The Last Federation:Alpha Release Notes

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Alpha Verson .103

(This isn't done yet, we're still working on it.)

Special Note: This version breaks any savegames you might have from the prior version.

  • Added a new basic kind of flagship to go alongside the Model X. This one is called the Velociter, and it is basically a much faster version of the Model X, but with lower health and shields. It's certainly great for kiting the enemy, although in close quarters it is a very dangerous thing.
  • Players are no longer ever able to get the pirate flagships, which are now called Pirate Ravens and have altered stats.
    • They also now have actual final graphics and animations.
  • Fixed a bug where the backgrounds were not found in the last version or two when you used a planet gravity well strength greater than 0.
    • Thanks to Cyborg for reporting.
  • The ability for players to turn on auto-resolve for battles has been removed. That was something that we would have liked to have had ala the Total War series, but as the battles are growing in complexity here, there is just no meaningful way to do that in this game. Plus, cutting them out simply gets rid of too much of the meat of the game at this point.
  • The Fleet Levels for races and the player and pirates have all been removed, and everything is now just level 1. The progression of the fleet levels was just one more piece of management hassle in the outer solar system game (like credits), and something to mess with balance in a negative way. It's also the sort of thing that is frustratingly invisible to the player on the battlefield in some respects, and which doesn't thematically stand up as interestingly as things like the pilot types do.
    • There will still be a progression of quality of ships and abilities and all that good stuff, but it will actually be using other existing mechanisms that we have in place that are more interesting. Fleet Levels was actually kind of duplicative in some ways.

Improving Tools For Balancing Combat

  • Added a new Ship Detailed Info grid that you can call up with the "i" key. This lets you see detailed stats if you are so inclined to do so, with all the ships neatly organized. For those who want all the hoary details on everything, this lets you get it without us having to clutter up the main tooltips with that sort of thing.
  • The combat balance testing export (Ctrl+F11) now visually shows the battles playing out at hyperspeed. This is slower, but it gives an actual idea of what is happening so that changes can be made when there are issues. Some very interesting things were discovered via this already.
  • The combat balance testing export now runs at a vastly more granular set of time per internal combat frame, to better reflect the actual situation in real battles. Previously with it not being granular enough, you would have things like shots missing because of physics getting wonky at that sort of speed, etc.
  • The combat balance testing export was previously logging stalemates as victories for some parties, and this is now fixed.
  • Space junk no longer pops out of large ships during balance exports, because that was often skewing the numbers by chance or prolonging battles.
  • As the balance export is running, a lot of stats now display right on the tooltip area, to make understanding the results easier in realtime.
  • The balance export now writes a BalanceExportWinsPerShip.txt file that tallies up how many wins each ship has, and notes the total number of ship types, to aid in finding balance holes where something is too strong or too pathetically weak. We have something similar in our balance exports in AI War.
  • Added a new ForceWriteGameStyleMatches flag in the BalanceExport.cs file, which writes a new Configuration/ShipVShipStats.dat file when it is toggled on. This file in turn will be read in to get the true ship v ship effectiveness values, as opposed to using a formula to try to arrive at a rank. This in turn will be used to generate much more realistic auto-resolved battles, versus us having to hand-tune a formula to the same degree.

Ship Balance

  • Ammo has been removed from all of the ship weapons except for interceptor missiles. It didn't serve a whole lot of purpose in the main, it was fiddly and small to find, and during combat balance exports in particular it would give skewed results since both sides could run out of ammo and just sit there.
  • The sine shots have been updated for both the predator and the peltian solar fortress to be more effective as well as more interesting.
    • Previously they had two fairly wavy shots. This was good and bad -- they could wind up missing something that they were shooting directly at, unfortunately. But at the same time, they were great in crowds and could hit around corners, etc.
    • Now those two shots are even MORE wavy, making them even better at getting around corners, but they also have a third center-shot that goes straight, thus always hitting straight-line targets.
  • Hypersonic Pods now have a second weapon on them, called Energy Balls. These are a longer-ranged energy weapon that is more or less like a single-shot version of the burst shot that the claymores have.
    • This makes the hypersonic pods have a much different role from the interceptors at this point, as they are able to deliver two kinds of munitions now -- but their second form of munitions, these energy balls, are not very useful against enemy flagships, which is also part of the idea. However, these things suddenly are really useful as claymore-killers.
  • Hypersonic Pods were WAY overpowered. To fix this they have been slowed, have had their DPS lowered and had their hull strength brought way down.
    • Basically these things can't generally take more than one hit from anything now, but they still have use in battle.
  • Claymores now have a bit more health.
    • They were lowered a bit too much in previous patches due to a bug in some of the testing portions of the game making them look stronger than they were. This has been fixed and now the Claymores are closer to where they should be.

Racial Special Flagships

  • The balance of the Thoraxian Exterminator has been completely reworked, making it faster and with a stronger hull, but poorer shields.
  • Completely revised the Acutian Executor:
    • Highly shielded, extremely fast-moving weapons, and the ability to deploy squadrons twice as quickly as normal.
  • Continuing with the effort to make the flag ships more unique. Peltian Solar Fortress now has a TON of shields, but not a lot of hull strength.

Shifts Toward A More Asymmetric Fleet/Armada Model

  • In combat practice, players can only ever select the racial special flagships for themselves, now.
  • When starting a new game, players are now given the racial special flagship for the race whose planet they crash-landed on. They then can never swap out their flagship for the rest of the game.
  • All races have access to their racial special flagships right from the start of the game, now.

Alpha Verson .102

(Released January 31st, 2014)

  • Several new battle background visuals are now in place, completely replacing the older kind at this point. They all use a specific level of brightness (or lack thereof), to make sure that things on the battlefield are clearly visible, as well as to make sure that the interface "pops" properly.
  • Fixed a bug where the multi-bullets were incredibly out of balance.
  • The peltian and evuck pilots now actually have bonuses for the cutters (pirate and regular)
  • Adjusted the max range to live on the shots, because the way it was working before was clamped in .101 just too short to remain functional/balanced in a lot of cases.
  • The multigun weapon has been revised to fire shots sequentially, and to fire fixed-size salvos rather than "one shot at any in range, up to 10".
  • Initial positions in combat are now fixed to the left and right at X distance from the center, rather than at random angles from the center. This way your first action in every combat isn't panning the view around wondering where the enemy is.
  • In the combat practice setup, as well as in the game itself, it is now no longer possible to select fewer than 5 squadrons for either side.
  • In the combat practice setup and in the game itself, blank squadron slots now show "None" in darkened letters rather than just being blank. This is a lot easier to see.
  • Fixed an indexing exception when you use peltian pilots in interceptors.
    • Thanks to Cyborg for reporting.
  • The basic flagship is now called Flagship Model X, so that we can differentiate it from other later kinds of flagships better.

Heavily Revised Combat GUI

  • The visual styling in general is now much improved; it's based on the solar map GUI, which is newer work.
  • There are new buttons on-screen for slow-motion as well as super-fast-forward.
  • The entire arrangement of the bottom area of the screen has been redone.
  • The "charging tanks" display on the player health/shield bar area has been removed (although the enemy one still has it).
  • The queue of your ship production is now on the left side of the screen going down, rather than at the bottom going to the right.
  • The end combat button is now much more in the regular style of the game without being so gaudy, and it now pulses slightly to hint at you to click it.
  • When you first get into a new battle or load a savegame that is in the middle of a battle, it now automatically starts out paused so that you can look around. Pressing the spacebar or clicking the slightly-pulsing "start combat" button actually begins the combat.
    • Thanks to Admiral and Misery for suggesting.
  • Tooltips in combat now linger for 2 seconds after you have moused over something, if you do not mouse over something else first. This makes it easier to mouse over moving ships, etc.
    • Thanks to windgen for suggesting.
  • The tooltips in combat now actually say what side each ship you are hovering over belongs to.
  • A more detailed role description text with some extra key information is now included in the tooltip information on hovering over ships in combat. The raw statistics of lesser importance have been removed from the tooltip, as it is not actionable information during battles in terms of how you use things tactically.
    • Thanks to windgen for suggesting the added text here.
  • The tooltips for hovering over the squadron buttons have been much improved.

Balance Changes

  • Damage from the Claymore shots was brought WAY down.
    • These things were hitting like a Mack truck loaded with school buses.
  • Monitors (both pirate and non) now have a lower shot rate.
  • Fixed an issue in the prior version where the effective shot travel distance on sine shots (from predators, mainly) was so short as to make them ineffective.
  • Nearly doubled the ranges on most ships, in order to make it so that the escort behavior works better in terms of keeping the ability to fire shots more of the time when an enemy approaches.
  • Fixed an issue where the AI was making way too many solitary attack fleets and sending those pitifully at the player in the prior version. It's now a lot more varied, but less prone to attack fleets in general. Still more AI work is needed, but a lot of that will have to wait until we have our hydral technology capture points in place, because the AI really needs to take that into consideration and not just the point-to-point fighting.
    • Thanks to Cyborg for reporting the error.

Alpha Verson .101

(Released January 30th, 2014)

  • The recent page notes actually points to the release notes, now.
  • Lots of various stuff in the larger strategic game outside of the combat section, but since that isn't available to testers yet, we'll spare you the list.
  • The game now keeps tracks of campaigns played and won/lost separately from combat practices played and won/lost, and now properly logs all of them.
    • Thanks to Admiral for reporting.
  • Squadron deployment buttons in combat now have tooltips.
  • The tooltips in combat now show a line about the pilots and pilot bonuses.
  • Combat performance optimizations.
  • The selection rings for ships were not properly scaling up with ships as you zoomed out in the prior version of the game, making it almost impossible to see what you had selected when you were zoomed out at all.
    • Thanks to Professor Paul1290, Admiral, and mrhanman for reporting.
  • "Giant" ships like your flagship now show larger selection rings in general, even when zoomed in.
    • Thanks to Professor Paul1290, Admiral, and mrhanman for reporting.
  • The clickable area for ships now scales up with the zoom going out, so that you can still click them when you are zoomed out. And for flagships, this area is now larger in general.
    • Thanks to mrhanman for reporting.
  • The racial/other-purpose ship name prefixes now properly show during battles. So something from the Thoraxians is now no longer the "Bolt," it's the "TCC Bolt."
  • Strafing time was not properly adjusting to different simulation speeds, so on lower sim speeds it was causing hugely less strafing, and on higher sim speeds or fast-forward, it was causing hugely more.
    • Thanks to Cyborg for suggesting.
  • Fixed an issue with the background grid of lines basically being insane when you zoomed in and out. Given that was supposed to be a major indication not only of spatial distance but also of your zoom level, that was kind of an important oversight.
    • Thanks to Misery and Admiral for reporting.
  • New slider on Settings -> Graphics: Combat Background Brightness
    • Adjusts the brightness of the backgrounds in combat. 1 is normal, 0 is completely black.
  • Now when a squadron deploys its ships start at a small scale and grow to full size over about a second. They cannot be selected, fire, or be targeted during this time.
  • Shots now disappear after they have traveled twice their maximum range, to avoid an interceptor furball from spraying the cosmos like some kind of shmup.
    • Missiles travel up to 5 times their maximum range.
    • Thanks to Admiral for inspiring this change.
  • New ship: Hypersonic Pod
    • Built for doing incredibly fast strafing runs that enemies find it difficult to do defend against, even though the strafing runs themselves are not that strong. Not the strongest, and not the hardiest, but definitely the fastest.
  • Added two new battle backgrounds, and removed three of them that were simply too bright.

Enemy Combat AI Improvements/Additions

  • Now, once the enemy flagship has directly fired upon your flagship, all flanking AI squadrons immediately attack, and any further AI squadrons are either attacker or defender (no wanderers or flankers, etc).
  • Now, when a flagship's shields are down or its hull is below half, all new AI squadrons are attacker (if it's the player's flagship in distress) or defender (if it's the AI's flagship).
    • Further, if a flagship's hull drops below 20%, all AI squadrons immediately switch to the corresponding AI type.
  • After deploying a squadron, the AI will check if it needs to pick a different next-squadron-to-deploy. Specifically, it will try to make sure it has Claymores to counter Interceptors, Interceptors to counter Snipers, and Monitors to counter Lancers.
    • There's a significant random factor involved, and often it will just keep the existing order.
  • Added a new "Buddy" AI squadron behavior that makes the squadron pick a random non-buddy squadron to stick around (whatever it might be doing).
  • Added new AI squadron behavior that tries to hide some of the types of pirate ships (which don't slow down near asteroids) in clusters of asteroids a bit away (about 2x firing range) from the player's flagship.

Flagship/Racial Fleet AI

  • AI flagships now randomly select from a variety of AI routines (weights based on the flagship's creating race).
  • The enemy flagship now always turns aggressive (as in "bum rush the player flagship") if it is completely out of squadron ships or if 2 minutes of game-time have passed since the last squadron deployment.
  • Added a "Enemy Flagship Behavior" dropdown to the combat practice menu. It defaults to random (which just uses the race's normal chances of picking various flagship AIs) but you can use it to pick any flagship AI for the enemy.

Added Battle Controls/Tools

  • Added a new "wild hunter" mode for your ships, that also applies to some enemy flocks. This can be turned on via the B hotkey, and makes them automatically seek out and destroy the ships that they are best suited to kill.
  • Double-clicking one of your ships in combat now selects all your ships of that type.
  • Added new Key Bind: Center On Selection
    • In combat, centers your viewport on the averaged center of all the ships you have selected. Does not adjust your zoom, so if you have a widely-spread selection of ships and are zoomed in this may center your view on a whole lot of nothing.
    • Defaults to C.
  • The player's flagship now responds to WASD for movement in combat.
    • Holding control while pressing WASD sets the destination considerably further out, so the ship will stay on that heading for some time (unless another order is given).
    • Thanks to Admiral for the suggestion.
  • Added new Key Bind: Pure Coward
    • In combat, puts your flagship in Pure Coward mode, which causes it to try to run directly away from the enemy flagship until you give it another order.
    • Defaults to U.
    • Thanks to Admiral for the suggestion.
  • Added new Key Bind: Insanely Aggressive.
    • In combat, puts your flagship in Insanely Aggressive mode, which causes it to try to run straight at the enemy flagship until you give it another order.
    • Defaults to Y.
    • Thanks to Admiral for the suggestion.
  • Added new Key Bind: Center On Enemy Flagship
    • In combat, centers your viewport on the enemy flagship.
    • Defaults to J.

Battle Speed Stuff

  • The default battle speed is now 0.5 instead of 1, and battle speeds can be adjusted all the way down to 0.05 instead of just to 0.25.
    • Thanks to Admiral and Misery for suggesting.
  • The deployment speed of ships has been halved, so that there is a much bigger difference between what size ship you bring out at any given time timing-wise, as well as making it so that you can't flood the battlefield with low-cost ships too fast.
  • Added new Key Bind: Slow Motion
    • Like the inverse of Fast Forward, it reduces speed to half normal in combat (does not apply on solar map).
    • Defaults to T
  • Added new Key Bind: Super Fast Forward
    • Like Fast Forward, but double that in combat, and eight times that on the solar map.
    • Defaults to G

Balance changes

  • Pirate Lancers no longer have "strafing time," unlike interceptors and cutters of both the regular and pirate varieties.
  • Interceptors now hit for less and have a longer time between shots. This is to hopefully prevent the "zerg rush" strategy from being effective.
    • Thanks to Misery for pointing this out.
  • The Flanking squadron AI now switches to Attacker when fired upon from beyond their own weapon range.
  • Claymores nerfed hard as they were literally beating all ships 1v1.
    • Health, damage, and shot frequency all dropped.
  • PirateSniper health dropped.
    • With the nerf to Interceptors, they actually didn't kill snipers anymore... OOPS.

The Last Federation