The Last Federation:Alpha Release Notes

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Alpha Verson .702

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

  • Many of the race actions now have more informative descriptions (including the name of target planets, related races, etc).
  • Fixed a bug where the intro tips would show on quick-start, not just advanced-start.
    • Thanks to jerith for the report.
  • Fixed a bug where attacking the skylaxian senate could cause an exception.
    • Thanks to jerith for the report.
  • Fixed a bug where the contracts screen's refresh logic wouldn't clear the label showing the name of the selected contract, when there wasn't a selected contract.
    • Thanks to jerith for the report.
  • Fixed a bug where the display's "whiteout" state (caused by planets getting cracked, etc) would not clear when the game ended, such that starting a new game could leave you with a very white screen.
    • Thanks to jerith for the report.
  • Added a new toggle to the Graphics tab of the Settings window: Darken Chatter Scroll
    • Darkens the chatter scroll at the bottom of the screen to provide better contrast for the text.
    • Thanks to Misery and jerith for inspiring this change.
  • Fixed a bug where the game would try to simulate the rest of the sim-step during which an "End the game" type action was processed (like from the escape menu). This lead to it always playing one of the "you lose" narratives when you tried to leave. Cute, but wrong.
  • Fixed a bug where the ship type details window would still list a player version of the Model X flagship even if that wasn't (and therefore never could be) the player's flagship.
  • Fixed a bug where, on the solar map, the ship type details window would list the player's currently-in-use squadron types twice.
  • Split the difficulty level of the game into two parts: combat and strategic.
    • We basically knew we'd have to do that at some point, it was only a matter of time.
    • Thanks to Mick for directly inspiring the timing of the change, though.
  • The various difficulty levels now include tooltips for what they actually do when you are starting the game.
  • Non-hydral flagships have had their speeds dropped back down to their prior levels, so that they are never faster than the ships escorting them.
    • Thanks to orzelek for reporting.
  • Previously, if retreating was not possible, then it would not show the retreat button at all. Now it shows the button but in red in those circumstances.
    • Thanks to waylon531 for inspiring this change.
  • Fixed an issue where the victory music was throwing an error instead of playing.
    • Thanks to orzelek for reporting.
  • Previously, assassins and AFA attacks were able to be launched from non-spacefaring planets. Fixed.
    • Thanks to Cyborg for reporting.
  • Fixed a couple typos in the game in reference to politics.
    • Thanks to hyfrydle for reporting.

Alpha Verson .701

(Released February 12th, 2014)

  • The delay on the tooltips disappearing on the solar map is now gone; it was indeed annoying.
    • However, part of the purpose there was to keep the tooltips from being so "blinky" late in the game when there are tons of armadas and you are mousing over them.
    • The thing is, you almost never need to mouse over an armada; it doesn't tell you much about it, and you can tell the color from looking at it. Anyway, the need for a mouseover there is very rare.
    • So! Now the game only lets you get a tooltip for non-planets/outposts while you have the solar map paused (and it tells you this). This actually solves some annoyances I had with trying to mouse over the planet that I was located on, anyway.
    • Thanks to jerith for reporting.
  • The chatter bar now has a bit of a shadow to the text, and shows the icon of the race doing the speaking, to make it easier to see. You can also click the bar to see everything fully.
    • Thanks to Misery for inspiring these changes.
  • Any time any dropdown item is open, it now directs all mouse wheel scrolls to that dropdown and suppresses any other dropdown handling.
    • Thanks to jerith for suggesting.
  • Added a very long-requested feature to our engine: generalized mouse scrollwheel support in scrollable windows. And there was much rejoicing. :)
    • Thanks to Admiral and jerith and many many others for suggesting.
  • Fixed a bug in generating the prediction/result strings for the Andor speech actions.
  • The "when must one race refrain from attacking another race?" logic now includes a rule to exclude non-spacefaring races from being attacked and invaded.
  • Fixed a bug where a few direct-use abilities that were supposed to only affect player stuff (like the Afterburner) were affecting both sides.
    • Thanks to ProfessorPaul1290 for the report.
  • The ship type details window now:
    • Doesn't list internal types (the drop zone, etc)
    • Doesn't list a huge negative number for a ship with an attack range of zero.
    • Doesn't list racial flagships for races that can never get them (or for you, unless they're of your chosen race).
    • In non-combat mode doesn't list anything that isn't a main flagship type or a deployable squadron type.
    • Thanks to windgen for reporting various issues here.
  • Fixed several bugs with contracts not populating the opponents correctly, leading to instantly-completed "destroy pirate base" or "raid pirate freighter" missions, etc.
    • Thanks to Misery for the report.
  • Fixed a bug where raiding a pirate freighter would destroy a pirate base.
    • Thanks to Misery for the report.
  • Fixed a bug where smuggle-spacefaring missions would be instantly won because (despite proper enemy population) the game thought there was no enemy centerpiece.
    • Thanks to windgen for the report.
  • The special-ability selection on the black market screen and the combat practice screen now simply checks to prevent duplicates when you try to confirm, rather than removing what-would-be-duplicate-choices from each dropdown in real time.
    • Thanks to jerith for reporting issues with the way it was doing things.
  • Fixed an issue with spy probes having an animator dictionary problem.
  • Fixed a bug where the planetary details sidebar would draw a single oddly placed green line if you had no informant on the planet.
  • Fixed a bug where various assassination contracts would show up on the menus for the wrong races (Assassinate-Boarine-Regent showing up on the Acutian menu, for example).
    • Thanks to jerith for the report.
  • Now it won't show contracts that cannot be taken because they require a federation member, a non-federation-member, an outpost, or a non-spacefaring race, since the transitions to make those possible would either be impossible or sufficiently game-changing that it's ok that the list of contracts change in such a case.
    • Thanks to jerith for the report.
  • Hive Queen mood swings, andor and skylaxian elections, and boarine regent deaths now no longer show up in your sidebar when those races are not yet spacefaring.
  • Fixed a silly bug that was causing scrollbars on certain screens to be completely unresponsive to clicking and dragging.
    • Thanks to jerith for reporting.
  • Adjusted how close you have to be to do a number of things, like redock ships during a retreat, or drop off troops or tech that you are smuggling, etc.
  • The box that pops up when you click start game now no longer refers to exos. :)
    • Thanks to windgen for reporting.
  • Fixed a small typo in the explanation of ghost mode.
    • Thanks to windgen for reporting
  • The new "constellations" types of battles are now a lot more limited in scope most of the time, and not as prevalent throughout the game. There are still some that are just as hard as before, though, for sure. Yay variety
    • Thanks to Misery for reporting the difficulty of too many constellations.
  • The descriptions for all the various forms of "you're now starting combat, here's the special rules if there are any" are now in.
  • During battle or on the solar map, the ability to move your flagship ONLY south was nonfunctional. You could do it if you also held left or right, but not just holding down.
    • Thanks to Misery and jerith for reporting.
  • Fixed music playback not working properly except on the title menu.
    • Thanks to mrhanman for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug in trade goods missions where freighter graphics were messed up.
    • Thanks to waylon531 for reporting.

Alpha Verson .700

(Released February 11th, 2014)

  • Loads and loads of more stuff on the solar map; again not noted here since there is no previous version of it to compare to, so why bother.

* The actual game (as opposed to combat practice) has been opened up outside of developer-mode. :)

  • To capture a powerup, your ship no longer has to be quite so close to it.
    • Thanks to Cyborg and Misery for reporting.
  • The default battle speed of the game has been returned to 1 instead of 0.5. We really need to balance things around that, because otherwise things like time intervals make no sense with everything taking twice as long as it should, etc.
    • Also, frankly, I just feel like it is just as slow as molasses at that lower speed, which is really a grating feeling. I wind up playing almost all the time on super fast forward. As it stands, the option to lower the speed of things is right there prominently on the Quick Start screen (which of course people haven't seen yet), so if someone feels they are getting worked over they can turn down the speed. When someone gets a game over within the first short amount of time, it also reminds them about this (all these things were already in place, just not yet visible to folks).
    • Thanks to jerith for pointing out the time inconsistencies, and thus pushing me over the edge on something I was already feeling.
  • The overall speed of ships and shots has been cut by half, so that even at speed 1, it now is the same speed that it previously was at speed 0.5
    • Additionally, the hull strength and shield strengths have been doubled. But the attack powers have NOT, so that actually will string things out a bit more, even.
  • Time slowdown continues to work as it did before, but when you increase time past the default speed, it now works differently -- rather than using larger internal multipliers for all the various movement, trig, time-passage, and other such math, it now does an internal loop for approximately the number of extra times you wanted this to run.
    • This is incredibly more CPU-intensive while you are running at a high speed, but it's really nothing that a semi-modern computer can't handle without incident.
    • The benefit, however, is immense: before, certain aspects of "correctness" would get lost due to the coarser time intervals. Things would happen in an odd way in the solar map sometimes (mainly on the hyper-fast-forward that is possible to use in Ghost/Observer mode), and in battles (where things are more precise) you'd run into problems even with the regular Super Fast Forward.
    • Thanks to waylon531 and jerith for pointing out the issue in battles.
  • Two more of the planet types now have their proper orbital background images completed.
  • Fixed a bug where the gigacannon (and other keeps-going-after-hit weapons) could only damage the first target touched.
    • Thanks to Misery for the report.
  • Increased the range of the Gravity Missile and Nuke up to Gigacannon levels, so that you don't have to be so close to successfully fire them.
    • Thanks to Cyborg for inspiring this change.
  • The ship tooltips now show overall DPS and damage types.
    • Thanks to Cyborg for inspiring this change.
  • Fixed a null exception that would occur on the input-bindings window when trying to switch to the solar-map tab (since it has no keybinds currently).
    • Thanks to Admiral and Cyborg for reporting.
  • Mouseovering an ability icon now displays its range circle around your flagship (unless it has sniper ragne, which doesn't have a range circle).
    • Thanks to Misery for the suggestion.
  • Fixed a bug where if you were holding down a speed-change key (FF, etc) and clicked the mouse, it would go back to normal speed.
    • Thanks to jerith for reporting, although this was bugging the heck out of Chris, too. ;)

Alpha Verson .601

(Released February 8th, 2014)

  • Put in a fix to an index out of bounds error that could happen with explosive ammo in the prior version of the game when it hit debris.
    • Thanks to waylon531 and Cyborg for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug in the prior version where any combat zones that were not in planet orbits were not showing a space background at all.

Alpha Verson .600

(Released February 8th, 2014)

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

  • Loads and loads of stuff is being done on the non-combat portions of the game, but since that wasn't open to alpha testers yet we aren't bothering to clutter up the log with that for the most part.
  • 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.
  • When you are fighting in orbit around a planet, the battle backgrounds are now showing a new very-high-orbit view that includes that planet at the bottom area of the battlefield. This not only helps keep things contiguous in terms of theme/sense-of-place, it also makes it clear what direction the gravity is coming from.
  • 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.
  • Added a new flagship: The Colossus Bounty Hunter.
    • This ship puts a LOT of ordinance in the battlefield, and does so very quickly.
    • This is used exclusively by assassins that races send after you late in the game if you've pissed them off enough.
  • Started a new Tip of the Day document, which will be used in a ticker scroll on the main menu that you can also open up and see the full list of if you prefer.
  • The Black Market, Burlust, Evuck, and Skylaxian music themes are now in place.
  • Whichever race you choose to crash on the planet of at the start of the game now holds a grudge against you for the rest of the game, affecting how much influence you gain and lose with them.
  • The Y and V keys now target the nearest enemy flagship/centerpiece (could be an outpost of the enemy), rather than the "sole" enemy flagship, since there isn't one anymore.
  • Shots that are fired now have a short "grace period" before they will hit debris like asteroids, junk, etc. That way if ships are at close range, or in the edge of an asteroid field or junk cluster, they can fire out.
  • Now if a shot hits a piece of debris, it damages any ships that are also touching that same piece of debris. That way ships can't hide on top of a single asteroid or similar, gaining protection that way. They have to literally be behind it.
  • The final version of the main menu is now complete. It's a lot more attractive, and mirrors the design of the solar map GUI. First impressions are obviously important, and by working on this first it was actually quicker to get the solar GUI going, too.
  • The player now starts significantly further away from the enemy.
    • Thanks to Cyborg for inspiring this change.
  • The number on the buttons for your squadrons now reflects the actual keybind that they are bound to -- so #10 says "0" instead of "10." Additionally, if you rebind any of them to something other than numbers, it will now you show whatever your other binding was, too.
    • Thanks to Admiral for suggesting.
  • The first squadron to be deployed by any ship is always deployed 5x faster than the rest, now.
    • Thanks to Admiral for suggesting.
  • AI squadrons now wait to attack until it's satisfied that it has enough attack squadrons to do some good (this amount varies by race, and somewhat by individual battle).

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.
  • Given the addition of the new Ship Details screen (i key), the Ship Rankings screen (r key) has been removed as irrelevant. The latter screen was based on showing some information in a format that is now outdated anyhow.

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.
  • PirateSnipers now only have 2 ships per squad.
    • As a result, they now hit much much harder.

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.
  • Skylaxian Battle Carrier now has what amounts to a machine gun.
  • The Burlust Longship now has two Burst guns, as well as some increased health.
  • The other racial special flag ships have all been partially updated. These final three all have new weapons planned.
    • The Boarine Tusker now moves faster.
    • The Evuck Herald moves faster too, but it also has a significantly faster shot speed now.
    • The Andor Supressor has more health now, but a smaller shield, as well as having a slower shot speed.

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.
  • All of the racial special flagships have been made substantially more unique.
  • AI ships are organized into armadas now, which are basically a collection of 1-5 fleets in one group. You fight an entire armada at a time, which is obviously very outnumbering for you.

Enemy Turrets

  • There are now turrets that only the enemy gets. All of your ships are still mobile, and you never get things like turrets.
  • Depending on the context of the fight you are in, you may have a simpler-style battle where it is just fleet vs fleet as in the older versions of the alpha. In those instances you are out in empty space typically, and a foe has snuck up on you.
  • In most other instances, you're attacking a foe that is entrenched at least somewhat, and they have turrets and other fortifications up that you have to figure out how to break.

Player Flagship Special Abilities

  • There are twenty-five new special abilities that players are now able to customize their flagships with. The AI never gets these abilities, and these are a big part of your Act-In-The-Hole Batman-esque way of taking on foes that otherwise have superior numbers.
    • You start a new game with access to 5 random ones of these, and you can only ever select 3 at a time. You can run certain kinds of contracts to unlock random other ones.
    • In combat practice, you can select any of them at any time, but again only 3.
    • These have both ammo and cooldowns, and if you are doing multiple fights between visiting a planet or a black market, you have to think about how and when you want to expend said ammo.
    • Some of these, like using nukes in the orbit of a planet, have larger-game consequences despite being very powerful. But then again, using nukes out in empty space or in the asteroid belt or ice belt doesn't bother anybody, so...
    • The JKL hotkeys allow you to trigger these abilities quickly.
  • Any flagship controlled by the player now moves 250% faster than it used to. The flagships felt like they were moving in molasses before -- which was appropriate when the battlefields were smaller, and when there was less maneuvering to be done. And it is still appropriate for the enemy flagships. But this is now one of your "Batman" advantages. ;)

Player Powerups / Abandoned Hydral Technology

  • Since you are the last Hydral, only you know how to make use of some very cool technology that happened to be left in various places throughout the solar system. After all, the Hydrals were occupying the solar system for centuries, and had built up a ton of stuff. They also left in a hurry to run back to their planet right before they died, so all that stuff is still floating around out there.
    • Usually the enemy forces have set up guards and turrets and so forth around these sorts of technology, though, so if you want to activate them you will have to really think about how you approach them, and which ones you approach.

Helping The Player Out On Lower Difficulties

  • The difficulty levels below Hard now provide bonuses to the player that make their forces stronger than equivalent AI forces:
    • Easy: Flagship Health is 4x, Squadron Sizes are 3x
    • Normal: Flagship Health is 2x, Squadron Sizes are 2x
  • It is now possible to select your difficulty level for combat practices, so that you can try scenarios at the various difficulty levels.

"Constellations" In Combat

  • Combat -- well, most of the time -- is now organized into what we call constellations internally (although the game itself never references these). These are various fortified enemy locations, typically with some sort of hydral technology at the center, or some sort of other large centerpieces. The variety of these will go up in the coming week, so that it's not all hydral technology (which for the moment, it is).
  • The constellations have different arrangements of turrets in a variety of styles, and some are easier to bypass than others. The constellations get distributed around at random, near one another, at random orientations, so you wind up with a very interesting fortress-like battlefield to approach in these sorts of situations.
  • The AI for the enemies when constellations are present is very different from before. They now tend to hide in the constellations, and overwhelm you with force, or guard hydral technology, as is appropriate.
  • None-constellation combat is still present, and uses different AI. This mainly happens in the main game when you are attacked by the AFA or by Assassins, and in those circumstances it actually starts to feel very naked and lonely and brutal-simple. By contrast, the constellation battlefields are a lot more intricate and about finding the right paths through them, and the right ships to use at the right time to punch through them.

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