AI War:1.011 Release
-Electric Shuttle attack strengths have been doubled, and their health has been increased by almost double, too.
-Force fields are now a new category of their own, separate from the general "heavy defense" category.
-Light starships now have a small bonus against force fields.
-Raid and Leech starships now are immune to force fields, and are thus able to shoot ships under them. They also have the same small bonus against force fields.
-Flagships, Zinth Starships, and Spire Starships now have much greater bonuses against force fields.
-Core starships now have a huge bonus against force fields.
-The number of simultaneous shots each starship is able to fire has been doubled.
-All starships now have some level of munitions boost ability.
-Starships and other heavy defense items can no longer have their attacks boosted. This prevents an impulse to strengthen starships by clustering them all together. They are meant to be an anchor for other smaller groups of ships.
-Shots are now required to stay within their attack range of the target they are being fired at. This solves several problems, for one allowing the really fast ships to outrun very slow shots, and for two allowing for teleporting ships to escape the range of incoming shorter-range shots without those shots trailing them indefinitely.
-All of the bigger AI ships, like advanced research stations, are now immune to tractor beams and thus EtherJets and Space Tugs.
-Missiles no longer gather scout intel.
-AI ships will now abandon their posts when they target a missile or a starship, which can either help them to kill the target or it can create a backwash of enemy ships flowing to the player planets after a missile/starship has passed through AI planets.
-It is now possible to view any planet at any time, but only the wormholes are visible if you have never scouted the planet and don't have ships there, and an extra fog of war is shown. If you have scouted the planet before, but you don't have ships currently at that planet, then the resource spots are also shown in addition to the wormholes, but nothing else and the fog of war is still there.
-The way that waves are sent from the AI has been heavily revamped. Wave timing has been adjusted, and the size of the wave that is sent is now based completely on how long was spent being created. So sometimes you might get hit with several smaller waves in quicker succession, and other times you might have a long wait between waves but then a really huge influx.
-The AI now builds up periodic cross-planet attacks on difficulties 5 and greater. These just basically "set free" a certain number of ships above a max threshold at an AI planet, dispersing them into the galaxy to wreak whatever havoc they can. Depending on how the older game was going, this may turn a lot of old save files into losses if players do not carefully defend themselves. At difficulty 7, these waves range in strength between 875 and 1680 ships -- of whatever tech level the planet has that built these up.
-The health of all turrets has been doubled at the least, and in some cases increased more than that.
-The entire GameCommand architecture has been redone, so that in many cases it should put 1/5 the load on the network compared to past releases, and when ordering big masses of ships around it should put even less load. This also paves the way for some bulk-orders down the line.
-The number of collisions run per cycle has been increased 50X, which will cause extra load on lower-level machines in some certain circumstances (such as a lot of ships going through a wormhole all at once) but a much better game experience overall, especially when there are lots of ships moving around.
-Previously, if ships were fading in they could not shoot but they could be shot at. Also, they would not start becoming visible until their collision detection was run, which meant that in extreme cases they could be moving around the planet before becoming visible. Both fixed.
-Only multi-core computers, the AI thread will no longer pause for 1/5 of a second between iterations. This logic is only now applied on single-core hosts, to help keep the CPU load lower while at the same time making the AI mildly slower to react.
-The message queue to the AI thread now processes 20x as many messages as before when there are more than 500 items in the queue. On below-specs CPUs this should actually help performance, since a key degradation factor for performance was actually having the command queue getting too backed up.
-Cloaked enemy ships that teleport no longer make a sound.
-The teleport sound effect also now only plays for ships that are selected, or which are teleporting to a location onscreen.
-The "wait points" of AI players are now cleared when they are being shot at or are shooting at another target, which makes them more responsive and less sitting ducks.
-A number of new planet name syllables have been added, which will provide millions (or more) possible new planet names.
-Ion cannons are now able to hit ships under force fields. Transports will need to be used to sneak past ion cannons, not mobile force fields.
-All of the ships that are captured on planet ownership change are now immune to force fields, which means that they will stay immobile under enemy force fields. Same thing with all of the resource producers (including harvesters). This makes it possible to build metal/crystal harvesters under enemy force fields, but if they have ships there then you are likely to have those harvesters get killed pretty quickly.
-The scouts have all been renamed to Scout I, II, III, and IV instead of the older names that are no longer appropriate.
-The Anti-Armor ships now have a min hit percent chance of 90% (so if a ship is at all in range, they have a 90% chance of hitting it -- cruisers have an 80% chance of that). Their range has also all been increased to 5000, which is lower than a cruiser but higher than most other ships. This makes them something of a secondary cruiser, which should make them a lot more popular in general.
-Eyebots are now immune to being insta-killed by ion cannons, etc. They are also now immune to snipers.
-Shield bearers now have small, weak force fields, which let them protect nearby allied ships but which doesn't let them push enemy ships around.
-The range of deflector drones has been increased 10x, making them the longest-ranged non-sniper ships in the game. They are still a weak ship, but this makes them useful in a lot more situations rather than just against masses of laser gatlings, etc.
-Tractor beams are no longer able to be sent out by cloaked ships. Any tractor beams that exist will remain if a ship then re-cloaks, but no new ones can be sent out except when the ship is at least partly visible.
-The way that the button rows along the bottom of the screen are handled has been revamped to allow for some more flexibility.
-The build buttons in a number of the menus are now drawn in two dimensions. This makes the lineages of turrets, force fields, starships and the like a lot more easy to read, and also paves the way for having vastly more lineages being introduced over time.
-Space Docks now show all of the Mark I through III ships on a single tab, with multiple rows, which makes it a lot easier to see where your upgrades have been applied without having to do a lot of clicking around.
-The tech buttons have been updated to match the new display of the build buttons.
-Raid and Leech Starships now have a small bonus against turrets and heavy defenses, rather than a moderate penalty. They now have a severe penalty against resource producers, constructors, and command stations.
-Missiles, like scouts and non-military ships, are now a lower-priority selection when drag-selecting. They won't be selected unless there are no unselected military ships being selected in the same action.
-The colored borders on ships (showing attack-move, group move, etc) no longer show for enemy ships.
-The AI will no longer launch cross-planet attacks from their home planets.
-Previously, the game would crash on start in systems without an active sound card driver installed. Fixed.
-When loading a saved game but waiting for other players to connect, previously the game would show zeroes for the income rates and energy balance (and thus also a warning of a low energy balance). Now the game omits the income rates, skips the warning, and shows "???" for the energy balance until the game is actually resumed.
-(Player and AI) ships that are chasing a teleporting ship will now break off the chase if the teleporting ship goes out of attack range, if there are any non-teleporting ships present that can be chased instead. This prevents ships from being sent on wild goose chases after teleporting ships.
-Teleporting ships are now the lowest priority for chasing when the ship doing the chasing does not have teleportation.
-There are now protections in place that prevent an accumulation of too many queued messages on the AI thread.
-Previously, if all of the preferred planets were filled up to the point where the AI would not do any more reinforcements, the AI thread would hang and the AI would stall, eventually potentially causing an out of memory exception. Fixed so that it now properly tries to reinforce to a non-preferred planet, and so that it then just doesn't do reinforcements if that also fails.
-The AI now better handles massive numbers of ships all queuing at the same wormhole. It no longer causes the ships to fly back and forth if there are too many of them.
-The way that collision detection is determined to be needed is now handled completely differently, and this now results in significant efficiency gains with what should be no difference in how the collisions are determined.
-A couple of new efficiency improvements have been added to the collision logic, which makes the performance even better when there are vast numbers of ships all colliding at once.
-Previously, sending thousands of ships through a wormhole all at one time could cause a significant hitch in the game on the computer on which the command was issued. Fixed.
-AI ships now send three little Mark I fighters through wormholes immediately prior to the emergence of every wave. This prevents things like electric shuttles and lightning turrets from doing quite so much damage in the first blast (and is a tactic that human players use to great effect, too).
-AI melee ships under force fields won't lurk, but will attack as normal.
-Several efficiency improvements have been made to the AI thread, and the AI tactics have had a few tweaks to make them a bit faster and more accurate also. This is mostly relevant for single-processor CPUs.
-The AI now queues up multiple potential targets on each targeting pass, which means there is much less stopping and starting when it is chasing player ships from a long distance when player ships are commonly being killed.
-The targeting algorithm on the main thread has been made more efficient for planets with large numbers (4,000+) of enemy ships. The efficiency gain is around 10%-20%, depending on the type of ships in use.
-The collision detection algorithm has been made much more efficient for batches of ships that are thousands or more in size. This also makes the blob of ships more "spiky," but the efficiency gain is worth it for the really large fleets.
-A new "Zoom-In Hotkeys Center On Cursor" option has been added to the Zoom/Pan section of the settings window.
-Space tugs will no longer try to bring ships back to still-under-construction mobile repair stations.
-Space tugs will no longer randomly push ships around when there is no local mobile repair station to bring them to.
-Space tugs will no longer pick up ships that are in the middle of assisting another ship (like engineers assigned to repair/accelerate).
-The AI now views starships and ion cannons as higher-priority targets to take out, since they are expensive (and in the case of ion cannons irreplaceable).
-The knowledge counts over science labs now only appear over ships of the same team as the local player.
-The message log between players now keeps the last 40 messages instead of the last 15.
-The range of tachyon beams emitted by astro trains and the scout starship has been increased.
-It is no longer possible to issue move orders that would try to send ships outside the valid area of a planet.
-The basic size of force fields have been increased, but force fields now shrink in size as they take damage, protecting fewer and fewer ships as they shrink.
-The way the per-AI-player per-planet ship cap is calculated is now different. Previously it was always just a flat 2000 per player. Now it is 250 x the number of command posts and stations, with a minimum cap of 250 and a maximum cap of 2500. This makes clearing command posts a lot more effective a way of limiting AI growth in planets (it already was effective, but now it is even more so).
-It is now possible to use the ship level limiters (N+0-5) in conjunction with one another. So N+1+2 limits to all tech 1 and 2 ships, for instance.
-There is now a ship selection limiter of N+7, which selects only ships with damaged engines. Also there is now Space+N+7, which selects only ships with perfectly healthy engines.
-All of the difficulty levels now have descriptive names, ranging from "sandbox" to "doom."
-Due to all the many performance improvements in this and past releases, the minimum system requirements have been dropped from 2.4Ghz to 1.6Ghz. 2.4Ghz or more is still recommended for the most ideal experience on large maps or heavy battles, but on average a 2.4Ghz can run the game at triple speed with no problem, so the system requirements were clearly set a bit too high given all the enhancements.
-New difficulty levels have now been added: 7.3, 7.6, 8.3, 8.6, 9.3, 9.6, and 9.8. This allows for greater flexibility for players that prefer something between the upper difficulty levels, but not exactly on one of them.
-Weak force fields can no longer push other ships around.
-Strong force fields can no longer be pushed around by other force fields (so Mark III force fields can no longer be pushed, basically).
-Electric shuttles, and lightning turrets are no longer immune to force fields.
-There is now a message on force fields that tells players that Snipers, Sniper Turrets, Raid/Leech Starships, Infiltrators, EyeBots, Ion Cannons, and Counter-Spies can all move and fire through force fields as if they are not there.
-Ships now de-clump while traveling when all heading the the same destination.
-A slight efficiency improvement has been made to the render logic for drawing many destination lines at once.
-Engineers that don't have anything better to do (repairs) will now automatically accelerate queue-based constructors.
-A slight flicker in rotating turrets and other ships has now been fixed.
-Cloaked ships can no longer be boosted by munitions boosters except when they are partially/fully visible. This prevents munitions boosters from giving away the location of cloaked ships, and also makes the boosters pick targets that can actually fire.
-The way that the game timer is shown is now a bit different. If a game lasts for more than 24 hours, it will now just keep counting up the hours instead of adding a day counter component to the text. This makes it considerably easier to read.
-AI Reinforcements to planets now have an additional bit to them. A "minimum number of posts/stations" is calculated as the AI Progress / 10, within a range of 3 to 11. When a planet being reinforced has fewer posts/stations than the calculated minimum, it will then do extra reinforcements to the central command station (or one of the command posts, if that is gone) equal to the minimum minus the actual posts count. This prevents players from "neutering" AI planets in such a way that causes the total volume of AI reinforcements to get too low. This way, if players do neuter an AI planet, it will fill up more quickly, hit or pass the ship cap for the AI at that planet, and will then reinforce elsewhere in the future. Neutering thus still remains a valid and effective tactic, but not an overpowerful one.
-There was previously a bug wherein human players could be placed on opposite teams if the host started a multiplayer game after having just come from a tutorial without restarting the program first. Fixed.
-Munitions boosters are once again able to boost ships while on the move. The de-clumping logic has removed the need for this restriction.
NEW ART (by Philippe Chabot, Arcen's new artist)
-Resource icons. -Minimap wormhole icons. -Minimap background (also with additions by eRe4s3r) -Mode button (Fast & Dangerous or Normal) -Timer background box. -Mission background box.
Thanks to CautiousChaos for suggesting that electric shuttles and starships needed to be buffed, for suggesting the revamp to the way that wave calculations are run.
Thanks to Kalzarius for suggesting that shots be limited to their attack range when following teleporting ships, for reporting the incorrect resource rates display and warning when connecting to a multiplayer game, for reporting the desync with cross-planet attacks and force fields.
Thanks to Haagenti for reporting the exploit with advanced research stations and tractor beams, for suggesting the balance improvements to anti-armor, eyebots, shield bearers, and defletor drones, for suggesting that etherjets be nerfed a bit, for inspiring the change to how AI Waves emerge from wormholes, for suggesting the names for the difficulty levels, for suggesting the added difficulty levels.
Thanks to Revenantus for suggesting that AI ships pursue missiles, for suggesting that missile not give scout intel, for suggesting the improvements to when the teleporting sound effect is played, for reporting the issue with harvesters popping out from under enemy force fields, for suggesting the scout drone renames, for suggesting that missiles be lower-priority selections like scouts, for suggesting that the colored borders on ships be same-team only, for sugesting that ships not chase teleportating ships if there is a better option, for reporting the lag in sending wormhole commands, for reporting the bug with waypoints, for suggesting that ion cannons be given a higher priority by the AI, for suggesting that melee ships not hide under force fields if they are being shot, for suggesting that knowledge counts only be shown over ships of the same team, for reporting the issue with ships being able to be issued orders outside the planetary map, for suggesting that force fields shrink as they take damage, for suggesting the new per-AI-player per-planet ship cap method, for suggesting the N+7 modifier, for suggestig that munitions boosters not work on cloaked ships.
Thanks to Admiral for suggesting the ability to click into any planet at any time, for suggesting that the ship level limiters be able to work in conjunction with one another, for suggesting that idle engineers should assist queue-based constructors.
Thanks to Pandemic for reporting the exception with setting control groups, for suggesting the Space+N+7 modifier, for suggesting that Mark III force fields not be pushable, for suggesting that electric shuttles and lightning turrets not be immune to force fields, for suggesting the note on force fields alerting players as to which ship types are immune to force fields.
Thanks to darke for suggesting the improvements to how AI ships act while at a wait point, for suggesting the nerfing of the raid and leech starships against certain targets, for suggesting the increase to the range of tachyon beams from scout starships.
Thanks to Rushyo for reporting the crash with missing sound drivers.
Thanks to Wacky Willy for suggesting the "zoom-in" settings option.
Thanks to MorphingJar for suggesting that space tugs not pick up ships that are actively assisting another ship.
Thanks to seonder for suggesting the increase in the number of messages shown in the message log.
Thanks to eRe4s3r for reporting the crash bug with N+5, for reporting the "blob exploit," for reporting the "pies" of ships, for reporting the issue with autosaves, for providing art for the new "high visibility" minimap.
Thanks to Lars Bull for suggesting the fix to the rotation flicker.
Thanks to bbcisdabomb for reporting the bug with human players being enemies.
Thanks to Kalzarius and darke for reporting the rare AI stalling bug, and helping to track it down.
Thanks to MorphingJar and Pandemic for reporting the issues with space tugs without repair stations.