside to leave holes in the wall behind them in an improper way.
  • Fixed a longstanding issue with water not flowing into spaces it should aggressively enough. This was mainly when room map templates were set up in such a way that the water had to expand to make itself look correct, but now it will expand properly. If someone made a room with a "waterfall" previously, though, it's going to expand so much that it literally fills the room, though. Word of warning!
  • There have been some justifiable complaints from players over the last months about some of the procedurally-generated interior rooms being uncomfortably low and claustrophobic to fight in, such that they can't dodge esper shots and the like -- making shield spells the only alternative. However, we don't generally want to make shield spells a required thing for play (and hence our not even letting them be unlocked right at the start), despite that shields are a great option for some players to use if it suits them. Therefore, the following changes have been made:
    • For most of the procedurally generated rooms, it will now endeavor to make hallways 4 tiles high rather than just 3 tiles high. Right near the top of these rooms that will sometimes break down, and they will only be 3 tiles (or _extremely_ rarely only two tiles) high.
    • For the attics and basements, since those are rarer, optional, and something we wanted to feel different -- we've made it so that they don't make any effort to go above 2 tiles high. This makes them even more claustrophobic than before, which seems fitting for these kinds of rooms (hey, variance is good, and these are rare).
    • For the following room types, the former height of 3 is still maintained (these are not procedural, and so tend to have much larger spaces, anyhow): Large Atrium, Low Atrium, Hallway, Generic Smallish Room, Funky Interior Walls, Single Floor Staircases (up and down), huge staircases (up and down), destroyed, general and overlord boss rooms.
  • Made it so that healing drops from enemies can now only be absorbed by the lowest-health player or NPC within 1000 pixels of the healing drop -- not only is that the player/NPC that the drop will move toward, but any other players/NPCs that it passes through will not absorb it. This makes the distribution of health in co-op and in NPC rescue missions rather automatic, which really was something that was needed.
  • Added a new green earth spell that can be unlocked: Healing Touch.
    • Touch-range healing spell that transfers a small amount of your own life energy into an ally. Only has any effect when you have more life remaining than they do.
    • This is really helpful for both co-op multiplayer, and for escort-the-NPC missions. It also makes it so that the tanks can surprisingly double as a form of healer.
  • Any damaged NPC now shows their health at all times, so that you can tell they are damaged and choose to heal them if you wish.
  • Fixed a bug that was causing shields to report that they were blocking 5000 damage erroneously. Not only was that a hardcoded value in the language file that wasn't on the proper health scale anymore, it was also woefully inaccurate. The actual amount of damage blocked by shields was... 13.
    • This has been corrected to actually show the underlying values rather than a hardcoded amount (which the rest of the spells already do), and these have been rebalanced to block up to 50 damage on a single shield charge.
    • Thanks to c4sc4 for reporting the tooltip being wrong.
  • Several enchants fixes relating to their stats:
    • Fixed a bug where the interface was not properly reflecting the amount of damage that spells would do based on your current applied enchants.
    • Fixed an even more serious bug with the enchants that was applying them to the character's stats only, and not to the actual spell stats. Thus for something that did a 10% increase in fire damage, the increase might be only 1% or even less.
    • Changed "Offensive Power" in the enchant stats notes to read "Magic Power" instead. For spells that are more logistical or defensive in nature, they are also getting these buffs (and were previously, it just wasn't clear).
  • When all of the players in a chunk are dead, but their "bones" (the yellow flames) are still in the chunk, the chunk now pauses. This makes it so that, for instance, a battlefield mission doesn't continue on without you if you are playing solo (or if you are playing co-op and everyone dies at the same time). If you're playing co-op and some players are still alive, then things will continue to work like they always have.
    • Thanks to martyn_van_buren for suggesting.
  • A number of subtle bugs (unreported so far) have recently been in the game based on our treating anything that spawns a monster in the same fashion. Now there are two classes of monster spawners: those that are general for the chunk (like which show up in boss rooms), and those which are specialized individual spawners (like allied and enemy mission bases).
  • The mission entrances all now have a further-forward draw/collision depth (basically the same as the workbenches). It was unintentional that they were set so far back before.
    • Thanks to Toll for reporting.
  • Fixed two unlockables bugs for the "destroy all monsters in surface chunk of region type of tier X" unlockables:
    • Firstly, chunks with no monsters in them would count for unlocking these.
    • Secondly, the tier for these wasn't even being checked, so tier 1 would be enough to unlock any of them.
    • Thanks to martyn_van_buren and mithrandi for reporting.
  • Glyph transplants now only work in settlements -- otherwise, it can get really messed up with things like rescue NPC missions, etc.
  • In the prior version, viewing the list of settlement structures was crashing the game because it was improperly trying to get the icons for its buildings. Fixed.
    • Thanks to c4sc4 and Underfot for reporting.
  • Fixed yet another bug that was letting underground cavern doors seed in water or lava.
  • When you drag enchants around in your enchants inventory, it now hides any enchants slots which the enchant cannot be placed in -- this makes it vastly easier to understand where you can and can't place enchants.

Secret Missions

In addition to the regular missions on the world map, and those missions that you can spawn on the world map via guardian powers, there is now a third and final category of missions: secret missions. Most surface dungeons (in new worlds) will include a single secret mission node somewhere in themselves. Interior dungeons and underground dungeons have a more random chance of including or not including a secret mission node. Undergrounds are more likely than most buildings to contain them, but buildings with a lot of floors are considerably more likely to have secret mission nodes as well.

Secret mission nodes show up as kind of an orangey gold color, slightly darker than the yellow of treasure like gem veins and stash rooms. Inside a secret mission node, there are no monsters and not a whole lot of land area. The main thing in there is a secret mission entrance point (this looks like the warp stones did, a couple of releases back -- we found a new use for those graphics).

Walking by the secret mission entrance will tell you the details about the secret mission, just like you would see for the regular missions on the world map. Certain kinds of missions will only appear as secret missions in either the underground, interior, or surface. For instance, battlefield secret missions and boss tower secret missions both only seed as surface secret missions. Underground stealth assassination missions only show up underground, while interior stealth assassination missions only show up in interiors. And so on, as we add more mission types coming up.

Secret missions differ from regular missions in the following important ways:

  • Completing a secret mission earns you no civilization progress (CP).
    • This is hugely useful, because it provides a way for you to shore up weaknesses in your main strategy by doing what amount to side missions: need more NPCs? Find a secret mission or use a guardian power. Need Cat's Eye? Look for secret missions in the regions that are most likely to give cats eye.
  • Completing a secret mission gives you no tier orbs.
    • This isn't a punishment, but basically CP is the cost of getting tier orbs. Secret missions let you get anything you want except for tier orbs, in fact.
  • Secret missions yield far lesser rewards than world map or guardian power missions.
    • With a world map or guardian power mission, you get either 5 rare commodities or 2 guardian powers. With a secret mission, you only get 2 rare commodities or 1 guardian power.
      • This, again, isn't a punishment. But basically secret missions are meant to be for shoring up specific things you are missing, not to replace the normal world map flow of missions entirely.
  • There will be a few secret mission types that aren't available as general world map missions (and probably vice-versa).
    • Currently, interior NPC rescue missions can be found as secret missions or else created via guardian powers. They never spawn on the world map randomly, though.

Secret missions each have their own time to live, and their own countdown timer before another secret mission will appear in the same secret mission node after a mission is completed there. This works like the world map missions do on a per-region basis, but instead this is per-chunk for the secret missions. Each secret mission chunk also includes a warp gate, so you can go and check on them pretty easily. Although, wandering around trying to find exactly what you want is likely to be an exercise in frustration -- we don't recommend trying to minmax to that degree. Or put another way, the better way to do that sort of minmaxing is through the efficient use of guardian power scrolls to spawn the missions you need.

Three New Missions, And New Mechanics For Getting NPCs And Erecting Wind Shelters

  • The battlefield missions and the "rare commodity tower" missions have both been changed to only have a single version of themselves. Rather than having one version that erects a wind shelter, another that gets you an NPC, and a third that gets you one primary rare commodity, the primary rewards from these have all been removed and there is only one flavor of each. Also, the "rare commodity tower" ones are now called "boss towers" instead.
    • When you complete either of these two types of missions -- Boss Tower or Battlefield -- you now get the secondary rewards alone. In other words, you get three tier orbs, and then either 3 guardian powers or 5 rare commodities.
    • Why the change? Well, having a primary reward and then secondary rewards was a bit more complex than it needed to be. And in the case when the primary reward was a rare commodity, that was actively misleading as well. We're also adding a lot of new kinds of missions both with this release and with releases coming up next week, and we don't want to have to have 3+ versions of each one just to have specific rewards. NPCs and wind shelters are specialized and should be rarer to get -- and you should have more choice in what you get, too.
    • At core, most missions really are about getting either rare commodities (to get better spells), or guardian powers (to affect the world, or improve your settlement and raise the skill level of your NPCs). For other specialized functions, there will be specialized missions, rather than lumping those in with the main missions. See below to find out even more about why this is a good thing.
  • The guardian power "Minor Tranquility" has been renamed to "Summon Wind Shelter." Way less confusing this way. What it now does:
    • The Ilari will drop construction materials for a wind shelter into the region you are standing on. This makes a "build wind shelter" mission available in that region. If you successfully complete that mission, the windstorms will be pushed back four tiles from that spot.
    • New rule: you must be standing in a windstorm region tile that is adjacent to a non-windstorm region tile. Thus this adds some strategy to how you are able to "expand your borders" and push back the curtain of windstorms that blanket the world.
    • Also note that this is now the _only_ way to get a wind shelter mission in the game. They won't appear randomly anymore, so getting a skill 3 Aquaurge in your settlement and then getting these guardian power scrolls is quite important unless you want to be fighting in the windstorms a fair amount of the time.
  • A new kind of mission has been added: Build Wind Shelter
    • The construction materials for a new wind shelter have been helpfully dropped in by the Ilari -- but minibosses sent by the overlord have set up a perimeter to block you from reaching the shelter site. You must brave the windstorm and slip past the bosses (or destroy them).
    • This uses the new hard-to-traverse outdoor boss arenas, which keep you in closer quarters with the miniboses as you try to sneak past them. It's pretty cool how it tends to work out, actually. This isn't the hardest mission in the world, but it tends to be pretty exciting and can be quite deadly if you're unlucky. And just getting to the point of even having this mission available requires you to get the guardian power to create it, etc, so really this is the final step in a whole chain of effort in order to get a new wind shelter.
    • As an aside, wind shelters previously only pushed back the wind by 3 tiles, but now they push it back by 4 instead -- the same amount of area as a settlement. So you don't need to build quite as many wind shelters anymore to get a lot of coverage. Just be clever about where you're putting them.
    • As another side, the final stage of this process is to actually walk up to the wind shelter and have it grow into its full self in front of you. This brings back the old tactile method of putting up wind shelters, which a lot of people had clearly missed.
  • A new kind of mission has been added: Stealth Assassination. This actually has two variants, one indoors and one underground -- they are very similar in most respects, but their levels are designed such that they do play out with a pretty different feel despite having the same overall rules (we still count these as one mission type, though, and they share an icon).
    • Stealth Assasination (Interior)
      • A powerful monster in a nearby building is hoarding a cache of desperately needed supplies. The Ilari can largely mask your presence and make the boss vulnerable to you, enabling you to sneak into the building and assassinate this foe. However, this has the unfortunate side effect of making it unusually dark, and of making the boss room look like a regular room on your dungeon map. Beware the guards: though fairly blind, they are far stronger than normal monsters, and it is better to avoid their notice than to fight them.
      • Tip: The boss is always in a room with only one exit. Look for the red boss marker on your minimap when you enter such rooms; if it's not there, move on.
    • Stealth Assasination (Underground)
      • A powerful monster in a nearby cave system is hoarding a cache of desperately needed supplies. The Ilari can largely mask your presence and make the boss vulnerable to you, enabling you to sneak into the cave and assassinate this foe. However, this has the unfortunate side effect of making it unusually dark, and of making the boss room look like a regular room on your dungeon map. Beware the guards: though fairly blind, they are far stronger than normal monsters, and it is better to avoid their notice than to fight them.
      • Tip: The boss is always in a room with only one main exit. However, these rooms often have one or more side passages that you can take advantage of. Look for the red boss marker on your minimap when you enter such rooms; if it's not there, move on.
    • Both of these mission types can appear directly on the world map in the normal mission rotation -- like boss towers and battlefields -- but they also can be used as secret missions. The underground one only shows up as a secret mission underground, and the interior one only shows up as a secret mission in interiors, though.
    • Thanks to zebramatt for suggesting this mission type.
  • A new kind of mission has been added: Rescue Survivor. This actually has two variants, one indoors and one underground -- they are very similar in their overall rules, but one is very vertically oriented and one is very horizontally oriented, which changes the feel and the strategy enormously (we still count these as one mission type, though, and they share an icon).
    • Rescue Survivor (Interior)
      • A survivor is trapped in a building by a mysterious force -- alive, but unable to escape past the legions of monsters guarding the exit.
      • If you enter the massive room inside the structure -- without aid of your usual map -- find the survivor, and lead them to the exit, the Ilari can bring the survivor to your settlement. If you attempt the mission and either you or the survivor die, the survivor will be lost.
    • Tip: The survivor will be invulnerable to enemies until spoken to, and will float after you attempting to help stave off the enemies as the two of you make your escape together. Beware an influx of monsters after you start trying to make your escape!
      • So essentially this is an escort mission, with the NPC helping you fight off the monsters as you make your way out. These rooms are absolutely enormous, really wide but not very tall. That leads to some very minor maze-like conditions that might warrant leaving some sort of breadcrumb-like markers to make your passage out a lot easier.
      • When you meet the NPC, they will be running around staving off monsters already, and so depending on the layout they might actually meet you halfway across the room (or not, depending on if there is some ledge they can't get up).
    • Rescue Survivor (Underground)
      • A survivor is trapped in a very deep cave by a mysterious force -- alive, but unable to escape past the legions of monsters guarding the exit (not to mention the complete lack of ladders).
      • If you enter the massive cavern -- without aid of your usual map -- find the survivor, and lead them to the exit, the Ilari can bring the survivor to your settlement. If you attempt the mission and either you or the survivor die, the survivor will be lost.
      • Tip: The survivor will be invulnerable to enemies until spoken to, and will float after you attempting to help stave off the enemies as the two of you make your escape together. Beware an influx of monsters after you start trying to make your escape -- and be sure to bring plenty of wooden platforms, or you'll be lost for sure!
      • Also obviously an escort mission like the interior version, but this one feels incredibly different. As you climb down you'll want to leave a trail of wooden platforms so that you can quickly find your way back out while fighting off the monster hordes. The feeling of claustrophobia in these particular caverns is... substantial.
    • The other cool thing is that minor healing drops can be picked up by the NPC just as easily as you, and you can also use the new Healing Touch spell to heal the NPC, as well. To some extent, this means that really high-health characters might be best suited for this particular type of mission -- another example of where keeping a stable of multiple upgraded heroes you can call on is not a bad idea.
  • The Seek Resources and Seek Survivors guardian power scrolls just got a lot more powerful: rather than just spawning new missions on the region you are standing on, they also attempt to spawn such missions on the regions that are adjacent to your current region. So you wind up with five new options rather than one.
  • Rescue-NPC missions are now generated with an NPC from the region's time period, rather than one of the time periods currently "unlocked" for npc generation.
    • Rescue-NPC missions will now never seed on regions that don't have a time period with NPCs in it (i.e. lava flats, oceans, etc).
      • Similarly, the Seek Survivor guardian power won't work on those regions; you won't lose the scroll, you just won't be able to use it there.
    • Thanks to The Mimic for pointing out the oddness of the prior behavior.
  • All the "Meet" NPCs unlocks have been renamed to "Rescue", and are only triggered when you successfully complete a rescue-NPC mission in a region of that time period.
  • An enormous number of new background tilesets have been added to the game for missions specifically -- those that have interior segments now use region-specific that are much more varied and which add extra interest to the missions. There's something like 20ish new backgrounds that players haven't been seen before, although all but 2 of them have actually had their graphics done since way back in alpha.

Beta 0.578 Battlefield Glow

(Released February 16th, 2012)

  • Months ago, well before beta, we had built in capabilities for dumping textures from RAM. However, there was never really a clear case where we needed to do that, as our total volume of textures was low enough not to cause too many issues (under two gigs). And we kind of figured that once it started becoming a problem, we'd start hearing about it and could do something about it then; but without a clear use case, we'd be shooting in the dark. So we built the unload mechanism without actually making the game trigger that mechanism, to await a time when it might be needed.
    • That time is now. Surprisingly the machine in question that was having some issues with RAM is an 8GB beast, but so it goes. It's also the largest-known world (50MB on disk), belonging to alpha tester c4sc4. It's actually not possible to get worlds that large very easily anymore, and the worry we thought we'd have -- heap space -- actually turned out not to be an issue. But with a slightly larger-than-average heap space, and then lots of RAM being used by textures, it was getting to where he could trigger a crash.
    • Thus, the game now unloads most of its side-view textures, except for things like particle effects and those images associated with your own character, any time you visit the world map. This keeps there from being unbounded texture RAM growth if you explore lots of regions in one play session. As we continue to add more and more images to the game, this problem was only going to compound anyhow (and it has since alpha), so this problem neatly bounds the problem and should solve the issue completely.
    • The downside of this unloading is that, of course, the game later has to reload those same images off disk again later on. Since we only do this when going to the world map, however, that is rare enough to not really be annoying. And on a 7000 RPM hard drive, the reloading of the related textures tends to take 1-3 seconds, so we're not talking about a lot of time here.
    • Thanks to c4sc4 for reporting this issue.
  • As part of our quest to reduce RAM use -- and load times -- we've made it so that the glowing colored outlines that get used whenever you cast a spell now only applies to player characters and NPCs. In other words, not to enemies (and, actually it was mistakenly applying these to static objects -- trees, rocks, etc -- which was slowing things down even more previously).
    • Each type of entity that uses this effect causes extra load time (to create an in-memory texture that contains their outline) as well as extra RAM (to hang onto that texture that was generated. So severely cutting back which enemies use this really is a huge savings, particularly when you figure in minibosses and larger -- their textures are massive enough as it is, that it becomes enormously wasteful in the end.
  • Correction to the above: completely removed the white outline code and shaders for characters, and implemented a new shader that allows us to highlight any entity in a color directly on the GPU (very efficient, and no extra RAM allocations -- also less loading time).
    • Thanks to Bluddy for getting us to think about colored shading in this fashion, albeit in a different context.
  • Previously, there were a lot of misleading colors being used by monsters when they attack you, etc. Now they, and all characters, use consistent spellcasting colors that show what element of spell is being cast at the time. With the glows no longer being so subtle anymore, that helps in general.
  • When entities take damage, they now glow crimson rather than white. None of the spellcasting colors are crimson (fire is dark orange instead), so this keeps this kind of damage glow distinct from the actual spellcasting glows.
    • Thanks to Bluddy for suggesting.
  • The glow time (and casting _stance_ time -- not casting time itself) of enemies now matches that of players (rather than being twice as slow). This has zero effect on gameplay, but looks better.
  • Battlefield missions:
    • Are now about twice as wide.
    • Now have enemy towers placed along the path.
      • Each has 50% resistance to a random element.
      • Each has a random elemental attack drawn from existing enemies (quite literally drawn for them, hence the purple one saying "Landspeeder Robot Missile"; watch out for those, but at least they can be shot down).
      • While a tower stands, no tower or enemy-base to the right can be damaged. So you can still raid behind enemy lines to distract them and tie up their reinforcements (though we do intend to make the frontliners not automatically chase you, later) and hit the next tower, you can't just assasinate the enemy base unless all the towers are down.
  • Fixed a bug that was causing the "skip intro mission" option not to work in the prior version.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for reporting.
  • Improved the un-checked toggles to just be blank red rather than having a minus sign drawn in them, making them a lot clear as to their meaning.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug that was causing a bunch of unhandled exceptions anytime players walked next to deployed decoy fireworks.
  • Fixed a bug that was causing the decoy fireworks to draw their icon as a pink square.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for reporting.
  • Rather than always showing the cost on the upgrade screen in red, which was confusing, it now shows the costs in red when the on-hand stock is not enough, and in green when the on-hand stock is enough to do the upgrade.
    • Thanks to martyn_van_buren for suggesting.
  • Fixed the display of the health bar tooltip to show the actual health values on the same scale that the rest of the game now uses, rather than using the underlying numbers (which are used for mathematical purposes only, and correlate to the visible numbers, but have no place being seen by players as they are confusing and irrelevant).
    • Thanks to martyn_van_buren, Terraziel, and Toll for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug where the earth seeker enchant was working the same as the fire seeker enchant (this wasn't a textual bug, it was actually a functional one). All the other seeker enchants were ok.
    • Thanks to Toll for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug in which rescued NPCs were always being sent to the first continent, but were then showing up in the list of the second continent as if they were there.
    • Also made this retroactively correct the locations of any NPCs who were supposed to be in one settlement but actually were in a different one. That also will add some degree of future-proofing in case we run into a similar problem again. On world load, that problem would resolve itself next time.
    • Thanks to Toll for reporting.
  • The game now automatically cleans out old citybuilding data from the old top-down view, for worlds that have that. They were cluttering up the interface for players in older worlds, and adding bloat to the world file in a way that was unneeded.
  • Fixed a rather critical bug from the prior version that was causing characters to be unable to pick up more than one of most items, and causing them to get stuck sliding and ducking next to coffers.
    • Thanks to Toll, Jalen Wanderer, Jerebaldo1, jerith, Terraziel, Magos Mechanicus, and stants for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug in the prior version that was preventing players from jumping to the top of building interiors or underground caverns (a fix to the outside chunks mistakenly also changed these).
    • Thanks to Toll and Jalen Wanderer for reporting.
  • Previously, the spell cooldowns were reported incorrectly (and in a few places even being applied incorrectly when it came to enchants modifying the cooldowns). All of this logic has now been centralized, so that it reports what the real number is, and always uses that real number.
    • Thanks to Toll for reporting.
  • Fixed the graphical issue with the sun or the moon having to quickly move to the correct location when changing between chunks or loading a game.

Beta 0.577 Transplant Upgrade

(Released February 15th, 2012)

  • Fixed a multiplayer bug where releasing the key for an ongoing ability (storm dash, air shield, etc) while transitioning between chunks would cause an error message and potentially cause you to still have whatever ongoing ability it was still on when you entered another chunk.
  • Fixed a bug whereby the tiers of monsters in underground caverns was not incrementing as it should as you went deeper.
  • The game is now able to scale monsters to tiers 6-10, when players venture far enough underground. The overall continent tier will never go above 5, and ditto for the player spells and such, so this constitutes a rather extreme difficulty curve if you wish to get 11 tiers deep underground -- something we figure that the harder-core players might find to be an amusing ultra-challenge.
  • Mission gates now have a vastly wider entrance box, so you can stand pretty much anywhere in front of them and enter them, now.
  • Put in some more fixes to prevent the issue where the Ilari-stone heal wasn't happening for seemingly random people at seemingly random times in multiplayer. Let us know if you see it again.
  • As a general enhancement, the health meter now shows the text "Invincible" whenever you are invincible.
    • This should help make things more clear to new players, as well as should help existing players have confidence that their hidden-by-menu character is actually invincible behind a menu (or make it clear when the character is NOT invincible, by the same token).
  • Previously it was possible for the "don't worry, you're safe while reading this" messages to actually be a lie -- for whatever reason, the invincibility would not be applied (possibly it was already scheduled to be removed, etc.
    • Fixed this so that now the game constantly checks to make sure the invincibility is actually applied, and if it is not then it applies it, during these sorts of windows.
    • Thanks to martyn_van_buren for reporting.
  • Fixed an exception that could happen when adding warp stones to dungeons in some cases.
    • Thanks to mrhanman for reporting.
  • Warp Stones have been replaced by Warp Gates.
    • The gates are functionally identical to warp stones, but they have different graphics and a different name.
    • The gates are a lot smaller than the warp stones, letting them fit in vastly more confined spaces. They are also something that makes sense visually to float anywhere (since they look like a portal-type vortex) -- so they aren't limited by the amount of ground space available to them. This lets them, for instance, float in a stairwell that would have no room for a warp stone.
    • Thematically these work more interestingly, too, as instead of being man-made constructs they are cracks in spacetime that you can exploit to get around in a region -- that makes a lot more sense and is more fitting with the general lore of the game.
    • Thanks to martyn_van_buren, Toll, and Revannefarious for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue where underwater caverns and ocean tiles would not have their warp stones seeded properly. With the new warp portals, there is now a variant that works in water for situations just such as these (while still keeping them out of water in the main cases).
    • Thanks for BobTheJanitor for reporting.
  • Mission explanation signs now have actual graphics, rather than just reusing the mission exit graphics.
  • Previously, the blip from a ball of light (or any other light source) could cover up the blip from a door. Fixed.
    • Thanks to zebramatt and Erocs for reporting.
  • Fixed a couple of minor visual glitches with the cross-chunk fades (things like the sky going too dark too soon, etc).
  • Changed a couple rooms so that falling in lava in these rooms wasn't an automatic death sentence.
    • Thanks to jerith for pointing this one out.
  • The "Planning" button on the game HUD no longer instantly pops open the screen-blocking window, instead it requires you to hold down the button for half a second before it actually triggers (there's even a charge bar, it must take effort to think hard enough to plan!).
    • Hopefully this will cut down on the number of unintentional triggerings of this window.
    • Thanks to GrimerX for the suggestion.
  • Corrected the issues with the parallax backgrounds of the buildings in the citybuilding layer of settlements. It previously could get quite dizzying walking around settlements.
  • Corrected several issues with the parallax backgrounds in general; they now behave more naturally and subtly.
    • This also has the happy side effect that high cliffs now FEEL high. Rather than having the same trees or whatever behind you on such a peak, all that has dropped away below you, leaving you with a slightly intimidating view that is mostly sky. When you then descend off that peak, the forest or whatever closes back in, which is a pretty cool effect that we didn't even know we were missing before.
  • Fixed a bug with the way that the skies were being drawn which could lead to a big thick black line across the bottom of the sky on the screen.
  • Fixed the issue where the list of settlement residents was including the hearth guardian stone.
  • Fixed an issue where the skill level of NPCs was sometimes being reported incorrectly for their profession.
  • The skill level of NPCs is now labeled "skill level," to hopefully prevent confusion of that with the continent tier.
  • Improved the ordering of the character stats a bit, so that the most important information is now first.
  • Much improved the tooltips for the status of NPCs, so that it now lists all the buildings that are holding them back from each skill level at their profession. Previously, the information on how to reach skill 3 was not in the game, and it wasn't clear that the "wants buildings" would let them reach skill levels 4 and 5.
  • Fixed a bug that was causing glyph transplant to often not work.
  • Fixed a bug that was causing many NPCs to refuse to speak with someone who had had their glyph transplanted to them.
  • Fixed an issue that was making it so that NPCs who used to be glyphbearers didn't have professions. Now they do.
  • NPCs who were once glyphbearers and who had at least one upgrade to themselves will sometimes talk about that.
  • Fixed a rather critical bug where player accounts that had once been NPCs (via the use of the glyph transplant, in other words) would wind up with two copies of the object in memory. This then led to all sorts of insane shenanigans and data not saving or updating properly, etc. This will automatically be corrected in old worlds if there are any with problems relating from this.
  • There are now many more chunks seeded in surface dungeons -- four or five times as many, in most cases. This allows for substantial in-region overland journeying if players are inclined to do things of that nature. It also provides a lot more opportunities for looting stashes and exploring caves in the same land area of the world map.
  • The game now scales down the width of surface dungeon maps if it needs to on smaller resolutions with really wide dungeons.
  • Outdoor boss arenas, which weren't really used until now (what with the size of the region dungeons increasing), now use some room template files like the interior boss rooms do.
    • This makes for a lot of interesting possibilities with regard to exterior boss battles, as with the indoors. There are currently 16 exterior boss battle templates, all created by Josh months ago.
  • Fixed some issues with the viewport doing odd things when you jumped your character right at the top of a chunk.
  • At long last, added in the cleaned-up and improved Russian first names and last names that no longer include things like tiny-kid endearments, regional slurs, etc (oops).
    • Enormous thanks to Smiling Spectre for taking the time to first clean this up and save us from potentially large publicity gaffes with it, and then also for waiting two and a half months while we didn't get around to actually putting it into the game.
  • Updated the first screen of the crafting interface -- the one where you choose learn new or equip known -- to include category images as well as some very brief help text. These should be a lot easier to visually navigate now, as well as easier to learn the first time through.
  • Fixed a really longstanding minor bug in the chunk-gen logic that could lead to some incorrect angles getting seeded on walls. It was mostly a visual thing, but it would be pretty jarring when you'd see it. Mostly it could only happen when the game was using a template (so, intro missions and the new outdoor boss arenas).
  • Previously, whenever a region was being created it was initializing its entire surface dungeon. This was problematic, because it meant that older worlds had their region sizes set from early on in, and generated a ton of folders just as soon as they were loaded. This was responsible for most of the lag that was caused when a new continent was found. Fixed (not retroactively for already-genned regions, but any new regions in any world will have the new behavior).
  • Having your position corrected (from being stuck) no longer causes falling damage, and sliding into tight spaces while ducking no longer causes you to get teleported to a valid position when you stand up.
    • Thanks to Itchykobu for reporting.
  • Improved the spawning of fast travel exits inside stash rooms.
  • When wandering around and picking up items from stashes and such, any duplicate items of the following sorts will simply be discarded so that they don't clutter up your inventory:
    • Infinitely-usable items like snowsuits and heatsuits (you only need one).
    • Enchants that are an exact match to something you already have (such as all those light emission enchants).

Enchant Clarifications, And 5th Enchant Slot

  • Added an "Enchant Progress" line on the escape menu character stats that tells you what percent progress you've made towards the next enchant (probably, it is possible for it to be wrong in a few cases, which is why we didn't do this originally).
    • The chat log line telling you that you just got enchant points now simply tells you your new percent progress to the next enchant.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor and others for the suggestion.
  • Fixed a bug where the torso damage-reduction enchant was internally valued lower than it was supposed to be. This generally meant it was always the first one you were given (and before we prevented duplicates you would get it several times before getting another one).
  • Diluter enchants are now placed in a new "Head" enchant slot, and so do not compete with any of the existing stat-boosting stuff.
    • When loading an old world, if any players have a diluter equipped it will be moved to the head slot.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for the feedback inspiring this change.
  • Six new "seeker" enchants have been added to the game -- these also use the new "Head" enchant slot. Like the diluters (and anything else we put on the Head slot), these affect essentially loot drops and other rewards. In this case it influences what you get from enchant containers, whereas diluters affect what you get as a reward from missions.
    • Like diluter enchants, the seeker enchants are found via stash rooms, NOT enchant containers. Would definitely be a raw deal for players to get these through enchant containers.

Upgrade Stones And Character Stats Variance

  • The stats for characters now varies in a more obvious way based on their time period (all of these "points" are internal random rolling allocations -- how they translate to in-game actual stats doesn't matter, as that tends to change, but rather what matters is their relative values compared to one another):
    • Time Of Magic characters lose 3 health points, but get 2 extra attack points and 4 extra mana points.
    • Medieval characters have 6 extra health points, but actually lose 3 mana points.
    • Bronze Age characters have 3 extra health points.
    • Pre-industrial characters have 2 fewer health points, but 5 extra attack points.
    • Industrial characters have 3 extra attack points.
    • Contemporary characters have 2 extra health points, and 1 extra mana point.
    • Ice age characters all have 4 health points, making them one of the easier types of characters to choose (they get an extra point compared to all others).
    • Neutral skelebots get 7 extra health points, but lose 2 points from both attack and mana.
    • Thanks to zebramatt for suggesting.
  • The casting speed is now always the same across all characters, and thus has been removed from the character select and other status screens.
    • There are still some enchants that let you adjust your spell cooldowns, however -- we're not going to take that away, as we think it's a great avenue for customization, but it's also something that doesn't fit with the base character stats because it's a far more subtle stat than the other ones.
  • In recent versions of the game, the number of internal "points" that the game would allocate to player characters and NPCs was 17. This was spread across 4 categories, of course. We've now reduced this from 17 to 7, with the other 3 points being granted from the character's innate stats from their time period (the forced-variety component).
  • The actual amounts of stat changes based on internal "points" has been tweaked for characters, as have the point thresholds for actually showing red, green, etc. There's now considerably more feel to the variance
    • It is now very much possible for some characters to not have enough mana to actually cast certain spells: sometimes you can get an ultra-tough skelebot with 20 mana who can't even cast ride the lightning. These sorts of extreme variances don't start coming in until you're further into the game (having visited more time periods), but they open up some interesting possibilities -- especially given a further feature below.
  • The "toughness" stat has been removed from the game, and just folded into the health stat. This is a lot clearer than having two stats to mean the same thing.
    • As part of this, the health is no longer shown as a percentage throughout the UI -- the number scale is the same, so it's all small numbers, but the actual health values are showing a combination of what was toughness and what was the health percentage.
    • If that sounds confusing, it's because it was. The bottom line is that the new way of doing things is equivalent to the old without the confusing bits of the UI.
  • The above also fixed a UI inconsistency that was particularly confusing in the escape menu.
    • Thanks to Toll and martyn_van_buren for reporting.
  • The range on magical prowess has shifted quite a bit: now it's from closer to 75%, although those with magical attack penalties can actually go lower; and it rises by 10% per point rather than 5%. This makes for much more of an interesting choice when it comes to the amount of damage you can deal out with your character, versus how much damage you can take or how long you can sustain dealing out that damage (or even if you can use some of the most powerful spells; not a guarantee if your mana is too low).
  • Previously, the mana recharge rate of characters was based on their max mana. This gave a double bonus to characters with tons of mana, and really penalized those with less mana. The net effect was that we had to make all characters have very similar mana pools, to avoid this being noticeable.
    • This has now been changed so that the mana recharge rate is identical for all characters, meaning that there is more flexibility with the mana pool without it swinging SO wildly around in terms of power.
  • The mana recharge rate has also been approximately doubled -- if you have a baseline 300 mana, that will take about 10 seconds to recharge. Anything above or below that will take the linear amount more or less (so 600 mana recharge takes 20 seconds, 150 mana recharge takes 5).
    • This means that in most cases your mana will recharge in 10 seconds or less, rather than about 20 seconds or more. This in turn means less downtime where you are waiting for your mana to recharge.
  • Put in a correction for spells that have an ongoing drain on mana: previously they were not having their values calculated correctly, and so tended to last too long (or sometimes too short). Now they properly factor in the mana recharge speed, and will always last a predictable amount of time given your amount of mana. This makes the amount of mana you have a lot more meaningful.
  • Most spells that have an ongoing mana drain also now cost more mana, meaning that you can storm dash for less time now than you could previously -- unless you have an above-average sized mana pool, that is. That's one of the advantages of having
  • Doubled the mana cost of all spells except shrink, ride the lightning, lightning rocket, and miniature.
    • Combined with the doubled recharge rate for mana in general, this means that you can now cast about the same number of spells as before (more in the cases of the ones that weren't touched), but also that you can't just hold down the attack button on the really expensive spells.
    • It ALSO means that a number of higher-power spells have mana costs that put them out of reach of lower-mana-wielding charactrs. Since some of those spells are a lot more powerful, this creates an interesting interplay of potential strategies, where you might go for a character with a higher mana in order to get the best spells, or with a lower mana but a higher magical prowess in order to make the midrange spells more effective.
  • No spells now have a mana cost lower than 35. This caused some need for some rebalancing of the mana costs of a number of combat spells, but the general goal here was to make it so that the attack button just can't be held down for a long period. Not to make players have to wait around a ton, but to make them have to actually bother aiming, then dodge or cover for a second or two, then aim and fire again, etc. As opposed to just "spraying and praying" in the general direction of the enemy, as can otherwise happen.
  • "Magical Prowess" is now simply labeled "attack" for the sake of brevity and clarity. This also lets us increase the font size on the character select screen.
  • In the choose character menu, the Cold Resistance and Heat Resistance are now shown as separate stats on all characters rather than just giving warnings on characters under limited circumstances (which was confusing before).
  • Both in the escape menu and in the pick new character menu, the game now shows "Cold Tolerant" or "Not Cold Tolerant" (and the same for heat).
    • Previously, it was showing "Ambient Cold Resistance" and then a percentage, which was confusing and misleading. The other label was making it sound like magical resistance ought to also be included. And at the same time, it was making it sound like having a partial resistance to heat or cold would save you from a horrible death in hot or cold areas (and that was not true at all -- being partially resistant means you die in something like 60 seconds instead of 30).
    • Since the actual numbers of how heat/cold tolerant a character is don't really matter if the percentage is lower than 100%, it now just shows this as a binary state. You'll still take less or more damage based on whatever your character is, so characters with ill-covering clothes will die faster in the cold or heat, but it's not enough to affect gameplay decisions and thus doesn't really belong on the GUI.
  • Vitality Stones have now become Upgrade Stones.
    • Rather than just being able to upgrade health, upgrade stones now open a menu that allows you to choose from one of three upgrade categories:
      • Health is still there, and works the same way now as it did before. Same scale and everything. Still starts with 16 upgrade stones for the first tier, and doubles from there)=.
      • Attack is new, and lets you increase your character's attack power in increments of 10%. It starts with a cost of only 8 upgrade stones, and doubles from there.
      • Mana is new, and lets you increase your character's mana pool in increments of 70. It starts with a cost of only 8 upgrade stones, and doubles from there.
    • The one other new rule is that you can now only apply a total of 10 upgrades to a given character via upgrade stones -- spread across the three upgrade categories as you wish. But of course, concentrating in one category to the exclusion of others gets prohibitively expensive in terms of upgrade stones.
    • These upgraded stats die with your character when your character dies.
      • However, if you use glyph transfer, they will also stay with that character when you switch to a different character. Therefore, you can then come back to your old character later, and get back to their upgrades. If you have a character you just can't bear to risk losing, or whom you have maxed out in upgrades in a way that you like but which is not suitable for your current mission, then you can always transfer the glyph to an NPC and then come back and get them later. Suicide isn't the answer!
    • Thanks to KDR_11k for getting us thinking about this sort of Zelda II style upgrade path.

Beta 0.576 Bug Bomb

(Released February 13th, 2012)

  • Fixed a bug where some of the debug logging was using '\n' instead of the local platform's actual newline sequence.
    • Thanks to Toll for the report.
  • Fixed several MP bugs where the ability playback was trying to spawn more entities than the original ability processing did. Specifically this impacted:
    • Vengeful ghost spawning.
    • Urban Predator Exhaust.
    • Trap Magma Blobs.
    • Mid-fight monster spawning in boss rooms.
  • Fixed an unhandled exceptions bug that manifested in a variety of situations, such as attacking wooden platforms.
    • Thanks to Ixiohm, greywolf22, Armanant, Itchykobu, and Revannefarious for reporting.
  • All crafting materials that previously used granite now use quartz rock instead. No spells now use crafting materials that are used by guardian powers, and vice-versa.
  • There is now a vastly greater prevalence of goodies underground, and to some extent in surface tunnels, compared to before. This makes it a LOT easier to find copper veins, coral outcrops, granite, iron veins, and quart rock outcrops.
    • Thanks to jerith for reporting.

Beta 0.575 Escape Hatch

(Released February 11th, 2012)

  • Fixed a bug in the prior version that was causing missions to be un-exitable.
    • Thanks to jerith, Sinistar, martyn_van_buren, Zlarp, and Moo for reporting.

Beta 0.574 Ducking And Warping With Friends

(Released February 10th, 2012)

  • Put in a fix that restores auto-fire capabilities to the mouse buttons (this was lost in the prior version).
    • Thanks to jerith for reporting.
  • Enchant generation will now not give a player an exact duplicate of an enchant they already have (either in their inventory or equipped).
    • Thanks to freeformschooler and others for reporting a lot of duplicate enchants.
  • Fixed some draw layer issues with bringing up the chat box when there are any other windows open at the same time.
  • Fixed a bug preventing the mission "Victory" and "Defeat" central notices from showing.
  • It is now possible to duck, and make your character a 40% shorter target by doing so. You can only duck when on the ground, and you can't move while ducking.
    • So no crawling along, and no Mario-2-style ducking and jumping through the air as a tiny target. If you want that sort of mobile smallness, you want the miniature spell.
    • If you duck, enemies will adjust their aim to hit you while you're ducked -- bear this in mind. So the best way to effectively duck is to stand until the enemy fires at you, then duck to actually avoid the shot. This gives you time to dodge but not them time to adjust their aim if you then stand right back up after the shot.
    • Also made it so that not only does ducking conserve your momentum a bit, but also it reduces your deceleration by 80%. Thus you can get some interesting sliding action, especially if you combine this with Storm Dash.
    • Thanks to wingsofdomain, BobTheJanitor, zebramatt, Itchykobu, and Yuugi for suggesting.
  • Fixed an issue with the background shading of potential mission entrance sites showing up on the minimap.
    • Thanks to Toll for reporting.
  • Made it so that when the windstorm sounds are howling, you don't get the regular ambient sounds and music outside, nor do you get any music inside when you're hearing the muffled windstorm. This helps to make the sound cleaner in these areas, as well as to help reinforce the ambience of the windstorm itself.
  • The rate at which spells are blown in windstorms has been halved.
  • Fixed a bug where vengeful ghosts would not spawn on the clients in the chunk at the time in MP.
  • Put in some more improvements to help with knock-forward, in multiplayer in particular. It still may happen some at the moment, but it should happen less.
  • Flying enemies that are trying to kite you will no longer flee into the sky particularly much. They'll instead just flee along the x axis for the most part, making them a lot easier to actually fight rather than having them always getting way off from you.
  • The underground tunnel entrances that seed are now substantially taller, so that they are easier for players to find in the grass or what have you.
  • The underground tunnel entrances (not the holes in the wall, the actual door-shaped ones) are both now updated to look nicer and also be easier to see on low-contrast screens in particular.
    • Thanks to martyn_van_buren for suggesting.
  • The new HUD is untouched, but the non-HUD GUI (all those other menus, tooltips, etc) has been completely redone. Again. The new HUD was simply outclassing it, and it was becoming really clear that the GUI was lagging behind. Now the GUI matches the HUD, and it also gives even better contrast (being darker) compared to the prior GUI, making text and such easier to read.
    • Thanks to orzelek, zebramatt, and Bluddy for pointing this out.
  • The Ilari will no longer call wandering NPCs if your settlement gets emptied out somehow. Since the mechanics for getting new NPCs have changed, you're perfectly capable of getting more NPCs on your own!
  • Previously, the crafting screen buttons were lagging behind what normal button responsiveness would be. Fixed.
  • On the dungeon map and region map, better icons are now used to denote your position, the positin of other players, and so on. These are easier to see, and use scaling rather than color flashing.
    • Additionally, nodes with a warp stone in them now also show a little flashing, scaling diamond that switches between red and green in the bottom left corner of the node. This makes it really quick to see where there are warp nodes.
  • Fixed an error in the prior few versions where magma still had to be unlocked.
    • Thanks to Baleyg for reporting.
  • Whenever you pick up an enchant without already having at least one enchant equipped to your body, the game now pops up a message explaining what enchants are and how to equip them.
    • This helps out as soon as the intro mission, but even for returning players this will explain to them what is going on as they get enchants. But at the same time, it won't get in the way of players who have already figured out how to equip enchants.
  • More updates to the intro mission:
    • Redid the parts of the intro mission that gave you warp potions previously, to instead deal with warp stones.
    • Now in the second chunk, new players can get a basic featherweight enchant if they manage to climb up to it.
    • Switched the wood platforms and the emit light enchant in the intro mission building. Now you no longer have to drop down into darkness to get the light.

Co-Op Multiplayer Exits Alpha

  • Multiplayer is now considered to be in a beta status, rather than an alpha status. As such, we're no longer making players have to opt-in to get to it. There are still other features missing from multiplayer, such as a server list and anti-griefing tools, and a few things like that. But the general status of multiplayer is no longer lagging behind the rest of the game in terms of the game experience itself (and if there are pockets of bugs, which we're sure there probably are, we want to know about those sooner than later so that we can deal with them!).
  • Fixed a bug in the prior version where multiplayer servers were having errors when clients tried to enter new regions from the world map.
  • Fixed a bug wherein connecting to a multiplayer server would often not center the camera properly on your character.
  • Fixed an incredibly longstanding bug with non-player characters not interacting properly with slopes in multiplayer.
    • Some underlying data structures were not getting initialized on tiles on the server, and this was probably causing other problems beyond even just this.
  • Implemented multiplayer smoothing for enemies and other players; thus movement of those other entities is no longer jerky or blipping around during co-op.
    • That was the largest single thing holding back the co-op into what we considered to be an alpha rather than a beta state, so that's quite a relief to have working!
  • The message log now works on the server, so when there are errors or other messages on the server that can be seen through the GUI.
  • The way that player movement is handled has been completely redone under the hood for multiplayer -- it's now smooth as butter to other players when you've got a good ping, and it also puts less than half the network load per player that it used to use in general.
  • Fixed another issue with the multiplayer server GUI where some things were not initializing properly.
  • Made it so that keybindings work on the server, where makes sense -- you can now bring up the debug menu, toggle the state of the messages log as needed, etc.
  • When the server starts up, it now shows what port it is listening on in the message log.
  • It is now possible for the multiplayer server to send chat messages to the clients. These show up as being from "Server Console" rather than a player name.
    • Helpful if you're about to shut down a server, for instance.
  • The server console now actually shows all of the in-game chat messages like any client would. Thus someone at the server console can see any chatting going on between players, as well as talk to the players on the server to tell them of an impending shutdown or whatever else.
  • Cleaned up how just-entered-chunk-invincibility is handled in MP. There are still problems, but you should no longer get actually hurt by stuff while still invincible.
  • Important: Just because multiplayer is now out of alpha doesn't mean that it's bug-free now. It just means that we have all the framework in place, and multiplayer is proven (in the mathematical sense) to work, and work well, for the game.
    • This next week is going to involve finding a lot of new bugs with it, I'm sure, some of which might be showstoppers to various degrees. These are things that we want to clean up as much as we can before beta phase 3 (the showstopper ones in particular, anyhow), so we appreciate your testing and letting us know what is there. But if you're expecting to be able to jump into the game and just have as polished an experience as the solo play right today, that's not going to be an expectation we can meet just yet. Soon!
    • Current outstanding known bugs in this release:
      • Bug in monster spawning (in boss rooms) in mp where client thinks it's supposed to get more entities than it does
      • Crashed landspeeder shot (and similar) melee-AI causes exceptions if they hit you
      • Bug where players are not seeing other players that entered the chunk after they did
      • Bug where player bones not showing on client (this is possibly a downstream bug from another bug we ran into today, so this one might actually be fixed already)

New Warp Mechanics

  • All Warp Potions have been removed from the game.
  • There are now stationary "Warp Stones" seeded at various places in the world -- typically at each major junction, and then also at a few other places. While standing near one you can warp to another warp stone in the same region, assuming you've visited that chunk before, using the same warp controls as before.
    • As noted above, dungeon map nodes with a warp stone in them now show a little flashing, scaling diamond that switches between red and green in the bottom left corner of the node. This makes it really quick to see where there are warp stones.
  • Also, there are now one-way teleporters in each stash room (that is further than 3 links away from the exit) in a building, to help cut down on backtracking a bit more without having actual warp stones in so many rooms.
  • To clarify, warping works the same as before, except:
    • You don't need a potion.
    • You have to be standing next to a warp stone (this big object larger than you) to do it).
    • You can only warp to other chunks you've visited that also have a warp stone.
    • Beyond that, it's mechanically the same as before.
  • And a bit on the reasoning behind the shift in warp mechanics, which are more or less what the brainstorming forum collectively came up with a couple of months ago.
    • Most importantly, this helps to preserve a sense of space to the world while not causing players too much inconvenience. As zebramatt put it, the prior system was a "convenience trap." If you want to read more about what he meant by that, I suggest checking out the link -- it was an insightful analysis of the old system, and we found ourselves convinced despite not having intended to change away from the old system.
    • Secondarily, this also solves some issues such as players getting stuck out in the wild without any warp potions and then having to do a LOT of backtracking -- which is annoying as heck, but preventable through returning to town periodically.
    • Therefore, the next benefit is that you no longer have to return to town on a rigid schedule in order to maintain a stock of warp potions.
    • The new mechanics are also simpler to use for new players, which is a nice bonus.
    • All in all, the warp mechanics from before were a bit fiddly and actively damaged the sense of space and scope to the world. The new version is only slightly less convenient (in the same fashion that almost every other game is less convenient than what we had before, or actually still a little less inconvenient than most other genre titles), but loses the much more negative aspects.
    • Thanks to Hearteater, superking, Coppermantis, zebramatt, and Martyn van Buren for helping hash this out.
  • Still have questions about the new warp system? There's a handy New Warp Mechanics Q&A thread on the forums where a number of questions are answered.

Beta 0.573 Vital Signs Improving

(Released February 9th, 2012)

  • Fixed a bug where Glyph Transplant was not working at all.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for the report.
  • Slightly buffed the plasma bolt base attack -- from 200 to 250. Also reduced its mana from 9 to 8.
  • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for suggesting.
  • Rather than having the magical prowess start at 60% and go up in increments of 10%, the magical prowess now starts at 95% and goes up in increments of 5%.
    • Previously the values meant that some characters felt absolutely useless (30+ hits to kill a skelebot), while others were quite powerful. Now it still varies by character, but not so extremely.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor and c4sc4 for reporting.
  • In the prior version, when we adjusted down the health numbers, we forgot to adjust down the amount of healing from enemy health drops. Thus each health drop was practically a full heal.
    • This has now been fixed, but as a part of that we also tuned the specific values of the health drops a bit. For a low-toughness character, the amount of healing from one monster's drops now are about 5% (ish) of their base health. In the past is was more like 1%, which was definitely too little.
    • Thanks to martyn_van_buren and BobTheJanitor for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug where guardian powers that were supposed to consume resources (granite, cedar logs, consciousness shards, etc) were not actually doing so.
    • Thanks to tbogue for the report.
  • Fixed a bug where the settlement stockpile screen was generally not clearing its first row upon being opened, leading to duplicate or otherwise incorrect display.
  • Vitality stones balance shift:
    • As characters take damage, they no longer lose vitality stone tiers -- in other words, if their max is 200%, no amount of damage will make their max fall to 100%.
      • We felt this was an important change, because it prevents the player from constantly having to watch their health meter to see if they were about to fall a vitality stone tier -- that was distracting and not fun.
    • However, when you choose a new character after your prior character dies, you now lose any health buffs that they had applied through vitality stones.
    • Vitality stones no longer are only usable in settlements. You can use them anywhere, which is helpful when you just found enough that you can now upgrade your health (and makes sense in terms of the other changes being made here).
    • To get a single level of max health boost from vitality stones, 16 stones are now required instead of 8. And then it keeps going up there by powers of two.
      • The reasoning behind this change is that you are no longer "churning" through vitality stones remotely so much as you were before, and thus making it so that each tier of health increase is more of a reward that is hard to get is a good thing. And that actually makes the game more straightforward to balance, too, in a lot of ways.
    • In general, these changes to vitality stones are meant to reduce annoying makework type activities, increase the risks associated with losing a character, and make it harder to accidentally lose a character.
    • Thanks to Bluddy for suggesting some of these changes and inspiring the rest.
  • Updated the intro mission to no longer include a coffer of 4 vitality stones. Now, instead, it seeds two separate stashes of 8 vitality stones each. If players find both of those, they now have enough to actually get themselves to the next health tier.
    • Thanks to GrimerX for suggesting.
  • Fixed the "abandon character" feature still not killing health-buffed characters in one use. Now it's really fixed!
  • Miasma whip no longer has its range increased by shot speed enchant buffs.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for reporting.
  • NPCs and allied minions now fire shots that look like your own plasma bolts rather than like enemy skelebot shots. This makes it much easier for you to tell enemy shots from allied shots.
    • Thanks to martyn_van_buren for suggesting.
  • In the prior version, "death shrapnel" had mistakenly not had its power reduced 10x. Woe be to the player who got anywhere near an exploding barrel or missile! It was pretty much instant death.
    • Thanks to Toll and Terraziel for reporting.
  • Fixed a super annoying bug in the prior version where if you clicked to cast a spell, and then moused over the planning button, the planning button would act like you had clicked it.
    • Thanks to Itchykobu, BobTheJanitor, and Ixiohm for reporting.
  • Now eligible for rare seeding in stash rooms are 3 new "Diluter" enchants. If you complete a mission while wearing a diluter enchant, and that mission would normally give tier orbs higher than the number on your diluter enchant (which is 2, 3, or 4), it "dilutes" those tier orb rewards down to the corresponding tier.
    • If you think that normally you wouldn't want this, you're right.
    • But if you find yourself completely out of lower-tier orbs and really want to upgrade something that needs them, this is how you do it. Consider wisely.
    • Also, if you have an old world you may be "stuck" with tier 1 spells and tier-3 (or higher) orb rewards and thus can't upgrade any spells. These enchants are for you, start searching the stash rooms.
  • Fixed a bug in prior versions where objects that were shrunk would still drop commodities like normal. This meant you could farm commodities through the shrink spell, with things like trees.
    • Thanks to Armanant for reporting.
  • Guardian power mission reward seeding:
    • Is now extremely aggressive about making sure that the residence-tower, lumbermancy, and stonebinder buildings get seeded if the continent does not already have either the buildings or the powers present.
    • Also, the other profession buildings are more likely to seed since they're more important than the personality buildings.
    • Duplicate seeding of shape matter powers, in general, shouldn't happen anymore.
    • At most one shape matter power will seed as a reward for a specific mission.
    • Number of guardian powers seeded mission from 3 -> 2.
    • These changes don't directly affect older worlds, but will apply to any missions seeded after this update.
    • Thanks to Hyfrydle and others for inspiring these changes.
  • Fixed a bug where if the overlord or a lieutenant happened to be "not at home" when you enter their boss room, that the boss room would be marked as destroyed.
  • Fixed a bug where lieutenants were not coming to the aid of their overlord anymore.
    • Thanks to TerraSleet for reporting.
  • After you have died, your health continues showing 0% rather than jumping up to 100%.

Beta 0.572 Enchanted Gills

(Released February 8th, 2012)

  • Fixed some issues with the crafting menus writing a bunch of log messages and slowing down the game in the prior version.
    • Thanks to tbogue for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue with the dragon fire sometimes drawing pink boxes and also causing lots of log messages that slow down the game in the prior version.
    • Thanks to tbogue for reporting.
  • Enabled actual damage from falling damage, since the weekend is over and we don't have any serious reports about that not working that I've seen.
  • Fixed a bug where abandon character wasn't properly killing your character if you had vitality stone max health buffs
    • Thanks to TerraSleet for reporting.
  • The Magical Attack stat on player characters, which was previously added to the attack power of individual spells in order to determine spell power, has been removed (from player characters only; it still works the same on monsters and such).
    • Instead, there is now a Magic Prowess stat on characters, which is a percentage ranging from about 60% to about 150% (although it can go higher). This stat gets multiplied by the base power of the spells in order to get the final attack power of a given spell.
      • This is a really crucial change, because previously the balance of spells was being really skewed by adding on the player stats. Now spells are able to stay consistently balanced with each other, while at the same time still having one character to the next have varying degrees of power.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for pointing out the prior balance problems.
  • Red Fairies and Green Fairies now have different movement speeds on their tiny swarms, and different time to lives, making them feel more different from one another.
  • Enemy shot time to live changes:
    • Generally reduced the time to live of a variety of ultra-long-lasting enemy shots to about 2/3 their former value, including skelebot snipers and giant amoebas.
    • For most shot types that live more than a second or two, they are now adjusted based on the type of chunk they are in.
      • In surface chunks they tend to last just as long as they always did.
      • In large interior rooms (defined as the FunkyInteriorWalls, GeneralBossRoom, and OverlordBossRoom room template types only) and undergrounds, they might have their time to live somewhat reduced, or not at all reduced.
      • In small interior rooms (all those not defined as large interior rooms above), they tend to have their shot time to lives drastically reduced, often by 50% or more.
      • The idea here is to make it so that there isn't so much shot spam during big boss fights, and also so that things like espers aren't so deadly in small hallways.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for originally suggesting something along these lines, and TerraSleet, martyn_van_buren, TechSY730, Underfot, and BobTheJanitor for helping to home in on the solution.
  • Miasma from vengeful ghosts now hangs around for less time, too.
  • Vengeful ghosts no longer ever spawn into tactical units, which was causing all manner of bugs. They now just stay in the chunk where you died. They also don't create NPC entries in the world, meaning that the world gets less cluttered with ghosts in perpetual RAM.
  • The tier orbs that are granted with mission completion are now granted a tier earlier than the enemy tier -- so tier 1 missions give tier 2 orbs, etc. Tier 5 missions still give tier 5 orbs, though, since that's the highest possible tier you can get.
    • Thanks to KDR_11k for reporting.
  • The mana cost of the miniature spell has been dramatically reduced.
    • The cost to learn the miniature spell has been changed to now be just two purple dispersia rather than also including two moonstone. Making it not incur EP to gain it.
    • Thanks to martyn_van_buren for suggesting.
  • The actual mana costs of all spells have been reduced by 10x now, rather than just affecting the display. This fixes a couple of display issues.
    • Thanks to TerraSleet for reporting one of those bugs.
  • The health of all objects and enemies and players has been adjusted down 10x, so that the attack powers of all of the above could also be reduced 10x. It was getting too high for sure.
    • This plus the change of how the player magical prowess is calculated (and thus how player spell powers are calculated) will lead to somewhat different balance compared to the prior version. Please let us know if you see anything odd with it.
  • Since in some cases in older savegames there could be far too many vengeful ghosts and in the wrong locations based on the old logic messing up, all older vengeful ghosts are purged from old worlds upon loading into the new version.
    • Thanks to martyn_van_buren for suggesting.
  • Fixed a textural reference to morale in the character death message.
    • Thanks to Tagek and martyn_van_buren for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue in the prior version where you would take falling damage if you fell through ladders/platforms by holding down. Now the game resets your "falling from point" every time you pass one of those as you fall downwards, so that you can quickly descend ladders again.
  • Fixed a very longstanding issue with wooden platforms where if you walked to the edge and it supported you, and then you jumped, you would fall through.
    • Thanks to Smiling Spectre for reporting.
  • Miasma whip now strikes top-solid entities like fire touch and similar do.
  • A coffer of 30 wood platforms is now seeded in all settlements, just in case new players skip the intro mission and otherwise would be really lost.
  • Finally fixed the collision issues with wooden platforms rising in water. You still can't ride them up (unlike crates), but when you jump on wood platforms that are in the water they will stop rising while you stand on them. In other words, they are effectively less buoyant than crates, which is a cool distinction anyhow. As soon as you jump off of the wooden platforms, they start rising again.
  • Improved the graphics of the water so that players can see themselves, and objects under the water, better in it.
  • Improved the graphics of the lava so that it is slightly transparent, and actually glows and gives off light now, making it seem more lava-like as well as actually allowing players to see stuff that is in it.
  • Entrances and exits inside buildings or underground caverns should NEVER seed inside lava now. If you see any vents or holes or whatever in lava, please do let us know and provide a world file that we can use to test it. But you shouldn't see that, knock on wood.
  • Normal mission seeding now tries to maintain at least 7 missions of the current tier, rather than 3 of the current tier, 2 of tier+1, and 2 of tier-1.
  • Ally minions in battleground missions now scale to the same tier as the enemy minions.
  • The lighting model has been updated to be a bit higher quality in its precision. This incurs a bit of a performance hit, but mainly just when you're wandering around in the complete dark (why would you?), or when you're on a really large monitor. The performance hit in most cases is almost negligible, and probably won't be noticed; but the quality of the darkness effect is quite a bit noticeably superior to what it had been.
  • Since progress increments are no longer adjusted based on the strategic difficulty setting, and nothing else is using it, that is no longer shown on the interface.
  • Fixed a bug where clusters of crashed landspeeders could still spawn in mission staging areas, settlements, wind shelter sites, and mission battle sites.
    • Thanks to Tagek for reporting.
  • Clarified the text of which regions materials can appear in.
    • Thanks to GrimerX for reporting.
  • When you go down more than one dungeon into the underground, the tier of the enemy forces starts going up.
    • Thanks to GrimerX for reminding us that this was supposed to happen.
  • The "Management & Planning" window is now just called the "Planning" window. It was too wordy the other way, and people were going to need to refer to it a lot more.
  • Player characters now take reduced damage at higher continent tiers; as long as you're facing same-tier enemies you'll take the same damage as when the tier was different.
    • This is necessary because previously enemy attack would go up with tiers, and your health would not. Ouch.
  • The ocean shallows are now considered a valid location for missions, and even things like settlements, etc. They have enough land on them to be workable, and they yield some rare commodities (like sea essence) that are hard to come by anywhere else.

Enchants

  • Now when you open an enchant-points container it will check to see if you can "afford" an enchant. If so it procedurally generates an enchant and puts it in your enchant inventory.
    • Note that in multiplayer, all players get the enchant-points (even if they aren't on the server at the time, or join the game late, or whatever). But only the player that opens an enchant point container actually has a chance of getting an enchant directly. Thus when players have some points stored up, it's a good idea for each of them to swap off opening containers to all get some new enchants
  • To switch to your enchant inventory, press Z (default keybinding, can be changed).
    • From there you can:
      • See your four enchant slots (Torso, Left Arm, Right Arm, Legs).
      • Right-click an enchant in your inventory (or left-click-and-drag it to the corresponding enchant slot) to equip it. If you have an enchant there already it will be unequipped into your inventory.
      • Right-click an enchant in one of your enchant slots (or left-click-and-drag it to an inventory slot) to unequip it. If you have an enchant in the target inventory slot already, and it can go in the enchant's slot it will swap them (if the inventory item can't go in that enchant slot nothing will happen).
      • Left-click-and-drag an enchant from either one of your enchant slots or your inventory onto some other part of the screen and release to drop it on the ground (like any other item).
  • Current enchant types include: Light-Emitting, Incoming-damage-reducing, Outgoing-fire-damage-increasing, Cooldown-reducing, Shot-speed-increasing, Acid-Water-Immunity, and several others.
    • Note that we're going to be extending this with some stat randomization and with more enchant base-types and modifier-types in the future. And right now you might have something that both decreases damage and also emits some light, or both increases outgoing damage and reduces mana costs slightly, as a couple examples.
    • Also note that the acid-water-immunity enchants let you... explore the oceans and ocean shallows again! This is a pretty major feature sandwiched in here with the other enchants. Actually, several of the enchants are like that; notable features in their own right.
  • Enchants are the main source of procedural loot for the game, and they can be carried between continents (unlike base spells themselves). So if you're wanting to be a specialist in some particular branch of magic, for instance, you can use enchants that are specific to that.
  • The emit light spellgem has been removed, and now corresponds to the basic light emission enchant. Any inventory that you might have had for this has been converted over, and the intro mission now grants that enchant via a coffer instead of the spellgem.
  • There are now two kinds of light-emitting enchants: midsize and minor. Midsize corresponds to how emit light used to work, but minor is much smaller.
    • The light effect that you can find attached to most other torso enchants that have a different primary effect, as well as the light effect that you can find in the intro mission, is now the minor light-emitting effect. It's still plenty bright for most purposes, but you'll actually FEEL the presence of the darkness more rather than it being just a non-presence.
    • All older versions of emit light are upgraded to the midsize light emission enchant, and you can also find these midsize light emission enchants in stash rooms. These are the first kinds of enchants to be simply found in stash rooms rather than through the enchant containers -- most of the time that won't happen, except for some of the more utilitarian enchants that would be a really raw deal to get through an enchant container.

HUD Overhaul

  • Special thanks to eRe4s3r for suggesting most of these in some form or another.
  • Hugely revamped the progress bar display for the game.
  • Added in a much larger and prettier life meter.
  • A new graphical magic meter is now shown at the bottom of the HUD, making for a more stylized, attractive HUD.
  • Also redid the "danger level section of the HUD" (see the next section for details on that).
  • All new ability item slot graphics, and adjusted the recharge bars and similar for them, as well.

Major Crafting Requirements Improvements

  • In the prior couple of versions of the game, there were a number of logical issues with the crafting requirements for many spells, making huge numbers of things really difficult to get very far in the game. This went unnoticed at first because players were spending so much time exploring around at lower tiers, but after a few days it suddenly became apparent just how broken the requirements for the crafting materials previously were. We've now rectified everything that we could find that was wrong with it, detailed below, and the progression of spell power across all six elements should now make a ton more sense!
    • Thanks in particular to Terraziel, TerraSleet, Martyn van Buren, and KDR_11k for pointing this out.
  • Launch Rock 1 no longer requires earth essence.
  • The following resources were previously only available in tier 2 and up, but are now available from tier 1 onward (assuming you have unlocked them):
    • Iron Ore, Earth Essence, Clay, Coral, Copper Ore, Sea Essence.
  • The following resources were previously only available in tier 3 and up, but are now available from tier 2 onward (assuming you have unlocked them):
    • Magma
  • The following resources were previously only available in tier 3 and up, but are now available from tier 1 onward (assuming you have unlocked them):
    • Iron Ingot, Copper Ingot
  • Magma previously required you to find a stash in a lava tower, but that wasn't possible until the second continent (which made a lot of things impossible to craft until then).
    • Now Magma does not have to be unlocked at all (it is used far too frequently), and Deep Magma now uses its former unlock instead (deep magma previously having been unlocked by getting to the third continent).
  • Energy Pulse 2 no longer requires coral; coral is still required for tier 3 and up, but not for tier 2.
  • Added a new crafting material: Umbra Micro Vortex.
    • Umbra Embers no longer have any unlock condition at all, and the unlock condition for umbra embers has instead been moved to umbra micro vortexes.
  • Death Touch 1 no longer requires an umbra ember to unlock. Additionally, it now has 5 tiers rather than just 4, and the 5th tier requires an umbra micro vortex in order to unlock.
  • Ice Burst now has 5 tiers rather than 4.
  • Greater Teleport now requires two umbra micro vortexes in place of two of its umbra embers.
  • Ball lightning 2 no longer requires charred ambe.
  • Circle Of Fire no longer requires sunstone until tier 4; the sunstone prior to that is now replaced by a magma requirement.
  • Ice Cross no longer requires moonstone until tier 3; the moonstone prior to that is now replaced by a welkin gel requirement.
  • Sunstone and moonstone are now dropped starting at tier 3 and 2, rather than tier 4 and 3. It is important to note that unlocking them the first time will require going to a higher tier than this, but this has an effect on continents beyond the first.
  • Walnuts can now be found in abandoned towns in addition to in grasslands with groves.
  • The Magma requirements of Launch Meteor have all been converted to Deep Magma instead, meaning that this spell is inaccessible until the second continent.
  • Quartz Rock no longer has to be unlocked via the "Reach Depth 2 In Grasslands," making it available from the start -- and making that unlockable currently useless.
  • Ice burst 1 now requires white witch hair, which means that this spell is no longer accessible at all on the first continent.
  • White witch hair is now available from tier 1 onwards on the second continent and onwards, rather than being tier 2 and up only.
  • Old Growth Extract is now used in the game as a crafting material for the first time.
    • "Reach Depth 2 In Grasslands" has now become "Reach Depth 4 In Deciduous Forest," and is now the unlock for old growth extract. This makes old growth extract not attainable until the third continent (if you already had unlocked the other version of this unlockable, then you're in luck as you get that for a free upgrade in your new world).
  • Insect orb now uses old growth extract as its main crafting ingredient, meaning that it's not available at all until the third continent.
  • Summon Tornado 1 and 2 now use Cat's Eye instead of Moonstone and Sunstone.
  • Gold Boomerang 1-3 now use Cat's Eye instead of Sunstone.

Enemy Progress (EP) Steps Aside For Civilization Progress (CP)

  • Removed the Continent Destruction (when EP got too high) mechanic.
    • Removed extend-continent-lifetime guardian power since it's no longer applicable.
    • The rational for removing these mechanics -- making it so that continents never "sink into the sea" anymore -- is that this is, at heart, a game in the style of an adventure, RPG, or Metroidvania title. Most entries in any of those genres have one thing in common: failure is a setback, not a "start completely over" situation.
    • Put another way, feedback from players -- even our AI War veterans -- was that the entire continent-sinking mechanic, and even the entire EP mechanic, made them cautious and uncomfortable. They couldn't just explore and get more powerful and eventually take on the Big Bad Dude Over There In The Tower, which is -- again, at core -- what most of these sorts of games are about.
    • In making this change, this is a departure from some of the strategy game overtones (or even rougelike overtones), where there's essentially a You Must Be This Good In Order To Pass sign at each overlord's keep. In an RPG, you can over-level a boss. In an adventure game, you can keep adventuring until you have the equipment and skill that you need to beat the boss. These are more relaxed, and let the player have the tempo the entire time. By contrast, in a strategy game, if you don't keep pace during your entire play session with your opponent, then you fall behind and lose. This is intellectually stimulating, but not relaxed at all; and incredibly counter to the core design goals of the game, we only just are realizing (one of those goals always having been to make this hardcore-friendly, but not hardcore-only).
    • The above said, this doesn't remove all strategic overtones from the game; there are still choices with opportunity costs, and you can basically "win with style" or "barely win," or anywhere in between. The above change also doesn't preclude our ability to add a higher-strategic-difficulties-only rougelike form of consequences in your fight against the overlord. What is less clear is if anyone would find that fun in the framework of this game, and what exactly those mechanics would be. But they wouldn't involve EP (now CP) in any way, and would be optional rather than rammed down the throats of all players.
  • Enemy Progress (EP) has been renamed to Civilization Progress (CP).
    • In some respects this is just a cosmetic thing, but it's important that it focuses on the positive aspects of gaining CP, rather than the negative ones. This isn't an AI War style of AI Progress anymore, where the AI is getting ahead of you: rather, this is actually an indicator of the overall progress of the continent, and it affects the tier of your rewards, your allies, and, yes, your enemies.
    • What makes this actually more than just a rename are the following features, below:
  • Removed CP-increases from secret missions (but those aren't seeding yet anyway).
    • This makes it so that you can pursue unlimited secret missions outside of the main mission structure, without ever worrying about the tier going up. This is a great way to get rare commodities or whatever else you need in a sideways fashion.
    • However, you don't get "tier orbs" out of secret missions, so you won't be able to actually increase the baseline number of higher-tier spells you can learn -- more on that below.
  • Removed variance in CP-increases based on strategic difficulty -- this isn't about difficulty anymore, it's more of a progress-toward-your-own-goal mechanic than anything else.
  • Removed CP-increment from mission failure or abandonment, and player death. Again, this is no longer a punishment in any form.
  • The "Tier of Enemy Forces" has been renamed to simply "Continent Tier." This really affects everything on the continent -- tier of your allied forces, the tier of all missions, the tier of the rewards you'll find in general (and crafting materials you'll find), and, yes, the tier of enemies.
  • All missions on the world map now have the exact same tier as the continent as a whole.
    • There is thus no way to "play up" or "play down" in difficulty with the world map missions; if you want to adjust the difficulty, you'll want to adjust the actual difficulty.
    • However, secret missions that are underground will have a minimum tier of whatever their dungeon depth is.
      • So for players who want to "play up" in a multiplayer server, they will soon be able to go into deep caverns for the secret missions there (once we add the actual secret missions).
  • The "Settlement Status" Section of the "Management & Planning" window has been renamed to "Continent Status." It's going to be having more status in general about the continent, particularly Civilization Progress and its implications; hopefully tomorrow or so.
  • The Enemy Tier has been removed from the HUD, and actually the "danger level" progress bar has been removed from the HUD.
    • After much thought, we decided that this was simply superfluous information: that information doesn't change frequently; it is easily accessible in the Escape menu; and the tier of monsters is readily apparent whenever you target or attack them. Therefore, this was basically a waste of space at this point.
  • In place of the older "danger level" progress bar, a new "Planning" button has instead been added. This button simply opens the management & planning window, which is a great indicator of just how important that window is (vital for planning basically any excursion) -- players were not finding that window as reliably as we wanted, and having a one-click way to open that window is handy anyhow.
  • So, essentially, CP now is more equivalent to Knowledge in AI War than it is to AI Progress.
    • You can do exactly five main missions per Continent Tier, and so that's giving each player 15 tier orbs of each tier.
      • That's a limit of 15 tier 2, tier 3, and tier 4 unlocked spells as you're increasing through the ranks.
      • Since there are more spells than that (and more will be added with time), that means that players have to specialize.
      • If these numbers wind up feeling a bit out of balance, then of course they can be tuned. But 15 seems to be a pretty good number at the moment.
    • It is impossible for you to increase the CP to the next tier without getting those 15 tier orbs first, which is great because this makes it hard for you to fall behind -- a constant threat with the prior EP system.
      • Of course, if you're not getting the rare commodities that you want, then you might not be able to use all those 15 tier orbs right away. That's part of what secret missions and guardian powers are for -- letting you find rare commodities that are otherwise inaccessible to you. If you find yourself accidentally overleveled by the enemies, then you might have a bit of a harder time for a while, but you can always unlock something unless you did nothing but guardian-power-yielding missions. And that's when you can start working on secret missions to shore up what you missed during the main missions, if you didn't plan your missions well (and, hey, even the best laid plans don't always work as intended).
    • Once you reach tier 5, something new happens: since there is no continent tier higher than 5, you can just keep doing world map missions and gaining more and more tier 5 orbs.
      • That in itself isn't too useful, since a tier 5 orb can only be used on a spell that is already tier 4 to begin with. It's useful to get from tier 4 to tier 5, but if you're all out of tier 4 stuff then that's useless.
      • Coming up sometime soon, perhaps next week or so, we'll have some refineries that you'll be able to find out in the wild. Useful for things like processing iron into steel, or raw gems into processed gems, they will also be able to process a higher-tier orb into a lower-tier orb. So you can convert those tier 5 orbs into any lower tier of orb if you need to do get some new spell line that you missed out on earlier in the continent, for instance.
      • In this way, you're never absolutely stuck where you can't beat the overlord -- you can always keep looking for enchants, unlocking new spell lines that would be particularly effective against him, and so on. Not having to go through this process, of course, is a matter of "winning with style" versus "barely pulling out a win," as noted above.

Beta 0.570/5.71 The Guardian City

(Released February 3rd, 2012)

  • Fixed a typo in the last version that said "Maximum Health Howered"
    • Thanks to TerraSleet for reporting.
  • Reduced the "bouncy background parallax factor." There's still some y-axis parallax to the background mountains and trees, but it's much less severe than it was before.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for suggesting.
  • The advisor guardian stone now opens up the reference window at the master view, rather than in the tips and advice subsection. The other sections are arguably just as important -- if not moreso -- and it's important to make sure that players know about the materials compendium and such.
  • Fixed a bug from the last couple of versions wherein clicking the close button of a window would also cause the character to fire a spell.
    • Thanks to tbogue for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug from the last couple of versions where dragging inventory items around was not showing the icon as it was dragged.
  • Made it so that your mouse-based spells now work just as well when the inventory is open as when it is closed.
    • Thanks to Bluddy for suggesting.
  • Previously the reference info window was designed so that it would fit onto an 800x600 screen. This tended to make for lots of extra pagination on larger monitors, and even made it feel -- oddly -- a bit like a console port of a menu. Now this menu instead resizes to whatever your screen resolution is when you open the menu, which feels vastly more natural.
  • The window size and less-pagination improvements have also been applied to all of the other similar windows, such as crafting, unlockables, NPCs list, structures list, guardian powers list, etc.
  • Fixed an issue with two copies of the crafting workbench being able to be opened at once.
    • Thanks to jerith for reporting.
  • Renamed the Reference Info window to the the Management & Planning window, and moved it to the top of the escape menu -- it's just that important to the game.
  • The world map will now always try to generate at least 3 missions of your current tier, and 2 missions of the tier below your current tier (if you're higher than tier 1), and 2 missions of the tier above your current tier (if you're lower than tier 5). Previously it also tried to do that, but now it won't stop at 7 total missions, which was confusing some players.
    • Thanks to tbogue for suggesting.
  • Fixed a bug where health bars, text popups, and similar were hidden in the darkness rather than showing up above it.
    • Thanks to martyn_van_buren for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug where previously the unlockable for killing all monsters in a grassland chunk (or doing anything else in the grasslands) would not trigger in the grasslands with groves regions.
    • Thanks to KDR_11k for reporting.
  • Put in a change to hopefully fix the "knock forward" effect. The reason that was happening is that in the time between when the hit was registered and when the hit was processed, the entity could have moved. This was particularly true in multiplayer, but also quite frequent in solo play. Now these abilities keep track of where the knock-backing spell or enemy was at the time they struck their target, and thus do the knockback based on that angle. This should solve any cases of knockback, but please let us know if not.
    • Thanks to zebramatt and tbogue for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug where some enemy shots (like crashed landspeeder missiles or dragon breath, etc) would act like enemy minions on battlefields rather than acting with their normal AI logic.
    • Thanks to tbogue for reporting.
  • The materials compendium is now _vastly_ more specific about where rare commodities are likely to occur.
    • Previously, with all rare commodity missions being randomly handed out to you outside of your control, this omission didn't really matter terribly much. But now with the ability to use guardian powers to search for resources, as well as with secret missions coming up early next week, this information becomes critical.
    • Thanks to Hyfrydle for suggesting.
  • The health popups now show decimal places if need be for the percent change in health.
  • In the game-paused stats that the game shows for monsters and characters, instead of showing physical and magical attack raw values, it instead shows what that translates into in terms of the percent of your base max health (that's the same as the percent that pops up when you're actually damaged). To save you having to do some math in your head and make things a lot more clear.
    • Thanks to eRe4s3r for suggesting.
  • The actual scale of the underlying health values for characters has not changed, but now it is not shown anywhere on the interface -- monster attacks and player health values are all expressed in percents, which the interface already was half doing already. Now it's just consistent everywhere. If people prefer we drop the percent sign, we can discuss doing that also.
    • Going along with this, when choosing new characters and when looking at character stats in the escape menu or while paused, there is now a new value shown instead of the raw health: toughness. The toughness value is another percentage, ranging from 50% on upwards, and better values mean that monsters will do less damage to you.
      • The toughness value isn't new, it's just a new and friendlier way of showing something that was already there. There is still just one number under the hood -- max health. But since max health varies by player, and yet is always talked about as "100%" in the game, that creates a problem: your 100% might be better than mine. Skelebots that strike you might do 3% of your max health, while they do 5% of my max health. The toughness value is thus a quick and straightforward way of comparing the relative damage absorption capabilities of characters, since the raw max health itself was considered by many to be a kludgy thing to show part of the time but not all the time.
    • Thanks to eRe4s3r for getting us moving in this direction.
  • The mana values in the game have also been left the same under the hood, but for display purposes they have been divided by 10 so that the numbers are smaller and more manageable-feeling. Like the health/toughness stuff, this doesn't affect game balance one iota, but it makes the interface slightly cleaner and easier for new players to read.
    • Thanks to eRe4s3r for getting us moving in this direction.
  • Boss monsters are now only allowed to be allocated ONE elemental resistance. And if the monster already has an inherent elemental weakness, it will only be able to add to that existing resistance (if possible), not add a second one in addition to that.
    • Additionally, the max randomly-added elemental resistance is now 75% rather than 99%. And the randomly-added elemental resistance is added in increments of 15% rather than 25%, to keep bosses from having too crazy many other points to allocate elsewhere.
    • The intent here is to allow for more specialization of players to colors of their choice, rather than forcing them to play all colors all the time. It will still be difficult to play ONE single color for all of time, but having one primary color and one backup color is now possible with this simple change. This will become even more important as enchants are introduced next week.
    • Thanks to Bluddy for suggesting.
  • The various inherent elemental resistances of almost all monsters have been tweaked. In almost all cases, the monster has only one kind of weakness, and in most cases that weakness is capped at 75%.
    • The slimes still work as they did before, and the few monsters that are actually healed by a given element still retain that ability.
  • Almost all of the miniboss-and-up monster types have had their inherent magical resistances removed. This way each boss can still be more unique without needing to have multiple resistances. The bosses retain all their existing weaknesses, though.
  • In the previous version there were some bugs with the falling damage that could lead to you to take 60% falling damage from walking down a hill (apparently you stumbled, I dunno).
    • A completely new method of calculating falling damage has now been arrived at. Rather than being based on your velocity (which is really problematic to use for a variety of reasons), it's now based on how far you've fallen since you last jumped (or were otherwise propelled upwards), touched the ground, or touched water. When you then first touch the ground or water, you take damage if you fell too far (but falling through water at any distance won't hurt you a bit -- aside from the acid. You only get hurt by falling into water when you fall from a great height directly onto it, like in real life).
    • Unfortunately, we've not really had time to properly test this new falling damage model. Since we don't want this causing game-breaking bugs over the weekend, we're instead just making it so that the text popup of how much damage you WOULD have taken is still there, but the actual damage is not applied to you yet. If you see anything odd, we'd definitely love to know about it so that we can fix it on Monday.
    • So, since falling damage is in distance (in pixels), you might be interested in the damage thresholds:
    • > 1000: 10%
    • > 1600: 20%
    • > 2200: 40%
    • > 2800: 60%
    • > 3400: 80%
    • > 4000: 100%
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for reporting the bug with the other way of doing this.
  • Fixed a bug in recent versions that was making some of the kill-these-enemies unlocks impossible; most specifically the "kill 15 skelebot snipers" one.
    • Thanks to KDR_11k for reporting.
  • Since the changeover to the new population patterns, some of the unlockables actually have been pointless as they no longer unlocked anything. Those ones have been redefined (usually into much more challenging versions with other monsters) and have been set up as unlock conditions for various personality citybuilding structures.
    • If you already unlocked these unlockables in your world under the other conditions, then congratulations -- you just got something easier.
  • There are a couple of new unlockables in general, and a number of background objects are now hidden behind unlockables -- thus the world tends to evolve and show you new stuff more as you play, which adds a visual incentive to a number of the unlockables.
  • Previously there were no stash rooms _ever_ in lava towers, pyramids, or similar. This not only made those buildings a bit on the pointless side, it also made a couple of unlockables literally impossible to complete. Fixed so that these all tend to have one stash per floor now -- quite a worthwhile place to go indeed, now!
    • Thanks to tbogue for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug where mana and magical attack were always showing up as green in the character selection screens. Now it is set to properly weight on the numbers, regardless of scale, so that this won't happen again.
    • Thanks to jerith for reporting.
  • NPC and player characters now get three extra stat allocation points compared to before, which makes it more likely that characters will hit the upper end of their range on at least one stat.
  • The pick-a-character stat colorization now has five color gradients rather than three: darker green for really excellent stats, lighter green for excellent, white for middling, lighter red for worse stats, and darker red for very bad stats.
    • The idea is to make it much easier to see at a glance what characters are exceptional or not.
  • Made several other visual formatting improvements to the pick-a-character screen.
  • Fixed a bug in prior versions that was causing grow gems to be completely busted in solo and multiplayer. This fix _should_ work in multiplayer, but it's only been tested in solo so far.
    • Thanks to tbogue for reporting.
  • Version 0.571 consists of fixing a bug wherein really good graphics cards would run the game at a superfast animation rate in the last few versions, ever since we turned off the target framerate. Therefore the target framerate setting is back, and once again defaulting to 60fps, but it's also now something that players can directly control themselves. With the game having such low graphical load now, some players could get as much as 340 fps when not fighting anything, and that was leading to some floating-point precision issues somewhere in the innards Unity, which in turn would lead to the super-speed animations.
    • Thanks to KDR_11k for reporting.

Guardian Powers and Citybuilding Structures

  • Settlement chunks are now quite a bit flatter in their terrain, and about 50% wider, to make sure there is ample room to see the citybuilding structures in the background.
    • Note that even in older savegames the citybuilding buildings can always be placed -- no problems there -- but they may clump up or otherwise be difficult to see due to the ground getting in the way in many of those cases.
  • The type of fence that is used in settlements is now destructible, so you can clear a view to the settlement buildings behind them if you wish.
    • It is also now a source of lumber even prior to tier 3, but since there's only one settlement per continent you can't exactly get a lot of lumber that way.
  • Using the Shape Matter guardian powers, it's now possible to place all 7 of the primary buildings and all 30 of the personality buildings, and they automatically arrange themselves in the background of the settlement.
  • All of the citybuilding structures are now arranged into parallax layers based on their apparent visual depth from the camera (based on their sprites, some look very close while others are very distant). This makes for a pretty cool scrolling effect as you walk through a settlement with, say, all 37 buildings in them (this is a very rare settlement indeed, just as a note).
  • Eight out of the 30 different citybuilding personality structures are unlocked from the start of the game. Most of the other current ones get unlocked simply by meeting NPCs from other time periods, but there are a few elite ones that take quite a while to reach (such as the Castle and the Stratospheric Citadel). The more structures you have available, the harder the NPC management part of the game becomes (because you want to find complimentary NPCs that want the same buildings as one another if you can, to minimize the number of buildings you have to build before taking on the overlord -- after the overlord is dead, you can build whatever you want without fear).
  • Added a new Settlement Status section of the Management & Planning that lets you view the NPCs, City Structures, and Guardian Power scrolls for your current continent's settlement -- from anywhere in that continent.
  • Guardian Power Scrolls:
    • Are rewarded from some missions. New missions have roughly a 50% chance of awarding up to 3 guardian power scrolls instead of rare commodities as additional rewards.
      • These are stockpiled in the settlement, and thus do not carry over from one continent to the next.
    • 41 types are currently defined:
      • "Minor Light Surge" extends the continent's "lifetime" (the threshold at which enemy progress will destroy the continent) slightly.
      • "Minor Tranquility" generates a stable pocket in the vortex within the target region, thus creating an opportunity (mission) to establish a wind shelter.
      • "Seek Resources" searches for rare commodities within the target region, creating a opportunity (mission) to retrieve them. Obeys the normal rules for what commodities can be seeded in that kind of region, and cannot be cast if no resources are eligible to be seeded there.
      • "Seek Survivors" searches for survivors within the target region, creating an opportunity (mission) to rescue them.
      • "Shape Matter: (building name)" creates a building of that type in the continent's settlement. There are 37 different Shape Matter powers, corresponding to the 37 existing structure types.
    • Each power has a corresponding NPC profession and profession tier.
      • Each NPC is randomly given 1 of the 6 professions:
        • Stonebinder
        • Lumbermancer
        • Aquaurgist
        • Apothekineticist
        • Forgician
        • Technozoologicalist
        • You can see each NPC's profession (and tier) from Management & Planning -> Settlement Status -> Residents.
      • And the tier means:
        • Tier 1 powers have no special requirements.
        • Tier 2 powers require that the settlement have a residence tower.
        • Tier 3 powers require that the settlement have the special building corresponding to that profession.
        • Tier 4 powers require that the settlement have one of the NPC's desired "personality" buildings.
        • Tier 5 powers require that the settlement have both of the NPC's desired "personality" buildings.
        • Note: each tier also requires everything the lower tiers require, in case that wasn't clear.
    • A power may also have resource costs (stone, lumber, shards, etc).
  • Guardian Powers Interface
    • Can be opened from:
      • As mentioned above, from Management & Planning -> Settlement Status -> Guardian Powers. This will show all stockpiled guardian power scrolls
      • From a new button on the world map HUD. This will only show guardian powers that require a target region.
      • From the green guardian stone. This will only show guardian powers that do not require a target region (this includes those which create settlement structures).
    • Mousing over a power gives a detailed tooltip including what NPC profession and profession tier it requires, resource costs, and if you can't use it right now it will tell you why.
    • Clicking an eligibile power will cast it.
      • Using a power consumes one scroll of that type (the quantity on-hand is listed next to the name).

Beta 0.569 Water Cushion

(Released February 1st, 2012)

  • Fixed an issue in the prior version where the old workbenches were still appearing if the settlement being loaded had been loaded in the version two releases ago. Older worlds were removing them just fine, but just one age of worlds was not.
    • Thanks to tbogue for reporting.
  • An awesome new battle music theme by Pablo now plays during the multi-base battlefield missions (in the actual mission area itself, not in the staging area).
  • Fixed a bug in the prior version that could let players accidentally take damage when falling slowly through water. We simply turned off falling damage when you're in water in general, since it's not possible to be moving fast enough to incur such damage when you're underwater, anyway.
    • Thanks to Nyamsas for reporting.

Beta 0.568 The Sky That Fell

(Released February 1st, 2012)

  • Fixed a bug in the prior version that was making all of the character markers invisible on the chunk map, with them showing up under the chunk map rather than on top of it.
    • Thanks to Hyfrydle and jerith for reporting.
  • Greatly improved the accuracy of the custom mouse cursor (and thus by extension where spells are aimed even when not using the custom mouse cursor, since the custom mouse cursor represents exactly where the game thinks the mouse cursor is).
    • The only time when there is any latency left with this is when vsync is on or when there is substantial lag.
  • Substantially improved the contrast of the custom mouse cursor, and also made its animation load faster off of disk. When a textbox is actively in use (has keyboard focus), the mouse cursor now stops animating.
  • The custom cursor is now on by default, and the OS cursor is now off by default. However, there are still options for you to be able to choose what you prefer.
  • Falling damage is now a part of gameplay again, in all regions and time periods, on all action difficulties. There's nothing special about the lava flats when it comes to falling damage now.
    • Before anyone groans too much at this, know that it's a pretty tame amount of falling damage -- the amount of falling damage is based on your velocity at the time you hit the ground, and comes in increments of 10%, 20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, and 100%.
    • These percentages are of your base health, so even if you take "full damage" from falling while you have extra health from vitality stones, you're just knocked down a vitality stone tier, not outright killed.
    • In order to get much falling velocity, you have to fall REALLY far. The max velocity that all areas of the game (lava flats excepted) were previously capped at was just under the 10% damage threshold. So you can fall about two screens down (on 1920x1280) and still be in the 10% falling damage range. You have to fall down a really incredibly long hole in order to take more than that.
    • Why have this feature? Well, it just seems to make sense that there would be some consequences for falling, doesn't it? If there's a really deep hole, that should feel intimidating to climb down due to the risk of death. If there's no risk, there's not much excitement being generated from the hole itself, which then makes all the various environments feel more alike. Our goal is to have all the various environments feel more unique, and so an area that is really shallow versus really deep should feel different.
    • If you're not a fan of falling damage and the like, right now your best defense is vitality stones, because they would protect you from even a "fatal" fall. You can also use Ride the Lightning or similar right before you hit in order to reverse your velocity and then land lightly, but that requires more than a bit of timing. You can actually do the same thing with the inherent double jump of your characters (walk off of any cliff without jumping, and you can then jump in the air), but there again it requires good timing on your part.
    • In the future, we'll also have enchants that reduce your rate of falling and so forth, so if that's important to you, you can customize your character that way (being able to float downwards obviously has more benefits than just avoiding falling damage, so it's the sort of thing we would have done either way).
  • Whenever your character takes "ambient damage" -- from cold, heat, acid water, lava, falling, etc -- it used to show a message in the chat log. However, that has a way of filling up the chat log with semi-useful information, and it's also the sort of thing that players easily miss seeing if they are moving around quickly.
    • Therefore, the chat log messages have been removed, and instead there is now a text popup directly on your character whenever you take ambient damage of this sort.
  • Fixed a bug with the last few versions (since the changeover to the tiers and such) where regular commodities would drop only if they had no unlock tier, or their unlock tier was exactly the forces of evil tier. Meaning that you couldn't get copper at tier 4, as one example. Or clay at tier 3, etc, etc.
    • Thanks to KDR_11k and c4sc4 for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug with the last few versions where no rare commodities were considered eligible for seeding due, for lack of an exclamation point in the code.
    • Thanks to Hyfrydle and others for reporting.
  • Instead of showing "Tier X" on the HUD at the bottom, which was confusing, it now shows "Enemy Tier X." Thus it is more clear that this is the tier of enemies (and by extension also goodies, but that's less important), rather than being a tier of yourself.
    • Thanks to tbogue for inspiring this change.
  • Like the little mana bar that hovers over your character, a little health bar is now always shown for your character if their health is below their current max.
    • The big health bar for your character is now no longer ever shown above their heads, consequently; that's reserved for enemies, NPCs, other players and objects, etc.
    • Thanks to GrimerX for suggesting.
  • The Ilari now heal you to your true max health rather than your base max health.
    • Additionally, the message about the healing shows up as a floating text message rather than as a chat log entry.
    • Thanks to many players for suggesting this, and c4sc4 for finally convincing us in light of the coming warp changes.
  • Whenever health is lost, a little popup number now comes out of the health bar in the bottom section of the HUD.
    • This popup lasts only for four seconds, but it allows you to see how much damage you're taking (in the form of percentages rather than raw numbers) more easily than in the past (where you had to know your former percentage and look at your new percentage instantly to see how much damage a monster hit did to you).
  • Whenever the Enemy Progress increases on the local continent, a popup now pops out of the Enemy Tier bar, slowly rising for 16 seconds.
    • The first line of the popup just tells how much the EP has increased by -- so, for instance, players will notice when EP increases from death or missions.
    • The second line of the popup tells how many EP remain before the enemy tier increases, as well as how many EP remain before the continent is destroyed.
    • This whole popup thus acts as a training aid to help players learn the game without being too in-your-face with some of these mechanics. But at the same time, this popup is actually extremely useful even for experienced players because it lets them keep tabs on the status of their continent every time the status changes. And having an in-game way to see when the next tier will be reached is just hugely needed.
    • Thanks to zebramatt for suggesting.
  • All of the old kinds of workbenches that were previously in settlements have now been deprecated and removed (they have still been there, only hidden, for the last few months).
  • Fixed a bug in prior versions where enemy/ally mission bases were not fully immune to knockback.
    • Thanks to Gallant Dragon for reporting.
  • The message about vitality stones not being usable outside of settlements now pops up on the character rather than up in the chat log.
    • So does the message about insufficient vitality stones.
  • When a player's max health goes down because of too much damage, it still shows the message in the chat log for that player. However, it also now shows a popup message on the player's character, and that popup message is visible to all players in multiplayer.
  • The various other messages about not being able to use spells due to lack of mana, or not being able to use them because they aren't yet known on the continent, or not being able to switch suits for various reasons, have all been converted to on-character popup text rather than text in the chat log. Keeps things cleaner, and it's much easier to see those messages in the heat of battle.
  • In the prior version, because of the brightness adjustments on explored/unexplored node colors, the boss nodes were not showing up in a very distinct fashion. They were different, but you really had to look at them to be able to see at all. Fixed.
    • Thanks to tbogue for reporting.
  • Fixed an outdated reference in the intro mission that referred to monster nests.
    • Thanks to jerith for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug with malformed xml for the pre-industrial human dialogue. They would not talk about anything except griping about overlords, if even that, thanks to this bug (which has been in there for a good several months, but never noticed until now since NPCs almost always griped before).

Unified Animated Sky Rendering System And Improved Day/Night Cycle

  • The formerly "static" skies are now animated, with clouds moving and combining and such. They aren't so unique as the dynamic skies are -- in the procedural sense -- but there is a lot more variance between these between different parts of the game, making the overall feel of the areas vary more.
  • The nights in the normal skies now support animation of the cloud layers independently of the stars layer, rather like the dynamic skies do.
  • The desert "blowing sand" weather pattern now looks more unique and better.
  • The lava flats now uses a sky model that is always bright, so you can't visually tell what time of day it is there -- all hours of the day look the same. This seems fitting for such a volcanic area that is smothered by clouds reflecting the volcanic light back onto itself.
  • There are new background clouds for The Deep, much more unique and menacing.
    • The deep is now always dark, even during the day; and it's clouds never change with the changing time of day, either. In a lot of respects this makes it kind of the opposite of the lava flats, this one being a land of perpetual night.
  • The skies for cold and warm areas now differ dramatically in color and cloud type.
  • Removed Unisky (and thus "dynamic skies") from the game.
    • Now that the normal skies are so animated, there was really a lot less difference between the two modes. The fully-procedural clouds of the dynamic skies were definitely cool, but not really worth the insane performance cost (most players couldn't even run them at all), or the maintenance cost of trying to maintain two different cloud systems. Instead of trying to support both, we can put more emphasis into our sole remaining style of clouds and thus come out with something even better; these skies have better color values than dynamic skies ever did, as well as more variance between the various kinds of skies. And they're more in keeping with the general graphical style of the rest of the game, which is another big plus.
    • Based on our polling of players, we think folks will be really blown away by the new version.
  • Implemented a number of bugfixes to the normal skies (formerly "static" skies), making their transitions better, etc.
  • Previously, because of trying to make the static skies conform to the general timescale of the dynamic skies, the sunrises and sunsets were both really long and kind of at strange times: 4-8am was sunrise and 3-9pm was sunset. This meant that 10 out of every 24 hours was spent showing the sunrises or sunsets! That's just crazy, but for purposes of trying to match the dynamic skies that's really all we could do.
    • Now the sunrise and sunset times vary by the season, and are much shorter in general:
      • Dewbloom: sunrise 6-7am, sunset: 8-9pm
      • Solswell: sunrise 5:30-6am, sunset: 8:30-10pm
      • Ashfall: sunrise 6-7am, sunset: 7-8pm
      • Frostmoon: sunrise 7-8am, sunset: 5-6pm
    • The sunrise and nightfall spells have been altered to take advantage of this new timing, and so have the ambient light levels in addition to things like the actual background visuals shown, etc.
    • All these changes do mean that nights are now substantially longer, but they also mean that the days are universally longer (even during winter!) than they were before. It's those crazy sunrises and sunsets that have finally gotten under control.
  • Ever since static skies existed (since before dynamic skies were in the game), there was some bad math in terms of the way they were being treated on the Y axis. Not a typo or anything, just some wrong assumptions about how the camera should work with a very distant sky or things like clouds in the sky. Given that Chris always played with dynamic skies on, he never noticed that until today; the parallax backgrounds, which looked fine with dynamic skies, caused some real perception problems on static skies. Anyway, this is now fixed to work like dynamic skies always did.
  • Improved the graphics of the moon, including fixing the fact that part of it was partly transparent before.
  • Did all new graphics for the sun, more in the style of the game rather than a generic 3D game sun.
  • The sun and moon both rise, and the sun now sets as well. Even in the dynamic skies before, the sun only rose and never set within sight of the camera.

Beta 0.566/0.567 OSX Framerates Rejoice

(Released January 30th, 2012)

  • Note 0.566 was not quite released properly, and so we had to increment to 0.567 and skip it.
  • Did some substantial work on the sprite dictionaries for the running animations of characters. This saves RAM, saves load time for character assets, and reduces the potential for texture swaps in many cases.
    • This does mean a lot of download size for this next update, though, naturally.
  • Updated the fire effect so that it's slightly higher quality, and also now in one sprite dictionary and thus loading faster and using less RAM.
    • This also fixes the "blinky" effect of the black char that the fireball was exhibiting in the prior release.
  • Fixed an issue with the sorting logic in the prior version that was causing all manner of tomfoolery -- progress bars sometimes not workinkg right, bushes jostling for position, etc.
    • Thanks to Aklyon, Bluddy, Hyfrydle, and Underfot for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue with the static skies wherein their images were not being preloaded properly, which would then lead to a black blip at the transitions between day, night, sunrise, and sunset.
  • Adjusted the dungeon map so that areas that you have visited now show up as lighter, and areas that you have not visited show up as darker. This is in addition to the pre-existing black line through rooms you've never visited, but the combined effect is now much more clear in terms of what you have and have not visited.
    • Thanks to Toll for suggesting.
  • Fixed an issue where health bars would show up way above entities that were not at full scale.
  • Improved the efficiency of the shader that is being used to make damaged entities flash white.
    • As the focal point of this, also circumvented a bug that was causing GPU instability on OSX.
    • Thanks to laughing_man and jerith for reporting.
  • Made it so that the default type of sky is what was previously called "static skies." Now these are just called normal skies.
    • Dynamic skies are still part of the game for now, but they must be explicitly enabled and the game more or less warns players against doing this. Based on our polling of players thus far, it looks like we might just cut dynamic skies in general, but we're not doing that quite yet.
  • Fixed a couple of bugs in the prior versions that was preventing vases (and thus clay) from properly seeding. The first bug was that not all of the ice age building types were even set to try to seed objects in their hallways. The second bug was in the seeding logic for vases themselves: they were mistakenly set to only be allowed to seed outside, which of course was trouble.
    • Thanks to TerraSleet for reporting.

Beta 0.565 Better Texture Sorting And Other Tricks

(Released January 28th, 2012)

  • Fixed another bug in the prior version that was causing some regions to not have their monsters migrate properly. In this case it was a matter of too little migrating rather than too much, but it should all be working now, knock on wood.
  • Put in some changes to how the render pipeline segregates its working entities, such that the game can hopefully reuse more objects than it was previously doing.
  • Similarly, put in another change to the render pipeline queue, this time for the text. Previously there was a global queue of text, and when a new string needed to be drawn earlier in the queue, then all prior strings would get updated down the line. Mostly that was not a problem, but when there was a lot of text on the screen and just a few changes, it could cause unneeded load. These queues are now broken out by layer, which should help with any transitional CPU/RAM usage based on the text allocations.
  • Put in place a number of logic improvements into the render pipeline that reduce the number of wasted texture swaps. Given the layers approach of the game's render pipeline in the last month or so, this wouldn't have much of a benefit in most cases; however, in the cases of particle effects in particular, or lots of game entities on screen at once, this should help on lower-end GPUs.
  • Added in CPU-side texture sorting into the game's render pipeline. This often will shrink the number of texture swaps by half, depending on screen resolution and what all is going on on the screen. But the more particle effects and such are onscreen at once, the more this will help.
    • This does cause a very minor increase in CPU load, but at a vastly greater savings on the GPU.
    • It's possible that this might cause some isolated flickering in some parts of the game, but we've not actually seen that happening; if you find any instances of that, please do let us know and we can easily turn off the sorting for selective layers, for instance.
  • Added a new "Disable Additive Blending" settings option.
    • Additive blending makes particle effects look a bit neater, but it comes at a performance cost. If your machine is struggling with performance, disabling additive blending is a way to improve performance without dampening the visuals too strongly.

Beta 0.564 Gravity Kicks In

(January 27th, 2012)

  • Fixed a bug where pausing for a long time and unpausing could lead to a monster re-population of a chunk.
    • Thanks to Toll for the report.
  • All thirty of the (for 1.0) personality background buildings for the settlement are now in place, or at least their graphics are. Actual functionality (and integration into the game itself) is in progress today, but probably won't be released until Monday night at the earliest.
  • Changed the way in which the "can this enemy jump up" logic is calculated, making it so that enemies and NPCs should jump over small obstacles more readily.
  • Wooden platforms are no longer allowed to float in the sky. When you place one in the sky, it now falls until it hits the ground or reaches a background wall. In caves or interiors, in other words, wood platforms work the same as they ever did. But you can't go using these above-ground in the exterior of the world.
    • This is something we've been contemplating since early beta or even before, but because of the way that the world was structured it was entirely possible that if you ran into an insurmountable cliff to get across, that you could get permanently stuck. With the new level-less regions and such, that's no longer a worry in remotely the same way, and so we're finally able to do this without causing any stalemate situations. There might be some exterior areas that you can't get to without unlocking ride the lightning or even lightning rocket (or finding transmogrify into bat scrolls), but that sort of occasional gating is actually great.
  • Wood platforms are now more sturdy, to match the health of crates.
  • Regular crates that you find out in the world are no longer able to be shrunk using the shrink spell.
  • The deployable crates that players can pick up are now different from the regular crates found elsewhere in the world. The player crates are slightly larger, have a bit of a different look to them, and are affected by gravity no matter where they are used; making them a lot more distinct from wood platforms.
    • So you can stack these into staircases, for instance, but you cannot just use them as floating platforms in the sky or underground/inside.
    • All old inventory stocks of the old kind of crates are now converted to the new kind of crates.
  • Fixed several collision bugs relating to top-solid game entities, most notably with wooden platforms not expanding properly when being placed on top of a player or monster.
    • Thanks to GrimerX for reporting.
  • Greatly improved the logic for what happens to a player that gets stuck in a solid object, which can now happen if players drop crates on themselves.
  • Item drops, player crates, and wooden platforms now float in water. If they are below the surface they will rise, and then they will hold steady at the surface so that they can easily be jumped upon, etc.
    • If you are trapped way below the water, you can thus use player crates to ride up to the surface. You'll fall through wood platforms as they rise, so they aren't good for riding on in the water.
  • Fixed a bug where the wrong boss types were seeding in undergrounds in the prior version.
    • If you see any other strangeness with enemies appearing inside, outside, or underground when they should not be, please let us know -- we had to redo all that stuff to get the new population patterns going. The migrations only apply to enemies moving across regions, not enemies appearing underground or inside when they should not.
    • Thanks to Armanant for reporting.
  • Fixed several bits of wrong logic and several bits of very inefficient code from the prior version related to monster spawning.
    • This was likely the cause of the lag at the start of certain areas, and the cause of the lag whenever monster spawners were present and spawning monsters in boss rooms.
    • Thanks to GrimerX, laughing_man, and c4sc4 for reporting.
  • Icicle leapers are now immune to water.
  • Redid parts of the intro mission to reflect the new way that wooden platforms work outside.
  • Added monsters back to the intro mission -- when the monster spawners were taken out in the prior version, nothing was added back!
  • Heavily reworked many of the intro mission sections that include monsters -- mainly the caverns -- so that they now provide more interesting, appropriate fighting grounds for monsters that don't respawn.
    • The older style of caverns were designed with the infinite-respawning monster nests in mind, and so a number of changes had to be made here to make the intro mission still have the appropriate balance of difficulty while still easing the player in, and not providing them with head-scratching scenarios like all the monsters just falling into one big mosh pit, etc.
    • More changes are coming for the monsters themselves, for the caverns at large, but since the intro mission is hand-crafted we went ahead and made sure this made as much sense as possible.
  • In the minion battles, the enemy minions will now turn and pursue any players that slip past them toward their base. You'll really want to control the battlefield rather than trying to sneak by, or else you're likely to take a ton of damage.
    • Thanks to BobJustBob for reporting the exploit in the prior version.
  • Got rid of the warp potion coffer in the first screen of the intro chunk, since its disappearance was confusing when you picked up the warp potions on the second screen.
    • Thanks to GrimerX for suggesting.

Beta 0.563 Migratory Battlefields

(Released January 26th, 2012)

  • Fixed a bug that was making it so that the "destroy all monsters in surface chunk of region" unlockables could be unlocked in interiors and undergrounds and missions.
    • Thanks to Armanant for reporting.
  • Previously, water and lightning espers always fired 3 shots each time they fired a shot. Now they fire ( tier - 2 ) shots, but never less than 1 shot. So only one shot on tiers 1-3, two shots on tier 3, and three shots on tier 4.
    • Thanks to Bluddy for suggesting.
  • Urban predator plasma shots were previously always in batches of 5. Now they fire in batches of (tier + 2).
  • Changed listing of mission additional rewards (in both region right-click detail window and mission-success chat messages) to say something like "3x Tier 2 Orb" instead of "3 Tier 2 Orb".
    • Thanks to GrimerX for the suggestion.
  • Mission descriptions (in the right-click-region-detail-window) now include a note about the mission's tier, to provide more detail than the "T2 Mission" (or whatever) on the world map.
    • Thanks to GrimerX for the suggestion.
  • The Pick-Character-Menu now has mouseover tooltips for health, mana, magical attack, magical casting speed, and the temperature warning (if any) lines.
    • Thanks to GrimerX for the suggestion.
  • Added "Press (comma/period) key to switch to (dungeon/region) map." lines to the bottom of the dungeon node and dungeon tooltips for the dungeon and region maps. If you have a different binding than comma/period, it displays the correct key.
    • Thanks to GrimerX for the suggestion.
  • Added "Double-Press Time" textbox to the settings window (game tab):
    • If you press a key and then, within the number of milliseconds specified by the "Double-Press Time" setting, press the same key again, it will be interpreted as a double-tap for the purposes of things like auto-casting Storm Dash.
    • 200 is the default value. Lower values will result in a lower "sensitivity" and may be good for you if you find yourself unintentionally triggering storm dash a lot. Higher values will be more sensitive and are good if you find that you are having trouble triggering storm dash via double-tap and want to be able to do so.
    • Thanks to GrimerX for the suggestion.
  • EXP Containers have now become Enchant Containers. They are seeded and collected in the same way they used to be.
    • Collecting these gives all players in the world progress toward unlocking new enchants. The collecting player, if they personally have enough enchant points accumulated, may also receive a random new enchant at the cost of most of their points.
    • So far the enchants aren't actually in there, but we wanted to go ahead and get the enchant containers in there so that people could be collecting the enchant points as they explore (since they'll be passing what would be them anyway), so that when we have enchants in place next week they don't have to start from scratch then.
  • Heavily revamped the NPC dialogue system.
    • For one thing, when there are a ton of NPCs in a chunk, it will no longer take extra long to load the chunk because of dialogue assignments.
    • For another, the way that NPCs choose what to talk about is now far more contextual. They're a lot more likely to talk about their own time period when there is still an overlord present on their continent (which previously they almost never would do -- the complainers). But as the tier of the overlord's forces rises, they'll complain more and more about the overlord and his/her lieutenants.
    • This also paves the way for us to add other contextual dialogue types, such as complaining about not enough housing in the current settlement, or the continental destruction drawing too near, or whatever. We don't have any of that sort of thing right now, but now it is at least possible.
  • Updated the costs of douse monster nest so that it's not becoming available at the end of the intro mission and confusing new players.
    • Thanks to Penumbra for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue where old worlds could have tier 0 missions with tier 0 monsters in them.
    • Thanks to Hyfrydle and Toll for reporting.
  • All seven of the primary background buildings for the settlement are now in place, or at least their graphics are. Actual functionality (and integration into the game itself) to come soon.
  • Turned off the target framerate setting for the game. This should make vsync work a little better, and in windowed mode seems to make the custom mouse cursor follow the OS/hardware cursor very closely. However, in fullscreen mode this doesn't seem to help the custom software mouse cursor accuracy any, unfortunately.
    • Thanks to Bluddy for prodding us about this.
  • Put in a fix to an issue that could cause jittering framerate when an Ilari healed you for the first time due to some images not being properly preloaded.

Battlefield Missions

  • There are now two kinds of battlefield missions added to the game: both play out the same way, but one gives you a wind shelter as the result, and the other lets you rescue an NPC.
    • Battle missions are... intense. The battle takes place in a single above-ground chunk of varying size, with your base at the left end and the enemy base at the other end.
    • Every second or so, you have little "minions" that spawn (always neutral skelebots -- male and female varieties -- at the moment). Similarly, the enemy base produces various enemies with ranged attacks on the same time schedule.
      • Very early in the game, it's just skelebot snipers. But as you unlock new kinds of ranged enemies, you'll start seeing them appear in the battles as well. However, we've specifically excluded some of the ones that are brutally annoying in the battles, mainly amoebas and espers.
    • The other important thing to know about the battlefields is that they disallow any piercing abilities.
      • This means that something like energy pulse is completely useless, because it is likely to hit the first bush or tree in the background and then just die. But for something like tidal pulse or the enemy sniper shots, they'll just hit the first enemy and then fizzle, rather than shooting through lots of enemies.
      • This effect works both for and against you. Obviously it makes it very difficult to hit a ton of enemies at once with a spell of that nature. On the other hand, it also means that if you can keep your minions in front of you, then they take the damage instead of you. If you're good at hitting the weakspots of the enemies you're facing, then you can use that to great advantage as your minions will tend to pile up a bit.
    • The entire battle really plays out like one big, crazy version of tug of war. You can see the location of all enemies and your minions on the minimap, by the way, so there's no surprises there with anyone sneaking past you. The challenge is in how to turn the tide, get to the far right side of the battlefield, and attack the enemy base for long enough to destroy it.
    • Note that this is, in some senses, a basic prototype of a class of mission that we could do a lot more with. It's fun as it is, but there may be some exploits (which we'd love to hear about), and there's certainly a lot more complexity that we could build into it... if people are interested in that. Either way this mission type is here to stay, but whether it stays in something close to this state or whether it grows a lot (or even spawns spinoff mission types) is going to be based on how interesting players find this general premise. We have a lot of other premises for missions that we can focus on if this one is just "meh." To us, though, this has definitely been quite a fun one. :)

Migratory Monsters, And No More Monster Spawners Outside Of Boss Rooms

  • Monster population has been completely redone:
    • All non-boss chunks now have no monster spawners (the little piles of skulls).
      • Instead, when they are first created they are populated with enemies up to a population budget that is mostly based on the size of the "interactive" area of the chunk.
      • Also, if a chunk is re-entered and more than 10 hours of world-time (about 4 minutes and 10 seconds of wall-clock time) has passed, it will be repopulated (existing enemies will be kept and counted against the budget).
      • Also, if more than 10 hours of world time elapses within about 2 realtime seconds while the chunk is in memory, it will be repopulated. Basically this means that it repops if someone casts sunrise or nightfall. Normal passage of time will never trigger this.
    • Boss chunks still have monster spawners but the spawning is different. Specifically there's about a 30 second lag between a monster dying and more spawning.
    • Starting at tier 2 of enemy progress, the list of eligible monster types to spawn in a chunk include neighboring regions. The higher the enemy tier, the farther out this "migration" effect pulls from, and the higher chance of including "migrating" monsters. So for example:
      • At tier 2:
        • Each monster type that the current region can spawn has 100% of their normal chance of being picked.
        • Each monster type that each of the adjacent regions can spawn has 25% of their normal chance of being picked.
      • At tier 4:
        • Each monster type that the current region can spawn has 100% of their normal chance of being picked.
        • Each monster type that each of the adjacent regions can spawn has 75% of their normal chance of being picked.
        • Each monster type that each of the regions two squares away has 50% of their normal chance of being picked.
        • Each monster type that each of the regions three squares away has 25% of their normal chance of being picked.
      • If a monster type can be spawned by multiple regions in range, the highest chance is kept (doesn't stack).
    • Thanks to Bluddy and others for suggesting the removal of monster spawners a loooong time ago. It took us a while to figure out how to do this exactly right.

Beta 0.562 Continental Drift

(Released January 24th, 2012)

  • The floating point "hour of the day" indicator in the escape menu has been replaced with a much nicer actual hour and minutes counter.
    • The span of 24 hours in game time is still about 10 minutes of realtime.
  • The date is also now shown in the escape menu. Dates on Environ use a calendar that is not like the various Earth calendars. Instead:
    • There are no months, but instead there are four seasons
      • 1 - Dewbloom
      • 2 - Solswell
      • 3 - Ashfall
      • 4 - Frostmoon
    • Each season lasts for exactly 90 days, meaning that an Environ year is slightly shorter than an Earth year, clocking in at only 360 days.
    • When you start a new game, the game always begins on the 1st Day of Dewbloom, in the year 888.
    • Coming up, the date and time will actually matter more in the game. It has always been the case that sunrise/nightfall take you to the NEXT sunrise or sunset, but soon that will actually have gameplay relevance beyond simply adjusting the visuals and the amount of ambient light.
  • The world map has been adjusted to be vastly clearer about where there are windstorms and which tiles will suck you into them (the ocean tiles, in other words). Rather than just using colors and an asterisk, it actually says the word. Paired with the other changes to the text on the world map (see below), things are a lot less cluttered and a lot more clear.
  • Fixed a bug from the last version that could lead to crashed landspeeders appearing in settlements.
  • More furniture added in.
  • Improved the legibility of the progress bars throughout the game, most notably when there is a long health number.
  • Greatly improved the stats about the continent that are shown in the escape menu, and made it so that all of the non-chunk-specific stats now show even on the world map's escape menu (not just when you are in the side view).
    • Also made it finally completely consistent so that the top panel is only about character stats, whereas the bottom panel is about locational stats.
  • Spellgems no longer stack with one another, which is really useful for when you want to have multiple copies of the same spell on your different ability bars; something that wasn't previously possible.
  • Server display now shows the game version.
    • Thanks to Toll for the suggestion.
  • When NPCs complain about overlords or their lieutenants, they now use proper gender tags (his/her rather than their, etc). Even for things like robots, for the sake of clarity of prose the robots are assumed to have a gender of male or female (hey, C3P0 was clearly a guy, wasn't he?).
  • All of the monster types in the game now have genders set for them.
  • Added in a new character type for NPCs and player characeters: Neutral Skelebot Male.
    • All of the pre-existing neutral skelebots are now considered female.
    • The males are half the size of their female counterparts, and pinkish instead of blue.
    • The males can't jump as high and don't move as fast as their larger female counterparts, but they also don't have the troubles going through smallish passages without the miniature spell.
    • Additionally, one huge advantage of the males, to counteract their lower jumps and slightly slower movement speeds, is in fact their size: it is easier to dodge enemy projectiles with a smaller character.
    • The idea is that this should provide not only some visual variety to the neutral skelebots, but actually some gameplay variety to them as well.
  • There were several old and unused inventory screens that were cluttering up the keybinds and the escape menu. Those have been remoevd, and the link to the settlement stockpile has been corrected in the escape menu.
  • Settlements no longer start out with any resources in their stockpiles at all; you must collect whatever you need for crafting purposes or otherwise.
  • Miasma Whip has been made substantially more awesome by now piercing enemies and all background objects instead of just exploding against the first enemy it touches. It also has a lot lower mana cost now, making it more attractive from that angle, too.

Missions v2

  • The concept of "Number of periods until the continent is destroyed" (if the overlord is still present) has been removed and replaced by the concept of "Enemy Progress (EP)."
  • World log entries no longer record the strategic turn on which they occurred, since the concept of strategic turn no longer exists. Instead they record the in-game "day" on which they occurred. Old log entries still have the same number (the turn) and so will look a bit weird, but it won't break anything.
  • Missions now have a small "staging area" chunk before the first real mission chunk.
  • There is now no concept of an "active" mission on a continent, and no restriction on the number of missions that can have players in them at once.
  • The "Abandon Mission" function now works while connected players are in the mission area; it just teleports them out of the mission area the same way that the at-the-end-of-the-mission teleporter does.
    • Note: when we add server controls for anti-griefing, one of those will be a per-player flag for "may abandon a mission".
  • Fixed an issue where the direction of the world map on the region surface dungeon could make incorrect the direction of the exit of the mission dungeon in that same region.
  • Removed the old "resource deposits" and "consciousness nodes" on the world map. They have been pointless for a while, only adding clutter; we're going to soon be adding other things that will need to use that sort of space on the world map, so it was time to clean those up!
  • Missions are now required to be completed all in one go. They are also individually shorter than before.
    • In other words, for all missions once players enter a mission area, they cannot leave it until the mission is complete without abandoning it and thus starting it over from scratch next time they come back.
    • All of the current type of missions are failed whenever anyone who is in the mission dies -- so when one player dies, then all the players get teleported out of the mission and have to try it again in multiplayer. In solo play, when your character dies and you return to the mission, you must complete it from scratch.
    • Very soon (next week) we're going to be adding some missions that don't view death as a mission failure, but rather instead move you to the staging area. For these sorts of missions, players can die as many times as they want during the mission without causing the mission to be failed, but they still can't escape the mission without abandoning it and then having to start it over.
  • Greatly toned down the rare commodity towers so that they now contain only half as many boss rooms. Now that you have to beat them all in one run-through, having six was just cruel! And in general for a mission, having six consecutive bosses like that was way more than we'd wanted.

"Periods" Step Aside For "Enemy Progress" (EP)

  • The concept of periods has been removed from the game -- that was something we were trying out recently with missions, and it was something that wasn't granular enough to work.
    • The real meat of the conflict between the overlord and the player isn't really time -- it's progress. The overlord is working to destroy the continent, and you have to stop them "in time." But it's not a matter of literally doing it in a certain amount of time (as periods implied), but rather a matter of defeating the overlord before all his work is done.
  • Thus there is, instead, now an "enemy progress" indicator on a per-continent basis. This starts out at 1, and increases a lot with each mission you complete. It also increases a very small bit every time you die.
    • When that progress meter reaches 1000, the continent is destroyed. There will be things that you can do to hinder the overlord, but those will involve increasing the threshold for continental destruction (say, to 1200 instead of 1000) rather than reducing the enemy progress itself. Once the enemy progress goes up, it doesn't ever go back down.
    • Another very important note is that the strategic difficulty setting of the game controls the behavior of enemy progress quite a bit. If you're not interested in having to strategize your way through the overlord's destruction (or, conversely, if you want an extra-difficult strategy session), then the strategic difficulty is what you're looking for.
    • The enemy progress also plays heavily into the new "monster tiers" stuff, but please see below for the details on that.

Farewell To EXP, Civilization Levels, Region Levels, and Monster Levels -- Hello Tiers

Why the RPG Elements Had Become An Ill Fit

First off, a general explanation of what we're doing here. Basically, the old system of region tiers and civilization level and all that was trying to be vaguely RPG-ish, while at the same time not really being an RPG. And we've been moving steadily further and further away from that sort of system as beta has progressed, to general acclaim with players -- the early-beta balance was incredibly broken because of the stat scaling, so we made the stats based on relative level of you and the monster, for instance.

The problem was, as the game has evolved away from that core model, the seams of what remained of that model have been showing increasingly much. For instance, new players would frequently be confused by the fact that, as they gained civ levels, their stats did not improve. By trying to be RPG-ish without really being RPG-ish at heart, it was trodding all over some rather fundamental expectations. Another good example is that, for challenge reasons, we previously had to stop seeding things like gem veins in regions that were more than two levels lower than your civ level. For an inexperienced player who might be struggling, all they would know is that they were exploring vast tracts of land that yielded them precisely no goodies. Yuck!

Those are but two examples -- and two of the most critical ones -- but there were many more. The game has been evolving ever more into the Metroidvania subgenre direction, and the Adventure genre even more broadly, so the RPG trappings fit less and less well. Which makes sense, given that we set out originally to make an adventure game in the first place, and only added the RPG elements in order to allow for an infinite world progression. The thing is, in the last two months we've managed to solve the infinite world progression problem in a much more elegant way: continents. More on this in a minute.

The Evolution Of The Strategic Game

Another way that the game has been heavily evolving is on the strategic side -- we always wanted to have strategic-style decisions in this game, and initially we thought that meant giving a strategy-game kind of interface. A month ago or so, during the power coding period, we decided to do away with the interface of the strategic portion of the game while more heavily weaving the strategic elements into the gameplay itself.

Hence a lot of the missions stuff, although that has yet to be fully implemented in-game to the point where you'll be able to fully see where that is headed. That's something we intend to rectify in the next week, and the removal of stuff like region levels is a big part of that.

In a good strategy game, there has to be enough room to maneuver around and make choices. The problem with the region levels is that they constrained the player far too much. If the area of the continent that you could make use of at any given time was only 4-7 region tiles, then the game was really leading you by the nose rather than letting you make choices (that was also a blow for the ability to freely explore, too).

Originally the game did not have this problem, but that was because the world map was so vastly much larger, with dozens of region tiles per region level. That had its own problems, of course -- the world felt too large and too generic, and players wound up actually visiting only a miniscule percentage of the areas that were available to them. Back during the power-coding phase, when we added continents, we made the whole land area a lot more focused and interesting, but we also brought into sharper relief the issues with the region levels that had been there all along.

The Removal Of Levels

  • In the new system, your stats never improve -- this is the same as the old system. However, the difference is that there are no longer Civilization Levels or EXP to make players think that their stats SHOULD improve. In other words, think more along the lines of Zelda than Final Fantasy (which, again, is getting back to what our core intent had been all along).
  • In the new system, regions do not have levels. You can walk anywhere on the first continent as soon as you arrive there, and the monsters will be appropriately difficult as if you were in a same-region-level-as-the-civ-level region in the prior versions of the game.
    • This does unfortunately remove the ability for players to "play up" or "play down" in region levels, which was something we had always liked previously, but there are other things that we have planned in order to address that general desire. And in the meantime, there is always the Action Difficulty setting (which is universal for a server in multiplayer, but otherwise quite equivalent to playing up or down in region levels in solo play).
    • On the other hand, goodies now seed wherever you go, since anywhere you visit is now an appropriate challenge.
  • In the new system, new continents do not appear every 20 civilization levels. Instead, they appear after you kill the overlord on the prior continent. If you cannot kill the overlord, you cannot escape the continent.
    • You can, however, use the deep sea ports right from the start of the game now. That will let us do some interesting things with exploring to find small islands and such, but all of those are ideas for future enhancement and not something that is yet in place.
    • To clarify: if the overlord wins on a continent, and sinks the continent into the sea, then a new continent will appear at that time and you'll wash up at that continent's port. That's actually currently the case in the game, if you manage to lose to the overlord before hitting a multiple of level 20.
  • Also of note, lieutenants are now continent-specific. Rather than all lower-level lieutenants coming to help the overlord, simply all lieutenants from the continent will come to his aid.
  • Another side note: previously, demo versions of the game only let you become civilization level 6. Now the logic has been changed to the following:
    • Trial Mode: You cannot craft spells higher than tier 2, and you cannot leave the first continent.
  • For now, EXP Containers are just not seeded at all (since they would have nothing to do). We're going to look into something comparable to take their place, but for now they are simply absent.

Per-Continent Tiers

Certainly what the old levels approach accomplished (well, one of the things it accomplished) was to provide a logical progression of avatar power. Your characters start out too weak to take on the overlord and even the higher-level regions, and then they must grow in strength to be able to finally overcome those challenges. Simply taking out the levels and not putting anything back in their place would lead to a game with no progression at all. Which would be lame, and which wasn't our goal.

What we really wanted was a per-continent progression, and that was something we've been working towards ever since continents were added at all. If you think about how the crafting system works, with all the crafting unlocks being per-continent, we were halfway there already. Having the not-per-continent civilization level progression only muddled things. So, in place of that, we now have tiers:

  • Players themselves do not have tiers, but NPCs probably will. As of this release, spells and enemies already do.
    • Tiers always range from 1-5, although some spells don't have any tier at all.
  • With the crafting system, as you progress through the continent you can choose to unlock higher-tier versions of spells that you already know. So, for instance, you can unlock Fireball 2, which does more damage than Fireball 1 for the same mana cost and cooldown. This is how your avatar grows in power, but rather than it being a broad and global growth in power, it's something that the players customize for themselves based on what spells they unlock.
    • As with AI War, there will always be more spells to unlock on a per-continent basis than you can reasonably unlock before it comes time to kill the overlord or die. Thus creating some interesting tension and opportunity costs.
  • The categories in the crafting menu have been substantially updated to make the new tiers system quick and painless to use.
  • Spells are morphological by tier. In other words, you equip "Fireball," and that will work as whatever the max tier is that you've learned on the current continent. So if you've got it learned all the way to Tier 5 on Continent 1, then when you visit Continent 1 it will work as Fireball 5. If on Continent 2 you've not learned any higher tiers of it at all, then it will work as Fireball 1 on that continent.
    • For spells that don't have their first tier unlocked for free, they still of course get completely disabled on continents where they have not yet been learned. But you can carry them around in your inventory without incident, again like it already was.
  • Most enemies start out at tier 1, and gain in tiers as the enemy progress increases (see above). Every 200 enemy progress, the tier of all the enemies on the continent goes up by 1, maxing out at tier 5 (at 800 EP and above).
    • Overlords themselves, and all the enemies in their region, are always tier 5.
    • Lieutenants, and all the enemies in their region, are always tier 4 (or tier 5 if the enemy progress would cause it to be higher than the default of 4).
  • Missions, additionally, also have tiers. There are always 7 main missions available for you on the world map -- three of them that are the same tier as most of the enemies on the continent (based on the enemy progress), two that are one tier higher (maxing out at tier 5), and two that are one tier lower (not falling below tier 1). Any monsters that you encounter within a mission will have the same tier as the mission.
    • This is one of the ways in which players can "play up" or "play down" in difficulty on a multiplayer server.
  • Some entity types to no longer seed until certain tiers are reached. This helps to provide some per-continent progression even outside of the progression that is based on the unlocks (see below).
    • For instance, crashed landspeeder robots no longer seed except when the enemy forces are tier 3 or higher.

Level Gating Steps Aside For A Much Cooler Unlocks-Based System

  • The old way of "level gating" various content in the game -- objects, crafting materials, enemies, etc -- has been taken out. That was a linear reward system that basically just handed you whatever the reward was when your civilization level reached a certain point. Boooring!
    • The new way of gating content is a lot more player-directed. There are now many various "unlocks" (and there will be more coming all the time), each of which has specific conditions for completion and each of which has specific rewards.
      • So, for example, you no longer just start finding Copper Ore at level 4. Instead, you have to delve into a desert cavern system of depth 2.
  • An added note is that the unlock criteria for most unlocks will be easily accessible through a reference menu. So if you want to check on the status of what you've unlocked so far in the game, and what you must do to unlock said things, then there's a handy in-game reference.
    • We're not ruling out the possibility of doing some secret unlocks, but at the moment none of those exist.
    • Also to clarify, you only have to unlock a given element once per world.
      • So once you unlock Iron Ore, then you can find Iron Ore from then onward in the game. Unlocking Iron Ore won't actually give you the iron ore any more than the level gating previously did. But it will allow iron ore to start being found in the world under whatever conditions (that vary by material) after that.
  • In terms of finding a new material, there is thus a two-stage process, as there previously was:
    • 1. Make sure that the material has been unlocked (previously based on having a region level that was high enough, now based on doing the unlock conditions once per world).
    • 2. Actually go and find some of the material, which probably involves completing some missions that give it as a reward.
      • The tooltips on the material itself will give you clues as to where to have the best chances of finding this material, as now. Some of that still remains to be done in the next week or so, as "secret missions" (those not announced on the world map) and NPC scouting for resources, both still need to be implemented.
  • The crafting interface has been made vastly more friendly to new players.
    • When there are no spells that can currently be unlocked, it just shows an information message to that effect rather than letting them wander aimlessly in the unlock screens.
    • Additionally, on the unlock and equip screens, spells are hidden if all their material costs have not yet been unlocked on the continent. This keeps the starting number of things to look at very small, and makes it grow naturally as players complete unlocks that in turn unlock more materials.
  • The Crafting Grimore (part of the Reference Info menu) now provides a view that is based on the actual crafting screens themselves. This means that it's a lot more attractive and functional than before, and it won't continuously get out of date like it previously would. This now gives a far better view into the crafting screens when you are out in the world and wanting to check something before making a decision about missions or where to adventure or whatever.
  • The Material Compendium (also part of the Reference Info menu) has been upgraded in a lot of various ways. It's now a lot more clear and useful in general, and it also now includes the needed cross-reference information about what specific unlocks are needed in order to unlock a given material. The goal here is making it a ton easier for players to manage their strategy without any need to flip back and forth between a bunch of windows.
  • The Reference Info window also now includes a new Unlockables Digest, which shows you which unlockables you have completed and which are still incomplete. At the time of this release, there are 48 unlockables to pursue, so this was definitely a must!
  • There is now a keybind for opening the unlockables interface directly, without having to go through the escape menu. It's now default bound to V. This makes checking the status of your unlocks really easy to do.

Crafting Costs Rework: Commodities Vs Rare Commodities

With all these changes in this release, not to mention from the power-coding releases onward, the old style of commodities for crafting needed some corresponding upgrades. A lot of the specific changes are detailed below, but first I wanted to take a moment to explain the overall design intent here. There are essentially now four main crafting ingredients:

  • 1. Raw Gems (same as always with this game -- one for each color).
  • 2. Commodities (same as always here, too -- these are things like cedar logs that you can find anywhere out in the world).
  • 3. Rare Commodities (some differences here, but the idea that these can only be collected from missions remains).
  • 4. Tier Orbs (these are completely new with this release).

Raw gems and commodities are both fairly easy to come by. They require you to wander around in the world and to know where to look (or what to destroy in the background) in order to find them. The tooltips that talk about the materials that grant them give you a pretty complete reference, so this isn't about memorization or just bulldozing everything in sight. It's more about making journeys into specific areas, and/or picking these things up as you explore areas you were already passing through. It's a key facet of both of these that you have effectively unlimited of these with no cost other than your own time it takes to collect them; there is no strategic pressure or opportunity costs here.

Rare commodities and tier orbs are both things that have heavy strategic pressure on them, and quite a high opportunity cost. Almost every mission that you undertake will give you some tier orbs and some rare commodities, and these are key ingredients for learning new spells (or higher tiers of spells) that you can't find any other way. A single Tier 2 Orb is needed for each tier 2 spell you learn, and a single Tier 3 Orb is needed for each tier 3 spell you learn, and so forth. There are no tier 1 orbs.

As of this release, after each main mission you'll usually gain three orbs of the tier of the mission, and three rare commodities that are relevant to the region type the mission was in, in addition to whatever the other rewards for the mission are. This sounds like a lot, but it's still far too few resources for you to unlock every spell on every continent before taking on the overlord (unless you play on a lower strategic difficulty) -- you'll have to strategize and choose what you unlock, rather like you do in AI War with the ships you unlock. That sort of dynamic is something we really enjoy, but we hadn't figured out exactly how to implement that into this game until recently.

One final note: both regular commodities and rare commodities can be subject to tier restrictions and unlocks. So in other words, in order to find any clay (a regular commodity), you must first complete the unlock "Find Stash in Tier 2 Townhouse." Then you will start finding clay (via the vases that drop them) in any regions that are tier 2 or higher. Tier 1 regions won't ever have vases, and no regions will have vases until you complete the proper unlock. By the same token, White Witch Hair (a rare commodity) doesn't unlock until you reach the second continent, and it also appears only as a result of tier 2 missions or higher. As it happens, only ice age regions have any chance of dropping this particular rare commodity, too (which is pretty unusual -- most rare commodities have a low chance of appearing in most any region, but just a very high chance in specific regions).

Hopefully this shows some of the depth that will be possible when it comes to choosing what spells you learn on each continent. For casual players they can simply roam around unlocking whatever strikes their fancy, of course. But for players who are making an attempt to minmax, that's going to be a lot less trivial than it once was. Our goal is to provide a system whereby there are simple conditions for any given unlock (there are relatively few steps to getting anything you want in the game) so that it retains is broader appeal, but where there are enough opportunity costs on higher strategic difficulties that the more strategically-minded can take some serious enjoyment out of figuring out how to unravel the puzzle that is each continent.

Specific Crafting Commodities Changes

  • There are already a number of rare commodities that are in the game but not yet used (Welkin Gel, Pyre Gel, Sea Essence, and Rainbow Carapace, most notably). However, we definitely needed more even so, especially with all the new spells that are coming soon.
    • So, the following seven have been added: Stone Tablet, White Witch Hair, Deep Magma, Old Growth Extract, Plutoid Shard, Charred Amber, Deep Sea Essence, and Comet Shard.
  • Also added the following regular commodities: mud.
  • Significantly tightened up the rare commodity missions so that they are not happening so frequently, and so that they are not happening for useless things like walnuts.
  • Upgraded the rare commodity seeding logic by a significant degree, so that all rare commodities that are actually used in crafting recipes are definitely actually being seeded into the game now.
  • Rare commodity missions are now a lot more rare, and never include common commodities as the reward.
  • Three region-specific (and tier-specific) rare commodities are now given as an additional reward to players when they complete most main missions. These added rewards are shown before the mission is started, so you can weigh this as part of deciding which missions to undertake.
  • Starting with tier 2 missions, three Tier Orbs are granted as an additional reward to players when they complete any main mission.
    • The tier of the orb corresponds to the tier of the mission, and there is only one kind of tier orb per tier (so in other words, they aren't broken out by color or some other dynamic as well -- there is simply "Tier 2 Orb" and "Tier 3 Orb" and so on).
    • When learning any new spell with a tier higher than 1, you must spend exactly one tier orb of the matching tier. So, to learn one tier 4 spell always takes exactly one Tier 4 Orb in addition to whatever the other crafting materials are.
  • Coral outcrops are now only ever seeded in the oceans and ocean shallows.
  • Consciousness shards are no longer seeded outside or underground -- they are now seeded inside buildings only.
  • Raw gems are no longer scattered around inside buildings; you now have to delve underground for them again. On the other hand, the various crafting recipes now call for a lot fewer of them.
    • Also, a single underground gem vein dungeon node now contains 3 gem veins rather than one.

Progress On Health And Vitality Stone Balance

  • The amount of base health held by players has been tripled, and the effectiveness of each additional "point of added health" when character stats are randomly rolled has also been tripled.
    • This makes characters far hardier, and far less likely to succumb to casual deaths. As we've said many times in the past, our goal is to have death be the culmination of a series of mistakes on a long journey (or long mission) rather than a single twitch mistake.
  • The effectiveness of each additional "point of added mana or magical attack" have each been respectively doubled. The base values that are given to all characters have not been altered, however.
    • The reason for this is to provide even more variance in character stats, so that having more health isn't an obvious choice to always make.
  • Vitality stones now start at needing 8 of them, rather than 2 of them, to increase your health.
    • So 8x vitality stones now equals 200% health, whereas before it was 2x vitality stones. And now it's 16x vitality stones to get 300% health, whereas before it was 4x vitality stones. And so on.
    • This sounds like a nerf on the surface of it, but actually when you combine this with the base health change it's actually a substantial buff. Specifically:
      • Now that your base health is 3x higher than it was, you have less reason to collect any vitality stones at all. In other words, to have a _base_ amount of effectiveness you aren't required to harvest a ton of stones. This is a time saver to you, but that only works if the stones aren't also able to be used in too few of quantities.
      • Additionally, a 200% buff is now 3x more powerful than it was, since it's doubling your base health. So just using 8 vitality stones to get the first level of health buff now means you have 6x what your health would have been in the prior versions of the game. Given this, it's possible that the vitality stones are now actually overpowered, but we'll see what folks think.

Beta 0.561 Don't Follow Those Lights!

(Released January 17th, 2012)

  • Fixed a bug with the clockwork probe shot sine-wave movement being wrong (parallel instead of perpendicular at some angles, etc).
  • New Enemy: Will O The Wisp
    • Pulls unlucky adventurers into its gravity well, shredding them. Shoots sine-wave light attacks at those who manage to resist its pull.
    • You'll run into these in the swamp (where else?).
  • New Enemy: Crashed Landspeeder Robot.
    • This stationary enemy with only one form of attack is simpler than a lot of the recent ones, but it won't take much of trying to win against other foes while guided missiles rain on your head for you to appreciate the tactical variety added by it.
    • You'll see these randomly appearing in junkyard, thawing ice age, and abandoned small town areas.
  • Converted the last of the old-style GUI controls to using the new sprite GUI stuff: the grid control that was used for the settlement stockpile window.
  • The settlement stockpile window now sorts itself so that all of the consciousness shards are at the very end of the list, and the gemstones are right before those, and then everything else comes before that.
  • MP: Fixed some longstanding bugs with abilities being used through scrolls (Elusion scroll, glyph transplant scroll) not properly checking the contained ability for things like "should this be broadcast to all players instead of just this chunk".
  • The default world name is now "Environ," and then "Environ 2," 3, 4, etc. This is a lot more pleasant than "World 1" and onward, which is what so many people seemed to leave it as.
  • Fixed a longstanding issue where tooltips and dropdowns could not be properly used in certain kinds of popup windows. This was previously set up to avoid some unity GUI bugs, but now that the Unity GUI isn't being used it's not longer an issue.
  • Added in an option to skip the intro mission when starting a new world. This is one of the _very_ few such options we'll be adding, because most choices should be expressed once you're actually into the game itself rather than before. Given this defines how the very start of the game plays out, however, it makes sense to have this as a choice on startup.
  • For this release, Storm Rush has been removed as a craftable spell. However, if you already have it in your inventory you will see it now as Storm Dash Lvl 3.
    • This is hinting at some of the internal work we've been doing the last two days, and which we'll be ready to share with you in more depth as the week comes along.
    • The short version is that there will be a progression of spell AND enemy power from level 1-5 on each continent. This will not take the place of more unique spells as well, but it will allow for a certain kind of per-continent growth curve that we've been working towards with all of that power-coding phase.
      • There's more to it all than this, but that should be enough to explain what the heck "Storm Dash Lvl 3" means for the moment. More details tomorrow! And hopefully a fully working implementation, too, for that matter.

Beta 0.560 The Green Clock-Cleaning Machine

(Released January 13th, 2012)

  • Improved the visuals of the popup tooltip on the world map, so that it doesn't look like it's hanging partway off the side of the screen.
  • Fixed a bug in the prior version that would make buttons sometimes not respond to the first mouse click they received after returning to a window a second time after previously having clicked that same button to exit the window.
  • Two great new ambient tracks have been added by Pablo:
    • Lava Flats, complete with bubbling lava sound effects and music that blows in and out on the wind.
    • Swamp, with swampy sounds and music that comes in and out.
  • Fixed up the settings menu to again fit on 800px wide screens.
  • Fixed some overflow issues with labels on the Dungeon Map tab of the View Input Bindings screen.
  • Made a number of visual tweaks to the input bindings edit screen.
  • Fixed an issue with the light black rain image that was causing non-windstorm regions of The Deep to look positively pitch black.
    • Thanks to Hyfrydle for reporting!
  • Fixed an issue with some not-yet-full-size entities drawing at an improper offset so that they looked like they were somewhere slightly else other than where they really were. This would affect, for instance, wooden platforms that were not yet fully expanded. This part was a visual glitch only.
  • Finally fixed a longstanding bug where wooden platforms that were not fully deployed due to lack of room could not be jumped onto or off of properly.
    • Thanks to many players for pointing this out, including Rugaard, Underfot, Rekka, wyvern83, FallingStar, JMAnderson, TNSe, Dizzard, Toll, and GrimerX.
  • Added new enemy: Clockwork Probe
    • Flying mechanical enemy that starts appearing in the grasslands after level 20.
    • Can be slowed temporarily by Blue attacks. Effect stacks until movement is stopped. While movement is stopped, unit loses ability to fly (as in, "thunk").
    • 99% resistance to Yellow attacks.
    • Takes 20% extra damage from Green attacks.
    • Fires shots that oscillate laterally with respect to their main line of travel, and this oscillation increases in intensity as the shot travels. The effect is that the shots are easier to dodge while you are close to the enemy, and move with extreme lateral speed at maximum range.
  • Giant Blue Amoeba:
    • Is now slowed 25% temporarily by blue damage (to which it is 99% resistant, incidentally). This stacks additively.
    • If slowed to 0%, loses the ability to fly. It's a lot easier to catch near ground level.
  • Giant Red Amoeba:
    • Resistance to Red from 99% => 200%. This means that it is healed for the damage it would have taken if it had 0% resistance.
  • Fixed an issue in recent versions with consciousness shards and certain other materials not appearing in the settlement stockpile window.
  • Fixed a bug from the last version where urban crawlers were appearing underground and inside buildings. Whoops! Now they are properly outdoors-only.
    • Thanks to Underfot for reporting.
  • Added a few more pieces of furniture. Specific pieces to remain a mystery....
  • Added a new enemy: Giant Green Amoeba.
    • These start showing up as minibosses at level 60. We know, we know, you've had plenty of amoebas -- but these are one of the cooler bosses in the game, all of a sudden. Their shot patterns are really satisfying to dodge, and they include some splitting and re-absorption logic that is also really cool. We'll leave it at that, and let you figure them out in-game beyond that.

Beta 0.559 The Changeling And The Hydra

(Released January 11th, 2012)

  • Added an awesome new desert ambience track by Pablo, which has a different kind of wind sound in the background, with occasional snatches of music coming in on the wind.
  • A new Stinging Nettles environmental hazard can now sometimes be found in the swamp. Walking past the nettles will cause you damage as they attack you, but you can attack them in return like you would any other form of background bushes or trees.
  • Made several improvements to how the de-clumping logic for enemies like dragon breath and urban predator missiles works.
  • Skelebot Centurions now start appearing as microbosses at level 30.

Finishing The Main Thrust Of The GUI Revamp

  • The vast majority of the GUI revamp is now done. The main thing left to do is the "grid view," which is used for the commodities inventory. Consequently, you'll notice that the scrollbar looks really wrong on that one screen, but correct everywhere else. The plan is to tackle that grid view after this release, but most everything else was already ready for this one, so we didn't want to hold up the release any more just for that.
    • The rest of the GUI is all converted over, fixing tons of bugs with draw order and window click-through that we never could fix before, plus adding new features like the colored text into tooltips, menus, and so on. We also gained the ability to do proper animated images inside of menus, for example, and that's just one example among many.
  • Implemented a wholly custom new way of handling the scrollbars on things like the messages window. It looks very similar to how it did before, but you'll notice that as text reaches the clipping boundary it no longer gets clipped (which we frustratingly don't have any way to do outside of Unity's own GUI system, which was one of the things holding us back from implementing our own GUI framework previously). Instead, the text now fades out as it approaches the "clipping" boundary, which achieves the same general effect in actually a slightly more artistic fashion.
  • As part of the GUI revamp, fixed some persistent bugs that caused issues with some mouse button press events not properly being consumed by the GUI, and thus causing spells to get triggered when clicking close buttons on menus or dragging scrollbars around, etc.
  • A new, hybridized form of textbox is now used -- partly using the Unity GUI logic, partly using our own.
    • If this proves to be problematic, we will switch to simply using our own for everything except for license key entry (because outside of Unity's GUI logic, there is no way to do copy and paste operations in this engine!).
    • The current form of the textbox seems to resolve all the outstanding known issues with them, knock on wood.
    • The one downside with the current style of textboxes is that when you first click a textbox, it will always wind up with the cursor at the end of all the text -- regardless of where you click in the textbox. You'll have to click again, a second time, to get the cursor where you actually wanted it in the text. That's mostly a minor annoyance given how infrequent textbox use is in the game, AND considering that most of the in-gameplay textboxes (chat, name-your-world, etc) all start out pre-selected and thus bypass this issue in the first place. It's really only the screens with multiple textboxes, such as the settings window, where this even manifests at all.
  • Implemented a completely new window-layer-ordering system for our GUI controls, which finally works the way we want it to since the Unity GUI is no longer getting in the way with its control layering bugs. This lets you click a dropdown item without it triggering checkboxes below it, for example, or to click a button in a popup overlay window without it also clicking the button on the background window below it.
  • The citybuilding interface has been removed completely, and for now the covered bridges are invisible. It was always our intent to remove this interface, but we had planned to put in our replacement interface for that sort of logic prior to doing so. It didn't make sense to put in a bunch of time into converting the GUI of a to-be-removed interface, though, so that forced our hand a bit. It will probably be another month or so before we start working on the conceptual replacement for the citybuilding interface, but that's coming!
  • Fixed that annoying flicker on the first frame of a new sprite object's render.

Multi-Part Monsters And Form-Changing Monsters

  • Multi-part monsters are now fully coded into the engine, adding all sorts of possibilities for future monsters.
  • The Urban Predator is now a multi-part monster, with the following differences from its prior design:
    • The core body of it no longer fires missiles at you, but only fires plasma bolts.
    • Three distinct missile bays now fire fewer missiles each at you, on varying timings, such that there are quite often a lot more missiles to dodge.
    • Missiles have 1/4 the health they previously did, and do 1/4 the damage they previously did. Trust us, this is important!
  • A new multi-part robotic tank monster, the Urban Crawler, has been added. This one isn't a miniboss, but rather is a "centerpiece" form of trash mob that you'll find running around outside. Some notable features:
    • Armor plating makes it hard to attack from some angles.
    • It's wheels can be attacked to slow it, or destroyed to halt it entirely.
    • A secondary turret fires attacks at you, and can be jammed by your attacks. This does lesser damage to the enemy, but makes it so that you can get some relief from its secondary attack.
    • It features an "out of control" mode on death, where it catches fire and runs around at high speed for five seconds before exploding. Expect to see more of this with robotic enemies.
    • These start appearing in small abandoned town areas at level 25.
  • A new monster capability has been added: form changing. This lets us do... really whatever we want, when it comes to monster design. It would let us have multi-stage bosses, enemies that can temporarily become other kinds of enemies... all sorts of things. For example:
  • The Crippled Dragon miniboss type has been updated to have several new pieces of AI code in general, but among them is new logic that will actually let the crippled dragon take flight for a time, assaulting you from the air instead of being land-bound. This uses the new form-changing code to let the dragon switch back and forth between its walking (really, hobbling) and flying forms.
    • Crippled Dragons won't start doing this until level 24, but they are introduced at level 12. So you have just enough time to get used to the way they work, and then -- wham -- suddenly there's this wildly new behavior thrown into the mix. Hopefully things like this will help to engender a sense of "anything can happen" with players, especially once we have more of this sort of thing in place.

Beta 0.558 Seizing Menus

(Released January 5th, 2012)

  • Put in an efficiency improvement that makes the game load slightly faster and use a bit less memory.
  • Fixed the "main menu seizure bug" that would occur at screen resolutions close to 1024x768 in the prior version.
    • Thanks to Dizzard for reporting.
  • SpriteText now supports text alignment usage, which can definitely help with readability in some circumstances -- such as the Default Controls thing on the main menu, as one example.
  • Implemented a custom new Sprite9PartMesh, which allows us to draw Unity-GUI-like panels without actually having to use the Unity GUI. Since there weren't any good examples of this in EZ GUI or any other sources we could find, we just rolled our own from scratch.
    • The purpose of this is to let us use the SpriteText stuff (and all its new functionality) inside of panels, which until now we couldn't do. This will let us, for example, have start having tooltips with actual color in them (once some more engine things are completed, but the panel is a great first step, anyhow).
  • The default controls panel on the main menu has been updated to be a lot easier for new players to read quickly, as well as being more attractive. It uses both the new kind of panel background and the new SpriteText.
  • Most of the in-game walkby prompts have been converted to the new, more efficient text methods and also had color introduced into them to make them easier to read.
  • Updated the minimap to draw using non-GUI methods, which makes it so that it now doesn't have the occasionally-wrong overlaps of other GUI elements that it used to.
    • It is also now possible for the chunk map to keep drawing as normal when there are other windows open -- previously, it would disappear when you opened something like the escape menu, because otherwise it would draw on top of the escape menu.
  • Implemented a custom word wrapping algorithm for the new SpriteTexts, since EZ GUI doesn't yet include that.
  • Fixed a bug from the last few weeks where the Ilari would heal you every 20 seconds or so even if you didn't need any healing.
  • The dialogue windows have been updated to use the new sprite text, and thus also now have color for the names of the character speaking (and now support having color tags embedded in the raw dialogue files, too).
  • Updated all the intro mission text to make use of the new text color capabilities, making the tombstone messages easier to parse at a glance and more modern-game-seeming.

Beta 0.557 Of Bitmap Fonts And Pipelines

(Released January 4th, 2012)

  • Fixed a bug from the last few weeks where any new snowsuits or heatsuits that were picked up would not be usable.
    • Those nonfunctional ones will need to be discarded, but any new ones picked up in the new version of the game (that were not previously seeded in older versions of the game) will work fine. In other words, go to a new building you've never been in before, and the snowsuits/heatsuits in there will work.
    • Thanks to Canisaur for reporting.
  • Replaced the intro mission piano music, which was very melancholy, with a more upbeat and energetic piano/chiptunes intro mission track. This does a far better job of setting the tone for the start of the game, even though the prior piece was beautiful.
  • A new "wind and music" track now plays in the outdoor areas. It's mostly ambient wind, but every so often some snatches of music fade in and out on the wind. Right now the same track is used for all the outdoor areas, but we'll be doing more of this sort of thing that is specific to various regions.
  • Updated the "also special thanks to players" section of the credits to include all those players who have made at least three suggestions, bug reports, or otherwise that made it into the game. Amazingly, the number of players that are already on that list is no less than FIFTY ONE. From the looks of things, by the time this game hits 1.0 it will have had more contributors than AI War did by 5.0, which is really saying something considering how community-involved AI War has always been. A big thanks once again to all our players!

New SpriteText Rendering Capabilities, And Revised Render Pipeline (Yay Performance!)

  • Implemented a new bitmap-font-based text system to be used for parts of the game. This is based off the code from EZ GUI for Unity.
    • The purpose of this is to let us do things like bordered text in a manner that is vastly more efficient, as well as doing things like text batching.
    • Lots more has to be updated to fully make use of this new engine capability, but the net effect will be various parts of the game looking better as well as performing better on older GPUs in particular.
      • We've currently converted most of the in-game HUD, world map, and all the in-game text like the popups off enemies, the maps, the health bars, etc.
        • Doing something like having three dozen crates get shot by an amoeba will no longer tank the framerate in big battles, for example.
        • As another example, when you hold the G key on the world map and it shows all the little numbers, there is a huge performance boost. On Chris's machine, it was a 60fps difference between the prior version and the new one (90fps in the prior, 150fps in the new).
  • Completely reworked the render pipeline structure for the game, adding in a ton of new flexibility now that we have sprite text.
    • This fixes dozens of reported issues with text showing through parts of the GUI, or HUD things not showing up in their proper layer, etc.
    • It also lays the groundwork for us to be able to implement some of our own custom GUI work in place of the (fairly terrible) built-in Unity GUI, which will in turn let us circumvent some otherwise unfixable bugs with things like textboxes. But we're not quite to that point yet.
    • This new methodology also lets us drastically reduce the number of texture swaps that happen on the GPU, which leads to better performance on older graphics cards. There is still even more that can be done here, but for now there's already been a pretty substantial benefit.
  • The level of the enemies above their health bar are now colorized to show you easily at a glance if the enemy is the same, higher, or lower level compared to the civ level.
    • Various other parts of the interface have also had an infusion of color to help make them look both more attractive and clearer.
  • Updated the text of the intro story a bit to be slightly more concise as well as slightly updated based on changes to the game in the last few months. Also added in splashes of color here and there in the text, highlighting certain keywords so that it's easier to visually parse at a glance.

Multiplayer Fixes

  • MP: Fixed bug where Sunrise/Nightfall were only happening on clients in the same chunk as the caster.
  • MP: Fixed bug where Storm Dash, Storm Rush, Ride The Lightning, and Lightning Rocket were only happening on the client.
  • MP: Fixed a bug where normal time passage was not happening on the client.
  • MP: Fixed a bug where the server was not telling clients what the current pause-state of a chunk was when sending them the chunk. So you could enter a paused chunk and it wouldn't be paused for you, etc.
    • Thanks to Walter Sullivan for the report. Hopefully it's not the one we're thinking of.
  • Suppressed most of the developer-info messages that have been popping up (mainly in multiplayer) when an ability message referenced a now-gone chunk or entity, etc. It was helpful to see those messages for a while but it's basically confirmed at this point that the edge-cases which generate them are not actually problems and don't need to be made known to the user.
    • Thanks to many players for letting us know when they see those messages, it's helped a lot to know what is (or isn't, really) going on with those.

Beta 0.556 Urban Predation

(Released January 3rd, 2012)

  • The environmental threat Ice Pirate Patrol Ship now works properly in multiplayer.
  • Changed the fundamental way that entities apply melee damage, spells explode against things, and spells pierce through things.
    • Previously, there was a global melee cooldown on the entity, meaning that it could only hit one target per X amount of time.
      • Now, that global melee cooldown is per target. So if an entity is touching several melee targets at once, it can hit each of them independently of one another on that same X interval of time. So instead of hitting you OR me every 1.5 seconds, a skelebot hits me every 1.5 seconds, and you every 1.5 seconds, if it is touching us both off and on or constantly during that period.
    • Previously, spells that were piercing or exploding could only damage a given enemy once. That meant that if you did something clever like fire creeping death into an enemy, then splash back the enemy to knock them into the creeping death again, the cleverness accomplished nothing.
      • Now, piercing spells can hit each individual target once per second, so a single spell can hit a single enemy more than once. As another example, if an enemy is walking along inside a cloud of creeping death, the creeping death will keep damaging them once per second rather than them being immune to that cloud after the first hit.
    • All of this really makes things feel more natural, and opens up new avenues for player cleverness in the combat model.
    • Thanks to Armanant for originally suggesting this, way back in October. We shot the idea down at the time, but later thought of a way to do this that works really well.
  • The gold boomerang spell has been updated to use the new piercing logic rather than the melee logic it had been using. This should lead to more reliable hits in all cases (not that we were seeing missed hits anyhow, but just in case).
    • It also means that if the boomerang hits a wall, that the boomerang will collapse rather than sliding along it, which just feels better balanced and more interesting. That's a big nerf to indoor use of the spell, but that's actually quite in keeping with Dizzard's original suggestion.
  • Added a new Miniboss type of Urban Predator, which now starts appearing at region level 5:
    • Rains down exhaust (fire).
    • Fires plasma lightning shots.
    • Fires guided missile barrages.
  • Put in some sanity checking to prevent potential issues when upgrading some older worlds into the more recent versions of the game.
    • Thanks to Nenad for reporting.
  • The visuals and collision logic for the explosive shrapnel that comes out of barrels have been improved.
  • Put in logic to keep the tiny fairy swarms, dragon breath, predator missiles, and things of that nature from clumping up on top of themselves as much. They will now quickly self-organize into something more like a line, which actually has the side benefit of sometimes making the clumps of fairies take slightly-or-majorly different paths. AND it makes them harder to hit as a single group with one launched rock.
  • The effect of playing up on a +1 higher region level is now only 50% harder, rather than 100% harder. And on up 50% per level, rather than 100%.
    • Thanks to many various players for weighing in on this.
  • Put in new logic that allows for magma traps and the predator exhaust fire to spawn more projectiles but with actually about a third of the network traffic by queuing them up in batches.
  • Lava from hanging traps has been altered quite a bit so that it now looks more like a lava waterfall and not a bunch of individual falling balls of fire. In general this now looks pretty much like the predator exhaust.
  • Hanging traps are no longer destructible -- this removes much of the advantage of experienced players knowing what they are in advance of entering a switch room that contains them.
    • Please note that crates are now an excellent way to deflect lava that falls from these.
  • Hanging traps are now individually randomized so that they shoot out lava for between 5-10 seconds, and then have a 2-4 second break. Each trap has its own timing, but the timing of each trap will stay consistent so that you can memorize it if you need to.
    • Paired with things like fire shields and using crates to block lava, this totally changes the feel of the switch trap rooms such that it's now about timing and figuring out patterns, rather than about disabling the traps in advance or dying.
  • Ice Pirate Patrol shots now make a crashing sound when they hit the ground, whereas previously they only had a sound when they hit you.
    • Thanks to Coppermantis for suggesting.

Beta 0.555 Headshotting, Kneecapping, and Ice Pirate Patrols

(Released December 22nd, 2011)

  • Added in some more text for the NPCs so hopefully they won't always sound like they are griping.
  • The cooldown on summon rhino has been further reduced to 30 seconds instead of 60.
  • Knockback resistance is no longer a binary thing. It used to be that monsters either had it or they did not, but now there is a % of immunity that corresponds to the strength of the knockback attack itself. Therefore, some enemies might be immune to regular knockback from fireball or similar, but would still be knocked back by splash back or the summoned tornados.
  • Neutral skelebots are now partly immune to knockback.
  • Enemies (and summoned monsters) can now make "melee attacks of opportunity" while following some other target. This is most important during multiplayer, but it's also relevant in solo play when dealing with summoned monsters, decoy fireworks, or battles that include NPCs running around.
    • The general effect of this is that you can't run near a giant dragon or robot or whatever just because it is chasing something else -- it will still swipe at you and hurt you really bad.
  • Redid a lot of the logic on how spells determine if they are allowed to hit allies or not. So your spells shouldn't accidentally be taking out bear traps, for instance, among other things.
  • Creeping death no longer damages allies.
  • Finally re-rendered the mossy barrel so that its perspective is now correct. It's been wrong ever since we switched to side view!
  • Destroying the mossy barrels (usually found in the junkyard, occasionally elsewhere) now lets of fiery shrapnel that hurts players and enemies alike.

New Spells And Enemies

  • Added a new Summon Tornado spell:
    • Summons a slow-moving twister that lightly damages enemies it touches, while also flinging lightweight enemies high into the air.
  • Added a new Gold Boomerang spell:
    • Offensive spell that can hit multiple enemies in an arc, or even the same enemy more than once, as it flies outward and turns about in an attempt to reach its caster.
    • This spell requires the new Cat's Eye crafting material, which doesn't appear until level 25.
    • Thanks to Dizzard for suggesting a boomerang spell.
  • Added a new Ice Pirate Patrol Ship enemy type, which actually shows up on the world map and then affects the surface areas of all regions in a certain radius of itself.
    • These are a group of vortex-crazed humanoids and haywire robots who have managed to jury-rig a strange flying warship. They will attack you if you try to adventure in a region near them (they'll have a red box around them if you're in a region they patrol). In theory they're out to plunder and might be paid off, but that nuance appears to have been lost somewhere along the way.
    • Regrettably, the poltroons choose to attack from such a distance that you normally would have no way to retaliate.
    • This is the first of what will eventually be several "shelled from a distance" sorts of enemies, and you'll be able to take them out by undergoing a mission to destroy their ship, kicking them off the continent once and for all. For now, though... all you can do is avoid their munitions!
    • Known issue: At the moment, these don't fire at you at all in multiplayer. They will soon, however.

Weakspots and Magic Emission Points For Enemies

  • Weakspots have been added to the game engine, so that hitting certain spots on enemies can do 100% more damage (such as shooting them in the head), or cause the enemy to be temporarily slowed (such as shooting them in the legs). Other effects will follow later. Not all enemies will have any form of weakspots, of course (particularly very small enemies won't have any at all).
    • Note that in order to hit a weakspot on an enemy, the majority of your shot has to overlap the weakspot area and not the non-weakspot parts of the enemy. So, for example, if you fire some massive shot at the entire front of an enemy, it won't trigger the weakspots. But shooting a smaller shot just at their weakspot and hitting (or mostly hitting) the weakspot alone will trigger it.
      • Note that for some spells, like ice cross for instance, there are actually many projectiles that are all placed at once. So for those, each piece of ice collides with the enemy individually, and hits various weakspots or doesn't hit them, individually. Advanced players can use this sort of knowledge to their advantage, and can do things like jumping over a skelebot to launch an ice cross that hits them down the centerline, triggering multiple weakspots as well as doing regular damage, or jumping and doing ice cross just at the right spot at head-level of the skelebot in order to have two pieces of ice trigger the headshot weakspot.
        • And so on and so forth: the whole system here gives us a ton more flexibility for combat in general, and makes each enemy potentially a lot more tactical, even prior to use introducing multi-part enemies (which are coming soon).
    • There will be some other special types of spots, such as counter-attack-triggering... anti-weakspots?... that will have a different form of aggressive collisions. So in those cases you'll just have to have your projectile collide with any portion of the anti-weakspot in order to trigger its effect.
  • Weakspot additions for existing enemies:
    • Skelebots and skelebot snipers now have a bit more health, but also now have weakspots on their heads -- you'll deal double damage to them when hitting them in the head.
      • They also have a slowing weakspot on their legs, giving you some interesting choices in how you attack them.
    • Crippled dragons now have about 15% more health, but also have a double-damage weakspot near their tails.
    • Giant blue amoebas have a double-damage weakspot on their underside, but it's very difficult to hit reliably (it's small, and amoebas really rain the shots down on you) and so we've not messed with their health.
      • Giant red amoebas have the same kind of weakspot, but it's even narrower.
    • Utahraptors now have a double-damage weakspot on their heads, and now have about 33% more health.
    • Skelebot overlords have a double-damage weakspot in the head, and a slowing weakspot in their knees. Given they were seeming to be kind of a grind before anyhow, we've left their health alone -- but feedback on this would be welcome.
    • Skelebot giants also have a double-damage weakspot on their head, and can be slowed on their legs. Their health has been increased by 70% to compensate, since they were kind of on the easier side to begin with.
  • "Magic Emission Points" have been on our to-do list since alpha, and finally those are also in place.
    • Generally speaking you won't notice much about this, except that things will seem more cohesive with certain parts of the graphics. When a skelebot sniper fires his little fireball thing at you, it comes out of his clasped hands rather than randomly out of his midsection. When a crippled dragon breathes fire at you, it rears up and the fire comes out of its mouth rather than coming out of some random spot in the middle of its body.
    • The one gameplay-affecting part of this is that it will give some enemies different firing angles at you than before, but in the main that's a pretty slight difference. The overall buff this gives to polish, though, is something we're really pleased about.

Beta 0.554 Shield Dash

(Released December 20th, 2011)

  • Found and fixed another room with the "flooding" problem.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for the report.
  • Added in a new awesome Overlord arena from Coppermantis!
  • Changed around the internals of how mana is tracked and synced in multiplayer. We had already started this process when we made the mana recharge a constant flow rather than a per-second thing, but now this process is complete. This will let us do cost-over-time things like storm dash, for instance.
  • Fixed a small typo in the description of the Splash Back spell.
    • Thanks to mrhanman for the report.
  • Missed the health bar tooltip in the recent redo of the game text after the power-coding session, this is fixed now.
    • Thanks to Aklyon for this.
  • The tooltip for your mana bar now specifies what your specific character's mana recharge rate is (the rate is max mana / 20, so characters with more max mana recharge faster).
  • The premise of how both storm dash and storm rush work has been changed quite a bit:
    • Storm Dash:
      • A burst of speed propels you forward at 300% of your normal rate, burning up mana until you release the left or right arrow keys, but you take twice as much damage during this time. Does not work if your speed is currently reduced to zero. Automatically used if in your inventory and you double-tap left or right.
    • Storm Rush:
      • Now identical to the new storm dash (which is closer to the older storm rush anyhow). Except that it costs half as much mana per second as storm dash, meaning you can run further or cast more spells while running.
  • The mechanics of shields have been changed around dramatically. Aside from the individual elemental resistances, they all now work the following way:
    • A magical shield bursts forth to provide protection from up to 5000 incoming damage. Drains mana constantly while in use, so use the shield a second time to turn it off.
    • Thanks to superking for suggesting.
  • Water Espers have been toned down in terms of their number and frequency of shots, and Lightning Espers have been toned down in terms of their frequency of shots.
    • Thanks to many players for suggesting this.
  • The current max and base max health of your character is now shown in the hover-over of your health bar.
  • The single-line mouseover tooltips on offensive abilities now shows their magic power and element as well as their mana costs, making it so that you can more quickly compare abilities without having to open your full inventory.
  • Fixed a bug where energy pulse could not be used in multiplayer without throwing exceptions.
  • Shields now cost two plums in addition to their other costs.
  • In the prior couple of versions, ride the lightning was being granted in the underground caverns despite not yet being unlocked on the continent. Fixed to no longer seed ride the lightning in the intro mission.
    • Thanks to Baleyg for reporting.
  • In light of fire touch's lower costs, ice burst and death touch have also had their costs reduced somewhat.
    • Thanks to Aklyon for suggesting.
  • When a player is using shields, instead of showing a separate bar for shield health it now replaces their main health bar above their character with a bar showing shield health.
  • A small mana bar is always now shown above the character's head whenever they are not at full mana. This makes it a lot easier to tell what is going on with your mana while you are in the middle of a fight, because often looking down to the corner of the screen is out of the question.

Beta 0.553

(Released December 17th, 2011)

  • Fixed several deserialization issues from the prior version. The issue itself is fixed and won't affect any new or old worlds loaded in 0.553, but it's unfortunately possible that worlds that were loaded in 0.552 _may_ be unrecoverably corrupted. Or they might not, it's hard to say for all cases. If anyone has a corrupted world that they'd like us to try to recover, please make a mantis issue and we'll look at it on Monday at the latest. We always try to avoid having any sort of data loss, so sorry about this one!
    • Thanks to syndicatedragon, Zenith, and Baleyg.

Beta 0.552 Parallax And The End Of The World

(Released December 16th, 2011)

  • Fixed a bug in the previous version where the minor health drops from monsters were not going away when they healed you. Cute, but wrong.
    • Thanks to Coppermantis for the report.
  • Fire touch has had its power reduced somewhat, and its mana cost reduced vastly more. It's cooldown time is also now lower.
    • Thanks to zebramatt, goodgimp, wyvern83, BobTheJanitor, and Bluddy for suggesting.
  • Memory crystals have been completely removed from the game, as the function they served is not coming back prior to version 1.0 at the very least.
  • Thanks to Josh for greatly reworking the text in the reference info screens and elsewhere, updating it for the most recent versions of the game.
  • Miasma whip's cooldown has been lowered.
  • In most cases, the category-type cooldown of spells has now been made to be half that of the color-based cooldown. So creeping death causes a cooldown of purple of 4, but only a cooldown of long-range of 2.
    • Thanks to Toll and Hyfrydle for suggesting.
  • Fixed a bug that was causing the game to crash when right-clicking wind shelter missions on the world map.
    • Thanks to TNSe, Hyfrydle, Arnos, and Dizzard for reporting.
  • All missions now grant 1/2 the total xp needed to get to the next level (plus 1, to avoid rounding-down problems).
  • The Deep no longer does that crazy blur thing -- that was interesting to try, but it just wasn't working out. People thought it was a glitch, or it caused headaches, or it was just annoying. It was thematically fitting for the area, but it made it too unpleasant to play in. That's something we've been meaning to get around to changing since alpha or so, but we just hadn't managed to do so until now.

Outdoor Parallax Backdrops

  • The deciduous, snowy, thawing, and evergreen forests now have parallax backgrounds that makes them feel vastly more forest-y.
  • The grasslands-with-tree-clumps regions now have a parallax background showing more of the trees, compared to their just-plain-grasslands regions.
  • Added in building-filled parallax backgrounds for the small town and The Deep areas, so that they feel a lot more like you are in the middle of a big abandoned town.
  • Added in mountainous parallax backgrounds for the ice age plains, thawing plains, lava flats, junkyards, and grasslands areas.
  • Added in pyramid-filled parallax backgrounds for the desert areas, so that they feel a lot cooler and more distinct from other areas.
  • The swamps now have a parallax swampy background.
  • Added in a setting menu option that allows players to disable the new parallax backgrounds if they are giving their GPU too hard of a time.

Threat From Evil Overlords

  • Now each time a period elapses on a continent (that is, when a mission is successfully completed on that continent), if the evil overlord is still present on that continent that overlord gets 1 period closer to destroying the continent.
  • If the evil overlord succeeds, all players on that continent are warped away to a new continent (with the same base level) and the old continent and everything on it are completely annihilated.
  • The number of periods this takes varies based on strategic difficulty:
    • On difficulties 1 and 2, this destruction never happens.
    • On difficulty 3, it takes 60 periods.
    • On difficulty 4, it takes 50 periods.
    • On difficulty 5, it takes 40 periods.
  • If the strategic difficulty >= 3, and the continent overlord is alive, the number of periods remaining before destruction is shown on the escape menu.

Beta 0.551 Power Coding Finale: New Crafting Model, More Missions

(Released December 15th, 2011)

  • Fixed the "flooding" fountain rooms.
  • Fixed a bug that was causing the reference info window to be inaccessible on the world map.
    • Thank to Toll for reporting.
  • The reference info window now automatically sizes down to the number of buttons it actually has available to show, which looks a lot nicer and a lot less overwhelming.
  • The summon rhino summon-type cooldown time has been reduced to 1 minute instead of 5.
  • Basically halved the mana cost of ride the lightning, and made storm dash cost 2/3 as much.
  • Minor health drops are no longer saved with a chunk when it is dropped to disk (roughly 10 seconds after the last player leaves it) to prevent pools of health accumulating and encouraging an odd sort of stockpiling and backtracking.
    • Any such drops (or mana drops) in old chunk files will be removed when that chunk is next loaded.
  • Updated the on-level-up "this is now unlocked" messages to better reflect recent changes. It'll need to be updated again soon, but one thing at a time.
  • Made some improvements to the reference info screen of the game, reflecting some recent changes. Lots more needs to be updated there still, but again -- one thing at a time.
  • Dropping an item now only drops one of that item.
  • Added new 'Force Drop Quantity To "All"' keybind:
    • While this is active, dropping an item will drop all the items in the origin inventory slot, rather than just 1 item.
  • Now if you somehow have two different stacks of the exact same item in your inventory (e.g. you used to have a Fireball I and a Fireball II in your inventory but they're now both just Fireball due to the tier-less change), doing a "swap" operation on them will instead combine them into a single stack.
  • The inventory display will now show quantity in any slot that has a quantity greater than 1.
  • Mana recharge is now much smoother rather than pulses every second.
  • Giant Skelebot:
    • Base health from 70k => 100k.
    • Base physical attack from 5k => 9k.
    • Base magical attack from 1.5k => 3.6k.
    • These changes just make the stats the same as the Giant Amoeba, since there were reports that the giant skelebot was way easier than seemed right.

New GUI Visuals

  • A completely new way of loading the GUI images has been implemented. This doesn't really affect loading time one way or the other, but it does increase our flexibility to be able to tweak the GUI in the future, and it does give us a slight RAM advantage on the multiplayer servers, because now we can avoid loading most of the GUI images.
  • An awesome new GUI by Phil has finally been added to the game; Phil did the work back before the private alpha, but we just have finally had time to get it implemented!
  • The AVWW logo has once again been revised to be more stylized and interesting, while keeping the same shape of the text.

Tier-Less Items And New Crafting Interface

  • Item and gem tiers have been removed from the game.
    • Thanks in particular to Bluddy, for getting us working on this problem.
  • Thus also the level caps on things like ride the lightning have been removed.
  • And thus also the growing effectiveness of things like emit light, ride the lightning, lightning rocket, and flash of light, are now gone.
  • The prior crafting interface, plus a lot of other unused interfaces that were relying on some of its code, have all been stripped out of the game.
  • Added the following new cooldown categories, which will be used to link similar-scale spells in the recently-redone mana system, AND which are also used as crafting categories that you can use to find spells by function: Offensive Melee, Offensive Long Range, and Offensive Area Of Effect.
    • Also included as crafting categories are Movement, Defensive, Logistical, and Summon, but those were already existing cooldown types.
    • A given spell can be in multiple categories, which actually makes it even easier to find spells of interest when crafting.
  • Spells must now be unlocked once on a per-continent basis in order to be used on that continent.
  • The following spells are now unlocked for free on every continent: fire touch, fireball, ball of light, emit light, energy pulse, launch rock, tidal pulse, forest rage, creeping death, ice burst, ball lightning, storm dash, and miasma whip.
    • This gives a solid core of spells in each color that players are able to draw upon to have basic productivity on each continent right from the start -- we don't want people to feel hobbled when moving to a new continent.
    • That said, a lot of the cooler spells, including most of what we'll be adding in future updates, will have to be unlocked to be used on a given continent. So players get to go through the spell power progression with each continent, and additionally they get to make interesting strategic choices on what they unlock for the challenges on any given continent, too.
  • When spells in player inventory are not yet known on the continent the player is currently on, the spell shows up with a red ring behind it (as if it were two tiers behind in the older system), and cannot be used.
  • All player-owned gem, commodity, rare commodity, and city-related-only items are now stored only in the settlement stockpile on that continent.
    • So any time a player picks up such an item it goes straight into the settlement stockpile.
    • When an older world is loaded, all such items in a player's inventory are put into the settlement stockpile.
    • Older worlds may have multiple settlements on the same continent, in that case "the settlement" refers to the first settlement on the continent.
  • KeyBind.OpenInventory_Commodities (defaults to KeyCode.C) now no longer opens the player inventory, and instead opens the new settlement stockpile window, which is a simple read-only display.
  • The crafting costs for pretty much all the spells have been wildly reworked, and even the model of always having a single raw gem and one or two commodities to craft, is now broken. Now it can be any number of any of the above, and often is. Given the way that crafting materials are now acquired, and the method by which crafting unlocks stuff on a continent, this now makes a lot more sense.
  • Copper Ingots, Iron Ingots, and Earth Essence are now seeded as rare commodities.
  • The new crafting interface has two branches: Equip Known Spell and Craft New Spell.
    • In the Equip Known branch, you can browse spells by category, by element, by all known spells, or by all spells in general. Any known spell that you click will be added to your inventory, at no material cost.
      • Hence this is the "equipping" branch, rather than literally crafting something new. All those spells that you now get for free at the start of every continent, therefore, are just one-click additions to your inventory any time you -- or anyone else on the server, if it's multiplayer -- want them.
      • Any spells that are not yet known on the continent, however, will actually have to be crafted on that continent in the crafting branch before they can be equipped or used by anyone on that continent.
    • In the Craft New branch, you can browse spells by category, by element, by material used in their recipe, by all unknown spells, or by spells in general. Any unknown spell that you click will be unlocked on the current continent and added to your inventory all at once -- presuming that you have the materials needed to craft that spell.
      • Just to clarify, each spell only needs to be "crafted" once per continent, period, no matter how many players there are. Hence the centralized commodities inventory and the removal of whitelisting (see below) and all that sort of thing. After any player unlocks a new spell on a continent, then all players simply can choose when to equip it.
  • The "whitelist" model used for some forms of loot where every player present in the chunk can pick up that item has now been turned off for those items since it really only applied to crafting, and now there's no longer any situation where it matters which player picks up a crafting ingredient.
  • Removed spellgems from the new-player-account-in-existing-world "catchup" inventory because the new crafting system allows new players to simply pick up the gems they want from the already unlocked set.
  • When loading an old world, the game will consider all spellgems currently in the inventory of any player as unlocked on all already-existing continents.
  • When adventuring in areas that are lower than two levels below your current civ level, you'll no longer find stash rooms or gem veins.
  • Reworked some key parts of the intro mission so that you now have to delve underground to find the spellgem crafting workbench. You can still harvest some gems as well if you wish, but since all the spells you would need to take out the second slime are available to equip right from the start, the only way to make players explore the caverns is to move the spellgem crafting workbenches down there.
    • Overall this keeps the same basic flow of the intro mission, actually, but with different objectives and objects at each part.
    • A neutral Ilari stone was also added in the first surface tunnels section of the intro mission, so that players have some source of getting more health.
      • Thanks to Toll for suggesting.

Missions Progress

  • Added new Mission Type: Rescue NPC.
  • Removed Migrate-Loner-NPC function from strategic map as it is now done via mission.
  • Added new Mission type: Build Wind Shelter
    • Currently it's yet another rare commodity tower dungeon where killing all the bosses accomplishes the task, but it's a start.
  • "potential wind-shelters" no longer seed on new continents
    • Old worlds loading will have any of the old "potential wind-shelters" (including those with non-hearth-guardians and hearth-guardians) removed, both the macrogame locations that show up on the world map and the corresponding in-chunk entities.
  • Removed the Build-Wind-Shelter strategy command from the strategy map. Not that there are any potential shelters to target with it anymore.
  • We've actually gone ahead and totally disabled the strategy map interface (it cannot be reached by the hearth guardian or the citybuilding interface); we'd planned to do that by the end of the current push but had been trying to replace all the functions (except ones that were no longer needed) with the mission equivalents. At this point, the remaining functions are still in flux and anyone trying to use them in this version would probably shortly find that work undone or irrelevant because of more fundamental changes. So we figured it was more courteous to just shut that part off now.

Beta 0.550 Power Coding Round 4: Mission System Basics

(Released December 13th, 2011)

  • Player mana now regenerates over the course of 20 seconds rather than 30 seconds.
    • Thanks to numerous players for suggesting.
  • The visuals of the ocean waves on the world map are handled a lot more realistically now.
  • Put in a fix so that anytime the player's screen fades to black but they don't make the transition to a new chunk, the "lights will turn back on" after about a second.
    • This doesn't fix the underlying issue in the various cases, but it does prevent players from getting into potentially lethal circumstances, especially in multiplayer.
  • Two different music themes are now played in the various chunks in the intro mission, rather than it always being the same single music theme.
  • An awesome new ship sailing theme is now played when you're in the ship on the world map.
  • A second ocean theme is now mixed in with playback of the main ocean theme in underwater caves and ocean shallows adventure exploration.
  • The attack power of overlords and lieutenants are no longer multiplied. The challenge with a larger boss shouldn't be that they do a lot more damage with every hit -- otherwise you just die instantly without a ton of healing -- but rather should be that they have new attack patterns and longer life that makes them into a more challenging and interesting fight than standard enemies.
    • Thanks to Toll for inspiring this change.
  • The general health baseline for characters has been increased a bit, making it so that it takes more hits to lose a health tank, and so on. With a shift towards longer sustained missions, and surviving all the way to the end, that will be important.
    • Thanks to Toll for inspiring this change.
  • Fixed an issue in the prior release where the Ilari stones were not gifting you warp potions or healing you.
    • Thanks to Aklyon for reporting.

New Mission System

  • On a per-continent basis, there are now always seven missions available for players to choose:
    • One of these missions will usually be two region-levels higher than your civ level, making it a very difficult "stretch" mission with better rewards.
      • EXP gained is 1/3 what you need for the next level.
    • One of these missions will usually be one region-level higher than your civ level, making it a difficult "stretch" mission with better rewards.
      • EXP gained is 1/3 what you need for the next level.
    • Three of these missions will usually be the same region-level as your civ level, making them the standard middle-of-the-road missions that most players will choose from most of the time.
      • EXP gained is 1/4 what you need for the next level.
    • One of these missions will usually be one region-level lower than your civ level, making it an easier mission with lesser rewards.
      • EXP gained is 1/5 what you need for the next level.
    • One of these missions will usually be two region-levels lower than your civ level, making it a much easier mission with lesser rewards.
      • EXP gained is 1/6 what you need for the next level.
  • Rare commodity towers have been removed from the world map, and any prior rare commodity towers that existed in the world are either now gone or empty. The bosses are still there, but when you get to the end of them the reward will be missing because the data that it would use to generate the reward is now stripped out.
  • The number of region levels that are shown around your character in the world map is now a lot lower -- it just shows the one you are standing on and the adjacent ones.
    • You can still hold the G key to see all of the region levels on the screen, same as before, but nowadays it's not as important to see a lot of the region levels in a general sense at all times, so removing clutter on the map really helps things like the missions stand out.
  • Regions with an available mission on them now show their region levels at all times no matter what your proximity to them is, and they have a little tiny text under them saying "Mission" along with the icon for that mission.
  • When accepting a new mission at a ruins object in a region, the game is now able to generate a second surface dungeon for the region, which it places next to your existing surface dungeon for the non-mission-related stuff. This new mission area is colored purple on the region map, and draws smaller than the main surface dungeon.
  • Missions that are completed or abandoned now have their dungeons deleted after all of the characters leave that dungeon. The dungeons that are part of a mission only exist while the mission is active and in progress, and represent some areas of the region in question that you'll just not be able to find your way back to later (and in turn which get cleaned up off the disk and out of RAM, making the growth of world folders slowed while not needing to clear out the central region areas and really memorable non-mission areas that you might want to go back to).
  • There is an abandon mission button in the escape menu that lets you change your mind if you start a mission that you later regret. Only one mission can be active on a continent at a time, so this is important so that you don't accidentally get into a mission that you just can't complete.
    • Abandon Mission does not work if any connected players are in the mission area, to prevent various exploits involving getting the reward for a mission without actually completing it (and thus causing a period to elapse and other missions to move closer to expiration).
  • Warp potions don't work at all inside mission areas of regions.
  • The first mission type, which is a Rare Commodity Tower mission, is now fully complete from end to end. It simply tasks you with tackling a rare commodity tower that it creates for you, and when you succeed in gaining the rare commodity the mission is successfully completed. This is a very basic mission that wraps in former functionality that used to exist outside the mission system, but it gets the mission framework fully off the ground.
  • Rather than seeding memory crystals, some decidedly non-rare commodities are being used to fill out the "rare commodity" missions for now. More will be done with this in the coming week or so.
  • There are now "Mission Exit Warp Stones" in the rare commodity rooms at the end of rare commodity tower missions. These will be at the end of most missions (unless the mission specifically involves escaping something, for instance), and make it so that there isn't a bunch of backtracking at the end of the mission (since you can't warp out of them).

Beta 0.549 Power Coding Round 3: Continents, New Mana Subsystem

(Released December 12th, 2011)

  • Added in logic so that in any older worlds being upgraded from 0.547 on back, characters will be automatically put to full health. This will prevent them from dying from wounds that previously hadn't killed them but would under the new health rules, etc.
    • Thanks to Dizzard and Toll for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug where vitality stones that had been converted from health potions and health scrolls in the prior versions were not actually usable.
    • Thanks to Aklyon and Walter Sullivan for reporting.
  • NPCs now intentionally move to not stand on top of one another when waiting to talk to you.
  • The action difficulty now directly affects the amount of cooldown time that enemies take. No rate of fire was going to please everyone, because players that want a more hardcore difficulty will need more enemy shots being fired at them, while players who want an easier difficulty need fewer shots being fired.
    • Featherweight: 3.5x the prior time is now taken.
    • Apprentice: 2.5x the prior time is now taken.
    • Hero: 1.5x the prior time is now taken.
    • MasterHero: no change from the prior version.
    • Chosen One: 0.8x the prior time is now taken, making it even harder than before.
    • Thanks to Hyfrydle for inspiring this change.
  • The action difficulty also now directly affects the amount of telegraphing time that enemies take, giving players more time to react on lower difficulties.
    • Featherweight: 2x the prior time is now taken.
    • Apprentice: 1.5x the prior time is now taken.
    • Hero: 1.25x the prior time is now taken.
    • MasterHero: no change from the prior version.
    • Chosen One: 0.8x the prior time is now taken, making it even harder than before.
    • Thanks to Hyfrydle for inspiring this change.
  • Made the pause-local-chunk logic more bulletproof, so that players in multiplayer can never get out of sync in terms of what their commands mean. If they are ever out of sync at all, any of them can press the pause key and they will all sync up to whatever that player was seeing.

New Mana Model

  • Thanks to Toll, Penumbra, Hearteater, Bluddy, TNSe, Olreich, and Martyn van Buren for ideas that were a part of this.
  • Mana now recharges on its own over the course of about 30 seconds. Characters with more mana therefore implicitly have a higher recharge rate.
  • Mana potions, and mana restoration spell scrolls, have thus been removed.
    • Any of these which were previously in your inventory are just gone now.
  • The "Use best mana restoration item" keybind has been removed, freeing up the U key for other things in the future.
  • In place of mana drops from enemies, there is now a slight chance of shard drops from them again. It's 10% compared to a 90% chance of healing drops.
  • Ilari stones no longer heal your Mana, they only will heal your health and remove negative status effects.
  • Fire touch is even stronger now, but now requires mana to use.
  • Death touch now costs a huge amount of mana to use, but does an even larger amount of damage.
  • Pretty much all the other spells have undergone some rebalancing of that general sort, along the lines of their mana costs in particular but also to do with their power in several cases.
  • A few of the spells actually cost more mana than some characters will be able to muster, which is another interesting decision point when choosing characters now.
  • The base mana that players have is now 2000 instead of 1000.
  • Cooldowns for players only are now saved to disk when the game is exited or closed (monsters and NPCs and such all have their cooldowns reset when the game is loaded, as has always been the case).

Spell Scroll Crafting Removal And Outfitter Crafting Removal

  • All traces of "tech unlocks" and thus "tech books" have been removed, as alternate models for that have been decided upon.
    • The home libraries and home studies thus also no longer show up as green on the dungeon maps, since there is nothing special about them anymore.
  • Spell scroll crafting, and outfitter crafting, have both been removed along with their workbenches being removed.
  • The decoy fireworks spell scroll has been removed from the game. In its place, you now have decoy fireworks that are directly-deployable objects like bear traps are.
  • Stash rooms in above-ground buildings now have a 12% chance of seeding some region-type-specific objects:
    • Thawing Ice Age Areas seed snowsuits, which you now can't get anywhere else.
    • Junkyards seed bear traps, which you can get elsewhere but this is by far the easiest way to get more.
    • The Deep seeds decoy fireworks, which you now can't get anywhere else.
    • Non-thawing ice age areas now seed moon lamps, which you can get elsewhere but not in this good of quantity.
    • Deserts seed heatsuits, but only 1% of the time. The other 11% of the time they just seed vitality stones.
    • Lava flats seed heatsuits, although you've of course got to have some sort of protection in order to get in there and get them to begin with. Using a neutral skelebot or another player who already has a heatsuit in multiplayer are both good ways to do this.
    • Both kinds of forest seed glyph transplant scrolls, which you can find in some other places but not remotely in this quantity.
  • Stash rooms in underground buildings now have a 12% chance of seeding Transmogrify into Bat scrolls, which at the moment you can't find any other places.
  • Warp scrolls have been removed from the game.
    • To compensate for that, the Ilari now refresh you up to 12 warp potions rather than four, making backtracking not required if you're not conserving your warp potions.
    • Note that the entire warping system that is currently employed is under review and might change in the next few weeks, although that mechanic is not a part of our current power-coding push as a replacement isn't fully fleshed out yet.
  • The few spell scrolls that remain -- that would be elusion, glyph transplant, and transmogrify into bat -- now all actually do still have mana costs associated with them.
    • Spell scrolls themselves will actually remain after all, for rare single-use abilities like elusion scrolls. Spell scrolls are no longer MP-free, though.
  • Gem veins now drop two of the kind of gem they have in them, rather than one. However, they no longer drop any gem dust.
  • There is now a 14% chance of finding a random raw gem in stash rooms, making undergrounds not the only way to get new raw gems for crafting.
  • Gem dust has been removed from the game entirely, and so you wind up finding a lot more shards instead in the random rooms inside of buildings (as opposed to the shard rooms), since there is also not any mana potions to find there. There's also now just a 30% chance of finding nothing at all in rooms like that.
  • The region-specific objects in stash rooms, along with the bat scrolls and the raw gems, do not seed anymore in chunks that are more than two levels lower than your civ level.
  • Old gem dust is now cleanly removed from your inventory in older games.
  • Ice Burst is now a spellgem instead of a spell scroll, and now takes the place of ice cross as the sapphire-only spellgem.
    • Ice cross now costs sapphire plus cherry, making it a bit delayed before you can get this spell now.
  • Insect Orb is now a spellgem instead of a spell scroll, and costs jade plus cherry.
  • Summon Rhino is now a spellgem instead of a spell scroll, and costs jade plus granite plus cherry.
  • Emit Light is now a spellgem instead of a spell scroll, and costs opal plus quartz.
  • Lightning Rocket is now a spellgem instead of a spell scroll, and costs citrine plus magma.
  • There is a new "summon spell" category of cooldowns, which right now is used by only the summon rhino spell, but which will be used by other future summons as well.
  • Rhinos now set a 5 minute cooldown on all summon spells when that spell is used, along with a 5 second cooldown on all green offensive spells.

Continents

  • Old worlds are now filled out to the next highest multiple of 20, plus 5 (so 25, 45, 65, etc) and called the first Continent.
  • Now when you level up such that new regions are needed (currently that means hitting level 16, 36, 56, etc) a new continent is generated in the world, separated from all existing continents such that there's at least some space with no regions (not even standard ocean) in it. Meaning that it's physically impossible to "walk" from one continent to another.
  • For the time being, vortex pylons are no longer being seeded into the world because they interact in... interesting ways with the new continents system.
  • Removed the "Show Skies On World Map and Strategy Map" option from the settings window, as the new continents stuff makes that wholly irrelevant.
    • Instead, ocean is now always drawn behind the entire screen of the world map, making it so that the lands are in the middle of the ocean rather in a black cloud of RTS-style unexplored-fog.
  • Port tiles have been added to the game, at the edge of the deeper ocean.
  • Ports are always region level 20. On the first continent this means that you can't use the port until you reach level 20, but after that you should be able to use all ports as soon as they are discovered out in the world on other continents (otherwise you get trapped, and all sorts of other nasty things).
  • Rather than being regions you can go into and explore, the port regions on the world map now let you get into and out of sailing ships that you can use to move about the deep sea (which you can't enter any other way).
  • Movement on the world map is now smooth -- you can hold down the button to walk, rather than having to tap it repeatedly.
    • Thus no sound effect is played for characters walking on the world map, since with smooth movement that was particularly annoying.
    • Also the speed of the character literally moving is now about 2/3 what it used to be. This feels a lot less jerky and tends to dazzle the eyes less, while at the same time getting you where you want to go a lot quicker than the old tap-repeatedly system.
  • The graphics for ocean shallows tiles are now vastly more obvious, and the graphics for the ocean tiles that have chunks you can go into are now distinct from "deep ocean" areas, too.
  • Ocean shallows region tiles are no longer considered hostile, meaning that you can safely walk onto them and enter them at will.
  • Ships can now sail through the ocean tiles, but not onto ocean shallows. Sailing onto an ocean tile does not automatically suck you into it.
  • You now cannot use seaports until your civilization level meets or exceeds the level of the port.
  • When in a ship, you now move substantially faster than when on foot.
  • Changed up the way that overlords and lieutenants are now seeded by quite a bit. You'll now find one overlord per continent, and usually about 3 lieutenants. Their proximity to the start, or to things like settlements, no longer matters.

Beta 0.548 Power Coding Round 2: New Health Subsystem

(Released December 9th, 2011)

  • Fixed a bug from the prior version where NPCs were running around at top speed all the time.
    • Thanks to Dizzard for reporting.
  • Multiplayer: fixed bug where swapping items between slots and dropping items wasn't working in the previous version.
    • Thanks to Dizzard for the report.
  • Multiplayer: Fixed a bug in the previous version where a new customerID/username pair connecting to a server would not be able to select a new character (thus preventing them from doing anything).
    • Thanks to Hearteater for the report.
  • Multiplayer: Fixed a bug in the previous version (we think it was there before but didn't manifest the same way in the old MP-sync model) where red slime fire (and probably other "intelligent projectiles") would not hit players. It was probably also messing up slime targeting.
    • Thanks to Hearteater for the report.
  • When crates are placed under water tiles in a map, the water (or lava) will now properly cover the crates, making for underwater crates.

New Health Model

  • Vitality stones have been added to the game. Using 2 of them causes your maximum health to double. Using a further 4 causes your max health to be triple your base max health. And so on.
    • However, if you take too much damage, such that your current health drops below 300% of normal while your health max is 400% of normal for instance, then your max health will collapse down to being just 300% of normal again.
    • Ilari and so forth which heal you up to "full health" now just heal you up to your 100% marker, and don't help you if you're higher than that.
    • Vitality stones can ONLY be used in settlements, so they are very much a "how far can I journey?" sort of stat.
    • Thanks to zebramatt, Hearteater, FallingStar, Teal_Blue, and Olreich to all contributing ideas toward this "health tank" model.
  • Health Potions have been removed from the game, and all your existing health potions have been converted to Vitality Stones.
    • Since health potions are gone, the autopotion-on-death mechanics have also been removed. When you die, you're dead.
  • The "Use Best Available Healing" keybind has been removed from the game, freeing up the Y key for something else later.
  • If your character ever loses >= the amount of their base max health, when they have an inflated current max health, then they lose their inflated max health.
  • Rather than showing the actual health value of your character, the health bar now shows the percentage of your character's base max health.
    • Thanks to Underfot for suggesting.
  • Changed up how the item descriptions are rendered and calculated, so that they now use less ongoing RAM.
  • Trash mobs now have a much larger chance of dropping minor healing drops, and they no longer ever drop nothing at all or consciousness shards.
  • Player health is no longer scaled with the action difficulty. This was causing an exponential shift in difficulty, because with monster attack values AND player health shifting, that was two factors rather than one.
    • Monster attacks still scale with the action difficulty, of course, which means that the effectiveness of your health is still much better at lower difficulties; just not exponentially so.
  • Vitality stones will almost never be seeded in chunks that are more than two levels below the current civ level (occasionally you will find one or two, but not much at all, really, compared to normal).
  • Double the normal quantities of vitality stones seed in chunks that are 5+ levels above the current civ level.
  • The actual percentage bar of your health no longer shrinks the maximum it is showing until you change chunks or use vitality stones. This way you aren't getting into scenarios where your health still seems to be at maximum even after you've taken a bunch of damage. But this part of the visuals still might need a bit of improvement.
  • Heal scrolls have been removed from the game, and any heal scrolls that players once possessed are now converted to vitality stones as well.
  • In the very short term it is necessary to have some sort of spellscroll to craft for only a jade dust by itself, so now it's possible to craft a single insect orb out of that.

Beta 0.547 Power Coding Round 1

(Released December 8th, 2011)

  • A few more rooms added in by Josh.
  • Various exterior chunk world-gen changes, making the world less annoying to traverse, making buildings more rare and exciting in most region types, and actually faster to generate and load as well. Oh, and usually much better to fight in, which is why this was done now:
    • Grasslands chunks are now much shorter in terms of height, so that there is no longer so much land above for amoebas and such to randomly get lost in (or for players to go hiding from said amoebas, as the case may be).
    • Settlement chunks are now narrower and shorter, making them less annoying to traverse if you need to pass them, and so that they have less sky area for things like amoebas to get lost in if they attack the settlement.
    • Ice age (regular and thawing) exterior chunks are now narrower, more mountainous, more likely to have surface tunnels, and less likely to have buildings.
    • Forest areas (both time periods) are now vastly shorter, but still just as wide. This makes for way fewer monsters in these chunks, and not remotely so much vertical traversal, while still having a very different feel to them from many other areas in the game.
    • Small abandoned town areas are now both narrower and shorter, making them a lot more focused and causing there not to be so exhaustingly many buildings. This also actually accentuates their unique feel in terms of having a town on top and surface tunnels under them, in most chunks, too.
    • The lava flats are a lot smaller vertically, and almost never have underground sections directly now.
  • Fixed an issue with windstorms blowing characters and monsters around underwater extra much rather than not at all.
  • Fixed an issue where monsters that were moving against a windstorm would sometimes not realize they could jump up to a ledge, leading to lots of trapped monsters in tiny dips in the ground!
  • Miasma whip and fire touch are both now a bit stronger.

New Multiplayer Enemy Sync Model

  • The multiplayer synchronization model for monsters has been changed from "monsters can be in very different places on different clients, but monsters move like they do in singleplayer" to "monsters will be pretty close to the same place on all clients, but can jump around on a client as it gets updates on the monster's position from the server". We were informed that the latter is tolerable, while the former is not. We'll see :)
    • Better smoothing for the enemy positions is coming later, but in the very short term we have some bigger fish to fry. Hopefully in a couple of weeks we can get these smoothing better.

New Internal Stats Math, New Character And Monster Balance

  • All of the math behind all the character and monster stats has been replaced from the ground up. Since there are no levels of the style that we used to have (as of a couple of months ago), the complex formulae we had for these were doing nothing but making it more complex to calculate and really difficult to balance.
    • As part of this change, the stats of a lot of the monsters have really been shifted around quite a lot, as well. Generally speaking trash mobs have a lot more health and do more than the tiny damage they did before, and many of the bosses also hit for more damage now, too.
      • The net result on this may be too difficult in the short term, but we'll see. We're going for more substantial trash mobs, and there will ultimately be fewer of them as well, but right now they are still too plentiful in exteriors and undergrounds.
  • There is no longer a cap on the max health, magical attack, or mana that characters can have applied to their stats. Previously it made an effort to balance those out for characters so that nothing went above a certain cap, and that led to overall more well-rounded characters. Now the characters will vary a lot more widely.
  • Neutral skelebots, in exchange for their larger-than-average inherent health bump, now have a weaker-than-average magical attack.
  • If you play up in region levels, be careful with this release. As part of a general rebalancing that will tie into missions and so forth in the next week, the scaling of difficulty between regions has gone up sharply.
    • An increase of one region level above your civ level is now a 100% increase in difficulty.
    • A decrease of one region level below you civ level is now a 20% reduction in difficulty.
  • Monster nests no longer drop quite so many consciousness shards, and sometimes will drop health or MP now.
  • Utahraptors and eagles will be in about half as much abundance as they previously were.
  • Whenever players or monsters are damaged, they now flash white using a new kind of graphical blending mode that is new to our games.
    • This is actually going to be surprisingly important to balance for the game, because knockback isn't going to be balance-wise possible on a lot of enemies and yet you still need a way to tell you're damaging them.
  • While we were at it, we found a small efficiency improvement to the performance of sprite drawing on the GPU. It's a really minor thing, but saves about four floating-point multiplications per pixel per sprite. So that certainly adds up, for older cards in particular.
  • Background objects in the game now have quite a bit more health, making them more interesting to damage and destroy.
    • More changes to these will be coming, to make them more interactive (things exploding and actually mattering, etc). But for now this makes the seize spell actually matter again.
  • Fixed a longstanding bug where enemies and players were dealing more damage than they were advertised to be doing, because of a math error.
  • Skelebots (of all the trash mob sorts) now move much slower, but are immune to knockback.
  • Regular skelebots now use a much higher enemy capacity, meaning they don't come in such large hordes (but individually they are so much stronger now).
  • Enemies (like skelebots) that would previously walk super slowly when they were not pursuing a character, now walk normal speed even then.
  • Skelebot sniper shots now draw a lot more efficiently, to go along with their slower movement. The enemies that use it now also telegraph for less time and fire them at a much faster rate than before.
    • The overall effect is much more shmup-y, while at the same time actually giving you vastly more time to react.
  • Skelebot sniper shots also no longer knock the player back, and both they and NPC sniper shots are now piercing rather than explodey, so the shots are more threatening in multiplayer (being able to hit many players in a line rather than just one).
  • Red amoeba shots also now are piercing, for multiplayer purposes in particular.
  • Water esper and lightning esper shots now behave subtly differently, acting more water-y and lightning-y respectively.
  • In general, the esper behavior and shot characteristics have been completely altered. They move faster, fire faster, have slower-moving shots, fire shots that move differently, and so on. They're a lot more challenging now, though at the same time actually possible to dodge when faced on an ongoing basis.
  • Amoebas now fire more shots, but the shots are a lot slower than before.
  • Eagles are now seeded in FAR fewer numbers, move substantially slower, and now hit you way harder than before. So it's more important than ever to dodge them (meaning you're hearing their eagle cry not much at all, or you die), but at the same time they are far easier to dodge because of not being so overwhelmingly populous. And they won't swamp your framerate or your network card.

Beta 0.546 Multiplayer Fixes Round 1

(Released December 5th, 2011)

  • Fixed one of the network settings loca strings having a "(Pre-2.0)" leftover from AI War.
    • Thanks to Toll for the report.
  • Suppressed a developer-info message that was popping up when someone built a wind shelter.
    • Thanks to Dizzard for the report.
  • Now when a player transitions to a different chunk in the same region as you, your dungeon map will update to show their new location even if that was the first time any player had entered that chunk (it will now also drop the not-yet-visited "black line" indicator). Before you had to make a transition yourself before your map would update.
  • Now when a player transitions to a different dungeon in the same region as you, your region map will update to show their new location even if that was the first time any player had entered that chunk. Before you had to make a transition yourself before your map would update.
  • Now if a server does not receive any messages at all from a player account for 30 seconds (this should only be possible if you've actually killed or suspended the client process) the server will drop the connection for that account and thus make sure that you can always log back in to that account no matter how you disconnected after a not-too-long period of time.
  • Fixed a rather... strange code typo (the programmer doesn't _think_ he consumed any alcohol during that phase of the development...) that was causing quit-game on the client to not properly disconnect from the server.
    • Thanks to Toll and others for the report.
  • The server display now shows the number of players connected and their usernames and player-account-IDs (not their customer ID, just a unique-within-a-world sequence number for that account).
  • Player customer ID's are no longer sent by the server to anyone, they're only sent from each client to the server, since they're only used for identifying (together with username) which player account to connect a client to.
    • Thanks to Toll for the suggestion.
  • The message the client shows when it has been refused login because that account is already connected is now a bit clearer and is now displayed much more prominently.
  • The server now does a version check on a connecting client; if the client version doesn't match the server version, the login is refused (with a prominent message on the client). Otherwise, hilarity would ensue.
  • Fixed several multiplayer-safety issues with item-swapping and item-dropping.
    • Note: the new implementation is pretty paranoid and will just not execute a swap or drop operation where the server doesn't see the same item and quantity in the target slot(s) as the client told it to expect, so if you run into a situation where a disagreement like that happens it may prevent you from using swap or drop until you disconnect or reconnect. Please let us know if this happens, and we can try to find the root cause behind that.
    • Thanks to leb0fh for the report.
  • Fixed a bug where the server was generally content to not make any noise but had some kind of link to the Elemental Plane of Doordom and whenever a door was opened or closed anywhere in the entire world it would make a sound on the server.
    • Also fixed a related bug where the server would play the level-up sound, unable to contain its excitement.
    • Thanks to Toll for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug where if a player was on the character-select screen and another player entered the character-select screen the first player's list of options would disappear and they would be unable to do anything (other than close the program externally).
    • Thanks to Hearteater for the report.
  • Fixed a bug where viewing the strategy-map or settlement-management screens on a settlement with no npcs at all would cause null exceptions.
    • Thanks to Hyfrydle for the report.

Beta 0.545 Multiplayer Public Alpha (Opt-In)

(Released December 2nd, 2011)

  • Re-implemented the OpenChatPopup KeyBind so it's ready for use when MP is available, and bound it to T by default.
    • Ingame_DoLookAhead used to default to T, now defaults to G.
  • All regions are now considered scouted automatically (no more need to get your NPCs to do that for you).
    • This is a tiny first step into some other major changes that are coming.

Multiplayer Public Alpha Begins

Beta 0.544

(Released November 29th, 2011)

  • Fixed a bug wherein many of the abilities in player ability bars from past versions of the game were improperly offset. The downside of this fix is that any new abilities that were picked up during 0.543 will be similarly wrong. Whatever you do, don't use any of the "pink box" abilities, as many of them will suicide your character. Just dump those out of your inventory somewhere discreet in your world. Sorry about the goof!
    • Thanks to Coppermantis, Ixiohm, and Zeliox5 for reporting.

Beta 0.543 The Black Wind Blows

(Released November 28th, 2011)

  • Desert Burrowers have been renamed to Dust Storms, to prevent player brain implosion when the dust storm goes off of ledges.
  • Fixed the bug in recent versions that was causing the dungeon/region maps to flicker in some cases. This was actually a two-part bug. One part has been there for a really long time, since alpha at least, and was a very minor performance drain in general. The other part was a multiplayer-related change that brought out the actual flickering in the last version. Both are now fixed.
    • Thanks to Aeronic and TNSe for reporting.
  • Enemies, and objects like ventilation ducts, were still sometimes seeding in the interior windows inside buildings. Fixed.
    • Thanks to TNSe, Toll, and JMAnderson for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue from the prior version where warp potions were not properly being gifted to players from the Ilari (only 0 potions would ever be gifted).
    • Thanks to TNSe and Coppermantis for reporting.
  • Fixed a regression where once again when you warped to the same chunk you were already in it would give you a black screen and wouldn't warp you to the edge of the chunk if it was an exit chunk.
  • Previously, the game would often take off a suit a player was wearing, or un-transform them if they were a bat, when they leveled up or when a savegame was loaded. Fixed.
    • Thanks to Dizzard, wyvern83, TNSe, and TechSY730 for reporting.
  • Fixed a somewhat hilarious bug from the last version where, amidst the many changes to the AI behavior logic, the health/mana drops from enemies were accidentally given part of the vengeful ghost AI and thus were sometimes healing players and sometimes attacking them!
    • Thanks to Baleyg for reporting.
  • Windstorms now have a much more notable effect on the adventure gameplay:
    • Players, monsters, and ranged projectiles are now blown by the wind during windstorm events, making it easier to move in the direction of the wind and harder to move upwind.
    • Players that are not moving now hunker down in their animation rather than standing there.
    • The effect is much stronger on enemies or players that are in the air instead of being on the ground, making jumping extra tricky.
    • Monsters that normally would walk/fly more slowly when not chasing a player now always move at full speed.
    • Thanks to Armanant for suggesting.

Beta 0.542 Centurion AI

(Released November 21st, 2011)

  • Fixed a bug causing errors to pop up in the intro mission and other Ice Age areas.
    • Thanks to Aeronic and Smiling_Spectre for this one.
  • Added an Atrium courtesy of Dizzard.
  • Added a bossroom from Coppermantis.
  • Loads and loads of multiplayer progress. Our two-players-one-server tests are getting increasingly lower bug counts, so that's a great sign that we should be hitting the public opt-in multiplayer alpha sometime soon. Hopefully this week or next!
  • Previously, the game was accidentally showing -X% Resistance for monsters that were resistant to an element. Now it shows X% Resistance, which is actually correct.
    • Thanks to SNAFU for reporting.
  • Plum trees can now be found in the "grasslands with tree clumps" areas along with walnut trees.
  • Plum trees no longer have an incredibly-too-short hitbox.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for reporting.
  • Several room maps of various types added by Josh.
  • Added some randomization to the angles that are fired from both the giant (red and blue) amoeba bosses.
    • Thanks to tbogue for suggesting.
  • The new AI behavior system has now been integrated, and advanced players will start seeing some of the effects of this pretty much immediately. More still needs to be done to make some of the new higher-level enemies feel even more unique, but bosses now shift between different behavior modes as they move around, making them a lot more threatening and interesting.
    • Details of the new AI behavior system here and even moreso here
  • Skelebot Giants now randomize whether they chase you or not starting at level 5, and will chase you more and more of the time as the civ level goes up.
  • Espers and amobeas now have a melee attack if you jump right into them.
  • Some of the PNGs used by the game have now been packed with PNGOutWin, reducing their size by between 10% and 40%. This lets us use less bandwidth when giving you the files, and makes them load the equivalent amount faster off disk during gameplay, too.
  • A new underground boss battle theme by Pablo is now used about half the time in underground boss fights, instead of the general boss music.
  • The color of the text for boss and vengeful ghost names are now a bit of a different color to make them more easily recognized if there are a lot of names being shown at once.
  • When a monster has multiple attack patterns (not like the amoebas -- literal different spells being used), the monster's name now shows what attack pattern they are currently in so that players aren't having to guess blindly.
  • A new Skelebot Overlord enemy type now uses attack patterns from some of the other bosses, plus a new attack that is unique to it. More will be done with other unique attacks, but for now that certainly makes this boss unique enough and really dangerous.
    • The Skelebot Giants only come up to the shoulder of these new skelebot overlords!
    • Any new overlords that are created will all be Skelebot Overlords for now, and as more overlord enemy types are added new overlords will choose randomly between them (while also obeying any level-gating rules).
    • Any pre-existing overlords will remain whatever stat-upgraded-microboss types that they already were.
  • A new Skelebot Centurion also uses attack patterns from several different enemies, as well as having tougher stats and a more imposing visage. These replace both regular skelebots and skelebot snipers past a certain point in the level gating.
    • This enemy is the first foray into multi-attack non-boss enemies, but there will be more! And this one will likely get some new level-gated abilities, too, for that matter!
  • When players are taking heat or cold damage from the ambient environment, it now shows a burst of flames or cold whenever they do. This makes it a lot more obvious that the player is taking damage and why.
  • Stashes no longer ever include coffers, as those were confusing if the player was already over the limit, as well as being possible to exploit those.

Beta 0.541 Plasma Bolt

(Released November 9th, 2011)

  • Several interior room maps added by Josh.
    • One overlord boss room added by @B0FH.
  • More furniture added in contemporary areas mostly.
  • Fixed an issue with enemy speeds getting a bit wonky in some cases when they were not actively pursuing you.
  • Added a new monster into the game -- we won't spoil what this one is, but there's a number of new AI features/behaviors associated with it. Look for it in lava flats if you want to find it quickly.
  • Drastically reworked the internals of how enemies decide to start and stop chasing you.
    • Previously it was an overly-simple range check, where they'd pursue you when you were in range and stop pursuing you when you went out of that range. If they were damaged, that range was extended quite a bit in most cases, and if they were a microboss or miniboss they'd chase you pretty much anywhere in the level.
    • Now it's a lot more realistic-feeling. Enemies that are already chasing you will keep chasing you for longer, even if they aren't damaged, before giving up. This actually varies by enemy, so some are more persistent in hunting you down than others are.
    • The range at which enemies would even pay attention to you was too short in a few cases, such as with the espers: they would start firing at you only when they got right in their face, making them easier than they really should have been. They and a couple of other enemies are no longer so myopic.
  • Completely rewrote the logic of when enemies decide to fire on you, how they line up their shots (in the case of specific-range stuff like circle of fire), and how they handle the choices to pursue or flee, while firing or not firing.
    • Right now there are 16 different general flavors of AI behavior in the game, and this is the start of some work that will let us make each one more subtle and interesting, and even later start doing things like having enemies switch between AI behaviors based on the context of what is going on.
    • We'd originally thought we would keep the AI in this game pretty simple, along what you tend to see in a Metroidvania game's basic enemies. But that's only so interesting for bosses in particular, and frankly for a lot of the smaller enemies as well. Turns out we just can't keep away from adding progressively cooler AI in our games!
  • Fixed a longstanding bug with flying enemy movement in short-height interiors, where they were just flying along the floor for the most part.
  • Insect orb has been nerfed severely.
    • Note that these are per-projectile damages, and there are a dozens of projectiles all at once (though now it's down to 36 projectiles instead of 96 of them).
  • Some enemies now get new AI behaviors swapped in as they level up.
    • Level 5+ icicle leapers will now chase you.
    • Level 20+ skelebot giants now will chase you also.
    • Level 30+ amoebas of all sorts (giant and otherwise) now will kite you. Not sure how well this will work, but it seems worth a shot.
    • Level 50+ bats of all sorts start pathfinding after you rather than just doing simple homing.
    • Level 60+ fairies start pathfinding after you, too, rather than just floating around. The big fairies, we mean -- the little ones always pathfind for you.
    • Level 15+ desert burrowers start chasing you from quite a distance away.
    • Level 50+ eagles start acting like eagle divers.
  • Previously, if you moused over the empty inventory right at the start of the game before picking up even your first item, the game would throw exceptions. Fixed.
    • Thanks to Aeronic for reporting.
  • Added a new Plasma Bolt spell.
    • It's basically like fireball except smaller, slower at first and then faster, light elemental instead of fire elemental, and slightly weaker, cheaper, and quicker to fire.
    • Crafted with Opal + Walnut + Quartz.
    • Thanks to KDR_11k for suggesting.
  • As always, lots more multiplayer progress. First recent test with a two clients on different machines, both playing on the same server. General success was had, but there's still more to do. Getting closer, though!

Previous Release Notes

AVWW - Beta Series 1 Release Notes

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