AI War 2:Earlier Than Earlier Alpha Play Instructions

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(more examples to come later, to cover more of the commands/etc)

How To Play

This walkthrough is very basic, and does not end well, like many other parts of the current alpha.

When you run the game you should see a screen like this:

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This is the main menu. Click the "Start New Game" button. You will then see:

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This is the game setup screen, which is very similar to the lobby in the first game, except it's closer to the actual game and thus easier to maintain for us and it's kinda cool to go zooming around the galaxy map you're about to get splattered all over.

Click the "Start Game" button, which basically just "unpauses" what's already on your screen and brings you in to view your Ark.

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This is the planet view screen, centered on your Ark. Note that it is already set up to produce your triangle (Fighter, Bomber, and Missile Frigate) ships. You'll need them to defend yourself, as even your "starting planet" is AI-controlled at first.

Later on we may have it not start off automatically producing stuff, so that new players don't get too far into the game without knowing how to set up a build queue, but we'll see what the best way is later.

Click the "Select All Mobile Military" button (if your screen is small enough, as in this test case, not all the text fits).

Then zoom all the way out (mousewheel should work, or you can use page up and page down for zooming). Then pan using WASD so that most of the "gravity well" circle fits within the screen.

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This is basically everything on the planet. The green icon with rings nested inside one another is the local AI Warp Gate. The green icon next to it (looks like it has horns) is the local AI "Controller", like the Orbital Command Station from the first game.

All your units should already be selected (if you've produced more since then just click that select-all button again), so right-click near the controller.

Your units will not actually attack the controller, however! This is because destroying it will increase your AIP. To tell your units that you actually want to capture this planet, you need to flag it "Try to capture: On". Later you will be able to do this much more easily, but for now:

  • Left-click empty space to clear your selection
  • Press tab to switch to the galaxy view
  • Click the "TryToCapture:Off" button to toggle it to On
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Then tab back to the planet view.

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Congratulations, you have conquered the planet! Your Ark will automatically capture the derelict controller and together they will claim the local resources for you. Right now this process is _very_ automated and may be too much so. On the other hand, you're probably more interested in strategy, logistics, tactics, and seeing things go boom than you are in giving explicit "claim everything on the planet" commands. We'll see.

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Before you move on, you'll want to build some kind of defenses here to hold the planet against AI attack.

Click the "Select Controllers" button (the plural is a bug, there's always exactly controller on a planet).

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This will bring up the controller's build menu.

Click the "Pattern" button.

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This should only be showing the "Basic Turretry" button in the upper part of that menu; some kind of persisting button bug.

Anyway, click "Basic Turretry".

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Boom! Problem solved.

... so what on earth did it just do?

See that "Power" number at the top of the screen? That's basically the population cap for local defenses (it doesn't apply to your main military fleet, that's handled by galaxy-wide "Fuel"). Executing the Basic Turretry pattern just runs a simple algorithm that builds as many turrets as it can within that power budget, from a variety of the types of turrets you have unlocked, in the available space near the unit that you executed the pattern from.

By the way, the Basic Turretry pattern is implemented in external code, you can read it in (game directory)/AIWarExternalCode/src/BuildPatterns/BasicTurretry.cs , and if you want to change it or add additional patterns you can do so: Modding Instructions

Again, lots of automation here, perhaps too much, we'll see. But in practice, you would generally want to put more thought into this. For one, you'll want to reposition your Controller before building its static defenses. Unlike the Orbital Command Stations in AIWC, the Controller can be moved around the local planet (but never through a wormhole). Turrets are still completely immobile, however.

So this is really easy, right? Let's take the fight to the AI. Select all your mobile military again, and tab to the galaxy map.

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You may have noticed that, unlike AIWC, you can't see the whole galaxy map at the beginning of the game (though you can in game-setup, currently). It works a lot like the "do not show unexplored planets" option from AIWC. We may or may not stick with this, but it seems pretty interesting and is good for the sense of progression throughout the game.

It's not entirely like "do not show unexplored planets", however, in that you don't actually have to visit each planet to see it. The rules are basically:

  • Some of your units have sensor ability. This includes your Ark, and also static sensor arrays you can build (though their power costs are probably too high for that right now).
  • Any planet within range of those sensors is fully visible to you. You can click on it and see what's there. The Ark's sensors have a range of 1 hop on the galaxy map.
  • Beyond that, the sensors will tell you about the existence and basic details of _every_ planet they can reach. Only an AI Sensor Scrambler will stop that "scan", and not every planet has a scrambler. Many do, however.

So to expand your knowledge of the galaxy you don't send out hordes of scouts, you send out military strikes to take down the scramblers. Later you'll also be able to hack scramblers to turn them to your advantage, but that's for another day.

In the screenshot above I've marked a planet with a scrambler (mouseover the little green cube to bring up the lower-left tooltip that tells you what it is... did I mention placeholder stuff?).

Find a similar planet in your game, and (with all your ships selected) right click that planet.

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In my case, I passed through another Mark-1 planet, and they didn't do much beyond scratching the paint on my shields. Wait, who put paint on my shields?

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This is the planet with the sensor scrambler... Oh, I didn't really pay attention. This is a Mark _4_ planet. Um, oops.

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Yea, this didn't end well.