The biggest takeaway from this one: we’re not going to be intentionally breaking savegames anymore after this version. As has been the case for most of the last 5 years, there’s occasionally a version that corrupts itself or something, but aside from those rare incidents the savegames from now on should remain backward-compatible.
I had been planning on finishing up the last of my main stuff for the Necromancer Empire in DLC3 this week, but instead I wound up touring around a lot of random things to make sure that we achieved savegame stability first, instead. Necro Empire is still on my very short list.
So what’s new in this version?
Well, a lot of the meat of Expert Mode is finally in place, with three fuels for three categories of ship. Argon for the normal smaller and midsize ships, Xenon for officers and elites, and Radon for turrets and forcefields. It’s incredibly unbalanced and a bit janky right now, because this is just the very first prototype version hot off the presses. Please do note that this only applies if you play in Expert mode, but the idea is to give you more reasons to hold different territory, and more to lose permanently when you are attacked various places. It’s going to need a number of iterations before it’s ready for prime time, but I’m excited to hear what the early testers among you think. This is an addition to the base game, so anyone can test it without needing any DLC.
The Ark Empire player type for DLC1 is also better-balanced now, so that should be more fun to play. More changes are still planned for this, as noted last release.
The game now supports “total conversion” mod support, where basically a mod replaces all of the game data with something of its own. There is at least one such mod in the works (cough Puffin cough), that one being focused on a fusion of concepts between AI War 1 and 2. The game now officially supports that sort of thing, making it easier to toggle into those without having to manually replace files or something.
There’s also a LOT of DLC3 work in general, and Showdown Devices continue to evolve. The necromancer and templar factions now have the first pass of their final icons (aka, they’re final pending testing feedback). These factions are freaking huge — this was 82 icons just between the two of them!
There’s also some bugfixes and other goodies from the usual suspects. As always lately, thanks to tom.prince and NR SirLimbo for substantial additions to what Badger and I are working on. This one also needs a large shoutout to Strategic Sage for a lot of the expert mode design, which I’m very excited about even though we haven’t gotten into the balance stages of that yet.
More to come soon.