Recent News

AI War 2 v1.328 Released! “Light and Shadow”

We’ve had three beta-branch releases that add and improve a LOT, and now this fourth one brings us back onto the main branch.  Release notes here.

  • First up, we’re working on some visual upgrades to the ships and how we light them.  It’s not any work on their models, but the effect is still notable in terms of how lively and modern they feel.  We’ve put up a lot of videos on that lately.
  • There’s still more to do on the ships (there are a lot of them!), so some of them look underwhelming at the moment but will be getting the full treatment soon.
  • We fixed a number of bugs in these builds, though, and we wanted you to have those sooner than later.
  • We also made a lot of updates to balance to make things more interesting and more challenging on the higher difficulties in particular.  Things like counter-attacks from the AI are more likely to trigger now, dire guardians are way scarier, guardians in general have been rebalanced, a few overpowered golems are now tweaked to not be so OP, Raid Frigates can’t be abused anymore, and…
  • The Macrophage has seen an enormous influx of additions and extensions, starting with the Territorial Update, and moving into the Hive Wars update.
  • Forcefields also have been adjusted and got some new abilities, including us adding the ability to have Hardened Forcefields as an option (those that don’t shrink in size as they take damage) in addition to regular forcefields.  Most of the mobile forcefield generating ships that you have use hardened forcefields now, and this makes them far more useful and less fiddly.
  • You can create your own quick starts from in-game now!
  • You can also turn on an option in the settings which let you load existing savegames or quickstarts into the lobby for further editing.  This is a long-requested feature, and something we’re still testing out a bit so it’s hidden behind that optional feature.
  • The graphical settings that are specific to one machine no longer get synced via the steam cloud, which is useful for those of you playing the game back and forth between two computers.
  • Starting battlestations are stronger, camping next to the AI Overlord no longer freaks it out so much, and so much more.

More to come soon!

Please Do Report Any Issues!

If you run into any bugs, we’d definitely like to hear about those.

The release of this game has been going well so far, and I think that the reviews that folks have been leaving for the game have been a big help for anyone passing by who’s on the fence.  For a good while we were sitting at Overwhelmingly Positive on the Recent Reviews breakdown, but there have been a lot fewer reviews lately and so that has definitely had a material negative effect.  Go figure.  Having a running selection of recent reviews definitely is helpful, but at least we have a pretty healthy set of long-term reviews.  If you’ve been playing the game and enjoying  it, we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d drop by and leave your own thoughts, too.

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 super detailed, 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.

Enjoy!

Chris

AI War 2 v1.321 Released! “Enjoy Your Break, Voice Lady”

It’s rare that I include a joke in the title of a release, but this one was a comment by StarKelp on discord and was too good to pass up.  He helped find a really annoying QoL bug with the voice lines playing repetitively in certain cases, so here we are.  Full release notes here.

  • A variety of bugfixes that make life more pleasant and/or make the enemy more deadly.
  • Your own forcefields that are bumped out of the way by enemy Norris Effect units will now move back into position on their own, thus re-covering wormholes that previously were just left open.  This is a pretty major addition when you’re fighting certain enemies that push your shields around, and was the thing I wouldn’t have thought to do.  Big kudos to Badger on adding this!
  • Added a new Damage Amplification thanks to Quinn, who has basically created a new mechanic for ships that can be used to counter golems and other super-units with ships that use this mechanic.  This mechanic is available for modders immediately, and we’re working on ships of our own to make use of it.

More to come soon!

Please Do Report Any Issues!

If you run into any bugs, we’d definitely like to hear about those.

The release of this game has been going well so far, and I think that the reviews that folks have been leaving for the game have been a big help for anyone passing by who’s on the fence.  For a good while we were sitting at Overwhelmingly Positive on the Recent Reviews breakdown, but there have been a lot fewer reviews lately and so that has definitely had a material negative effect.  Go figure.  Having a running selection of recent reviews definitely is helpful, but at least we have a pretty healthy set of long-term reviews.  If you’ve been playing the game and enjoying  it, we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d drop by and leave your own thoughts, too.

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 super detailed, 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.

Enjoy!

Chris

AI War 2 v1.320 Released! “Intelligence Intensifies”

Another week, another six beta releases which now are officially out here.  This is a big one!  For the full story, you’ll want to start reading at 1.310, if you haven’t been on the beta branch.

  • First up, the Warden fleet of the AI now uses fire teams.  This is… a complete game-changer for them.  You can’t trick and trap them like you used to, although you can still mess with them in various ways.  They’re just way smarter and more fluid in how they respond to your messings.
  • We went through a ton of code and fixed up any potential problems that we found during a code review.  This cleaned up a few rare bugs that may or may not have actually been seen in the wild by players yet.
  • Fixed a variety of achievements that were not properly triggering — huge thanks to Quinn for putting in those fixes for us!
  • Fixed a bug where in certain circumstances, NPC factions could cause AI ships to turn threat against you, leading to your unexpected doom.
  • Improved some more of the fire team logic so that they don’t get distracted by things like command-station-remains (which are already shot to death and do not require further shooting at this time).  Prior to this, certain fire teams could get stuck waiting around to kill something that was already dead, thus letting you avoid the consequences of the hunter being after you.
  • The debug menu has been updated heavily to show which items are considered cheats and which are not.  One item that was previously a cheat — revealing the entire map — is now just considered a “lifestyle choice.”  In the first game you could choose to play with the entire map revealed from the start, after, all, so why not here?
  • We also added an option that lets you scout the entire map but not have each planet permanently watched.  Neither of these count as cheats.
  • We also made several substantial improvements to how we read in xml from mods, enabling some new functionality for modders.
  • Fixed a couple of cross-threading issues that could see drones get lost when they went back into their hub ship, or which could see stacks dying incorrectly in terms of the actual number of lost units.  This was majorly weakening some units previously, particularly if you had your stack caps set unusually low.
  • Some re-balance to the marauder empires, which could get overlarge and slow things down — now that they are so much smarter, they don’t need quite as many units to mop the floor with enemies, anyway.
  • Exos (of a certain strength) are now able to launch against you on multiple planets simultaneously, splitting their forces and then coming for you from several angles.  This makes them look better as they swarm in, being less stacked up, and also makes defending against them more challenging.
  • A variety of other bugfixes, tweaks, UI refinements, and so on.
  • If this doesn’t sound quite as large of a release as I made it out to be at the start of the post… just wait until you see the difference in the warden and the hunter fleets and how that changes the game for you.  It’s a whole new ballgame these days.

More to come soon!

Please Do Report Any Issues!

If you run into any bugs, we’d definitely like to hear about those.

The release of this game has been going well so far, and I think that the reviews that folks have been leaving for the game have been a big help for anyone passing by who’s on the fence.  For a good while we were sitting at Overwhelmingly Positive on the Recent Reviews breakdown, but there have been a lot fewer reviews lately and so that has definitely had a material negative effect.  Go figure.  Having a running selection of recent reviews definitely is helpful, but at least we have a pretty healthy set of long-term reviews.  If you’ve been playing the game and enjoying  it, we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d drop by and leave your own thoughts, too.

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 super detailed, 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.

Enjoy!

Chris

AI War 2 v1.309 Released! “Instigator Cheekiness”

Release notes here.  This is a small one, mainly hotfixes.

  • The Devourer now eats the Trader, as it should.
  • Instigator bases now spawn much closer to you until 600 AIP, after which they can get fully cheeky again.  Previously they could really mess with you at random starting at only 300 AIP.
  • There were a couple of brand-new bugs that you could run into thanks to the new pathfinding code, and those are fixed.
  • There were several longer-standing bugs that are also fixed.
  • The top-of-screen notifications for Cross Planet Attacks are more succinct and don’t have a largely-useless subscreen.

More to come soon!

Please Do Report Any Issues!

If you run into any bugs, we’d definitely like to hear about those.

The release of this game has been going well so far, and I think that the reviews that folks have been leaving for the game have been a big help for anyone passing by who’s on the fence.  For a good while we were sitting at Overwhelmingly Positive on the Recent Reviews breakdown, but there have been a lot fewer reviews lately and so that has definitely had a material negative effect.  Go figure.  Having a running selection of recent reviews definitely is helpful, but at least we have a pretty healthy set of long-term reviews.  If you’ve been playing the game and enjoying  it, we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d drop by and leave your own thoughts, too.

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 super detailed, 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.

Enjoy!

Chris

AI War 2 v1.308 Released! “Mega Performance”

Release notes here.  This is another huge one, which is why it took us a week to get it to you.

  • The top item here is performance, as the name of the release implies. The new fire teams are awesome and make the AI so much smarter, but we were having late-game performance problems with very long-running threads that would actually stall the AI and all the other factions for minutes at a time if your galaxy was large and populous enough.  Badger and I went through all of this with a scalpel and made performance improvements on the order of a 2000% increase for  some of the savegames in question.
  • There are still the occasional savegames with a very over-active set of marauders or nanocaust that don’t perform as we’d prefer them to, but the vast majority of our test cases (with usually hundreds of thousands of ships) moved from being insanely sluggish to running at full speed.
  • Exos have gotten much craftier about how they pursue their targets across planets.  This is something… that will come in handy in existing savegames but also with features-to-come.  (Cough)
  • Cross Planet Attacks (CPAs) have been massively reworked to be more efficient on your CPU, as well as to be more clear in how they work and to not cheat the AI out of higher-mark ships.  The CPA is now an event worthy of the name, without completely emptying the AI larder so to speak.
  • Puffin has made enormous numbers of changes to fleet designs that you’ll find throughout the galaxy, making them less mono-tech, and also has added 15 more fleet designs in general.  We were noticing some unfortunate trends in how people use techs, and we’re trying to encourage synergies rather than deep investment into a single thing over all else.  This is the first step in that direction, but it’s a strong one.
  • Instigator bases stressing you out?  That’s now a setting you can turn off to not have them.  They add mild time pressure that is good for the game as a whole, but which some people don’t appreciate.  We try to accommodate as many playstyles as possible.
  • Astro Trains AND the Macrophage got some buffs.  The AI and player strength levels had been growing and outpacing these.
  • The Zenith Trader has been revamped a bit in terms of the wares it offers, no longer letting you exploit it to just get way too many goodies.  It now works more like the first game, where you have to really consider what you want a bit more, rather than just putting everything everywhere.
  • Bunches of other bugfixes and AI tweaks and improvements and balance tweaks have also been included, plus other interface clarity improvements.  This is a pretty huge list of stuff.

More to come soon!

Please Do Report Any Issues!

If you run into any bugs, we’d definitely like to hear about those.

The release of this game has been going well so far, and I think that the reviews that folks have been leaving for the game have been a big help for anyone passing by who’s on the fence.  For a good while we were sitting at Overwhelmingly Positive on the Recent Reviews breakdown, but there have been a lot fewer reviews lately and so that has definitely had a material negative effect.  Go figure.  Having a running selection of recent reviews definitely is helpful, but at least we have a pretty healthy set of long-term reviews.  If you’ve been playing the game and enjoying  it, we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d drop by and leave your own thoughts, too.

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 super detailed, 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.

Enjoy!

Chris

AI War 2 v1.304 Released! “So You Like Combat Engineers?”

Release notes here.  This one really is just a laundry list of tweaks and fixes.

  • First up, lots of folks noticed that combat engineers and combat sentry frigates were not constructing in the prior build.  This was the unfortunate intersection of some new (good) logic and some old (bad but not harmful until now) xml inheritance.  That’s now fixed!
  • The right hand blank chat/log window in the lobby is now removed, making forumite Sounds much happier but possibly also frustrated since he was going to mod it out.
  • The main menu no longer chugs with bad performance.  That had to do with achievements resubmission to Steam, and didn’t affect the GOG version of the game (but would have as we get GOG galaxy support in soon).
  • We also are hunting an obscure performance drain that happens on the late game in super-high planet count games (200ish planets) with a few hundred thousand units and 8+ factions, etc.  It’s still a playable game on the savegames we have found there (about 40% speed at baseline), but we’re hoping to clear that up so it performs as well as anything else.  So far it’s been investigation more than solution.
  • The nanocaust now can use fire teams!  (Oh dear.)
  • Marauders can consolidate their planets a bit faster.
  • Sabotage hacks are now less aggo and cheaper — good for you.
  • Beyond that it’s just a handful of more bugfixes and tweaks.

More to come soon!

Please Do Report Any Issues!

If you run into any bugs, we’d definitely like to hear about those.

The release of this game has been going well so far, and I think that the reviews that folks have been leaving for the game have been a big help for anyone passing by who’s on the fence.  For a good while we were sitting at Overwhelmingly Positive on the Recent Reviews breakdown, but there have been a lot fewer reviews lately and so that has definitely had a material negative effect.  Go figure.  Having a running selection of recent reviews definitely is helpful, but at least we have a pretty healthy set of long-term reviews.  If you’ve been playing the game and enjoying  it, we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d drop by and leave your own thoughts, too.

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 super detailed, 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.

Enjoy!

Chris

AI War 2 v1.303 Released! “AI Hunter Fireteams For All”

Release notes here.  This is another followup to the epic one from a couple of days ago, mainly focused on some bugfixes and yet even more AI deadliness.

  • First up, the Hunter fleet was previously only using the exciting new fire teams feature if you chose the new “Assassin” option.  That’s not something most people would know to do, and it wouldn’t automatically kick on in existing quick starts, or existing savegames, and so on.  That’s no fun!
  • So we’ve made it so that all of the Hunter fleets now use fire teams, instead, and we took away the Assassin option since it would now have been identical to Normal.  All of the existing savegames will work, and now have scary fire teams doing all the fun things I talked about in the epic update.  Not opting-in required.
  • We also made a number of general improvements to AI threat and the hunter fleet IQ/logic, letting them make better decisions on several fronts.  Loading existing savegames where they waffled about now has them hulk smash.
  • There’s a general feature called “group move” that can be used by players or by NPCs/AIs.  There were some awesome improvements made to this functionality by Eagleheart a few months back for player purposes, but they just didn’t work well for AIs, which caused exos and fire teams to sometimes be on the slow side or staggered strangely.  Now something closer to our old logic is used for AIs/NPCs, making them formidable again, while Eagleheart’s logic is used for players like it was intended to be.
  • Beyond that it’s just a handful of more bugfixes.

More to come soon!

Please Do Report Any Issues!

If you run into any bugs, we’d definitely like to hear about those.

The release of this game has been going well so far, and I think that the reviews that folks have been leaving for the game have been a big help for anyone passing by who’s on the fence.  For a good while we were sitting at Overwhelmingly Positive on the Recent Reviews breakdown, but there have been a lot fewer reviews lately and so that has definitely had a material negative effect.  Go figure.  Having a running selection of recent reviews definitely is helpful, but at least we have a pretty healthy set of long-term reviews.  If you’ve been playing the game and enjoying  it, we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d drop by and leave your own thoughts, too.

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 super detailed, 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.

Enjoy!

Chris

AI War 2 v1.302 Released! “Frigate Empowerment”

Release notes here.  This is a small followup to the truly epic one from a couple of days ago, mainly focused on some bugfixes and balance tweaks.  More is in store for soon, but this is just a bit of tidying.

  • Okay, maybe I lied?  For the frigates, the benefits in this version might actually make them viable for the first time in the eyes of a lot of players.  They were dying quickly partly due to being targeted over-aggressively in the past, and now it works more like it did in AIWC.  To some folks this may actually be pretty monumental.  We’ll see if it’s enough to redeem frigates, or if they need more.
  • Snipers now do a better job of taking out the explicit kinds of targets you set for them and nothing else until that stuff is dead if you order them around manually, which is also a win.
  • Coarse background processing, and/or faster simulation speeds, should never let ships sneak past wormholes that are physically blocked by forcefields anymore.  This is a big deal for players who like to keep their doors locked, so to speak, and were previously finding enemies sneaking in through the cracks.
  • You can’t use crippled flagships to give you vision on enemy planets anymore, which closes yet another clever exploit that the same players who were using it asked us to fix.
  • Beyond that it’s just a general laundry list of bugfixes.

More to come soon!

Please Do Report Any Issues!

If you run into any bugs, we’d definitely like to hear about those.

The release of this game has been going well so far, and I think that the reviews that folks have been leaving for the game have been a big help for anyone passing by who’s on the fence.  For a good while we were sitting at Overwhelmingly Positive on the Recent Reviews breakdown, but there have been a lot fewer reviews lately and so that has definitely had a material negative effect.  Go figure.  Having a running selection of recent reviews definitely is helpful, but at least we have a pretty healthy set of long-term reviews.  If you’ve been playing the game and enjoying  it, we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d drop by and leave your own thoughts, too.

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 super detailed, 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.

Enjoy!

Chris

AI War 2 v1.3 Released! “The Grand New AI”

If you’ve been in the forums, you know that we’ve been in an opt-in beta period for the last… goodness, has it been three weeks?

Release notes start here and then keep going here, here, here, here, and finally with today’s last bits here.  That’s almost 15 thousand words of text, 29 pages in a word document.  So let me try to break that down so you don’t have to read every last bit.  There’s so much in v1.3 that it almost feels like a sequel in some ways, which is how we like it.

First Up: AI Defenses

This is probably the part of the new version that is most going to shock you when you load up a new campaign in particular.  The AI is… well, scarier.  They have more strength in more places, more variance in how they place things, and so on.

At a quick glance, it looks like the game got harder (and for a while in the betas that was empirically true).  But we’ve spent a lot of time trying to dial that back with the 1.3 build in particular so that it looks scarier and gives a more varied challenge, but isn’t actually baseline harder (except difficulty 10).

The really key thing to note about the AI defenses on each planet is that, while they may be numerically a lot stronger than they once were, they are also more spread out — most of the time.  This means that — most of the time — you can divide them up and attack them piecemeal, which is something we dearly missed from AI War Classic.  That’s now back, and we’re really excited about it.

But we actually went further than that and also made it so that there are now legitimately some “hotspot” planets that ARE harder.  They don’t seed very frequently on low-and-middling difficulty levels, and they don’t seed very near your starting position, but this is another cool thing we were missing from AI War Classic.

In Classic, sometimes you would run into a planet that was an unusually high mark, or that had a giant forcefield, or a superfortress, or whatever.  We have had things like that in this sequel for a really long time, but the planets still somehow felt… homogeneous after you got enough hours in the game.  So now the AI sometimes wormhole-camps its guard posts, sometimes masses them into a giant bundle that you have to take on at once, and other fun challenges.  These sorts of exceptions really add some flair and excitement.

Beefing Up AI Intelligence

This is I suppose more of an item related to offense, except it also applies to the warden and the praetorian guard, both of which are defensive in nature.  So I guess this is just a general thing.

First of all, Badger invented this handy new thing called “fire teams,” which are sub-groups that the AI factions can order around independently.  They can merge and split and coordinate and pincer and fake you out and a whole bunch of other things.

Basically something like the hunter fleet used to be a monolithic entity that came after you.  It was smart and huge and scary… but it was all in one place that you could keep track of.   It was hard to always predict what it was doing, but it could only be thinking of one thing at a time and so you could make some pretty accurate guesses based on its singular positioning.

None of that works anymore, because now the hunter fleet will fragment itself to pursue multiple goals at once.  So will marauders, and a bunch of other factions and parts of the AI.  You may still have a very good idea of what some part of the body of the hunter is thinking… and then be surprised that it was holding some substantial reserve well out of your viewing range, waiting for the opportune time to catch you off guard.

The cliche thing at this point would be to say “clever girl” with a picture of the three raptors.  But that’s just one part of fire teams.

Oh, hey — almost forgot.  We also made the subconscious mind of AI ships (and your ships in “pursuit mode”) a whole lot smarter.  You can trust your pursuit mode ships to take care of business much more efficiently now — to the point that battles they lost on their own in the past they now win.  Of course, that works against you just as frequently as for you…

Parallelism And The Lack Of Brain Function

Right, so we discovered something kind of crazy in this series of builds.  You know how you can fast-forward time up to 10x, and it doesn’t cause any extra CPU load?

Well… that was true, but it didn’t speed up the “cognitive functioning” of the higher-level AI.  Basically if you divide the intelligence for units and factions into subconscious/autonomic and conscious levels of thought… the subconscious/autonomic parts were as smart as ever on 10x difficulty, but the conscious thought of any faction that wasn’t controlled by a human was incredibly hobbled.

This had to do with how we schedule some of the multithreading of background functioning for factions to support their “conscious thought” without eating CPUs with limited numbers of cores if you have many many factions at once in a big game.  It was a complicated technical issue, but essentially meant that for some relevant reasons that we can’t break without breaking future multiplayer support, at 10x speed the AI was only getting a chance to even try to think consciously every 60 realtime seconds instead of every second or so.

We had reports of people who beat difficultly 10 AIs by largely playing on 10x speed, and exploiting the fact that they could issue a ton of micromanagement commands and just fight the subconscious of the AI before it even consciously realized they were there.

The first solution to this was for us to look at our architecture and see if we could squeeze out more parallelism.  A lot of us have quad-core computers with hyperthreading (so 8 virtual cores), or even just dual-core computers with 4 virtual cores.  The odds of any player having a single-core computer is vanishingly small, though there are some players in that boat.  There’s an option to turn off PFP (Parallel Faction Processing) if you need to, but for most computers you should get a performance boost or at least be performance-neutral with the way it is currently.

Major Performance Improvements

Right, so this is no small thing.  Even for those who have opted into the beta are in for a bit of a shock with the very latest build.  All throughout these last three weeks we’ve been squeezing more performance out of the game, but in particular we’ve been able to make a ton of strides in the last day.  Some of the savegames we were seeing that had 10% of normal speed on my quad-core now run easily at full speed.

Half on the subject of performance but half on simulation correctness, we found that our pooling of game entities was causing huge numbers of bugs that popped in and out of existence and not actually making things faster anymore.  This was originally intended to help performance back before unity introduced their time-sliced garbage collector, and it did work very well.

We pool a TON of things in this game, and all of that is an enormous benefit to performance in general, garbage collector aside.  But the actual pooling of entities — ships and structures — had to go.  It was causing problems on the background “faction consciousness” threads and often leading the AI to give wrong orders or even sometimes give orders to YOUR ships because of the nature of pooling.  All of that is solved now.

In the process of investigating this, we also really wanted to cut down on certain kinds of “game commands” that the background factions were sending that really didn’t need to be there.  Game commands are multi-player compatible ways for the faction consciousness threads (and human players) to give orders to ships above the in-simulation subconscious/autonomic commands that ships handle on their own.  Keeping that smaller reduces the CPU load in single player, and will reduce the network load as we work in multi-player.

Also on the subject of performance, now that the AI is using more turrets than it used to (that’s part of the general new defensive strategies that the AIs use), their turrets were… an annoying performance drain.  Normally we just stack mobile units if there are too many of them, or they go into guard posts as reinforcements, etc.  But none of that can happen for turrets, which are stationary.

To combat that issue, we made all of the AI turrets into Great-Turrets, which are about 5x stronger and costlier than the human counterparts.  In existing savegames from older versions it automatically strips out 4/5ths of the turrets to make sure you don’t get absolutely wrecked.  But this minor consolidation keeps performance thrumming along as well.

So Many Balance Changes!

Beyond great-turrets and fire teams and how the AI fortifies its own planets, a lot of other things have evolved here.

One of the most recent favorites of mine is that dire guard posts on the homeworlds of AIs now cost AIP to destroy, and the overlord itself costs less than before.  But as an added bonus, you now get a ton of science and hacking points from destroying the overlord — who is also now stronger, to properly meet the threat of the late-game fleets you can easily muster these days.  All of this makes for more dynamic escalation in multi-AI games in particular, but also even with just a single AI.

The way that player ship caps are calculated is also more consistent in terms of what you can expect with each mark level that you increase.  You get a much more consistent number of frigates added, for one thing.

We also very harshly changed how the growth curve went for individual ship strength as mark levels went up.  The multipliers were getting higher as well as the base attack power, meaning that in some cases a ship that was mark 7 could just evaporate its mark 5 opposite numbers.  Now things remain more stable all the way through mark 7, having a more linear growth rate.

A ton of ships individually got balance tuning based on feedback, far too many to mention.

We also revised and improved the way that planets are spawned in terms of the mix of mark levels (ratios based on difficulty) in the central areas of the galaxy (meaning between the player and AI homeworlds, not physical center).

We also made the “neutering” of AI planets into something VASTLY more powerful that you can do, as it much more sharply curtails what sort of reinforcements they can get there.  We also entirely block reinforcements on AI planets if they are outnumbered 2:1.  So that’s majorly in your favor, and a great new tool.

On the flip side, AI planets left to their own devices now have a much larger cap of ships that they can store up if you leave them alone for tens of hours.  Those of you who like to capture entire galaxies (not the normal way to play the game!) will have some interesting new challenges, but it should still be possible on the typical difficulties for that sort of thing (5 and 6).

Oh!  And in map styles that are really cramped — mazes or snakes, for instance — you now get a much kinder seeding of the early-game tools you need (Global Command Augmenters, etc).  Lest you think that all the seeding improvements we made were in favor of the AI.

New “Adaptive” AI Type!

This is something people have been asking for for a while.  Rather than fighting against an AI that works one way for the whole game… what if the AI kept switching up its style and you never knew what it was?  That sounds… terrifying.  But you guys wanted it, and so we added it.  Good luck with that. ;)

There are 15 new achievements in place relating to the five difficulties of adaptive AI types, so there’s more to hunt.

Max Game Speed Of 5x

In the past, you could make the game run at up to 10x realtime speed.  This was useful when the game was chugging (which it does a lot less often now), or when you just wanted to get past a certain slow section.  I myself tend to play on 3x or 4x speed normally and just pause frequently.  I dunno why, it’s just my personal taste.

The problem with going above 5x is that a lot of things start to break down.  We start running into the sorts of problems that you normally see in physics simulations that have very fast-moving objects and no continuous collision detection on.

Even at 5x, your minefields are a lot less effective, and ships with shorter ranges will get off fewer shots against enemies.  A lot of that is simply unavoidable without increasing the CPU load dramatically in order to achieve that 5x speed boost, which of course would defeat the whole purpose.

We looked at how people were playing and various scenarios run repeatedly at different speeds, and decided that 5x was the maximum at which the simulation really still resembles itself.  So that’s the new cap, if anyone is wondering why.

SO MANY Interface Improvements

Tooltips alone have gone through so much.  Rather than having just “regular tooltips” that show a lot of info, and “full tooltips” that show even MORE, we now have three levels and the default is vastly more brief.  It’s surprisingly easy to use and makes the game so much more approachable. But all the information is still there at your fingertips.

A lot of interfaces now show you vital info like ship strengths or more about what will be improved by a tech,

Back To The Subject Of Difficulty

So is the game harder now than in the prior builds?  … Depends on what difficulty you’re playing at.  Difficulties 9 and 10 are likely going to be vastly harder than before, while 5-7 should be about the same, and less than 5 probably will look fancier in terms of enemy movements and positions but not actually be much more challenging.

But you probably will have to use more of your gray matter in order to deal with more varied situations on average, more of the time, so it should in general be an even more interesting experience at most every difficulty level.

We kind of tilted some of the ship numbers in your favor a bit in order to make it so that all the new AI intelligence doesn’t just overwhelm you, and that may make some older savegames extra hard, it’s hard to be sure.  And in some cases you may say “you call that tilting strength in my favor?” ;)  And to that we mainly say “you should have seen it before during certain points of the beta.”

What can sometimes look very intimidating is something you really can just go in and dismantle piecemeal, because you have the superior ability to field replacement craft, among many other advantages.  Big thanks to all the people who were helping us out so much during the beta with their thoughts on everything, as that helped us shape things out to be a lot more interesting without being brute-force harder.

And Hundreds Of Other things

  • Lots of bugfixes and balance tweaks detailed in the full release notes.
  • Particularly a bunch of improvements for xml modders.
  • You can now hack GCAs in order to re-roll their options (thanks donblas!).
  • Nanocaust construction centers and Marauder Outposts now warp in over time (a short time interval, like 30 seconds to a minute) rather than warping in instantly. This gives their enemies a bigger window to counter attack in.
  • Add the “Extreme” category of Quickstarts, with 2 default, 1 nearly default, and 2 bonus scenarios.
  • Allied Marauders are back to killing command stations by default, but with a setting to disable it. This is a no-longer-basically-cheating version of “minor factions don’t cause AIP increases”. Allied Marauders always kill warp gates though. If this works then I’m going to deprecate “minor factions don’t cause AIP increase” since that’s too cheaty for my tastes.
  • Add a “Select all non-flagship military on planet” selection option.
  • Added “Remove Unlock Variance in Capturables” option. This option removes the random ranges ships and turrets can be found with, fixing it at a constant average. (Thanks donblas).
  • Maps now default to having 7 FCEs instead of 11 (there were just too many before).
  • Some updates to the Octopus map generator from Tadrinth.
  • Added some more tips, including explanations of Wave, CPA, etc.

More to come soon!

Please Do Report Any Issues!

If you run into any bugs, we’d definitely like to hear about those.

The release of this game has been going well so far, and I think that the reviews that folks have been leaving for the game have been a big help for anyone passing by who’s on the fence.  For a good while we were sitting at Overwhelmingly Positive on the Recent Reviews breakdown, but there have been a lot fewer reviews lately and so that has definitely had a material negative effect.  Go figure.  Having a running selection of recent reviews definitely is helpful, but at least we have a pretty healthy set of long-term reviews.  If you’ve been playing the game and enjoying  it, we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d drop by and leave your own thoughts, too.

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 super detailed, 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.

Enjoy!

Chris

AI War 2 v1.024 Released! “After Death”

Release notes here.  This one is all about the balance and bugfixes, and in a few cases those go hand-in-hand.

What’s new?

  • There was a major bug in the game in the last month or so where not every “after a ship dies” bit of data was being logged.  This came about when we started using a (much) more efficient way of removing ships from stacks, and it led to some really interesting (sigh) inconsistencies.  With small weak ships on your side fighting large stacks of enemies, you’d get next to no counterattack strength and not a lot of experience.  With really large ships that could blast entire midsize stacks in one shot, you’d get cataclysmic counterattacks and… the amount of exp gained actually was funky there.
  • Anyway, so we fixed the bugs and everything should be logged correctly now… but things like counterattack strength had to be rebalanced in order to (hopefully) not murder you with overstrong responses now that it correctly registers all the deaths.  Our internal testing is okay so far, but there’s only a couple of us.
  • If there’s a larger problem with this, then it’s literally just a couple of values in an xml file for us to get it balanced better based on your feedback. Please let us know sooner than later if that is the case.  I’ll be working tomorrow morning, but then not later on Christmas Ever or at all on Christmas Day.  If there’s a murderous set of stats there, we’d sure like to know prior to then.  I’ll be back the day after Christmas fully.
  • Next up, the amount of time you have to react to waves has been reduced a ton, to be more like the first game and in general not give you such a ridiculously long time to withdraw your offensive forces and use them on defense.  If you over-commit on offense now, that could be more trouble than before.
  • The Outguard has seen a lot of balance work, mainly in the form of buffs, but in the form of nerfs for a couple of specific lines.  You’re much more able to hack to get these without getting smacked around unduly.  Thanks to StarKelp for continuing to helm this.
  • There was another major bug with “stuck ships” or “phantom lines” that were visual artifacts (often the stuck ships were invisible but you could hover over them).  These were not something that impacted actual gameplay, but visually they looked very strange and could get in the way of interacting with real units.  They also didn’t go away until you restarted the program; exiting the campaign and loading another or the same one wouldn’t do it.  This should be fully fixed now, after a huge bug-hunt for it.
  • If the game thinks you’re using a cheat,  it now tells you when you do so.  This should mostly be apparent when you use things in the debug menu, but in other cases it might be that it’s thinking you’re cheating when you’re not, and we’d like to find those cases if there are any.  Right now it’s just a suspicion, but the code we’ve looked at seems clean.
  • Several other smaller bugfixes and balance tweaks also are in here.

More to come soon!

Please Do Report Any Issues!

If you run into any bugs, we’d definitely like to hear about those.

We’re also really keen on your feedback in general, as the last couple of releases hopefully demonstrate.  Achievements are creeping up my shortlist on things to do, thankfully, now that a lot of the rest of my shortlist is cleared out.  I then need to really get a move-on with the first alphas of the multiplayer for people to playtest.  One thing at a time!

The release of this game has been going well so far, and I think that the reviews that folks have been leaving for the game have been a big help for anyone passing by who’s on the fence.  For a good while we were sitting at Overwhelmingly Positive on the Recent Reviews breakdown, but there have been a lot fewer reviews lately and so we’re back down to just Very Positive.  Having a running selection of recent reviews definitely is helpful.  If you’ve been playing the game and enjoying  it, we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d drop by and leave your own thoughts, too.

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 super detailed, 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.

Enjoy!

Chris

AI War 2 v1.023 Released! “Cloaking Variagation”

Release notes here.  Variagation means different color patterns in the same plant, and I thought that was appropriate for what we’re doing with cloaking.

What’s new?

  • There were some problems with some people not being able to log their achievements to Steam, mostly those using non-US-English OSes or using linux.  We think that’s all fixed now, but let us know.
  • There were three achievements for killing specific ships that were being granted to everyone who killed ANY ship.  So… a few folks got lucky in the last day!
  • The pursuit mode logic has been improved EVEN MORE by Badger, and it now retains its smarts while not sometimes ignoring a straggler who it still alive.
  • Fix a (hilarious, if it doesn’t happen to you) bug where shortly after game load macrophages might spontaneously Enrage and attack you.
  • And then the big one is for last, and that’s cloaking.  We made several more changes here, to go along with what we did in the prior release.
  • First off, your ships can start regaining cloaking points without getting completely decloaked first.  This has been desired by people for a long time, as it was annoying to have partially-cloaked ships indefinitely.
  • Secondly, ships now have a different number of shots (depending on the ship) before they decloak while firing their own weapons.  For most mobile ships, they now decloak after their first shot, rather than  after 5. For things like minefields, they actually get 20 volleys first, as do some starships and guardians and turrets.
  • These differences in decloaking-from-firing speeds let us specialize the ships a bit more, with some being deep cloakers that are able to have a temporary invincibility window where nothing can shoot back at them when they spring their trap.  Other ships, like Raptors, absolutely were OP and exploitable with the new regens-cloak-without-having-to-be-decloaked mechanics, and so they only get one shot before that happens.

More to come soon!

Please Do Report Any Issues!

If you run into any bugs, we’d definitely like to hear about those.

We’re also really keen on your feedback in general, as the last couple of releases hopefully demonstrate.  Achievements are creeping up my shortlist on things to do, thankfully, now that a lot of the rest of my shortlist is cleared out.  I then need to really get a move-on with the first alphas of the multiplayer for people to playtest.  One thing at a time!

The release of this game has been going well so far, and I think that the reviews that folks have been leaving for the game have been a big help for anyone passing by who’s on the fence.  At the moment we’re sitting at Overwhelmingly Positive on the Recent Reviews breakdown, and have been for the last three days, which feels really good.  If you’ve been playing the game and enjoying  it, we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d drop by and leave your own thoughts, too.

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 super detailed, 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.

Enjoy!

Chris

AI War 2 v1.022 Released! “Slaying The Asymptote”

Release notes here.  All the achievements are now live on Steam, and we’ve also fixed up the build speed changes that were really bugging people in the prior build.

What’s new?

  • All 139 achievements are now live on Steam, so you can check out what those look like.
  • The build speeds for higher-mark ships last build were sloooow.  Way more than we meant to, because of a kind of hilarious bug (in a masochistic kind of way).  Ships just reeeeally didn’t want to finish building, and would get progressively slower as they nearly finished themselves.  Not only did we fix that, we also rebalanced the build speed stuff in general.
  • After you win the game, the AI ships now go braindead.  This feels way more satisfying and like you’ve actually won the game.  The other factions that exist, if there are any (Macrophage, Nanocaust, whatever) will still do their thing and may be something you want to continue fighting if that’s the sort of thing you’re into.  You’ve won, but it’s fun to see how the AI is its own beast compared to the other factions.

More to come soon!

Please Do Report Any Issues!

If you run into any bugs, we’d definitely like to hear about those.

We’re also really keen on your feedback in general, as the last couple of releases hopefully demonstrate.  Achievements are creeping up my shortlist on things to do, thankfully, now that a lot of the rest of my shortlist is cleared out.  I then need to really get a move-on with the first alphas of the multiplayer for people to playtest.  One thing at a time!

The release of this game has been going well so far, and I think that the reviews that folks have been leaving for the game have been a big help for anyone passing by who’s on the fence.  At the moment we’re sitting at Overwhelmingly Positive on the Recent Reviews breakdown, and have been for the last three days, which feels really good.  If you’ve been playing the game and enjoying  it, we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d drop by and leave your own thoughts, too.

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 super detailed, 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.

Enjoy!

Chris

AI War 2 v1.018-1.021 Released! “Methodical Achievement”

Release notes here.  This one is pretty huge!  And it does finally have achievements — 139 of them — although not all of them will be visible on Steam for a few days.

So what’s new?

  • Achievements come with a few caveats, such as not having an in-game list to view them yet, and not all being visible on Steam.  More things coming soon, and details on all that are in the release notes, but suffice it to say that this is build one of several that are rolling these out.  Anything you achieve in this build onwards will be logged locally and later synced to Steam, though.
  • Fixed several bugs, the most exciting of which was a crash with Marauders.
  • Added a new “Methodical Pursuit Mode” that, holy cow, is ridiculously better at fighting than the old style.  AI ships and yours and allies all now use it by default.  Badger thought this up, and had a very interesting save where a player ally faction would mostly die against the AI on a weakish planet without this on, but handily win with it on.  That’s enormous!
  • Player units start to take longer to build as their Mark increases. Not an increase in cost, just in production time.  This is to make it so that your ability to field a refleeted giant-strength force isn’t just going up crazily as your mark levels increase.  You can always offset this time with engineers, but they are finite and cost you extra resources (mainly energy — not anything extra in the long term of metal flows).  This should keep the mid and late game balance a lot better versus players just having lots of insta-fleets over and over again.
  • Increased most Frigate durability 50%.  That’s worth a line on its own, since some folks have been really wanting Frigates to feel more powerful and separate from the smaller strikecraft.
  • Cloaking has been enormously rebalanced, though the mechanics themselves have not been particularly changed.  But this being underwhelming in both your and enemy hands was a theme, and with various player suggestions Puffin has put together what I think is a really notable rebalance to this to make these a lot more interesting.

More to come soon!

Please Do Report Any Issues!

If you run into any bugs, we’d definitely like to hear about those.

We’re also really keen on your feedback in general, as the last couple of releases hopefully demonstrate.  Achievements are creeping up my shortlist on things to do, thankfully, now that a lot of the rest of my shortlist is cleared out.  I then need to really get a move-on with the first alphas of the multiplayer for people to playtest.  One thing at a time!

The release of this game has been going well so far, and I think that the reviews that folks have been leaving for the game have been a big help for anyone passing by who’s on the fence.  At the moment we’re sitting at Overwhelmingly Positive on the Recent Reviews breakdown, and have been for the last three days, which feels really good.  If you’ve been playing the game and enjoying  it, we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d drop by and leave your own thoughts, too.

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 super detailed, 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.

Enjoy!

Chris

AI War 2 v1.017 Released! “Random AI Types”

Release notes here.  Lots of good fixes and tweaks in this one!

  • There are finally random AI types that you can select in the lobby (Random Easier, Random Moderate, Random Hard, Random Brutal, Random Any), which is a long-requested feature that the first game had.
  • The lobby now also sorts the AI types by difficulty group, identifies them by difficulty group (with nice colorization), and so on.
  • Fixed an interesting bug during certain AI civil wars that could softlock the game.
  • Added a new “Various Weapons” fleet name styling to the game, provided by DEMOCRACY_DEMOCRACY.
  • Wormhole invasions actually send ships again properly — our bad on that!
  • Outguard hacking response is a bit nerfed to give you an easier time.
  • Nerfed the Impactor Citadel to keep folks from planet-wiping with those.
  • Lots of other balance changes, but the biggest one is to how some of the seeding happens for “random nasty AI stuff you might run into.”  That now has subcategories that make the distribution more pleasant.

More to come soon!

Please Do Report Any Issues!

If you run into any bugs, we’d definitely like to hear about those.

We’re also really keen on your feedback in general, as the last couple of releases hopefully demonstrate.  Achievements are creeping up my shortlist on things to do, thankfully, now that a lot of the rest of my shortlist is cleared out.  I then need to really get a move-on with the first alphas of the multiplayer for people to playtest.  One thing at a time!

The release of this game has been going well so far, and I think that the reviews that folks have been leaving for the game have been a big help for anyone passing by who’s on the fence.  At the moment we’re sitting at Overwhelmingly Positive on the Recent Reviews breakdown, and have been for the last three days, which feels really good.  If you’ve been playing the game and enjoying  it, we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d drop by and leave your own thoughts, too.

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 super detailed, 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.

Enjoy!

Chris

AI War 2 v1.016 Released! “Back From Beta”

It’s nice to do a beta when needed, but it’s also nice to keep that period brief.  We found a number of problems in 1.015 that we fixed and pushed in two non-version-incrementing releases that we just wrapped into the older release notes.

Release notes for the new build are here.  They’re very small by comparison to most of our builds, but priority one was mainly to get things back out of beta in a clean way.

Also, I HAVE been working on achievement graphics, and spent waaaay too much time on those.  Plus Badger has been working on the Scourge (shhh!  It’s a secret, coming soon in the first expansion), and we’ve been planning some other features and additions for that expansion and the base game.  Measure twice, cut once.

I’m particularly pleased with some changes we’re going to be making to the base game to allow for faction beacons to allow you to choose things like the strength/intensity of the faction when you hack them.  That’s will be so nice for quick starts as well as custom starts.

Also?  Turns out that — again knock on wood — my concerns about balance being too easy for players with the outguard revamp were mostly unfounded.  The hacking cost and related things there have made them so that they don’t stick out like a sore thumb balance-wise, at least.

I’m still mildly concerned that the AI might need an economic buff on higher difficulties in the next few weeks, but they don’t seem to be suffering majorly on the most common difficulties at least.  So that’s good!

Please Do Report Any Issues!

If you run into any bugs, we’d definitely like to hear about those.

We’re also really keen on your feedback in general, as the last couple of releases hopefully demonstrate.  Achievements are creeping up my shortlist on things to do, thankfully, now that a lot of the rest of my shortlist is cleared out.  I then need to really get a move-on with the first alphas of the multiplayer for people to playtest.  One thing at a time!

The release of this game has been going well so far, and I think that the reviews that folks have been leaving for the game have been a big help for anyone passing by who’s on the fence.  At the moment we’re sitting at Overwhelmingly Positive on the Recent Reviews breakdown, and have been for the last three days, which feels really good.  If you’ve been playing the game and enjoying  it, we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d drop by and leave your own thoughts, too.

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 super detailed, 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.

Enjoy!

Chris

AI War 2 BETA v1.015 Released! “Testing The Outguard Waters”

Sometimes when we introduce changes that are sufficiently large, we like to run it through a beta branch first.  This is one of those releases, with the changes to the Outguard.   We’d love it if lots of folks would give this a try, so that we can feel confident bringing this back off the beta branch and onto the main branch in the next day or two.

To play this beta branch, right-click the game in Steam, choose properties, then go under the betas tab and choose current_beta.

Release notes here.

Various cool stuff:

  • The Outguard have been completely rebalanced and reworked thanks to StarKelp, and there are a couple of new Outguard groups already.  These changes seem really good, but they are substantial enough that they need more testing than we can do internally.
  • We also fixed a pretty major bug with marauders that would degrade performance heavily if they were hanging around on planets that have no enemies on them.   This is one reason we want to get out of the beta branch asap.
  • Fixed another bug that could cause a lot of the planets to be named Murdoch in recent builds of the game.
  • Lots more voice line integration work done.
  • You can prevent your ships from pathing through specific planets now, to make it easier to give orders to your ships to go from point A to point B while avoiding some scary area you discovered (AI eyes, etc).

Repeat From Last Release: My Armchair Guesses About Coming Balance

I think that the player is getting enough buffs in the prior build and this beta build that essentially you’ll have better defenses — and actually use them — and thus more ability to wield your offensive fleets.  I think you’ll be able to take more planets with less fear, and thus have a stronger economy in general AND more fleets.  I think that once the outguard changes are in, people are going to start really using those a heck of a lot more, and that those will be decisive in certain close battles.

This is absolutely going to wreck balance (in your favor) for a short while, is my prediction. But getting it so that all your tools feel useful to you, and so that you use them all, is definitely worth it.

I’m NOT feeling like we need to then come in and start nerfing you in some other way.  I just don’t think that would be satisfying.  I also don’t think that the AI’s problem is going to be one of strategy — that it’s not smart enough and that’s why things are suddenly easier.

With that in mind, and also thinking about the spire frigate being a decisive thing against diff 10 AIs when people win that scenario, I’m thinking that we’re going to need to make the AI a lot richer to compensate for the fact that you have all these new things.  There are some interesting suggestions that people have relating to data centers and MDCs to make those more costly, and the discussions there are worth having for sure.  Maybe that will be enough, and either way something like that might be needed.

But I think that essentially in the endgame of particularly a diff 10 game, we’re going to want to make sure that if you have a spire frigate that is just ultra powerful… well, that these powerful machines have an equally powerful unit to send against you for an epic punch-out.  I think that may be lacking right now; we’re giving you some trump cards and superweapons and so on, but despite the praetorian guard I don’t think the AI can really be considered to have those right now.

And that’s okay, that’s just part of the arms race.  It being able to whip out more than the PG and exos in the late game, and possibly it doing more with dire guardians or somesuch in that timeframe… that might feel more like it has the same sort of endgame forces to meet your own strike teams. We’ll see how that evolves.  Thoughts will be quite welcome.

Please Do Report Any Issues!

If you run into any bugs, we’d definitely like to hear about those.

We’re also really keen on your feedback in general, as the last couple of releases hopefully demonstrate.  Achievements are creeping up my shortlist on things to do, thankfully, now that a lot of the rest of my shortlist is cleared out.  I then need to really get a move-on with the first alphas of the multiplayer for people to playtest.  One thing at a time!

The release of this game has been going well so far, and I think that the reviews that folks have been leaving for the game have been a big help for anyone passing by who’s on the fence.  At the moment we’re sitting at Overwhelmingly Positive on the Recent Reviews breakdown, and have been for the last three days, which feels really good.  If you’ve been playing the game and enjoying  it, we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d drop by and leave your own thoughts, too.

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 super detailed, 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.

Enjoy!

Chris