Recent News

AI War 2 – Beta 3.769 Neinzul Custodians And Total Conversions

New build!

Let’s start with a question: aside from multiplayer, if you’re in the beta branch, are you seeing anything that would prevent us from merging back with the main branch? Because I’ve finished all the todo items off my list for single-player. I have another day or day and a half of multiplayer work and fixes to do, plus whatever bug reports people make in that timeframe, but other than that we’re head back for the stable branch for the first time since mid-July, good grief!

But seriously, if I’m missing something please let me know!

This version has a lot of bugfixes, and yet more total conversion support. The first total conversion mod for AI War 2, called “Classic Fusion,” seems to be nearing a releasable state. It’s essentially recreating most of the original AI War (AI War Classic) in the AI War 2 engine, with the AI War 2 factions, and with other specific tweaks to kind of merge the two games and meet in the middle. I got my first taste of booting it up today, and just going into the build menu — which looks like AI War 2, of course — made me immediately have this intense wave of nostalgia as I saw all the AIWC ships and structures, reborn in a new fashion. This is something Puffin has been working on for years now, and it’s quite a feat.

Tom has also added more refinements for fuel in expert mode, which seems quite welcome! That mechanic has seen a lot of discussion on discord, and I’m glad that it’s getting balance and attention. In the short run I’ve been focusing my efforts on getting us out of beta, but even after that there’s a long list of other items I plan to work on for expert mode, DLC3, DLC1 late additions, and some other general base game additions.

Speaking of DLC3, StarKelp has been working hard on the Neinzul Custodians, which is basically the Roaming Enclaves. The Neinzul Wild Hives, another DLC3 faction, also got some updates and some new planet-wide ship mechanics to go with them. This game went from being “oh, poor Neinzul, they get no representation and it’s all spire and zenith” to “wow, we have five substantial Neinzul factions in the third DLC.” I am pleased with this development, and the further expansion of the lore and civilization of this race. Out of the three main alien species in the AI War universe, they’ve always been the least-explored. Nice to be reversing that!

More to come soon.

AI War 2 – Beta 3.768 Ironman And Doomsday

New build!

This one has a lot in it! First of all, lots of bugfixes and performance improvements, getting us closer to being out of the beta branch. Hopefully next week, knock on wood!

Perhaps even more exciting, this one adds some new features to the base game and to DLC1:

The “ironman mode” (where you can’t savescum) was previously part of DLC3 for testing, but is now part of the main game and ready for use by anyone.

In DLC1, there is now an optional “Doomsday Mode” you can turn on, which causes the galaxy to progressively collapse around you as you play. You can make it more or less intense. Thanks to Puffin for coming up with the cool idea, and to Badger for implementing it!

Expert mode has also seen a lot of balance updates, thanks to vigorous discussion on discord, advice from Strategic Sage in particular, and thanks to Tom for implementing the changes. Fuel should be more interesting and challenging now, is the short of it, and there’s also some options for trying out a few different balance variants of it.

Tadrinth has added yet another cool AI type for DLC3, which is the “Speedster” this time. This one uses fast ships in waves, has speed magnifiers on all planets, and has special speed booster guardians in the warden fleet.

Also in DLC3, the necromancer, templars, and elderlings have gotten a whole heap of updates to make them more balanced and fun. Lots of cool additions from Zeus in particular, and also a lot of balance adjustments from Badger based on discord feedback.

More to come soon.

AI War 2 – Beta 3.767 Elderling Sanity

New build!

We’re suddenly VERY close to being able to come back out of the beta branch! Our remaining todo items for that milestone are here: If you know of any bugs that are important to have fixed before we get off the beta branch, then please do let us know! Comment on the bugtracker issue of note to bump it to the top, for instance (you can use your steam login if you want).

When it comes to coming out of the beta branch, that’s a major milestone because we’ve been on the beta branch since July, good grief. Literally six months as of… today, actually. I’m hoping to be out of beta mid next week, but it depends on what people mention in the meantime. Out of beta won’t mean that Expert mode or the new DLC1 and DLC3 items are all done, but it will mean that folks can play the most-stable version of multiplayer yet, as well as just generally having all the awesome improvements from the last six months.

Speaking of awesome improvements, there’s a lot going on with DLC3 features and factions still, too.

Tadrinth has added a super intense new Panopticon AI type, which comes complete with a bunch of new unique AI Eyes just for it.

Badger has been rebalancing and expanding the Neinzul Elderlings, which now have a sanity meter and can basically go insane in certain circumstances (overcrowding). Elderlings are a really terrifying enemy in general, but they’re also a really dynamic and interesting ally when you choose to set them up that way. The maddening of Elderlings works a little bit differently when they are neutral or antagonistic to you compared to when they are your allies, but both are very exciting and help give even more of a lovecraftian feel to this DLC.

StarKelp has been working on the Neinzul Wild Hives, making them drastically more fast-acting and violent, like an infection.

I’ve been focused on bugfixes, and other blockers for coming out of beta. Hovering over icons in the planet view now works properly again (was a recent regression), the intel sidebar no longer jumps all around like an insane elderling, and tutorials are now fully functional again. Plus other smaller items!

More to come soon.

AI War 2 – Beta 3.766 The Red Harvest

New build!

This one has a bunch of necromancer and templar and sapper improvements for those testing DLC3, plus many other balance items.

For those on the beta branch for pre-DLC3 stuff, this has a number of significant bugfixes, most notably around reloading the xml for switching what your enabled mods and/or expansions are. This is the first time that has worked since the start of the Great Refactor, and it’s a relief to have that done because it was the single most complicated thing on my todo list prior to us being able to get back off the beta branch.

This build also improves raiders and raid starships a bit, and adds some exciting new foes when you’re playing a fallen spire game in DLC1.

Yesterday I spent most of the day organizing items on our bugtracker so that everything is in one place and I can see what is needed to finish out the beta period, the DLC3 test period, expert mdoe, and the complete edition in general. That helps a lot!

More to come soon.

AI War 2 – Beta 3.765 Easier Upgrades And Necromancer Surge

New build!

This one feels fairly game-changing just because of one QOL feature in it, which is that you can upgrade your fleets (and see more details about them) right from the techs tab. Various folks had requested that over the years, and having that in now is really awesome. You can still use the upgrade on the fleet details popout as well, but now you can basically do it whichever way is more convenient.

DLC3 is getting a ton of refinement in this build for our testers to enjoy, and the necromancer is really coming together. Metal and energy (and thus also fuel) are no longer things that necromancer needs to worry about; it’s all hacking, science, essence, and hexes. The necromancer is definitely feeling increasingly great to play, and it’s definitely a simpler (but potentially brutal) mode, which was the idea.

There are a fair number of bugfixes in this build as well, including some of the more prominent ones that were annoying people in the prior build. Mainly thanks to Badger and Tom for those fixes.

There’s lots going on, and a lot of the new and revised factions and features are really hitting a point where they are being close to being feature complete. Quite exciting!

More to come soon.

AI War 2 – Beta 3.763 Necromancer Reanimation And Refinement

New build!

This one has a number of bugfixes, and a number of extensions for player types and map generation. It also has some improvements for total conversion mods, which is letting Puffin get a lot further along with his Classic Fusion mod.

The necromancer is now nearing completion, pending testing at least. They are better balanced in a variety of ways, and they are now able to reanimate AI guard posts to use for their own defenses (instead of the usual turrets), which is a really cool idea that Puffin had.

Tom has been killing it with lots of bugfixes and refactors and modding-framework extensions and so on.

I also started the behind-the-scenes data additions that are required for the upcoming ship encyclopedia, and got the first bits of data in for that. These are also useful for the search on the galaxy map for units, as we can search by thematic tag, now.

More to come soon.

AI War 2 – Beta 3.762 Expert Necromancers

New build!

This one mostly has a lot of work from Badger and Tom from over the weekend, and a lot of it is centered around making the necromancer more balanced and functional.

One notable improvement from Tom is that a lot of the build menu is now more moddable, which makes it easier for modders to customize things that they want to have happen in the future. That’s a welcome addition for sure!

I also put in some improvements to Expert mode, most notably the fuel bits that are new as of last release. Strategic Sage pointed out that we needed about 5x as much Argon and Radon to start out for the game to really be feasible. There were also a number of questions about how the fuels are seeded, and I’ve made some adjustments there to make for a more interesting and varied set of fuel seeding. There are now some “super clusters” of fuel that you can find around the map (most maps) that are highly desirable for fuel purposes… but might have many other drawbacks. So, as usual, it’s pro’s and cons time.

I also added a really important new Fuel Availability galaxy map filter mode, which allows players who are playing with fuel enabled (whether in expert mode or not) to quickly see what fuels are available where, and in what aggregate quantities. This makes it a lot easier to plan the fuel side of your expansion, and it’s also useful for getting a sense of how fuel is distributed around the galaxy at the moment.

The wiki is also in the process of being updated to include a lot more information, thanks to Badger and Lord of Nothing. SirLimbo also got in a couple of moddability improvements at the request of Puffin.

Lots of busy folks! More to come soon.

AI War 2 – Beta 3.761 Savegame Safety

New beta build!

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.

Beta 3.760 Chaotic Maps And Ark Empires

New beta build!

This one has been inwork for 12 days now, and it has 9300 words (29 printed pages) of release notes. Uh… enjoy?

So what’s happening here, broadly?

Well, there’s a lot of bugfixing and quality of life stuff, for sure. Just all, all over the place. This is bringing us a lot closer to being able to come back off the beta branch, and more immediately to stop breaking savegames with new builds. We aren’t quite there on that last point, as I have some more to do tomorrow that will probably break saves. But we’ll be moving back to our usual policy of “every save is supposed to work forever into the future” within this week.

There’s a new Chaotic map type that has been added to DLC1 by tom.prince, and it’s a really cool one. Going along with the Classic map that Badger added to DLC1, our first DLC that had no maps now has two awesome ones right next to each other.

If you don’t have DLC2, then Ark and Golem balance is now much better. If you do have DLC2, it’s basically the same as you’ve been used to. It just wasn’t meant to be exclusive to DLC2, that was an oopsie.

LOTS of work has gone into the “player types” system, and there are now at the very least stubs for each of the player types that we intend to have for the base game and DLCs 1 and 3 (DLC2 has no player types planned at this time).

The Necromancer Empire is a way of playing necromancer all by yourself in DLC3, and it’s not fully ready for prime time testing yet, but it’s getting close. By the end of this week is the goal. The Necromancer Sidekick is only for multiplayer, and is basically when a non-imperial necromancer teams up with another player. That’s also basically ready to go, though multiplayer on beta is not.

The Ark Empire in DLC1 is a really cool new thing that’s also a throwback to our earliest alpha versions and the kickstarter design for this game. It works mostly like a regular empire, except you start out in an Ark (randomly or directly chosen) with a fleet (that is somewhat build-your-own but with restrictions) and no home on the map. Fight for a home, settle in, and then the rest of the game is more familiar. But your ark is both militarily significant as well as your “king” — if it dies, you lose.

I’m going to have a hard time choosing between necro and ark empires, personally, and figure I’ll be bouncing between the two of those. No more regular empires for me for a while.

The spire-infused empire is another DLC1 player type that is just a stub for now, more coming soon. Same for the Suzerain player type in DLC3. A new spectator player type for the base game is fully ready to go.

Map generation in the lobby is a lot more smooth, and/or shows you the progress of its work if it’s a really slow map. In general it feels way smoother, and no longer freezes your UI.

And just… wow so many bugfixes and quality of life tweaks. I know I mentioned that in the first line or so, but it’s literally pages and pages of those things. Major thanks to Badger and tom.prince in particular, and also SirLimbo. Oh, and SirLimbo has been continuing his work on the Brutal Guardians feature for DLC3, too. Very cool stuff.

This release was particularly slow in coming because I didn’t want to have too many player types in there half-finished. But at least those that are that way are clearly marked now, and in general they are all coming right along.

More to come soon.

AI War 2 – Beta 3.754 Player Types

New build!

This one adds a whole lot, all at once! This paves the way for some MAJOR cool things that we are going to be doing in the near future, and that modders can also do.

First of all, there’s a whole new system where modders can now expand the central GameEntityTypeData in ways that were impossible previously. This gives a lot of power for adding custom functionality for various factions, and the necromancer code that already existed for DLC3 has been ported to this.

Secondly, the necromancer “faction” is now gone, which has been the plan for a while, and now there is a necromancer “player type.” Specifically, there are no longer multiple types of player factions that you can choose independently (that was a real pain in the interface for players, and hard to find what was available, as well as a pain in the code). Instead, you just choose a “player slot” and can then choose, easily and quickly, from any of the various options that affords.

In the base game, that will be Human Empire and Spectator (being able to watch a game while not being part of it at all is always fun). In DLC1, we’ll have Ark Empire added, as something of a throwback to the earliest versions of this game. I’m considering a Spire-Infused Empire hybrid for DLC1 that pulls from the fallen spire concept but makes it a bit more direct. We’ll see if there’s time. In DLC3, we’ll have two forms of necromancer: Lone Necromancer, and Necromancer Empire. I’m also thinking about adding in a Solo Ark mode, which probably would be for DLC3 also, since it would work best with the vassals feature from there.

There were some other various bugfixes, and some code improvements. This is (maybe) the last of the REALLY large refactoring-type things that I have on my list for this game, so this is a great milestone to have hit. There are still some known issues with the lone necromancer right now, but they’re listed and they’re not super critical.

More to come soon.

AI War 2 – Beta 3.753 Necromancer Externalizing

New build!

This one is the earliest part of the work to allow for multiple types of human player factions without actually having to choose separate factions. This part of the work is mostly focused on moving a lot of the Core code (closed source) for the necromancer to be in External code (open source, and thus also moddable). The goal is for modders to have the flexibility to implement custom player types as well without having to alter the core game code.

Tom found a variety of more bugs to slay, and slew them, which is super awesome and I’m really grateful. Badger also fixed some bugs, and added some more features for the necromancer, which gives them decloaking abilities.

Tom and Strategic Sage have been talking a bit, and looking at the design document that Sage and I were working on all the way back in May (good grief!) relating to fuel in Expert mode. Tom has started a rough implementation on that based on that design, which is really unexpected and super cool. Right now it’s implemented as part of a mod, since it’s just a roughed-in version so far. But getting this in place to be able to start testing out the ideas Sage and I had will be a really big boost for making sure it is actually a feasible design that is fun, so this is a big win.

More to come soon.

Beta 3.752 Pathfinding Efficiency

New build!

In the past, whenever I’ve talked about the efficiency of pathfinding, I’ve universally been speaking about CPU usage or “number of paths calculated per second” or something along those lines. This time, I’m talking about RAM efficiency — how much RAM is used, how it gets reused, and so on. We do a lot of pathfinding on a lot of threads for a lot of reasons, and that data can be absolutely enormous if we’re caching it for too long. Similarly, in the past, we’ve had major CPU load caused by not caching it enough.

What I’ve done at this point is kept the caching to the level of “this current slice of time for this thread,” whatever that means. Sometimes it means “this frame” when we’re talking about the UI. A lot more frequently, it means “this simulation step,” when it’s something for the simulation itself (aka, for 100ms). Even vastly more frequently, it means “this run of long-range-planning operation,” which is something that happens intermittently for each faction every few seconds and lasting for usually part of a second, but up to several seconds if need be.

The TLDR is that the amount of CPU computation should be roughly the same as before, but the RAM usage is reduced by around 300ish MB on midsize games with a fair number of factions in a slightly larger than average galaxy. It may also be a fix to yet another memory leak, but I can’t be certain. It is a solution to an annoying thread-contention issue that I still don’t understand the full nature of, but have decided to work around in this particular case by just making everything so much more efficient in the first place.

This build sees a number of other bugfixes, and more of SirLimbo’s AMU settings being implemented into the base game as options.

More to come soon.

AI War 2 – Beta 3.751 Faction Processing Groups

New build!

Friday I was out because I was just exhausted and needed a day of recovery. Others went gangbusters on that day and over the weekend working on the game, though.

There’s lots of bugfixes thanks to Badger, tom.prince, Puffin, and NR SirLimbo; improvements to contextual info provided by the ARS thanks to Badger; and the start of some of the “extended galaxy settings” from AMU being implemented into the base game thanks to NR SirLimbo.

Additionally, there’s a number of new features and improvements in the unreleased DLC3 for our testers there, including some xml work by Puffin Emeritus, which certainly deserves special mention.

The big theme of the largest remaining errors I saw after the weekend were in our random number generators and pathfinding. In both cases, neither piece of code was actually the problem at all — these were pieces of very good code that were simply canaries for “hey, two threads are using me at the same time, that doesn’t work!” In all cases, it looks like the faction-specific Long Range Planning (LRP) code was still able to overlap itself sometimes.

I think that for that to happen, you needed to have some factions that shared data. AI border aggression and relentless waves do that in any game, but if you had multiple copies of a faction, then that would also do it in the prior build. Please note, of course, that all of those cases are supposed to work fine, but that seemed to be the conditions for replicating it for now.

Today I introduced a new xml-driven piece of data called a “faction processing group,” which is basically a way for factions to say “I don’t run while those others are running. Normally the LRP logic for general factions all runs at once, with the exception of factions that are multiples of one another, or which share some other processing logic like border aggression and relentless waves do. I had existing protections in place to already try to handle this exact concept, but they were code-driven, mildly hidden because of that, and also had a few errors relating to them.

At this point, code that was a bit more scattered around is a lot more linear and has been rewritten to hopefully work quite well. In my brief testing today after finishing this, I don’t see these errors anymore, but it’s impossible to prove a negative. So if you were one of the testers running into this, please do let us know if things are still an issue. Fingers crossed, I do think I got rid of it, and also fingers crossed, this seemed to be the only category of thread left that had this sort of effect.

More to come soon.

Beta 3.750 Smooth Simulator

Ho. Le. Mo. Le. Wheeew, new build:

This one rips up the entire threading model that we’ve been evolving for the game since 2016, and replaces it with something more modern, as well as fixing a number of threading-related bugs and other issues. The TLDR is that it’s faster than ever, especially on older computers, and it works REALLY well and is way easier for myself and others to debug, too.

The game was downright unplayable for the last few weeks in terms of things like stalled threads and a bunch of cross-threading issues. I’ve been really tearing my hair out, trying to figure out what on earth was going on, and simplifying code, simplifying it further, and lots of experimenting. Daniexpert really gets MVP once again for truly excellent help with bugtesting and reporting in this arena.

Special thanks also to tom.prince, who had lots of great ideas and commentary on the threading model and things that we’d have to consider. There were several cases where I was going to do one thing, and chatting with tom on discord let me skip a few steps of pain and jump to a better solution.

There’s also a bunch of other improvements in here, and various features for DLC3. I am extremely weary, though, so I’m not going to enumerate all of them. I thought I’d be done with this threading thing days ago, and then I started wondering when on earth I’d be done with it at all. Very happy to say it seems to work well now, and if there are remaining problems, they will be much easier for me to debug.

Tomorrow, it will be time to move on and work on other bugs and features that have been delayed by this whole mess. I think this was first on my radar on October 27th, maybe a bit before, so this was QUITE a diversion. The release notes have pretty much the whole story, and the chris-talks-code-gameplay discord subchannel has the rest of it, if you’re curious.

More to come soon.

Beta 3.746 Phantom Ship Syndrome

New beta!

This one has a toooon of bugfixes. Some of these are fixes to regressions in the prior build, of which there were an uncomfortable number. An amusing one was causing lots of phantom icons to spring up all over the place, in this kind of insanity kaleidoscope. Others were just error spam. These were a result of my improvements to the collections to lazy-initialize, and there were some edge cases in a couple of them that I did not properly account for. That’s fixed now.

Hey, also there are several features that had been “DLC3 while testing” that are now part of the base game. Roguelike features like Hidden Galaxy, and then the new Border Aggression feature.

There’s a large class of exceptions based around “someone changed a thing on the unit and we’re looking at it belatedly and now it’s null and time to throw an exception.” Those are all fixed, because we no longer allow them to be nulled out. That led to some interim internal hilarious bugs with scaling and stats being off, but now it seems to work fine, knock on wood. So this is a pretty large category of stuff that no longer will break anywhere in the codebase.

There were some pathfinder errors that could still pop up, although these were new ones. These are now fixed. They MAY have been related to thread timings, but I’m not sure. Either way, I made some changes to make them more robust in their defenses, and that seemed to work.

Another big group of bugs were some “invisible dead ships” that would hang around on planets, sometimes with a full forcefield showing, and then also appear on the galaxy map. I am not sure why exactly that started happening, but I have it so that it self-repairs properly now. Most ships don’t properly explode on death anymore (but their icons still do), so that’s something else I need to fix next week.

Last major known issue that really impacts play lately is the stuck threads issue. I’ve made some progress on that, in large part due to Tom and in particular Daniexpert doing some debugging. I’ve corrected a few of the most major cases, and then there’s a couple of remaining cases that I now have a pattern for reproducing, and will start chasing down on Monday. In the meantime, as long as you don’t reload the game too too many times, it seems to work fine. Or if it’s messed up and you reload one more time, then it also fixes itself. I don’t think pausing and unpausing works anymore. But overall if there are behaviors you see, or other ways to get it to mess up, then I’d love to have that information.

Hopefully after a lot of these things, code will kind of start settling down. I still have one major piece of surgery, which is to take the necromancer away from being its own faction and to instead be a faction type for humans. That will probably be some bugs. And there are still other known issues like the xml reload locking up (though I need to retest that actuallly), and tutorials and beacons not being re-enabled yet. But a lot of the biggest, scariest things seem to be slowly settling down. Or we’re just through the first batch and about to discover a giant new cache of new ones, who knows. Hopefully not.

More to come soon.

Beta 3.745 Deadlock Removal

New beta build!

This one has a lot more going on under the hood than might be apparent on the surface. It’s more efficient in how it allocates RAM (which you can see in certain logs mainly), and it is also safer in how it allocates that RAM (thus avoiding some deadlock situations that I had introduced in the last few weeks). So that’s very pleasing, but not exactly a marquee feature for people playing. Deadlocks are a special sort of bug that I particularly hate, though, so I’m glad to have it gone.

While I was doing that, Tom has added a new cheat (grantalltechs), and a number of ui improvements and bugfixes.

For DLC3, Zeus has been adding yet more orbital stuff, and the DLC3 testers can now properly test that, too. These orbital bits are suuuuper cool. There’s also a new general rare “nasty pick” that is an orbital inertial battery. Playing with DLC3 simply enabled is one of those things that won’t make the game harder (that’s always important), but just like DLC1 makes it so that there are so many more turret types all over the place (thanks to Democracy and Puffin), DLC3 makes things come alive more with various orbitals here and there even amongst non-orbital AIs.

The galaxy-wide caps are now properly shown thanks to Tom, and Zeus made the super fortress a lot more super.

More to come soon.