AVWW - Beta Series 3 Release Notes

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AVWW - Post-Launch Series 1 Release Notes

Beta Series 3 Statistics

Beta Series 3 spanned from March, 2nd through April 21st, and it was a busy period indeed! 778 distinct changes were made as part of 36 different releases over the course of 51 days.

A full 85! players are thanked. Some big hitters:

  • Terraziel with 76 mentions
  • BobTheJanitor - 52
  • Toll - 39
  • Penumbra - 27
  • KDR_11k - 25
  • bluddy - 24
  • Hyfrydle - 18
  • khadgar - 18
  • Nypyren - 18
  • wanderer - 15
  • silverhound - 11
  • MaxAstro - 10

Overall, there were 12 major feature additions including:

  • Server Admin Tools
  • Mysteries!
  • Achievements!
  • Gamepad support!
  • MP Server Browser
  • Dozens of added/improved sounds!

Other notables:

  • 8 new spell gems
  • 5 new enemies
  • 4 new Mission Types
  • Plus, we learned a TON from all the players who played at PAX East and gave us feedback. We've made a number of improvements based on that in terms of making the game even easier to get into for new players. We sincerely thank each and every one of those players who played the game in Boston.

Official 1.000

(Released April 21st, 2012)

Shh! It's a secret to everybody. Games "go gold" a few days before they actually come out on distributors, of course, and we've already hit that point. If you already have the beta version of the game, you can upgrade a few days early and already be playing that before the 1.0 version of the game "officially" launches on Monday the 23rd.

Anyway, things are in good shape so you can play to your heart's content and only update to the next beta if you want to. Or wait until the next official version, which will roll up all the intermediate betas but minus the intermediate bugs. See AI War's three-year post-release history for how this works.

Beta 0.971 Release Candidate 2

(Released April 20th, 2012)

A crash bug was discovered this morning, but had apparently been in the game since the new graphics rendering system updates a few days back. This was a particularly tricky crash bug, as you can see if you read the history of the linked issue. However, it has now been fixed -- and as a side bonus, it led us to the holy grail of things we've been wanting to be able to do in unity: detect when the @#$#$ window doesn't have focus. This has been a bug in unity since pretty much forever, and we've told them about it as far back as 2010, but nothing has changed on it. Frustratingly.

A minor digression: not knowing if the window has focus has all sorts of bad consequences for us. It means that if the application loses focus, we can't pause it. It means that if the application doesn't have focus, it still takes keyboard input. And, in the case of this bug, it means that we keep calling Graphics.DrawMesh and unity keeps queuing up more and more unmanaged memory that it never gives back until the application is closed or dies of its own accord. On average it would cause the application to leak about 700kb of memory per second while you were alt-tabbed out of a fullscreen copy of the game, and thus you'd get a crash after some amount of time (usually when the total RAM usage of the process hit about 1.8GB for whatever reason).

As a side effect of this issue with unity, it made alt-tabbing incredibly slow. Apparently all those Graphics.DrawMesh calls were being queued up until you came back (or something to that effect), so then it would take forever to load when you came back, even if it didn't crash. Now that we are able to detect when the game doesn't have focus (in fullscreen mode only -- none of this, including the original crash, applies to windowed mode), we simply stop doing any drawing while it doesn't have focus. That makes it alt-tab back in really snappily, and prevents the memory leak.

So how are we detecting the loss of focus? Well, a hack -- but a reliable one, based on the fact that this bug only came in once we started using Graphics.DrawMesh. Normally unity 3D keeps running its Update calls on its camera even when the game has lost focus (well, there is a way to disable that -- but then network connections get killed when you alt-tab out, so we can't use that sort of thing). So far so good, and this is what we expect. We just didn't have any way to know if we should be calling draw calls (because the window has a valid device state attached to it) or not during that update method. Normally unity doesn't expose the device-lost state to the game-logic level, because apparently they think we don't need to know.

What I kind of stumbled into, after two years of off-and-on intensive searching for a workaround for this, was the following: OnPostRender does not get called when the device has been lost. That's where our Graphics.DrawMeshNow calls go, and why we haven't had this sort of crash before we switched to also using Graphics.DrawMesh (which was where all that performance boost came from a couple of versions back). Knowing that OnPostRender doesn't happen when the device is lost is the key to the whole solution: if there have been too many Update calls since the last OnPostRender call, you know your device has been lost. Normally if there have been more than 1 Update calls since the last OnPostRender call, you can probably infer that it's been lost. But I'm using 20 as the cutoff point just to be on the safe side, and only cutting of the render calls after that point is reached. Once you alt-tab back in it immediately starts doing OnPostRender again and then the Update calls to Graphics.DrawMesh resume, and everything is happy.

Now just please please please let this be our "gotcha" for the release candidates. I'd really like the weekend off, universe! ;)

Thanks to Toll and Minotaar for reporting this one, and helping to narrow down what the cause was in a really major way.

Beta 0.970 Release Candidate 1

(Released April 19th, 2012)

  • Moved the "edit" buttons on the input bindings screen to be on the left side of the row instead of the far right.
    • Thanks to Admiral for the suggestion.
  • The "Continent 2" and such directional indicators that show up when sailing in a deap-sea ship now draw much "higher" so that they don't get overlapped by the bottom-right region detail window or anything like that.
    • Thanks to Toll for pointing out that it was getting overlapped.
  • Stealth lines no longer draw to anti-air towers in journey to perfection missions, since those have crazy range and can always get you anyhow.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for suggesting.
  • Fixed another chunk-gen bug that could let water seep out of certain cracks into far too much of some caverns. Particularly an issue on rescue missions!
    • Thanks to DonLyn for reporting.
  • MP: Fixed a bug where abandoning a mission with progress state (like a supply depot meteor storm mission), having another player re-enter it, and then re-entering it after it's already been regenerated would not reset the second-entering client's copy of the mission progress state.
    • Thanks to Wanderer for the report.
  • The "laser lines" for the detectability decreasing enchants no longer show until the detectability reduction is at least 25%. Otherwise the lines are just showing way too frequently when they are a minor feature of other enchants that you're using. Which can be both annoying and possibly a little unbalancing.
    • Thanks to Hyfrydle for inspiring this change.
  • Fixed a longstanding bug where firing at the mouse cursor while facing east would offset your projectile slightly from the actual correct line of flight.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for pinpointing the situation where this was happening.
  • Fixed some issues with the minimap from recent versions where objects weren't disappearing after you collected them or destroyed them.
    • Thanks to Hyfrydle for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug where some material descriptions ending in colored text were not ended with a switch-back-to-#ffffff directive, causing it to "bleed over" into subsequent text in some cases like the crafting grimoire material-cost-mouseover.
    • Thanks to Toll for the report.
  • The crafting grimore material-cost-mouseover now draws the "on hand" line in red if the on-hand amount is less than the amount needed for the recipe.
    • Thanks to Toll for the suggestion.
  • MP: Fixed a bug where the screen would flash for a frame or two on all clients when another client died and picked a new character.
    • Thanks to MouldyK for the report.
  • Healing Touch is no longer usable in Battlefield missions.
    • Thanks to khadgar for pointing out how exploitable healing touch was in conjunction with the ally-base's healing effect.
  • Clinging Fetor is no longer usable in Journey to Perfection missions.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for pointing out how unbalanced it was in this particular mission type.
  • All the side-link "endpoints" are now at least a certain minimum height for collision purposes to prevent them being seeded (in new chunks, no effect on already-generated ones) too close to the ceiling and trapping skelebot player characters, etc.
    • Thanks to kingisaaclinksr for reporting getting stuck as a skelebot coming out of a vent. Sounds like an evil overlord was beginning upon the path of ventilation system wisdom.
  • Fixed a bug where it was possible for an enemy tower to seed behind (to the right of) the enemy base in battleground missions.
    • Thanks to Toll for reporting.
  • Blue and Black whale (and their spawn) melee attack power increased by 25%.
    • Thanks to freykin for the suggestion (muwuhahaha).
  • Increased the health of some of the bigger background objects for flavor:
    • Water Tank (*10).
    • Boiler Tank (*6).
    • Cart (*4).
    • Sandbags (*3).
    • Thanks to Bluddy for the suggestion.
  • The game now includes input binding defaults for the Logitech Rumblepad II and the XBox 360 Controllers.
  • The game now detects when an XBOX 360 controller is connected to it, and uses the names of the actual buttons and axes on the controller rather than just the numbered indices.
    • This isn't particularly needed with the Logitech Rumblepad 2, because that controller already has its buttons numerically labeled to match what windows sees them as. Many other controllers often do the same.
  • Previously it was possible to get background ladder tiles that looked like they were solid but actually were not really there (or vice versa). Oops! This pretty only happened near buildings underground, so it wasn't terribly common, but it was pretty darn confusing when it did.
    • On a second load of the same chunk where this issue was, the issue would fix itself, too, so that made it even less of something folks would notice. So, implicitly, old worlds are "fixed" by virtue of this not persisting in the first place. But now it won't happen on first load of a chunk anymore, either.
    • Thanks to mrhanman and Toll for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug from the last week or so where warp gates were never seeding inside water. That was particularly odd in the ocean areas, for instance.
    • Thanks to DonLyn for reporting.
  • Updated the "Keyboard + Mouse" and "Left-Handed Keyboard + Mouse" input presets to be based off the current hardcoded defaults, and to include the new default gamepad bindings.
    • Many thanks to Drjones013 for supplying us with an updated version of his left-handed bindings.

Beta 0.934 Dastardly Lasers

(Released April 19th, 2012)

  • Fixed a longstanding bug where tab-targeting was impacting the deploy-item ability (which is used for placing platforms, crates, etc) despite it specifically having the flag that makes it ignore tab-targeting.
    • Thanks to Hyfrydle, Bluddy, and others for drawing our attention to this.
  • Fixed a bug where the new "Use Ability: Place Platform", etc bindings from last version were not obeying the aim-keyboard-abilities-at-mouse-cursor behavior of the keyboard+mouse mode.
  • Cleaned out some unused keybinds so they don't clutter up the view/edit controls window.
  • Fixed some longstanding issues where the cancel keybind wouldn't close the settings window, achievements window, etc.
  • Fixed a bug where the "Home Sweet Home" achievement was being unlocked during a normal start despite not actually starting in the settlement.
  • Fixed a bug where battlefield command flares could sometimes be jumped over by the allies they were supposed to hold back, kind of defeating the purpose.
    • Thanks to Arnos for the report.
  • Previously the stealth lines from enemies in the prior version would persist after their death.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for reporting.
  • The "+X% Jump Power" enchants now are allowed to work on heavy characters. This lets heavy characters be normalized in their jumping a bit, just at the cost of their legs enchant slot. Heavy characters are still unable to use falling speed/damage reduction enchants, or double/triple jump enchants.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for suggesting.
  • Preventing further reality-shattering cataclysms:
    • When you try to load a world in either single-player or multiplayer-server mode, the application checks for the existence of a "lock.txt" file in the world's folder. If one is present, it fails to load the world and tells you what happened (and how to circumvent the lock if you're really sure it's appropriate; namely: delete the lock.dat file).
    • If the lock file is not present, the application creates one and continues normally.
    • Thanks to Penumbra for reporting the results of running the same world in two different instances of the program at the same time. Thomas Riker would not be amused.
  • Fixed an unhandled exceptions error from the prior version relating to the stealth lines.
    • Thanks to lwithers and Professor Paul1290 for reporting.
  • Adjusted the volume of the male-taking-damage sound effects, as they were too quiet.
  • Also tweaked the tidal pulse hit sound effect (which the water espers also use as their shot sound effect).

Beta 0.933 The Classic Choice: Orb Or Slice

(Released April 19th, 2012)

  • Fixed the "why you cannot use this guardian power" messages to be more exact and hopefully remove any remaining cases where it has to use the message that admits it's really odd and asks you to tell the developers about it (if you do see that, let us know, because that means we missed a case).
    • Thanks to Toll and others for following directions and telling us when they saw that message :)
  • Fixed an issue in the prior version where a long list of things unlocked by an unlockable was all going into one chat line, and thus not wrapping well at all. Now it's split out into one chat item per line, which makes it actually scroll better (and we improved the colors while we were at it).
  • "Anonymous graves" are no longer seeded in the abandoned building stash rooms, because they were just in the way on the minimap and mildly annoying otherwise. We'll do more with graves out in the wild sometime post-1.0, but for now these are just gone.
    • Thanks to Ixiohm for suggesting.
  • Previously, the tab-targeting selection was for all intents and purposes arbitrary in what enemies it chose from. Now:
    • When you have no enemy currently targeted, it will automatically choose the closest enemy to you.
      • Note that it's not doing line of sight calculations or anything like that; that's out of scope for now and might be too CPU-intensive in general. And sometimes, depending on the spell, it might not matter.
    • When you have an enemy already targeted, then it will automatically choose the enemy that is next-furthest from you; unless it is already the furthest-away enemy, in which case it will loop back around and choose the closest enemy to you again.
    • In the past we didn't do this because as enemies shift their positions this can make targeting order cycle so that some enemies are quite hard to target; however, in practice this works really well, so looks like our fears were unfounded.
    • Thanks to Hyfrydle for suggesting.
  • The multiplayer chat is now easier to see without it getting lost in all the other messages that cycle through. Specifically:
    • The name of the player is now shown in green rather than yellow, making it stand out more compared to most other messages.
    • The normal message log display will show all chat entries for 30 seconds rather than the usual 10. Thus if somebody says something, you have longer to see it AND if they said something right before a bunch of other messages, those other messages will clear and you'll still have time to see their message.
    • Thanks to Wanderer for suggesting.
  • Added a semi-secret command "cmd:reset_all_achievements" that, when entered into the chat log, clears all your local achievements. That way you can keep the rest of your settings, but have a fresh start with completing your achievements again.
  • Fixed a bug where all NPCs had the FilledWithBurningHatredForMoonLamps flag set to true and thus would shoot (ineffectually) at them in settlements, etc. Ok, maybe it was just that the moon lamps shouldn't have been targetable, instead...
    • Thanks to khadgar for the report.
  • Made it so that the camera no longer snaps to the Y axis of the chunk you are currently in -- instead it just goes upward into the blackness. This is great when indoors or in other cramped areas, because it means that your HUD elements at both the top and bottom of the screen don't ever get crowded to the point that your character has to go behind the HUD heath meter to pick up a piece of loot or something.
    • Thanks to eRe4s3r for reporting.
  • Fixed a few minor ways in which loot pickups could flicker since the prior version (at the edge of chunks, when the gold overlay from the enchants interface was up, etc).
  • The spell Energy Pulse has been removed. It was previously a favorite of many players (partly because it was overpowered), but given that they were using it in various different ways there was no way to rebalance this spell and keep them all happy. So we split it into two versions, actually -- just joshing with you about removing it completely. The two replacement spells are:
    • Energy Slice
      • This works and looks exactly like Energy Pulse used to, except it has a base power of 16 instead of 31. More on this in a sec.
    • Energy Orb
      • This works like energy pulse used to, except that it explodes when it hits one enemy rather than piercing through many of them. It's base power is also 32 instead of 31, and it's visuals are doubled-up so that they look more orb-like, etc.
    • Both of these spells have the exact same crafting costs, so when you want one of them it's literally a choice between equals in terms of cost. We're trying to make more overlapping choices in terms of general materials usage as we add more spells, because that gives you more choices with any particular material you pick up.
    • So, here's the deal with these two spells, anyhow:
      • Orb is well balanced for taking on one foe; some players just really liked the handling characteristics of energy pulse, and were using it against mostly one foe anyhow, so here's what we now have. It was actually slightly underpowered for that scenario, so we buffed it a teensy bit.
      • Slice, on the other hand, literally is half the power of Orb. So against one foe, the choice is obvious -- go with orb. But if you have the chance to hit two enemies with one shot, the spells are dead-even in terms of usefulness. If you have the chance to hit 3+ enemies with one shot then slice is by far the better choice. And of course previously this was being abused like crazy when it was so powerful and yet able to go through a lot of enemies at once.
    • Any copies of Energy Pulse in your inventory from past versions of the game automatically become Energy Slice instead.
    • Thanks to a variety of players for feedback on this, but in particular to darkchair for bringing it up most directly. Here and at PAX!
  • Fixed a ton of inconsistencies in how the confirm and cancel keybinds were handled when GUI windows were open.
    • Thanks to jerith for reporting many of these.
  • Fixed a bug where higher tiers of Clinging Fetor did not get higher attack power.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for reporting that the stats did not appear to be going up.
  • The message log window is now always wide enough to display the header (which says which log mode it's using, etc) without wrapping it, because that looked unpolished.
  • Fixed a bug that has been around for a while where, in solo only, if you left a region to go to the world map and then went right back into the region within about 10 seconds, the art assets would not properly preload and you would instead get jerkiness as the assets streamed in during the background as you played.

Stealth Mechanics Improvements

  • When you are wearing a cloak of shadows enchant or are taking part in a stealth mission, you can now see how close to detection you are from enemies, and you can also see if you are inside their detection range. This really is very important for those stealth portions to even work, because without the visual indicator it was all guesswork.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor and a number of other players for pointing this out over the last months.
  • Previously there was a rather nontrivial bug in the stealth mechanics in that the firing-at-you range of enemies was not even reduced by the stealth mechanic -- only the chasing-you range was altered. This meant that, for most intents and purposes with ranged enemies, the stealth mechanics did nothing!
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for figuring this out before we did.
  • The stealth mechanics have been altered so that they no longer affect bosses at all; bosses see you just fine no matter what. This is useful because it lets the stealth mechanics be powerful without letting you just cheaply take down bosses in particular.
  • The monsters in stealth assassination missions are now 600% stronger than normal rather than 300% stronger like they previously were. Combined with the better stealth abilities on your part, this should make this actually more of a, you know, stealth mission.

The Deep Dark

  • All non-overlord and non-lieutenant regions of The Deep are now +2 tiers higher than they otherwise would be.
    • The Deep was always supposed to be the extreme combat area while the Lava Flats were the extreme platforming area. The lava flats we wound up paying a lot of attention to in beta, but The Deep kind of got left behind. We'll do more with it later, but for now this does help with making it a more interesting higher difficulty area. This can actually have some advantages with missions, for that matter.
  • Now all monsters and spell effects in The Deep show up as black silhouettes. This is fairly freaky (which is what we were going for with The Deep all along), but it also makes it so that these areas are incredibly more dangerous because of monsters being able to sneak up on you. Lots of the background is also black, so the monsters can be literally invisible except when you draw them out to the lighter areas, which is pretty interesting. Same for their and your spells.
    • There's still more we want to do with The Deep in the future, but this is a solid step forward in making it the freaky danger zone it was always supposed to be.

Sound Effect Improvements

  • In the prior version, the movement sounds were too loud; they've been appropriately balanced back to what they should have been.
  • The utahraptors and draconite overlords now use their own unique sound effects for their melee hits (rather than using the rhino grunting).
  • The shots of the two kinds of urban predator and urban crawler cannons have much more impressive and interesting sound effects attached to them.
  • When mystery clues are found, a victory sort of sound effect is now played to go along with the actual message about the clue.
  • The sound effect that plays when you unlock an achievement is now different from the sound that plays when an opt-out message pops up.
    • Also, the sound that plays when a non-opt-out "do not worry" message pops up is now different from the opt-out kind. For instance, when the overlord is killed or the continent tier goes up.
  • When the local player takes damage, there is now an audio cue if this was them getting hit from an attack. Also if they land hard enough on the ground to take falling damage, there is a different audio cue.
    • The sounds are different for males, females, and robots. The playable draconites are actually still silent, in keeping with their wordless nature.
  • Leafy whip, cleft smoglet launch, and cleft smoglet hit now have their own sound effects.

Beta 0.932 The ATI Salve

(Released April 18th, 2012)

  • Now when a monster death causes progress towards an unlock, a floating "x More To Kill For Next Unlock" shows up where that monster was, where x is the number of monsters of that same type that you need to kill to get the next unlock. If there's more than one unlock which requires killing some number of that monster, x will be relative to the lowest number that has not yet been reached.
  • Improved handling of enchants when your enchant inventory is full:
    • Now when you pick up an enchant container that would generate an enchant but you don't have room, it displays a message that your enchant inventory is full, and you keep the points (it still won't display more than 100% progress due to previous requests that it not display nonstandard percentages).
    • If you have a big enough backlog of enchant points (probably due to having run out of inventory space, or from joining a multiplayer server after a while, or simply in multiplayer if other players have picked up a ton of enchant points since you last collected one), and have space for multiple enchants, and pick up an enchant container it will generate multiple enchants until the progress falls below 100% or you run out of room.
  • Fixed a bug where Douse Monster Nest (nor the "monster nest supressed by really nearby player" effect) was doing nothing at all to monster nests.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for the report.
  • Fixed a bug where using the aim-keyboard-abilities-at-mouse-cursor toggle would cause the standard "Use Ability 1" and such keybinds to be affected by the mouse "offset" when you change which ability is highlighted. Only when you didn't have a tab-target, interestingly.
    • Thanks to jerith for the report that led to this discovery.
  • Now when an unlock is unlocked, it displays a list of the specific things unlocked in the chat log (though it doesn't display any of the "decoration" entity types except for the stinging nettle).
    • Thanks to Nypyren for the suggestion.
  • Grow Gems:
    • Now always place at your location rather than caring about the mouse cursor or keyboard controls or whatever (this change was actually in the previous version but we weren't done so it wasn't noted).
    • Now, if there's not room to place the object it doesn't just fail silently, it displays a floating "Not Enough Room To Use This Grow Gem!" message at your character's location.
    • This should resolve various problems with grow gems not triggering properly (or at all) when using the keyboard, etc.
    • Thanks to Wanderer for inspiring this change.
  • Mouse-slot-offset changing:
    • The game no longer checks the mousewheel while the mouse cursor is outside the game window.
    • The mouse-slot-offset changes can no longer happen while the inventory (usables or enchants) is open.
    • Whenever the mouse-slot-offset is changed, a "Mouse Slot Changed" message floats up from the center of the ability bar (only fires at most once a second to avoid excessive spamming.
  • The ability to switch where your left and right mouse buttons by default are on the ability bar was previously bound to the mouse wheel in recent versions. As this really bugs most people, we've now removed that from being the default. But since some people do quite like it, it's still an available option that you can configure for your existing settings if you like. Everyone's settings for these two keybinds have been reset to the default as of this version, though.
  • MP: Fixed a bug where certain abilities that have to be processed first by the server (summon rhino, summon dire butterfly, clinging fetor, nightfall, etc) could wind up causing the client to set the local character's mana to the server's idea of what that mana should be, which was basically always wrong.
    • One manifestation of this was holding down the clinging-fetor key in a highish-latency situation and you suddenly have zero mana.
    • It's still possible to trigger an ability a bunch of times in a high-latency situation without realizing how many times the spell is going to be cast until your mana bar is gone, but that's normal and you're actually casting all those spells.
    • Thanks to Archenium for reporting one problem caused by this.
  • Out of all the various sound effects in the game, the volumes were really inconsistent; some things too quiet, other things too loud. Some of this was from conversion to the ogg format from the original masters, others were for various other reasons. Pablo has now gone through fully 150 sound files and got them appropriately balanced against one another, so that should really help the soundscape be a lot more consistent.
  • The "cancel" keybind now works in the confirm popup (it's the same as clicking the cancel button.
  • Fixed a typo in the multiplayer commands tips section.
    • Thanks to khadgar for letting us know about it.
  • The small battlefield minion allies have had their health tripled, and the larger ones have had their health doubled.
    • Thanks to many players for suggesting this [Josh, please update the credits for the proper players and close the related tickets tomorrow; it's late and I have no energy left to look them up].

Control Scheme Simplifications And Flexibility

  • Replaced the aim-keyboard-abilities-at-mouse-cursor and movement-directed-aiming toggles with a single "control mode" selection with three options:
    • Keyboard+Mouse (this includes the aim-keyboard-abilities-at-mouse-cursor behavior)
    • Keyboard (this includes the movement-directed-aiming behavior)
    • Gamepad (this also includes the movement-directed-aiming behavior)
    • There are three places you can set this:
      • The settings menu, of course (about the same place the two replaced toggles used to be).
      • The start-new-world popup that asks you for difficulty settings, etc.
      • The top of the escape menu in-game.
    • Thanks to many players for helping us hone the controls and find out what works over the months. Particular thanks to Cyborg for pushing for the movement-directed aiming feature months ago, that's very much the key feature of AVWW's keyboard/gamepad action controls.
  • Rather than just showing "Current controls," the game now has separate control displays that show for the keyboard + mouse, keyboard, and gamepad control schemes. This way each one is more tailored and informative to the specific current mode of play.
  • The game no longer labels gamepad buttons from 0 onward; now they are labeled from 1 onward, which tends to match the actual buttons more of the time.
  • Added several new keybinds for triggering abilities:
    • Use Ability In Slot 11-20
      • These trigger the slots in the row just above the current active ability bar.
    • Use Ability In Slot 21-30
      • These trigger the slots in the row two rows above the current active ability bar.
    • Use Ability: Place Crate
      • This directly triggers the "place crate" ability if a crate is in your inventory, regardless of what slot it is in.
    • Use Ability: Place Platform
      • This directly triggers the "place platform" ability if a platform is in your inventory, regardless of what slot it is in.
    • Use Ability: Shield
      • This directly triggers a Shield ability (Water Shield, Air Shield, etc) if it is in your inventory. The search starts on the first slot of your currently active inventory bar and looks rightward. If it does not find a shield on that bar it checks the next bar up from there, and so on until it has checked your entire inventory.
    • Use Ability: Ball of Light
      • This directly triggers the Ball Of Light ability if it is in your inventory, regardless of what slot it is in.
    • Use Ability: Fire Flare
      • This directly triggers the Fire Flare ability if it is in your inventory, regardless of what slot it is in.
    • Use Ability: Light Snake
      • This directly triggers the Light Snake ability if it is in your inventory, regardless of what slot it is in.
    • Use Ability: Flash of Light
      • This directly triggers the Flash of Light ability if it is in your inventory, regardless of what slot it is in.
    • Thanks to Penumbra and other players for inspiring these additions.
  • Input keybinds:
    • Removed the "Use Highlighted Ability" 1-10 keybinds because of numerous recent bug reports from players who were confused by their intended use, and because the original use cases that inspired this addition no longer appear to be relevant. Basically a ton has changed about the game and how to control it; if you used these and still need them, please let us know exactly what it is you were using them for so we can come up with a better solution.
    • Hid and reset-to-default the "Use Mouse Ability" 1-7 keybinds because binding them to anything except the seven mouse button "keys" just leads to intractable confusion. Again, if you needed what these did, please tell us exactly what you were using them for so we can come up with a better solution.
    • Removed the "Use Mouse Ability" 8-10 keybinds because Unity doesn't support detecting more than seven mouse buttons anyway.

Graphics Performance Ahoy!

  • Removed the "Extra GPU Load (FPS Boost On Some ATI Cards)" from the game settings tab, since it didn't work. The "ponies workaround" will still have to be used for now, assuming that the other changes in this version don't fix the issue (see below).
    • Thanks to Castruccio for retesting this again.
  • The way that the game's graphics pipeline runs has been fairly heavily redone. Two days before release! That's just how stupid we are!
    • The problem that Castruccio and a few others were having with their ATI cards was just too concerning to leave alone, though. Basically, bad drivers and/or firmware on a number of cards made them perform really badly. Even on our own QA guy Josh's ATI card, he was struggling to get 30-40fps most of the time and the "ponies fix" did not work for him. Meanwhile the nVidia cards were just blazing across the board.
    • Well, I had asked some other indies a few weeks back about what they thought the problem might be and if they had any ideas. The very first thing that Cliff Harris said to me was "are you doing too much batching?" Turns out he was right; whether or not this fixes Castruccio's specific issue, the performance gains from shifting around our batching are... insane.
    • Specifically, here are Josh's results (on an ATI Radeon 6530D on a pretty nice desktop):
      • Main Menu 40ish fps prior, 40ish fps after
      • World map 17-18 prior, 60-70 fps after
      • Settlement 41-43 fps prior, 80-100 fps after
    • And then Keith's results (on an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4250 in a cheap laptop):
      • Main Menu 40-50 fps prior, 90-100 fps after
      • Brand new non-test world first intro chunk 20-30 fps prior, 70 fps after
      • Brand new test world world map 20-30 fps prior, 100-110 fps after
    • If you look at the in-game FPS meter, you'll now see that we have direct and indirect draw calls. The direct calls are basically the kind of calls we were doing before. We had to keep using some direct draw calls because certain parts of the GUI just want to flicker like crazy if we don't. But for the rest of the game, those now use indirect calls and thus get batched and managed internally by unity 3d. Turns out those guys know what they are doing! What a boost to performance.
      • For the technically-oriented: basically, the big shift with the indirect calls is that the data is being batched better to your GPU, and is flowing in a more constant stream to your GPU rather than coming in short but intense bursts. That means that your GPU is actually doing more work more of the time, and hopefully for the bugged ATI drivers/firmware that will actually trigger them to fully spin up their fans, etc. Though even if it doesn't, it will improve framerate somewhat in those cases thanks to just generally spreading out the load more.
      • For the unity-3d-programmers: the "indirect" calls are calls to Graphics.DrawMesh. The direct ones are to Graphics.DrawMeshNow.

Beta 0.931 Sometimes One Pony Isn't Enough

(Released April 17th, 2012)

  • Over the course of the first five continents in the game, the monsters now get tougher.
    • On each continent beyond the first that actually exists in your world, they now get a 30% cumulative increase in health, and a 20% cumulative increase in attack power.
    • In other words, on continent 1 if Monster A has health 100 and attack 100, it will have health 130 and attack 120 on continent 2. On continent 3 that same monster will have health 160 and attack 140, and so on.
    • This is capped at continent 5 for now, so on continent 5, 6, or 7 that same monster from the above example would have health 220 and attack 180.
    • The rationale behind this change has to do with enchants: enchants make your character substantially more powerful as you travel further in the game, and that's great. However, it also means that the difficulty is going to tend to slide if monster stats aren't suitably buffed up alongside that.
      • Originally we'd thought to handle this via monster elites -- and we do still plan to do monster elites post-1.0 -- but it seems like monster elites should be about new attacks and spells on the part of monsters, rather than about just stat buffs that we can more easily apply just across the board.
      • This stems from the fact that there are really two possible sources of increased difficulty as you play longer and longer: extra difficulty from requiring more skill (which you presumably have attained through practice if you've played 30+ hours of a game); and extra difficulty that arises from more complex decisions (which is what comes from having all those enchants to choose from, more customization options in general in how you play; plus more complex monsters with multiple attack patterns that take more thought to deal with).
      • The skill-related difficulty is something we've been wanting to hold mostly constant throughout the game, since that's something that you can tune with the difficulty settings. But at the same time, as you are getting better it needs to go up a tad or else the monsters are actually losing ground. And when you throw all these enchant buffs on you, then the monsters really get the short end of things and you're going to lose interest because suddenly everything is way too easy.
      • On the complexity-based difficulty side of things, that complexity only comes into play if your decisions actually matter. If you have 100 enchants to choose from after having collected those over the course of dozens of hours, but any is much as good as the next for your current predicament, then whatever -- nothing is really gained by your having 100 enchants to choose from. That's where having the monsters improving in challenge to match you a bit also helps out: it makes those choices of what enchants to use matter more and more the longer you play, because minmaxing your build is a lot more important on continent 5 all of a sudden than it was on continent 1.
    • A few added notes:
      • The increase in monster stats applies only to the new continents. So if you go back to continent 1, the monsters are way easier by comparison to continent 5, and you can trash the heck out of them by comparison. Hooray!
      • Taking an expert start doesn't affect this. It notes that you start on "continent 2" for unlock purposes, but there is still only one continent actually active in the world. So for purposes of this particular mechanic, your first continent would have base stats and on up from there. After all, you won't have nearly the enchants needed yet in order to deal with the threat of continent 2 level enemies in a fun and effective way.
  • Fixed a bug where, previously, if you tried to load a world that had already been deleted but which was still showing in your menu for whatever reason, it would ask you if you wanted to back up that world. Now it no longer does this, and just immediately gives you the warning that the world is missing.
    • Thanks to arcee for reporting.
  • The quick load button on the main menu no longer appears if the last loaded world has been deleted.
    • Thanks to TyberZann, BobTheJanitor, jerith, and arcee for suggesting.
  • The graphics for the quick-load button on the main menu have been redone so that it's now a lot more obvious what that button is without having to hover over it. It adds a lot more visual polish to that part of the main menu.
  • Now, if you try to connect to a multiplayer server that doesn't have a player account matching your customer ID and profile name, it asks you to pick an existing profile you have in that world (if you don't have any, that's not shown) or enter a new profile name (prepopulating with your current one).
    • Thanks to Bluddy for reminding us of how confusing it can be to discover later that you have a profile name that matters, after you already have progress under one, etc.
  • Fixed the fact that the logic checking for mission expiration was... totally bonkers, really. Sorry about that. It was considering someone outside the region if they were in any region, and on top of that it was running the checks on the client as well as the server in MP.
    • This was causing numerous issues where people were completing missions but not getting credit (or rewards) for victory.
    • Many thanks to Toll, Wanderer, Hyfrydle, Chomper, and others for helping us find this.
  • MP: Fixed a bug that was causing any entities that were summoned by a client player to not show up as moving for that client player. So, for instance, rhinos and butterflies would seem to just stick in the air, as would the clinging fetor. All of them were actually moving on the server, you just couldn't see it.
    • Thanks to Wanderer for reporting.
  • In response to comments about the battlefield missions being incredibly too easy, we've now reduced your minion's health to 1/5th their former value. If this is too far in the other direction, please let us know. But those of us who have been through balancing of AI War with us know that we find the quickest way to perfect balance is to "bubble sort" with large changes that get progressively tighter on the ideal target. Starting with small incremental changes when something is already way off just makes the whole process take longer, because each change is harder to judge on its own.
    • Thanks to Toll, silverhound, Blahness, kingisaaclinksr, and Terraziel for reporting.
  • The server now saves its settings and inputbindings in separate files (serversettings.dat instead of settings.dat, etc) to prevent some very _serious_ issues that could result when running a client and a server at the same time from the same AVWW installation (namely, depending on the order in which you closed the applications, you could lose all info on your achievements and various other settings, etc).
    • Going along with this, you can now open the settings menu from the server window, as otherwise there'd be no way (other than manually editing serversettings.dat, heh) to configure stuff like Port Number.
      • Going along with that, the server no longer auto-closes if it can't listen on the specified port, so you can get in to change the port if you need to.
    • NOTE: regrettably, this is going to cause all servers upgrading from 0.930 or earlier to be reset to default settings (including port, window size, etc), but there aren't really that many settings important to running a server so while we regret the inconvenience we hope it won't be all that bad.
    • Thanks to Wanderer for reporting various "have I entered the twilight zone?" issues that pointed at this problem.
  • Fixed some confusing text about Guardian Powers in the help section.
    • Thanks to lwithers for pointing this out to us.
  • MP: Updated the game so that certain friendly chasing entities that chase you (item pickups, consciousness shard drops, health drops from enemies, etc) now can collide with you on the server or the client. Previously if you had any substantial lag, the server would be trying to move the friendly chasers toward your last known position, but they would wind up missing you on the client side because you'd have moved on by the time the chasers reached you. Which meant a lot of times having clouds of the healing orbs circling you. Now if the server thinks the chasers reached you, OR the client does, then they did and all is happy; that keeps things moving and feeling fluid even during situations of lag.
  • MP: The smoothing send rate for entities has been greatly altered so that things are now more immediate and smooth when playing on a LAN in particular. The game scales this smoothing interval depending on the round-trip time of your connection (which you can see in the menu if you hit F2), but now the floor of that is a lot lower. In other words, now it will make better use of whatever bandwidth you do have, in the interest of as smooth of gameplay as possible. If you run into any issues with this please let us know, but for LANs in particular this change just makes things incredibly better.
  • Put in yet another change related to smoothing. Basically, due to floating point precision errors the smoothing queue (of positions an entity was at) tends to get a bit behind the times. Ideally you have 1-2 items in that queue, but never 0 (because then the entity pauses and then jerks around) or more than 2 (because then the entity moves kind of slowly in molasses, and reacts increasingly slowly to knockback, etc).
    • Previously, we were making the speed of the playback increase by 10% per each queued smoothing message beyond the first, which generally was keeping the queue at more the 2-3 range. Now we're speeding this up at 20% beyond the first, which keeps it more in the 1-2 range.
    • The only real downside to this is that in situations of a lot of packet loss or very high lag, you are slightly more likely to hit 0 messages in the queue and then the enemy visibly stops and then jerks forward.
    • But on the plus side, at both low and high lag, this makes enemies less floaty and a lot more responsive than they were, so that one minor downside in high lag cases seems quite worth it.
  • Well, the My Little Ponies fix from the past version didn't actually work -- that saga continues. Just putting tons of extra load on those certain ATI GPUs was not enough to make them actually come out of their low-power state.
    • A few weeks back I'd talked to some other indies about this issue, and their thought was that perhaps there was too much batching being done in this game in terms of the assets it sends to the GPU -- that being able to hurt performance because of the burst-like nature of what is being streamed to the card.
    • However, as a general rule that hasn't been something that seems to hurt performance at all in our case, because we can easily push 200fps on a nice card from 5 years ago. The trick is that perhaps the burst-like nature is part of what is causing the ATI drivers to erroneously go "eh, this seems low-load enough to not really try."
    • Therefore, the "Extra GPU Calls" feature from the prior version has been updated to use the main unique render queue call stack, rather than drawing in something akin to immediate mode like the rest of our game does. The interesting thing that I observe immediately with this change is that it puts vastly less jitter into my mouse cursor when it's a situation of high lag; so that's a promising sign that at least it's doing something pretty different here, and perhaps the ponies can be retired at last.
    • Thanks to Castruccio for retesting the issue and reporting that it's still there.
  • A couple of versions back we added a fireball-looking underlay beneath the main mouse cursor. While that does indeed greatly aid visibility during fighting, there were some definite cases where it was overkill. The underlay no longer shows on the multiplayer server, on the main menu, on the world map, or any other time the players aren't in a side-view chunk.
    • Thanks to Arnos for suggesting.
  • Added a new Cursor Underlay Scale slider to the general tab of the settings menu. Valid values are between 0% and 200%.
    • 70% is the new default (previously it was 100%), but you can turn the underlay to be larger or smaller depending on your visibility needs. Some folks have a harder time seeing the cursor when it's smaller, others really don't like it when it's too large, so we let you decide.
    • Thanks to martyn_van_buren for suggesting.
  • Previously, apartment-style buildings had only a 1% chance of getting an NPC rescue mission entrance. Now it's 5%.
    • Same for "large inn" interiors.
    • For "office building" interiors it's moved from 1% to 8%.
    • Really large or evil buildings (not overlord/lieutenant ones) previously had a 2% chance times the number of floors in the building. Now it's 6% times the number of floors.
    • Just for the record, each underground cave system retains the same 30% chance of NPC rescue mission nodes that they already had. But a lot of people were looking in buildings instead of underground and coming up empty after even 5+ hours of searching in some reported cases.
    • Thanks to Professor Paul1290, DonLyn, and Toll for reporting their difficulties.
  • Since the earliest alphas of the game, windstorms have buffed monster attack power by 50%. That was a little bit underwhelming of a barrier, however.
    • Now, instead of the 50% attack boost, they instead get tier boosts. On combat difficulties less than hero, it's a +1 tier boost. On combat difficulties of hero or greater, it's a +2 boost. This gives them buffs across the board, making them a lot more fearsome.
    • If it turns out that this makes the windshelter missions too difficult, then we may want to consider making them have microbosses rather than minibosses that you have to slip past.
    • Thanks to Bluddy for suggesting, and Wanderer and Terraziel for weighing in.
  • Clarified some of the text in the game that referred to swimming to instead refer to moving underwater or acid gills, since literal swimming isn't supported (because that would feel too similar to flying, and you're wearing heavy gear that makes it so you'd realistically sink anyhow -- use crates and so forth to move vertically underwater, as they are more buoyant than you are).
    • Thanks to LintMan and Kregoth for suggesting the clarification.
  • In previous versions of the game (basically since forever, it seems), the "mana cost per second" of stuff like shields was being shown incorrectly on the interface. But int he past it was subtle enough of a wrongness to not really jump out at people, because mana recharge was pretty slow. However, in the latest version it was reporting that shields were costing 17 mana per second when it was really 125 mana per second. That's, uh, not a small difference. Fixed.
    • Thanks to Wanderer for reporting.
  • Previously there was a bug where if you were holding the left and right mouse buttons down to fire two different spells simultaneously, and then you let up on one of the two buttons, then the other button would also cease triggering until you clicked it again. Fixed.
    • Thanks to DonLyn and Nypyren for reporting.
  • The projectiles from launch rock, launch ice block, meteor, etc, and the meteors in supply depot missions are now immune to being blown around by a windstorm.
    • Thanks to silverhound and DonLyn for pointing out how much this was necessary for supply depot missions.
  • Previously, the health bars on enemies were rounding their floating-point values to the nearest whole number. Not usually a problem... until you hit something less than 0.5. Then you have an enemy that still seems to be alive while having "zero" health.
    • To fix this, we're now using a ceiling value instead, so it rounds up to the next whole number instead of just rounding to the nearest whole number. Thus if something has 0 health it's always definitely dead (or in the process of going through a death explosion like the urban crawler does).
    • Thanks to AlexxKay for reporting.
  • Previously, the "abandoned buildings" popup would come up when you went into a warp gate. Oops! Fixed.
    • Thanks to martyn_van_buren for the reporting.
  • MP: made the "get out of invalid chunk to world map" logic more aggressive; the last change made it eventually get out to the world map but it could take about a minute.
    • Thanks to Chomper for the followup report.
  • Fixed a longstanding issue with one-high narrow passages that could occur in basements and attics. Apparently this was coded in intentionally, but that was stupid. Fixed now.
    • Thanks to KDR_11k and TechSY730 for reporting.
  • Previously, the warp gates were not properly being detected as having a light source in them, and so the opt-out message about light sources was showing upon entering them.
    • Thanks to martyn_van_buren for reporting.

Beta 0.930 Bugfixes Are Always Better When They Involve Ponies

(Released April 16th, 2012)

  • Fixed a bug where the number of missions won towards a particular unlock was not being cleared when quitting a game, so starting/loading another world before quitting the application could cause the new world to "inherit" that unlock progress.
    • Thanks to Toll for the report and save.
  • Fixed a bug where the item-pickup floating text when picking up multiple items showed the wrong quantity.
    • Thanks to Toll for the report.
  • Fixed a missing localization bug when displaying the "you cannot use this power" reason for a mission-spawning guardian power that cannot be used because none of the missions it can spawn are eligible to spawn there. Since the fact that that situation could exist is probably also a bug, it even asks you to report it to the developers with a copy of your world ;) But potentially it's not a bug, will need a reproducible case to test first.
    • Thanks to Wanderer for the report.
  • The encyclopedia entries for copper and iron ingots, as well as lumber, still had some outdated info that was saying that they only would appear when the continent tier was a certain value. Oops! Fixed that; all that information is supposed to be automated now -- specifically so that it's never wrong like this -- but these three still had their old, original, outdated descriptions.
    • Thanks to DonLyn for reporting.
  • Put in a fix for an obscure crash bug that could happen when upgrading some old worlds.
    • Thanks to martyn_van_buren for reporting.
  • MP: Fixed an omission where number-of-missions-won and number-of-monsters-killed progress on unlocks was simply never being sent from the server to the client. The client _was_ being told about actual unlocks when they happened, just not the partial progress (which is kind of important, of course).
    • Thanks to Wanderer for the report and save.
  • Put in some upgrade-old-worlds-on-load logic that fixes a bug where some really old lieutenants and overlords weren't tied to their region in the same way as newly generated ones are, which was probably causing issues with it not detecting their presence/death properly, at least in relation to the relevant outpost/lair.
    • Thanks to Toll for the report and save leading to this discovery.
  • The game has a "resend threshold" for ability uses that helps to avoid network flooding in multiplayer, but it's also used in solo play to prevent certain kinds of race conditions (as well as just to keep solo and MP as consistent as possible, which helps reduce case-specific bugs).
    • The problem was, this resend threshold was being blanket set to 0.5 seconds across the board. That meant that no abilities could ever be triggered more frequently than every half second, which was problematic for something like miasma whip when paired with a powerful cooldown reduction enchant; miasma whip would hardly get any better at all, and the reason why for this was not clear at all.
    • So, two fixes to this:
      • First, abilities that are preprocessed on the client or the server (aka, most combat spells) now have a resend threshold of 0.1 seconds instead of 0.5 seconds.
      • Secondly, if the cooldown on an ability would be lower than its resend threshold, it will instead snap to its resend threshold in terms of what it visually shows. This keeps it from being an "invisible" effect.
        • Note that ability resend thresholds are per-ability specifically, whereas cooldowns are something that cross many abilities. So with a lot of cooldown reduction on an already-low-cooldown spell, that can actually make a big difference in your ability to simulcast spells, even if you're being capped at 0.1 seconds per emission on a specific individual spell.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue where the "footsteps on wood" were way too loud relative to other sound effects. And actually fixed a number of other sound effects where the volume was off, mainly caused by the ogg encodings messing with what had originally been evenly-volumed sounds.
    • Thanks to Xangi for the initial report.
  • New sound effects actually unique to clinging fetor have been added, instead of them just reusing the basic fireball sounds.
  • Fixed a bug where the rarity icons weren't being drawn on enchants that were actually equipped on your body (they would draw fine in your inventory, but forget about it once you put them on!).
    • As part of this, also moved the rarity icon to the upper right of the slot rather than the lower right; this makes it so that you can actually see the rarity icon when it is equipped in a slot with text across the bottom.
  • Put in a new setting in the Graphics tab of the game: Extra GPU Load (FPS Boost On Some ATI Cards). Valid values are from 0 to 5000.
    • Due to a bug in either the drivers or the firmware of certain ATI cards (most specifically ATI Mobility cards, but it may not be limited to just them), if a game gives too low of a load on the graphics card then the card will not fully engage. If you listen to the card, you will literally not hear the fan spin up, and your framerate in the game will be abysmal because the card "isn't even trying," so to speak. However, with a game that is higher-load, the fan would spin up and your card would perform great, and you'd wonder what sort of bad code these lower-load games must have to run so slowly.
    • Since we can't fix the problem in the drivers and/or firmware for these ATI cards, we've provided a handy way for you to increase the load the game puts on your card. Increasing this slider just wastes GPU cycles, but by doing so it can actually trigger your card to wake up and start doing its job. Running two "My Little Ponies" videos on loop in the background is also reputed to work just as well for doubling or even quadrupling your framerate. But when you use an external program like a video player to accomplish this, that program and AVWW wind up having to compete for the bus to the GPU and thus you get worse performance than what you could if you use this slider in AVWW itself.
    • And of course, if later ATI gets their drivers fixed then you'd want to turn this setting back down to 0 in the first place because that's how you'd get the absolute maximum performance out of the game. Most cards that are affected by this bug should be easily getting 80-90 fps and are instead getting 15-30 when the card doesn't turn on.
    • Thanks to Castruccio for reporting the issue (more details for the morbidly curious).
  • Added the following admin commands:
    • grant_player_change_difficulty_permission
    • revoke_player_change_difficulty_permission
    • set_default_player_change_difficulty_permission
      • These three work a lot like the similar ones for guardian_scroll and glyph_transplant and increase_cp, and control whether or not a player may change the action or platforming difficulty.
    • Thanks to TyberZann for the suggestion.
  • Fixed a bug where the increase-cp permissions were relying on the client having (and honoring) the correct settings.
  • MP: Fixed a null exception that could happen on the server, though it was probably only possible as a downstream effect.
    • Thanks to Wanderer for the report.
  • MP: to help with some situations where clients were getting stuck on a black screen due to it thinking it was in an invalid chunk but also thinking it was still waiting on a response from the server to a previous transition message, added some additional forcefulness to the "escape invalid chunk to world map" logic.
    • In these cases there didn't seem any excuse for there being an invalid-chunk situation to begin with, but hopefully this change will make this issue less of a blocker while we try to find and fix the root cause (which remains elusive).
    • Thanks to Chomper, Wanderer, and Hyfrydle for providing reports and saves on this.
  • Added some caps to the maximum combined effect of certain categories of enchants and guardian power buffs, etc. Primarily this is to avoid weird edge cases like zero or negative mana cost, etc, but also somewhat to avoid really imbalanced stuff. Imbalance is still possible, but seems to be more likely the "fun" kinds of imbalance that can happen when you really go out of your way to stack a ton of a particular stat (please, by all means, have fun with that), and the sort of playstyle that wouldn't actually be much more effective than going for more "normal" stat distributions. Anyway, the caps:
    • Mana cost reduction cannot reduce the cost of a spell by more than 80%.
    • Cooldown reduction cannot reduce the cooldown of a spell by more than 80%.
    • Enemy-detection-range reduction cannot reduce that range by more than 90%.
    • Incoming-damage reduction cannot reduce incoming damage by more than 80%.
    • Note that the caps are applied very late in the computations; this isn't very relevant right now but for instance if you have a total of -150% incoming-damage reduction (which would be quite impressive to achieve) but are getting +100% incoming damage from wearing a risktaker, the result is -50%, not +20% (like it would be if the reduction were capped at -80% first). Also, if there are later any kinds of monster-caused debuffs on mana cost, etc, then "excess" mana cost reduction would still count against that.
  • Fixed a bug where killing a lieutenant would sometimes not destroy the corresponding outpost. This was basically a cosmetic problem, but the underlying cause could have been interfering with other lieutenant/overlord logic.
    • The game will also retroactively destroy any "orphan" outposts when loading worlds from before this version.
    • Thanks to Toll for the report.
  • MP: now when the server hits a fatal error it notifies all clients of this (even ones that connect later) and the clients display a message similar to the normal "fatal error, you can keep playing but it's all hitting the fan" message that's been around a while, with more MP-specific info.
    • This won't trigger on a lot of errors, because those are considered (but are not always) recoverable, but it's a start.
  • Username:
    • Has been renamed throughout the interface to "Profile Name" which is more appropriate to the fact that it is used in both singleplayer and multiplayer.
    • Now defaults to "Name Your Profile" instead of "default", to make it more obvious what it means (namely, that the individual chatting under it did not, in fact, do what it says).
    • Is now asked for whenever you start a new world, prepopulating with the one you used last. This is one more thing to look at when starting a new world, yes, but player feedback indicates this is preferable to not realize you're making a decision to use whatever was there before.
    • This is already asked for if you try to load a world that doesn't have a player account matching your ID and profile name.
    • This is not yet asked for when you try to connect to a server that doesn't have a player account matching your ID and profile name, but we'll be getting to that soon.
    • Thanks to Bluddy for reminding us of the degree of confusion about this when the player is not asked to set it before playing.

Gamepad Support Improvements

  • The way that the gamepad axis internal handling is done is now completely revamped and vastly more flexible.
    • Previously it had hardcoded the mappings of the main gamepad axis to the left/right/up/down keys.
    • Now it allows you to map any of the gamepad axes independently to any function you like, meaning that, for instance, you can:
      • Make it so that pressing up on your D-pad triggers a spell (like often Wii games tend to do).
      • Make it so that you can aim with the second stick and walk around with the primary stick, turning this into something of a dual-stick shooter where you mainly use the shoulder buttons of your gamepad.
      • And so on.
    • As part of this, we're also now able to map to scrolling the mouse wheel up and down.
      • You can reassign the mouse wheel to any functions you like, but we've got it so that now it defaults to making the mouse wheel move the L-Click and R-Click text on the ability bar (something a lot of folks have asked us about in the past).
  • The "Enable Keyboard/Gamepad Aiming Reticle" option has been removed from the settings menu, as the method for having the reticle work has been completely redone.
  • The way that the keyboard/gamepad reticle works is now completely different. It was so horrible before that we had an option to literally disable it by default on the keyboard, and on the gamepads it was still just "really painful."
    • Basically, on gamepads it now assumes dual-sticks if you're going to use the reticle. On the second stick, you aim the reticle around as you'd expect from any dual-stick shooter, and the shots go at the angle you fire at. Since the secondary stick tends to be an analog stick, you can get as precise in your aimed angles as a player using a mouse can.
      • This feels really awesome, but as with any dual-stock shooter there is a tradeoff: both of your thumbs are now busy. That means that you pretty much are limited to shoulder buttons on your gamepad for comfortable firing-while-aiming, although you can still use the face buttons for abilities you might want to trigger when you don't need your thumb for aimining (maps, the confirm function, etc).
    • For the keyboard, you can enable any four keys you want to use a reticle of sorts just like on the gamepad. But seriously, that would still be moderately painful and the movement-directed aiming is a much better choice in almost all cases if you are intending to play in a keyboard-only fashion for the action pieces.
    • Note that there is no way to escape some use of the mouse in this game: for inventory management, a lot of the windows and menus, etc; we tried doing keyboard/gamepad support for those in the past, and it just was a huge can of worms and a lot slower and more awkward in general. That said, all the action pieces can be played with just the mouse or just the gamepad, and we're trying to make that as smooth as possible; and for those who prefer one or the other of those control schemes, the game can really be much more of a joy to play that way.
    • Also note that if you don't want to play this as a dual-stick shooter but you still want to use a gamepad, you can still totally do that. Movement-directed aiming works just as well with the gamepad as it does with the mouse, and that's basically how all the older Metroid games controlled. That then keeps your right thumb free to hit all kinds of buttons while your left thumb manages both movement and aiming. It's not as precise of aiming, but then again that never hurt Metroid.
      • You can also use the "tab targeting" from a gamepad, same as you can from the keyboard, if you prefer; so there really are a lot of valid options depending on the setup of your gamepad and your own preferences.
  • Each mapping in the settings window now lets you set the axis "noise canceling" under which you get readings from the axis.
    • This is mostly useful for the analog sticks on gamepads: analog input by definition has a fair bit of noise coming from it, and so below a certain threshold in most cases you want to ignore the input. Otherwise, for instance, your character just randomly starts walking to the right because your gamepad analog stick is shifting slightly from gravity.
    • The tradeoff with silencing that noise is that then the actual aiming or movement feels more coarse; you have to really mash completely in the direction you want to aim or move if you set a really high noise canceling value.
    • This is specifically why we give you the power to control these values yourself -- when it's a matter of wear and tear on an older gamepad some of the time, for instance, you're going to want to slightly tweak the game values to give you the most precise input possible for your specific device.
    • The defaults should serve really well for the incredible vast majority of gamepads, though, so you don't need to fiddle with this unless you actually have a problem with how they feel.

Beta 0.929 Leafy Black Smoke

(Released April 15th, 2012)

  • Both the main menu and the big honkin encyclopedia now have buttons for the achievements.
    • Thanks to DonLyn for suggesting.
  • Eagles are no longer allowed to seed in anachronism missions, since they are frustrating at best, or impossible at worst, given how they pass through walls. They just weren't made for interiors or caverns.
    • Thanks to Toll for reporting.
  • There is now a particle-based mouse cursor underlay that gets displayed during the non-GUI parts of the game (custom mouse cursor only). This makes it vastly easier to keep up with where you mouse is on the screen during the chaos of a fight, and in turn makes aiming a lot easier.
    • Thanks to Terraziel, Nypyren, Castruccio, BobTheJanitor, Penumbra, and LintMan for suggesting.
  • Fixed an issue that could happen with two popups would pop up at the same time and then kind of blend/merge with one another.
    • Thanks to cardon for reporting.
  • Finally found and fixed the issue that was causing some spells (most notably plasma bolt, but it applied to any of them, really) to be super inaccurate when fired at certain angles.
    • The problem was that the spells were gradually accelerating to their full speed, and so when a spell had a high speed but lower acceleration the errors would compound and then either the spell would "bend" as it traveled, or it would just plain miss.
    • This was also causing some oddness with enemy spells that were missing where the enemy was aiming, although that was less obvious to folks. This has been fixed so that now spells pretty much instantly accelerate to their max speed, whatever that speed is, and then retain all their accuracy.
    • In practice this shouldn't affect much except that spells don't miss their targets anymore. It might also give you slightly less reaction time with a few enemy spells, but we don't think that any of them had a low enough acceleration paired with a high enough speed where that would make a material difference.
    • Finally, when players were using shot speed enchants this problem was exacerbated, but this solution also fixes that issue.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor, Nypyren, Terraziel, and jonasan for reporting.
  • The gold boomerang now curves in a bit of a more boomerang-like fashion.
  • The gold boomerang actually has a proper sound effect for its use and hits now.
  • Fixed up a number of spells so that they now work better in close quarters. In particular this applies to spells like splash back, and a lot of the enemy spells. Previously if you were on an angled slope or stairs these hardly worked at all.

4 New Spells

  • New Spell: Leafy Whip
    • This one is basically a green version of miasma whip, but with some quite key differences:
      • Leafy whip does vastly more damage and is also longer-ranged, but its mana cost is even higher than its extra utility would warrant on its own.
      • That might sound like a bad deal, but it all depends on how you customize your character. If you have a high-mana character and are playing the dodging game with enemies a lot, then this can be absolutely devastating as your weapon. Similarly, if you want to customize with enchants so that your mana usage is reduced rather than decreasing cooldown or increasing attack power, then suddenly this can be a powerhouse spell.
      • In other words, "out of the box" for an average build character, this spell is worse in every way than miasma whip. But with a variety of styles of customization, this can be incredibly more powerful than miasma whip. The extra range alone can make this really a force to be reckoned with.
    • This is intended to be the first of many spells that is geared towards high-mana characters and/or other specialized builds, thus encouraging players to figure out cool things to do with their customizations.
  • The cooldown times on creeping death have been halved, but the mana cost has been doubled. This makes creeping death extremely expensive in terms of mana, but something that can be used by high-mana character builds to very interesting effect.
  • New spell: Clinging Fetor
    • Very weak, fairly short-ranged spell that flies directly at the nearest enemy. Useful for wimpy hit-and-run attacks when you don't have time to... aim. Or better yet, to find out where enemies might be lurking (among other clever possibilities).
    • The rationale here: we were originally just trying to make a smaller entropy-based spell that could be used instead of creeping death when you wanted something of more moderate mana usage but also longer range than miasma whip. Instead we wound up making this kind of odd utility spell that nonetheless really lets you do some unexpected new things.
  • New Spell: Cleft Smoglet
    • Two entropic shots burst out of you, traveling straight to your left and right. Cannot be aimed in any way; it is entirely based on your position.
    • The rationale here: This is the smaller entropy-based spell that we did then wind up making when clinging fetor turned utility-based on us. It has a very SHMUP feel to it, which is particularly cool.
  • New spell: Flameout
    • A shower of smoke and fire bursts out of you, heavily damaging enemies and setting them on fire.
    • The rationale here: This is the most expensive combat spell in the game in terms of mana at the moment. It can be heavily damaging, but you also have to get in close quarters with whatever it is you're hoping to damage. Plus you pretty much have to have a high-mana character to start with, and then use at least a couple of upgrade stones on them to begin with, to get them so that they can use this at all.

Beta 0.928 Achieving The Leading Causes Of Death

(Released April 14th, 2012)

  • Fixed a bug where the game would let you try to enter a warp gate in a boss room, but this would fail midway through the process leaving you stuck for at least a few seconds in a generally weird state.
    • Thanks to dumpsterKEEPER for the report.
  • Added a mouseoverable "Networking Help" label to the server window that shows the normal networking-help text, which has also now been amended for AVWW.
    • Thanks to kingisaaclinksr for inspiring this change.
  • Improved the server's behavior when it can't get the specified port:
    • The message is a bit clearer now.
    • When you click "OK" on the popup, the application closes. It didn't do this in AI War because this problem doesn't interfere with single-player, but if you're running AVWW in server mode there is nothing at all you can do if the port is not free.
    • Thanks to Toll for the suggestion.
  • MP: Fixed a bug where the server was unable to trigger the explosion of an urban predator missile.
  • Fixed a bug where using Abandon Character while invincible would only remove the invincibility, not actually kill the character.
  • Fixed a bug where pressing the open-chat-prompt key right after sending a chat would not work because it thought there was still an active textbox (which was, drumroll please... the chat textbox. Computers do what you say, not what you mean).
  • Fixed a bug in the mission-abandoned chat-log message where it would always display ??? instead of the actual name of the player who abandoned the mission
  • Added the following admin commands:
    • grant_player_increase_cp_permission
    • revoke_player_increase_cp_permission
    • set_default_player_increase_cp_permission
      • These three work a lot like the similar ones for guardian_scroll and glyph_transplant, and control whether or not a player may enter a mission that:
        • Would increase CP if successfully completed.
        • And has no connected players currently in it.
      • The reason for these commands is to give admins a way to control who can make the choice of what mission rewards are worth the CP, and when it's time to progress to the next continent tier. Otherwise griefers could make really silly decisions, etc. And by default they still can, but an admin can choose to lock that down if desired.
  • Fixed a bug where the "world clock stops if player does nothing for 30+ seconds" logic was not even being checked while the local chunk was paused. Cute, eh?
    • Thanks to LintMan for the report.
  • The "world clock" now stops in single-player if the local chunk is paused, and now stops on a multiplayer-server if all chunks in memory are paused (or have no players). The world clock will also stop on a multiplayer-client if its local chunk is paused, but it will still periodically update its time from the server's world clock (that happens about every 21 seconds) if the server's world clock is still going.
  • Previously the flies-at-the-player consciousness shard drops intentionally did not show chat log messages since they're individual drops and would thus show one chat log line per shard. But we've received a ton of bug reports recently because people expect all pickups to show in the chat log. So now the chest just drops a single lump that doesn't try to fly at you, and it's basically the same as other consciousness shard caches you find laying around.
    • Thanks to LintMan and others for reporting their confusion when they saw no message when picking up those shards.
  • Previously if you started a world in trial mode, played for a bit, then entered a valid license key and stopped being in trial mode, and loaded that world you would have to pick a new character that would start fresh in terms of inventory, enchants, etc. This was because trial-mode player accounts have a different customer ID than non-trial-mode player accounts and it couldn't match up.
    • This has been changed to: if you're playing in non-trial-mode and you load a world where there's no player account with your customer ID and username, but there IS a player account with the trial customer ID and the same username as you're using, then that trial player account's customer ID is permanently changed to yours and and thus you keep the same inventory/enchants/etc.
    • Thanks to ShadowOTE for pointing out that character progression was being lost across the change from trial to non-trial.
  • Fixed a bug where the "player bones" flame-looking thing would continue to stick around after the player had selected another character.
  • Greatly improved the camera handling logic for the Y axis; now the camera doesn't jitter around with every slight movement of your character (which is important for things like the new wooden platform staircase-style handling).
    • However, it still reacts to large-scale movements (such as falling down a huge hole really fast, or using lightning rocket upwards), just as well as it did before (albeit even that feels slightly smoother now).
    • The overall goal here was just to make things feel a bit more polished and to make the screen swing around less when the character is running over slight bumps (it's one thing if your character does it, but a whole other thing when the camera is mirroring their every tiniest move).
  • Whenever your character is not currently on the most recent continent, a "Visit Other Continents" item now shows up in the "Things You Should Do" section of the planning menu. It reads:
    • Thanks to our valiant glyphbearers' efforts to overthrow any overlord that surfaces, there are now [number] continents that have been discovered in the world.
    • The most recent of those continents still has an active overlord. You can keep adventuring on older continents for as long as you like, but you might also want to look into the doings of this latest despotically-inclined creep. A hero's work is never done!
    • Thanks to AlexxKay for suggesting.
  • The following was added to the Tips & Advice section of the planning menu:
    • How do I get to a new continent?
      • To get to a new continent, enter a port region on the map screen, then press Confirm. This will put you on a ship that can take you to the next continent. Once you are on the ship, you will see notes around the edge of the map that point you in the direction of the new continent.
    • What happens on a new continent? Do I get to keep my stuff?
      • When you travel to a new continent, you will notice that not everything is able to come with you. Any upgrades you have made to your character will come with you, as well as any loot items like crates or platforms. Spells, on the other hand, do not come with you to the new continent. You will have to do missions on the new continent to build up your stash of spells just like you did on the first one.
    • Thanks to AlexxKay for suggesting.
  • Changed the rules for picking the profession of a newly generated NPC:
    • If the settlement has no existing NPCs, the new NPC can only pick from Lumbermancy, Stonebinding, and Apothekinesis (the last because it can cast Seek Survivors).
    • If the settlement has any existing NPCs, the NPC cannot pick the same profession as any of those NPCs unless all six professions are already present in the settlement.
    • Note that the first continent still always has a Lumbermancer, a Stonebinder, and an Aquaurgist as its first three NPCs.
    • In all, this prevents mapgen from just messing with you and giving you 3 Technozoologists to start with and then continuing to give you more of those (or the other needs-support-from-more-basic-professions ones) for the rescue missions you find. It basically just makes this whole part of the game a lot easier, but that's ok, as getting 1 of each profession isn't supposed to be a herculean task. There's plenty more effort involved in doing anything really significant with them.
    • Thanks to DonLyn for inspiring this change.
  • Fixed a textual error in the last version that referred to the minimap as being in the top right rather than the top left.
    • Thanks to Penumbra for reporting.
  • As of about two versions ago, we made it so that you had to enter warp gates to use them to warp to any other warp gate. That was a huge improvement in terms of clarity for new players, and in circumstances when you're being chased by monsters. But it was also an extra step when you were an advanced player not being chased.
    • Now you're able to use warp gates either by entering them (and thus being safe from monsters) or standing in front of them (and thus saving 5-8 seconds of time).
    • Thanks to Terraziel for suggesting.
  • A second signpost is now seeded inside all of the warp gates. This one has some advanced tips that help clear up any confusion from the brevity of the first sign. The text reads:
    • Advanced Tip 1: You don't ever have to go into a warp gate unless you want to use it to warp somewhere else. Just having been in the same room with the destination gate is enough to go there; for goodness sake don't go around popping your head into every warp gate you find, as that would just really waste your time!
    • Advanced Tip 2: Unless you're being chased by monsters and want to get away, you don't even have to step inside the warp gate to use it to warp away. Just stand in front of it, press {0} to bring up your region map, and be on your merry way!
    • Thanks to Wanderer for inspiring this change.
  • Fixed some bugs in the load-game process where it was trying to determine which player account to make the local one in two separate chunks of logic that were conflicting with each other in some edge cases and sometimes causing errors.
    • Thanks to Wanderer for reporting one such error.
  • The region details window in the lower left corner of the world map has now been vertically reoriented so that the big region image and standard text that is always there is now the bottom-most item. Any extra details about missions, settlements, overlords, etc, are now shown above that rather than below. That prevents the image and standard text from popping up and down as you move between regions that do and don't have secondary information to show.
    • Thanks to Bluddy for suggesting.
  • When loading a world, "Win X Missions Of (type)", "Kill X (monster type)", and "Kill X (monster type) of at least tier Y" unlocks now all update to the highest progress of any unlock sharing the same kind of target. Previously only the overall "win X missions" unlocks did this.
    • Thanks to DonLyn for pointing out that the kill-x-utahraptor ones were not doing this.
  • When we changed up how the region and dungeon maps worked, we removed the default keybindings for them. However, it's useful to have the region map bound by default, so we've now put that back as being bound to period like it was before. The dungeon map is still unbound by default, because it's of such importance that we really don't want new players accidentally bumping that and wondering where their map got to.
  • Previously, the opt-out messages would remember the checked state for "don't bother me about this again" from the last time the question was asked. So if you opted out of the prior message, it would automatically default you to opting out of the next one, which was an error. Now it always defaults to not opting out unless you specifically check it to say to opt out of that message.

104 Achievements

104 new achievements have been added to the game, and will have full Steamworks integration as with our other games.

The achievements and the unlockables have nothing to do with one another, to be clear: unlockables are per-world and are something that you work either alone or with teammates in co-op to win. Unlockables also always have a direct impact on the game in terms of actually unlocking new content, too. Achievements, on the other hand, are cross-world, individual-focused, and have no in-game benefits or repercussions when you win them.

Achievements can be won in solo or in multiplayer, and if you are playing in multiple worlds then your work in each world counts toward your cumulative stats that unlock achievements. So, for example, "be present at the death of 3 overlords" doesn't mean those all have to happen in the same world -- it could be the first overlord in each of three different worlds, if you prefer.

The achievements are for a variety of in-game activities, but here's a general listing of categories of achievements:

  • Building a certain number of settlement structures.
  • Completing a certain number of missions.
  • Completing a single mission of each type.
  • Completing a secret mission and one spawned by a guardian power.
  • Crafting a spell of each tier.
  • Dying a certain number of times.
  • Getting at least one enchant of each rarity class above common.
  • Getting at least one legendary enchant of each base type.
  • Killing a certain number of lieutenants.
  • Killing a certain number of overlords.
  • Killing a certain number of minibosses.
  • Killing a certain number of monsters of any kind.
  • Demonstrating mastery in some form for each mission type.
  • Getting at least one NPC of each profession to skill level 5.
  • Raising any NPC to a certain skill level.
  • Using various classes of guardian powers.
  • Visiting at least one settlement.

We had a lot of awesome suggestions for more advanced achievements, and we definitely want to thank all the players for that. We'll be doing more achievements post-1.0 I'm quite sure, but for 1.0 we're full up on our workload and so this will be the final tally for the 1.0 version of the game. We'd originally only planned on 15-20 achievements for 1.0, so this is... quite a bit more than expected, heh. Oh, and each achievement has its own unique icon, like Tidalis but unlike AI War. So if you've been wondering where we were yesterday and the first half of today, these achievements are where we've been...

Things We Learned At PAX East, Part 3

  • Drastically altered how the collisions with your wooden platforms work -- previously it was really fiddly, and trying to walk across small gaps in ones placed near to one another wouldn't work. Also if you tried to make a staircase of the wooden platforms, that simply was just going to be hopeless.
    • At PAX East it was really driven home how confusing and fiddly this was to basically... everyone. It was one of those things that had been bugging us also, but it hadn't really raised to the level of conscious awareness until we saw other people struggling with it and realized how much that had bothered us, too. That happens more than you might think when it comes to game design.
    • At any rate, the new way is vastly more forgiving. It's almost impossible to fall between two wooden platforms unless they are literally further apart than your character is wide (and then that's kind of expected, no?). You can also now easily make staircases and walk up them with the wood platforms if you wish.
    • One change that we also made as part of this to make things feel more natural is that now the collision boxes of the wooden platforms are now only about 2/3 as tall as they previously were. That makes them stack a lot tighter than they previously did, which looks more visually correct and also which further differentiates these from crates. It also plays a bit nicer with the revised physics here.
    • Thanks again to the hundreds of PAX East players who let us observe where they had trouble during the intro mission; this was the first major stumbling block for pretty much everyone; perhaps the most universal issue amongst new players.
  • Previously, wooden platforms would fall if they were touching any sky tiles at all. That was quite funky-feeling in practice. Now they fall only if they are not touching any background tiles at all.
    • Thanks to hundreds of PAX players who made it clear through their actions that this was really the expected behavior.
  • The recharge rate for mana is about twice as fast now. We realized it was really bordering on the frustratingly slow based on our experiences at PAX and just our own play experiences.
    • An argument can definitely be made that this devalues high-mana characters somewhat, but our plan for those characters has always been to make it so that they can cast some mega spells that other characters simply don't have access to.
    • To that end, we've also reduced the amount of mana that characters have as a baseline, and how much is added to their mana pool per internal "point" that is rolled for them. That makes it so that a lot more of the higher-end spells are now a) inaccessible to lower-mana characters, but also b) are able to be cast more frequently by players with higher mana, since that mana recharges twice as fast same as the lower-mana characters do.
    • For most of the lower-mana-cost spells, this means that they can be essentially fired infinite times without your having to stop and wait for recharge, which is also a good thing; you already have to worry about tactics and position, so watching mana at the same time for a basic spell was one bridge too far.
    • This may need some slight tuning still, so let us know if you find anything. But overall this should make the higher-mana characters a lot more interesting now because they can access spells that lower-mana (but perhaps higher-base-damage-output) characters cannot. Kind of like Tellah in FF4 is more or less what we're going for here. A high-mana character trades off being really awesome with the basic spells in exchange for being able to cast the mega-spells at a slightly lower rate.
    • Obviously, to fully round this out we also need to add more mega-spells prior to 1.0, but there are a few already (launch meteor, etc), and those should serve as a good guide for now.
  • Fixed a bug from the last few weeks where the shadow bats were able to pass right through the slimes that were supposed to be holding them back.
    • This made the intro mission room with the bats vastly harder than it was supposed to be, because the bats were after you without your having any option to choose to fight them or choose to run away.
    • Thanks to many PAX East players for running into this so that we discovered it.
  • The cavern in the tutorial with the shadow bats now includes 32 upgrade stones down in the section with the bats; that way you actually get something for fighting the bats if you choose to do so.
  • The lower slime in the cavern with the shadow bats in the tutorial now is a red/yellow slime rather than a red slime. That way players can't accidentally get through there and start fighting the bats before they have good equipment that would actually enable them to do so.
  • That long skelebot-filled hallway in the big cavern with the workbench in the intro mission cavern now uses a red/yellow slime rather than a red slime. Players were super incentivized to go into that part of the cavern first, rather than going across the water to find the workbench first. And that in turn was leading to situations where the players were really getting into fights that were far tougher than they needed to be, earlier than they needed to be.
  • The fire that the slimes emit is now considerably weaker; players simply weren't having time to react to the slimes' fire before dying, which obviously isn't much fun.
    • The direct damage of the slime fire went from 3.8 to 0.5, and it no longer sets you on fire. Also, when it hits you once it dies, rather than hanging around to hit you multiple times in succession.
    • On the other hand, the slimes are now able to emite their fires every 1 seconds rather than every 5.5 seconds.
    • This makes them _seem_ quite fearsome still (you're getting absolutely pummeled, visually), without being remotely so damaging as they were before (being on fire was good for about 6 damage per second, and it stacked, before -- fine for dragon breath, but too deadly with slimes in the intro mission; in the intro mission players need to feel like they are getting clobbered without actually being clobbered).
    • Thanks to pretty much all the PAX attendees who tried the game making it clear through their play how much this change was needed.
  • The tooltip for the upgrade stones has been made substantially more clear and concise.
  • When walking past a destroyed door, the game now says "Press E to hide in destroyed room" rather than saying the normal "Press E to go into [type of room]" message.
    • Watching players at PAX, it was clear that the destroyed state of the door didn't mean a whole lot to them at first, so they tended to be surprised when passing destroyed doors. The signs inside the destroyed rooms in the intro mission help to explain what the destroyed rooms are for, but every bit of reinforcement helps.
  • Whenever you enter a completely pitch-black room without a light enchant equipped, an opt-out message is now shown that reads:
    • Boy it's dark in here! If you have a light enchant, don't forget to equip it by pressing the X key and dragging the enchant into your torso slot.
    • If you prefer to light your way with spells, hopefully you, uh, have those with you. Ball of Light, Light Snake, Flare, that sort of thing.
    • If you don't have any light source with you... better turn back!
    • Thanks to Hunter Vega in particular for noticing that when new players didn't equip their light enchant and went into dark rooms like this, they almost thought the game had frozen or something since they couldn't see anything.
  • Previously, the intro mission room with the ball lightning hidden in it was not showing up as a stash (only the one with storm dash was). For the sake of clarity, both rooms now show up as stashes, so that it's better training players to look for those and only those rooms.
  • Previously, the first time you entered an abandoned building outside of the intro mission it would show a popup explaining about abandoned buildings. Now it actually shows this during the intro mission or after the intro mission (whichever comes first, depending on if you skip it).
    • The information in this popup has been pared down substantially since the map guide is now a part of the game, and just the really critical points are explained as quickly as possible. We hate going "megaman! megaman!" at you, but occasionally it's unavoidable; meanwhile we're editing these for brevity as much as possible.
    • The new text:
      • Abandoned buildings like this are all over the place, and usually have at least one stash room with useful treasure.
      • Stashes are yellow on your dungeon map (bottom right of the screen), and your goal is to quickly find them and then get back to questing.
      • The minimap (upper left) helps you navigate: green dots are passages you've used, while red dots are passages you've not yet entered.
      • If you ever want more information about how the maps work, just click the little question mark next to the dungeon map.
    • Thanks to hundreds of PAX attendees for showing us how people would not notice either the dungeon map or the minimap unless it was specifically called to their attention. At least not at 1920x1080 resolution while on a 15 minute timer, both of which may have been factors.
  • In the first intro mission surface area with icicle leapers, we've made some of the text on the signs briefer, and we also moved the tombstone about the spellgem workbench being in deeper caves. Now that tombstone is over closer to the red/yellow slime, which gives people direction on where to go when they reach that slime and can't pass.
    • Thanks to the majority of the PAX East players who got up to that red/yellow slime and then didn't know where to go.
  • In the one complete dead-end cavern in the intro mission, the sign pointing out that this is a dead end and that you should be using your dungeon map is now a lot more direct. It was previously trying to explain around 4 things at once and not doing a good job at any of them; now it just focuses on "use your dungeon map to find the high value goods" and leaves it at that. The other parts of the intro mission all cover the other 3 points better at this stage, anyhow.
    • Also, that sign has now been moved a bit so that it is much harder to miss as you are traveling into that room. But even if you miss it and get to the bottom of the chunk (where it's just a dead end with not much of interest), it now also has a copy of that sign down there at the bottom so that players aren't just wondering what the heck is going on and if they are missing something.
    • Thanks to the few dozen PAX East players who went that way and showed us what a problem it could be; most players funneled a different direction for whatever subtle reasons, but for those who took that path it was definitely not clear what had just happened.
  • In the first intro mission chunk with the icicle leapers, the gravestone of Jinsiek now makes much more of a point about keeping your distance and using wooden platforms to snipe from above. Previously this was another of those tombstones that was advising three different things at once, and the other two points are now quite adequately covered elsewhere in the intro mission anyhow. The big missing link for a lot of players is the idea that this isn't a brawler and that you have to keep your distance, so that's something we're trying to reemphasize repeatedly in the intro mission so that players start thinking about how position matters rather than just leaping into swirling masses of enemies that kill them in a frustrating way.
    • Additionally, in the intro mission cavern #4, the grave of Paso Verdo no longer warns about the shadow bats; instead, it warns about the much more imminent danger of jumping down into the mass of robots there. It talks about that ledge being the #1 cause of glyphbearer death in those caverns, which -- from our experience at PAX East -- is absolutely true.
    • Lastly, in the intro mission underground cavern #2, a new grave for "two dozen fools, give or take" has been put up. Note that this is for comedic effect, not to refer to any players whatsoever (just so nobody gets the wrong idea and gets offended). This grave is very sarcastic and wonders aloud why the fools didn't use four different tactics that are a good idea. It's actually the first and only time that dodging of enemy shots is mentioned in the tutorial or anywhere else in the game; and given how important that idea is, it deserves at least one small grave, it seems. This area was the #2 leading cause of death of players at PAX East, and this grave -- like the other two already mentioned -- is aimed at easing those frustrations substantially and giving players the metnal framework to think about their environment and tools in a different way than other games have trained them to.
    • Hopefully between these various tombstones, people will more easily pick up the idea that tactics even matter in the first place. We ideally wanted to get people to come to that conclusion on their own, and in fact many people already were doing so even at PAX. However, at least a fifth of all players (if not more) were treating this more like a brawler because other games had trained them to think in terms of skill and reflexes instead of in terms of position and tactics. The very idea of thinking about the combat in a different way is alien enough that we had no choice but to put in tombstone text in various spots to give people that idea; and fortunately there were enough marginal tombstones that we could repurpose that we only had to add one new one, and otherwise just rewrote existing ones.
    • Thanks to jabbahutt, Wanderer, and Penumbra for suggestions along these lines; and to all the hundreds of PAX East players who showed us where the hot-spots were for glyphbearer deaths.

Beta 0.927 Brief And Clear

(Released April 13th, 2012)

  • Previously there was a limit of only 7 missions at once per continent that would be spawned on the world map. That idea dates back to when we thought that we'd both start and end with 7 (and not wishing to overwhelm players).
    • More recently, however, we've been starting out with a max of 2 missions and then increasing that as players complete more missions -- making it so that they start small but then easily work up to where they not only want more missions but need to have them to avoid situations where they have to do secret missions because none of the main missions give them remotely the rewards they want.
    • Essentially, as the pool of potential rewards from missions has grown, limiting it to just 7 missions on the world map was meaning that players were incredibly at the mercy of the random number generator in terms of what their rewards and what their mission types were. It was simply too few missions at an advanced level of play.
    • Our solution now is to make it so that the true max number of missions per continent is now 20 instead of 7. However, you still start with 2 like before, and work on up to 7 just like you did before -- the difference is that you then continue working up to 20 missions over the course of your first 60 completed missions, rather than stopping with a max of 7 after your first 12 missions.
    • This is one of those things that won't impact new players at all, but for advanced players this should be a godsend and really a help in reducing frustrations based on not being able to find materials you need without guardian power scrolls.
  • Previously, there were two interfaces telling you about regions. The first was when you walked into a region and would show in the lower left corner of the screen. It was semi-informative. The second was when you right-clicked any region on the screen. It was very informative, but not everybody even thought to find it.
    • These two interfaces have now been combined and show in the lower left corner when you walk over regions; there is no way to right-click regions and examine them from a distance anymore (which kind of defeated the purpose and the sense of real travel when walking around, anyhow).
    • Several bits of the text here have been made more informative and more compact, as well. For instance, when you are in a sailing ship it no longer erroneously tells you that you can enter ocean tiles directly; it tells you you have to go to a port on any continent in order to get out of the ship.
    • Thanks to Bluddy for suggesting.
  • The world map opt-out message has been made substantially more brief and clear based on feedback from the few PAX attendees who got that far. The common instinct before was just to ignore it all because it was too much text at once.
  • The opt-out message that gets shown when you go into ocean tiles is now a lot more brief and clear.
  • The opt-out message that gets shown when you enter a region in a windstorm is now a lot more brief and clear.
  • The opt-out messages that get shown when you enter the staging area of normal and secret missions are now a lot more brief and clear.
  • The opt-out messages that get shown when you first get tier orbs and guardian power scrolls are now a lot more brief and clear.
  • Fixed a very annoying bug that was discovered right in the days before PAX that was causing players and monsters to jitter visually when going down slopes rather than walking smoothly down them. It was just a visual thing, but we didn't have time to hunt it down right before the conference.
    • Apparently this also interfered with jumping in some circumstances.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for reporting.
  • Fixed a really annoying bug that has been in the skies of the game for a while; it was most noticeable in lava flats on screen resolutions of height greater than 1024, but could happen anywhere. Basically, the textures were wrapping around from the top to the bottom improperly as part of their UV animations.

Things We Learned At PAX East, Part 2

  • The opt-out popup that you get the first time you visit the settlement has been heavily edited for brevity and clarity.
    • Thanks to the dozen or so PAX East attendees who got this far (15 minutes isn't a lot of playtime, so bravo to them) and made it clear that was too much to read all at once.
  • The red/yellow slime has had its graphics altered so that now it is yellow on the majority of its form and then just with a red center. Previously the opposite was true, and so folks were thinking that this was just another red slime fairly often. Now the visual difference is way more apparent.
    • Thanks to hundreds of PAX attendees for showing us how confusing this was in the heat of things when you've only ever seen one red slime before and now encounter something else red and slime-y that looks pretty similar.
  • Fixed a bug that had the battlefield command flare appearing in the crafting interface, which was just kind of confusing to new players. You were only supposed to be able to pick it up actually during battlefield missions.

Beta 0.926 Things You Might Like To Know

(Released April 12th, 2012)

  • Fixed a bug where if a guardian-power-use failed in such a way as it wasn't caught before the game tried to execute it, the player who tried would not be able to use another guardian power until they restarted the application.
  • Settlement NPCs can again be renamed, now by right-clicking their button on the Settlement Residents window.
    • Thanks to many players for periodically reminding us that they want to be able to rename NPCs.
  • Fixed a bug where pressing "T" would open the chat popup, even if you were typing into another textbox.
    • Since this is fixed now, the chat popup has been changed back to being available on the server display (previously that was disabled since it conflicted with the server-name textbox).
  • Settlement-renaming is now possible again, through the "Rename Settlement" button on the same planning sub-menu as Settlement Residents and Settlement Structures.
    • Thanks to many players for periodically reminding us that they want to be able to rename settlements.
  • Fixed a bug where the "picked up" messages in the chat log would display the wrong resulting total amount when picking up more than one type of item from a single container (generally this was shards).
    • Thanks to nickmame for the report.
  • In an expert-start game the first settlement now has 10 "catchup enchant containers" seeded in it which each give an enchant to a player picking them up; they don't grant enchant points and can be picked up once per player, kind of like the rare-enchant-containers dropped by lieutenants or overlords.
    • Thanks to Toll for the suggestion.
  • Fixed a bug where storm dash and ride-the-lightning would sometimes stay on a player after changing chunks.
    • Thanks to Toll for the report.
  • Added new key-bind: Show All World Map Region Labels
    • While this key is held down on the world map, it shows labels (for storm, turbulence, etc) for all regions.
    • Defaults to H.
    • This function used to be combined with the "Look Ahead" key-bind, but now it's split out.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for the suggestion.
  • The supply crates in the supply-depot-meteor-shower missions now no longer heal to full when the chunk is read back from disk (which happens if you go back to the staging area for 10+ seconds or quit the game and come back).
    • Thanks to Terraziel for the suggestion.
  • Simplified the "Get skill-level (x) of profession (y)" text to simply say "build a (building)" when it's missing a building rather than explaining that you need to get the scroll for the other building, get someone of the right profession, and meet the other requirements. The extra information was proving confusing.
    • Thanks to Penumbra for the suggestion.
  • Fixed a bug where the Settlement Residents window would show (for example) "Profession: Stonebinder" on an NPC's button and "Profession: Stonebinding" on the details popup when the button was clicked. Now both show the latter wording.
    • Thanks to GrimerX for the report.
  • Fixed a bug where if the same key was bound as both the primary and alternate key for a specific key-bind, pressing that key would instantly trigger the key-bind twice. For example, having RightArrow as key1 and key2 for "Move Right" woud cause RightArrow to instantly trigger storm rush if you had it on hand.
    • Note that if you have two separate keys bound as primary and alternate for a specific key-bind, pressing them both simultaneously will still count as two separate activations of the key-bind, as that seems desirable from a control-flexibility standpoint.
    • Thanks to Bluddy for the report.
  • Fixed a bug where absorbing an enchant container would show a percent-progress > 100% on the container that actually granted an enchant.
    • Thanks to GrimerX for the report.
  • There is now a Ctrl+F5 feature that reloads the Language xml files, which is handy for testing changes to text without restarting the entire game.
  • The "offset" affected by the "Switch Highlighted Ability Slot To Next" and "Switch Highlighted Ability Slot To Previous" keybinds is now remembered by the game. It's saved with your installation's settings, not with the world (unlike which ability bar is currently selected, which is saved with your player account on that world).
  • Expanded the tooltips of the "Use Mouse Ability" keybinds to make clear that even if you bind a keyboard key to them it will use the mouse offset and mouse targeting rules.
  • Added in the framework for achievements, which will work differently from unlockables. Achievements are going to be cross-world but per-player, rather than being cross-player but per-world. The actual view of the achievements, and more than one achievement to actually unlock, are coming soon. Right now there's an achievement for being present in the room when an overlord dies, and there will be more later.
  • The "Use Ability" and "Use Highlighted Ability" keybinds now cannot take mouse buttons, as it would never result in useful behavior (it makes the click aim like the keyboard rather than at the mouse cursor, and can do casting while your mouse cursor is inside an inventory slot while viewing enchants, etc).
    • Existing bindings of mouse buttons to these keybinds will be retroactively exterminated.
    • The "Use Mouse Ability" keybinds are unaffected by all this, and are the normal (and default) way to click-cast.
    • Thanks to Bluddy for a report of clicks causing casts while trying to do enchant manipulation.
  • Fixed some bugs where the inventory and dungeon/region map gui elements could handle mouse events when the mouse cursor was inside a window being drawn on top of them.
  • Fixed up the game so that now the sound of your footfalls differs in the ice age areas (sounds like snow), and in the places like the swamp (sounds like shallow water even on land), and places like the lava flats and junkyards (sounds like a harder ground than normal).
    • These sound effects have been part of the game since alpha, but we just forgot to actually code them in until now!
  • When an overlord is killed, everyone on the server (or just you if you're playing solo) now gets a popup message telling them this has happened. There's a bit of funny text in there, and it explains what happens next including that there is another continent with a new overlord now opened up. For players who haven't read external materials, that wasn't going to necessarily be obvious.
    • Thanks to AlexxKay for inspiring this change.

Continent-Wide Buffs From Guardian Power Scrolls

  • 51 new continent-wide-buff guardian powers have now been added to the game (although, for the time being 20 of them are disabled and won't be accessible until later next week when we add a few more enemies that will provide appropriate unlockables for them).
    • These do things such as increasing outdoing damage of a certain element for all allies on the continent, or reducing cooldowns for all allies, reducing incoming damage for all allies, reducing mana costs for all ally spells, or increasing movement speed or jump height for all allies.
    • These continent-wide effects last for typically about 5 minutes, and can be triggered at any time through your planning menu.
    • The idea with these continent-wide buffs is that they provide yet another really major way for you to grow your power, and in particular a way that can be particularly interesting in multiplayer (though it's also super valid in solo play).
    • Being able to focus more on the community or more on the self when it comes to missions has always been a goal for us, and this is another big check mark in the community column that makes rescuing NPCs and increasing their tiers even more attractive to do.
    • These continent-wide buffs all come in four levels of power:
      • Minor: Available from NPC profession skill 2 and up, and does the least effect. None of these have to be unlocked at all, and you can start finding them at any time on continent 1 and on.
      • Moderate: Available from NPC profession skill 3 and up, and does more effect. None of these have to be unlocked at all, and you can start finding them at any time on continent 1 and on.
      • Major: Available from NPC profession skill 4 and up, and does a lot more effect. Not only do these have to be unlocked (and it's pretty difficult unlockables to do so), but you won't find these at all until continent 2 (NPCs can't even get above skill level 3 until continent 2 is unlocked, anyhow).
        • An expert start jumps you right to continent 2 from the start, recall.
      • Potent: Available only at NPC profession skill 5, and does the most effect. These also have to be unlocked, just as with the major effects. Some of these can't be unlocked until continent 3, others can be unlocked right on continent 2; it varies with the effect.
  • Added four new unlockables in support of some of the new continent-wide buff enchants.

Things We Learned At PAX East, Part 1

  • Added a new Map Help button on the interface next to the dungeon/region maps. Clicking into this shows you a window that explains the basics of all the maps in a couple of pages, as well as explaining in more detail if you want to read all eight pages. This is basically the wiki article that Josh wrote, just updated a bit for things that have changed in the game.
    • We also updated the wiki article itself to make it more up to date, too.
    • The maps guide is also included in the Big Honkin Encyclopedia.
    • Thanks to several players from the forums, as well as hundreds of PAX East attendees, for making it clear just how much this was needed.
  • Both the map help button, and the planning button on the interface, now no longer show except when either:
    • a) There are no monsters present in the current chunk, or
    • b) Your character is currently invincible.
    • This prevents accidentally clicking these buttons during combat and thus having a window pop up in your face, but at the same time doesn't make it so that the planning button has to have a progress bar and the hold-this-down-for-half-a-second logic (which was confusing to new players, as well as annoyingly slow for all players).
    • Thanks to hundreds of PAX East attendees for showing us how unclear the click-and-hold behavior was to new players.
  • Dungeon/Region maps:
    • Can now both be shown at the same time (region map draws above dungeon map in that case).
    • The keybinds to toggle these are now unbound by default (if you already have them bound that won't be changed).
    • The buttons on the escape menu for opening/toggling the dungeon/region/chunk maps have been removed.
    • The dungeon map defaults to showing.
    • The region map defaults to not showing.
    • The game now remembers which ones you had showing.
    • Thanks to hundreds of PAX East attendees for showing us just how incredibly unclear the old system was to new players, and how easy it would be to fix.
  • Added a message to the character-select screen to tell players that dying is expected.
    • Thanks to JedTheHumanoid for the suggestion (as well as a few hundred PAX East players for reinforcing it further).
  • Added new toggle to game tab of the settings window: Brief Action Bar Tooltips
    • When this toggle is enabled (by default it is not), the mouseover tooltips for items in your action bar will be much briefer, and only show the full info if you have opened the inventory display.
    • This can be helpful if you do a lot of casting by clicking the ability bar and are playing on a low resolution.
    • Previously this the logic was always used, but a lot of recent new player feedback showed that folks simply didn't realize there was more info to be had on mouseover (even though to tooltip said which key to open the inventory to see the rest of the info), so we're continuing to support the old way via optional toggle, but defaulting to the full tooltips.
    • Thanks to hundreds of PAX East attendees for showing us that if a new player sees the brief tooltip, they're going to think that's the only tooltip there is.
  • Picking up items now shows some floating text at the place of the pickup giving the item name and quantity.
    • Thanks to Carlos Vega and hundreds of PAX attendees for making it really clear how much this was needed on larger screen resolutions (1080p) in particular.
  • Simplified the "Intro Mission - Living Room" type texts for names of rooms in the intro mission to simply be "Living Room" and so on instead.
    • Thanks to hundreds of PAX East attendees for showing us that this was something that was definitely over-wordy and mildly-to-moderately confusing. You already know you're in the intro mission, it doesn't need to keep beating you over the head with it!
  • Added several opt-out pop-up messages.
    • When you pick up a long-range spell (in the intro mission), it tells you that you can drag-n-drop in the inventory.
    • When you pick up enough stuff to have at least 11 distinct usables items, it tells you how to view your full inventory so you can see it all.
      • This only happens in the intro msision, a settlement, or a stash room, to cut down on exploitability of the message invincibility.
    • When you hit a monster that has elemental resistance to the spell in the intro mission, it tells you to use a spell of a different element.
    • When you die, it tells you not to worry.
  • Added new pop-up message for when the overlord dies that tells you about the new continent and how to get there.
  • Now when the enchants inventory is open:
    • It says what key to press to close it.
    • It draws a goldish overlay over all the stuff under the GUI so it's really really obvious if you leave the enchants inventory open while continuing to adventure. Lots of new players were leaving that open and getting confused when they couldn't find their spells anymore.
  • The escape menu now shows the current controls (same as is shown on the main menu) in the bottom-right corner. It won't try to draw if there isn't enough horizontal space, but about 950 pixels width is more than enough.
  • The Current Controls display has been streamlined in the following ways:
    • The line that talked about the shortcut keys for toggling maps has been removed. That was too much information, and hardly relevant now with the other changes in this release.
    • The line about right-clicking inventory items to use them directly has also been removed. Players more easily figure out to just hit the number key, and if they learn the right-click trick that's a bonus. Overwhelming them with more advanced usability tips from the start is counterproductive.
    • The line that previously just say the phrase "P to pause" now says "P to pause and examine enemies," since that's pretty important and something that's likely to jump out at players.
    • The two lines talking about left-clicking for the first ability and right-clicking for the second ability and so on have been condensed into a single line. The information is all still there, but far quicker to grasp now.
    • Many PAX East attendees just intuitively knew the controls without even having to see this window in the first place. But for those who did stop to read the window, we could tell that it was a bit too much information for them to hope to retain comfortably. Hopefully this helps!
  • The action bar now draws "L-Click" and "R-Click" above the slots that would be triggered by left-click and right-click, respectively. This adjusts if you've changed your "Use Mouse Ability" bindings and for the "mouse offset" from the bindings that rotate which slot your mouse buttons start from.
    • Perhaps 20% of our PAX players, perhaps a bit less, didn't understand the correlation between those mouse buttons and those numbers on their action bar. With hardly any cost to screen real estate this is now much clearer for everyone -- new players just getting into the game, and expert players who are shifting the offset of their LMB in the ability bar (we already highlighted that shifted offset anyhow, but now with text that's extra clear).
  • Chat log:
    • Added new toggle to game tab of settings window: Enable Chat Log "Off" Mode
      • When this toggle is enabled (by default it is not), the "Off" mode is included in the chat log mode rotation (normally only "Normal" and "Full" are present), allowing you to completely turn off the chat log (unless there's a really important message in it that the game absolutely must show).
      • This is off by default to avoid confusing new players, but some players may find it occasionally useful, particularly on low resolutions.
    • Removed the "One Line" chat log mode since it didn't seem to serve much purpose.
    • The chat log header now again tells you what key to press to toggle it, since we can now show the actual current binding instead of just the default.
  • Added new toggle to game tab of settings window: Enable Minimap "Off" Mode
    • When this toggle is enabled (by default it is not), the "Off" mode is included in the minimap mode rotation (normally it will rotate on a range between small and large but can't be fully hidden), allowing you to completely turn off the minimap.
    • This is off by default to avoid confusing new players, but some players may find it occasionally useful, particularly on low resolutions.
  • Added a note to the upgrade screen that the upgrades are lost when the character dies.
  • Made it so that if you've intentionally switched to viewing a different dungeon map via your region map, that it automatically switches you back to the map of your current dungeon whenever you change rooms.
    • Thanks to hundreds of players at PAX East showing us that having this hang around indefinitely was confusing.
  • The way that warp gates work is now completely different. Standing in front of them to use them, and being able to pop up a message to become invincible as well as to get tips on how to use them, was really counter-intuitive to basically everyone.
    • Now when you pass a warp gate, it just says "Press E to enter warp gate," like any building/cavern/vent/door/etc does.
    • When you enter the warp gate, it takes you into a visual depiction of the crack in spacetime. There is nothing in that crack except an exit back out the way you came, as well as a signpost that explains the basics of how to use warp gates. There are no monsters in these cracks.
    • While standing in a warp gate, the region map will always be shown (by default it is not shown at all now, remember).
    • Clicking on any dungeon in the region map shows the dungeon in question at the same time as the region map (per the other changes already noted in this release).
    • Clicking any previously-visited dungeon map node that has a warp gate lets you warp there, same as it previously did.
    • So in general it works exactly the same as it did before, but now it's considerably less fiddly to work with, and the explanations for how to use these are a lot more clear.
    • Thanks to Bluddy and martyn_van_buren for suggesting this solution over a month ago; it was on our list even before PAX East, but all the players at PAX pretty much exactly showed us just how necessary this was. We'd just avoided putting in this change right before the convention because we didn't want to risk any bugs from the scale of this particular change.
  • A new opt-out popup is now displayed when you walk past a gravestone. It very briefly tells you that the tombstones are hints on how to proceed, which we found to be critical information for players to have (otherwise the incentive, especially on a 15-minute timer in a busy convention hall with other players staring at you, was to just run past everything and not stop and read).
    • Despite the unfavorable conditions of a convention hall for this sort of demo, we still think that this has a lot of relevance for anyone playing on their own at home; on larger screen resolutions, when players are running fast past the gravestones they often don't even notice the textual popup unless it is pointed out to them.
  • Updated the first screen of the intro mission such that there are now some ledges to the left. These serve two purposes:
    • First, it makes players aware that there is a vertical shaft that they cannot yet climb. Given that the shaft was completely in the dark before, players had no idea it was even there.
    • Secondly, it makes it so that players are likely to be tempted to climb up and see the warp gate that is up there, even before they are able to climb the shaft.
    • When players die in the intro mission, the goal is for them to use the warp gate on that first screen in order to get back to wherever they were (and thus learn about warp gates as well as save themselves some otherwise-annoying backtracking). Thanks to hundreds of PAX attendees for showing us just how non-obvious that first warp gate was; they found all the later ones, but not this one.
  • During the intro mission, when you attack a monster with a spell that the monster is heavily resistant to, it now pops up an opt-out message explaining a couple of things:
    • For one thing, it tells you that the monster is resistant to your attack -- normally floating text popups happen anyhow that show you this, but in the chaos of attacking that first slime with fire touch, most players did not have time to read those floating popups before dying. Now this popup happens and makes you invincible, so that you can understand what is actually happening to you (this only happens in the intro mission, so you can't use this to cheat later on in the game; but that also means that if you skip the intro mission you miss this popup).
    • Next, the popup briefly mentions that you can pause the game with P to hover over monsters for stats on them. This is something that our staff found was really critical for players to be told at the convention; it's mentioned on a tombstone later on as well, but for something this important it bears mentioning more than once.
    • Finally, it also advises the player to run away. So many players died to the red slime at the convention simply because they were determined to get into a death-grip brawl with the slime, and would just mash that mouse button until they died. Briefly reinforcing the idea that sometimes you must tactically retreat is something we felt was important.
    • Interestingly, the actual message is far more brief than this description of the rationale behind the message. Thanks again to the legions of PAX players who showed us this was needed!
  • The following opt-out message now pops up when you die (opt out meaning you can make it never come back after your first death if you like).
    • A Truly Magnificent Death!
      • It happens all the time, so don't worry about it. You can pick a new character and get back to purloining whatever loot you can find (or was it saving civilization? Never can keep that straight).
      • What has been lost: Your old character is permanently gone, and any upgrades you had applied to them via upgrade stones are gone. Also beware the character's vengeful ghost if they left one.
      • What has been retained: All your items, enchants, and general progress in the world will pass to your next character. So dust yourself off and get back in the fray!
    • Thanks to hundreds of PAX players who hadn't been following our release history for showing us that this might be something, I dunno, helpful to actually explain somewhere in the game rather than just in release notes and our blogs!
  • Switched around the positions of the entry door and the light enchant in the intro mission building's atrium.
    • Previously a lot of players would just ignore the enchant and head for the doors on the left, then get a bit confused by the dark rooms. Now you'd literally have to jump over the enchant's coffer in strange paranoia to have that happen.
  • The message that pops up whenever you pick up an enchant without having yet equipped an enchant has been edited down for clarity and brevity.
  • A new opt-out popup now appears whenever you pick up a long-ranged spell in the intro mission or a settlement (so, again, you can tell it to stop appearing after the first time you read it):
    • Hey, neat! A long-ranged spell!
    • You probably want it in slot 1 of your action bar so that left-click triggers it. Simply drag-and-drop the new spell into slot 1.
    • It's usually a good idea to keep your best ranged spell on left-click, and your wooden platforms on right-click. Combat and mobility go hand-in-hand!
    • Thanks to probably 80% of our PAX East players for demonstrating that dragging and dropping the inventory wasn't something that people would think of before going back to face the red slime. A tombstone after that red slime mentions this same tip, but it also is really needed prior to that red slime and reinforcement doesn't hurt anything when the message is this brief and important.
  • When you are in the settlement, a stash room, or the intro mission and you pick up an item that goes in an 11th or higher slot in your inventory (in other words, more than fits on your action bar), the following opt-out message is now shown:
    • Whew, you've been picking up a lot of stuff! You now have more than fits in the 10 slots of your action bar.
    • Thankfully, your inventory can hold around a hundred slots' worth of items. After closing this window, press Z to see your full inventory and rearrange what shows on your action bar.
    • The full inventory was something a lot of players were not finding on their own, and having it pop up a message the first time they were actually going to need it seemed natural based on our observations.

Multiplayer Fixes And Polish

  • MP: internet server postings now include the port number to connect on, and the client will now automatically use the provided port number when connecting via find-internet-games instead of the client's network-port setting.
  • Find-Internet-Game server browser:
    • Added "Server Name Contains" filter so you can search for servers whose names contain the indicated text.
    • Made the grid sortable by clicking the column headers (so, sortable by server name, current number of connected players, total player accounts, number of continents, number of unlocks unlocked, and version).
  • Added the following admin controls (entered via the chat window, like kick_player, ban_player, etc) :
    • set_default_player_guardian_scroll_permission (followed by 0 or 1)
      • If this is true (which is the starting state for a world) all players may use guardian scrolls. Otherwise, players may not use guardian scrolls unless they have been specifically granted permission (by default, no one has that special permission).
        • Note: the fact that you can't use a power won't be noted on your local interface before you try to use a power because only the server knows who can do what, and this way it doesn't get in the way of you knowing if you _would_ be able to use the power if you had permission. If you actually try to use a power and it fails due to lack of permissions then the game shows you a text message explaining what (didn't) happen.
    • grant_player_guardian_scroll_permission (followed by player account number)
      • Gives the specified player account permission to use guardian power scrolls even under the effects of "set_default_player_guardian_scroll_permission 0".
    • revoke_player_guardian_scroll_permission (followed by player account number)
      • Removes the aforementioned permission from the specified player account.
    • set_default_player_glyph_transplant_permission
    • grant_player_glyph_transplant_permission
    • revoke_player_glyph_transplant_permission
      • These three work the same way as the guardian-power-related commands above, except that they control whether someone can use a glyph transplant scroll.
  • MP: Suppressed some innocuous debug messages about heartbeat messages that were cluttering up the server log.
    • Thanks to Toll for the log showing this was happening.
  • MP: Fixed a bug in the code for deploying platforms, traps, etc that was trying to read more entities than were being spawned on the client, and while this wouldn't stop the platform (or whatever) from spawning, it lead to "AbilityUseResult.GetNextNewlySpawnedEntity(): error, no new entities left! Indicates client not processing result from server properly." errors in the log, and was probably causing the client to not reduce the number of platforms it thought it had, etc.
    • Thanks to Toll for the log showing this was happening and what ability type was causing it.
  • MP: Removed the logging of "Server sending C_RequestCredentials message" since it was just a "got to this stage" message and (knock on wood) there's not much reason to worry about that not happening anymore.
  • MP: fixed an apparently-longstanding bug where stationary entities (and possibly moving entities, but probably not) were intermittently never being entered into the spatial partioning system on the client, and thus could never collide with anything in client-side collision checks. This caused all manner of difficult-to-reproduce tomfoolery like "battleground towers that all our shots just pass through harmlessly" and "guardian stones that I can't interact with at all", etc.
    • Thanks to many players for reporting these weirdnesses before, but particularly silverhound for the report that finally pinned the tail on the donkey.
  • MP: Fixed some bugs that were preventing a client's dungeon-map (and possibly region map) from properly updating as other people in MP moved through a region if the one looking at the map didn't change chunks after those movements.
    • Thanks to TyberZann for the report.
  • There is now a subsection of the Tips And Advice section of the planning menu called Multiplayer Commands. It lists all the multiplayer commands that you can use, which is helpful so that you don't have to... I don't know... go skim all the release notes? Yeah, about time we documented that in-game!

Beta 0.925 Dispelling The Lieutenant Pact

(Released April 4th, 2012)

  • Fixed a minor typo in the advanced start description.
    • Thanks to Xeph for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug where if the allies or monsters in NPC missions were out of range of each other but trying to pass each other, they would just hang out. For instance when the monster was flying way up in the air but the ally minions were way down low.
    • Now if they are more than about 400px vertically offset from one another from their centers of mass, then they'll just keep passing one another.
    • This keeps your guys moving, which is great, but it also keeps the enemy fliers moving, which we think is also great in an evil-mustache-twirling sort of way. Watch out for flying enemies skirting your defenses!
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor, Toll, and kingisaaclinksr for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug that has been around since 0.909 where lieutenants became very crafty -- too crafty.
    • Their plot was rather cunning, actually. They'd let you fight all the way through their tower, all the way to the end, and then... not appear. You'd just have to leave in disappointment.
    • Then, of course, when you went to visit the overlord they'd be there to help smite you as a team. Go team evil!
    • Of course, this was actually a bug and not the intended behavior, and it's fixed now.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor, MaxwellDemonic, Toll, Moo, silverhound, Hyfrydle, Rx09, and Donfish for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug where launched ice blocks were doing earth damage instead of water damage.
    • Thanks to c4sc4 for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug in previous versions where hitting O or H on the main menu would try to activate certain developer-only debug functions, fail, and crash the game.
    • Thanks to khadgar for reporting.
  • Substantially fixed up the physics on launched rocks and meteors.
    • Previously they would act in various unnatural ways after they collided with ground or a wall (sliding along them, shrinking and missing certain other targets they would normally hit, rolling along the ground and taking out way too many enemies in a battlefield, etc).
    • All of these bad behaviors were based around some logic we've had with launched rocks/meteors/ice from the start, which was basically that they would keep being simmed even after they were dying, and just until they were actually all the way shrunk they would then disappear. We've now taken that logic out.
    • This means that if you misjudge your shot and clip the edge of a wall, your rock just explodes there and you accomplished nothing. It also means that you can't go "bowling" for enemies with launched rocks anymore. It also means that a monster meteor shower from a skelebot overlord might hit the ceiling and never come down at you depending on his position.
    • On the other hand, for entities (including cardboard boxes) that you're firing at, you can still fire through huge arcs of them with no problem. That's what this spell was designed to do (that, plus fire over small rises or hills).
    • Thanks to Taverius and KDR_11k for reporting.

Beta 0.924 Gaping Caverns

(Released April 4th, 2012)

  • Added a new opt-out tutorial message for whenever a player enters a non-tutorial, non-mission, non-lieutenant, non-overlord interior that lets them know about stash rooms. The text reads:
    • The building you've just entered does not contain anything of very special importance (no overlord or mission goals in here, etc) but it probably does contain a stash room with useful treasure. Very large buildings often contain a couple of stash rooms, but otherwise there are just zero or one of them.
    • Stash rooms show up as yellow on your dungeon map, and your goal with abandoned buildings like this is typically to find the stash rooms as quickly as possible and then get back out of the building.
    • Every non-destroyed room in a building such as this contains at least a small number of goodies, so no room is a complete waste of time, but efficient scouting is by far the most fun and effective way to play.
    • How to effectively scout? Any room you enter will automatically scout rooms that are up to two away from it. You can use that single fact to come up with an effective scouting plan for most buildings.
  • The unlockables "Reach Depth X" have been renamed to "Reach Cave System X" to aid clarity.
    • Folks wanting extra clarity can always click the buttons for a more detailed explanation anyhow, folks know, right? In that description we've added the following clarification on the advice of players:
      • In each dungeon map you're looking for a green cavern node that is the one that leads down to a whole new dungeon map.
    • Thanks to martyn_van_buren, Terraziel, and Penumbra for suggesting.
  • Fixed a bug in the prior version where extra copies of "cross tile layers" were being drawn. This was really based on some bad code from a year ago, but we think it wasn't actually manifesting into a full-out bug until yesterday's release, which had a related fix that brought this one to the fore.
    • This was making water/lava look too opaque and have some extra squared-off oddities at times, and it was making the GPU often do 2x as much work as it should have, leading to lowered framerates depending on the pixel fill rate of your card.
  • Fixed an issue where interior boss rooms in ocean shallows were still being filled with water and thus not spawning bosses in most cases.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for reporting.
  • Fixed a terrain generation bug that was causing glitchy-looking angled grounds with no backs to sometimes be seeded in outdoors and underground issues. Not only did this look wrong, it had the side effect of causing floods of water to be possible.
    • This is what was leading, indirectly, to flooded Rescue-NPC cavern missions.
    • Thanks to Nypyren, Terraziel, Bluddy, Penumbra, Kregoth, MooseHowl, and Veris for reporting.
  • Now when you load a world in singleplayer where you haven't played in that world under that username before it prompts you to pick one of the usernames you've used in that world before or confirm that you actually want to use the new username (and thus start with no enchants, etc).
    • Thanks to Underfot and Penumbra for the report of losing association with the previous player (and enchants) in some cases.
  • Fixed a bug where some interior rooms were not seeding their potential door and object seed spots correctly because they were only seeding these objects where the ceiling was 4-high instead of 3-high. Fixed.
    • This was leading to sometimes having mission explanation signs floating up in the air rather than sitting on the ground, for instance.
  • Made it so that enchant containers, consciousness shard caches, and other similar things no longer spawn in mission staging rooms.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for reporting the exploits this could create with retry-able missions a while back.
  • Fixed a bug where the underground journey to perfection missions were pretty much completely borked. They were acting sort of like an interior mission and sort of like an underground one, and so they drew the wrong graphics and stacked their enemies oddly and all sorts of other problems.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor and silverhound for reporting.
  • The rubble in desert buildings now just looks like regular blocks, rather than like rubble. This is because the rubble looked completely out of place with that style of blocks, naturally.
  • The intro mission doors finally now have icons that show what kind of room is on the other side of the door, like normal buildings do.
  • World name and username textboxes now have maximum lengths to avoid odd bugs.
    • Thanks to khadgar for reporting crashes with really long world names.

Beta 0.923 Your Mission Description, If You Choose To Accept It

(Released April 3rd, 2012)

  • Fixed a bug in recent versions where the "goodie" spots were not seeding in the ocean shallows, and so you couldn't get things like coral from them.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for reporting.
  • Fixed up the ocean shallows to use the graphics from the ocean crystal caves backgrounds rather than the static-water background that they were previously using. This fits a lot better with the more recently-revised style of ocean shallows chunk generation.
    • Note that this only affects new chunks that are generated.
  • Halved the movement speed of the giant jellyfish, as they were a bit too hardcore in the prior version.
    • Thanks to freykin for reporting.
  • Previously, the ocean shallows boss caves were still generating like ocean caves. Fixed.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for reporting.
  • Fixed some old logic in Load Game where if there was no player matching your customer ID and username you would be given the character of the first player account in the world file (but if you later logged into the same world in MP it would create a new account for you and when you went back to singleplayer it would give you the character you'd used in MP). Now it creates a new player account when loading a world where you don't have a matching player account, so transitions between SP and MP and such should be much smoother.
    • Thanks to Nypyren for the report that reminded us to clean this logic up.
  • Draconites are no longer considered "heavy" characters, so they can now use enchants that grant double or triple jump, etc.
    • However, they now jump only about 3.2 tiles high, rather than about 5.4 tiles high like normal characters. And additionally, they now move at a speed of 300 instead of their former 350 (normal characters move at 450, by comparison).
    • So, by default, they are really ill-equipped to go adventuring, especially in the lava flats. They just have no chance of escaping death from the raptors and such.
      • THAT said, by the time you have encountered them (second continent), you probably have a pretty decent selection of movement-enhancing enchants. You can customize how fast they move, how high they jump, and if they have double or triple jumps, etc. But without some enchants to that effect, these guys are really not going to be something you'd want to play with "in the raw."
    • Finally, one extra inherent attack point has been added to the draconites. This gives them an extra point compared to the other classes, in exchange for their really poor movement capabilities that you have to use your legs enchant slot to overcome.
    • Basically: variety rocks!
    • Thanks to Penumbra for suggesting.
  • Neutral Draconites now spawn vengeful ghosts when they die, like all the other organic/living/alive/whatever player characters (aka, not the robots). The fact that they didn't have vengeful ghosts before wasn't intentional, we just ran out of time and so deferred it until later. So here it is!
  • Added a sanity check that automatically changes the player's world map status from "in a ship" to "normal" if they are somehow on a square that a ship cannot enter. Normally this would be unnecessary, but particularly in MP there are a few edge cases where a player might otherwise wind up "stranded" as a ship on land, etc.
    • Thanks to Archenium for the report.
  • Fixed a bug in multiplayer where clients would never properly remove already-dead entities that were being hung onto purely for that 30 second grace period of ability handling. This was only a bug when entering a chunk that was already in progress on the server, so wasn't something that was too prevalent, but still was likely to cause some problems.
    • One of the side effects of this was being able to see your own yellow pyre "bones" in battlefield missions even after spawning a new character, which normally would not happen.
    • Thanks to KDR_11k for reporting.
  • Will O The Wisp gravity effects now only affect your x coordinate, not your y coordinate, due to the extreme difficulty of getting the y movement working without bugs and other weirdness.
    • The y movement still applies to projectiles, just not allies or monsters.
    • Thanks to silverhound for pointing out some of the still-present issues with the vertical movement.
  • Changes to mission failure/abandonment:
    • Failure is now more like abandonment in that:
      • It no longer removes this mission, so you can just retry it. The only (current) exception is the npc-rescue missions, which go away upon either failure or abandonment.
      • It boots you out of the mission area, to avoid the "time tax" of having to walk back manually.
    • Abandonment is now more like failure in that:
      • It causes a big central-screen-message to display telling you that the mission has been abandoned.
        • Failure doesn't do this next bit, but in order to be clearer in an MP setting, the chat log will also record who abandoned the mission (the central screen message doesn't note that as the resulting text could easily get way too big if some wiseguy set their username to 30 W's or something like that).
    • Also updated the descriptions of a number of missions to reflect the ability to retry after failure.
    • Thanks to KDR_11k for inspiring these changes.
  • MP: Fixed a bug where a client could record the wrong tier of tier orb when succeeding a mission. The server would still put the proper tier of orb into the settlement stockpile, but the client would have an inaccurate stockpile.
    • Thanks to silverhound for the report leading to the discovery of this.
  • Will O The Wisps are no longer available in the Fix the Anachronism missions for much the same reason that bats are not: when they are not part of the anachronism, they are vastly too overpowered to avoid.
    • Thanks to Penumbra for suggesting.
  • In the pause menu hover, it now notes if an entity is currently invincible. And if that entity is invincible due to a protector to the left or right (as with battlefield missions and their towers), it notes that as well.
  • MP: Fixed a bug where when an overlord was killed not all the data on the new continent was sent to the clients. This desync caused the escape menu to not open and throw lots of errors, the new continent's marker (when sailing) to show on top of the first continent, etc.
    • Thanks to silverhound for the report.
  • The mission description popup that appears when walking past a secret mission entrance or a mission signpost now displays the mission description in text rather than only displaying the description if you mousover the name of the mission.
    • Thanks to LintMan, BobTheJanitor, and others for inspiring this change.
  • Put in some error check handling for when the tiles are having trouble drawing themselves. This new logic will make them log an error once that you can see and then send to us, rather than grinding the game to a halt.
    • They also now have better avoidance to prevent the issue in the first place, in terms of what some folks were reporting in the prior version (though we never duplicated it).
    • Thanks to ecyrb, lwithers, ShadowOTE, Moonshine Fox, and kingisaaclinksr for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug in the prior version that was causing pre-existing chunks from much older worlds to lose the data of where their tiles were, and thus drop you into a sea of blank background.
    • Unfortunately this won't fix any specific chunks that were loaded and thus corrupted, but it will prevent any further corruption of those worlds and will also make it so that a backup could be restored and then worked off of without any issue at all.
    • Thanks to kingisaaclinksr and c4sc4 for reporting.

Beta 0.922 Come Out, Shy Little Monsters...

(Released March 30th, 2012)

  • Removed a stray string fragment that had crept into the open-portal-into-ice-pirate-patrol-ship guardian power description.
    • Thanks to Penumbra for the report.
  • Fixed a hard-freeze in the previous version that happened when entering a chunk that the game couldn't find any entity types to seed in.
    • Thanks to LintMan and Donfish for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug in the previous version that was causing the migration logic at tier-1 to not even consider the local region. Some monsters are very shy.

Beta 0.921 World Of Darkness

(Released March 29th, 2012)

  • Fixed a bug from the prior version where rubble had accidentally been removed and the game was complaining about "Shadow rocks" missing.
    • Thanks to Donfish and andy246 for reporting.
  • Neutral draconites are now considered "heavy" characters so that the challenges inherent in things like the lava flats is maintained.
    • Thanks to Penumbra and KDR_11k for reluctantly suggesting.
  • Fixed a lack of clarity on the tier orb descriptions that made it sound like you could get them outside of missions (which you can't).
    • Thanks to Terraziel for reporting.
  • Fixed bug in recent versions where the Build Wind Shelter mission's icon logic was wrong and causing a lot of logged errors and the display of the wrong world map image.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for reporting.
  • Updated the monster migration logic to not mix the monsters quite so heavily as it was previously tending to do:
    • Old logic: As the tier goes up, monsters migrate further afield. At Tier 2 those rhinos in a grasslands region can show up in a neighboring junkyard, at Tier 2 they can show up in an abandoned town two squares away, and so on.
    • New logic: After continent tier 3, monsters migrate further afield. At Tier 3 those rhinos in a grasslands region can show up in a neighboring junkyard, at Tier 4 they can show up in an abandoned town two squares away, and so on.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor, Terraziel, and Donfish for suggesting.
  • The visuals for the windstorms (and a few other things) on the world map have been greatly altered.
    • The deep sea oceans are now much darker.
    • The ocean shelf areas no longer draw the kind of smudgy dirt on them, but instead have lighter water.
    • The Deep areas no longer have rain falling on them on the world map.
    • Instead of the wind blowing horizontally, the black rain effect from The Deep is shown everywhere the wind is.
    • The deep ocean is now covered in the black rain effect no matter what, and is thus even more oppressive-looking than the small bit of land you've started to colonize.
    • Huge thanks to Penumbra, Bluddy, Terraziel, zebramatt, and TechSY730 for helping us to figure out how to make this work visually; it was tricky to get looking remotely nice. Thanks in particular to Penumbra for really pushing these issues, and Bluddy for coming up with the idea for using the black rain almost exactly as we did it.
  • Fixed a bug in prior versions where you could win a meteor storm mission while a meteor was still falling if all the monsters were destroyed first.
    • Thanks to KDR_11k for reporting.
  • Previously, meteor storm missions would spawn 1 meteor or sometimes 2. Now they spawn 2 meteors or sometimes 4.
    • Thanks to silverhound and BobTheJanitor for inspiring these changes.

Beta 0.920 Thog No Like Jurassic Bugs

(Released March 29th, 2012)

  • Previously, the wind of passage of projectiles and other entities (enemies, players) would make trees and other background objects rotate ever so slightly more than they normally do. The effect was so subtle that we don't think anyone ever noticed, but it ate up CPU cycles that are not being saved by our removal of this old feature.
    • The more dramatic extra rotations on background entities from the force of explosions are of course still in place; that's not what we're talking about above.
  • Slightly improved the network transmission footprint of ability uses, while also cleaning up some slightly-bad logic that didn't seem to be causing any trouble but might have come back to bit us later.
  • Added the ability to do memory profiling of our internal game objects, since Unity 3D doesn't support that directly and since we can't use a commercial profiler given the way the mono runtime is embedded in unity. What we wouldn't give to be able to just fire up something like ANTS, but we're having to roll our own for now. It's proving effective, though.
  • Fixed a bug that was causing incredibly inflated memory usage and extra slowness on chunk-gen because of lots of Mersenne Twisters being instantiated per tile. This goes back to version 0.917. It's not the memory leak we've spent all morning searching for, but it was certainly inflating the memory leak and a bad thing to have happening in general.
  • Shrunk the memory footprint per tile in the side view sections of the game by about 20% or so, thanks to removing some old and unused stuff. This makes profiling and generation and so on faster.
  • Fixed a memory leak relating to "cross tile layers" that has existed before the game even moved to side view.
    • Something about recent cleanup changes to the game caused this to come to the forefront in ways it hadn't before (probably the bug with the Mersenne Twisters).
    • So in other words, best we can tell, there wasn't actually a new memory leak (today; there was one yesterday, which we found and fixed), but as of 0.916 or so we had made a _very_ old memory leak far more drastic in its consequences.
  • Drastically reduced the memory footprint of each tile in the side-scrolling sections yet again; this time the reduction makes the overall managed (aka game logic) memory usage of the game drop by about half. In version 0.916 a junkyard chunk would take about 80-90MB of managed memory. With all the cumulative reductions in this version, that same chunk now is more like 35MB of memory. And that's not really how much the chunk takes; that's the total memory usage when the chunk is loaded. So the savings in multiplayer, when lots of chunks are loaded at once if players are running all over the place, is even greater.
  • Thanks to many players for reporting the heap errors and memory errors in the last version, and helping us to track them down: including Terraziel, Toll, silverhound, Hyfrydle and Bluddy.

Beta 0.919 But I LIKE Referencing Nulls

(Released March 28th, 2012)

  • Fixed a garden variety null reference exception that was introduced two versions ago (aka, this morning), which was nonetheless making some worlds unplayable.
    • Thanks to Professor Paul1290 and Ripperjk for reporting.
  • Fixed a deserialization bug with missions that was new in 0.918; so older worlds will now load properly. That's the good news.
    • The better news is that we also got it to properly keep on loading worlds that were saved in 0.918, which were potentially to be considered corrupt and un-loadable in this new version.
    • Thanks to c4sc4 for reporting.

Beta 0.918 The Music Of The Leaky Draconite

(Released March 28th, 2012)

  • Every time a chunk was created or loaded from disk, it was running through a full collision check on every entity in the chunk. That seemed to be somewhat pointless, because the entities had already collision-detected before they had seeded, and thus all this really did was cause extra CPU usage for nothing... we think.
    • If you start seeing anything that is overlapping oddly that didn't used to, please let us know and we can put this logic back in. But we've seen nothing of the sort so far.
  • In the prior version, there was a memory leak during chunk-gen that could lead to game crashes and "out of heap" errors after a certain length of play (which would vary by how many chunks you genned and of what type).
    • Huge thanks to Terraziel and freykin for reporting.
  • Fixed a couple of error messages that were referring to Tidalis when failing to connect to a server.
    • Thanks to Toll for reporting.
  • Added a new kind of playable character that you can now get: draconites. You can now find them in the wild garden age.
    • They are extremely strong, if a little on the short side, but vastly more primitive than any other characters in the game. Their mana is much lower, they move slower, they cannot wear heatsuits/snowsuits, but they have innate ambient temperature resistance.
    • They are primitive enough not to have developed formal speech yet, and are completely unable to communicate with any other characters in the game. But they are pretty intelligent nonetheless, and can pick up the meaning of what is going on, most of the time, even without speech.
  • The mystery of why some rescue mission rooms would not spawn a rescue mission is now solved: they were from the wild garden age, which previously had no NPCs.
    • The solution was obviously to add the draconites, but we also did some streamlining of the mission definitions to make it so that it's more clear to us in the code what is going on and when. If we made a mistake and any mission generation is now doing anything funny, please let us know.
    • Thanks to khadgar and Penumbra for reporting.
  • A cool and very different-sounding music track by Pablo has now been added to the underground playlist for most region types.

Beta 0.917 Toss Some Ice At That CPU

(Released March 28th, 2012)

  • Added concept of different non-boss enemies being able to drop different amounts of health-drops on death:
    • Crashed Landspeeder Robot health drop quantity from 1x => 2x.
    • Blue Whale health drop quantity from 1x => 4x.
    • Sea Worm health drop quantity from 1x => 1.5x.
    • Skelebot Centurion health drop quantity from 1x => 1.5x.
    • Will O The Wisp health drop quantity from 1x => 2x.
    • Clockwork Probe health drop quantity from 1x => 2x.
    • Urban Crawler health drop quantity from 1x => 2.5x.
    • Thanks to KDR_11k for the report.
  • Non-giant green amoebas no longer get saved to disk with a chunk, and thus simply disappear if you leave the chunk for more than about 10 seconds and come back.
    • The main reason is that these are intended to only have a small amount of health: each set is given total health equal to the damage which caused that set to spawn. If the amoebas go to disk and come back, they will be healed to full heath, and even if we had it not do that it wouldn't seme right because the giant amoeba will have healed to full without reabsorbing the little ones.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor and Toll for reporting weirdness with the health of green amoebas.
  • Fixed another bug that was causing the "dead" version of the urban crawler's wheel to "grow" up from the bottom of the wheel.
  • Fixed a bug in the prior version that had entities in general growing up to their full size slower than they should have been.
  • The exterior/underground generation algorithm is now a lot less likely to give really narrow holes leading down. Instead they'll tend to be fatter and thus easier to get up/down.
    • Thanks to Magus-k for suggesting.
  • Made it so that the interior procedurally-generated rooms now have double-wide ladder spots leading upwards; this makes it a lot less awkward to navigate around in these rooms (and it makes more enemies able to get you through these tight passages, and more of your and their spells able to be fired up and down through these passages, too).
    • Thanks to a number of players for suggesting this since the start of alpha.
  • Put in absolutely massive numbers of CPU improvements for chunk-gen. This is most noticeable for the really large chunks, of course, or the really intricate chunks like junkyards. Many of those have upwards of a 600% improvement in speed of creation, depending on specific circumstances and your specific CPU.
    • This is of course a nice little thing for solo play, because it makes things move along quicker. But it's an absolutely huge benefit for multiplayer, because it means that a sever under heavy load isn't interrupting other players' gameplay for such long periods while generating a new chunk.
  • Really large tracts of sky in buildings (anything with more than 70 tiles in it) are now considered to just be a side-slice of the outside, rather than a window. This makes it so that large windows wind up still looking like just the roof, or a section between buildings, etc.
    • However, these areas are still blocked off as if there was glass there, so you still can't teleport out there and nothing will spawn out there. This is just a cosmetic change.
    • Thanks to Penumbra for suggesting.
  • Inaccessible tracts of water in interiors (which are sometimes used for visual effect in boss rooms, for example) are now blocked off from players accidentally teleporting in there or anything else spawning in there, and glass now shows over the water.
    • Thanks for silverhound for reporting a bug that sparked this idea.
  • Fixed a MP bug that nobody had yet reported (and possibly not experienced, it was that rare) where certain placed spells could be placed in different locations on one client/server and the rest. This is because each one was individually trying to create its own copy of the object using the same rules, rather than letting it be created once and then just copied across. That mainly only affected ball of light, crates, wooden platforms, and a few other things along those lines.
  • Made it so that wooden platforms and crates can now be properly placed in areas that are too small for them. They'll just grow up to the maximum size that they are allowed to grow to, and then stop. This means that the existing wooden platforms now work in one-tile-wide holes in buildings and in the ground (previously it was definitely possible to get trapped in such a hole if you didn't have some manner of double/triple jump, a bat scroll, or an elusion scroll).
    • Thanks to Thanks to Magus-k for inspiring this change.
  • Put in a new death explosion animation, and made it so that the logic for death explosion is now really different: rather than always being oversized and the same number of explosions, the number and scale of the explosions now matches the size of the enemy.
    • Also did the same thing with the invincibility lightning so that it scales to the size of the entity rather than just being a fixed size (though the visuals are otherwise the same).
    • Thanks to KDR_11k for suggesting.
  • MP: Fixed a bug where regions were never being considered as having a windstorm on the client.
    • Thanks to Hyfrydle for the report.
  • MP: Fixed a bug where dying could cause exceptions because the vengeful ghost spawn was trying to read more data than it was supposed to.
  • Reduced the number of particles in the red and blue amoeba shots by over half; this not only makes their shots easier to identify in terms of where their hitbox is (the hitboxes have not changed), it also drastically reduces the GPU load from these particular attacks (which seemed to be some of the hardest spell effects on some GPUs, previously).
    • Thanks to Castruccio for inspiring this change.
  • Improved the visuals of the darkness so that the edges of the darkness are visibly more rough and uneven, looking more stylized and realistic; it's a more complex, more fractal-looking edge, rather than something that looked too simplistic.
  • At the same time as the base visuals for the darkness were improved, also improved their performance. Now, this isn't _quite_ an apples-to-apples test because this just compares the sum of all the changes since the last public version with the new version up to this point, but our results of an identical "standing there in a mystery room in the near darkness" test, at the same resolution on the same screen with the character not having moved one bit between tests:
    • Prior version: 64fps, 363ish draw calls, 41 texture swaps.
    • New version: 120fps, 375ish draw calls, 41 texture swaps.
  • Fixed a couple of longstanding (all the way back to the earliest internal alphas) bugs with rotation of entities when an explosion happens near them. Now it a slight unnaturalness to it from before has been removed.
  • Vastly improved the way that swinging lights work; previously they would flicker like mad, which just seemed odd. Now they actually have their light source swinging back and forth like you'd expect, which feels a lot more natural.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for reporting.
  • Put in a small CPU efficiency improvement with the spatial partitioning, to prevent too many repartitionings when an entity hasn't actually moved at least one pixel since the last partitioning was done.
  • While searching for what is making the on-death drops of items slow from bosses, discovered a number of cases where theoretically a client and server could disagree on what was being dropped; not any reports of definite bugs from those, but cleaned that up just in case.
  • Boss monsters no longer drop consciousness shards; they instead drop just larger numbers of the same sorts of health drops that are dropped by their non-boss kin. This change serves several purposes:
    • After defeating a boss, it gives a player a boost toward progressing toward the next boss (if there is one). That way there's not a reason to grind monsters.
    • It slows down the rate of acquisition of consciousness shards a bit; players were getting too many of these things.
    • It makes it so that there is only one way to get consciousness shards (exploration in certain specific region types by shard color), which is a lot clearer than having it be that PLUS whatever drops were associated with the color of the bosses you've been killing (which often didn't match the region colors at all, of course).
    • It should actually help performance when killing a big boss, because fewer things are being dropped now. The big "death poof" of enemies is now a visual effect that is less connected to what is coming out of them.
    • The rare enchant containers that lieutentants and overlords drop on death are of course untouched; those containers serve the function that the shards once did, only much, much better, anyway. So in recent versions the massive poofs of shard drops really were not a helpful thing to the overall game design.
    • Thanks to KDR_11k for reporting that the performance would still drop when a big cloud of shards popped out of an enemy in the last version, which got us moving down this road.
  • The game now has a full and color-coded reference of which regions have which consciousness shards and which gem types. You can see the high-chance and low-chance regions that have each of these by looking in the material compendium for each type of ingredient in question.
    • Thanks to Ixiohm and Toll for suggesting.
  • It is no longer possible to get stuck in your own crates; instead you'll just pop right out the top of them. By extension, this also fixes the issue with being unable to ride crates upwards in water in MP (unless your lag is REALLY bad, it should work fine now).
    • Thanks to nickmame for reporting.
  • Put in extra checks into the "I'm currently in an invalid position" logic so that you can't wind up getting pushed through a wall or other solid object (or having an enemy do the same to you). That was mostly only possible in multiplayer.
    • If you and an enemy wind up touching, and the enemy has you pinned against a wall, then consider yourself essentially grappled; greater or lesser teleport would get you out of that sort of sticky spot, but not much else will beyond knocking the enemy back (so splashback and similar are also useful here).
    • Thanks to nickmame and silverhound for reporting.
  • In the last couple of versions, lesser teleport was not working at all. Fixed.
    • Thanks to Nypyren, BobTheJanitor, and Darthcaboose for reporting.
  • Leser teleport has always sent out a "tracer" that determines where you actually get teleported to. Now this tracer is actually visible, however. The tracer also moves slower and takes a full second to get to its destination, rather than a quarter of a second, so that the whole teleporting process is slower but also less jarring.
  • Previously, if the chunk generation/transmission took longer than about 1 second in multiplayer, then your character would pop back into the chunk they were already in before being teleported to the new chunk.
    • Now the game waits 10 seconds instead of 1 before popping you back into the other chunk, and a waiting message should show up if it's been longer than 1 second that you've been waiting.
    • Paired with all of the improvements to chunk-gen speed in general, that 10s range should really rarely be passed (though a combination of slow/busy server, complex terrain, and bad network connection could certainly all conspire to hit that).
    • Thanks to TyberZann for reporting.
  • Finally fixed that longstanding bug where various entities (including ice shards from ice pirate shots, your own launch rock hits, etc) would not play their "on death" sound effect unless they were actually hitting a target (if they just hit the ground, they were eerily silent).
  • Added a new blue spell: Launch Ice Block
    • Launch a small, fairly lightweight block of ice on a trajectory to hit enemies in its path. Great for quickly damaging crowds of enemies in tight spaces, or hitting enemies over obstacles.
    • This is very similar to Launch Rock in most ways, except that it's half as powerful, costs half as much, can be fired twice as often, and has a bit of different phyiscal handling characteristics in the air (aside from just being smaller, too, which is also useful).
    • In other words, this isn't the most original spell in the world for this game, but it does provide some new tactical options for players who want to specialize in the color blue, in particular. Expect some more combat spells like this in the weeks to come, with color-specific variants that are legitimately different from existing fare, but which also help to give players the various options they need to be effective with whatever color they most fancy.
  • Both the ocean shallows surfaces and underground caverns are now completely different in how they are generated. This won't fix places you've already visited in existing worlds, but it does do two things for new worlds:
    • First, it makes these areas way less annoying, and so that acid gills aren't an absolute requirement any longer (although they certainly don't hurt).
    • Second, it makes these areas so that those dead-end paths that you would sometimes run into (and still will in the oceans until we fix that particular bug) no longer will occur.
    • Thanks to AlexxKay and Nypyren for reporting.

Beta 0.916 The Black Wind Shows

(Released March 26th, 2012)

  • Rhinos have been renamed to "pocket rhinos" in reference to their diminutive stature, and to help clear up confusion on that.
  • Made it so that the "Show FPS" line in the message log now also shows the number of draw calls and the number of texture swaps, since if FPS is an issue that's often related (and it doesn't really take any more screen space, anyhow.
  • Put in an absolutely enormous CPU performance improvement for when there are lots of entities in a chunk all at the same time. Previously, whenever any sort of "is this a valid location" type checks were made, it was taking vastly too long to do these because it was doing a lot of math it didn't need to do for entities that it had no chance of intersecting.
    • So now it does a preliminary check to see if the entities have any chance whatsoever of colliding, and then just skips even evaluating them at all if not.
    • In a standard mystery puzzle room on a latest-gen i7 quad core with an 8800GTS (in other words, a very high end machine), this single change was good for a jump from 35fps to 132fps. The results won't be nearly so dramatic in all rooms, since most rooms don't have such high entity counts (all those puzzle pieces), but it should also help enormously in any case where there's a lot of projectiles being fired (aka, big battles).
    • Thanks to Bluddy and Castruccio for reporting things that helped lead us to this.
  • Put in some more CPU improvements that should help with the efficiency of spawning new entities in particular.
  • Fixed an issue where warp gates were still being able to spawn the side of the screen in ground level chunks.
    • Thanks to CodexArcanum and BobTheJanitor for reporting that this was still happening.
  • Added a few CPU efficiency improvements to how certain things are calcualated for regions and for the world map (windstorms, turbulent water, etc).
  • The world map now visually depicts where the wind is causing storms or turbulent water.
    • Thanks to zebramatt, Penumbra, MaxAstro, and Bluddy for suggesting.
  • The way that turbulent water has been calculated has been changed around a bit. Previously, any water that was directly next to land was automatically considered non-turbulent. Now the water is only considered non-turbulent if the land it is next to is not in a windstorm.
    • This makes your buoy networks and your wind shelter networks have to connect with one another in a more interesting way.
  • Fixed both puzzle pieces and urban crawlers wheels so that they don't shrink and then re-grow into place when they change forms due to being destroyed by the player.
    • This prevents several "getting stuck in them" issues, as well as just looks better in both cases.
    • Thanks to Penumbra for reporting the puzzle pieces, and KDR_11k for reporting the urban crawler wheel.

Beta 0.915 Dire Servant... From The Meadow?

(Released March 25th, 2012)

  • Fixed a bug that has apparently been around since we added the platforming difficulty; every time you loaded a chunk, it would further whittle away the platforms, until you eventually had none left, unless you were playing on a very low platforming difficulty.
    • Thanks to techsy730 and Terraziel for reporting.
  • Skelebot Guards are now Skelebot Grunts, and no longer have that "become-invincible" behavior. While that was fun in theory, it was not terribly fun in practice.
  • Fixed an obscure multiplayer bug that nobody had even found yet, where in some circumstances you could actually get shortchanged out of attractive consciousness shards or health drops from monsters if they went through the following procedure: spawned on the server, then collided with the client on the server and thus attempted pickup, then attempted to pass over to client but unable to do so because the client did not yet fully have the message that these drops even existed.
    • It was a rare sort of thing in any case, but it won't happen now.
  • Fixed a longstanding bug where the positions of multi-projectile shots was not being set quite consistently between the spawning client (or the server) and the other computers in a MP game.
    • We've had a note in the code for ages to fix this, but it was a subtle thing and nobody even noticed. It's fixed now, anyhow!
  • Fixed another obscure multiplayer bug that had yet to be reported: since a few months ago, mana has been something that is tracked on the client-side only in MP. However, it was still deducting the mana and checking the mana on the server as well. Normally this wasn't a problem, except for mana-using abilities that are executed first on the server and then secondarily on the client (normally it's the other way around for most spells). This basically just affected nightfall and sunrise, and maybe a few others, in prior versions of the game; but it would lead to those becoming un-castable in MP after not long of play.
  • Previously, healing touch was not working at all in multiplayer. We've shifted it around to make it work completely differently, and actually it's now more useful in both solo and MP. The new description for the spell:
    • Touch-range healing spell that transfers a small amount of your life energy into a cluster of health drops. These health drops will then seek out the lowest-health player or NPC in the vicinity (like any other health drops), or will return into your own health pool.
    • Thanks to MaxAstro for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug in recent versions where light sources would hang around for too long after their death.
  • Ever since we added "windows" to interiors back in early beta, we've had ongoing occasional problems with stuff spawning in those windows that was not supposed to be. That all ends with this release (for new buildings, not existing ones).
    • Now, those "windows" actually will spawn with glass in them, rather than just being open air. The glass has occasional cracks which actually looks a lot more interesting anyhow, and -- most importantly -- the glass counts as being as solid as a wall for purposes of entity collisions. So you'll never have enemies, chairs, players, whatever, accidentally showing up in the window spaces. Or players being able to use greater teleport to get into there, etc, etc.
    • Thanks to many many players for reporting bugs related to this over the months. We finally nailed all the related stuff to this one. In particular, thanks to recent reports by Taverius and Toll.
  • Previously, in MP the health of enemies was scaled to the maximum number of players who had ever been in that chunk since the chunk was last loaded from disk. That was something that clever players could theoretically abuse when paired with healing touch, however:
    • One player goes into the room and fights the boss or whatever it is, with just the boss at normal health. Two allies wait just outside the room. When the first player gets low on health, a second player goes into the room and the first player exits. The third player now heals up the first player, acting as a healing reservoir.
    • Things like that were possible in a variety of ways, to take advantage of the rules and thus make MP easier than it was supposed to be. Nobody was doing this yet, but it's our job to think of these sort of things in advance when we can.
    • The solution was to make it so that monsters now have their health buffs based on the total number of characters in the dungeon, rather than just the current chunk. This still allows for players to be in wildly different parts of a continent or a region without impacting the difficulty of monsters for one another, but within a single dungeon it's highly encouraged that players stick together or else they each face a stiffer challenge alone.
  • Put in preventative code to prevent exceptions from being thrown when viewing a region that is slightly malformed in its data on the world map.
    • Thanks to TyberZann for reporting an odd case of this.
  • Put in code to fix a MP issue where the number of drops-on-death generated on the server could cause a mismatch on the client that would throw an exception for no good reason. That whole bit of code has been simplified down so that the client just takes whatever the server hands it, rather than trying (and sometimes failing) to guess how many items the server wanted to send it. Remnants of older code, bleh.
    • Thanks to TyberZann and Hyfrydle for reporting a case where this could occur.
  • Fixed a bug in prior versions where pushing the P key on the server console would cause exceptions. Now it just does nothing.
    • Thanks to Toll for reporting.
  • Fixed a cosmetic issue from the last couple of days where the players' character would disappear right before going through a door or other passage.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for reporting.
  • Previously, if you fired a spell through multiple puzzle pieces, and the spell triggered them all to be the same color such that you'd win the puzzle room, it wouldn't matter if the spell continued on and hit other puzzle pieces immediately afterward. Oops! Now it waits until all spells have been resolved before declaring you the winner of the puzzle room.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for reporting.
  • Previously, the message log had a really ugly name for the acid water damage (and lava damage, ambient temperature damage, etc). PlayerEntityTakeWaterDamage1Over60 was just being used because we'd never set a name for that specific method, which is a rare thing but happens. We think we caught them all, but if you see any more things like that please do let us know!
    • Thanks to Penumbra, Nypyren, and Toll for reporting.
  • The puzzle pieces from mystery rooms are now properly immune to even heavy knockback.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug with the battlefield missions where their towers and bases were not getting properly vulnerable fast enough; it was only happening after the prior tower had died AND a full 30 seconds had passed.
    • Thanks to Toll for reporting, although Keith and Pablo had also seen it internally and we'd just not had time to investigated it yet.
  • Fixed some old text in the douse monster nest description that still referenced "levels."
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for reporting.
  • Fixed another unreported bug, this one with the time to live bars of summoned monsters sticking around after they had died.
  • Added a third summon spell to the game; this is one you can't get until the second continent, and it's got a humorous name/form but is actually pretty powerful.

Beta 0.914 Insecticide

(Released March 24th, 2012)

  • Fixed a bug where some skelebots, skelebot giants, and skelebot overlords from prior versions of the game were not only still having regen (which was removed from them), but actually had super-regen which made them practically invincible. This only affected older worlds.
    • Thanks to Nypyren for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug in the prior version where, instead of being retained for 30 seconds to allow for any latent ability uses to catch up with a given entity, the entities were being retained indefinitely.
    • This led to a lot of lag issues when many shots were involved, and to some definite unintended hilarity with anything pathing (NPCs in rescue missions, tiny fairies in fairy battles, etc).
  • Fixed a bug in the prior version where monster health bars would stick around after their death due to the "hang onto this for processing, but please ignore it and make it invisible" logic not applying to the actual health bars.
    • Thanks to mrhanman, Nypyren, and Underfot for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug that has been around for a while and which was leading to some boss rooms (or caverns, etc) to fill up with way too much water.
    • Note that one side effect of this is that any room templates that have crates placed under or next to water will cause that water to evaporate. There are a couple of room templates matching that criteria, but the effect there will simply be a dry room rather than a buggy one.
    • Thanks to Penumbra for reporting one manifestation of this, where mountains appeared to "float" over water in some cases.
  • Fixed a longstanding pathing bug that became a lot more obvious due to changes in the prior version, which was basically making dead entities still collide with entities that would try to path after you. This was affecting rescue missions as well as things like tiny fairies.
    • Thanks to Nypyren, Underfot, and Hyfrydle for reporting two different cases where this was affecting things.
  • Fixed a bug from the prior version where TAB targeting could still be trying to target enemies that were already dead, and thus seem not to work.
    • Thanks to Hyfrydle for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue from the prior version where various projectiles were continuing through solid objects in a way they really shouldn't have been.
    • Thanks to Underfot and Terraziel for reporting.
  • Made it so that trash mobs drop health orbs 100% of the time again, rather than 90% of the time. In the past it was always supposed to be 90%, but it was working as 100% because of a bug. It turns out players preferred that behavior in the main, so we're making it now work like it did before that bug was fixed.
    • Rather than always getting exactly 10 health orbs, however, the player now gets between 6-14 health orbs at random.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor and MaxwellDemonic for originally reporting the change, and Terraziel, Penumbra, Bluddy, Greywolf22, and Volatar for weighing in on the matter further as well as suggesting the variance in the amount of the health drop.

Beta 0.913 Unraveling Mysteries

(Released March 24th, 2012)

  • Put in a major CPU efficiency improvement to entity-entity collisions; some of them, especially if they were larger entities or otherwise overlapping more than one background tile, were colliding with each other many times more than they needed to.
  • Put in a fix to a crash bug that could happen (mainly in MP) if an invalid piece of the chunk was attempted to be scouted.
    • Thanks to Toll for reporting.
  • Fixed a minor bug in the interior generation where hanging lamps could seed right over crates.
  • The way that the the angle of shots that rotate to their movement angle are calculated is now based upon their actual movement rather than the movement they are trying to have.
  • Fixed a bug that's been around for a while and that could lead to "blocky" backgrounds in many exterior boss arenas. This won't fix existing boss arenas that are messed up, but it will prevent new ones. If you see it again, please do let us know.
    • Thanks to Toll, Smiling Spectre, and BobTheJanitor for reporting.
  • Eagles are now barred from being part of the supply depot meteor storm missions, because they wind up just flying around way high up where they are difficult to reach.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for reporting.
  • Adding in of Murdoch as a name that can come up for several character types (first and last names), as well as a place name for a few places. And also, a couple of other small surprises along those lines.
    • We don't know how we ever let this oversight past us; AI War players know what we're talking about.
    • Thanks to Martyn van Buren and rchaneberg for suggesting.
  • Put in a fix that should prevent players from ever getting stuck in monsters (which was previously happening mainly in MP in recent versions, but apparently occasionally in certain kinds of monsters in solo).
    • Thanks to MaxAstro for reporting the MP issue, and khadgar and BobTheJanitor for reporting the solo variant.

Major Improvements To Multiplayer (Most Particularly Under Situations Of High Lag)

  • Fixed an exception that could occur in some instances when finalizing a chunk for use in multiplayer.
    • Thanks to Toll for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug where the first chat line in the multiplayer server was not displaying properly upon initial game load.
  • Added the ability for us to internally simulate situations of really horrendous multiplayer lag. We're using those conditions therefore to hunt down a whole host of MP issues that really only manifest under situations of moderate to heavy lag, and have made excellent progress on resolving a number of those. That's the main reason for the smaller number of other changes to the game today; we'll be having more of these issues resolved over the next few days, too.
  • Put in a change to make sure that any entities considered "absent from the chunk" but not yet removed due to whatever processing messages that are remaining, will not do melee attacks or be visible from the pause hovers, etc. This is at least part of the solution to the "invisible enemies" issue that a few players were reporting in MP under extreme lag conditions.
  • MP: fixed a bug where the "kick all players out of mission area" behavior when a mission was abandoned logic was trying to withdraw the player entities from time before the transition, when only the local client can properly pull off the withdraw-from-time logic. Now the server just does the transition without that part.
  • MP: fixed a bug where clients needing the "pick new character" screen would spam the server with many requests for a new character list. The results of this varied, but none were good.
  • MP: fixed a bug where skelebots were not properly losing their invincibility when they moved because they were trying to use logic that only works (in MP) for player entities.
    • Thanks to Toll for reporting.
  • Set a flag that makes sure that tier orbs are considered crafting ingredients for the sake of the "if someone crafts with this in MP, it is used up for them, but available for use by other players" logic.
    • This should fix the bug where somebody else crafting with a tier orb was using it up for you (and all other players), but it won't have a retroactive effect.
    • Thanks to silverhound for the report.
  • MP: It's impossible to prove a negative, but we think we've solved the issue with "invisible enemies" that attack you during situations of moderate to high lag.
    • The problem was that the shots were dying and being removed from the game simulation on the server before their damage was actually applied to the target, leading to situations where the client thought the enemy was dead, but other clients and the server saw the killing blow as essentially having "missed."
    • Our fix to this was to make a grace period before we actually remove entities from complete consideration, so that "late hits" of that sort can actually happen like you would naturally expect, regardless of lag. This makes it so that the health state of enemies and players should now always be more consistent between the various clients and the server, knock on wood.
    • We were previously able to duplicate this with some good reliability with our lag simulator on, but so far in our limited testing since this change we've not seen it again. Please let us know if you do.
    • Thanks to Hyfrydle and TyberZann for reporting.
  • MP: Projectile time-to-live is now computed on each client and the server again (for a while it had been only happening on the projectile's owning procses); the non-owners cannot say "this is now dead" but they now preemptively treat the projectile as gone for the sake of what they show the player.
  • MP: Now when a projectile's owning-process computes that it has run out of time-to-live, it not only sends the self-destruct message to the server (sometimes it is the server, but not for player shots) but preemptively treats the projectile as gone for the sake of the simulation and of what to show the player.
    • So Miasma Whip will no longer shoot all the way down a chunk in high-latency situations (where the self-destruct message takes a long time to roundtrip), but be preemptively suspended from render and simulation once the time-to-live has expired locally.
  • MP: There were a lot of places where clients would do something like "if this projectile has expired and I don't have a self-destruct message queued for it, then create one and queue it", and this was generally fine in low-latency situations, but in high latency situations there was often a signficant delay between the time the message left the queue (because it was sent to the server) and the time the playback of the message's processing got back from the server.
    • Now the client will put the message into a separate list of "messages I'm waiting for the server to respond to" until it actually gets a response and messages in that list will count for purposes like "have I already sent a self-destruct message for this shot" to avoid the race-condition problems.
  • MP: Fixed some bugs where the server would try to send have-to-come-from-client message types when it detected that a monster should be damaged by water or lava. Now it uses server-specific alternate message types for the purpose.
  • MP: Fixed some issues where monsters could not properly melee crates and similar background objects in multiplayer, instead causing exceptions.
  • Fixed a number of issues related to MP entity position smoothing in situations of anything other than tiny bit of lag. One of the more paramount issues here was a floating-point precision issue, where single-precision floats simply were not giving us the amount of precision needed for a combination of a high framerate, high lag, and slow movement, for instance.
  • More smoothing work on entity movement in MP:
    • Sometimes when there are small rounding errors, enemies will get progressively more "behind" in terms of what you are seeing as their position versus what their position actually is. The former solution to this was rather brute-force, and just jumped the enemy to the new position; this was obviously fraught with issues and made enemies look rather jumpy at high lags (among some other specific cases and combined with other issues).
      • Now, instead, the client's playback of the enemy's position on the server is constantly looking at how far behind it is, and it's adjusting the speed at which the playback runs in order to catch up without it looking so jumpy. In most cases these are such small corrections that you wouldn't even notice, because this keeps the corrections from adding up to such a large accumulated amount that they reach the point where you would notice.
    • Previously if an entity on the server was sitting still for some amount of time, and then started moving, that would look pretty jumpy as well. That's because the queue of playback would see "okay, we've reached our destination" and would thus jump ahead in the queue rather than properly playing back the "he just stood here for another .05 seconds" or whatever the specific case was. This was part of what contributed to enemy speed fluctuations and jumpiness. And this was something that would really increase depending on the amount of lag you were seeing, which is why we tended not to see it at all before testing with the super-lag-generator.
    • Normally the server sends entity updates 10x per second. However, with a client with a bad ping to the server, this is a bad idea because that just means yet more network traffic to go awry, and we compound the latency problems by trying to send more data.
      • The game now therefor looks at your average roundtrip time (aka ping) and adds that into its calculations on how often to send you movement updates about entities. If you have a 100ms ping, you're going to be getting entity updates about 5x a second now instead of 10x per second, but overall things will still look a lot smoother and the network load will be less. If you have a 900ms ping, which is horrendous, you'll be getting updates only once ever second. The enemy movements will still look smooth, meaning that you can actually play, but you'll see some definite artifacts since your view of the enemy is a full second behind the times. Still more playable than the enemy jerking all over the place, though, and with a 900ms ping there would really only be so much one could expect from any MP game; there has to be a tradeoff somewhere.

Mysteries

  • The first two mysteries have been added to the game:
    • The Mystery Of The Glyphs (18 clues)
    • The Earliest Knowledge Of The Wind (10 clues)
    • These particular mysteries are a bit more narrative in style than we'd originally thought some of the mysteries might be. It will vary from mystery to mystery, but these basically chronicle the further exploits of some of the first glyphbearers from the first settlement in your world -- you'll recognize lots of names from the tombstones in the intro mission.
    • In general, the goals with these "mysteries" is to help you increase your understanding of just what has happened to the world, and how the world works -- these are essentially totally optional side quests, but a lot of players have been clamoring for this sort of information and so for months now we've been planning on making these actually a gameplay activity (which we now have) rather than just some sort of backstory info dump that we put into dialogue somewhere.
      • Therefore even in these more narrative-style clues, a lot of things are not stated outright and have to be inferred. Reaching the last clue in a mystery doesn't just reveal all the answers, usually: to get a full understanding of what is going on, you have to consider all the clues and what they are telling you, as well as potentially put that together with things you might learn from NPC survivors, might read in spell or guardian power descriptions, or so on.
      • Marisa, Chris's wife, has been writing all the mysteries thus far.
  • Note that more mysteries will be coming, both prior to 1.0 and after 1.0 and onward. Some of the largest mysteries of the game we'd frankly rather not reveal even at 1.0, because that gives us something to build up through the updates post release. But there are just reams and reams of smaller mysteries, and even some pretty large ones, that we're tackling in the shorter term. Just not... everything.
  • There is a new "Mysteries Progress" section in the "Big Honkin' Encyclopedia" section of the planning menu. This section shows you all the mysteries that are currently in the game, and if you've unlocked them or not.
    • If not, it shows you what unlockable you must complete in order to unlock them.
    • If the mystery is already unlocked, then you can click in and read any clues that you've found. To start out with, they all just show "???" But as you unlock the clues, these turn into names identifying the source of the clue, which you can then click to read the clue in depth.
  • The "Other Activities Of Interest" section of the planning menu now has a section for "Find Mystery Clues" whenever you have unlocked at least one mystery but have not yet found all the clues for it. This lets you easily keep track of how many clues you can actually pursue at the current time, versus clues that are in mysteries you haven't yet unlocked.
  • Note that clues are found in a somewhat random order (when they are found).
    • If you have multiple mysteries unlocked and incomplete at once, you never know which mystery you're going to find your next clues for. If you want to control which mystery you get answers from first, then choose which ones you unlock first.
    • It's not completely random, however: there are internal break points where the clues start getting more specific, and so they are random up until you get all the clues prior to the break point; and then it starts giving you random clues from the next batch, until you hit the next break point within that mystery.
      • You can't see these break points in the game itself, so on the one hand this is sort of a case of telling you "too much information." But we had a sneaky suspicion that we were going to get some bug reports about clues being found out of order, or suggestions to withhold more helpful clues in a mystery until later, etc, based on seeing that it's not fully linear in what it reveals. Trust us: we've got them broken up in a way that doesn't reveal anything too early.

Mystery Puzzle Rooms

  • Added designs for 20 different mystery puzzle rooms. The details of each puzzle is randomized each time you enter one of these in the game anyhow, so there's a lot more variety than it sounds like. Like with the boss rooms or most other types of room interiors, players can also design their own puzzle rooms. Any room with fewer than 80 puzzle blocks in it will be considered invalid and will automatically get failed, though. So you can't game the system by trying to make puzzles that are too easy (for the most part).
  • Mystery puzzle rooms are now seeded into the game. They can be found in certain large buildings:
    • 80% chance in pyramids in the desert (pretty common building)
    • 100% chance in those giant military industrial complex buildings in the thawing ice age (pretty rare building).
    • 10%, 20%, and 40% chance in the lava flats towers (in respective order of tower size).
    • 10% chance in the windmills in the grasslands (come on, it's the iconic windmill -- there had to be a little bit of something there that was unusual).
    • 10% chance in the "dark gatehouse" which you can see sometimes underground and sometimes in The Deep.
    • This thus gives some special incentive for exploring certain large buildings, though as more buildings are added we don't plan on making an exhaustive public list of where you can find these and in what percentages. The above is mostly just for illustrative purposes, and you find clues when you find them; but any sufficiently large and impressive building will have some chance of having a mystery puzzle room.
  • When you enter a mystery puzzle room (which shows up as orange-ish on the dungeon map, by the way), one of two things will happen:
    • 1. The room will be declared empty of clues, and thus the puzzle is pointless and it says this in a line in your chat log.
      • This happens when the room template is invalid (such as if someone is trying to cheat by making a room template that is too easy of a puzzle to solve), or when there are no active mysteries with clues available. If you haven't yet unlocked the mysteries themselves, don't go into mystery puzzle rooms or they will just turn up as empty.
    • 2. The room will tell you that there are X number of red puzzle pieces, and Y number of blue puzzle pieces, in the room; and that you will unlock a clue to one of your active mysteries when you make all of the puzzle pieces match one another.
      • We won't spoil exactly how this works, but suffice it to say it's useful to bring a variety of combat spells with you. The puzzles aren't super hard, but they do require some interesting use of brainpower.
      • Depending on the room template itself, and the randomization applied to which pieces are what color (it will be exactly 50/50 blue and red at the start, but the distribution is different each time), the difficulty of these rooms will really vary. If you find one that you simply can't solve, you can always move on until you find an easier room somewhere else. You won't miss out on any mystery clues by doing that. But again, these puzzles are only somewhat hard; they aren't like the advanced puzzles in Tidalis or anything.
  • When you successfully complete a mystery puzzle room, a random clue is unlocked and gets added to your planning menu as well as popping up immediately for you to read.

Beta 0.912 Denizens Of The Tide Pool

(Released March 21st, 2012)

  • A number of enemy spells have been renamed to not include the name of the enemy type since multiple enemy types actually use them these days. Having a skelebot overlord hit you with a "giant amoeba shot" feels really strange. So that one is now "Wave Fan Attack," for instance.
    • This is purely a cosmetic change, but it's an important one for clarity now that damage sources are identified by name in the chat log.
    • Some of the abilities that can only ever work with one specific kind of enemy (like the green amoeba stuff, or the missiles that are fired from the urban predator and literally match the graphics on its wings) have their names remaining unchanged and won't be reused by other enemy types anyhow.
  • Updated the dragon-breath-fire style attack on both overlord types to instead be "major living fire," which has some slightly different characteristics.
    • Also gave the draconite overlord the plasma bolt fan attack instead of the fire fan attack, further making him different from the skelebot overlord.
  • The clockwork probe now has its own attack visuals which are different from the will o the wisp attack visually, and which also is air element rather than light element.
  • Snowsuits are no longer considered heavy, unlike heatsuits. This makes it so that you can use double and triple jumps in the ice age areas even when not playing an ice age character.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for suggesting.
  • Fixed a bug in prior versions where placing a wind shelter would actually place five wind shelter missions all next to one another.
    • Thanks to Terraziel and khadgar for reporting.
  • Fixed some bugs in how certain random choices were being made that was causing the last item in the set under consideration to never be picked.
    • Notably, this prevented the "Place Ocean Buoy" guardian power from ever being seeded.
      • Thanks to BobTheJanitor and TyberZann for reporting this symptom, as it led to discovery of the cause.
  • Added two new settings to the graphics tab of the settings menu:
    • Show FPS In Chat Log
      • You can see your FPS (frames per second) in the debug menu by pressing F3 if you just want to check on it quickly. But if you're looking for a way to watch your FPS on an ongoing basis, this setting is more helpful as it doesn't cover a bunch of your screen with the debug menu.
    • Show Images-Loading-During-Gameplay In Chat Log
      • Normally you would not want to turn this on. But if you're getting image-loading related lag spikes and want to see what is being loaded and when (so that you can report it to us, presumably), then this is a helpful tool. We also use this internally to try to keep such lag spikes from happening in the first place.
    • Thanks to Bluddy for suggesting.
  • Fixed several bugs with how ally minions were being treated too much liked summoned monsters in some cases; and actually fixed a few edge cases with summons that nobody had even reported yet.
    • The big takeaway from this one is that ally minions were not getting their health and attacks properly scaled with the continent tier before, but now they are. This was making battlefield missions get progressively more impossible as the continent tier went up, which was in error.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor and Professor Paul1290 to tipping us off about the battlegrounds issue.
  • Fixed a bug where nightfall and sunrise would fail to cast if you had something tab-targeted.
  • Fixed a bug in the prior versions where the pause menu hover-overs were not showing the actual attack strengths of the monsters (or your allies), but rather just their tier 1 strengths. Thus at higher tiers it was _really_ misleading.
  • Fixed an oversight where the wind-shelter-eligibility logic was requiring adjacency to a non-stormy region, but really needed to require to a non-stormy _land_ region.
    • Thanks to khadgar for pointing this out.
  • Ocean shallows are now from the contemporary time period, instead of the wild garden age.
    • Oceans, of course, are still from the wild garden age.
    • As part of this transition for the ocean shallows, all of the underwater-only monsters (carp and the whales) no longer will seed in the ocean shallows at all.
      • Thus the monsters that seed in the ocean shallows are now all able to move into and out of the water at will, which is important because that fits a lot better with the design of the ocean shallows we're moving towards (there will be buildings, and still more water than normal but a lot less water than there is now, etc -- but that's coming in a future release very soon, not today).
      • Also, this lets the water-or-non-water monsters migrate out of the ocean shallows. The oceans themselves are still immune to migration, but the ocean shallows are now considered just a watery kind of land.

New Monsters

  • New Monster: Jellyfish
    • This magical denizen is actually able to float into and out of water without harm, and lives in the ocean shallows and ocean regions. We'll leave the details of them for you to discover, but they are essentially one of the more basic enemies for those regions (we're trying to tone down the ocean shallows in particular).
    • This one uses a new "Wave Spin Attack," we will say.
  • Added a new Giant Jellyfish miniboss type.
    • This miniboss is a lot like the smaller jellyfish except larger and faster, and its attacks are faster and a bit different in styling, too.
    • The miniboss has two modes of attack: one where it paths after you very accurately and relentlessly, so that you can't hide from it; and another where it rushes after you much faster, so that you can hide from it but it's absolutely terrifying to try to run from in the open areas.
    • You'll run into these in both the oceans and the ocean shallows, and so now non-underwarer boss rooms in the ocean shallows that include minibosses won't come up without any boss types that are valid to seed there.
  • New Monster: Sea Worm
    • This new monster is another that is for the oceans and ocean shallows, and moves into and out of water with ease. They are pretty scary, as they do massive melee damage if you get right up on them (plus they just look kind of freaky), and they have a ton of health and so are very inconvenient to kill. However, shooting them slows them way down, so avoidance is definitely the optimal strategy with these in almost all cases.

Mission Balance Updates For Several Mission Types

  • Supply Crates in meteor storm missions are now immune to friendly fire.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for suggesting.
  • Meteors are now more the primary threat in meteor storm mission instead of monsters:
    • Previously, supply crates had 224 health. Now they have 1792 health.
    • Previously, meteor storm meteors had something low like 50ish health. Now they have 900 health, making them very hard to destroy but still quite possible to knock off course, which is more interesting.
    • Previously, meteor storm meteors did 28 base damage. Now they do 224 base damage. Definitely don't let these hit you yourself, and having them hit through a stack of crates is now a lot more devastating than what most monsters will do to the crates.
    • A meteor storm mission now requires you to defend against 100 meteors rather than just 50.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for suggesting we make the meteors more the focus.
  • All forms of bats are no longer allowed to spawn in anachronism missions, as they literally make some of these missions impossible.
    • Other excluded-from-all-mission-types enemies (urban crawlers, etc) also no longer will seed in meteor storm missions.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for reporting.
  • Desert burrowers are no longer allowed to spawn in meteor storm missions, as they are quite too hard to hit among the crates there.
    • Other excluded-from-all-mission-types enemies (urban crawlers, etc) also no longer will seed in meteor storm missions.
  • Previously, any missions in the ocean shallows would lack enemies because all of the enemies in that region type were aquatic-only, and thus not suitable for missions. We've fixed that this release by starting the process of introducing new enemies for the ocean shallows that can move into and out of water.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor, KDR_11k, and others for reporting.

Beta 0.911 Fifty Craters

(Released March 20th, 2012)

  • Fixed a bug from the prior version where the scaling of new entities was wrongly being applied to things like energy pulse.
    • And also stuff like fire touch, making them unable to actually do any damage.
    • Thanks to KDR_11k, Entorwellian, and Taverius for reporting.
  • The icon for enemies on the minimap (and players, etc) is now drawn from the center of mass of the entity rather than at their base. For really large monsters, that works a lot better.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for suggesting.
  • MP: Fixed a bug where shot speed multipliers (from enchants, though potentially other conditions can give these) were only being applied on the process creating the projectile, so the server and/or other clients could have simulated them incorrectly (which wouldn't have hurt all that much, but still).
  • Fixed an issue where it was still possible in a few terrain types to get inescapable holes in the prior version of the game.
    • Thanks to Penumbra for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug from recent versions where the hearth and adviser guardian stones could spawn right on top of one another.
    • Note that this _should_ fix existing worlds as well.
    • Thanks to Penumbra for reporting.

New "Defend Supply Depot From Meteor Storm" Mission Type

  • New mission type: Defend Supply Depot From Meteor Storm
    • An old supply depot has been discovered, but is under assault by a magical meteor storm raining down both meteors and monsters. If you destroy all the incoming meteors and monsters, the depot's resources will be recovered.
    • However, if all the supply crates are destroyed during the attack, the resources will not be recoverable.
    • There is only a surface variant of this one, since obviously the open sky is needed, but it can seed as a secret mission or as a world map mission after you've completed any six missions.
    • This mission is pretty neat because in a lot of ways it's like missile command, but with a lot of twists brought on by the spells you have and the general monsters the game has.
    • These meteors are a new kind of "powerful piercing" shot, by the way, which goes straight through most normal barriers except for the ground and walls. So these meteors not only go straight through your own crates, they also go straight through whole stacks of the supply crates.
    • The good news is that the meteors themselves have incredibly little health and can even be knocked off course, but there's a lot going on and the monsters tend to be causing horizontal destruction while the meteors are causing vertical destruction.

Beta 0.910 Grains Of Sand

(Released March 20th, 2012)

  • A new edge is now used in the deserts instead of the plants that didn't look very desert-like. Now it uses a sandy edge that we've been meaning to create for a while, but couldn't because photoshop didn't support directly what we wanted to do. Instead we've updated our own GDI+ graphical helper tool to help us do what we wanted, and the results are a lot more convincing.
  • MP: Fixed a bug in recent versions where the player list on the server display would be duplicated when the server was posting itself to the master server.
    • Thanks to Aklyon for the report.
  • Fixed a bug in the prior version that was causing exceptions when generating rooms in some buildings.
    • Thanks to drjones013 and cathexis for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue where eagles were never turning around once they had picked a flying direction. This was particularly problematic in fix the anachronism missions.
  • Fixed a bug from the last couple of versions that could have doors floating in the air in undergrounds.
    • Note: this won't fix existing cases of the problem, but it will prevent new cases from cropping up.
    • Thanks to Penumbra for reporting.
  • Creeping Death and Energy Pulse both now slide along walls to avoid problems with their extra-large collision boxes hitting tight areas. Large collision boxes plus long cooldowns plus dying on impact is not a recipe for fun.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for reporting.
  • Energy pulse has gotten a facelift in general: it's now 3x as fast to fire, and 3x cheaper in terms of mana, but also does 3x less damage.

Beta 0.909 A Perfectly Anachronistic Escape

(Released March 19th, 2012)

  • Fixed a bug where advertising a server would send a blank server name unless the "server name" textbox had actually been changed by the person running the server (despite said textbox being prepopulated with the world name).
    • Thanks to Toll for helping us find this.
  • In the prior version of the game, the ranged attack of the enemies was always just showing as a duplicate of the melee attack. Whoops!
    • Thanks to Terraziel for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug in the prior version where some testing code got left in and was causing seek resources issues for players on the world map.
    • Thanks to Aklyon and Nypyren for reporting.
  • In recent versions of the game, the "Elemental resistance" popups, as well as the damage popups themselves, could spawn way too frequently on enemies that were being attacked by a lot of shots at once, leading to visual clutter as well as performance drops. Fixed.
  • Completely redid the logic for how the Ilari healing works, so that hopefully that occasional bug with them not healing you in multiplayer is nixed.
    • Thanks to many players for reporting this over the months as we fixed this and then had it un-fix itself, but martyn_van_buren, Aklyon, Toll, and TyberZann most recently.
  • Added a new kind of overlord: Draconite Overlord.
    • This one has a similar difficulty to the Skelebot Overlord, but they both function in somewhat different ways.
    • They are intentionally both a similar difficulty so that either can be used from the first continent onward, giving more general variety.
  • Fixed an overlord room that was prone to flooding.
  • Fixed a variety of problems with the seeding of interior doors not always working right in some boss rooms, and of having some ladders looking odd both on interiors and exteriors.
  • The "don't fall off ledges, please" logic has been greatly upgraded for larger monsters. Now they are not afraid of holes that are too small for them to fall down anyway, etc.
    • Thanks to khadgar for reporting.
  • Large monsters and normal/smaller monsters are now able to pass one another. Visually it just makes sense, and it makes for cleaner movement of the larger monsters in particular (with them not getting trapped by the smaller monsters).
    • Overlords move past any other monster but not each other; minibosses and other large monsters collide with each other but not any other monsters; and the "minor" monsters (like dragonfire, etc) collides with other minor monsters but not with other larger enemies.
    • Thus something like dragonfire doesn't get caught behind some other enemy, as it's really more like a spell even though it moves and can be attacked like a monster. And minibosses aren't constantly getting trapped by floating smaller monsters.
    • As the player, of course, you still collide with all monsters the same way as you did before. And any monsters you summon also collide just as normal with the enemies.
  • When the player is invincible, monsters now move freely through them.
    • This is a help in solo or MP, in terms of letting monsters not get trapped against you in small areas and thus your having no choice but to take damage upon entering a room.
    • On the other hand, in MP this also prevents some cheesiness of letting one invincible player hold a melee monster at bay from attacking other players (that was already prevented for spells, but now it's prevented for monsters as well).
    • Thanks to Terraziel for suggesting.
  • When players and monsters get stuck inside each others' geometry for whatever reason, the player now never gets their position shifted as a result of this; only the monster does.
    • Valid examples of why this might happen include: when a player enters a room and a monster is standing in front of the door; when a player is invincible and comes out of invincibility while a monster is walking through them.
    • This should help to cut down on the crazy cases where players are getting shunted off into some other part of the map on entering some rooms.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for suggesting.
  • Non-characters and non-floating-objects now get shunted to the side instead of up or down whenever possible, now, so that you shouldn't see them standing on each others' heads anymore. That obviously looked pretty funny/strange, and, while rare, was definitely something that could happen.
    • Thanks to Vampyre for reporting, although we'd also seen it.
  • "Head Seeker" enchants are no longer seeded into the game. They were a pointless addition, because all of the head-slot enchants are given through stashes rather than the regular enchants, anyhow.
    • The other four kinds of "slot seeker" enchants are all really useful and make tons of sense, though, so of course those are being left alone. This one just got added along with the rest and was an oversight on our part that it wouldn't actually be useful.
    • Thanks to Nypyren and Terraziel for reporting.
  • Normally spells emit from the center of the collision box of characters and enemies, unless we specifically offset that (which we do for many enemies). But for characters, we'd always left it dead-center.
    • This caused problems for a long time when characters were miniaturized, but even more recently when we shrunk the hitbox for players to no longer include their heads and to be shorter when on stairs, this started making players unable to use spells on inclines and otherwise have some trouble at various points with spells hitting the ground prematurely.
    • Therefore, the spells now emit from a lot close to the character's head, which gives you better angles of fire in general throughout the game. The only downside is that if you are standing right under a really REALLY low overhang, you might have problems with your spells hitting that overhang. But unless you've pasted yourself to the ceiling with lightning rocket or something, that's not really even possible, so it shouldn't matter.
    • Thanks to Professor Paul1290, BobTheJanitor, and Penumbra for reporting.
  • Underwater boss rooms will now seed 1/3 as many monster nests as they previously did. Please let us know if this still doesn't seem right balance-wise in the next version.
    • Thanks to Terraziel, tbogue, khadgar, and Nypyren for reporting.
  • Put in some extra aggressive error prevention in some methods to prevent multiplayer issues reported by kianxineki.
    • Thanks to kianxineki for reporting.
  • MP (server):
    • Fixed a bug where the server would stop re-advertising if its window was minimized (possibly also if it had lost focus, hard to tell).
      • Thanks to Toll and others for info leading to this discovery.
    • Added three lines of info to the bottom of the server display so server administrators can see if their server is actually re-advertising and showing up as posted.
    • To make sure that you can still tell what's going on even if the server window is minimized or whatever, it also logs the pertinent events to a new ServerPostingLog.txt in the RuntimeData directory.
      • This log should be sufficient and the aforementioned extra three lines of info on the server display itself will probably go away after we're sure this stuff is working right, but leaving them in until then.
  • In past versions of the game it was possible for there to be vents of the side-link sort going into and out of destroyed rooms. That was always in error and should no longer be possible; it will even strip them out of prior worlds for you.
  • Previously, it was possible for vents to spawn behind crates, which could then lead to all sorts of problems. This should now be fixed, but it was rare enough that we were having trouble duplicating it. If anyone sees it in a future version, please let us know.
    • Thanks to jerith, khadgar, and MooseHowl for reporting.
  • Fixed a display bug in the last version where the health tooltip was showing incorrect values for your base max health compared to your current max health.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for reporting.
  • Put in a whole bunch of logic to make it so that when players are added to chunks, they don't get displaced by enemies that might be in their way. In other words, previously if an enemy happened to be walking by the door you were just coming in through, then the game would spawn you in some random other location in the room, sometimes in an inescapable window. Yikes!
    • This is one that is super hard to test because it was already extremely rare (and entirely impossible to reproduce from a save after it would happen, although we know it was happening). So if you see this happening again in the new version of the game, we really want to hear about it and in as much detail as you can give us. When this happens, it's because something solid was in your way and you got shunted aside. REALLY shouldn't be happening anymore, but you never know.
    • Thanks to Nypyren and freykin for reporting, among others.
  • Fixed an issue where there was a low chance that deciduous forest chunks could spawn you in such a way that you were completely trapped in a tiny cave.
    • Thanks to Penumbra for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue where some resource deposits (and similar objects) could stack up on one another in underground caverns and so forth in a way that was definitely not intended.
    • This actually retroactively fixes existing savegames when you enter the chunks in question, too.
  • Made a couple of key pathfinding improvements to the NPC pathfinding to keep them from getting stuck on terrain edges.
    • Also made it so that they now hover higher again, like they used to, rather than hovering by your feet.
    • Thanks to Taverius, tbogue, and CodexArcanum for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue with entrances into underground areas (or buildings, etc) sometimes not being enterable because of an invisible mission entrance building that would be visible if a mission was present in the region.
    • Thanks to KDR_11k for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug that was causing seeding problems with some indoor boss rooms that had large windowed areas that you could walk through.
  • Heatsuits now reduce lava damage by 90%.
  • Advanced heatsuits lava damage reduction from 50% => 95%.
  • Completely new graphics are now used for warp gates, and these look much nicer now!
  • While you are in a ship (not a canoe), the game will draw the name (right now just "Continent 1" or whatever) of each continent at the center point of that continent. If the center is off screen, it draws the name at the appropriate point along the edge of your screen.
    • In old worlds, the first continent is always "Continent 1" and it counts up from there. In new Expert-start worlds it will start at "Continent 2".
  • Greatly improved the transient heap allocations of generating certain kinds of procedural interiors, and the performance of generating each one after the first one during a session.
  • Added a second method for underground cavern generation that generates caverns with a very different feel to them. These new caverns will be used in certain specific kinds of missions.
  • Added a second method for procedural "maze-like" rooms with a very different (much more open) feel to them. These new rooms will be used in certain specific kinds of missions.
  • Revamping Master Hero and The Chosen One difficulties to be more fun for advanced players:
    • Monster Health lowered to make spells feel more effective:
      • Master Hero now has 3.2x multiplier instead of 4.5x (compared with 3x on Hero).
      • The Chosen One now has 3.5x multiplier instead of 6x (compared with 3x on Hero).
    • However, starting at tier 3, the shielding that the characters get from the continent tier increases by a lower multiplier each tier.
      • Master Hero now has 1.4x multiplier compared to the prior tier on each tier 3 or greater (compared with 1.5x on every other difficulty).
      • The Chosen One now has 1.3x multiplier compared to the prior tier on each tier 3 or greater (compared with 1.5x on every other difficulty).
    • Thanks to Terraziel for suggesting.

New And Updated Missions

Huge Upgrade To "Battlefield" Missions

  • The ally minions in the battlefield missions were never intended to be neutral skelebots; that was always placeholder. Neutral skelebots are sentient beings like humans are, and wouldn't just be tossed away in battle if it could be avoided.
    • Now new non-sentient robot minions have been introduced specifically for the battlefield missions. They have their own graphics, which makes them also a lot more distinct any player-controlled neutral skelebots that might be fighting alongside them.
    • The new robot minions come in two sizes: large and small. The small ones now have 100 base health where they previously had 82 base health. The large ones now have 500 base health where they previously had 82.
    • The large ones are also now a lot more resistant to knockback, but only now seed about 9% as often as the smaller ones.
    • The large ones are red and come with a 60% fire resistance built in (no elemental weakness like was previously there).
    • The small ones are yellow and come with a 60% air resistance built in (no elemental weakness like was previously there).
    • The large ally minions no longer collide with the smaller ally minions, and vice-versa, and the large ones thus now move slower. This keeps the whole line of them slightly more condensed (the larger guys standing above the smaller crowd), while allowing for more variance in things like move speed.
    • The shots of the large and small robots also now match their color and element. So the red ones do fire element damage, and the yellow ones do air element damage, rather than both doing light element damage.
  • Will O The Wisps can no longer be used in battlefield missions, because their presence simply makes things too difficult (not to mention making things look a bit glitchy when your guys start lifting into the air and you don't know why). These are supposed to be freaky denizens of the swamp, anyhow, so making them come out into common battlefields seems like not the best thing even thematically speaking.
  • When your character is standing in front of the ally mission base in a battlefield mission, your character now gets healed by the base at a rate of 10 health every 2 seconds.
    • Thanks to KDR_11k for suggesting this as one way to add some more strategic decision making into the battlefield missions.
  • Added a new spellgem that you can find in the staging area of battlefield missions, but nowhere else: Battlefield Command Flare
    • During battlefield missions, your allies are unable to pass command flares that you place. This lets you group them up and use them as you wish, rather than always having them running off individually. Command flares can't be removed, but expire after thirty seconds.
    • Thanks to Martyn van Buren, BobTheJanitor, and Terraziel for suggesting.
  • To add yet more tactical decisions to the battlefield missions, enemies will no longer drop health orbs while in these missions. You can of course return to your base to heal up, but your allies are at the mercy of whatever health they happen to have, and whatever damage they take.
    • This solves the problem of enemies being both obstacle and reward (in the sense of the health orbs being a reward), and lets us focus on balance in a bit of a different way.

More Palatable "Lava Escape" Missions

  • If any player stays in the lava for 5 seconds straight, the mission ends in a loss.
    • Note: once the mission is lost, the lava begins to recede.
    • Combined with the heatsuit changes (see above: now reducing damage taken by lava), failing these missions is now far less likely to be lethal. But don't let your guard down, between the lava damage and the enemies it's still quite possible to die.
    • Thanks to many players for feedback on how to make these more likely to be played.
  • Now that the lava escape is less hardcore in terms of penalties, it can become slightly more mainstream. If you win 10 lava escape missions it assumes you must like them, and will then allow them to start seeding on the world map.

More Palatable "Journey To Perfection" Missions

  • Tweaks to this mission type:
    • The player no longer takes increased damage.
    • If any player takes any damage, the mission ends in a loss.
    • Taking these together, the mission is just as hard to win, but loss is no longer necessarily lethal. The enemies and anti-air towers can still kill you normally, of course.
    • Thanks to many players for feedback on how to make these more likely to be played.
  • Greatly updated the underground variant of this mission type. It's now a lot more distinct from the interior version, and it uses the new style of underground cavern terrain generation.

New "Fix The Anachronism" Missions

  • This new mission type comes in two variants:
    • Fix Anachronisms In Building
      • A strange rift in time is influencing a building in this region, and creatures from many different time periods are flooding in.
      • Well, more than usual.
      • The interlopers are causing the rift to widen -- if you destroy them, the the rift will be sealed and you will recover the resources stashed in the building. But beware: if you destroy any monster that actually belongs in the local time period, the rift will burst wide open and the mission will be lost.
    • Fix Anachronisms In Cave
      • A strange rift in time is influencing a cave in this region, and creatures from many different time periods are flooding in.
      • Well, more than usual.
      • The interlopers are causing the rift to widen -- if you destroy them, the the rift will be sealed and you will recover the resources stashed in the cave. But beware: if you destroy any monster that actually belongs in the local time period, the rift will will burst wide open and the mission will be lost.
    • Thanks to Penumbra for suggesting (though we changed it from furniture to monsters that had to be destroyed).
  • This is a particularly interesting sort of mission, because it emphasizes observation and puzzle-solving. Some monsters seed in multiple time periods, and so that's particularly tricky to know which ones to destroy. You'll want to pay attention to how many anachronistic monsters are remaining (there's a count of this), and use wit and strategy to figure out the monsters you are less sure about.
    • For instance, if you aren't sure about espers but there are more espers remaining than there are anachronistic monsters, then you've just eliminated them as being anachronistic. This isn't just a memory game; you can use deduction to figure out quite a bit.
  • The other thing that is unusual about this mission is that there are a large number of enemies in these areas that you absolutely can not kill without losing the mission. Even in the stealth missions, you can kill the enemies that spot you; they are just more dangerous and more blind. These enemies aren't any more blind than usual, so having to figure out the monsters to target while avoiding the ones that are off-limits is challenging from a combat skill level even if you know the enemy types and where they belong by heart.
  • Both the interior and the underground variants of this mission use the new terrain/room generation logic noted above. So they tend to feel very different from anything else you've seen before in terms of their construction.

Art Updates To Characters And Monsters

  • The graphics for the following monsters have been reworked to use a more painterly and attractive style that blends better with the rest of the game's graphics:
    • Crippled Dragon
    • Utahraptor
    • Urban Crawler
    • Urban Predator
    • Summoned Tornado
    • Black Whale and Black Whale Spawn
    • Blue Whale and Blue Whale Spawn
    • Red and Red/Yellow Slimes
    • Clockwork Probes
    • All 32 vengeful ghosts.
    • Skelebot, Skelebot Centurion, Skelebot Dwarf, Skelebot Giant, Skelebot Overlord, and Skelebot Sniper.
    • Eagles
    • Carp
  • The ice pirate patrol ship has been made blurrier so that it is clearer that it is way in the background.
    • Thanks to Bluddy for suggesting.
  • A considerably cooler looking snowsuit visual is now in place for the equipable snowsuits.
  • All of the characters in the game have been updated to have a watercolor painterly look to them. This brings out a lot of color and contrast which was kind of muddy before, and it also gets rid of the former details that looked like cheap 3D when shrunk to that scale. Now the characters look a lot more animation-style, to match their surroundings.

Beta 0.908

(Released March 17th, 2012)

  • On the listing of spells that you can craft, it now shows how many ingredients you are missing for each spell, rather than just saying "missing ingredients."
  • Fixed a crash bug with the prior version when trying to upgrade certain older worlds into the new version.
    • Thanks to KDR_11k for reporting.

Beta 0.907 Defeating The Regressive Guard

(Released March 17th, 2012)

  • Fixed the error message "Could not find sound 'ServerFound'" when using the server list.
    • Thanks to Toll for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug where the shrink spell was causing exceptions when used in multiplayer.
    • Thanks to kianxineki for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug in the prior version that was not letting anyone craft tier 3 spells... unless they were IN trial mode. Sigh.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor, Nypyren, and KDR_11k for reporting.
  • Added in logic that makes it so that the "most missions that must be one" logic is now retroactive.
    • If you've won 20 missions and a new unlockable to win 16 missions is added, you now get the new unlockable unlocked immediately for free.
    • If you've won 20 mission as an unlock, and a new unlockable of "win 24 missions" is added, you get 20 towards the new unlockable.
    • Thanks to KDR_11k for suggesting, although we were thinking of it already.
  • Fixed a bug where falling damage and damage from water, ambient cold, and so forth would get wildly inaccurate in multiplayer.
    • In the prior version of the game this was manifesting as an incorrect reporting of damage even in solo play, but the bug was extremely longstanding. This is what we mean about the new code helping us find bugs, rather than obscuring them.
    • Thanks to KDR_11k for reporting the display issue.
  • In the prior version, enemies were meant to show their ranged and melee attack strengths (or a range of such strengths if they have multiple behaviors with varying attack powers), but it was not doing so. Fixed.
  • Fixed a bug that was making it so that enemies would sometimes think they could not jump up to a ledge when in reality they really could, leading to some oddities in small spaces.
    • Thanks to freykin and MaxwellDemonic for reporting.
  • Skelebot Guards no longer go invincible when there is not enough room above them for you to jump over them, or when they are in midair.
    • Thanks to MaxAstro and KDR_11k for reporting.
  • In the prior build, the health drops were too strong. They are now about 30% of the strength they were in the prior build, which should put them back closer to what they had been in former builds.
    • Thanks to KDR_11k for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug from the prior version where crippled dragons and fairies were not able to spawn their swarms.
    • Thanks to KDR_11k for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug in the prior version where the amount of damage from fire over time was massively overpowered (we missed that in the scaling conversion pass).
    • However, while we were at it, we quadrupled the damage from fire in general, since players were complaining it was so tame it was not even a factor before.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for suggesting the damage should be higher.
  • When you are damaged by acid water, it now also puts out the fire that is on you, if you are on fire.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for suggesting.

Beta 0.906 Of Terrain Upheavals And Server Browsers

(Released March 16th, 2012)

  • Put in a change to multiplayer that should fix the longstanding occasional issue with enemies being able to spawn way too many of whatever it was they were supposed to be spawning (usually it came up with dragonfire, but more recently also with tiny fairies).
    • Since we could never really duplicate this, the fix is somewhat conjectural, but we've restructured things enough that it really _should_ be impossible for this to happen now, whereas before it was more ambiguous.
    • Thanks to ColdPrototype, Toll, Underfot, Clovis, and Terraziel for reporting.
  • Removed some debug text that got left in during the prior version -- sorry about that!
    • Thanks to Nypyren and freykin for reporting.
  • Fixed several room maps so that players won't get trapped by skelebots now that they can't be walked through.
    • Thanks to terraziel for pointing this out.
  • Fixed a bug where an NPC rescued while on fire would still be on fire back at the settlement.
    • Also added another check to make sure the NPC is at full health after the rescue.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for the report.
  • Fixed a bug where it was possible to use region-targeted guardian powers while standing in a port region, and for guardian powers to spawn missions in port regions.
    • Thanks to khadgar for the report.
  • Added the ability to load saved input bindings sets from the view/edit controls window: simply select the set you want from the dropdown next to the "Load Selected Bindings" button and then click that button (there's a confirm).
    • Currently the only sets included with the game are "Default" (which is basically what the game generates normally) and "Left Handed Default" (which is very similar, but with some differences in movement, etc). More sets can be added, and the existing ones revised if it seems appropriate.
    • Thanks to Drjones013 for reminding us of the general importance of this sort of thing, and for working out the Left Handed Default set included with this.
  • Fixed a room map that had an incomplete window frame, allowing the player to jump into the window.
    • This was discovered while investigating a different issue reported by CodexArcanum.
  • MP: Put in some general compression on ability uses (which uses a tiny bit more heap RAM, but can cause large ability uses to substantially shrink in size: such as when many sub-entities are all spawned at once, this will no longer flood the network with remotely so much data.
    • Also put in a few other low-level network optimizations to make the networking model slightly more tailored to this game compared to what we were doing with AI War.
  • MP: fixed a bug causing exceptions when succeeding in a rescue-npc mission.
    • Thanks to Aklyon for the report.
  • Fixed a bug where attracting-drops (health drops, consciousness shard drops, etc) were being pulled by the will o' the wisp grav well.
    • Trivia: In AIW, we made it past version 3.0 without needing an immune-to-gravity flag; in AVWW we needed it before 1.0.
    • Thanks to tbogue for the report.
  • Fixed several issues with the parameters of a mission area changing after that mission had been won; for instance, the special rules of the mission would stop working as soon as you had won it, sometimes with disastrous consequences.
  • Rather than using switch-room-style switches for some of the missions (like the lava escape, and the new journey to perfection missions), there is now a combination "Mission Victory Exit" which looks cooler and acts as both the switch as well as the exit. This is particularly helpful because once you find the "switch," you now no longer have to then find the exit, because they are one and the same. This also helps us out with some more complicated seeding patterns, letting us not worry about the two of them potentially being annoyingly far apart from one another, etc.
  • Monsters in the prior version would sometimes miss a chance to do a melee attack against you if you were using a shield. Fixed.
  • Fixed a bug where dust storms would sometimes be invisible, especially in multiplayer.
    • Thanks to Aklyon and MaxAstro for reporting.
  • MP: fixed a bug where the client would think the local player entity was at full health but the server thought it was not, so the health drops would swirl around you but the client would never try to pick them up (until more damage happened).
    • Thanks to MaxAstro for the report.
  • Fixed a regression where healing drops would not stop targeting a player once they had targeted them, even if that player was now up to full health.
  • There are now damage popups whenever enemies are damaged; this lets you tell how much you are damaging them without having to do a bunch of math in your head.
    • The way that "extra damage" weakspots are handled is now more compact, too, and is wrapped into the main damage popup itself.
  • Cleared out a lot of old internal data about the world and NPCs that dramatically reduces the size of the regions.dat file -- by to 37% of its former size in one particularly large world we tested it with.
    • And actually, in that same case it also shrunk world.dat down to 90% of the size it had previously been. That's much less dramatic, but still a great savings.
    • These changes make it faster to transmit world data for large worlds across the network (and thus also interrupting other players who are connected less), as well as making saves of the world data a lot less disruptive in large worlds when playing solo (so you don't get periodic lag when the game is saving the region data to the disk, etc).
    • Also, every ability used in multiplayer is now about 1% smaller as well, which is really a pittance but still something.
  • When you die, the game no longer instantly pauses if you are the last character in the chunk. That tends to ruin the cool ambiance of whatever it is that kills you gloating a bit (explosions finishing, whatever).
    • Instead, the game now pauses as soon as you bring up the character select menu (which is what prevents battlefield missions and similar from getting away from you while you choose a new character).
    • And by the way, the character select menu now draws over the game scene you were last looking at, so you're no longer blind to what was going on and just seeing blank sky; but it does dim the background a lot, so that you can actually see the text clearly.
    • When you're first starting the game, this actually thus gives you your first glimpse of the world map right away, rather than waiting until after the intro mission for you to see it at all.

New Spell, New Obstacle, New Mission, New Seeker Enchants

  • New Player Spell: Fire Flare:
    • Hurls a harmless tiny fireball in the direction you indicate. When it detonates (due to expiring after time or hitting something) it illuminates the immediate area for 10 seconds.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for suggesting.
  • New Obstacle: Anti-Air Robotic Tower (Homing)
    • Indestructible missile-launching robot tower that sticks out of the ground and won't bother you at all... normally. It's utterly harmless and you can walk past it without harm... again, normally.
      • If you use any form of Ride The Lightning (that includes Lightning Rocket), or cause yourself to be able to fly via any means (becoming a bat, etc), then this thing starts spewing really fast and fairly damaging missiles that home in on you and leave massive explosions when they detonate.
      • Note that using enchant-based double or triple jumps, or just plain jumping, won't cause it to bother you. It has to sense either you as a flying enemy, or a spell-augmented jump in order to fire at you.
    • These will be used in a couple of upcoming missions, as well as potentially seeded into some of the areas at random. These are considered a trap or an obstacle rather than an enemy.
  • New Mission Type: Journey To Perfection
    • There are three variants of this which play out pretty differently: one interior, one underground, and one surface.
    • A hidden stash has been discovered in this region, but it is inaccessible due to a strange device that also vastly increases the lethality of any danger near it.
    • If you enter the area and disable the device (simply push the "off" button), the stash can be recovered. But beware: taking any damage whatsoever in the mission area will cause instant death. Thankfully, this goes for the monsters too. What? Oh yes, forgot to mention the monsters.
    • In the surface version of this mission, there are Anti-Air Robotic Towers strewn about fairly liberally.
      • This does NOT mean that playing as a bat is impossible. It just means it's almost impossible. It's actually pretty crazy as a different form of ultra-challenge to navigate the missiles as the bat through this mission.
    • This mission type is kind of the combat equivalent of the lava escape for platforming: it's the hardest-core kind of combat reflexes mission we can think of, and it's going to cater to a certain crowd. Normally this won't show up on the world map as a mission type, just as a secret mission. But if you win 5 of these kinds of missions, then the game assumes you like them and starts seeding them on the world map as well.
    • These don't show up even as secret missions until you've won 16 missions -- note that if you've already won some missions, this means 16 more missions starting from this version. It's entirely possible for you to have "unlock 20 missions" unlocked before "unlock 16 missions" since we added the second one later and they are each tracked individually.
    • Tip 1: Using the featherweight enchant is a super good idea for this type of mission. Even the slightest bit of falling damage is fatal, so if you don't want to be thinking about that, just put on featherweight.
    • Tip 2: In general, the kind of enchants that are useful for this mission are really different from other missions. Extra damage to enemies? That matters not a bit, because you already one-shot them. Extra protection from their damage? Again, irrelevant -- they one-shot you. This frees you up to think in some out-of-the-box directions with what enchants you actually use.
  • Added "seeker" head enchants for each of the 5 enchant slots, and wearing one increases the chance that enchants you get while wearing it will be for the target slot.
    • Like the element seeker enchants these are not given from enchant containers but rather from stash rooms.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for the suggestion.

Major Enhancements To Terrain Generation

  • Added a general new capability to our terrain generation logic: the ability to build up random structures of land, as opposed to just always starting with rolling hills and then chopping away from it.
    • This adds an enormous amount to our ability to do strange things to the terrain of levels and to build cool landscapes that feel exploration-worthy.
    • A number of the exterior areas have been updated to include this in various forms, such as ice age, thawing, lava flats, grasslands, etc.
  • Since the beginning of time with this game, it was possible to have the offscreen two tiles to the left and right of a chunk drop down slightly or rise up slightly compared to the actual exit. This was annoying and caused some visual goofiness at some points, and is finally fixed.
  • The exterior areas now make more sense in terms of how they put overhangs and partial caverns in places like the ice age thawing and so forth.
    • This also makes them a lot more interesting visually, and a lot more varied like the hand-crafted stuff in the intro mission is.
  • The ground seeding logic for the swamps has been completely redone to be a lot more interesting and varied, and to feel more excitingly distinct from other types of regions.
  • The ground seeding for the deciduous forests (the ones you start finding on continent 3) have also been completely redone.

Server Browser

  • Added "Find Servers On Internet" button to the Multiplayer menu.
    • Brings up a window that polls our master server and displays currently available MP servers.
    • You can connect to a listed server by clicking the connect button on its row.
  • Added to the server display:
    • "Advertise Server On Internet?" toggle; defaults to off, when on it notifies our master server that your server should be shown on the Find Servers On Internet list. Re-advertises every 5 minutes. If the master server doesn't get an update from you for 15 minutes it drops the listing.
    • "Server Name" textbox; defaults to world name, but remembers whatever you put in last. This is the name players will see on the internet-servers list.
    • "Max Connected Players" textbox, defaults to 8, but remembers whatever you put in last, and may be anything from 1 to 200. If the number of currently connected players is greater than or equal to this number then further login requests will be rejected.
    • Changing either the server name or max-connected-players settings will immediately re-advertise your server with the updated info.

First Multiplayer Administrative Tools

  • The administrative tools are all done on the client side, by players, rather than through the server console. This is to facilitate being able to have multiple administrators of a server that is not local to the administrators; as well as making the game more friendly to being run "headlessly" on a server without graphics present.
    • Please note that the below is merely a first pass, and we're going to be doing a bit more with admin controls prior to 1.0, as well as a lot more with it post-1.0.
  • To "authenticate" as a server admin, a person must:
    • connect as a client to that server
    • open the chat window
    • type "cmd:claim_admin_rights {password}"
      • the server checks the parameter against the server's Game.Instance.GameSettings.AdminPassword
        • right now this must be set by adding the line "AdminPassword:" (followed by the desired password, of course) to the settings.dat on the server. This isn't the most user-friendly, but I wanted something simple and obviously-secure: the server application literally has no mechanism to change the value of the password, only someone with filesystem access to the machine can change it. Regrettably this precludes on-disk encryption, so hmm.
        • if AdminPassword is the empty string (or not set), the authentication always fails
        • else, and if the parameter == AdminPassword, that client's PlayerAccount's HasAdminRights bool is set to true on the server until they disconnect
  • After that, there are a few commands (all of these are case-sensitive, btw) they can use:
  • cmd:release_admin_rights
    • just sets their HasAdminRights to false
  • cmd:kick_player {number}
    • kicks the player account whose PlayerPrimaryKeyID equals the parameter.
      • Note: the parameter is NOT the customer ID, but rather the "in what order was this player account created on this server?", and that primary-key-id is displayed next to the username in chat, on the server's interface, etc
  • cmd:ban_player {number}
    • adds the target player account's customer ID to the world's list of banned customer IDs; if the player account is on it is kicked from the server
      • Note: the parameter is, again, the PlayerPrimaryKeyID and not the customerID because customerID's are never shown in-game; BUT, the ban is against the customer ID to prevent circumvention by changing username
  • cmd:unban_player {number}
    • the mirror of ban_player

Huge Cleanup Of Math Internals For Health And Attack Powers

  • The entirety of the stats of the damage that enemies and characters could do, and the damage that spells could do, was built in a very patched-up fashion previously.
    • This was simply due to how the game kept evolving and changing, and so the underlying code got more and more convoluted. It was time to clean house!
    • And so we did, and this has fixed innumerable underlying issues with various things, and will make it incredibly easier for us to do further balance work in the next week... but it also leads to the possibility for some new bugs in the short term.
    • In general, except where noted below, we've tried to keep the actual balance consistent with the prior version of the game. If something seems off, then either there was an old bug that got swept away (revealing an imbalance), or there is a new bug (that we just need to know about and fix).
    • Either way, we really want to hear about balance concerns over the course of the next week in particular, to really get this nailed down tight. From testing internally so far, it's feeling pretty good, though, which is a good sign.
  • One change that will be immediately obvious is that all entities now use the same scale. Previous versions had your health at one scale (visibly), but enemies and other objects using a completely other scale. Under the hood they were all the same scale, but you had to divide by 3600 and then multiply by 100 to get the player scale compared to the rest of the scale of the game. The interface did a wonderful job of masking this, in the main, but it would lead to things like an enemy attack damaging you for 50 damage and damaging your allies base for 1800 damage. This wasn't a bug, it was the exact same number under the hood! But my god was it confusing; we mainly did this in the first place in order to test out the lower numbers, but then it just kind of stuck around for good.
    • Anyhow, so now everything uses the new, lower-number scale. Everything has been converted down consistently, but now you see ice bats with 45 health instead of 1600 health, etc. And your fireball 1 now does 16 damage instead of 580.
    • These numbers are all the same equivalents, but now it's the smaller more manageable numbers that players had requested, but without the confusion of using two numbering scales instead of one.
    • One downside is that we have had to convert health to being floating-point rather than integer-based, which is how we were visually displaying our integer-based health in the GUI anyhow. So nothing is really changing in the GUI, but under the hood this has a few minor consequences that we decided were ultimately worth it. Because of the way we do multipliers on tier, difficulty level, enchants, and other factors, nothing other than floating point or very large integers is precise enough to give us accurate numbers.
  • The number of randomized stat upgrades recieved by each boss has been halved, as the number of stats into which those upgrades could be poured have also been halved.
    • Also fixed a rather critical bug that nobody had noticed but which we found in the code, where bosses were often getting waaaay too many buffs applied to their various stats, most notably health. But only some of the time. This was really messing around with balance.
  • The carp have had their attack power tuned down very slightly.
  • Sometimes the black whales were able melee you in the previous versions, despite not supposed to ever be able to. Fixed.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for reporting.
  • The desert burrowers have had their attack power tuned down by well over half (man they were hardcore). Same with their health.
  • The strength of bear traps has tripled.
    • Thanks to FallingStar for suggesting.
  • In past versions, the strength of both urban predator missiles and land speeder robot missiles was mistakenly about 3x too low. Fixed that for you! ;)
  • The skelebot dwarf attack has had its power buffed about 1.5x, as has the skelebot giant.
  • In past versions, the icicle leapers have hardly had any attack power (it seems), due to a bug in the math for their attacks. The new math underlayer helped us immediately find and fix this.
  • Slimes no longer hurt you when you touch them, they only hurt you with the fire they spawn.
  • Damage Per Second Per Mana has been removed from the inventory screens, as it was misleading or useless, depending on who you ask.
  • Both DPS and DPM now show their upgraded amounts like the actual damage stats do when looking at learning a new tier of a spell.
  • Any damage applied to any characters from past versions of the game has been removed, setting them all to full health, because otherwise with the internal health value changes things would be dying left and right (including your characters).
  • Known issue: any summoned monsters from past versions of the game will likely have an attack strength of nothing in the new version. So if you've got summoned rhinos running around, they'll be useless in the new version. But any new rhinos spawn will work properly, and the old rhinos only last for 30 seconds, anyhow.
  • Somewhere in the prior version of the damage math calculations, the players were getting a 50% boost to their attack power compared to the actual code-set versions.
    • After our revamp of the damage math calculations this bug was fixed, but that unfortunately left the player spells then feeling extremely anemic (because, well, we'd all gotten used to the 50% higher values, and in fact we'd been balancing around that).
    • So, we've now buffed the underlying spell attack values for all the player spells by 50%, which should make things feel exactly the same as they were in the prior version (again, except where balance changes to enemy health or spell power was specifically noted in this release).
    • Thanks to Terraziel for noticing the 50% discrepancy in our DPS exports and reporting it.
  • The health of NPCs no longer gets buffed by the continent tier when they are out of the settlement. Your health doesn't get buffed in that way, so having theirs get buffed was confusing; because if you switched to them in a settlement, their health would be a lot lower, like yours.
    • On a very related note, the player character, on continent tiers higher than 1, has always been granted extra shielding from incoming damage: 33%, 55%, 70%, and then 80%. That's why the higher tiers aren't just complete slaughters.
      • Embarrassingly, we'd forgotten about this. And it also was not being applied to NPCs. Now it's being applied to NPCs, and is also being shown both in the escape menu and the paused hover-over menu.

Cooldowns Cleanup

  • The concept of entity-specific casting speeds has been removed from the game.
    • This had already been removed from the GUI for player entities, and their values just set at 5, but the internal values were still being used and causing some confusion in some cases.
    • Player are already able to adjust their casting times by wearing enchants, and that is of course remaining in effect. We've just taken out the base stat attached to the entity itself, not the concept of varying cooldowns.
  • Boss enemies were still able to have varying casting speeds, which wasn't really that interesting. Now they don't vary in that stat anymore; when we have "boss modifiers" in the future we'll be able to achieve this same thing in a more interesting and visible-to-the-player way.
  • Previously, the internal casting speed of 5 that was attached to all players was making it so that their spells were firing at about 50% faster than the internal code values would indicate. This was of course expected, and was reflected on the GUI, but now that the internal modifier has been removed we've gone back through all the actual internal definitions and converted them to 50% faster so that the speed of spell fire rates should be the same as in the prior version.
  • The cooldown of Plasma bolt's long range entry has now been lowered to match that of its white entry, making it have more DPS.
  • For display purposes, the cooldowns in the tooltips are now rounded to two decimal places regardless of if they are a little more specific than that. This keeps the list condensed and doesn't get confusing with two "0.55" entries when one is really "0.551" and the other is really " 0.553." We're talking about milliseconds here, so for practical display purposes these display differences mean nothing.
    • In the past, the interface also only showed one decimal place for these no matter what (so "0.5" and "0.55" looked the same). Now if there are two decimal points of precision it will show that.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for suggesting.

Beta 0.905 Refined Gargantua

(Released March 12th, 2012)

  • Put in more robust handling of some of the xml files, so that a missing folder doesn't cause a game crash but instead just causes a TellTheDeveloper message.
    • Thanks to freykin for reporting such a crash.
  • Fixed a typo from yesterday that was causing the game to not create hallways in desert buildings.
    • freykin's report mentioned above also spawned this fix.
  • Fixed an issue where a number of the arcane ingredient descriptions had incorrect information in them about what tiers were required in order for them to drop. Now this is automated, so no arcane ingredient should ever have wrong text of that sort again; if it's seeding when it shouldn't, in the future, then it's a seeding bug rather than a textual one. This is not true of common ingredients.
    • Thanks to Terraziel and BobTheJanitor for reporting.
  • Previously an npc wounded during a successful rescue could die upon the player entering the settlement due to the amount of lost health. The NPC is now healed to full before being moved to the settlement.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for the report.
  • All the apostrophes in the region names have been changed to the ASCII version. This should eliminate the underscores in region names of new continents/regions. Unfortunately, if your region has already been created with an underscore, it's stuck.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for bringing this to our attention.
  • In the last couple of versions, stuff that was supposed to appear on the second continent wasn't appearing until the third, and so on. Sorry about that!
  • Fixed a bug where, once again, ice pirate patrols were able to seed on ocean or port tiles. They can still seed on ocean shallows tiles, but not ocean tiles themselves.
  • Fixed an issue with Gold Boomerang not being able to hit all the enemies in its path properly.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug where gravity well effects could apply to immobile enemy actors (some buildings are actually "actors" rather than static objects to allow them to shoot at stuff, spawn things, etc). Notably, the will-o-the-wisp was exploiting this in battlefield missions to rather overtly take ownership of the player's base.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for the report.
  • MP: fixed a bug where the NPC entities sent to the client as part of a chunk transmission were not being linked back up to the NPC data.
    • Previously, the NPC data hung onto the original entity object and the entity running around in the chunk (on the client) was a separate entity object altogether, but with the same entity ID.
    • One downstream bug from this was that if you glyph-transplanted to an NPC, it would find the npc by the entity ID and switch the player's currently-controlled-entity to the original npc entity, which had never been added to the chunk and thus the game would get confused because the player was no longer in a chunk but was not on the world map either, and the player would have to disconnect and reconnect to continue playing.
      • Thanks to MaxwellDemonic for reporting this bug, leading to the overall discovery.
  • MP: fixed a bug where when an entity changed from a player entity to a non-player entity (or vice versa), the server and/or client could keep handling them with the multiplayer model that applied to the old state (preventing ability uses after a glyph transplant, for instance). Now it will recompute which model to use after such a change.
  • MP: fixed a bug where the client could get "stuck" thinking that a non-local entity had a "pending collision check" but never marked it as resolved because the client doesn't do collision of such entities.
    • This was normally harmless, but if that non-local entity became the client's player entity then it was unable to actually change the position because position changes normally aren't allowed if the entity has a pending collision check. But collision checks are normally only done during position change, hence being "stuck".
    • Fixed by making a collision-check that is aborted by the client due to being a non-local entity clear the "has pending collision check" status of the entity.
  • Fixed an enormous number of physics bugs with enemies getting stuck in each other or in other pieces of geometry, and of players no longer being able to ride crates up in water, and a lot of other related stuff there.
    • Also fixed it so that these corrections for enemies now work properly in multiplayer, which was never the case in the past.
  • Vastly improved the physics of how "getting stuck in a crate" works. This happens when you drop a crate on yourself or on an enemy, for instance, and then suddenly you (or the enemy) find yourself unable to move.
    • For players, this can be an interesting way to "hide inside a crate" by ducking, when it comes to incoming spells that aren't piercing (or spells that are melee.
    • For enemies, they now take it properly and stop struggling to escape from the stack of player crates that you may have amassed. Instead they focus on meleeing the heck out of those crates until the crates are gone (which doesn't take long, sadly), and then moving on with their day like normal. Rather than meleeing the crates while spazzing out in a really buggy looking way.
  • Fixed up the graphics for the rhino to remove their white outlines.
  • Whenever your character takes damage, this is now logged in the chat log.
    • There is a bit of a delay with this, so that it can aggregate same-source data sources and put them into one message that is easier to read rather than spamming your log with as-it-happens messages.
    • The purpose of this isn't for you to realize you're being damaged as-it-happens (there are already popups and other visual cues for that), but rather to be able to go back and look at the log of what recently damaged you right after a bit of an encounter.
    • Thanks to khadgar for suggesting.
  • Player crates now collide with top-solid platforms, making it easier to stack those up.
    • Thanks to Smiling Spectre and MaxAstro for suggesting.
  • The "Global" cooldown category has been removed from the game -- this was something that basically put a floor on the frequency at which spells could be fired (at 0.5 seconds), since there was no way to modify this one via enchants or other powers.
    • Additionally, this prevented simulcasting spells of different colors/types that basically had no cooldowns in common except for the global one.
    • Both of these things kind of constrained things in a way that stifled some advanced bits of gameplay; we once thought might be technically necessary for networking, but turned out not to be.
    • Thanks to Terraziel, KDR_11k, and BobTheJanitor for suggesting.
  • The type of fences used in the settlements no longer drop lumber, because lumber is not supposed to be available until tier 3 and that was really confusing things.
  • Fixed a bug with a core seeding component that was causing clusters of entities not to seed correctly, and which was also causing enemy towers to not seed reliably in battlefield missions.
  • Decoy fireworks can no longer fly, but rather fall to the ground instead. Otherwise it was quite too exploitative for non-ranged enemies.
    • You also can no longer use them underwater.
  • The attack strength of summoned rhinos has been quadrupled.
  • The tooltips on ability bar slots (both with and without details) now show the icon of the ability's element.
  • Now when targets resist or take extra damage from an attack due to elemental resistance/vulnerability some floating text appears saying so.
  • Fixed a bug with the gender-setting on entities always making them female. Whoops!
  • When picking a new character it now tries harder to have both male and female choices available.
  • Lieutenants now drop a "Rare Enchant Container" when they die; picking this up does not grant any enchant points but instead immediately gives you an enchant with at least 2 higher-than-average effects (even if you hadn't found enough of that enchant type to be able to get one with 2 extra effects, unless that enchant type simply doesn't support 2+ extra effects).
    • Overlords now drop 3 of these.
    • Thanks to Underfot and Terraziel for inspiring this change.
  • Fixed the telegraphic stance never having worked properly in MP before (though the monsters did pause properly).
  • Normal weakspots now only trigger if the entity (i.e. projectile) hitting them is no larger than the weakspot (in terms of rectangular area).
    • "Aggressively" collided weakspots like the Giant-green-amoeba's counter-spawn ignore this rule, since they want to get hit.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for the suggestion.
  • Fixed a bug where fire/air/earth shields were all 1/4 as strong as water shield.
    • Thanks to Minotaar for the report.
  • Fixed a bug where the Seek Resources guardian power could generate missions that gave guardian powers as rewards, instead of giving, you know, resources.
    • Thanks to KDR_11k for the report.
  • Fixed a bug where a monster spawner suppressed by Douse Monster Spawner was still counting towards the chunk's population cap. Now the cap will be properly (if temporarily) reduced due to suppressed spawners, and if all the spawners are suppressed in a chunk then new monster-spawner-caused spawns won't happen until at least one spawner is no longer suppressed.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for the report.
  • Fixed a bug where the "Power Cannot Be Used Because Settlement Lacks A Required Resource..." error message was showing the internal identifier of the material rather than the localized name.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for the report.
  • Added a new "Risktaker" enchant type:
    • Goes in Torso slot.
    • Always gives +100% Damage Taken. Ouch.
    • Always gives +20% Outgoing damage (extras can increase this).
    • Optional extras are heavily offense-focused and have higher ranges than normal, so a high-quality Risktaker is likely to be very good for dps. But very good for dps on both sides.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for inspiring this addition. We didn't quite call it "The Broom of Doom".
  • Ice Cross 1 no longer costs any cherries to unlock. Just a single blue sapphire for tier 1, which means that players can actually find and craft it during the intro mission.
    • The crafting costs for ice cross 2 and up remain unchanged.
    • Thanks to Darloth for inspiring this change.
  • Launch Rock 1 no longer costs any iron ore to unlock. Just a single green sapphire for tier 1, which again means players can actually find and craft it during the intro mission.
    • The crafting costs for launch ruck 2 and up have therefore also actually been reduced in cost by a single iron ore compared to what they were previously.
    • Thanks to Darloth for inspiring this change.
  • Fixed a bug where any world without an intro mission (so any advanced or expert starts) was generating its "region interior data" way too early, making the continent generation slow and making the game more prone to having older-style outdoor dungeon types on existing continent (fortunately that's not something we've changed lately, so it really has little effect overall).

New "Skilled" Combat Difficulty

  • Added a new "Skilled" difficulty level between the Adept (default) and Hero (recommended for experienced gamers) difficulty:
    • Monster damage percent: Adept 0.5; Skilled 0.75; Hero 1
    • Monster cooldown multiplier: Adept 1.5; Skilled 1.25; Hero 1
    • Monster telegraphing time multiplier: Adept 1.25; Skilled 1.13; Hero 1
    • Monster health multiplier: Adept 1.5; Skilled 2.25; Hero 3
    • Accuracy of monsters using things like circle of fire: Skilled takes the same as hero, which is better than adept.
    • Monster speed multiplier: Adept: 0.8; Skilled 0.9; Hero 1
    • Multiplier to healing: Adept 2; Skilled 1.5; Hero 1
    • Damage from environmental things like being set on fire: Adept: 15; Skilled 18; Hero 20
    • Note that any previously-chosen combat difficulty of Hero and up has now been bumped down by 1. If you liked Hero difficulty (or higher), you're going to want to go back and reset your difficulty to that or things will suddenly be too easy. If, on the other hand, you were playing Hero because Adept was too easy, but Hero was too frustrating even so... well, you shouldn't have to do anything, as you should now be on Skilled automatically.
    • Thanks to Hyfrydle, Darloth, TyberZann, and Toll for suggesting.

Terrain Generation Upgrades

  • The exterior grasslands terrain generation has undergone a pretty massive overhaul, so that now lakes, ponds, and dried-up canyons can seed in them in addition to the regular rolling hills that you're used to with them. We'd thought about doing this with a mix of hand-crafted and procedural techniques, but -- as with some of the other regions that we've recently upgraded -- we found that we could get a pretty awesome result with just procedural techniques and so left it at that.
  • The lava flats have now been redone to be a lot flatter and a lot more lava-filled.
    • Also, given that the utahraptors are now immune to lava and can in fact run through the lava at full speed (or even hide in it), the lava flats are a new zone of terror unlike what you've encountered before.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for bringing this misery upon us.
  • Fixed a bug in recent versions where inescapable surface tunnels could form in the junkyards.
    • Thanks to Smiling Spectre and tbogue for reporting.
  • The tiny annoying one-high humps in the ground that were making players and monsters have to jump over them pointlessly are now being stripped out of exterior locations.
  • Put in a couple of serialization changes for chunks that makes them approximately 30% smaller even in their already compressed state.
  • After much internal fiddling, the game now supports angled grounds under water. This makes those underwater areas feel a lot more natural and interesting, which is important for a lot of parts of the game now (not just the oceans and ocean shallows, but also the new ponds/lakes in the grasslands, or the lava pools in the lava flats, etc).
  • Interior staircases are now able to be seeded underwater for the first time, which is as nice and helpful there as it is for exteriors.
  • Much of the outdoor art that was seeded in the prior version was seeding FAR too often. This has been corrected.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for this report.
  • Ponds and other open-to-the-air small bodies of water (not the ocean) now draw with background plants along their edge, which looks a lot better.
  • Lava was still drawing as pretty soupy and transparent in recent versions. Fixed so that it is now almost completely opaque. When a utahraptor jumps out of a lava pool at you at breakneck speed, it's one of those heart-stopping moments. Watch carefully for movement in the lava, but at the same time that's really hard to do if you're already being chased and/or if a windstorm is blowing ash everywhere. So... yeah. Lava flats were always meant to be one of those optional and hardcore sort of areas, and now they really live up to that (finally).
  • Fixed the issue with vents and underground side passages seeding inside lava and acid water.
    • Thanks to jerith, TyberZann, and khadgar for reporting.
  • Previously, in underground caverns and surface tunnels, you could get ladders that were so dense that they would form rows of ladders two or three or even more columns across.
    • Even on the lowest platforming difficulties, this was simply too many platforms, and led to all sorts of problems such as not having room to seed underground buildings, underground holes (side links), and so on.
    • Therefore the game now prunes those back so that there won't be two columns of ladders within three columns of one another. This keeps it so that on a low platforming difficulty you can still get out of undergrounds relatively easily, but we don't run into things not having room to seed and all those other negatives.
    • As part of this, we also made it so that ladders now don't go quite as near to the ground in undergrounds and surface tunnels. This gives more room for the ground-cover-level stuff to seed, and it's still well within jumping distance, so it mostly just keeps things cleaner and seeding better.
  • Vastly improved the terrain of the battlefield missions. Now:
    • There is always a guaranteed flat ledge right at each end so that the allied and enemy bases start suitably far apart from one another.
    • The terrain itself is really hilly and varied now, making these way more interesting (and actually having some cover to them, etc, too), while still leaving lots of small plateaus where enemy towers can lurk.

Enemy Behavior Upgrades

  • After months of agonizing about the AI for this, and all the side effects and ramifications of such a change, we've finally put in cliff-avoidance for ground-based walking enemies.
    • This leads to interesting new emergent behaviors such as them standing on a cliff looking at you menacingly, guarding you from getting easily back up that cliff. We still have more to do here to make this even _more_ interesting, but this is a definite improvement.
  • Added the capability for our game engine to fully replace monster types with upgraded versions of that monster type -- as opposed to adding new monster types next to the older, weaker monster types.
    • This is useful because, for example, we currently have the Skelebot Centurion get unlocked and start appearing next to the Skelebot Snipers and regular Skelebots. But those early monsters are pitifully weak by later-game standards once you have a goodly number of enchants and unlocks, etc.
    • The thing is, we still don't want to just ditch regular skelebots and skelebot snipers. For one thing, there is a grace period where the centurions _should_ be mixed in with the regular, weaker foes. Then after those periods, the regular skelebots and skelebot snipers need to evolve their own behavior/stats/etc -- permanently -- while keeping their same art.
    • So now we suddenly can have three late-game enemies that are interesting, rather than everything narrowing down to skelebot centurions out of that particular line of three monsters, as one example. This is a lot more powerful and interesting, it allows us to reuse the art from early-game monsters even in the late game (while of course still introducing completely-new monsters at the same time), and overall it lets us maximize our assets while providing yet more sense that the world is growing and changing around you.
    • Bear in mind we have to actually implement upgraded versions for this actually to mean anything for any given monster, but now we have the capability to do so.
  • Skelebots of all types have now lost their regen ability. It just wasn't that interesting, didn't look right in a lot of cases, and caused extra graphics/network load for not much else. We have some more interesting ideas in place for these instead.
    • And given how ineffectual the previous regen ability was, you won't even notice the absence of it, from a balance standpoint.
  • Fixed up some incorrectness with how the urban crawler was avoiding holes, which was instead making it pretty much just sit still.
  • Fixed several enemy movement AI bugs in the prior version, that were leading to things like the icicle leapers occasionally crawling.
    • Thanks to Underfot for reporting.
  • Regular skelebots are now called Skelebot Guards, and they now have a new ability.
    • Whenever they have chased you to a ledge that they cannot cross, they now simply stop, cross their arms, and make themselves invincible.
      • They thus won't be able to get at you, but if you come into range of them they will melee you. So you can't just snipe them from a distance unless you are actually in range of them chasing you, or they haven't yet reached the edge of where they can chase you.
      • In _most_ cases this doesn't make the skelebot guards any harder than they ever were, but in small confined spaces where they are on some ledge that you want to get up, it can be quite problematic! And way more interesting.
    • Additionally, the skelebot guard now also has a literal guard behavior for when it has caught up to you but you are higher or lower than it -- such as if you are on a platform over its head. It then stands and waits, invincible, for you to come into range of it again.
  • Utahraptors should now respect deep holes and not fall down them... unless you are on the other side of a ravine and they want to get you. Then they should jump recklessly at you. This hasn't been tested as fully as we would normally do, because utahraptors have to migrate substantially before this even really becomes an issue, but let us know if you run into trouble with it (and please give us a world file that we can use to test, if so).
  • Skelebot Snipers and Skelebot Centurions no longer pursue you. Instead, they wander around in their designated area, and fire ranged shots at you whenever you are in range.
    • Also espers and clockwork probes now have this behavior (non-boss amoebas already did).
    • Somewhat surprisingly, this makes them vastly more dangerous than their previous kiting behavior.
  • Will O The Wisps, now path after you, rather than kiting you, which makes them a lot more deadly given their suck-you-in gravity ability.
  • The collision boxes or jump parameters of a number of enemies have been adjusted, making them behave a bit more naturally.
  • Monsters now have more of a physical presence; rather than being able to pass each other at will, and rather than being able to stack up on one another, they now all take up physical space that blocks each other AND you.
    • This means that a monster with weak melee could still be an obstacle that you have to kill in a narrow hall, for instance.
    • Character-to-character non-collisions have remained the same as what they were in prior versions. Having NPCs able to pass one another is pretty important, and you being able to pass them as well as other characters, too.
    • And also spells continue to pass through allies like they always have, as well.
    • This is going to be a source of some amusing bugs for a while, of the sort where two rhinos go head to head and leap at each other infinitely, neither wanting to let the other pass, for instance, or two tanks stacked on top of one another.
      • But these things can be sorted out, and ultimately this feels like a much more tactile sort of experience with the enemy collisions being handled this way.
  • NPCs and enemies are no longer so sluggish about jumping over small obstacles in the land, making them feel more effective and fluid.
  • Improved the collision boxes of characters and enemies walking on slopes. Previously the character would visually sink down into the slope some, but their collision box would not shrink to match. Now it does, making slopes an extra effective place to find cover for both the player and enemies.
  • The way that melee attacks are now launched by enemies is now a lot more reliable, such that there should be few-if-any cases where you touch an enemy and they don't get you.
    • This should also massively help with the gold boomerang spell missing some targets as it flies through the air and hits a line of enemies, since for various reasons it is using melee under the hood.
  • Skelebot Guards, Snipers, Centurions, Giants, and Overlords now have a new ability that allows them to use their melee attack against
    • These smaller types of enemies now also all now have knockback on their melee attacks, meaning that they can knock both you and your spells around.
  • Player summoned tornadoes can now knock back spells as well.
  • Fixed a bug with the size of the regular amoeba shots still being too large and thus them not being able to fire them quite a lot of the time when they are too near to walls, etc. Also fixes those shots not going through small spaces properly (making it now more dangerous for players), and being too hard for the player to dodge (making it now easier for players in a different way).
  • Completely redid the premise of how the ranged AI logic works. Previously, the logic about both what enemies a character would fire at had too much connection to what character they were chasing, if they were the chasing-sort of enemy.
    • This was problematic during NPC battles or during multiplayer, among other things, because it meant that sometimes enemies would miss shots of opportunity and they would tend to concentrate their fire far too much on a single player out of a group.
    • Now the ranged enemies intentionally flip through in-range targets at random, firing off shots at whoever they can as much as they can, regardless of who they are actually chasing.
    • This makes enemies a lot more dangerous and unpredictable in multiplayer in particular, but also during things like NPC rescue missions or battlefield missions.
  • Greatly simplified some of the AI internals, so that more logic is consolidated and we're at less risk for edge-case bugs in the future.
  • Improved the pursuit logic for enemies in multiplayer (or group NPC battles of various sorts in solo), so that all the enemies will no longer tend to bunch up on just a single target. This also works when you have allied NPCs who are together fighting against multiple monsters.
  • Greatly improved the wander logic for flying AI enemies, such that they now fly around at a more appropriate pace (the speed they always could move at, but which they weren't moving at recently when wandering because of bugs).
    • They also have less of a tendency to slide along walls or the ground for extended periods of time, instead tending to "lift off" of the ground when they can.
    • They also are a bit better of getting themselves out of corners when they get stuck in a corner, although it does tend to lead them to have a tendency to "guard" a section of corridor sometimes rather than patrolling the whole thing. This varies, and actually works out more interestingly, anyway.
    • In outdoor chunks, flying enemies now don't fly way off up into the sky when wandering; the only time they would now do that is when they are actively chasing you.
  • The wander logic for walking enemies has been completely redone. This was a lot less complex than the wander logic for flying enemies, but it still makes these enemies a bit less predictable and a bit more responsive to their environment. Honestly this was working quite well already, but this tweaks out a last few things.
  • The way that vengeful ghosts work -- in a physics/combat sense is now completely different.
    • It used to be that if they touched you they did major damage, and they spewed stationary miasma blobs everywhere they went, which would deal you minor damage if they touched you (but you could attack the miasma blobs to kill them).
    • Now the ghosts are completely non-corporeal and don't damage you if you touch them. They also don't spawn miasma everywhere they go, they only spawn those when you are in range. The miasma blobs also are now more spell-like, in that you can't attack them, you can only dodge them; and instead of being stationary, they move slowly. The ghosts also now glow briefly purple each time they spew a miasma blob.
    • This makes the mechanics of the fight pretty different, because the miasma blobs from the ghosts are no longer blocking your shots at the ghosts. However, it's more of a ranged battle with more-dangerous miasma shots moving around a lot more, so that makes it challenging in a different way without it being kind of a boring tedious task. Also, given the new physics model for enemies, we kind of had to do some reinvention here to make these make good sense as ghosts.
  • Several fixes to skelebot guards and so on.
  • Several improvements to the efficiency of melee and piercing attacks, causing lowered network and CPU load when there is a lot of that going on.
    • Also at least one correctness fix, that allows a piercing spell to hit a single target multiple times without stopping touching it, so long as its cooldown is short enough. Great for creeping death, in particular, but also some spells the enemy uses against you.
  • The differing movement speeds for monsters have been removed; that was something that was used to keep monsters from stacking up back when they did not collide, but now it just makes them crash into each other and try to jump on each other's backs more.
  • Added in a new ghostly attack mode where things like eagles can still actually melee attack the player (or whatever else they would normally melee attack) while still passing through them like they always have. In other words, eagles, dragon fire, and a few other things continue to work equivalent to what they did in the last major release in terms of collisions.
  • Utahraptors and Urban Crawlers now have a higher population cap cost in their seeding logic, meaning that you'll see fewer enemies when they are around (and fewer of them in particular).
    • This is good, given that they are so much stronger, and are more intimidating when they are a bit more rare.
  • Any monsters with too high of a population cap cost no longer are valid for battlefield missions. At the moment this just excludes utahraptors and urban crawlers, but we know that in the case of the latter in particular this was something people had been wanting.
  • Monster behavior-pattern-related-data is no longer shown in the pause menu.
    • So you can no longer see what their exact firepower is for a given spell they currently are using, or what spell they are currently using.
    • This was too much information, and encouraged players to repeatedly pause throughout the battle to see what the enemy was up to currently.
    • Now whenever you check the stats for an enemy, those are going to be the stats for that enemy during that battle unless the tier changes during the battle; the behavior shifts you'll have to watch the actual playfield for.
    • As an added bonus, this is now one less thing we have to transmit across the network in multiplayer, saving some more bandwidth. And it also lets monsters do behavior swaps as fast as we feel like it without there being any adverse networking effects.
  • Blue and Black Whales are no longer directly dangerous to touch, and in fact you can run along the surface of them if you need to while you are fighting them. It's their spawn that come after you that you have to worry about.
    • For the record, that was already previously the case with the Crashed Landspeeder Robot as well.
    • And now that is also true for the urban crawler, except for its back wheel (which will still damage you).
  • Fixed several rather substantial bugs that could let players and enemies get stuck inside secondary pieces of other entities (such as the back wheel of an urban crawler, as one example).
  • Made a few improvements to how both NPCs and regular flying monsters handle pathfinding around sharp-edged corners, such that they are no longer getting stuck or slowed at those points.
  • The entire "Kiting" behavior pattern has been removed.
    • Monsters now either pursue you in some direct fashion, or they fire upon you while wandering according to other rules. This fits with most other similar games in the genre, and actually makes the monsters more dangerous because they are either getting WAY too in-your-face with chasing you (versus just getting nearby with kiting), or they are wandering around unpredictably while still firing at you (versus moving in fairly predictable patterns while attempting to kite you).
  • The health of allied minions in battlefield missions has been tripled, as they were simply too fragile with the rebalanced work on battlefields.
    • Additionally, their attack strength has tripled. Man these robots were getting the raw end of the deal before.
  • The AI logic for the battlefield missions has been completely reworked in terms of its implementation -- largely both sides behave the same as they did before, but minus a number of smaller glitches.
  • Dragon fire and red slime fire now behaves much better, and clumps up vastly less. In the case of the dragon fire, it also tends to spew out of the dragon further when being emitted, so watch out for that.
  • Tiny Red Fairy Swarms are now only 2 fairies instead of 16, and the tiny green fairy swarms are no 4 instead of 8.
    • However, the health and movement speed of the tiny fairies has gone way up, along with their time to live.
    • They are a lot more interesting to flee from now, they have less of an impact on CPU usage now, and they are harder to kill as well as being more interesting to avoid.
  • There really are a variety of collision models now used. Mostly enemies are solid toward each other and toward you, but for bats the optimal strike pattern is to hit you and then keep sailing past, so that's what they still do. However, unlike in the past versions they continue to collide with one another, which feels more natural.

Water/Lava Handling

  • The progress bar that would appear on enemies that wandered into water or lava has been removed, as we're finally redoing how the water/lava handling for enemies works.
  • Previously there was an issue where underwater enemies, harvest objects, etc, would not drop items on death. This was based on some very old logic.
    • Now any non-boss object simply doesn't drop any items if it hasn't been damaged by a player. Thus enemies that fall into water, or who are killed solely by NPCs, don't grant you big piles of health or whatever else lying around, which was the point of the other logic way back when.
  • Enemies are now damaged by acid water and lava again, depending on the type of entity.
    • Additionally, those with immunity to one or both of those environmental hazards now show that immunity in their pause menu hover-over.
  • Monsters that are immune to either acid water or lava (or both) no longer have their movement slowed when moving through it.
  • When it comes to all flying enemies and acid water or lava, they are now either: immune to the liquid in question; or completely unable to enter the liquid in question.
    • This is pretty much along the lines you would expect. Red amoebas can move into and out of fire but can't even go into acid water. Blue amoebas are the opposite. Green amoebas simply can't enter either liquid.
    • With bats and similar, this is also the case. So it's interesting in that you can hide from regular bats underwater if you've got some acid gills, and you can then snipe them from there.
  • Walking enemies are now smart about water and lava and will not intentionally walk into a liquid that will harm them. Using knockback you can knock them into water, though, which is half the fun!
    • THAT said, it used to be that water would kill enemies in 5 seconds and you in 60 seconds, which was quite a disparity. Now it will just kill you both in 60 seconds, even-steven (though obviously if you have buffed your health via upgrade stones, you still get extra time).

Beta 0.904 Umbra Vortex Missions

(Released March 6th, 2012)

  • Fixed some bugs where dropdowns on the difficulty dropdowns could draw partly off the screen.
    • Thanks to Gallant Dragon for the report.
  • Fixed a bug where the while-paused tooltips on whatever objects were near the mouse cursor would show even while the mouse cursor was inside a GUI window.
    • Thanks to Toll for the report.
  • Added a "Back To Game" button to the bottom of the menu that comes up when you press ESC during the game.
    • Thanks to Smiling Spectre for pointing out that all the other menus had "Previous Menu", "Cancel", etc but this one could only be directly closed by the keyboard.
  • Changed Light Snake to use to same sound effect as Fire Shield.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for the suggestion.
  • Now when you pick up an item the game shows the total amount available to you after the pickup, in addition to showing you the amount you just picked up.
    • Note that crafting materials will generally show different totals to different players, because crafting materials are gathered by all players but spent individually once-per-player.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for the suggestion.
  • Previously you would be getting 1 spawner every 30 tiles, now you will be getting 1 spawner every 50 tiles. To compensate for this somewhat the minimum has been made 2 spawners. This makes for fewer trash mobs swarming throughout boss rooms, although they are certainly still there.
    • Thanks to Hyfrydle for suggesting.
  • The tooltip description of the platforming difficulty now includes notes about the reduction in background ladders that was introduced in the prior release.
  • Corrected the positioning of the "Windstorm!" notice that shows during windstorms; it was previously drawing on top of the health meter.
  • As a rule, warp gates are never allowed to spawn inside of missions. However, there have still been a few cases where they were erroneously marked on the dungeon map as having a warp gate in missions, leading to confusion. This has been fixed, and should retroactively affect existing worlds as well.
  • Fixed several bugs related to the background-ladder-hiding based on platforming difficulty in the prior version:
    • The hidden ladders no longer show on the minimap.
    • Fixed the hidden ladders sometimes showed up as visible but actually weren't letting you fall through them.
    • Thanks to Hunter Vega, khadgar, and Terraziel for reporting the various problems here.
  • As sort of an aside to the above fixes, also reduced the CPU load on the server for combining "Cross tile layers," and similarly reduced the needed data storage for each chunk by a moderate bit.
    • This does mean a bit more CPU processing each time a client/solo player actually loads the chunk for play, but that's actually pretty negligible and was needed to solve some of the problems above, anyway.
  • Platforms inside buildings are no longer removed based on the platforming difficulty, except in boss rooms.
    • As Terraziel put it, "it doesn't add a very much to exploring them, in a way it almost makes them feel less like buildings."
    • We'd been on the fence about this, thanks to Terraziel for helping us decide to do it.
  • Fixed a bug in the prior versions of the game where platforming difficulty wasn't actually saving, but was just reverting to the default every time you re-loaded your world.
    • Be warned that it had been inverting it with the currently invisible-and-unused strategic difficulty, so now that we've un-inverted that your platforming difficulty could be something you didn't expect. Might want to check that out!
    • Thanks to Terraziel for reporting.
  • Made it so that the only types of missions that will show up via "Scan for resources" guardian powers are those that would be showing up on the world map anyway.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for reporting that lava escape missions were still showing up through this.
  • The mission staging areas and underground/interior secret mission entrances are now somewhat larger rooms, making them less cramped and less likely for oddities to occur.
  • Fixed a bug that was causing missions that were abandoned to not count as "concluded" if they were secret missons or guardian-power-created missions.
    • This was letting players endlessly re-roll those missions, rather than simply having those missions disappear for a time.
    • For regular world map missions, the logic was already correct, since the goal there is to not let players just cycle missions which would immediately respawn anyhow with different rewards, etc.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for reporting.
  • Previously, there were only two ways to get Rescue NPC missions: through guardian powers (which require NPCs as well as guardian power scrolls), or through finding these missions as secret missions.
    • The problem was, the more types of secret missions we added, the rarer the Rescue NPC missions would become, to the point where players could be looking for hours and hours for a single NPC. Yikes! NPCs are supposed to be fairly rare, but not remotely like that.
    • Therefore, we've introduced a brand-new type of dungeon node that seeds in about 30% of underground caverns, and which has an even lower chance of being seeded in very large buildings (usually between 1-10% depending on the building).
      • This dungeon node is a "Rescue Mission" node, which works just like a "Secret Mission" node except for the following differences:
        • The mission can only be attempted once. If you succeed, fail, let the rescue mission expire after you encounter it, or simply abandon it, that mission is gone forever and that rescue mission node won't ever spawn any more rescue missions.
        • All of the missions spawned in the rescue mission nodes, naturally, involve rescuing NPCs. So no matter how many non-NPC-related secret mission types we add, this never gets diluted.
    • Just to note: You'll still see rescue missions crop up as secret missions like you always did. But as we add more secret mission types, that's going to seem like the NPCs are getting rarer and rarer that way, simply because of the dilution effect. That's what has happened so far.
    • All in all this keeps NPCs somewhat uncommon, but gives a sure-fire way for us to insure that there are always NPC rescue missions that you can find in a reasonable amount of time, no matter how many more non-NPC missions get added.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor in particular for reporting the issues here.
  • Now, once a continent is seeding 7 world map missions at once, if fewer than 3 of the available world map missions have materials (instead of powers) as a reward, the next mission is forced to seed materials instead of powers for rewards.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for reporting how material-rewarding world-map missions could become pretty scarce.
  • 19 new underground cavern backgrounds have now been put into place:
    • 2 new desert underground backgrounds are now used for all desert undergrounds, and differ substantially from the surface tunnel backgrounds.
    • 2 new crystalline lava underground backgrounds are now used for all lava undergrounds (including when you venture very far underground), and differ substantially from the surface lava flats backgrounds.
    • 2 new The Deep underground backgrounds are now used for all The Deep undergrounds, and differ substantially from the surface tunnel backgrounds.
    • 3 new ocean underground backgrounds are now used for all ocean undergrounds, and differ substantially from the surface ocean areas (so it looks like caves you are in, rather than open ocean, when you're in the caves).
    • 10 new crystalline underground backgrounds have been added into the general mix of backgrounds used for all other kinds of general undergrounds. There are still the various dirt-style undergrounds also, but these more crystalline ones make for more exciting and unusual caverns that you can come across.
    • Thanks to Bluddy and Hyfrydle for suggesting.
  • During the actual rescue phase of an NPC-rescue mission, the exit door will be blocked to you (and display a message to that effect) until the npc has actually made it through the door (or died). This will help against the confusion people were experiencing when they were leaving the chunk before the npc actually escaped, causing their position to reset.
  • Boiler Tanks will now not seed in smallish chunks, since the densities were getting a little crazy.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for the report.
  • Fixed a bug in the prior version that was causing the Seek Resources guardian power to sometimes report it could not be executed when in fact it could.
  • Changed a typo in the tooltip about elusion scrolls to make their description more clear.
    • Thanks to khadgar for pointing this out.
  • Corrected some bugs that could occur to cause holes to the sky in some underground caverns in rare cases.
  • There are 16 new "Vortex Battle Room" designs that are used specifically for the new "Destroy Umbra Vortex" missions.
    • These were all created by Chris, but like with the boss room templates (or any other kind of room template), players can create their own and submit them.
  • There had been a bunch of art that had been included into the game, but due to the rush of trying to get things ready for the Beta Series 3 push, never actually got seeded into the game. This is now done. Television anyone?
  • Hallways in desert regions should now be seeding vases that can be used for gathering clay.
  • In a move that is sure to bring fear and despair to the already beleaguered world of Environ, monsters have learned... how to double-jump. Oh, don't worry -- outside of a certain new mission type, none of them actually know how to do it. Yet.
  • The requirements for the boss gang missions to be unlocked have been raised from 3 boss tower missions to 10 boss tower missions; these are way harder than they were recently, and new players shouldn't run into them that fast.
    • For anyone who had already unlocked them, you'll have to do them again; and past boss tower mission wins don't count when a new unlockable is introduced like this; sorry!
  • Taking the place of boss gang missions in terms of being unlocked after three boss tower missions, there are now "Destroy Umbra Vortex In Cave" missions that appear as secret missions.
    • As a secondary unlock condition, they'll appear on the world map itself once you reach continent 2.
  • Oh, yeah, so by the way -- new mission type called "Destroy Umbra Vortex In Cave."
    • An Umbra Vortex has opened up in a cave in this region, with several nasty micro-bosses swirling around in it -- and making it so that gravity does strange things, such giving you infinite jumps. After you win a few of these missions, the infinite-jump ability will also take hold on the micro-bosses themselves, and as you win more and more of these missions the micro-bosses will get more and more plentiful.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for suggesting.
  • Fixed a couple of things about the unlocks menus:
    • The "Remaining To [X]" numbers were resetting to their full amount (rather than staying at 0) after the unlock was complete.
    • The sorting of many of the unlockables really wasn't the best.
    • Thanks to Smiling Spectre for reporting.

Beta 0.903 There Was A Hole Here

(Released March 5th, 2012)

  • Fixed the "seed monster nest type" messages in the prior version (they were harmless, but annoying).
    • Thanks to Terraziel for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug in the prior version that was letting any character with double or triple jump enchants jump forever, even if those enchants were removed. This was one of those "short term bugs from rejiggering the whole ongoing conditions logic."
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor, MaxAstro, and Terraziel for reporting.
  • Fixed a longterm bug where non-combat background objects were having their healths buffed by difficulty level. This was never really much of a noticeable issue until the last release, but now it was super annoying.
    • Thanks to Terraziel, zebramatt, and MaxAstro for reporting.
  • Fixed a huge bug in the prior version where players and player allies were mistakenly having their attack powers boosted by the combat difficulty in the same fashion as monsters.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for reporting.
  • Added some null-checks to prevent crashing in npc-rescue missions when exiting the chunk while escorting the npc.
    • Thanks to kof91 for the report.
  • Fixed a bug where the game would crash if the OS prevented it from writing to certain files (notably, region interior data). It will now just complain bitterly in the chat log so that the player can know something is wrong but without causing additional errors due to not handling the exception.
    • Thanks to KDR_11k for the report.
  • After cooking up a quick "how many hits does it take to kill an enemy at each difficulty, with base damage at equal tier and tier +1" calculator, the following changes have been made to enemy health balance:
    • Master Hero difficulty multiplier dropped from 5 to 4.5.
    • The Chosen One difficulty dropped from 8 to 6.
    • Lightning Esper and Water Esper base health dropped from 3000 to 2000.
    • Desert burrower base health dropped from 5000 to 1500.
    • Icicle leaper base health dropped from 2500 to 750.
    • Hanging trap base health dropped from 8000 to 3000.
    • Skelebot dwarf base health dropped from 2000 to 1000.
    • Green Fairy base health dropped from 10,000 to 3000.
    • Red Fairy base health dropped from 15,000 to 5000.
    • Red and Red/Yellow slime base healths both dropped from 2500 to 1500.
    • Skelebot overlord base health dropped from 230,000 to 160,000.
    • Will O' The Wisp base health dropped from 10,000 to 1500, but their magical and melee attacks both increased 3x in return.
    • Clockwork Probe base health dropped from 10,000 to 6000. This means they are still really tough, but each one isn't half of a miniboss in terms of health (which was a bit over the top).
    • Fire bat health reduced from 4000 to 1000, but physical attack also doubled.
    • Ice bat base health reduced from 3000 to 750, but physical attack also doubled.
    • Giant Shadow Bat base health reduced from 8000 to 6000, but physical attack also doubled (man these are dangerous in a new way, now).
    • Bat base health reduced from 1000 to 500, but physical attack also doubled.
    • Skelebot base health reduced from 6000 to 4000.
    • Skelebot sniper base health reduced from 5500 to 3500.
    • Thanks to zebramatt, Terraziel, BobTheJanitor, and Bluddy for helping to inspire a lot of these changes.
  • Summoned rhinos and summoned tornadoes now only last for 30 seconds, rather than indefinitely. This solves a number of issues with them (ability to really flood an area with them, various problems with balance, various problems with them never disappearing in settlements, etc).
    • As a general design rule, all summoned monsters will now have a time to live of some sort, rather than just lasting forever.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for inspiring this change.
  • Fixed an issue from prior versions of the game where lowering the falling rate of a character would actually let them jump higher.
    • The reason has to do with the velocity shift when the character stops moving upwards and starts moving downward. At first the game is just stopping the character moving upwards as fast, before it transitions into actively moving downwards, because otherwise it looks abrupt and odd. This is what we'll call "hang time."
    • With the falling speed reductions, this was actually affecting the length of "hang time," which is still slightly a misnomer because during hangtime you are actually moving upwards still.
    • Now, during that "hang time" period where you are still moving upwards, but the game is adjusting your acceleration to start going downwards, none of the falling modifiers have any effect. This makes it so that the length of "hang time" is always consistent (well, it still varies based on jump height modifiers, but that's actually proper), but once you start actively moving downwards you move downward more slowly with a falling enchant.
    • Thanks to Terraziel and BobTheJanitor for reportng.
  • Fixed some bugs where glyph transfer wasn't setting the right "where is this npc" flags, causing issues when moving npcs between settlements.
    • Thanks to Clovis for the report.
  • Fixed some problems where npc data would not be created for a new player entity on remote clients in multiplayer. It's not clear if these were actually causing problems.
  • The platforming difficulty now causes the background ladders (the ones that are pre-placed in levels) to get a lot less frequent on higher platforming difficulties.
    • This is something that is done when the chunk is loaded, and it simply hides the ones that aren't appropriate for your specific difficulty level, so this _will_ affect existing worlds and it also is something that you can tweak as you play and the platforms will appear or disappear as you change the difficulty (you have to leave the chunk, let it drop to disk, and then have it reload, for that to happen, though).
    • The chances of a given piece of ladder getting removed are as follows, by difficulty level:
      • 1: 5%
      • 2: 10%
      • 3: 20% (default)
      • 4: 60%
      • 5: 80%
      • 6: 95%
    • Note that this is on top of whatever the seeding already was -- so on any difficulty, of course, you're getting fewer ladders as you go down further into caverns. That doesn't get affected by this difficulty-based change either way.
    • Thanks to Penumbra, KDR_11k, and Bluddy for suggesting.
  • Extra jump enchants now are gated:
    • The "Kill 500 Espers" unlockable has been replaced by a "Kill 40 Espers" unlockable, and this is now a prerequisite to unlock before double-jump will start appearing.
    • There is a new "Kill 5 Utahraptors" unlockable that is now required in order to get any triple-jump enchants. This means that triple jump is now not accessible until continent 2... and if you've not faced any utahraptors lately, they are incredibly terrifying nowadays.
    • Thanks to Bluddy for suggesting.
  • Removed a second "or" from the description of the secret missions.
    • Thanks to hyfrydle for pointing this out to us.

Beta 0.902 The Kid Gloves Are Officially Off

(Released March 4th, 2012)

  • Fixed an exception that could occur mousing around the inventory.
    • Thanks to Minotaar and kof91 for reporting.
  • Put in some attempted preventative handling where if a music or ambient-sounds file does not exist, the game will tell you about it and not try to load it, rather than erroring out. We're not sure if this is even the problem, or if it's something internal to the unity engine itself, but at least this eliminates one possitiblity for the occasional "GameMusic+<LoadMusicAsyncInner>d__0.MoveNext ()" error.
    • And actually, now put in yet another round of preventative handling here that should be even more reliable. If anyone sees this again, please let us know.
    • Thanks to jerith providing a semi-reproducible case of this.
  • Put in several fixes to water/lava seeding in interiors, so that when automated water is seeded it will work better and not have strange gaps next to stairs, etc.
  • Fixed a bug with stairs being possible to hang in an invalid position over no solid ground, leading to wonky physics.
    • Thanks to Smiling Spectre for reporting.
  • Made it so that in the oceans and ocean shallows, interior boss rooms are now filled with water -- that way the bosses and enemies from that kind of region can actually seed!
    • Previously, these rooms were just completely devoid of bosses, making them automatically won. Whoops!
    • Thanks to jerith for reporting.
  • Fixed a number of issues with monster spawner spawning, especially in oceans, of late. This was often leading to far too few monster spawners in something like the ocean or the ocean shallows boss chambers, and no spawners at all in some boss rooms of regions of those sorts.
  • Previously, monster spawners were accidentally being removed when bosses were destroyed. Fixed.
    • Thanks to Smiling Spectre for reporting.
  • Previously, the boss chunks in the intro mission were not changing into former boss rooms when their bosses were killed, nor were they having their boss music stop once the bosses were gone. Fixed.
    • Thanks to GrimerX and others for reporting.
  • Updated our spritefont engine so that it now has some mappings of some unsupported unicode characters ("fancy" apostrophes and double quotes, for instance) and now maps those to their prosaic ASCII cousins. This keeps those sorts of characters from drawing invisibly and making it look like we can't tell I'd from Id when someone typed up some dialogue in MS Word.
    • Thanks to jerith for reminding us about this.
  • Updated our spritefont engine so that any invalid characters it finds will be rendered as underscores rather than just being rendered invisibly and causing glitchy problems. That way the offending textual definition in whatever xml file can be found and corrected, versus the game itself just appearing glitchy.
  • Completely redid the premise of how "ongoing conditions" are applied to players and enemies. This basically refers to enchants, and effects that get applied to you like being set on fire, running from storm dash, etc.
    • Previously, most stuff was being handled on addition and on removal of the effect. So if your damage was to be doubled from storm dash, it would set those flags on your character when storm dash got turned on, and would remove those flags from your character when storm dash ended.
    • That approach had the advantage of being very CPU-friendly, doing the least possible amount of calculating while a condition was applied to you or an enemy. The thing is, there really don't tend to be that many enemies or characters in a chunk in the first place to where this would become a CPU issue (it would take thousands at once to really become a problem), and it had the drawback of being rather brittle from a code standpoint: if small code errors were made, then you could wind up with ever-spiraling more damage incoming while you storm dash, or immunity to fire not going away after fire shield was taken off, or whatever else.
    • Those drawbacks weren't a big deal when we had only a handful of ongoing conditions, but now there are several hundred thanks to enchants, and this was now a major issue. And in fact, the ever-spiraling-upwards damage from storm dash was happening in recent versions, which is what prompted this change in the first place.
    • The new methodology wipes all of the from-ongoing-condition flags back to their default states every frame, and then loops over all the ongoing conditions that are currently applied to you to get the final stats, and then uses those stats for the rest of the frame. That means a bit of extra processing per frame, but any CPU from the last 10 years will laugh at the difference, and it keeps us programmers from introducing accidental bugs that are a real pain to hunt down.
    • The _downside_ of this change is that it's a fairly substantial change, and in the short term we may have just introduced a raft of new bugs of the sort that we're trying to prevent. If you find any such things, please let us know and we'll fix them. Past a few days from now, this is something that will drastically reduce bug counts from this sort of thing, though, and it's possible that even in the next few days you won't find anything amiss from this (we checked ourselves pretty carefully, but that only goes so far).
  • Fixed a bug where things that modified your incoming damage -- such as enchants reducing that damage, or miniature and storm dash increasing that damage, were actually having their modifiers added TWICE. This made a 2x boost in incoming damage actually a 3x boost in damage, and so on.
    • Thanks to GrimerX for reporting this one a month or so ago -- it's a bit of an older bug.
  • Improved the way that double-tap handling is calculated. If any other key is pressed in between a double-tap, it no longer counts as a double tap.
    • In other words, previously hitting Left Right Left would cause storm dash to the left if you hit it fast enough, same as just Left Left would. Now Left Right Left doesn't count as a double tap, and thus no storm dash gets activated.
    • Thanks to khadgar and Toll for reporting.
  • Put in a couple of sanity checks to prevent players and NPCs from ever having health or mana that are below a certain pitiful amount (previously, in super rare cases the max mana could actually be negative on a character, which was completely glitchy).
    • Thanks to Minotaar for reporting.
  • The cooldown on forest rage has been lowered from 0.75 to 0.5.
  • Spell are no longer ever slowed down by the wind, they are only sped up by it. This keeps the game feeling more interesting and fast-paced in windstorms. If you're upwind (or the enemy is), they have a definite advantage in terms of firing on you. However, you nor they are now not penalized below your regular firing rates.
    • Going along with this, the amount of extra speed granted by the wind direction is now doubled, but only when the spell is moving a certain speed already in the same direction of the wind. This means that (for instance) normally slow-moving sniper shots can be terrifyingly fast in a windstorm. And at the same time, if you are angling up at an angle to hit an enemy that is downwind of you, you've got to worry about your angle of fire being thrown off by the wind blowing it. Actually, that applies for enemies also.
    • We'll see how this feels, it's a bit of an experimental change but it seems better than the old way.
    • Thanks to Itchykobu for inspiring this change.
  • The graphic of forest rage has been improperly centered for a long time, and so never rotated properly. Fixed.
  • Fixed an issue where warp gates could spawn in the exit-from-surface-chunk side area.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for reporting.
  • Added a new, and fairly rare, Advanced Heatsuit that can only be found in the lava flats:
    • Protects from the intense conflagration of the lava flats, and against being set on fire, while worn. Additionally protects against the cold, and reduces both damage and movement penalties from lava.

Difficulty Shifts Relating To Monsters, And Character Progression

  • Previously, there was a bit of an inconsistency in how upgrade stone upgrades worked.
    • Every time you upgraded your health, it would increase by your base health -- meaning that having more base health made every upgrade more powerful. This has remained the same.
    • Every time you upgraded your attack power, it was just a flat 10% increase, so the same for every character. Now the base attack power of the character makes this anywhere from a 6% increase to a 20% increase per upgrade, based on their base magical power.
    • Every time you upgraded your mana, it just went up a flat 70 mana. Now this, too, varies by your base mana power. Those who have high mana to begin with can get ultra-high amounts of mana much more easily, whereas getting much more mana at all is pretty difficult for characters who have extremely tiny base amounts of mana. The amount of mana that it increases by is never less than 50, though, so it's never a complete waste.
    • Thanks to Armanant for pointing out the inequity here.
  • In general, monster health was not at the level it was a few weeks ago, due to unintended consequences of various rebalancing. Actually, all difficulties were erroneously having monsters at the same level of baseline health, even, which was one of the central problems. Therefore, a correction was in order:
    • Featherweight monster health is 0.3 of the "baseline" health.
    • Apprentice monster health is now 0.75 of the "baseline" health.
    • Adept monster health is now 1.5 of the "baseline" health.
    • Hero monster health is now 3 of the "baseline" health.
    • Master Hero monster health is now 5 of the "baseline" health.
    • The Chosen One monster health is now 8 of the "baseline" health.
    • One effect of this is that you'll really want to get to having at least one tier+1 spell as soon as possible for dealing with even casual enemies. Since that already happens pretty quick for most players, that just goes from them being completely cheesy to being a good challenge. Also, it makes tier 5 a lot harder in general, so you'll want to make heavy use of enchants there to deal with the threats the world is throwing at you.
  • Summoned monsters and player ally minions no longer get their helath messed about with in the manner of enemy monsters.
    • This means that they are much more powerful now on featherweight and apprentice, but they are now a little bit weaker on adept and incredibly weaker on hero and up.
      • How exactly this will change battlefields on the very highest difficulties is something we'll have to experiment with; in general we want to make more ways for you to buff your allies for these sorts of things in general, so that will just probably become required at the highest difficulties in order to carry a battlefield mission off.
      • For summoned monsters, the reasoning here is that, like any other spell you would cast, your spells should not get more powerful (or weaker) on a higher or lower difficulty level. So that's just bringing these in lines with every other spell you have.
      • For regular NPCs, it is worth noting, they are not affected by this one way or the other.

Beta 0.901 I May Or May Not Want To Be That Guy

(Released March 2nd, 2012)

  • Fixed a bug that was causing tombstones to seed in stash rooms instead of enchant containers!
    • Thanks to Moo for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug from a couple versions ago where a monster would always only drop one "item drop" entity on death, and packed everything into that one drop. So bosses dropped a single "shard" (that was actually all of them) instead of a cloud of them, etc.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for the report.
  • Battlegrounds:
    • Now work in MP. Previously ally minions would just ignore enemy minions and run right by them. Enemy minions generally did the same. Now they actually target each other and fight, etc. This should also help NPCs in MP NPC-rescue missions actually shoot and be shot at.
      • Thanks to Underfot for the report.
    • Minions now close up the range a bit tighter before standing still.
    • Along with that, they now try to spread out a bit better so that your allies aren't all standing on one spot (and generally taking aoe damage from even simple projectiles).
    • Fixed a bug that was effectively creating a 0.5 second "global" cooldown on ally shots in the sense that at most 1 ally could shoot per 0.5 seconds. This was causing a lot of strangeness, and some other bugs elsewhere in the game.
  • Since the tombstones-in-stashes was so interesting, now tombstones will tend to be seeded in stashes in general in addition to their other stuff.
  • Lava escape missions can no longer be seeded on the world map as missions. You'll now only find them as secret missions.
    • These are meant to be very punishing for players who like that sort of thing, and as such having them relegated to secret-only status makes good sense.
    • Thanks to many players for complaining about this, including rchaneberg, Terraziel, and BobTheJanitor.
  • Fixed a bug where the open-region-map and open-dungeon-map keybinds couldn't fire while a popup (tutorial message or otherwise) was showing. Particularly amusing when the tutorial popup is telling you to open the dungeon/region map.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor for the report.
  • Fixed a bug where health drops could heal again after being flagged for removal after the first heal performed by them, causing them to be much stronger in multiplayer due to latency.
    • Thanks to TyberZann for the report.
  • Fixed a bug where when a continent was generated that had no valid location for a port region it would just dump the new port region on world coordinate 0,0, complain about it in the chat log, and call it a day.
    • Now if there's no valid location, and there's already a port region it just doesn't seed any more for that continent and done. If there are literally no port regions on the continent (and no places to put one) it just ditches the newly generated continent and makes a new one.
  • Tooltip for Miniature no longer claims that double-tapping down will activate it.
    • Thanks to MaxAstro for reporting.
  • Fixed an error with a particular boss room map that could lead to that room being flooded with lava.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for reporting.
  • A sound effect now plays when "do not worry" messages appear.
  • An explosion sound effect now plays when urban predator missiles explode.
  • The urban predator plasma shot now uses a different sound effect.
  • Casting a light snake now uses a different sound effect, as do teleport, greater teleport, plasma bolt, and energy pulse.
  • New spell that can be crafted: Storm Fist:
    • Mid-power touch-range spell that knocks you and your target back when used. A little bit useful for harvesting, but actually works better as a minor way of knocking yourself up to ledges that are just out of reach, along the ground while ducking, or similar. Just don't knock yourself into any passages from which you can't escape!
    • Thanks to KDR_11k for suggesting.
  • Whenever NPCs move between chunks, their dialogue is reset. This should prevent them from complaining about wanting to be rescued after they are already at the settlement, but let us know if that doesn't work.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor and Ixiohm for reporting.
  • Mana costs should now reflect their true values on spell descriptions if those costs have been reduced by enchants.
    • Thanks to Terraziel for reporting that they previously did not.
  • The cooldown entries are now shown in a greatly condensed format in spell descriptions; rather than taking up one line per type of cooldown, they now show on a single line in a much less wordy fashion, sorted by length of cooldown time.
  • Damage Per Second, Damage Per Mana, and Damage Per Second Per Mana are now all shown in the description of offensive spells.
    • And yes, these numbers take into account your current tier, any enchants you're wearing, your own innate stats, and so on. Just like all the other spell stats.
    • Thanks to BobTheJanitor and Terraziel for suggesting.
  • Fixed a small typo in the description of wooden crates.
    • Thanks to Hyfrydle for pointing this out.
  • Fixed a typo referencing "Guaridan Ilari".
    • Thanks to terraziel for pointing it out.
  • More dialogue work has gone into a lot of the NPCs from Marisa.

Major Improvements To Enchant Acquisition And Design

  • Enchants are now given every 200 enchant-points (for reference, each container gives from 8 to 12 points), rather than a sliding scale based on how many enchant points you've "spent" in the past.
    • In fact, there is no longer really a concept of "spending" the points on item effects, etc. The only purpose of the points now is to space enchants out temporally.
    • Incidentally this means that the progress indicators are now always right, because the question "how many points will the next enchant cost?" is now answerable instead of merely guessable.
  • Each enchant type (that can be given from containers, not the stash-room-ones) now internally has 5 "quality tiers".
    • The first quality tier is what the first enchant of that type generated for you in that world will always be; just the base effect which is always the same.
    • The second quality tier is what the second enchant of that type generated for you in that would will be; the same base effect, but with one optional effect.
      • Additionally, there is a low chance that a second-tier enchant will be an "Uncommon", and the optional effect will be chosen from a more powerful set.
    • The third quality tier is what is generated after the game has already generated a certain number of enchants of that type for you (i.e. after you've had a few second-tier ones). Enchants of this tier will have the base effect and two optional effects.
      • There's still the chance of an "Uncommon" with one extra-powerful effect, but also a lower chance to be a "Rare" with both effects being pulled from the more powerful set.
    • And so on. Right now there are only two more tiers (3 and 4 extra effects, respectively), but it is likely that more will be added later if this system works well.
    • These quality tiers, it is important to note, are not shown but can kind of be inferred. Since multiple bonuses to the same stack condense into one single stat (three damage boosts of varying numbers just combine into a single damage boost showing their total, but this is still quality tier 3 rather than quality tier 1).
      • So in some senses, we really shouldn't even be telling you about quality tiers, because they are not visibly manifest in the game. But since there's been a lot of discussion about the enchants progression of late, we felt we'd share at least a few of the details here.
      • The net effect to players is that the first time they get a kind of enchant (say, acid gills) it just does the base effect. Then for a while after that, it has the base effect plus a little better, unless they find an uncommon version of it (yay that player, in that case!). Then after a while, they're getting even better versions, and so on. From our testing the progression feels really natural and should be pretty familiar if you've played other games with procedural loot.
    • One other key thing to note is that, internally, these quality tiers are tracked per base enchant. This is important for several reasons.
      • First of all, if you use something like the fire seeking enchant in order to better your chances of getting fire-related enchants, that means you'll actually get to the higher quality tiers of fire-related stuff somewhat faster. But a lot of your other colors will lag behind.
      • Secondly, whenever we add a new enchant base type, you start at the bottom. Right now we have double and triple jump enchants. If we later add a quadruple jump enchant, for instance, and you are on continent 15 and have put in 500 hours into the game, you're still going to start with quad jump quality tier 1 and have to work your way up from there. It will be significantly underpowered compared to the other enchants you're getting for a while.
        • This is actually good in a lot of senses, because it doesn't mean you need to restart your whole world every time we add a new base enchant type, just so that you can go through the progression in a satisfying way. Our goal with all added content for the game (now that the base mechanics of the game itself have settled down) is that no matter how far along you are in the game, you'll get a fun and interesting progression with that new content. That's really the only way to keep long-term interest in a given world, rather than having players periodically starting over new worlds every time a bunch of new content gets added.
  • The number of optional effects available to each base enchant type has been _dramatically_ increased, and that's without the other whole new kinds of enchant effects (mana-regen-buff, etc) planned for 1.0.
    • Accordingly, the game no longer tries for any kind of brute force duplicate-prevention. You only get one of the first tier for each type, so no duplicates there. It's possible at the second tier but not terribly likely since you only get a few of those before moving on to tier 3 (it will happen, make no mistake, but we're talking a very occasional pair of duplicate enchants, not a string of 17 identical things).
      • At tier 3 the game would have to roll the same for both optional effects from a fairly large set, given not-very-many chances before progressing to tier 4, and so on. So the chances of getting fully duplicate enchants goes down almost geometrically as the quality tiers rise. For that matter, so does the variety (though sometimes the variety is just a percentage point or two of some stat, it's still variety even in those cases -- we're not sure how many unique enchant combinations there are now in the game, but tens of thousands would probably not be a bad guess).
      • If you're playing a world started before this version you'll likely get some duplicates of the first-tier stuff since you already have them, but it should be a pretty shortlived time that's happening to you. And now that you're getting new enchants on a more predictable basis, rather than on ever-increasing intervals, that won't be as annoying in the first place.

Difficulty Split: Combat And Platforming

  • The game has had its "action difficulty" split into two separate difficulties due to a growing divide in players over the platforming aspects of the game. Instead of one "action difficulty" that covers everything, there is now a "combat difficulty" which covers everything combat-related, and a "platforming difficulty" which covers everything platforming-related.
    • Thus players who are not as good at combat, but love hardcore platforming, can get the experience they want.
    • And likewise, those players who hate platforming but want as stiff a fight as the game can give them, can also get the experience they want.
    • And of course everything in between.
    • Thanks to a number of players, but BobTheJanitor and zebramatt most of all, for making it clear to us that this change was needed.
  • The new platforming difficulty levels are:
    • 1 I Have No Desire To Be The Guy
    • 2 I Am Afraid Of Heights
    • 3 I Can Jump, Thank You (Default)
    • 4 I Get Mistaken For A Certain Plumber
    • 5 I Am Not The Guy, But I Am Close (This is what Chris likes)
    • 6 I Am Already The Guy
  • The general rate of lava rise in the lava escape missions has been toned down some. What was difficulty 4 on the older "action difficulty" scale is now difficulty 5 on the new platforming scale. And consequently, difficulty 6 has been toned down a bit because it was probably impossible for anyone. Difficulty 4 has thus also become much tamer, and difficulty 3 slightly tamer. Difficulties 1 and 2 are unchanged, as they were already incredibly tame.
  • Tooltips in the game wherever you can change the combat difficulty now make it clear what the combat difficulty actually affects:
    • Monster health, speed, telegraphing time, cooldown time.
    • Monster spell speed and damage dealt.
    • Accuracy of certain monster spells like circle of fire.
    • Damage to players from combat effects such as being set on fire.
  • Tooltips in the game wherever you can change the platforming difficulty now make it clear what the platforming difficulty actually affects (so far just this):
    • Amount Of Damage Taken From Falling
    • Rate of lava rise
  • The method for calculating falling damage has been completely changed.
    • Old Method (based on number of pixels fallen):
      • >= 4000: 100% base health
      • >= 3400: 80% base health
      • >= 2800: 60% base health
      • >= 2200: 40% base health
      • >= 1600: 20% base health
      • > 1000: 10% base health
    • New method:
      • Must be >= 1000 damage
      • Base multiplier calculated as: distance / 10000.
        • Note: this part of the calculation in particular could stand to be more interesting; we welcome feedback on it, but decided to start simple.
      • Base multiplier further multiplied by difficulty:
        • I Have No Desire To Be The Guy: 10%
        • I Am Afraid Of Heights: 50%
        • I Can Jump, Thank You: No Change
        • I Get Mistaken For A Certain Plumber: 150%
        • I Am Not The Guy, But I Am Close: 200%
        • I Am Already The Guy: 300%
      • The fully adjusted multiplier is then multiplied against the base health of the character, and that is the final damage dealt.
    • Thanks to zebramatt for getting us looking at this in general.

Major Improvements To NPC Rescue Missions

  • Completely did the pathing work for the NPCs being rescued:
    • They can navigate themselves around whatever obstacles, like the shadow bats do. They don't have to have line of sight to you in order to work their way around complex geometry, and you can leave them behind with confidence that they will catch up (presuming that monsters don't kill them while you ditch them).
    • They are now perfectly capable of following you through any terrain that is at least one tile high or wide. Their hitbox in general is now less than one tile tall, which is needed in order for the pathing noted above to work. It's also needed in order
    • They are now able to fire while moving, so they will continue to help you but you won't be forced to wait for them to fire at something they have no hope of hitting.
    • They no longer try to keep a "safe distance" away from you, although since they move a bit slower they will tend to lag a slight bit behind which serves the same purpose. Thus there are no longer cases where you can stand on the door to the exit of the area and they can't escape with you (talk about frustrating to get to the end and then have them not go through!).
  • Fixed an issue in prior versions where if you left a room with an NPC being rescued, the NPC would revert back to their original position in that room (While still being vulnerable).
    • Though this is difficult to test with the above fixes, so if you see this recur please let us know.
  • Previously, NPC stats were not being increased with the continent tier. Meaning that rescue missions on tiers greater than one had vastly higher difficulty thanks to their too-low health.
    • Now any NPCs who are not in a settlement get the same tier buff from the continent that ally minions get.
  • Fixed a bug where sometimes NPCs who were rescued wouldn't actually make it to the settlement alive, but rather would die when you left the mission.

Previous Release Notes

AVWW - Beta Series 2 Release Notes

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