Release notes here.
This is a hefty release, with a lot of welcome gameplay, performance, and technical improvements.
- There is now an “autobuild factories” option, which is helpful.
- Magnifiers and Alarm Posts are back.
- Advanced Research Stations (ARSes) are back, although they work differently from the first game or from earlier in this game; they augment the fleets system. Each of these gets a Frigate or Strikecraft type; hacking the ARS grants that ship line to the hacking flagship.
- A bunch of new icons are available, and are used by some of the new capturables.
- Hacking a specific target (like an ARS) is now done by the flagship closest to the target, and also decloaks that flagship.
- When the AI reconquers a planet, its Guard Posts will ‘Warp In’ over the next 10 minutes, each bringing with it a small company of guardians. It was frustrating (particularly on high-mark planets) for the AI to instantly get hundreds of strength of defenses on a planet after reconquering. This now gives you a window to counterattack and destroy the helpless Warping In guard posts.
- A big laundry list of bugfixes.
- Another big laundry list of performance improvements.
- Stacking for player ships, for the first time, so that you can have crazy ship caps in the late game without tanking your performance.
- Updated the Steamworks integration, so hopefully that works properly now on OSX and Linux (please let us know!).
The Performance Snipe Hunt
I spent a LOT more time than expected chasing down late-game performance issues in this build, mainly because I was concerned that those could bleed over into more games than realistically they were at the time of the last release. It was time well spent, because we fixed a number of bugs we would not have found any other way, and a number of savegames will perform better than ever.
However, there’s still some elusive timing issue in certain savegames, and I can’t find what it is despite basically building a custom performance profiler into the game over the last eight days. Eyeroll. But it’s funny, because one game with 200k ships might perform better than another with only 60k ships. And it’s not the AI logic, and it’s no longer decollisions or something like that.
In all those cases, you can crank up the game speed and still get a realtime game speed, although now it’s much more kind to the networking interface (for the future) than it would have been. So fast-forward to the rescue, I guess. It’s just choppy in those circumstances.
The few remaining problem cases tend to be with a lot of factions on, and a lot of battles at once, and late into the game, and usually more than 100k ships out there; most of those run at least 2x as fast now as they did for me previously, which is a good thing. Unless we really hit some trouble spots, I think I may set aside performance stuff until post-1.0 (only a month or so left!) and focus on tutorials and other things that affect a much wider group of players.
Most late-game campaigns actually perform just peachy, having CPU time to spare despite the insane simulation size. So this thing is optimized as heck, really. But it’s a personal irritation for sure when there are some semi-rare cases where I’m not sure why things aren’t as smooth as I’d like. Frankly in those same circumstances, in the original game you’d be running at something like a quarter of wall clock time with far less going on, whereas here you can at least keep things realtime even if the ships jump around a bit in a way that irritates me. So I’ll set that aside and just work on the bigger fish at this point.
More to come soon. Enjoy!
Problem With The Latest Build?
If you right-click the game in Steam and choose properties, then go to the Betas tab of the window that pops up, you’ll see a variety of options. You can always choose most_recent_stable from that build to get what is essentially one-build-back. Or two builds back if the last build had a known problem, etc. Essentially it’s a way to keep yourself off the very bleeding edge of updates, if you so desire.
The Usual Reminders
Quick reminder of our new Steam Developer Page. If you follow us there, you’ll be notified about any game releases we do.
Also: Would you mind leaving a Steam review for some/any of our games? It doesn’t have to be much more detailed than a thumbs up, but if you like a game we made and want more people to find it, that’s how you make it happen. Reviews make a material difference, and like most indies, we could really use the support.