Day: August 10, 2010

AI War Prerelease 3.177 (Knowledge Changes, Civilians, 3 Home Planet Outposts)

The full release notes are on the Arcen forums.  This is another impactful release, mainly for the base game (a lot of CoN work is in progress but not yet ready for even beta release quite yet).

With this release, the knowledge-per-plant jumps from 2500 to 3000.  It wasn’t all that long ago that the knowledge increased from 2000 to 2500, but a lot of new knowledge-costly items have been added (like the various new command stations), and the intent is to encourage a balanced and experimentation-friendly play style.  In light of that, the mark II technology unlocks for fleet ships are now only 2500 to unlock instead of 3000, while the mark III/IV technology unlocks are now 5000 instead of 4000.  This makes it 500 knowledge more costly to go all the way to the end of a fleet line, while making it easier to get partially along multiple fleet lines.  This also makes the command stations, turrets, starships, etc, a bit more attractive.  But not all of them — the dreadnoughts, flagships, zenith, and spire starships have each had their knowledge costs increased by 1000.  The dreadnought changes were supposed to be paired with some increases to their health and the speed of their bullets, but those are not in place quite yet (next prerelease).

As if that wasn’t a huge enough change above, the starting situation for human home planets is now a vastly different picture than ever before.  There are now three outposts instead of one, and you start with a lot more on your home planet.  One of the outposts is a completely civilian outpost with a bunch of the new cryogenic pods and home human settlements; both provide you some added resources, but will cost you AI Progress if they are destroyed.  This accomplishes two things: it makes the start a bit faster for you if you’re in a good defensive position, and it makes the start a lot riskier for you if you’re in a poor defensive position.  Playing with multiple starting home planets just got a lot harder, as did starting in the center of a spokes hub or similar.  Those sorts of starts are still quite possible, but the risk/reward balance is now a lot more appropriate in those scenarios. This multiple-starting-outposts change is also indicative of some future additions we’ll likely make over time, to develop out the civilian presence more and in more interesting ways.  That may even be the focal point of a future expansion down the line, we’ll see.

For now, there’s a lot of pretty significant changes already.  And more additions are coming soon.  Enjoy!

More Great Tidalis Reviews!

“Tidalis is a dream of a game, and more than worth the money paid for purchase. If you like Bejewelled, Tetris or
any title that tests your brain, Tidalis is a must-buy.”

Harry Balls (5/5 Stars)

“Overall it’s a cracking puzzle game title – it looks great, is easy to pick up the basics but very difficult to
master completely, has a nice story mode for people like me who often get bored with puzzle games normally, and as
you’d expect from Arcen Games has some great multi player options.”

CaptainD, CaptainD’s PC Gaming Blog (8/10 Solo, 9/10 Multiplayer)

“Tidalis’s ease of use really lends itself well to the casual market it is trying to hit, but there is also
enough substance in the game to make it appealing for more hardcore puzzle gamers as well. This is definitely a
game to check out if you are looking for a new type of tile-game.”

Chris Meyer, GameVortex (80% Score)

AI War Prerelease 3.176 (Hybrid Hives+, 6 new Cmd Stations, new warheads and mercs)

Perhaps the title of this release should be “too much stuff to list.”  The full release notes are on the Arcen forums.

One of the big groups of changes here are the Hybrid Hives.  Their functionality has been tuned and extended quite a lot in general, and some new interface elements have been added to the galaxy map for working with detected hives, etc.  They have also been nerfed rather heavily, as they were brutally destroying most experienced players within the first two hours of the game.  These are meant to be an exceptional challenge, but not quite to that degree.  There is a new “Advanced Hybrids” AI Plot option available for CoN owners that adds on the nastiest parts of the hybrid logic, and keeps the challenge at a very high level.  This lets players adjust just how steep a challenge they would like.

Also in this release are a wide range of bugfixes, and one rather notable performance improvement.  Of course, all bugfixes and core improvements of this sort are free for all players — they are never tied to any expansion or anything like that (we think charging people for bugfixes would be pretty unethical to say the least).

There’s also six new command stations for players to choose from in two new command station lines.  Previously there were only four command stations total, split across two lines total.  This more than doubles the number of strategic options that players have for colonizing planets.  Best of all, these six new command stations are for all players of the game, not just CoN owners.  Though there will be some new CoN-specific command stations coming soon…

There are also four new warheads available for all players: the old Lightning Warhead is now Lightning Warhead Mark II, and new Mark I and III variants have been added.  This adds a bit more flexibility into lightning-warhead-related strategies, which should be quite welcome with many of our expert players (who use them extensively).  Similarly, there are now Mark II and III variants of the EMP warhead.  Often players were having to “stack” the effects of the EMP warheads to really make use of them, and these higher-level EMPs provide an alternative to that.  Though clever players can cause the lowest overall AI Progress increase simply by sticking with the lowest-tier EMP and combining that with transports and/or starships.

The last major addition is to the mercenary space dock.  First of all, it’s been visually revamped and now costs 0 energy to run.  But players also now get a starship constructor, warhead silo, and mercenary space dock right at the start of each game; this makes for faster starts for expert players, and helps newer players realize what is available.  In the past, there were only fighter, bomber, and frigate mercenary variants, but that was somewhat limiting and basically only something people used in order to enlarge their fleets after they had already hit ship cap.  Now, there are also Parasite and EtherJet Tractor mercenaries for everyone, Beam Frigate mercenaries for Zenith Remnant owners, and Neinzul Enclave Starship Mark I mercenaries for CoN owners.  All four of these new mercenaries come with the usual 10x-cost-but-no-ship-cap-and-no-unlocks-required common to the existing mercenaries, which makes them much more interesting for during general  gameplay.  Players are much more likely to go for some of these specialized mercenaries, despite their exorbitant metal/crystal cost, to gain access to functionality they might not otherwise have in a given game, not just to pad out their fleets.

All in all?  This is one huge prerelease, and it substantially alters the number of strategic options available to players.  We expect there will be some rebalancing needed for a lot of the new stuff, but these initial versions look quite promising already.  Enjoy!