AI War 2:Multiplayer Alpha And Beta

From Arcen Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Contents

Known Issues

  • Any bugs or requests should go to our mantis bugtracker
    • If you need to submit log files, those can generally be found under your PlayerData folder in the folder your game is installed in. The most relevant one is called ArcenDebugLog.txt. You can send us the whole thing, or just strip out relevant parts.
    • In rare cases, mainly if your entire game crashes (that almost never happens), we will need your unity player log. That gets overwritten the next time you run the game after a crash, unlike the other log. These can be found here:
      • Windows: C:\Users\username\AppData\LocalLow\Arcen Games, LLC\AIWar2\Player.log
      • macOS: ~/Library/Logs/Arcen Games, LLC/AIWar2/Player.log
      • Linux: ~/.config/unity3d/Arcen Games, LLC/AIWar2/Player.log

What Does Multiplayer Alpha Mean?

Please see this link for details on multiplayer. This wound up taking up too much space in this document, so all of the multiplayer-relevant bits have been moved to the other page.

What's this phase all about?

Multiplayer is fully playable at this point, but still has a variety of glitches and doesn't have all of the features that we intend to have in the long term. So hence it still being in alpha status. But we greatly welcome folks to play, and hopefully give us reports on what is going wrong if something does go wrong.

We expect to be to a fully-polished non-beta status for multiplayer in November or December, if things continue as they have.

Our second expansion for the game, Zenith Onslaught, has a whole heck of a lot of it completed, but still needs more doing. Badger has done all of his parts for it, and has retired like Puffin before him, so at this point we are down to basically a one-person show again (me, Chris) on bugfixing, finishing multiplayer, finishing my parts of DLC2, and finishing the last of the kickstarter obligations. So if the schedule slips some, it's likely because I had trouble juggling that, or wanted extra time to make things truly shine, whichever. But at the start of this phase, things are feeling very positive.

Beta 2.722

(Not yet released -- we're still working on it!)

Beta 2.721 Histiocytes And Circles

(Released January 22nd, 2021)

  • Updates to turret counts in the new balance -- thanks to ArnaudB for making these shifts.
    • Updated cap counts for starting battlestations, seeded battle/citadel and GCAs.
    • Adjusted counts for military station, home station for pike, ambush, beams.
    • 30 small - 6 large on battlestations. 20 small - 4 large on seeded battlestation/citadel. 15 small - 3 large on GCA.
    • Adjusted the gravity generator, tachyton and tractor as well.
    • Thanks to ArnaudB for putting this together!

Mod Updates

  • ESV
    • Fixed the Viral Shredder variants not using the cannot_actually_be_built_builds_self_indirectly XML field, meaning that the game would fail trying to load them.
  • New version 1.18 version of More System Defenders mod by CRC Gamer.

New Included Mod: Macrophage Histiocytes by StarKelp

  • Added the Macrophage Histiocytes mod.
    • Adds in a multitude of new features to the Macrophage faction, most of which can be enabled or disabled at will.
    • Histiocytes:
      • Drones created by Macrophage, Telia, and Infested Mines. These mimic the stats of regular Harvesters.
    • Metal Generator Infestation:
      • Harvesters can corrupt Metal Mines, causing them to create additional Histiocyte drones.
    • Dark Spire Rivalry
      • Macrophage are now capable of consuming Dark Spire Vengeance Generators.
      • Dark Spire take offense to this, and will wither the Telia on planets adjacent to their generators in response.
    • Tweaks Galore
      • A number of tweaks can be found in a new Macrophage section of Galaxy Settings, which include toggling off many of the above features.
      • Others include passive Telium regen, allowing Spores to also infest targets, and letting Extragalactic units wither Telium away like Dark Spire units.
    • Additionally included is a submod that can be activated to apply these effects to the Spire Infested Telium and Harvesters.

Drawing Lines And Circles

  • Shapes, by Freya Holmér, has been integrated so that we can draw extremely efficient lines and circles in an HTML5-looking style.
    • https://acegikmo.com/shapes/docs/
    • Bear in mind that because of the component-based nature of this, we have to pool and alter shapes versus being able to request them drawing "on demand" as we have been doing with IMDraw in the past.
  • We've implemented our own ArcenShapeRoot base class, which allows us to wrapper and carefully control edits to various subcategories of shapes.
    • At the moment we have implemented 5 specific sub-shapes for our purposes: disc transparent, disc sized, line, rotational ring, and thickness ring.
  • We then have a new ArcenShapePool class, which manages pooling and initialization for each of the shape classes that we have.
    • This is all working for the five initial shape styles, but it's then up to other code to actually request the use of a shape, set where it should be and what it should look like, and ultimately return it to the pool when it finishes with it, etc.
    • Right now none of the other code does that yet (it's all still using IMDraw), but the initialization and pooling logic is fully up and going. Next step will be to convert over specific usages of IMDraw, one after the other, to use the new approach.
    • The performance of IMDraw is really really bad when it comes to drawing hundreds or thousands of circles, although it can draw thousands of lines without a problem. But in both cases, they wind up also looking pretty dated and unattractive.
      • Folks have been noticing that on the more recent drivers from nVidia on windows, we now wind up with a 50% drop in framerate just from selecting ships and drawing the selection circles around them. Those were not causing nearly so much overhead in the past, so it seems to be something to do with the newer hardware or newer drivers or both (for us internally, drivers from 2018 were fine, but on the newer 2021 drivers the performance tanks, without hardware changes).
    • Anyhow, for those folks who are NOT seeing performance degradation (either they are on older drivers or their hardware is just not affected), these sets of changes will result in prettier lines and circles but probably not any performance boost since IMDraw was previously lightning fast. For those on newer hardware, it will be both prettier and faster.
  • The cursor that appears on the plane of gameplay has been updated to use Shapes rather than IMDraw.
    • Rather than two coarse thin line circles, it is now a dot in the center and a nicer lined circle around the outside.
    • This is both slightly more efficient (but so low in volume of draws as to not be a big deal) as well as a lot prettier. This is also the first example of us actually using the new Shapes code in actual practice.
    • In the cases of this one, we pull out some items from two different pools and then just hang onto them forever, since we're pretty frequently needing a cursor, after all.
  • The way that circles are drawn around ships that are selected, or that you hover over, is now based on Shapes instead of IMDraw. This looks incredibly more polished now, and comes with a far less substantial performance hit than before when you have a bunch of ships that are all selected at once.
    • There are still various other parts of the game to update with this new style, but these were the really big ones that were causing massive slowdowns for folks on newer drivers.
    • For Chris in a standalone build, in the "terrible framerate" test case from Daw11, the framerate was previously getting cut in half from 130fps to around 60fps or even lower on his GTX 1070 and i7-6700HQ. Now it drops from about 130fps to about 120fps. This is way more appropriate for the type of operation being undertaken.
    • It's also far more attractive!
    • Thanks to Daw11 and others for reporting.

Beta 2.720 Linux Runs

(Released January 21st, 2021)

  • Fixed the game up to not have splash screens for unity on any OS.
  • Fixed up some internal things so that we can do new full-builds much faster.
  • Improved some of the visuals from the loss screen so that they will look better in this new version of unity, as there were some shaders that did not translate well used on the asteroids and a few other elements there.
  • Fixed an issue where the linux build would not launch at all in the prior beta, because there's a new UnityPlayer.so file that is needed. That is now included in this version and on our internal tests on Ubuntu we seem to be back in business.
    • Thanks to Daw11 for reporting.

Beta 2.719 Unity 2019.4, And Performance

(Released January 20th, 2021)

  • Note: The current build has a "Made With Unity" splash screen that is not intended to stay. We have more to fix up with this in general, but it's good enough for testing on various platforms for now. There is now a current_beta branch on Steam, and a most_recent_stable_beta to go back to the prior one if this one gives you problems.
  • The xml field cannot_actually_be_built has been replaced by two fields:
    • cannot_actually_be_built_is_not_a_ship_line for empty slots.
    • cannot_actually_be_built_builds_self_indirectly for viral shredder copies and similar.
    • Previously there were a variety of strange things that could happen because viral shredder copies were set up identically to "empty ship lines" in this.
      • It's possible that in some of the fleet sidebars and swap line popouts, viral shredder copies may show up inappropriately now. If you find any cases of that, please let us know.
    • One bug that was happening before was that viral shredder copies were having their fleet membership disconnected from their actual fleets, which made them not able to get in transports after that point or be selected properly with the fleet.
      • For viral shredder copies in existing savegames that had this problem, they now work just fine when you load the savegame (they don't have to suicide themselves or anything like that).
    • Thanks to GreatYng and Crabby for reporting.
  • When viral shredders are transferred between fleet lines, if there are any viral shredder copies left behind, they will delete themselves.
    • Previously, they were instead throwing endless streams of errors.
    • Thanks to Chthon, Puffin, Crabby, and PetGhost for reporting.

Unity Upgrade To 2019.4.18f1

It's worth noting that a lot of file format stuff changed here (more efficient) due to Unity's internal database formats changing, so the updates are ludicrously big. The total when all three platforms are combined is a difference of 3GB to download on Steam. On any given single platform it's probably closer to 2GB.

  • AI War 2 is being upgraded from unity build 2019.1.7f1 to 2019.4.18f1.
    • Overall this is an upgrade from the long-term support version of Unity from April of 2019 to the January of 2021 build.
    • This MAY fix the inverted scroll wheel bug on linux, finally, but we're not sure.
    • This does also come with some internal performance improvements to how jobs are handled on the CPU, most notably around rendering. So this hopefully will be at least a minor performance boost for folks.
    • We also have upgraded Amplify Shader and Shader Graph to the latest versions, so whatever automated improvements they have to the sorts of shaders that we created those can now be applied. Other shaders that we hand-coded are already probably as efficient as they can get.
    • We did look into "Addressables" as a potential replacement for Asset Bundles, hoping that we could get faster load times. But really all that would do is give us better asset management (which we already have in great shape) and still would be using asset bundles under the hood. So definitely not worth any development time there.
    • There may be some other various improvements that we are not aware of (seriously, almost two years of lengthy release notes on a weekly basis, 99% of which doesn't apply to AI War 2). Given that this is the "long term support" branch, it is unlikely that there are new bugs that were not there before, but stranger things have happened in the past.
    • This does also allow us to use more up to date assets and packages in general, to maximize performance on things like drawing lines and circles if that's a possibility.
    • DirectX11 in general might perform better now, but we'll see how that goes. If it performs better now than OpenGL on your machine, please do let us know!
    • Vulkan support on linux has also probably improved substantially, so let us know on that, too. That's really highly dependent on your specific drivers and hardware and OS flavor.
    • There are a bunch of other random things that unity fixed, like better support for multi-screen monitors on OSX, and things like that.
    • Looks like our build times for large asset bundles and such are also dramatically better, which lets us more easily make changes to art in the future. Seems to be at least a 400% improvement over what we've seen in the past, and honestly that is probably under-selling it. So that's a huge savings for us in time!
      • Actually, yeah -- one example case with small changes, it's improved from 400 seconds to 28 seconds. This is gigantic for our ability to iterate and test on art and ui elements.
  • We are now using Graphics Jobs again in unity. There was a performance regression with them in 2019.1, which they fixed in 2019.3, so that is now a benefit again.
    • This should help to make various aspects of rendering less CPU-bound, but it will depend a lot on the machine in question.
  • Our gimbal sprites are now using the geometry pipeline rather than the transparent pipeline, which makes drawing them vastly more efficient in two ways.
    • Firstly, it avoids depth sorting on the CPU, which is time-consuming and can be a bottleneck.
    • Secondly, it allows for full use of GPU Instancing, so that there should be no more than a single draw call per combination of sprite dictionaries, rather than potentially having more draw calls because of non-matching dictionary groups being non-adjacent in the sorted draw list.
    • This can cut the draw calls in a giant many-types-of-ships battle from being hundreds to being like 6 to 10.
    • It looks like we made the change to use the transparent pipeline on July 15, 2020, after more than two years of it being in the geometry pipeline.
    • This has a massive positive impact on both the galaxy map view and the planet view.
    • Thanks to Lightjolly for the report that helped us find this.
  • We are making some adjustments to our camera stacks, and part of this is also using some new unity features:
    • We are now letting unity monitor CPU and GPU frame timings, and that can feed into adaptive screen resolutions for certain cameras.
    • The background nebula now uses adaptive screen resolutions if the framerate is poor, and it also now is set to NEVER use MSAA since that is useless on that camera.
    • Our UI camera is now set to use Forward rendering like all the others, rather than using Deferred.
    • MSAA is now off on the sprite cameras, overlay cameras, and on the effect cameras for stale intel and unexplored planet effects. MSAA is only enabled on the main camera that would be drawing actual ship geometry that would benefit from it (and the main menu camera).
    • Our pre-canvas LDR mapper camera is now set to not do occlusion culling, although it already was set to a culling mask of Nothing, so it's just doing image manipulation anyway. But just in case.
    • The main menu screen (which can be super heavy for some folks) now allows for adaptive resolution.

Beta 2.718 Tutorial And Tech Fixes

(Released January 19th, 2021)

  • Tutorial refinements:
    • Notices of new journal entries no longer appear during tutorials (in the chat log), but the journal entries do still appear in the sidebar.
    • For folks with DLC3 installed, they were getting a necromancer faction in the tutorial, which is now blocked from happening. Actually, they are no longer added with a default configuration just because you have DLC3 installed in general.
    • Discoverable factions in general are no longer added during tutorials.
    • The Praetorian Guard are now entirely blocked from appearing in tutorials.
    • Thanks to blackdog904 for reporting some of these issues that were still there.
  • The second tutorial now uses Raid Frigates instead of Assault Frigates so that it goes much more quickly.
  • Fixed an intermittent issue where the tutorials category list could be empty, leading to no tutorials appearing.
    • This would mainly happen if you changed the installed expansions or mods after loading the game but before looking at the tutorials, but that was not the only way it could happen.
    • This bug was introduced when we implemented hot-reloading of expansions and mod content a couple of months ago.
    • Thanks to Kolbex for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue where the tutorial text could wind up coloring some bits after its "step complete: proceed to next step" bits.
  • Fixed a bug in our new (as of a few months ago) more efficient ArcenDoubleCharacterBuffer where it sometimes would return stale text.
    • Essentially, we were checking to see if any text that was written in this new pass was different from the text from the old pass, and that was working perfectly.
    • What was NOT working was that we did not check to see if last time we wrote more than this time. So if we wrote identical text, just less, then it would keep displaying whatever was there from before. This was extremely hard to pin down, but it affected things like the chat popups and tutorial step complete messages, and various parts of the galaxy map.
    • The additional check to fix this is extremely inexpensive and corrects the behavior without making the ArcenDoubleCharacterBuffer any less efficient than it already was.
    • Thanks to a variety of folks for reporting variants on this, but in particular Kahuna, Crabby, SortYa and others.
  • When you're looking at a flagship that you've not captured yet, it no longer shows the text about how long it will take ships that are unloaded to wait before they can fire. That's not relevant there.
  • When you C-click a fleet that you do not yet own, it now shows the proper mark levels and ship caps for each ship it talks about.
    • Thanks to Minotaar for reporting.
  • Fixed another issue with the counting of ships where if there was a fleet that you could capture it would show the wrong number of ships for the current value that you're upgrading from on the tech tooltip.
    • Thanks to Minotaar for reporting.
  • When you C-click a tech, it now properly shows the ship caps and how they would increase for any ships that you could capture that are part of that tech.
    • This is both a fix to a regression (it was showing nothing in the last two betas) as well as a fix to a longer-term issue (prior to the beta branch, it just showed a fixed number that did not increase).
    • Thanks to Minotaar for reporting.
  • Previously the colors for the mark line counts and strength totals that you would get from upgrading a tech were kind of scrambled up. In a couple of places we had green and blue inverted (blue = ships, green = defense, but it was backwards on the actual science buttons), and it wasn't consistently applied in the tooltip.
    • Now this is shown consistently throughout the tooltip and the actual sidebar, and on the sidebar if it would show one but not the other, it now only shows the one that has a value (rather than showing zero for the one that has no improvement).
      • In the even that it does wind up showing a zero, it will be because there is less than 1 strength granted from some line.
    • Thanks to Tim_Fragmagnet for reporting.

Refinements To New Balance

  • The starting support fleets now have 16, 20, and 14 combat engineers rather than 8, 10, and 6. This brings them into line with the new starting values in the new balance of the beta branch.
    • Thanks to ArnaudB for reporting.

Beta 2.717 Tuning And Optional Capture

(Released January 18th, 2021)

Refinements To The New Balance

  • We now have the first example of a custom MarkLevelScaleStyle that is just for a single ship or a few ships that are assigned manually (in this case it's assigned manually).
    • For the player home forcefields, those now actually DO get some added cap added to them (up from the start of 1) as you upgrade your fleet. They start out with a cap of 1, and for mark 2 and 3 they each get +1. Beyond mark 3, they get no more cap.
    • Thanks to CRCGamer, Chthon, Crabby, and others for suggesting/discussing.
  • The attack multiplier curve for human frigates has been nerfed HARD.
    • In the lower marks, you in particular really just get far less attack power, while still getting the more aggressive hull health. Frigates in general actually grow up a little slower than the average AI ship now in terms of attack power, and a lot slower than strikecraft. But they have such intense multishot that their power is pretty insane as it is.
    • That said, when you finally get up to mark 6 and 7, if you choose to, they actually accelerate slightly beyond what the AI would have on attack power. So their curve has been adjusted in general, but they still are overall buffed compared to prior builds before this beta branch.
    • Players were easily fielding 100+ strength in the first 20 minutes of the game with the prior beta build, so this is a first way to try to combat that. We want frigates to be good, but not god-tier.
    • Thanks to a variety of players on discord for discussing. More balance will be needed, but today was more about fixing bugs first.

Fixes To Prior Build Regressions

  • Fixed an issue with the GCA additions to fleets not always being added into the caps of ship lines in a variety of places. It seems to properly include the results from a GCA hack in all of the tech previews now, as well as actually granting you the GCA ships at all (unlike in the prior build).
    • Thanks to a variety of players for reporting, including Chthon (thanks for the save!), DEMOCRACY_DEMOCRACY, Spaz, Crabby, and others on discord.
  • Fixed a variety of places where absolute_max_cap_when_in_fleets was being set to values that were too low for the new balance. This led to players getting fewer forcefields from logistics stations than they were supposed to, for instance, but also affected tractor beams and tachyon beams and a variety of other units. They've all been properly updated now.
    • Thanks to Chthon for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue that would let negative numbers show up in the tech upgrade tooltips for ship counts for various ship lines.
    • Also fixed another issue where turrets in particular would look like they were going down a few in count because of a rounding error that would happen when you had enough planets with turrets all on them.
    • Thanks to NRSirLimbo and others for reporting.
  • Added can_be_empty_or_filled_and_no_complaints to AI ship groups.
    • Usually used for stuff that is in one or more expansions and mods, and so defined in the base game but empty unless a certain expansion is present.
    • CAN be used in conjunction with if_empty_copy_items_from without problems.
    • Is now used on some various features that were complaining if you did not have DLC1 or DLC2 installed in the prior build.
    • These errors that were there when you started up the game in the prior build were alarming, but harmless.
    • Thanks to Chthon, CRCGamer, zeusalmighty, and others for reporting.

Bugfixes

  • Fixed a couple of rare race conditions that could cause exceptions while drawing or moving shots around as you switched planets.
    • Thanks to samnainocard for reporting.
  • Fixed an exception that can happen when hitting Reset To Defaults while you were on the factions tab in the lobby. It was getting confused and asking for some nonsensical data on one frame, but then would be correct after that. At this point it just lets the one frame be wrong and correct itself after, which is how it has been prior to mid-last-year when we made some of the items more strictly verified.
    • Thanks Crabby for reporting.
  • Fixed a rare exception that could happen in GetHasSelection() if a squad died just the wrong way.
    • Additionally, if we ever do have an exception in there, it will now give more useful errors and disrupt the main GUI view less.
    • Thanks to samnainocard for reporting.

Misc Improvements

  • In the Tech Menu hovertext for a given tech, when displaying 'New Ships for ship line' and 'Old Ships for ship line', the older value is a smaller font to make it clearer what's happening.
  • The intel objective for locating the AI Overlords that you have not found has been changed in a few ways:
    • It now just has one entry for however many you have not found, and does not specify how many there are. In some games, you don't know how many there are, and we don't want to tell you until you scout.
    • It is no longer linked to an actual overlord, so you can't change the priority of the objective and cause the position of the AI Overlord planet to be revealed (not that we could get this to work, for whatever reason).
    • The tooltip itself now states that there are one or more undiscovered AI king units, and that you'll need to find out how many.
    • Thanks to Tim_Fragmagnet for reporting.
  • The keybind for "Hold For Yellow Pings" is now X, rather than Shift+Ctrl.
    • This prevents issues where anything that was "just ctrl" or "just shift" was not working anymore if you held Ctrl and Shift at the same time.
    • Basically, when we have modifier keys that are a combo of lesser things, we don't want to trigger this, right? If you think about a word processor, as a simple example, hitting Ctrl+A should select all and not ALSO type the letter A.
    • There weren't really any direct issues from this, except that anyone who reflexively holds Shift down wile using place-multiple (Ctrl or Alt) would find that it failed for them. Now that will work again.
    • Thanks to Astilious for reporting.
  • Added a new is_intentionally_empty_beyond_centerpiece="true", which can be applied to fleet design templates.
    • When this is true, you won't get the "Fleet Design Template X never has any items added to it (centerpiece aside)! This will cause some problems." error for it being empty.
    • However, when this is true, if there is anything in any of the groups other than the Centerpeice slot, then it will complain about them since that's not what you indicated you wanted. Just a helpful self-check for modders and developers.
    • Thanks to zeus for reporting.
  • Added a new can_be_empty_or_filled_and_no_complaints="true" flag for fleet design templates.
    • This one is more for testing style fleets, which may or may not have entries in them.
    • This is now applied to the non-distributed Precepts of the Precursors mod, to prevent it from erroring.
      • For most of the cases they are clearly test fleets, but in one case it looks like a dyson seedlings fleet was defined but just never finished being set up.
  • If the "for science" cheat is used without any arguments, it no longer errors out but instead just gives you 10k science.
  • The Poltergeist has been moved to tier 2 instead of being tier 1 in the AI Exogalactic War Front faction.
    • This makes it so that they are very unlikely to show up in any game that doesn't have Fallen Spire or something else truly crazy going on. The fact that these guys can shoot straight under forcefields is way overpowered and seems cheesy when it shows up out of context, but when it is properly pitted against the really overpowered forces you gather up in the Fallen Spire campaign, it fits right in.
    • Thanks to Arides for reporting how this doesn't fit with tier 1.
  • Previously, in multi-faction multiplayer if an ally was having a brownout, that was impossible to tell apart from you having one.
    • Now the tooltips are different for you versus your allies, so you can actually tell what is going on.
  • Eight various golems were actually still named "Golem Arks" from waaaay long back. Fixed.

Capturables - Clarity and Control

  • The game now always shows if there is an AIP or metal cost to claim something, even if you are on the brief tooltips.
    • The colorization is also now better and more eye-catching, and on the brief tooltip it is more brief.
    • Thanks to Unit 744 for suggesting.
  • Fixed an issue that was extremely confusing, where ships that belonged to your faction now but still had not been claimed yet (because of a metal cost over time, generally) would no longer show what the AIP cost (or metal cost for that matter) were going to be.
    • This led to confusion about whether you had already paid the AIP cost or not, since you could look in the AIP log and see that the entry was missing.
  • Capturables that take a while to rebuild (like golems or arks) now can be selected like other units, but they will immediately reject any orders you give them.
    • You can, however, change their stances, and pause them, now.
    • When set into pause mode, your unclaimed ships will not actually BE claimed -- the tooltip will show that information, and it will avoid spending all that metal that your economy may or may not be able to afford, as well as potentially incurring AIP if that's related to this capturable.
    • Thanks to poljik2 and Crabby for suggesting.

Mod Updates

  • AMU:
    • Multiple internal adjustments to work with changes to the Vanilla code again.
    • Fixed some rogue debug printouts that shouldn't occur unless they are turned on deliberately.
    • Adjusted the WarpToPlanet() method as it could have thrown missing method exceptions due to some Vanilla code changes. However, no unit should have had the requirements to trigger this function (yet).
    • Fixed yet another bug where Fireteams could get stuck on planets if the command station was armed, even though the planet was already conquered. The FireteamMaintenance() function now detects such planets and resets the team's objectives.
    • Fixed an issue with the canSpend() method from the CostBasedShipSpawner leading to an attempt at spawning infinite ships when being allowed to go into debt. This would only occur if Kaizers Marauders were set to intensity 10, and fixes them locking up the game permanently.
    • Updated the included source code.
  • KM:
    • Prevented Marauders from building more than one Capital if the game was loaded from a save at just the right time.
    • Fixed the Raid Battleship not moving towards targets and instead staying at sniper range.
    • Marauders allied to players or AIs will generate only half the exowar response. Playtesting for an extended period of time revealed that this got out of hand too quickly.
    • Marauders will "split" their Exowar budget: If there's 2 hostile AIs they will divide it by 2, if there's 3 they will divide it by 3, and so on. This will lead to lower-rank but still more Exowar units thrown at Marauders.
    • Fixed Marauders at very high intensities building so many forcefield generators that they would start stacking and erroring out the threads because they could no longer find valid locations. The same treatment was given to the Defense Posts because they might have the same issue in the future.
    • Removed the NoDrones and EmptyPlaceholder fleet design templates. They were never used anyway and relics of previous changes when fleet ships and drones were "emptied out" and removed, but were now complaining that they had no ships in them (well duh).
    • The Fortified Forceshield Generator now no longer can stack with bad placements or when being pushed into one another, and now also uses the new forcefield scaling.
  • ESV:
    • General balance pass, mostly about nerfing the power of FRS ships and the Melee-Frigates. The latter were just so powerful and fast that they could act as if they were better Raid Frigates. Plus more drone fleets and less drone projectiles.
      • Adjusted to no longer have min/max caps and instead use flat caps similar to Vanilla, shifted shields to hull and adjusted descriptions mentioning shields for Strike Craft, Drones and Drone Projectiles.
        • Excluded are Void Bombers which use special shields as a special mechanic for themselves.
        • This revealed some typos which lead to inconsistent ship line counts like no or too high variance between min/max in some cases, which are now fixed as well.
      • Halved the ship cap of all the FRS ship lines
      • Alpha Strike Wings now correctly empower their Damage Modifier based on being on the planet for a while, instead of adding an ambush damage modifier, it always was supposed to be a Raid ship.
        • Thanks to ArnaudB and probably a few others over an extended period of time for mentioning this.
      • Adjusted the Suppressor and Devestator ship counts from the starter fleets from 4 to 6 to match what the player can find in the galaxy.
      • Reduced the speed of the Melee Frigate ships from 2900 to 1800. They were, again, way better than Raid Frigates...
      • Reduced the damage multiplier for enemies with >= 5 tx on the Wedge Frigates from 7 to 4, but it now begins applying to enemies starting at 3 tx.
      • The Metabolizing Drones from the Metabolizing support fleets now have half the health, they were too durable for mere Drones.
      • The Metabolizing and Acidic factories no longer use drone guns but now use actual drones. Their self-attrition is now 35% instead of 3% per second but they no longer decay as long as their parent Mobile Factory is on the same planet.
  • Updated More System Defenders to 1.17.
    • Includes a fix to loading very old savegames.
    • Also should properly delete some renamed files, now.

Beta 2.716 The Great Balance Curve

(Released January 11th, 2021)

  • Subversion quickstart tooltip now mentions that the nanocaust invade later in the game.
  • Make Astro Trains level up a bit more slowly

Mod Updates

  • Updated the mod Extended Ship Variants to match the new unit amounts so that they won't be underpowered in the new version.
  • Updated the mod More Starting Options to match the new unit amounts so that they won't be underpowered in the new version.
  • More System Defenders Dev Build 1.16 - Ships rebalancing take one.
    • Updated mod by CRCGamer to have wider changes for fitting into the new balance.
  • Updated the UtilityMethods class so that mods can more properly use it to get entities in an AI ship group and similar.
  • Updated the Civilian Industries raid logic.
    • Making use of a new function created by Chris that gets all raid ship types without potentially erroring out.
    • Added a max attempts per loop per raid wave, meaning it will more quickly error out and will no longer break its entire thread for the rest of the game.
    • Added in some more detailed debugging for if this ever occurs again in the future.
      • Thanks to mashtong54 on steam for the report, and Chris for helping optimize the fix.

Interface Updates

  • Added a new DoOnLocalStartNonSimUpdates_OnMainThread(), which lets us do some of the logic from DoPerSecondLogic_Stage3Main_OnMainThreadAndPartOfSim() prior to the game being unpaused.
    • We now use this in particular to make sure that the details on the tech menu are updated properly before you have unpaused the game. Aka it shows how many ship lines would be improved, and all that sort of thing.
  • The way that the ship caps are calculated for purposes of previews when upgrading a tech is now vastly more accurate.
    • When you are looking at the list of ships lines that are improved by a tech, it now shows what their ship cap changes will be, as well as what their individual strength improvements will be per ship line. Previously you could only see this if you clicked into the C-click menu (though you could see aggregate numbers for strength, by tech, and still can).
    • There were a LOT of edge cases where various counting things for ships were wrong, and that code has all been completely rewritten.
  • The strength estimates for improvements by techs have been wrong for a long time, since they were using a formulate that wound up using the old mark level's hull and shield amounts rather than the current one.
    • This has been corrected, and you can now accurately see what your benefits would be for each tech. Holy decision-making ability, Batman.
  • When a tech will benefit ship lines that you can capture AND that you already have, it now includes both. Previously, it was ignoring any capturable ship lines that were duplicative of something you already had, which was not very helpful for decision-making.
  • The "weak against" tooltip (hold R and hover over enemy) is now much more accurate in terms of what it lists in general, as well as also showing things that get multiple bonuses against a single unit in the proper multiplicative format. If it's two different weapons, then it may overestimate; that's a pretty rare case, if it even exists, though.
    • Additionally, these are now sorted from best against the target, to least strong against the target, instead of being sorted alphabetically. Anything that is the same amount good against a target is sorted alphabetically.
  • The weak-against view now shows how many ships you have (or could have) of each given type. This is a handy little thing that gives you a view into how many more ships you can bring to bear of a certain sort against these enemies.
  • In the strong against display, it now uses the max unlocked mark of the player ship lines, rather than the lowest mark. This rarely matters, but sometimes gives more accurate bonuses.
  • All of the other improvements that were made to the weak-against display are also now on the strong-against display (hovering over your own units with R held down).
    • Being able to see how many ships of each enemy type you have discovered is actually pretty cool on this screen. It shows them all with the max discovered mark level, but breaking out them by mark level would be extremely painful in terms of how much screen space it would take.

Balance Adjustments

  • Strikecraft (in the base game and DLC1) no longer have personal shields, but all of what was shields are now in hull.
    • Basically, strikecraft don’t need personal shields: they don’t live long enough for regen to kick in where that’s beneficial.
    • Instead, all that this means is that they have a new weakness (fusion weapons) that makes fusion overpowered.
  • Updated Fusion Bombers, lowering their bonus and putting most of it into the weapon damage directly.
    • The bonus was meant to optimize targeting, should've been lower long ago, makes them less likely to get hindered by allies at all.
    • Thanks to Puffin for finding this!
  • The Dark Spire ships that you can get from the Hacks no longer upgrade from human techs. That was overpowered for those ships, as well as emphasizing those techs way too much.
    • The names on these are now unique, showing "Hacked Dark Wraith" and similar rather than just showing the name from the main setup.
    • You now get 2 rather than just one Specter, when you hack for those. They also have half the metal cost of before, and a plasma torpedo that is substantially lower power, and slightly lower range. This keeps them from just absolutely outclassing Bombards in every way.
    • Thanks to CRCGamer directly for the bulk of these changes, and for the inspiring the rest.

No More Unlock Variance

  • The galaxy option "Remove Unlock Variance in Capturables" has been removed from the game.
    • So has actual underlying ship line variance in capturables!
    • For fleet lines that are pre-existing, if they have min and max, it will now just use the max. So existing mods won't be hurt.
      • If you are a modder and wanting to set something more intentional, then please use the "cap" xml tag instead.
    • This particular style of variance added nothing to the strategic decision-making of the game, but could lead to you getting unintentionally hosed.
  • On GameEntityTypeData, we now keep track of a MinFleetMembershipCap and MaxFleetMembershipCap, which is the largest number ever in a fleet versus the smallest ever in a fleet.
    • We had a handy "quality scoring" that previously we were using for situations where there was variance in a given fleet line (that is gone, as noted), but there are multiple fleet lines that can use the same ship in different quantities.
    • Essentially, there are a variety of types of fleet designs, and some of them give you more or fewer of certain types of ships. We are shifting our quality scoring to look across those types of lines, since the quality of a given fleet line purpose is always now fixed instead of variant.
    • Confusing? Yeah... sorry about that. Overall this is not relevant except to modders and developers.
  • It's worth noting that there IS still variance in how many strikecraft and frigate lines there are in a given fleet, when you find them out in the wild.
    • The unlock variance setting already did nothing about that, and for now we're keeping that in place.
  • Strikecraft random ranges are no more, so here's what we've settled on based on the prior ranges.
    • Bear in mind that even at mark 1 these are inflated now for player ships, so this is lower than you'd actually see in the game.
    • Range 10-18 is now 14.
    • Range 5-7 is now 6.
    • Range 5-9 is now 7.
    • Range 6-10 is now 8.
    • Range 6-12 is now 9.
    • Range 7-14 is now 10.
    • Range 8-15 is now 11.
    • Range 10-15 is now 13.
    • Range 10-18 is now 14.
    • Range 12-20 is now 15.
    • Range 12-25 is now 19.
    • Range 15-25 is now 20.
    • Range 25-40 is now 32.
    • Range 30-40 is now 35.
    • Range 20-35 is now 28.
    • Range 30-60 is now 45.
    • Range 40-55 is now 48.
    • Range 40-60 is now 50.
    • Range 60-80 is now 70.
    • Anything that already had the same min and max still has that same amount.
    • We are going to soon do some analysis of ships based on their strength at their ship caps and make sure that things look reasonable as divided out by tech, but this is the first step.
      • Previously it was pretty hard to do that sort of analysis since any given ship line could randomly be often 50% weaker than normal or 200% stronger than normal.
  • All of the other types of ships that had a range of default values now have a cap in the middle, also.
    • Again, in all cases we can now balance from there, which is nice.

Mark Level Scaling Overhaul

  • The following has been removed from the Balance_MarkLevel table:
    • attack_multiplier
    • most_everything_squad_cap_multiplier_list
    • frigate_squad_cap_multiplier_list
    • hull_points_multiplier
    • assist_range_multiplier
    • shield_radius_multiplier
  • A new Balance_MarkLevelScaleStyle table has been added, which has most of those things.
    • human_squad_cap_multiplier_list replaces the two other squad cap multiplier lists.
      • This is named as such to make it clear that this really only applies to human caps, since pretty much all other factions use their own style of caps unrelated to fleet lines.
    • Everything else is the same in terms of the content, although they are now all expressed as lists in order to make these more concise to define.
    • While we were at it, we also split out the multipliers for shields and hull health, because why not. Flexibility is a good thing.
  • GameEntity definitions now have a new, optional, mark_level_scale_style.
    • This allows a nonstandard MarkLevelScaleStyle to be assigned to any entity that you wish.
  • There is also the ability to define defaults for entire categories, like strikecraft or frigates or turrets or whatever.
    • In the event that any of that is missing or not defined, then it just falls back on the defaults.
  • The defaults are exactly what they were in the game up until now, although soon this will be applied to increasing minorities of ships.
  • Strikecraft caps for human fleets have been dramatically rebalanced.
    • Please see v3 of this sheet for all the details: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1PxvEq3jOEPDt7RWAZXaJEatLx_unwvsH2NgMFKoguac/edit?usp=sharing
    • With these changes, essentially:
      • You get more strikecraft in general, but the AI does not.
      • You get vastly more strikecraft at mark 2 and mark 3 compared to before.
      • Overall, upgrades through mark 4 are far more powerful and represent a much greater progress toward the total power of mark 7 (mark 4 for humans is now 62% as powerful as mark 7, rather than 35%, because of the increase in ship caps without changing any actual ship stats).
      • Once you hit mark 5+, there are no more additional ships added to your ship line. However, the total ships you have at mark 4 is already higher than what you had at mark 7 prior to now, so this is not exactly a punishment.
      • The total strength boost of a full cap of mark 7 ship now versus before, for humans, is 21%. Aka, if you fully upgrade a ship line to mark 7, it's now 21% more powerful than in prior versions of the game. This does not affect the AI in any way.
      • THAT said, you are still seeing diminishing returns on the power curve as you upgrade above mark 4. Two fleet lines both upgraded to mark 4 are now very likely to be far more powerful than a single mark 7 line.
    • These changes make it a lot less obvious that you should specialize in any single tech, and make a wide variety of tech strategies hopefully much more viable.
      • This is not the end of the story in terms of making that so, but for strikecraft this is the big item.

No More Frigates For AIs

  • Added a new is_deprecated="true" flag that allows the game to automatically remove any instances of a given ship in old games, as well as hiding it from any future encylopedias in the game.
    • This has been applied to the AI Raid Frigate.
  • All of the frigates have been removed from any AI groups that were using them.
    • This essentially means that AIs cannot build their own frigates anymore. They might make zombies out of some, but that's about the extent of it.
    • This goes back to a much older design for the game, where we wanted AIs to only have Guardians, and humans to have Frigates as their own unique tech.
    • AIs have sometimes been using frigates excessively, particularly stacking too many of them in guard posts as if they were just strikecraft, so that's really not something we want to have happen.
  • AI ship groups and fleet design templates now check to see if they are empty, and throw errors if they are.
    • The idea is that if these are used anywhere in the game, then you'll wind up with funky empty waves or planets or fleets or whatnot. The self-check is a help there.
  • AI Ship Groups are sometimes intentionally left empty (usually to not have something large and scary on every planet, and use the weighting system to accomplish this).
    • These ship groups now have a is_intentionally_empty="true" tag on them, so that we can know that and not complain about them during automated checks.
    • Any ship groups that have that tag but also have ships will now be complained about, as well.
    • For ship groups that are essentially deprecated, but which are in existing savegames, we now have a if_empty_copy_items_from tag that lets us assign something general into it for cases where it was previously used.
  • Added a new is_considered_visible_part_of_the_ai_faction_for_what_can_own_purposes flag for various AI subfactions.
  • For any AI factions, or any factions with the above flag, any frigates that they have either directly out, or in guard posts, will be removed and a little notice is posted silently in the log when you load a savegame.
    • There were some truly insane numbers of frigates in guard posts in some places before, so this will be quite a nerf to some previously-unlucky savegames.
    • If there were frigates in an incoming wave, or something to that effect, those will still arrive and are not cleared out.
    • Thanks in particular to Democracy for alerting us to how crazy this could get.

Frigate Balance

  • Frigates (in the base game and DLC1) now have a bit more hull, and about a 16% reduction in metal cost.
    • Previously they just evaporated too easily.
    • Additionally, these took too long to rebuild, and also were a poor deal in metal-to-health ratios compared to most strikecraft.
  • Frigates no longer go up in ship cap at all, unlike in prior versions of the game.
    • For station-keepers, it was annoying to have to go back and fill in more.
    • For absolutely every kind of frigate, a ship cap increase of 1 on a cap of 2 (as an example) is a 50% increase in metal and energy costs, which is pretty darn turbulent on your economy.
    • Overall with the perception being that you need to have a certain number of frigates for them to be useful at all, it's better to just start at that number and then let them get beefier as they mark up. This gives higher-mark ones more staying power, without the added expense or gaps-in-turnover during large battles.
    • When you pair this with the buffs to frigates from mark level stats, it's hopefully enough to make them really interesting, but one reason we're headed into a beta branch is to find out if all the numbers check out.
    • So, caps for frigates have been adjusted as follows:
      • Previously 1, now 4.
      • Previously 2, now 6.
      • Previously 3, now 9.
      • Previously 4, now 12.
      • Forcefield frigates are the sole exception, and they get a total of 3 rather than 4.
    • We may need to make adjustments to some other specific frigate lines, but we'll just see how things play out.
  • The max cap of the Chained Dark Spire Eidolon station-keeping frigate is now 2, rather than being the 4 it would be if it was with other frigates.
    • Same with Tamed Macrophage, another thing you can purchase from the Zenith Trader.
    • Same with Scrubbed Aberration and Scrubbed Abomination.
    • It's worth noting that all of these are markless frigates, so they always previously had a max cap of 1 no matter what. Having a max cap of 2 might make them a bit more fun.

Turret Balance

  • There is a new attack_range_multiplier_list that we can use on mark level scaling styles to increase the range of certain units as they mark up.
    • This is not something we would ever have wanted to generalize previously, but now we are able to sub-categorize and so it's nice to have.
    • In most all cases, we will not actually use anything other than 1.
  • The assist and attack range multiplier from mark levels now only applies when it's not already a sniper-level range, or if it's not melee-range.
  • The game now automatically checks for human and AI styles of turrets, and differentiates them.
    • If something is trying to use a turret as both a human and AI type, then it now complains about that.
  • All of the various ensnarer turrets were being used by the AI as well as being used by one specific type of human battlestation.
    • This was problematic, as the costs were too high for the ensnarer turrets, they did not die to remains, they had the word AI in their name, and a bunch of other things.
    • These have now all been split out, although if you happened to have the AI ones in a previous game, you still will now, and they will scale wrong and still behave wrong. These were already rare, though, so it should not affect too many games.
  • The game now has different scaling multipliers set up for human, AI, and other turret types.
    • Right now, the AI and other turret types just keep using the "Original" style that give them the same stats they have had prior to this new build.
    • The human turrets, however, are different.
      • Human turrets no longer gain any ship cap as they go up in mark level.
      • The more aggressive scaling from the frigates scaling is now used, for much the same reason.
      • The assist range of these turrets is like the Original style, though, not like Frigates.
      • And finally, there is actually an increasing attack range on the human turrets per mark level, until mark 4. This is new and not something we will do much with other units, but is great for turrets since they cannot move.
    • Overall with human turrets, the goal here is again to change the curve of power like we did with frigates, but to stop increasing their ship caps as you level them up.
      • It's super annoying having to go back to all your planets and place new turrets every time you increase a tech that affects some of them, and now that's no longer a thing.
  • Because turrets no longer increase in cap as they mark up, we needed to increase the base caps for all of them that you get.
    • Overall we were seeing around a 260% increase from mark 1 to mark 4 in the prior build of the game, so for now we're going with that in general.
    • Previous cap of 5 is now 13.
    • Previous cap of 7 is now 18.
    • Previous cap of 15 is now 40.
    • Previous cap of 19 is now 50.
    • Previous cap of 20 is now 52.
    • Previous cap of 24 is now 62.
    • Previous cap of 30 is now 78.
    • Previous cap of 38 is now 98.
    • Previous cap of 40 is now 104.
    • Previous cap of 60 is now 156.
    • Previous cap of 75 is now 195.
    • Previous cap of 90 is now 234.
    • Previous cap of 180 is now 468.
    • Wow some of these numbers look large. Well, you certainly won't be hurting for places to spend your extra energy, anymore.
      • With these numbers you can definitely set up whatever sort of coverage you want on a planet, and then how upgraded your turrets are determines how effective the coverage is.
      • In the past, it was possible that you wouldn't have enough turrets to actually get full coverage on a planet until you did some upgrades. Now that isn't a problem, energy-willing.
    • Puffin reminds me that the multiplier_to_all_fleet_caps="0.2" means that these will actually show up as 1/5 of the values you see here, so it's not going to be such a culture shock. That makes more sense!
      • This applies ONLY to turrets.

More Balance

  • Minefield balance:
    • All minefields now have a bit aggressively more than 2.6x the ship cap that their average would have been before.
    • Any minefields with shield points now have those as hull points instead.
    • There is a new mark level scaling for minefields, which does the old "original style" hull scaling, but which keeps the more-aggressive style of attack scaling from frigates and turrets.
    • There are way more minefields in DLC2 than in the base game, and there are none in DLC1, so some of these are not visible to most folks yet.
  • We no longer try to automatically calculate IsNonTurretDefense.
    • That had been returning quite a few false positives, such as all the ensnarer turrets and a lot of other factional structures.
    • That probably didn't matter until now, and it's been the same calculation for the last 3-4 years, but now we're actually doing some differentiation on this and so it needed to be corrected.
    • is_stationary_forcefield has been added to let us identify those, and is_non_turret_defense has been added to let us identify THOSE.
    • Essentially there are a few forcefields which are the latter, and the former consists of the tachyon array, tractor array, and gravity generator. We're excluding minefields from that latter category.
  • Non-turret defenses now have their own scaling which is basically just the frigates for hull and shields, but the original style for weapons (of which they probably have none).
  • The ship caps on the stationary forcefields and non-turret defenses both no longer increase with mark level, so they also get some extras.
    • Essentially for forcefields, logistical now gets 6, military 4, economic 2. Previously it was 2, 1, 1, with increases by mark level.
    • For the non-turret defenses, they get an approximate 2.6x-ish boost, but it's a bit varied since we already tuned it up a little. If it feels like too few or too many, please let us know!
  • Then added a new is_engineer="true" for those style of ships, and a new is_default_for_engineers="true" to go with them.
    • The overall design is that engineers no longer increase in count as the mark level goes up, but their hull points and shield points go through the roof like a forcefield does (multiplier-wise, anyhow).
    • Engineers already have improvements to their ability to assist built into their designs, but now their increases per mark level are doubled from what they were. This makes individual engineers FAR more powerful with even just a single mark level upgrade.
    • Since the caps of engineers don't increase, we also have increased the caps of them.
      • Overall their numbers are generally doubled or tripled, depending on the kind of engineer and the context.

Guardians

  • Guardians and Dire Guardians now have their own scaling, which you can see the math on here:
    • https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1acg0Q7C0wyXz3tHEO21UMifb3EcsihGRSJB8m6yTbX8/edit?usp=sharing
    • This gives them much more aggressive attack and hull and shield boosts, and even breaks the normal rule and gives them shield radius boosts.
    • Until now, the AI has been nerfed pretty heavily so far in this rebalance in general, and the player has been getting substantial buffs left and right.
    • This is the first substantial buff to the AI, and it makes guardians actually relevant again -- at the topmost levels, the guardians are about twice as dangerous.
    • That said, the overall growth is pretty steady and linear, just higher, which makes sense for opposing forces. The curves for enemy growth and your growth are very different, as they are meant to serve different purposes.
    • It's possible that too few guardians are being seeded -- if that's the case, please let us know. They shouldn't be everywhere all the time, but they should be enough of a presence to be freaky and a problem when you see them.

Version 2.715 Unload Queuing

(Released January 11th, 2021)

  • Fix a typo that was causing tons of raid frigates in ARSs and flagships.
    • Thanks to CRCGamer for catching and Badger for fixing.
  • Fireteams are now less likely to abandon the AI Overlord
    • Thanks again to Badger.
  • Put in a lot of code adjustments to prevent errors in ReevaluateUnitOrders, and to make them give us better error messages if they do encounter any. Also updated some of the other methods in the same class for good measure. On MP clients, also made it so that it just ignores these errors, since they will be quickly corrected by host-sync.
    • Thanks to Badger and his play group for reporting.
  • When there is a stack of n number of ships, it already does up to n*x damage per shot from that stack, where n is at most 5, but lower if the stack is smaller. This is fine.
    • For single-shot small ships in stacks, we were also already adding on extra shots at a rate of 1 shot extra for every 5 ships, which also is fine and leads to the same total damage output.
    • However, for multi-shot small ships in stacks with s number of shots, they were getting only 1 extra shot per n ships, not n*s extra shots. Fixed.
    • TLDR: Stacked MLRS corvettes will now fire more shots, along with anything similar to them.
    • Thanks to Puffin for reporting.

More Queued Order Types

  • Something we had thought was not really going to be possible in the game, now is implemented: the queuing of some certain kinds of orders after movement, attack, traverse-wormhole, or whatever.
    • The new commands that are supported basically use any of the existing buttons or hotkeys as usual, but you hold shift to append them to the end of the commands you already have in place. If you have no commands queued up already, then it will just do the thing immediately.
    • Unload Transport
      • So for instance, give a some move orders to a distant planet, and at the end of that keep holding shift and press U (or click the interface button. The transport will unload when it gets there.
      • Note that Load Transport is NOT supported. This requires all of the ships to actually get loaded properly in, potentially from other planets, and the checking for that is both really complicated and also hopefully a far less common case.
    • Set Pursuit Mode on or off
    • Set Attack-Move Mode on or off
    • Set Stop-To-Shoot Mode on or of
    • So, for instance you can give some regular move orders to one side of a planet, then give a regular attack order, then have it turn on (or off) attack-move mode.
      • We can't think of any use cases for turning off a mode like this at a destination, but it is possible.
      • We also can't really think of any use cases for turning ON a mode like this at a destination, because ships will follow your direct move and attack orders even when in attack-move mode, which is functionally identical to the use case here. But it does exist now, in cases it's useful.
    • The ability to unload transports at the destination is a big deal, at any rate, since there was no way to have that happen in an automated fashion before.
    • Thanks to Bummeri, Admiral, Daniexpert, StarKeep, NB_FlankStrike, Asteroid, deo , and darkarchon for requesting.

Included Mod Updates

  • AMU:
    • Fixed an exception in the Auto-Juggle Energy code in conjunction with the Micro Mod Collection that happened when both types of converters were present.
      • Thanks to ussdefiant60 for reporting
    • The description now displays that it adds the functions to adjust starting and incremental AIP or AIP reduction, as well as having the Auto-Juggle energy setting in the first place
      • Thanks to Smidlee for suggesting

Version 2.714 Frigate Surge And CSGs

(Released January 9th, 2021)

  • The Praetorian Guard no longer gets any mark level upgrades above the ambient of the AI during tutorials. This makes it so that the PG does not show up in force and decimate new players in Midlander.
    • Thanks to Matalus and smidlee for reporting.
  • Fixed a very strange error that we are not sure how it was not erroring for everyone, where we were calling some window management stuff from a background thread for the last month or so. Only cracking it open in the unity editor seemed to make it error. At any rate, it's corrected now, but we're not sure if it actually affected anyone.

New Included Mod: AI Shield Generators by cml

  • This mod adds a special faction, "AI Shield Generators," to the game. This faction consists of a number of shield generators which must be destroyed before the dire guard posts on the AI Homeworld(s) can be destroyed.
    • Setup:
      • Enable one or more "AI Shield Generators" factions.
      • Set the Faction Color, Number of Shield Generators, and Number to Destroy for each AI Shield Generators faction. The first two options should be self-explanatory, while the last is explained in more detail below. It is recommended that you select a different colour for each faction so that you can distinguish between them in-game.
    • Gameplay:
      • During the game, you will discover that a number of Shield Generator structures have been added to the map. These structures will be invulnerable to damage until you capture the planet they are on. Alternatively, there is a hack which will allow you to destroy them outright without capturing the planet.
      • Each Shield Generator faction represents a network of AI Shield Generators. Destroying a number of generators equal to the Number to Destroy will cause any remaining generators in that network to self destruct.
      • In games where at least one Shield Generator network is present, an AI Homeworld Shield Generator will be added to each AI Homeworld, but they will self-destruct once all of the non-homeworld shield generators have been destroyed.

Included Mod Updates

  • AMU
    • Fixed the CostBasedShipSpawner.canSpend() method instead of using the current spawn target cost always using the minimum cost contained. This lead to the ship spawner being able to go into debt even when it wasn't supposed to.
    • Created the CostBasedShipSpawner.canAffordAnything() method to allow a check on whether or not anything at all can be afforded.
  • KM
    • Fixed a slight debug mishap where until Kaizers Marauders were set to spawn by the true invasion time they would read that they were defeated.
      • Thanks to Doc_Den for a save that lead to finding this.
  • More System Defenders mod by CRCGamer updated:
    • Notable changes are that frigates are generally less power hungry, counts found in fleets, ARS, and GCA have gone up. And I rebalanced the AI Cruise Missile Battery to be a little more threatening.

Buffs To Player Frigates

  • Frigate energy cost rebalance (buffs):
    • All of the frigates with energy cost 12.5k now have an energy cost of 9k.
      • This is almost all frigates.
    • Defensive assault frigates (station-keepers) are now 6k energy instead of 12.5k.
    • Watchman Frigates (station-keepers) are now 1k energy instead of 3k.
    • Raid Frigates are now 6.5k instead of 7.5.
    • Brawlers and Muggers are now 10k instead of 25k.
    • Thanks to CRCGamer in particular for the suggestions, and ussdefiant60 as well.
  • Balance adjustments to make Frigates more usable by always having a bit more of them in ship lines:
    • For all of these, the changes have been pretty universal.
      • Ranges of 1-2 are now 2-2.
      • Ranges of 3-3 are now 4-4. (This is mostly Raid and variants. Are they now too strong?)
      • Ranges of 2-3 are now 3-3.
      • Ranges of 2-2 are now 3-3.
      • Ranges of 1-1 stayed that.
    • Base Game:
      • Assault Frigate (no changes to its variants, where were all ranges 1-1; are these now too weak?)
      • Raid Frigate
      • Bounty Hunter Frigate
      • Apparition Frigate
      • Suppressor Frigate (range of 2-4 became 2; this is crazy powerful in general).
      • Siege Frigate
      • Devestator Frigate
      • Ion Disruptor Frigate
      • Tritium Sniper Frigate
      • Ramifier Frigate
      • Warbird Frigate
      • Ripper Frigate
      • Warbird Hydra Frigate
    • DLC1:
      • Tesla Torpedo Frigate
      • Tackle Drone Launcher Frigate
  • The assault frigate variants that had a range of 1-1 now have a range of 2-2. For the defensive station-keeper ones that were 2-2 for some, and 1-1 for logistical, those are now 3-3 and 2-2, respectively.
    • Thanks to zeus for suggesting.

Version 2.713 Marauding Again

(Released January 5th, 2021)

  • Changed the balance_distance_after_which_ships_will_not_chase_targets from 50k to 80k range.
    • This is no change to any vanilla entity because nothing had over 50k but under 80k range, but allows for modded planetary-range weapons that still do not prohibit a ship from moving towards targets if needed.

Included Mod Updates

  • Updated parts of AMU and Kaizers Marauders so Kaizers Marauders now work again. Mysteriously Visual Studio claimed until the 2nd update dropped that no errors existed, yet the mod would still crash... Until now.
  • AMU:
    • Fixed the ExecutorFakeFaction.instance having a false or missing self-reference.
    • Fixes and improvements to the CostBasedShipSpawner
      • Fixed the PlanetFaction Wrapper being null instead of its content being null.
      • Fixed the maxTierToUse actually being one short of the actual max tier to use. This slipped past months of Kaizers Marauders testing. It may have been that invasions already limit the amount of raiders and spawn a fixed amount, so this might've never actually mattered as much.
      • Fixed the not updating its min/max spendable values if the min/max tier to use change. This also fixes the canSpend() method not taking the MinCostContained of the drawing bag with the minimum tier into account correctly.
      • The CostBasedShipSpawner now has the ability to NOT spawn all ships on the same coordinates but spread them out. Sadly this cannot take ships into account that are spawned in the same cycle.
        • These canges are potentially bug-heavy, but so far things seem to work out. Additional debug info will be generated if things go wrong.
    • Fixed the ExecutorFakeFaction being hostile to AI-allied factions, and only friendly towards AI Sentinels themselves.
    • GetAllPlanetsNearOwnedButNotOwned now returns not only a list of the planets, but a duo list of the planet and the hops distance. The distance is the closest distance possible to any of the sources.
    • Now has a definition for "Planetary" range (which is 70k base, at the default range modifier of 0.8x it becomes 56k which is slightly larger than double the gravity well, which is 52k).
      • Background: Now that every weapon with 100k or higher range counts as a sniper and doesn't move towards enemies some entities in Kaizers Marauders and Devourer Chrysalis needed to have a weapon range that is planetary, but does not make them stationary snipers.
    • Source Code was updated.
  • Civilian Industries Update
    • Changed some references in the project to point towards the latest game dlls.
    • This should finally stick a nail in the Raid notifications bug.

Version 2.712 Civilian Pause

(Released December 31st, 2020)

  • Under the hood, the game has always had a "toggle pause" command that basically says "whatever the state of pause is when I execute, invert it."
    • This was problematic in multiplayer, as several people might hit pause at the same time, or might repeatedly hit pause if there's a lag situation, and this would cause lots of confusing inversions.
    • Now what happens is that if it's unpaused locally, it sends a pause command. If it's paused, it sends an unpause command. This way, even if 16 people hit pause all at once, it will be 16 pause commands, 15 of which are redundant. It won't be 16 state flip-flops with a result of unpaused since it was an even number.
    • Hopefully this solves all of the pausing woes in multiplayer, but if not then please let us know and we can consider some more harsh methods that might subtly irritate people if we're not careful (things like "can't change pause state for a short time after it was just changed, etc"). The latter can always be a tuneable option if that's where we have to take it.
    • Thanks to Hecsa and Arides for reporting.
  • Civilian Industries updated for the latest version, and now works again!
    • Rebuilt to fix a reference changing from an attribute to a property.
    • Added some extra debug information that ClearOrders now requests.
    • Thanks to StarKelp for the update to his mod.

Version 2.711 Deep Memories

(Released December 30th, 2020)

This version is coming back out of beta faster than we had planned. People seem really happy with the new budgets, and we have too many fixes in this version and the last one for us to feel good about holding those back out of worry for any balance edge cases. If you wind up running into something like that, we apologize in advance, but it seems solid.

Deepstrike Intelligence

  • Deepstrikes just got vastly more dangerous. Previously, if you put your ships into a transport then the AI ignores that for deepstrike purposes.
    • This led to various kinds of cheese on the part of players like just putting your ships back into the transport periodically to cancel the countdown timer of an AI Reserves attack.
    • We wanted to be able to retain the ability for you to fly through a bunch of planets in your transport without triggering deepstrikes, but get rid of this cheese. Until today we hadn't figured out a way to do it.
    • Now there is a concept of "full alert" and "residual alert" when it comes to planets that are suffering from a deepstrike from those mean players.
      • Essentially, until you go about actually triggering what would always cause a deepstrike before now, nothing changes. If you have your ships in transports and move them along through enemy planets, that still works. Hooray!
      • But once you have unloaded at a planet that triggers a deepstrike, it will remember that you did that for 10 minutes of gametime after you have last had unloaded ships that would trigger the alert.
      • During this period of extra awareness, the AI will actually not just monitor your ships in transports, but also your ships on adjacent planets to the planet in question. Remember, a deepstrike is always deep in AI territory. So you have to retreat at least two hops away to stop them from hurling things at you. Either that, or go ahead and win quickly! Until that 10 minute period is up, even returning to be adjacent to this planet will trigger a near-immediate response. It won't reset the countdown unless you actually directly unload ships on that specific planet again, though.
    • As part of this, the deepstrike danger galaxy map view has been updated to reflect all of this, and have the proper details in tooltips for affected planets.
    • Additionally, we made some updates to the deepstrike notification in general to make it clearer what the numbers are, and when it's in absorb mode versus actively after you.
    • Thanks to Arides and his play group for reporting.

Bugfixes

  • Put in some logic that should make DoShotHitLogic errors on the client less common, as well as less damaging to the overall performance of the client. It also tells us exactly where the error is now, if it happens again, so we can truly finish the rest of it.
    • Thanks to Arides for reporting.
  • Some sort of exception in the Stage3 logic for a faction getting into an infinite loop is happening for a couple of players, but now the game will provide extra information when it logs the death of those threads.
    • Thanks to Isiel for reporting.
  • The various popup windows now have some extra lines at the bottom of them to work around the scrolling window area from incorrectly calculating very tall text sets and thus cutting off the bottom of some of them.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert, ParadoxSong, CRCGamer, Smidlee, Chthonic_One, and others for reporting.
  • Fixed another case where reconquest seeding would throw exceptions on multiplayer clients.
    • Thanks to OzoneGrif for reporting.
  • When fireteams try to attack a planet but don't have a target set, it now logs an invisible warning and keeps on going rather than throwing and exception and blowing up the entire thread it is on. It also now logs which faction the fireteam belongs to.
    • Thanks to OzoneGrif for reporting.
  • Actually, in the two places where it is possible to have even a warning from a fireteam trying to attack a planet but having no target, both are parts of regiments of fireteams that are aimed at a planet, so we just use that planet now and correct the missing (for whatever reason) data.
  • In the case of a mod that is not updated and has a missing method exception during an attempt to draw a notification tooltip, it will now just not draw the tooltip. Next time the mod author compiles their code, the compiler will make them fix it, but until then it won't break games.
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo for reporting.
  • Greatly expanded the instrumentation on the DoFactionStepLogic method logic so that if we have an error happen in there we will know exactly where it is and what faction it is for. This doesn't actually fix anything, and the errors in there seem very rare, but it will let us fix them after someone runs into them again.
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue where one branch of code that is used to create shots (bullets) would not properly set the origin system, even in single-player and on hosts.
    • This branch is not used by any actual main game code, but appears to be used by some mods. That code branch is now marked as deprecated, which will force mod authors to recompile when they start using this method, with instructions on what to do. In the meantime, any mods that are triggering this code path will just have those particular shots not appear, since they would only be a source of errors, anyhow.
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo and Isiel for reporting.
  • Fixed another issue where if the timing was just wrong, we could create shots without a parent system, mostly in the case of multiplayer clients.
  • Not sure what was happening or why, and we may have fixed it two versions ago, but DoCombatStepForPlanet() now has a lot more instrumentation and will catch exceptions and report them more nicely rather than having its entire thread potentially suicide. This would probably have only been relevant for multiplayer clients, but the fix would help anyone.
    • Thanks to OzoneGrif for reporting.
  • Put in some extra logic to prevent the "Shot had no origin system, so discarding" spam when you are loading a savegame off disk. In those situations, it's valid to happen in general.
    • In the case of clients in multiplayer, it's much more rare to be valid, but still can happen, so this is also still quieted there while still trying to do connections where it can.
    • This sort of log spam that slows down the game right after load should be a thing of the past.
  • Fixed a bug where Hydral outguard minor heads were spawning hydral major heads when dying.
    • Added an ability to specify "None" as the type on any table-style field and have it return null. Prior to some xml upgrades it was maybe possible for it to be just set to null by having "" set, although we're not positive that would actually have worked anytime recently. At any rate, now there's a pattern that works and is also clear.
    • Thanks to tadrinth for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug from the last couple of versions where flagships would often fly off to random-seeming locations. This was them attempting to be "assisters" in a way that was unhelpful, and usually related to claiming units, which they can do from any range when needed.
    • This change will prevent something like a repair factory from ever wandering around the planet if you put it in pursuit mode... but we can't really think of cases where it would be desirable for one to do that. They have a long enough range that you tend to want to park them where you want to park them.
    • Thanks to Arides and Kahuna for reporting.

Audio Fixes

  • Removed some old constants from the external constants xml, and in the case of the audio-alert-related ones, moved those into the settings.
  • New Audio tab settings:
    • Alert If Enemy Attackers Overpower By Ratio
      • Give an audio warning only if enemy forces outnumber friendly forces on the planet by this ratio to one. So for instance, if you select the default of 5, then the enemy must outnumber your forces 5:1 (they must locally be 500% stronger than you). This prevents you from getting too many voice alerts about threats that you aren't worried about.
      • Note: the old version of this in the external constants xml was still 5, but it wasn't working properly.
    • Min Enemy Strength Required For Major Attack Warning
      • Only give audio warnings about 'major' attacks against your planets if the total enemy attacker strength is at least this. Default is 20.
      • Note: the old version of this in the external constants xml was defaulting to 5 strength, instead.
    • Min Seconds Between Attack Alerts On Same Planet
      • Do not give audio warnings about attacks on a given planet more frequently than this number of seconds. Default 300.
      • Note: the old version of this in the external constants xml was still 300.
    • Note: the code for all of this has been completely rewritten, as the old version of the code was really unclear and often let us bypass these limiters despite them existing. So it was leading to way too many audio notifications about unimportant situations.
    • Thanks to Kahuna, Lord Of Nothing, and others for reporting.
  • More new Audio tab settings:
    • Min Seconds Between Attack Alerts On Home Command Station
      • Do not give audio warnings about attacks on an unprotected human home command station more frequently than this. Default 30. Bear in mind you lose the game if this is lost (or if all of these are lost if you are in multiplayer).
      • The old behavior was to give a warning after there had been at least 1 enemy strength on your planet, and then there was not, and then there was again.
    • Min Seconds Between Attack Alerts On Shielded Home Command
      • Do not give audio warnings about attacks on a human home command station that is under a bubble forcefield more frequently than this. Default 60.
      • The old behavior was to give a warning after there had been at least 1 enemy strength on your planet, and then there was not, and then there was again, and not differentiate between this and the warning above.
    • Alert If Your Shielded Home Command Overpowered By Ratio
      • If your home command station is under a bubble shield and getting shot, then only give an audio warning only if enemy forces outnumber friendly forces on the planet by this ratio to one. So for instance, if you select the default of 2, then the enemy must outnumber your forces 2:1 (they must locally be 200% stronger than you AND shooting the forcefield protecting your home command station). This prevents you from getting too many voice alerts about threats that you aren't worried about.
      • Note: the old values were hardcoded in, and the math was inverted so that it would give an alert any time the enemy was stronger than 1/5th of your own forces, and at least 1 strength total. This was a source of great annoyance for folks.
    • Thanks to Kahuna, Lord Of Nothing, and others for reporting.
  • At the bottom of the escape menu details screen, it now has a new section which includes things like sound playbacks that are queued, and things of that nature.
    • If you feel like you are having some audio issues, this will let you see if there's some sort of backlog there. Look for the lines "SFX Requests" and "SFX Delayed Requests" in particular.
  • The way that playback of delayed voice clips is done is now slightly more efficient, as well as hopefully slightly more correct.
    • It now sets a time in the future at which to play the clip, versus a countdown timer that gets reduced by the deltatime. This lets us switch back to using a struct instead of a class.
    • Additionally, we are now making sure that nothing can be delayed more than 10 seconds (even that is excessive). If there's a worse delay than that that happens now, it's somewhere else further down in our pipeline.
    • Thanks to folks for various older reports of this, like wm46.

Beta 2.710 The AIs Visit An Accountant

(Released December 29th, 2020)

This is on the steam beta branch! Be sure to switch to the current_beta branch if you'd like to give this a shot (which we'd appreciate). There are a ton of balance changes in this one, and more coming soon, so no way do we want to inflict this on folks without giving them the ability to test it first. The idea is a more balanced and interesting experience, really in every phase of the game at every difficulty level.

  • Forcefield guardians are now 1/100th as likely to spawn as previous, particularly when it comes to the Warden fleet. This won't help existing savegames with a bunch of them, and it's still possible for lots of forcefield guardians to show up, but it should not be very common.
    • Thanks to ArnaudB for reporting.

AI Income Balance By Difficulty And AIP

  • Removed from the ExternalConstants table:
    • balance_seconds_times_planets_worth_of_aip_required_to_accumulate_one_cap="50"
    • balance_ai_purchase_cost_per_cap_ai_income="400"
    • balance_strength_per_cap_general="200"
      • This has been replaced by balance_base_difficulty_for_raid_traversal="10", which is the equivalent of what was being used in the code previously.
      • Arguably this shouldbe 20 instead of 10 in order for this to match what the AI budgets were based on in the past, but honestly the two concepts are not actually related.
  • Updated the math for GetOverallAIPurchaseCostGainPerSecond()
    • The old logic was was effectively the following:
      • EffectiveAIP / 20
      • Mult by balance_ai_purchase_cost_per_cap_ai_income (400)
      • Mult by ai_purchase_cost_income_multiplier for the AI Difficulty (9.5 on diff 10, 2 on diff 7, 0.8 on diff 5).
      • Divide by balance_seconds_times_planets_worth_of_aip_required_to_accumulate_one_cap (50).
      • Then do some other stuff that is fine, and we'll ignore that other stuff for now.
    • As you can see with the old logic on higher difficulties in particular, any and every AIP change upwards is incredibly painful, partially since there's no baseline income. Everything is added income completely dependent on the AIP.
    • There's a spreadsheet with the new logic: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1oSsxmKXDxP28Hc-ZYXngCnqnu3mc0vXipGEdj3HqKUo/edit?usp=sharing
    • The new logic requires the following data changes:
      • ai_purchase_cost_income_multiplier has been removed from AI difficulty levels.
      • budget_base_income, budget_income_multiplier_for_AIP_Over_10, budget_income_multiplier_for_AIP_Over_50, budget_income_multiplier_for_AIP_Over_100, budget_income_multiplier_for_AIP_Over_200, budget_income_multiplier_for_AIP_Over_400, and budget_income_multiplier_for_AIP_Over_600 have all been added.
    • The formula for the new logic is not perfect in terms of isolating each coefficient to each range, but it does a really good job of letting us tune the ranges in general and arrive at a variety of different slopes:
      • BaseIncome+((MIN(50,CurrentAIP-10))*Mult_Over_10)+(MAX(0,MIN(CurrentAIP-50,100))*Mult_Over_50)+(MAX(0,MIN(CurrentAIP-100,200))*Mult_Over_100)+(MAX(0,MIN(CurrentAIP-200,400))*Mult_Over_200)+(MAX(0,MIN(CurrentAIP-400,600))*Mult_Over_400)+(MAX(0,CurrentAIP-600)*Mult_Over_600)
      • The end result is something that is substantially more income at the lower difficulties (4 and down), while still keeping them very tame. They are not so incredibly poor as before.
      • At AIP 10, the general bump is at least around 300% over what it used to be, but on difficulty 5 the budget at AIP 50 is only 8% what it was. For difficulties above 5, the budgets are only about 75% of previous at AIP 50.
      • Overall the budgets are higher for AIP 4 and down, and in general you can see how that works on the spreadsheet here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1oSsxmKXDxP28Hc-ZYXngCnqnu3mc0vXipGEdj3HqKUo/edit#gid=1751215831
    • Thanks to TechSY730, ArnaudB, Strategic Sage, CRCGamer, -NR-SirLimbo, Puffin, waspwasd, and others for helping with discussion and thoughts on this.

And For Multiplayer

  • When there is more than one human empire present in a galaxy, the budgets of the AIs actually now ARE scaled up, counter what we had planned to do in the past:
    • At 2 human empires, the budget for each AI is 1.33x up.
    • At 3 human empires, the budget for each AI is 1.8x up.
    • At 4+ human empires, the budget for each AI is 2.4x up.
  • It's worth reminding that when there are multiple allied AIs, they already all get lower budgets, which happens after this increase. However, we are redoing the budget logic.
    • Old logic:
      • On difficulty 5 and below, each AI gets one portion out of the whole of what a single AI would have. So 3 AIs each get 0.33x, 2 AIs get 0.5x, 1 AI gets 1x, etc.
      • On difficulty 6 and up, if it's 2 or 3 AIs then they get 0.75 of normal for each, and if it's 4+ AIs then they each get 0.5x of normal.
    • New logic:
      • This no longer differentiates by difficulty level, as there are already plenty of dials dealing with that.
      • At 2 AIs allied to one another, the budget for each is 0.9x.
      • At 3 AIs allied to one another, the budget for each is 0.8x.
      • At 4+ AIs allied to one another, the budget for each is 0.7x.
  • If there are multiple humans versus multiple AIs, it all gets multiplied together.
    • So as one example, 4 humans versus 4 AIs, then those are combined and the original budget of whatever (we'll call it "100" for easy math) becomes 240 because of the humans, and then down to 70% of that because of the AIs, so 168 for each.

All Four Difficulty Meters Expanded

  • For whatever reason, previously you could never set the Praetorian Guard Difficulty level, so it was always set to 5.
    • Now you can properly set it from 1 to 10 per each AI in a game. A "perfect 10" game is now 10/10/10/10, not 10/10/10.
  • The way that the starting budgets, and the bonus budgets, are calculated for the hunter fleets are now entirely based on the hunter themselves and not in any way on the actual AI sentinels difficulty.
    • Previously, the starting budgets and bonus budgets were defined as increasingly large on the higher hunter difficulties, but also were affected by the sentinels difficulty quite a lot, so a 10/10 was multiplicatively harder than a 10/7 or a 7/10.
    • This basically is a huge nerf to the hunters if you were playing with them AND the sentinels cranked up, or if you were playing with these on the defaults but the main AI higher. If you were playing with these higher but the main AI more in the default range, then it's about the same as it was.
    • It is entirely possible we are going to need to rebalance these substantially, so if there is any feedback please let us know.
    • On hunter difficulty 5, you wind up with about 2 strength at the start, and maybe 3 total strength after 3 minutes if you don't do anything. On hunter diff 9, it's more like 9 total strength after 3 minutes, and much more rapidly aggressive.
  • In the lobby, you can now see all the details of the hunter fleet difficulty levels in their tooltips.
  • The Warden and Praetorian Guard fleets have also gotten the same sort of upgrades, with the ability to see what their difficulty levels do, and with their difficulty levels being redefined to be independent of the main AI sentinels difficulty level.
    • One of the things that was really not clear unless you went wiki-diving is that the raw incomes of these two factions are based entirely on the difficulty level of the sentinels, not their own difficulty.
    • Their difficulty determines their starting populations, and their population caps, but that can be quickly dwarfed by the donations from others forces of the AI (particularly donation from AI sentinels converting to Hunter, or Warden becoming Praetorian when an AI Homeworld is attacked.)
  • The main AI types now continue to show their narrative description, but also show some hard data to go with it.

AI Floor And Related

  • Added a new aip_absolute_floor for each AI difficulty level, with the following values:
    • Diff 1-4: 10.
    • Diff 5-6: 20.
    • Diff 7: 30.
    • Diff 8: 40.
    • Diff 9: 50.
    • Diff 10: 60.
    • Note that the underlying starting AIP is still always just 10. But the effective AIP will never actually BE 10 on anything higher than difficulty 4 now, which basically has two effects:
      • Firstly, it gets the game moving more quickly, with the AI being a lot less anemic at the start as the difficulty levels go up. The AI is increasingly quick to recognize you as you get up there in difficulty levels.
      • Secondly, it does also give you a certain amount of "free AIP that doesn't change the situation" in each difficulty level right at the start. For instance, on difficulty 10, there are now 50 AIP that you can incur -- without any reduction -- before you even START to see the AIP rise from its new starting value.
        • It's worth pointing out that this is not TRULY "free" AIP, because the floor percentage is still going up no matter what, and the game is already starting you out in a harder situation now, but it is essentially "free for a while," anyway. In the long form of a campaign it is not free at all, but in terms of short-term consequences in the first 15-20 minutes of a campaign, there's no change to the AIP responsiveness levels when you take your early objectives.
          • This means the early game is likely to be more difficult at higher difficulties in general, but there's also no need for strategies where you keep the AIP ultra-low (since you can't), and instead you have the flexibility of HOW to spend your first "free for now" AIP, and after that shift into thinking about how not to raise it any more if that's your strategy.
    • The in-game tooltips have been updated to include wording about the new absolute floors that were added, including a special note if your actual AIP is currently lower than the absolute floor.
    • The reason that we didn't just flat make the starting AIP higher (which would have in some ways been simpler) is that it would have been just a straight nerf to players, versus giving the higher difficulty levels this "free for now" grace period to play around in. Once you are to the mid-game on any difficulty level, this new "absolute floor" really is not likely to be a factor at all. This just gets games off the ground faster, and makes the AI progressively more dangerous in the early game on higher difficulties.
    • Thanks to TechSY730 for suggesting something along these lines.
  • With all of the changes that have been made to AI budgets, the "Absolute AIP Floor" has just been set to 10 across the board for now.
    • This lets us keep the option of using it more in the future, or lets mods turn it on and use it, but effectively turns it off for now.
  • The initial AIP that players start with is no longer 10. It is now 10 per human empire -- so if there are 3 human empires, it will start at 30.
    • If you are playing single-player, or shared-faction multiplayer, there is no change here.
  • Added a new "AIP Never Reduces Below" mechanic:
    • No matter the AIP Floor, no reduction will happen that would cause the AIP to shrink below this amount, or shrink while it is below this amount.
    • This is set to:
      • Diff 1-4: 10
      • Diff 5: 50
      • Diff 6: 60
      • Diff 7: 70
      • Diff 8: 80
      • Diff 9: 90
      • Diff 10: 100
    • How is this different from the AIP Floor? Well, the AIP will actually BE whatever the floor is.
      • So if the floor was set to 180, then (ouch) the AIP would be 180.
      • This is instead a limiter. At difficulty 7, if you pop an early data center and get 20 reduction any time before you have 70 AIP total, it doesn't matter. It will be there waiting for you later, but it won't reduce your ongoing early progress.
      • This changes the flow of the early game, preventing you from blunting the rise of AIP for a while. In some ways, this helps to make it so that you don't need to worry with data centers early, and can focus on things later.
      • Of course, as with an AIP Floor, when you pass over the "never reduces below" level, then any reductions that you previously got will kick in. So for instance, if you popped a data center to save 20 AIP too early on diff 7, and then you get your total up to 90 AIP, your actual total will stick at 70 for a while. If you did 60 AIP of reduction, then it will stick at 70 for a LONG while.
      • Essentially, what this prevents is advanced players denying the AI any chance to play its own early game. It allows for the same amount of flexibility in AIP reduction in the really long term, assuming you go over the very low AIP counts, and it does allow you to deny the AI at every level the ability for it to really get into its mid-game or late-game.
      • If folks find this too restrictive, we can adjust it, but particularly with all of the nerfs to the AI budgets on AIP in the 100-600 range on difficulties 5+, this is something that seems to pair well with that. We definitely like the idea of low-AIP games, but even 100 AIP at the end of a game is considered ultra-low-AIP. What this does is prevent you riding the floor during the very early game in an ultra-low-AIP game, which gives the AI a bit more chance to react and build up, but still not TOO much.

AI Reserves Balance

  • If players have controlled any of the planets that the AI Reserves thinks they are "attacking" any time within the last 10 minutes, then there is no warning from the AI Reserves prior to them spawning a wormhole and spewing forth ships.
    • For anyone who is using the normal AI Reserves Grace Period setting, which defaults to 60 seconds, this will mean that after the 60 seconds is up, you immediately get jumped by the AI Reserves. For anyone who has turned the AI Reserves Grace Period setting down to 0 seconds, they should get jumped immediately after losing a planet if it's too far from their other planets.
    • Thanks to Smidlee for suggesting.
  • The AI Reserves grace period has been updated as follows (and its tooltip now shows this):
    • If the highest-level AI is difficulty 8, it will give you half this time. If the highest-level AI is difficulty 9 or above, this grace period does not apply at all.
    • So when we get into very high-level play, the grace period for losing planets in hostile territory and having the AI strike back at you disappears entirely. This is how it was for all difficulty levels prior to October of this year.
    • Thanks to Smidlee for inspiring this change.
  • Previously, some of the AI Reserves timings were hardcoded in, and now they are data fields on the main AI difficulty.
    • ai_reserves_wormhole_spawn_interval was always 80, previously (this is how often there are new spawns after the first).
    • ai_reserves_initial_wormhole_spawn_delay was always 120 (this is how long before the first spawn if you're deepstriking but didn't lose a planet).
    • ai_reserves_wormhole_despawn_time was 180 (how long the reserves hang around after their work is done; keeps them from popping in and out).
    • ai_reserves_income_increase_interval was 30 (how frequently they get more budget, which is the major balance lever for making them harder.
    • These now are set up by difficulty as follows:
      • Diff 1: 140 spawn interval, 200 initial spawn, 100 despawn, 60 income increase.
      • Diff 2: 130 spawn interval, 180 initial spawn, 100 despawn, 55 income increase.
      • Diff 3: 120 spawn interval, 160 initial spawn, 110 despawn, 50 income increase.
      • Diff 4: 110 spawn interval, 140 initial spawn, 120 despawn, 45 income increase.
      • Diff 5: 100 spawn interval, 120 initial spawn, 160 despawn, 40 income increase.
      • Diff 6: 90 spawn interval, 100 initial spawn, 180 despawn, 35 income increase.
      • Diff 7: 80 spawn interval, 80 initial spawn, 200 despawn, 30 income increase.
      • Diff 8: 70 spawn interval, 60 initial spawn, 220 despawn, 25 income increase.
      • Diff 9: 60 spawn interval, 40 initial spawn, 260 despawn, 20 income increase.
      • Diff 10: 40 spawn interval, 20 initial spawn, 320 despawn, 15 income increase.
    • This makes it so that on most difficulties, the AI Reserves are now less threatening, but on the higher difficulties they are even more of a big deal.
    • It should be harder to sneak in on a high difficulty and neuter a planet before they can get you.
    • Thanks to Smidlee for inspiring these changes.
  • Grappler Guardian nerfs
    • Move speed from 2,900 to 1,800
    • Damage from 10,000 to 3,000
    • AI cost from 525 to 700
    • Grapplers were already ridiculously strong without the changes to the reserves, but Zeus realized these would have been just miserable in the new balance by Chris.

AI Praetorian Guard Balance

  • Added a new gets_praetorian_bonus_to_mark_level_from_ai_faction_difficulty field to factions, which is true for the AI Praetorian Guard only.
    • This causes the below to kick in.
  • Added a new added_praetorian_mark_levels_above_ambient for the AI difficulty level, which will make the Praetorian Guard a higher mark level than the "general mark level" of the AI that they are guarding by this many mark levels.
    • Bear in mind that they are almost always guarding Mark 7 or Mark 6 planets, so if the ambient level is only 2 or 3, then these were really wimpy compared to the rest of what they were trying to protect until now.
    • On difficulties 1-4, this is just 1. So if everything else is mark 2, these will at least be mark 3 helping out defend the mark 7 planet. Not a large jump.
    • On diffs 5-6, this is 2. So if everything else is mark 2, these will at least be mark 4 and a bit more helpful to that mark 7 planet.
    • On diffs 7-8. this is 3. So if everything lese is mark 2, these are a much scarier mark 5 defending that mark 7 planet.
    • On diff 9, this is 4. So if everything else is 2, this is 6.
    • On diff 10, this is 5. So unless everything else is somehow mark 1, this is always going to be mark 7 like the planet it is defending.
  • Added a new upgrades_ships_to_general_mark_level_if_they_are_lower for factions, which is now applied to the following factions:
    • AI Wardens (NOT hunter)
    • AI Praetorian Guard
    • AI Instigators and Risk Analyzers (probably never relevant)
    • Astro Trains (probably rarely relevant)
    • What this does is make the existing ships of these factions rank up if their effective general mark should be higher. This is similar to how player ships rank up when you unlock a new tech. Normal AI Sentinels and Hunter and CPA ships all just stay at the level they were created at, and any new ships would be at a higher level as needed.
    • This ha a particularly outsized boost on the PG, but also can be a pretty big Warden boost if you've not been engaging the warden.
      • In one test-case game where there was 21 PG Strength at the AI home world an hour into the game, all mark 1, with 95 AIP the general mark level was 2 and the AI difficulty level was 9, so all of the PG ships immediately upgraded to mark 7 on load and their strength jumped to 76.
      • In that same test-case game, the Warden ships were already largely mark 2, so their strength went up only maybe 25% as they upgraded the older stragglers to mark 2. Threat did not change at all.

Updates To Included Mods

  • AMU
    • Removed the Marauder-related MarauderInvasionAvoidIfHostileRollup and MarauderInvasionAvoidAlwaysRollup rollups (which were used universally anyway).
    • Replaced them with a 3-pronged system for factions to make smarter decisions with fireteams:
      • NastyCriminallyUnvervaluedStructuresToAvoidRollup contains things such as Eyes, Nasty Picks, Conquest Vengeance Generators, Nanobot Centers, etc and will NOT block attacks, but denote that attacks will NEED to be much stronger than strength indicates.
      • NastyStructuresToAbsolutelyAvoidRollup contain things that should NEVER be attacked and planets with these should NEVER be settled on. Such as, for example, hostile Dyson Spheres, Dark Spire Vengeance Generators (non-destroyables that is), etc...
      • NastyStructuresToAbsolutelyAvoidAllegianceIrrelevantRollup is the same as above, but they are extremely fluid in their allegiances and unreliable allies, thus they are just off the list permanently. For the moment only used the Dyson Precursors of the Precepts of the Precursors mod.
    • Created AnyPresentOnPlanetOnly(), as well as Friendly-only and Hostile-only variants of it in EntityRollup for very quick checks whether or not any are present at all.
      • Additionally for all of these for-specific-faction-only variants were created: TotalNumberPresentOnPlanet(), GetAllPresentOnPlanet(), GetAllStrenghtPresentOnPlanet() and AnyPresentOnPlanetOnly().
    • Created ShouldAVoidBecauseOfNastyStuff() which now also invalidates CanGainOwnershipOfPlanet() and ShouldBeDefended() in SmartFireteamedFactionImplementationBase when present.
    • This will fix Factions trying to gain control of planets with, for example, hostile Dyson Spheres which will always in time erradicate the attacker, even if the current strength is enough to deal with enemies.
    • Created some static faction allegiances to reduce GC churn and improve run times: AbsoluteNeutral, HostileToAll, FriendlyToPlayers, AlliedToAIs.
    • The ExecutorFakeFaction now bears the display name of "AI Special Operations", and is always allied to all AIs (even in civil war), and allied to all AIs are allied to.
      • The purpose is to have an AI-allied faction which can be modded based on ships having certain related factions to respond to, such as creating an AI response to the various, vastly more powerful Devourer Golems in the upcoming Devourer Chrysalis mod, as well as other special mechanics for the upcoming Fatal Warfare mod.
      • As before scripts can be added to the ExecutorFakeFaction which can then be made to search for the various ships, structures etc and manipulate those.
    • AMU Stand-Alone Features have been implemented. By default these amount to no change!
      • Additional starting AIP or AIP reduction can now be set freely, anywhere from -250 to 250. This will added as AIP or AIP reduction to the default 10 starting AIP.
      • Auto AIP can now be set. At an interval of 1-120 minutes anywhere from -100 to +100 AIP will be added. If set to 0 the function is entirely disabled.
        • Both of these are in the "Balance" tab of the Galaxy Settings menu.
      • Auto Juggle Energy is a new setting with a much more complex mechanic behind it.
      • To sum it up: It's a setting in the Automation Tab that attempts to keep the player's energy pool at a at least X amount energy. Can be set to 0 to disable the function. Every second the code will scan all player-owned planet fleets and try to adjust:
        • If there's too little energy more Matter Converters will be built, if possible. Additionally, if the Micro Mod Collection is installed and Energy Converters exist, those will be destroyed up to the energy threshold before even starting on Matter Converters.
        • If there's too much energy as many Matter Converters as possible will be destroyed. Additionally, if the Micro Mod Collection is installed and there are no more Matter Converters to destroy then as many Energy Converters as possible will be constructed.
        • The code also recognizes the player trying to build something. If the player attempts to place 5 entities (by pressing the key associates with placing 5x) with 20k cost each it will automatically try to free up another 100k energy so these can all be built.
          • It's also smart enough to recognize the maximum possible amount that can be built, so if only 3 more of the 20k entities can be constructed, even if the key for 5x is pressed only 60k energy will be factored in. Note that entities that cost no or negative energy will simply be left out.
        • Same goes for capturing objects. If they cost energy that energy will be added to the required balance.
        • The best efficiency and safety net would be to to, for example, set the required balance to a very low value (maybe 20k so that all types of Frigates can still be built) at the start and get as much bonus metal as possible, while later on when planets are at risk setting the value to slightly more what losing the most productive would cost. This actively improves the metal economy of the player while also cutting down on the risk of brownouts when more command stations fall in quick succession.
        • A notification warns the player if they are spending more than 10% of their metal income converting it to energy. The notification warning level goes up from informational to full-on-red-alert when at least 50% of the total metal income is spent on conversion.
    • Updated the included source code.
  • Kaizers Marauders:
    • Used the above changes to no longer have Marauders invade on planets (and disfavor neighbors of planets) with NastyStructuresToAbsolutelyAvoidTags, and totally avoid planets with NastyStructuresToAbsolutelyAvoidRollup and NastyStructuresToAbsolutelyAvoidAllegianceIrrelevantRollup on them, along with heavily disfavoring their neighbors.
    • This in combination with the changes to Fireteam logic in SmartFireteamedFactionImplementationBase should now fix the bug where Marauders were stuck on a Planet with a DSVG, always camping there because Fireteams told them it could be conquered, but in fact they were not allowed to settle there.
      • Marauders SHOULD not get stuck if between such inconquerable planets, all they'd need is the strength to path through these planets and conquer an adjacent world, but it may inhibit their expansion. This, however, would only happen if Marauders were totally boxed in, and it doesn't account for them being able to pop up anywhere in the galaxy with invasions. It SHOULD be fine. But there COULD be issues, remains to be tested.
    • Fixed the notifier for superstructures not telling the player what structure is about to spawn, only what it does, and instead displaying the faction name.
    • Removed a potential memory leak in the superstructure notifier.
    • Fixed another potential bug in the superstructure notifier related to cloning itself.
  • Fixed a mix-up in the description for the Auto Juggle Energy option description.
  • Fixed a typo in the Galaxy Setting for starting AIP [reduction] and adjusted it to no longer refer to the static 10 starting AIP as this now scales with AI difficulty.
  • AMU:
    • Created GetAllPlanetsNearOwnedButNotOwned() with a faction or faction type as input to get the "neighboring" territory of a faction within a set amount of hops.
    • More bugfixes to the Fireteam logic to prevent especially Kaizers Marauders from getting stuck on planets they have no business on.
    • Potentially fixed an exception in the Marauder debugging printouts in SmartFireteamedFactionImplementationBase's FireteamMaintenance() function.
    • The Metal Bleed notifier (from the Auto Juggle Energy function) now has an icon, the severity now accurately factors in game speed, hovering over it shows raw values of and percentages of the metal production efficiency.
      • This fixes the severity increasing for no good reason the lower the game speed went, and vice-versa.
    • Included Source Code updated.
  • KM:
    • Yet more debugging to prevent Marauder fireteams from becoming stuck on planets they are not allowed (for good reason) to settle on.
    • More fixes to the Superstructure tooltip:
      • The icon of the superstructure now shows.
      • The planet name will now be revealed if the planet is explored, not just if the superstructure is visible to the player.
      • Clicking onto it will, if the planet is explored and not just if the superstructure is visible to the player, take the player there.
  • ESV:
    • Rescue Beacons are now no longer swappable. This didn't do anything functionally, but it did most certainly cluttered the swap-ship-line UI.
    • Rescue Beacons and all other types of drone projectiles are now unable to target or alert guard posts.

Version 2.709 Obedient Engineers

(Released December 23rd, 2020)

  • In the build sidebar, the mark level is now the first thing that is shown in the top line where it shows the name of the things being built. With long names of units, that could sometimes push the mark level underneath the text of the metal cost where it was invisible. The end being cut off is fine, but the mark level is the important thing to be seen.
    • We have also made the text 10% smaller on this line, because with the recently-revised font it was a bit on the large side for a lot of units.
    • Thanks to Corpserule for reporting.
  • Depending on network latency and a few other factors (particularly running the game speed at a high rate), it was possible for multiplayer clients to have a very quiet battle where ships lost health but were not showing visible or audible shots.
    • The game now goes to great lengths to account for this and prevent this sort of thing. This should make the "Shot had no origin system, so discarding" silent messages in the client log vastly more rare, but they are still possible to have happen. Especially at a mega high game speed and with enough lag, it's inevitable to happen, but it really should not be too common now (whereas it was almost guaranteed to happen before, at least some).
    • If some folks are still seeing this happen more frequently than desired, we can work on putting in yet more data encoded into the shot objects as sent from the host to the client to work around this. We made a huge number of those changes already, but there's certainly more that we could do if it is more than just an edge case now. Just let us know!
    • Thanks to Ozone and his play group for reporting the most severe case we'd seen.

Bugfixes

  • The host is now able to fix capturable fleets if they wound up seeding empty for some reason. It happens automatically as a form of self check. This being empty probably was an indication of some other error that happened during mapgen, but it's hard to say for sure. At any rate, self-correction is nice, and it now does that in cases where it is needed.
    • Thanks to ArnaudB for reporting.
  • Somehow we were having some decollision move orders that were happening for certain ships that made them move in strange wrong ways even though we check to make sure that ships are on the same planet that the order was calculated for. The only real conclusion that we can draw is that this is a ship that changed planets during the middle of the calculation. We now have it compare the current planet at the start of the calculation and at the end of the calculation, and if those do not match it does not send the decollision data that it calculated.
    • We already have logic for stopping the logic for ships that have a wormhole order as their next command, but potentially it happens in the part-of-a-second gap between that existing and it switching planets.
    • Additionally, just in case, we also now have it not queue any decollisions for any ships that have been on their current planet for less than 3 seconds.
      • We wound up putting this logic in several places, preventatively. Decollision orders were already cleared when a ship changes planets, so we were extra careful to make sure to find these since these are a bit latent, clearly. The three second window should be plenty to find all of them at normal game speeds, although at extra fast game speeds it might be a bit too narrow. If that ever still causes strange movement, we'll look into that.
    • Thanks to poljik2, Crabby, and Isiel for reporting.
  • When decollision move orders are invalidated, it now always does a more thorough job and removes the decollision coordinates on the entity itself. This may have been part of the very rare "move to wrong location" issue.
  • Fixed a number of bugs that were causing notifications to either show a random icon when nothing was set, or to show no icon at all. This affected a good portion of our icons, where the code was not really set up to actually draw the new icons we had set up for them.
  • Fixed a potential bug for speed group units that were calling GetTotalDistanceToFinalMoveTarget() and potentially erasing a lot of orders as invalid as they did so. Nobody reported it, but it was probably a thing.
  • The Extra-Strong Marauders that zeus made for Badger will no longer appear in new games. All existing Extra-Strong marauders will blow themselves up now.
    • Undo the balance problems for marauders with their extra strong raiders. Those stronger units will come back in the future sometime, but in a more limited way under different circumstances.
    • Thanks to ArnaudB for reporting.
  • Quieted some pointless steam errors that could happen when a multiplayer host killed their program non-gracefully.
  • Put in a couple of minor protections for stale text showing next to planets. We've seen it happen, but have trouble duplicating it. Is it possible that there are some very specific conditions like loading a savegame that is much earlier into the game after playing another way later in, or something like that? We've tried testing that and a few similar theories, but can't duplicate it with those. We also tried a code review, and did not see anything wrong. Hopefully it is intermittent enough to not be a true problem until someone figure out how to help us reliably replicate the issue.
    • Thanks to Kahuna and Crabby for reporting.

Engineers In Particular

  • When engineers are given wormhole orders, they are now actually obedient.
  • When engineers are explicitly told to assist a factory, they will now do so regardless of the factory type.
    • Previously there was a bug that only made them work with stationary factories that way, not mobile support ones.
    • Thanks to Strategic Sage for reporting.
  • When engineers are not in Pursuit mode, they will now gang-up assist a factory within their assist range, if available.
    • It doesn't matter if they spread out their assistance or not, since 10 engineers assisting 1 factory while a second factory just does normal speed is equal to 5 engineers each helping those two factories.
    • Previously, engineers had to be in pursuit mode to automatically choose to help a factory.
    • Thanks to Strategic Sage, ArnaudB and Metrekec for reporting.
  • Fixed several bugs with engineers helping with the construction of things in general, which led them to stop building things before they were actually finished, etc.
    • Thanks to DEMOCRACY_DEMOCRACY for reporting.

Balance

  • Data Centers now increase in volume on larger maps. It says the following in their tooltips:
    • On maps larger than 80 planets, the number of data centers selected increases by half the scale of the extra number of planets. So on 160 planets (200% planet count), it would give you 150% (9 by default) data centers.
    • Thanks to CRCGamer for suggesting.
  • Added a new is_immune_to_zombification for faction types, which is now true on the three types of zombie factions and on the "natural object" faction.
    • This prevents any ships in those factions from being nanocausted or zombified, though they can be [redacted] (future feature).
    • If not being able to play "zombie pong" is hated, then these can easily be turned off via just xml. But the goal is to not needlessly prolong battles when you have two zombifiers against one another.
    • Thanks to Ozone, Metrekec, Chthonic_One, CRCGamer, and Badger for weighing in on this.
  • After lots of feedback from folks disappointed that zombie pong was gone, we are bringing it back. The feature to disallow factions from being zombified remains, but is not being used on the zombie factions.
    • Thanks to Strategic Sage and many others for bringing this up.
  • General reductions to the Extragalactic War ship speeds. Spire ships can now catch almost all of them.
    • Planetcracker and Mothership speeds have been reduced from 1000 to 400.
    • Flenser was already at 200. It's staying there for now.
    • Thunderchild reduced from 800 to 500.
    • Jackalope reduced from 2200 to 1400.
    • Hunter / Annihilator reduced from 700 to 600.
    • Chimera from 600 to 400.
    • Wyrm, Wendigo, and Wendigo Drones from 2200 to 1200.
    • Hunter / Seeker from 1000 to 500.
    • Phoenix from 2200 to 1200.
    • Poltergeist from 1000 to 300.
    • Maugrim from 1000 to 300, and their drones from 1600 to 600.
    • Thanks to Astilious, Lord Of Nothing, Chthonic_One, CRCGamer, zeusalmighty, Ozone, and others for weighing in.

Included Mod Updates

  • AMU: More adjustments towards Chrysalis Devourer:
    • The ExtendedHackingImplementation now supports metal and science costs on launch, per second and whether or not the hack auto-cancels if the limit (on cost 0 in storage, on granting metal, since there's no limit to stored science, the metal storage limit) would be exceeded.
    • CheckIfHackIsDone() in ExtendedHackingImplementation now checks for the hacker's hacking points to be sufficient.
    • Added an auto-description feature that will provide additional info to the various factors (if a hack is done by a battlestation/citadel, if it costs metal/science, all that kind of stuff). This affects all hacks in Kaizers Marauders that use such special mechanics.
    • The WarpToPlanet function also accepts a location to warp to. Even if it's on the same planet the location is always used.
    • Created SetEntityPath as a simple means to create have a ship move somewhere.
    • Created FactionAllegiance.ResetAllegiance() in order to reset an allegiance without provoking a ton of GC churn and a need for comparison.
    • Added a variant of getMarkLevelFormated() to the AMU core and ArcenDoubleCharacterBuffer extensions that takes in a byte of the actual mark. Mark 0 refers to markless.
  • Kaizers Marauders were adjusted to work with these changes

Version 2.708 Mapgen For Multiplayer

(Released December 21st, 2020)

  • The icon for cross planet attacks has been updated to a stylized prison cell rather than the stylized handcuffs. Now that we have different severity colors for events, this will be vastly more visible.
    • Thanks to Badger for suggesting.
  • In the medium tooltips, it now shows the "G-Speed" of ships if they have a group-move speed that is different from their normal base speed. In the full tooltip, it now shows what the original speed of the ship would have been, if there is a group move speed, since now the original is not shown up in the main stats area. This makes group move speeds easier to understand at a glance, for new folks in particular.
  • We had some old logic in the game for not having sniper-range-style ships chase targets, but it was set at a value of 120k or so range, and so did not handle some lower-ranged ships that still have no reason to do this sort of movement. Artillery Golems have a range of 99,200, for instance.
    • We have now set up a new external constant, balance_distance_after_which_ships_will_not_chase_targets, rather than having this hardcoded. And this is now set to 50k, which is just slightly less than the diameter of the gravity well. Any ship with that level of range should not be chasing its targets.
    • Thanks to GreatYng, Arides, ArnaudB, Isiel, CRCGamer, TechSY730, and Metrekec for reporting.

Map Seeding Logic (Mostly Multi-Faction MP, But Also A Bit More)

  • The seeding for all of the major capturables is now fully updated to be based partly on how many human empires there are, and the tooltips in the galaxy options now also reflect that.
    • Additionally, when it comes to seeding "one near the player homeworld," that's now "one near each human homewold," which by itself already makes multi-human-faction multiplayer far better than it was.
    • Details for each category of major capturable are below, in the order of seeding:
  • Regular Fleets
    • It's now 1 adjacent to EACH human homeworld, not 1 adjacent to A human homeworld.
    • There is also now a second one 2 hops out from EACH human homeworld, not 2 hops out from A human homeworld.
    • So far, for these early capturables this means that for a 2-human-empire game it's doubled numbers, for 3-H-E games it's tripled, etc.
    • If there was not room to seed any of these for some reason (cramped maps with dead ends, all humans very close together, whatever), then it will seed the remainder further out in the galaxy somewhere. Ideally in the first nearer half of the galaxy if possible.
    • For the rest of the flagships of this type in the galaxy, mostly that is based on galaxy map size. However, it adds 2 additional flagships for each human faction beyond the first.
    • All of the rest of the logic is all the same, and ultimately this does not change how single-human-faction logic works at all.
      • This is a general template for how the new seeding works, so we'll describe the rest of the capturable types a bit more briefly.
  • Global Command Augmenter
    • One adjacent to EACH human homeworld.
    • Then this is one difference that affects both single player and multiplayer:
      • There is a second one that used to be seeded within 2-3 hops from A human homeworld. Now there is one that is still seeded within a distance from A human homeworld, but that distance is now 3-6 hops.
      • This means that there are fewer early GCAs in multiplayer than in single-player, and additionaly in single-player that second GCA is probably substantially further off (but not always).
    • Then a standard extra 1 GCA per human empire beyond the first seeded wherever.
  • Advanced Research Station
    • One adjacent to EACH human homeworld.
    • Rest of the seeding is the same as before, but an extra 1 ARS per human empire beyond the first seeded wherever.
  • Tech Vault
    • This is pretty rare, and it used to just seed 1, period, in the first pass, 2-3 hops from you.
      • Now it seeds 1 per human empire 2-3 hops from any empire. These may wind up being very much clustered around one empire more than others. It's not meant to be quite so fair as the others above.
    • Then for further out, it used to always just seed a flat 4. Now it seeds 3 plus the number of human empires.
    • As with all the other changes except for the GCA, none of this affects single-player games.
  • Fleet Research Station
    • This is another relatively rare one. It used to seed 1 within 3-8 hops of you, but now it seeds one per human empire within those 5-10 hops.
      • This is another major change to how single-player games are also going to look, as it will make you travel further to get these extremely powerful goodies.
    • There are others seeded further away, but as with all the other notes on seeding above, all the parts that have not changed are not detailed here.
      • Except... one more change with those. For the ones with them seeded "mostly anywhere," they now will have to be at least 5 hops from human planets, instead of 3.
        • Again this one affects single-player balance and gives you more goodies on the far side of the galaxy for yourself. Too many of these things were close up to you. It was more obvious when looking at this in multiplayer, but it was true in general.
  • Fleet Capacity Extender
    • This one seeds two per human empire within 2-4 hops of each player homeworld.
      • It used to be 2-3 hops, so this is actually one more place where it affects the balance in single-player. One of these could be one extra hop out.
    • Previously, the number of Fleet Capacity Extenders were multiplied by the "Advanced Research Stations To Seed" setting in galaxy options.
      • We have now added a new "Fleet Capacity Extenders To Seed" setting, instead.
    • For the stuff further out in the galaxy, it now seeds one extra one for each human empire beyond the first.
      • Instead of being a seeding zone of 3-8 from human homeworlds, the middle-distance for these are now 4-9 out. And for the "mostly anywhere" ones, the min distance from human worlds is now 5 rather than 3.
      • These are both NOTABLE changes to the balance in single-player maps as well, and will give the player more goals that are further out in the galaxy.
  • Battlestations
    • This one mostly works like it does in single-player.
    • However, there are an additional 2 seeded at random per human empire beyond the first.
  • Mobile Support Fleets
    • This again mostly works like in single-player.
    • However, it now seeds one 2 hops out from each human homeworld, rather than A homeworld.
    • And for the more distant fleets seeded, it adds an additional 1 per extra human empire beyond the first.
  • Lone Wolf Flagships
    • Mostly the same as single-player.
    • It adds an additional 1 per extra human empire beyond the first.
  • Citadels
    • This one mostly works like it does in single-player.
    • However, there is an additional one seeded per human empire beyond the first on the nearer half of the galaxy.
  • Officer Fleets (Golems, etc)
    • This one mostly works like it does in single-player.
    • However, even in single-player, there is now one extra officer fleet seeded than there used to be. These felt a bit thin on the ground, so there's now one more to choose from even in single-player.
    • In multiplayer, there are also an additional two seeded per human empire beyond the first. They remain all pretty much on the far side of the galaxy.

Smaller Captuables And Destructibles Balance (MP and SP)

  • Intra-Galactic Coordinator Seeding has been updated for multiplayer to be the following general amount:
    • 0 per type if 0 human empire factions (not possible right now, but could be a thing in the future).
    • 1 per type if 1 or 2 human factions.
    • 2 per type if 3 or 4 human factions.
    • 3 per type if more human factions.
    • We also are making it so that they can't normaly seed closer than 5 hops to a human homeworld, rather than the 3 of before. This second part also affects single-player and once again gives more goodies further away on the map.
  • Coprocessors are balanced a new way for multiplayer.
    • It's important that there always be exactly four of these if there are any, based on the pros and cons of how to hack these, but now it won't seed any at all if there are 3 or more human empires.
    • Given the huge amount of power that large numbers of human factions gain with all the positive capturables, some of the AIP reduction needs to be a bit more sidelined. You'll need to deal with higher-AIP AIs in general because of the extra territory you need to take to support multiple empires.
  • The SuperTerminal seeding is the same in MP and SP (and hey, this is way too fun to stip out), but the response now scales wtih how many human empires there are.
    • If there are 3 human empires, then the response of the SuperTerminal is going to be 3x as strong at all levels. So you really will have to work together to hold off this thing, it's incredibly scary but still very valuable.
    • The tooltip of the superterminal now mentions this.
  • The number of "minor capturables" used to be hardcoded at 5 per galaxy, but now it's 4 plus the number of human empires. So for single player there's no change, but there are extras of these in multi-faction MP.
    • However, the more players there are, the more it seeds these away from your side of the galaxy. Normally the minimum distance from your planets was 1, but now the distance is however many human empires there are.
  • We used to have a Destroyables setting called "Normal Data Centers," which let you customize how many data centers you would see in your galaxy, from 0 to 10, defaul 6.
    • This was frankly too powerful, since a lot of these can really make the AI response rather brain dead. So this setting has been removed.
    • It now seeds the default 6 at all times in single-player, but for each player beyond the first in multiplayer it now seeds 2 fewer, with a minimum of 1. So in a two-factiong ame there are 2 data centers, and in a 3 player game there is only one.
    • These also now seed further away: it used to be that the minimum distance away was 3 hops on AI difficulty 7 and down, but now that's 5, and on 8 and up 5 has become 7.
      • This keeps these to the far end of the galaxy, mainly, and again gives you more reasons to be over there.
  • The number of distribution nodes also used to be a setting that you could control, 0-10 default 6.
    • This was less powerful than the data centers thing, but still pretty powerful and in multiplayer is even more of a benefit.
    • So that setting has been removed, in single player it always gives 6, and in multiplayer games with 2+ human factions these no longer seed at all.
    • With all the hacking points and science that you get in multiplayer with multiple factions as it is, trading AIP for more is almost always going to be a bad deal for you. Especially with the lowered AIP reduction opportunties.
  • Major Data Centers used to have a setting that would let you customize them, from 0-4, default 2.
    • Once again this was too powerful, so has been removed. The destroyables category of the galaxy map options is now gone.
    • The game now seeds 3 minus the number of human empires, min 0. For single-player this means the default of 2, for a 3 player game and up this means none of them.
    • In 3+ player faction game, expect for the AIP to be much higher in general, with very few chances to reduce it, but in return you have vastly more territory and more fleets and goodies in general.
  • Normally Zenith Power Generators and Zenith Matter Converters can be anywhere that is at least 3 hops from a starting player homeworld.
    • It is now 3 hops plus 1 for each human empire, so they are a bit further off in solo play and substantially more as you get more human empires at once.
  • The prior "Destroyables" galaxy options have been brought back, but with revised names and tooltips (old games that used these, and quick starts, will still work).
    • Max Normal Data Centers, Max Major Data Centers, and Max Distribution Nodes are now the options. These have the same defaults that they used to, but the max is now whatever the default used to be.
    • The purpose of these options is essentially to allow you to adjust things and make them harder than normal, since we had some people and quickstarts doing that sort of thing.
    • What we wanted to avoid was people making it easier in an unbalanced way, or us not being able to adjust the stated amount downward in multiplayer.
    • Thanks to Puffin and Astilious for catching this.

Seeding Adjustments To The AI Starting Special Weapons (MP Mostly, But Also SP)

  • The way that the number of fortresses and superfortresses are calculated for the Fortress Baron AI type is now completely different.
    • In a single-player game the number of these is probably roughly comparable to how it was before, but with more AI factions it will now work a bit better, and the distribution will in general be a bit better.
    • In multiplayer games with multiple factions, there will now be increasingly more fortresses and superfortresses depending on how many human empires there are. Work together!
  • Same logic applies to the upcoming DLC AI type of Geneticist.
    • Ditto the upcoming Gladitor.
    • Ditto the upcoming Ragnarok.
    • Ditto the upcoming Spire Hammer.
    • Ditto the One Way Doormaster.
    • Ditto the Peacemaker.
    • Ditto the Royal type.
    • And lastly, ditto the Turtle type.
  • For all of the AIs, the BigGunNastyPick, EyeNastyPick, SupportStructureNastyPick, and WildCardNastyPick "percentages of planets we seed on" are now increased as follows:
    • For each player empire beyond the first, increase the percentage based on whatever level it is at right now, and loop for each player faction.
      • If it was less than 15, add 2, if less than 30, add 4, if less than 50 add 8, if less than 60 add 12, if less than 70 add 14, if less than 80 then add 18, if less than 90, add one. Otherwise if already great than 90, stop adding.
    • As you can see, if something is already pretty common, it will become a lot more common more quickly. If it's fairly rare at the moment, it gets more common more slowly unless there are a LOT of players causing it to hit the loop crazily.
    • If you had something insane like 10 human factions, then it would wind up driving most planets to being incredibly fortified. With more like 4 players, it should be extra tough but not gargantuanly so. Depending on the AI types in question.

Bugfixes

  • Fixed an infinite loop that would happen on multiplayer clients when certain unit types were used that build more units based on some sort of build points that they accumulate over time. Essentially the Von Neumann type ships, among a few others. Various base game units and mods use these mechanics, and it would be triggered by any of them. This is logic that should never be run on the client or else it leads to an infinite loop since it would never actually add ships on the client. Now it properly ignores that whole bit of logic on the client, just letting the host manage it instead.
    • Thanks to Arides, ParadoxSong, Sinzdri, and others for reporting.
  • Quieted another harmless error message that could show up in the debug log during the process of being disconnected forcibly from a multiplayer game.
    • In the process of this, also made the real cases of this error message start showing up visibly as errors and not just as silent in the logs.
  • Fixed several different errors that could happen in multiplayer in particular, mostly around debug code 157 for DoEntitySecondLogic with drones in multiplayer. Essentially, drones that were attritioning or going back into a transport could cause exceptions on multiplayer clients, but that should no longer be possible.
    • Thanks to Badger and his play group for discovering.
  • Fixed a variety of exceptions that could happen on multiplayer clients with factions or planetfactions being null on ships during DoEntitySecondLogic. These now exit more gracefully.
    • Thanks to Badger and his play group for reporting.
  • Fixed a couple of exceptions that could happen on multiplayer clients during reconquest seeding.
    • Thanks to Badger and his play group for reporting.
  • Debug logging (errors, etc) now includes the game version and the MP status (SINGLEP, HOST, or CLIENT) next to every error line. This will immediately help clear up a variety of things that can be confusing to us.
  • Fixed up the CalculateSpeed() method on the CPA logic to handle a couple of thins:
    • Firstly, we no longer base it on the CalculatedSpeed of each ship, because that can include a lot of temporary things like paralysis, or it can include things that are temporary boosts (like existing speed groups), or it can even be 0 if nothing has been calculated yet.
      • It was possible in the prior code that if multiple speed groups were created in succession that included some ships that were all of one type, that the average speed would rise each time, eventually leading to truly absurdly high speeds.
    • Secondly, we are now using 64bit math to calculate the average speed just in an abundance of caution, since if the speed group is large enough it could otherwise overflow and theoretically cause very strange results. We doubt this was happening, but it's nice to have in place.
    • Lastly, when the "average speed plus a little" is fully calculated for a speed group with a CPA, it now makes sure that it is not higher than the maximum speed of any ships in the group. Previously, it was possible for a mono-type group to always get a boost of 1/9th their speed, plus 200 if the game was far enough in, plus up to 50 just for the sake of randomness. Now that will cap out at the actual speed of the ship type in question.
    • We're guessing that this was the cause of the hyper-fast speed groups that a few people were seeing from CPAs, but it's hard to be sure. If this fixes it, then this simply means that the code for setting the overriding speed of speed groups was not working properly in the past, which is something we may have fixed recently.
    • Thanks to NRSirLimbo and Crabby for reporting.
  • In order to avoid having existing savegames with excessive speed group speeds running around, during the load off of disk it now checks the overriding speed limit against the max speed of all the ships in the group, and if the max speed is lower it sets that as the new speed group for that speed group.
    • Thanks to NRSirLimbo and Crabby for reporting.
  • Since apparently Bombards were giving an outsized counterattack response, we've set up a counter_attack_budget_override_multiplier of 0.25 to cause it to rise only a quarter as rapidly.
    • Counterattacks are mostly based on the strength of the strength of a squad at its base mark level (so higher marks do not increase the counterattack strength at all), but there are some extra multipliers based on flagship types that are present, and what type of planet is there, and what the AI type is set to (different AIs can have different amounts of counterattack intensity). Hopefully it wasn't just a factor like the AI Type in question.
    • Thanks to Arides for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug in the last few game versions since we have been tracking human empires where for each time you loaded a savegame or regenerated a map or generated a new map seed, you would get another set of old empires added in that never cleared until you restarted the program. This would lead to a variety of insane things at times, including some lag on the galaxy map in particular, but also including some hacking costs that could be insanely inflated even in single-player.
    • Thanks to Metrekec and Isiel for reporting.

Version 2.707 Thread Tracking And Lost Planets

(Released December 18th, 2020)

  • Completely reworked the way we track long-running background threads. It's no longer just the faction planning threads, but instead is ALL of the background threads, even those that are only supposed to run for part of a second at a time.
    • These all now will start showing on the interface as slow-running background threads after some warning interval (varies by thread), and then the main thread will forcibly kill them after a certain longer interval.
      • For the short-term threads, it generally warns you after 2 seconds and kills it after 10 seconds. For the longer-term stuff, it generally warns you after 10 seconds and kills them after 30 seconds.
    • This provides a hopefully-foolproof way for us to find threads that are stuck in infinite loops, which is something we're aware some multiplayer clients are experiencing at the moment. The only thread it can't detect this on is the main thread itself, but if in those instances the game program would appear entirely unresponsive (white screen, nothing displays, OS is worried, etc), and that's not what we're having reports of.
      • If you are having one of these slow background threads happen and it's causing an issue in multiplayer, please wait until it counts all the way up and actually throws an error. The error handling is designed to give us as close a view as possible of where the error actually is. Please then give us the error log that contains several detailed errors (usually between one and three) rather than a screenshot.
    • We should then be able to fix whatever is going on, or if the problem is in a modder's code (in this instance it does not seem that is the case), then the modder can also find out and solve that.
    • It's worth noting that the "main simulation thread" is actually on a background thread, and so that's a thread that we can indeed (and do) track.
    • Thanks to CRCGamer, NRSirLimbo, Arides, Paradox Song, Ozone, and others for reporting.

Notification Improvements

  • All of the various notifications that were missing icons, or which were reusing icons that some other notification had, now have icons of their own.
    • Additionally, there's about two dozen extra notification icons that we now have in place in the new metallic style that we considered using but did not yet; those can be used for mod notifications, or whatever else.
  • In the event that you WERE in control of a planet, but lost it, in the past the game did not show you very useful information.
    • Prior to recently, it would probably show no notifier at all about it anymore, not on an ongoing basis.
    • Recently, if you still had some fighting forces on that planet, then it would show you as attacking that planet. Unless your forces were too weak.
    • Now it actually has its own unique icon for planets that have been lost -- based on there being the remains of a command station there -- and it pops those up to major priority (if it was not already higher), and it will keep the notification there even if all the enemies leave or if all your forces get wiped out.
    • This way you always have a reminder of a planet to get back to and either repopulate, or remove the command station and turrets if they are not going to be used again.

Multiplayer Improvements

  • If a client gets a message from the host that they have been disconnected in an orderly fashion, the client now gets sent back to the main menu instead of trying to continue on in a format that seems connected but is not really.
  • In the event that a multiplayer client is disconnected for whatever other non-proper reason (a connection drop, not the host shutting down the game or something), then the client is now booted to the main menu rather than dropping into single player mode that seems to be still connected. Holy guacamole that was confusing (and never intended).
  • Fixed a bug where if a client connected to a host lobby directly after the client was in the planet view, the client would not be able to see the galaxy map properly.
  • For the first three seconds of each game, there are no notifications shown up at the top bar, now. This should basically never be the case anyhow, but this will hopefully work around the "30 different planet attacks" bug.
  • Because it could gum things up and even lead to network errors, there is now a rate-limiter applied to the randomize seed button on the galaxy map. When it is disabled because of rate-limiting, it now shows a countdown until it can be used again.
    • In solo play, the rate limiter is only 1 second. In multiplayer as the host, it is 3 seconds. In multiplayer as the client, it is 5 seconds.
    • This should be sufficient for keeping things out of trouble while not overly slowing down people who want to thumb through items.

Bugfixes

  • Removed a metabolization debugging line that was apparently left in, that explained how much metal was gained each time that happened.
  • Fixed several cases of "Fixed attempt to read more faction data than we had factions on the client." that would happen sometimes when the client was disconnecting from the server on purpose.
  • Fixed an issue where because of the way we have been reading the controls input xml for the last few months, things like the control groups have been out of order. In general the order of the controls has been random and funky.
    • Thanks to Endovior for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue with the framerate types being randomly ordered due to xml reading changes a few months ago, which was probably leading to the wrong framerates being matched up. If this doesn't solve the related issue, please let us know! In the next build, everyone's framerate type will be reset to the default.
    • Thanks to AnnoyingOrange, Daw11, and poljik2 for reporting.

Version 2.706 Selection And Regression Fixes

(Released December 17th, 2020)

  • Switched our delayed messages over from being a ConcurrentBag to a ConcurrentQueue. This is slightly less efficient, but should keep the order properly.

Regression Fixes

  • Fixed one-character bug in the prior build where we had a typo that we did not even know was possible. We needed to invert a boolean, which you usually do with the ! character. But we had !! instead. Turns out that is valid syntax and double-inverts it back to its original value.
    • This led to the ship models not being loaded properly ever: if you had ship models set to draw, they would not; if you had ship models set to not draw, they would draw raiders only.
    • Thanks to Ozone, InvisiblePhil, and Crabby for reporting.
  • Fixed a couple of bugs in the prior version that were causing the planet faction boolean flags to sometimes not be read properly, or come out inverted. This was often leading to things like player ships attacking AI command stations without orders to do so. This should now be solved for any existing savegames and new ones.
    • While we were at it, we discovered that the ability to set a planet to be avoided by player ship pathfinding was improperly handled for multiplayer games, and so only the host would have been able to use that function and have it stick. Now it will work for any player.
    • Thanks to Sigma7, Arides, and others for reporting.
  • GameCommand queues from the long term threads have been returned to how they used to work with locks and such. This should prevent any misordering of gamecommands that are issued within a single cycle.
    • It was suspected that these were maybe causing some chaos in the prior build, but it's hard to be entirely sure. The issue with ships losing selection after being shot if they were in a stack was unrelated to this.
    • Thanks to a variety of folks on discord for reporting.

Ship Selection Improvements

  • Added the ability to deselect ships, fleets, and similar from the current selection by holding alt and clicking them in the selection window. The tooltips have all been updated to inform players that this is now possible. This now works like the first game did, in that regard.
    • Thanks to nas1m, Fluffiest, cybersol, poljik2, and others for suggesting.
  • EntitiesToSelectNextFrame and EntitiesToSelectNextFrame were both unused and have been removed.
  • When ships are selected or deselected, there is now a ReasonCode string that is passed in so that we can log what is happening and why.
  • If a ship is created from another ship, and the first ship was selected, that ship is now selected.
    • This handles cases where stacks of player units were split, and the new units were not properly selected. However, it does not handle them on multiplayer clients.
    • If you select by fleet, none of this affects you at all. Only if you are directly selecting ships.
  • When a ship is created into a player fleet, if any other ships of the same type are selected AND on the same planet as it, then the new one is now selected.
    • This handles a variety of edge cases. However, it does not handle them on multiplayer clients by default, so we have now hooked into the fast-blast data syncs (that's actually very helpful in the end) to make that work, too.
    • If you select by fleet, none of this affects you at all. Only if you are directly selecting ships.
  • We no longer try to deselect and reselect ships when they change planets. That was a relic of when selection used to be related to the planet you are on. When a ship changes planets, just... nothing happens. It's still selected.
    • Thanks to OzoneGrif and Asteroid for reporting.
  • When ships die, we are no longer explicitly unselecting them. That was probably causing a lot of our problems, particularly around stacks.
    • There are many cases where ships "die" and then just pop an entry off their stack instead, and those were winding up being deselected ever since stacks have been a thing.
    • Again this is something that doesn't happen if you select by-fleet. Which at least for Chris, is how he plays. When you're managing ships by-type or just by bandbox selection it's a lot better now.
    • Thanks to Ozone for reporting.
  • Fixed a longstanding issue where the second click of a double-click into a planet was being treated as a single click in empty space on that planet and thus clearing your selection.
    • Thanks to Asteroid, Badger, BadWolf, Brainsample, Histidine, Fluffiest, and others for reporting.

Version 2.705 Clarity, Refinement, and Performance

(Released December 16th, 2020)

  • At the end of generating the details of a new map (from custom games or quick starts), the game now quickly takes an extra bit of time to actually generate the strengths of each planet as they exist from the 0th second of the game. This takes on average an extra 8-18ms from what we can see so far.
    • The result of this is that players can trust their intel from the very start, even if they pause immediately or start paused. And factions that might want to invade or do whatever else very early in the game can also now trust THEIR information, which is similarly useful.
    • Thanks to Smidlee for initially raising the issue, and then -NR-SirLimbo, Strategic Sage, and CRCGamer for chiming in with details.
  • When loading existing savegames to continue playing, the game now also does a recalculation of all the strengths in the galaxy prior to actually letting you start playing. This is taking double digits of milliseconds, at most. This can prevent the galaxy map display from being wrong in some rare circumstances, and thus can also prevent NPC factions from making brief bad decisions off bad data right after coming in.
    • At worst this is overkill, but realistically we sometimes change the strength formulas and so forth and this will keep things correct, anyhow.
    • Thanks to -NR-SirLimbo for reporting a rare instance of this being wrong with some really specific setup circumstances. This should handle that case and any others.
  • The "Minimal Fog of War" setting has been removed from the Galaxy Camera settings section of the personal settings. This was not an appropriate setting to have on a per-player basis in multiplayer in particular.
    • There is now a new "Minimal Fog of War" setting that behaves identically to this in the Scouting section of the galaxy options menu. This is something that any player can change, even during gameplay, and it will then give all players a consistent view. No need to wonder why someone sees things differently from everyone else, and nobody can "peek" without others knowing.
    • Also happened to increase the efficiency of the checks for this a bit, making it not be called so frequently to find out if it's on or not.

Galaxy Map Display Mode Updates

  • Galaxy map filters now have the ability to add text to planet tooltips, or outright replace the bulk of the planet tooltip contents.
  • When you are in the Deepstrike Danger galaxy map display mode, the bulk of the planet tooltips are now changed to explain what each planet's status means in terms of danger level. What happens if you go there? How do you trigger the AI Reserves? Etc.
  • Added another new galaxy map view: AI Sentinel Alert Levels
    • For each AI planet, shows what the alert level is for that planet. Planet tooltips give advice on what this means for each specific planet. Shows the same icons as the Normal view.
    • This whole thing also now includes some extra information that was not previously in the game itself at all, such a WHY each planet is at a given alert level. Again, most people don't need to know or care, but for the detail-oriented this is a big win.
    • Inspired by a discussion on discord with dano and -NR-SirLimbo. This isn't a function of the AI that you HAVE to understand, but it's nice to be able to if you want to, and it's REALLY nice not to have to go to the wiki release notes to get the details.
  • The hex colors of the higher two AI Alert Levels are now more bold, making them easier to pick out at a glance in their display mode in particular, but also otherwise.
    • Thanks to -NR-SirLimbo for suggesting.

Notifications And Their Icons

  • The icon for a non-home planet of yours being attacked has been updated.
    • The old one that was a general warning-style icon is still there, but is called generalwarning and is no longer used for these purposes. It was too generic.
  • There is now an icon for when you are in a fight with an enemy on a planet that is not yours.
  • All of the notification icons that were previously existing have been updated to a more gritty/physical/metallic style.
    • This is a bit different from other icons in the game, but is fitting with their placement and the style of the notification backgrounds. These are more of a physical part of the UI, visually speaking, compared to the other elements which are thematically more digital elements.
  • Previously, we only had a single "our planet is under attack" sort of notification. It had two variants, one for our home planets and one for not-our-home-planet.
    • For a long time, we have also been using it to note when "our" planet is being attacked if the planet was a beachhead where we had a lot of turrets. In the most recent build, we expanded that to include any planet we or our human-player allies are fighting on, but that had the side effect of making it so that it gave very confusing notifications about "us defending our planets" in enemy territory.
    • Now we have a whole new set of text, and new icon, for notifications of us attacking an enemy or neutral planet, whether that's a beachhead or otherwise. These show up under the informational level of severity, so right at the bottom.
      • These show the lists of allied attackers, and the list of enemy defenders. They also show any interesting capturables on that planet, same as on our own planets we were showing infrastructure.
    • Thanks to Crabby and ArnaudB for reporting.

Included Mod Updates

  • AMU:
    • Repositioned the GrantShipCountType to no longer be inside the AMU_Utils class but inside AMU namespace itself
    • Created 2 variants of WriteShipLinesGrantedToBuffer(), one for a specific player, the other without a player given tries to find the local player or if there is none for whatever reason uses the first player if possible. If no player is found all units will be displayed as mark 1. Optionally a headder explaining what this is for can be added (such as "Hacking this can grant the following units:").
    • Created more variants of AddToShipGrantList() so that it's not only entities that can have potential ship lines added but also raw lists.
    • The ShipOrTurretGrantingHackingImplementation now uses a GrantMode which can be set to all entities, only specific entities and only centerpieces (and potentially others too in the future) instead of a simple bool for all-or-nothing.
  • Kaizers Marauders
    • Used the above logic for displaying hackable ship lines.
    • Defensive lines hacked from Outposts no longer display if the Planet has its systems on lockdown, preventing all further hacks there. Less useless clutter is always good.
    • Put in a fix for an oversight that would lead to saves from previous versions very likely (in most likely all cases, the only case to avoid being when all marauder planets would have a turret-hack going it seems) not loading.
    • Fixed Marauders not spawning when the beacon was destroyed until their invasion time limit was reached.
      • Thanks to Doc_Den for asking about it on Discord.
    • Fixed the Journal that's supposed to appear when the game is launched with a Marauder beacon present not actually showing.
    • Put in a new Journal for discovering the Marauder beacon.
  • AMU:
    • Some more internal adjustments towards Devourer Chrysalis.
  • Kaizers Marauders:
    • Fitting in with these adjustments.

Bugfixes

  • Fixed a MP sync issue with the outguard, where every time an outguard beacon was synced to a client it would cause its list of mercenary groups to grow. So when hovering tooltips over a beacon on an MP client it would do that every 1 second.
    • Thanks to OzoneGrif for reporting.
  • The "Unable to render visuals for 3.00s, because of:" message is one that is really old and really doesn't matter. It's something that happens during really long loads from disk, and it just silently puts junk in your log. We put this in back in 2017 when we were originally designing this and worried that there might be a long-running process that the game didn't come back from. That's not really a thing, in practice, and if it was then this message would not be helpful (actual deadlocks are not caught by this anyway).
  • Previously, any exceptions in the AI Reserves were silent and just showed up in the log. This was not super helpful. These errors now show up more visibly.
    • In the UpdateDeepstrikePlanetsUnderAttack method, we were able to get an exception, so we now have more logging in place.
  • In the settings menu, it was previously possible to see settings from mods or expansions that you had installed but disabled. Now it only shows them if they are installed and enabled.
  • Fixed a bug dating back to changes on October 9th, when the new AI sentinel readiness code was put in place.
    • Essentially there was an oversight in the code that said "there are player forces here now, or there were within the residual timeframe for alerts to last" that let it just assign alert level 4 and then bypassed that and kept assigning a lower alert level based on other factors.
    • This made it so that raids into territory not adjacent to your own would never trigger alert level 4, and it also made it so that raid engines would never count down their timers.
    • Thanks to Strategic Sage, TechSY730, GreatYng, Smidlee, Endovior, and Arides for reporting.
  • The "share allied vision" setting in the galaxy map has been removed and replaced with a new "Share Allied NPC Vision" setting.
    • This effectively does the same thing, but makes it really clear that human allies always share vision, and this is just about NPC factions sharing with you.
  • Fixed some bugs with how the allied vision setting was implemented that was preventing you from seeing a lot of intel in general on the galaxy map, or leaving it pretty stale in general.
    • The biggest thing was that it was often causing a planet you had ships at to flip back and forth rapidly between "watched" and "explored" status, thus making the intel counts often have a question mark behind them or fail to show up entirely.
    • Thanks to Crabby for reporting.
  • Changed it so that you retain the currently watched status on a planet for 5 seconds rather than 2 after a ship was there. This prevents issues with players at a faster game speed having their explored/watched status flicker for a planet.
  • Fixed a bug in the prior version of the game where the cost per extra human empire to hack for science was being increased including for the first empire (so also including solo games or single-empire multiplayer).
    • Thanks to Metrekec for reporting.

Multithreading Improvements (MP and SP)

  • Went over speed groups with a fine-toothed comb in terms of their fast-blast sync in multiplayer, and it all looks good. Put in slight extra instrumentation to let us know if there is actually an oversight, but at the moment it looks like the error is really on the side of fast-blast shots, not speed groups, and the speed groups were a downstream casualty.
  • Updated the central dictionaries that have lookups for shots, ships, and wormholes to be concurrent dictionaries that expect access from 8 threads at once (but can do more). This mostly affects nothing, but in certain cases where we were trying to write to one of those dictionaries from two threads at once, it will prevent any issues.
    • What we were observing in some cases (one client out of five in a six player game, for example) is that shots were failing the basic method call of "assign self into dictionary by ID." This should be frankly impossible, but it was erroring on an internal method call TryInsert on the Dictionary<> class. That's a great sign that there is a cross-threading issue going on, because again that should be impossible in any other circumstance. So the simple solution is switching to a ConcurrentDictionary<>, and that problem should go away.
    • Thanks to Badger and his play group for reporting.
  • A couple of locks used, one on fleets and one on squads, are no longer used on multiplayer clients. This new change CAN have the effect of briefly having the wrong number of units in a stack or the wrong number of drones undeployed in a fleet, but it would be a very brief time that would be wrong, and it's not super likely to be wrong.
    • The positive thing about this change is that clients wind up with these methods being called a LOT compared to hosts or single player machines, and almost always it's just a simple overwrite rather than several different places trying to increment or whatever. The idea is that this speeds up the sync on clients, does less processing, and removes a potential source of deadlock that could happen. In the very rare case that a client gets slightly off because of this, it will fix itself within seconds, but the overall processing will be much better and cleaner without this here.
  • Our campaign against thread locks continues: GameCommands have been using a set of Queue<> collections that were locked when things were taken out and put in, but now we are just using a ConcurrentBag<>. This should be a minor boost to performance in singleplayer or multiplayer. The more factions and threads and things you have going on, the more it's likely to make at least a small difference.
  • During our xml import, we now have switched over to using ConcurrentBag<> collections where we were using List<> collections that had to be locked. This may be a minor speed boost on load for some machines.
  • The "long term planning" threads (either intermittent ones for a faction, or continuous ones for something like decollision or whatever) now use ConcurrentBag<> instead of List<> collections that are locked.
    • This DOES mean that the order in which items come out of these will be arbitrary, now, whereas before they were ordered. But in general we are not aware of any cases where there are GameCommands that are strictly order-dependent that happen within the same cycle, and if there are any they might have been getting misordered elsewhere in multiplayer in particular.
    • Generally the order of GameCommands is something closer to a human scale, at least on a few hundred ms timeframe, and that is still honored. If we have any problems with this, we can switch to a ConcurrentQueue<>, which should be ordered, but the performance is probably not as great.
    • These boosts only help on the host in MP and in general in SP games. MP clients already don't run any of these threads.

Performance Improvements

  • Made the creation of PlanetFactions a bit more efficient by not initializing things like their entity lists or boolean arrays until and unless those are actually needed. This makes the first map generation or savegame load after a run of the program happen more quickly.
  • Performance improvements around extra planet factions:
    • The strength counting logic is now explicitly not run for the natural object faction (hopefully causes no issues) and the beacon-only factions (definitely will cause no issues).
    • The metal flows logic now early-outs much faster for planet factions that are beacon-only or which have no squads at a given planet.
    • The tractor beam planning logic now early-outs much faster for planet factions that have no squads at a given planet.
    • On a 500 planet map (not supported) with basic factions included this gets Chris' dev machine from 12% sim speed to 18%. For actual normal map sizes, this will also improve performance, but we're looking into the case of "when planet counts are absurd, where does the extra processing go," since that probably will yield a benefit for non-absurd planet counts.
  • The old setting "Skip Drawing Ship Models" has been removed, and replaced with one called "Draw Ship Models."
    • This is functionally the same, but more clear now. This will wind up removing whatever your settings were from the past, so if you were playing without ship models before you will need to alter this setting.
    • Same with Disable Tachyon Beam Visuals, it has become Draw Tachyon Beams and its description has been updated.
      • However, THIS one has changed to now default to off, since it really is not needed and uses a lot of performance. You can turn it back on, but it now defaults to off.
    • Disable Tractor Beam Visuals has also become Draw Tractor Beams, and it defaults to on. Very people would have changed this from the default.
    • Disable Beam Weapon Visuals has become Draw Beam Weapons, and it defaults to on. Very people would have changed this from the default.
    • Disable Parallel Faction Processing has become Parallel Faction Processing, and now defaults to on. Again this is something that almost nobody should change.
    • Do Not Show Shot Visual Effects has been renamed to Draw Bullets, and now defaults to on.
    • Do Not Show Explosion Visual Effects has been renamed to Draw AOE Explosions, and now defaults to on. It's also now clear which explosions are even meant!
    • Other than the ship models one, very few of these are used by most people, and all of these are functionally the same as the old versions except for the tachyon beams which are now off by default.
    • The general goal here is to make these settings more clear, since folks were finding the wording and double-negatives confusing (we can't not imagine why).
    • All of these settings have also been updated to a check model that is slightly more efficient, which is always nice.
    • Thanks to Badger and his play group for reporting.
  • Added a new Show Faction Performance In Escape Menu option in the escape menu.
    • If your game simulation is running slowly, you can turn this on to see how long each faction is spending doing its work on the main simulation thread. Background thinking of factions is not included in this, since those don't block the main simulation or impact performance in that sort of way.
  • Using the new Show Faction Performance tool, we can see that on a 500 planet map, most factions are doing great, but AI Reserves are spending 4.5 seconds per second doing... something. That obviously is no good.
  • Multiplayer clients no longer do any of the stage2 or stage3 logic of AI Reserves, since there's nothing in there that would be useful for them in the first place. All of that is best controlled on the host.
  • The way that deepstrike-eligible planets are calculated now happens only once on the background thread of the AI Reserves, and the result is cached on the planet itself where other threads and the UI can get the results with ease.
    • Our overall algorithm is not much more efficient than it was before, but it is doing well under half the work that it used to, as well as only being on a non-blocking background thread now.
    • Because of this, our 500 planet extreme test case example now runs at full speed, and all other savegames should also see a bit of a speed bump.
    • Because of how multiplayer sync works, the MP clients are kept up to date on all of this even though they are running none of the logic.
    • This is our big mysterious performance drain, finally solved! It was not remotely what we expected. At any rate, giant counts of planets are still not a great idea for many other reasons, but the baseline performance drain of each planet added to the game is now gone.

Version 2.704 MP Notifications And Mapgen

(Released December 14th, 2020)

  • The shield points of all the raiders and their variants have been dropped dramatically, while their hull points remain the same.
    • Additionally, the metal costs of raiders have been almost doubled. This extra specialization and power of them, when compared to V-wings is now something you have to have a more robust economy to support.
    • And finally, their armor rating has been dropped from 50mm on most of them to 30mm, and from 30mm on the drones down to 10mm, making them vulnerable to anti-light-armor attacks.
    • Thanks to Crabby and Arides for suggesting.
  • AI Eyes are no longer allowed to be reinforcement spots, as the units contained within them get messed up as they transform between states. In general, units that transform should no be containers of AI reinforcements.
    • Thanks to DEMOCRACY_DEMOCRACY for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug where guardians could be confused about whose side they were supposed to reinforce, and thus be added to the player faction if the player partly owned a planet that was being reclaimed by the AI at the same time.
    • Thanks to Kizor and Metrekec for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug in the new hot-reloading code where, after changing some mods or expansions, various "External Data" fields would not be able to be loaded completely properly. This was pretty much just limited to the "custom data" that is added to those fields by a variety of factions and mods.
    • Restarting the game in prior versions would fix it, but now it just works correctly from the get-go.
    • Thanks to Crabby and Badger for reporting.
  • The game has been updated to require/allow ArcenSimContext to be passed to a lot of the galaxy map filter functions, etc. This lets them use some of the working lists and things like that.
  • The AI Reserves faction now registers an instance singleton of itself so that other parts of the code can query it for things like deepstrike eligibility.
  • There is a new Galaxy Map filter option: Deepstrike Danger
    • Shows which planets will trigger a deepstrike if you bring your own ships to them and unload them. Shows the same icons as the Normal view.
    • This is a great idea, since it has never been perfectly clear which planets will and will not show this.
    • Thanks to Asteroid for suggesting.
  • Fixed a possible nullref exception when stationary player constructors were destroyed in multiplayer. Looks like Badger may have already fixed it, though.
    • Thanks to NRSirLimbo and Flipkik for reporting.
  • Updated the instrumentation of EmitOnAOEParticles so that if it does have an error, it will give us useful data.
    • Thanks to NRSirLimbo for reporting.
  • Three different threading race conditions in TryWiringUpShotToTarget() no longer throw exceptions but instead just deal with the "TrueLocationByFailure" path. This is something that already was a minor visual glitch at most.
    • Thanks to NRSirLimbo for reporting.

Multiplayer And MapGen Improvements

  • Upgraded the mapgen logic to work better when there ae multiple human factions, or indeed when there are multiple AI factions.
    • When there were multiple AI factions, there were times where lots of planets adjacent to player homeworlds could be set erroneously to mark 3. This no longer happens.
    • When there were multiple human factions, then it was letting mark 3 or 4 planets be seeded next to human homeworlds sometimes, but it was also giving a LOT more mark 1 planets than normally are in a single-human-faction game.
      • Now it gives the same number of mark 1 planets for a map size regardless of how many human players there are, and these are distributed randomly next to however human homeworlds there are. Any other planets adjacent to a human homeworld that is beyond the amount allowed by a map will now be mark 2 no matter what.
      • In single-faction games, sometimes there are non-adjacent mark 1 homeworlds, but that will probably not happen anymore.
      • The rest of the planets that are more than 2 hops from human homeworlds will continue to use the logic that they previously did for whether they should be mark 2, 3,or 4.
    • The overall result should be something that always makes sense, and it will not favor player factions 1 over any other factions.
    • Thanks to Badger and others for reporting.
  • In multiplayer games, the clients no longer get any sort of "are you sure?" prompt or ironman autosave or anything when they quit from the game or quit to the main menu. Those are host-side things.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • "Pause Game When Opening Esc Menu" in the Game part of the settings menu has been split into two parts:
    • Pause Game When Opening Esc Menu In SP (default on)
    • Pause Game When Opening Esc Menu In MP (default off)
    • Additionally, made it so that sub-menus of the escape menu no longer cause the game to be paused when you go into them even if the setting here was disabled (previously that was happening, which was a bug with the SP version of this).
    • Thanks to Badger for suggesting.
  • The game is meant to only have a single hack going on at a planet at once, and has previously just been enforcing this for you personally (assuming single-player by accident).
    • Now the game checks for all factions, meaning that if an ally is hacking at a planet you have to wait until they are done there.
    • The message now specifies if it is one of your ships doing a hack, or if it is an allied ship.
    • Thanks to crawlers and Arides for reporting.
  • Added a new "is_human_empire_faction" xml tag, which we now use for the standard human factions.
    • This allows for us to check for regular human factions that should count for certain types of new functionality, but inherently exclude other specialized "player type" factions that will arrive in the future (champions) or which we might think up.
    • There is already a way for us to check if a faction is a champion faction, but this is for the opposite: in theory we could someday have many different kinds of human factions, and some would act like an empire (that should scale a few things related to AIs) while others would act like tag-alongs.
      • In theory, we could design a faction that contains properties of both an empire and also something specialized like a champion, and so having individual flags is also useful for that sort of reason.
  • Just like there has long been an AIFactions list on the World_AIW2 instance object, we now have the following:
    • AllPlayerFactions, which has absolutely every faction with type == Player.
    • ChampionPlayerFactions, which includes only champion factions (from DLC3).
    • HumanEmpirePlayerFactions, which includes only those that are marked as human empires.
  • The "Neutral Planet Science Extraction" hack has the following changes:
    • Cannot be done (is invisible) if there are no human empire factions in the game (aka if you were theoretically playing a champion-only game, which we have no idea if that will be a thing or not).
    • When done and there are multiple human factions, each of them gets a copy of the science properly, unlike in the past.
    • Normally this hack just cost 10 HaP. However, that cost now goes down if you have previously partially gathered some of the science. If you got halfway through with gathering science from the planet, then lost the planet, it will now cost only 5 HaP.
    • For each human empire beyond the first, doing this sort of hack now costs 1.5x as much. So if it would normally be 10, and there are two playrs, it will be 15. If there are three players, it would be 22.5.
      • Given that this is a HUGE advantage to lots of player empires (the HaP of only one player gives science to all), this is something we wanted to be careful of.
    • Thanks to Puffin for reporting.
  • The "Covert Science Extraction" hack has the following changes:
    • Cannot be done (is invisible) if there are no human empire factions in the game, same as above.
    • This hack already costs less based on however much there is to hack out of the planet, since this is a per-second-over-time hack. So we did not need to adjust that.
    • Same 1.5x cost added for each human empire beyond the first as with the neutral planet hack.
    • Thanks to Puffin for reporting.
  • A variety of things that are involved in exo strikes or other things that are launched against a specific player will PREFER a specific human empire, but in the event that there are multiple human empires and one has a dead king, it will switch over and attack another human empire instead.

Notifications

  • Planet under attack messages have been changed as follows:
    • Previously, if you personally had 5 strength of turrets on a planet, then it would include the planet even if you did not own it.
      • Based on player requests, it now includes planets where there is at least 5 strength of turrets OR mobile strength. Aka you can see fights that are not just beachheads.
      • Previously, in multiplayer this did not show for spectators or clients in general. Now it shows for all players. Additionally, that "strength of 5" calculation includes strength from all players, not just the host.
    • Thanks to crawlers for reporting.
  • There was a minor bug with brownout notifications in multiplayer if you were a client.
    • In general in multiplayer, brownout notifications are now shown to all people in multiplayer, including spectators.
    • This is a significant-enough event that it's good for other players to know if your forcefields all just went down without you having to tell them. If you are distracted, it also gives them a chance to notice and tell you.
  • In multiplayer, previously it would only show the ongoing hacks of the host. Fixed.
    • Now all players, as well as spectators, can see all hacks from anyone. This is hugely useful for coordination in multi-faction games.
    • Thanks to BadWolf and crawlers for reporting.
  • Hostile macrophage notifications in multiplayer now are based around them approaching and threatening any player's king, not just the host player.
  • The code for all of the other notifications has been reviewed, and it should be sufficiently informative for spectators in multiplayer, as well as work properly for multiplayer clients.
    • This includes all of the factions in upcoming DLC.

Version 2.703 Hotfix

(Released December 14th, 2020)

  • Astro Trains can't be at a mark level higher than the faction intensity
  • The Fleet Sidebar now dynamically modifies the font size to prevent some line wrapping
    • The wrapping was pointed out to me by NRSirLimbo
  • Fix a bug that was preventing new games from starting
    • Reported by a number of people, including mazanaka09, niki, maxi and tyak
  • Fix a bug causing excessively strong CPAs
    • Reported by Lictuel, Arides and poljik2

Included Mod Updates

  • Updated Civilian Industries for the latest version.
    • Updated all references of 'Balance_MarkLevelTable.MaxOrdinal' to refer to 'Balance_MarkLevelTable.Instance.MaxOrdinal' instead.
  • AMU:
    • The GlobalImportantRollupHolder now refreshes when Expansions or Mods are being reloaded. This refreshing happens upon the ExecutorFakeFaction being instantiated for the first time which means that it should no longer create a hang on the first game second and instead do so when loading the galaxy or custom game menu.
    • Removed the following functions: AddAllShipsWithTagToFleetStrengthAdjusted, AddRandomShipsWithTagToFleetStrengthAdjusted, AddRandomShipsFromRollupToFleetStrengthAdjusted, AddAllShipsFromRollupToFleetStrengthAdjusted, AddShipsToFleetOrCreateNewFleetIfCenterpieceBasedOnStrength and AddShipsToFleetOrCreateNewFleetIfCenterpieceBasedOnCount.
    • In their place created 3 variants of AddToShipGrantList (one for each List, TaggedEntityTypeRollup and GenericDrawingBag).
    • Created IsCenterpiece(GameEntityTypeData) which reacts to it being any kind of mobile centerpiece such as transports, arks, golems, battlestations, citadels, support factories or spire city pseudo-centerpieces.
    • Created GrantStuffToFleets_ReturnEmptyIfClient which adds all it's being given to a fleet and returns the memberships, or if something to be added is a centerpiece itself adds it in a new fleet.
    • Created AddToAllPlanetaryFleets which does exactly what it sounds like. Note that this adds to the permanent items as if hacking a GCA.
    • Created Hacking utilities:
      • ExtendedHackingImplementation adds the following functions:
        • HackedByBattlestationOrCitadelInsteadOfNormal (upon the first second "transplants" the hack from the centerpiece that started it to the battlestation or citadel closest to the target). AMU also creates notifications for battlestations and citadels with active hacks because the base game does not see them as valid hackers.
        • ParalyzesTarget, ParalyzesHacker, TargetIsInvulnerable, HackerIsInvulnerable, DecloaksTarget (self-explanatory, for the duration of the hack).
        • CounteractsTargetAttrition (every second of the hack the target receives health if it has any self-attrition).
      • ShipOrTurretGrantingHackingImplementation is based on ExtendedHackingImplementation and adds the following functions:
        • GrantAllLines (grants all lines of turrets, ships, etc instead of just one).
        • GrantLikeGCA (if adding turrets, non-turret defenses, station-keeping ships or alike grants them to all settled player planets as if it were a GCA hack).
        • DoesNotRequireFleetSlots (for adding centerpieces, only exists to ignore the requirement that at least one ship line must be free on the hacker).
        • ThrowsRemainingLinesIntoFirstNewFleet (when a centerpiece is present will create it first and all other ship/turret/whatever lines will be added into it).
    • Updated the AMU source code.
  • Kaizers Marauders -> IMPORTANT NOTE: SHOULD be savegame compatible (it had serialization gates) but was not tested! <-
    • Fixing Marauder Invasions:
      • Fixed Marauders always being present even if not added to the galaxy setup. Note that this could only be done by creating a second Invasion Timer setting, the first one doing nothing. Apparently they cannot be manipulated through is_partial_record. Also removed the debug option from that.
      • The new default setting for invasion timing is to invade in Mid-Game. This is important for when playing without beacons (!) because if you truly wish for Marauders to immediately invade the timing needs to be set to "immediate". Right now the default is Random Mid-Game, at which point Marauders will be allowed to invade and, if need be, even destroy their beacon which would be preventing them from invading alltogether.
      • For players who want no part of Kaizers Marauders in their current setup a new Invasion Timing has been added: 'Never' sets the timer to 2147483647 seconds. Unless you plan to play some almost 14 years in 5x speed you won't see them.
    • Fixed an exception happening after a converted defector was hacked. Either that was old and nobody ever reported it or was created during the refactoring.
    • Fixed some external constants being wrong due to not overwriting the Vanilla Marauder constants. Kaizers Marauders now use different constants alltogether.
    • Fixed Kaizers Marauders not updating their external constants at all if the game is hotloaded with altered constants (which should only be the case if modding).
    • Reworked the hacks using the logic above and confirmed them working. Though it's probably only a matter of time until someone discovers bugs and glitches. Testers welcome, saves and/or steps to repro always appreciated!
    • The mark level at which Outposts and the Capital can get hacked is no longer hardcoded and has been set to be based on external data. Also reduced the mininum mark to begin Outpost hacks from 3 to 2.
    • Shortened the sidebar name of the Fusion Torpedo Bomber to F. Torpedo Bomber similar to its drone variant because it was getting too long for the fleet menu sidebar when transporting triple-digit counts.
    • Increased the likelihood of a Marauder Raider turning to a defector by 10 times. This was way too low. For reference: Before Raiders would have a [outnumbered raider count on player planets] / 10000 chance to defect each second. So a single Raider would have to stay some 10000 seconds while outnumbered on a player planet, statistically, for it to defect. 1000 seconds may sound low, but keep in mind that the amount scales with the raider count there.
    • Raider Defectors now display the ship lines and the centerpiece received upon being hacked, and the evacuation-hack lets the player choose any of 3 fleet ship lines (NOT the ark variant of the raider!).
    • Added a new bonus mechanic to grant the player the science and hacking points to deal with Marauders: Special-First-Kills-Per-Mark:
      • The units eligible are the Marauder Capital, all 3 types of Raiders (Cruiser, Carrier, Blaster) as well as all 9 Superstructures.
      • The science and hacking gained is global, not per Marauder sub-faction, or per player.
      • Per mark level difference to the highest mark level they were killed by a player yet and per eligible unit there are 100 science and 2 hacking points granted if a player kills them.
      • So Player kills a Mark 2 Marauder Capital: +200 science, +4 hacking. Player kills a Mark 1 Capital: Gains nothing. Player kills a Mark 3 Capital: +100 science, +2 hacking.
      • As Marauder Mark level rises with intensity, the Raid Blaster only appearing at all if Marauders have debris and Superstructures being optional the amount of science and hacking that can be obtained varies greatly. The upper limit (Intensity 10 Marauders with debris and Superstructures) is 13x7x100 = 9100 science and 13x7x2 = 182 hacking. If the player can beat the most powerful Mark 7 raiders and superstructures.
      • These values are experimental, as of yet, so feedback is appreciated! Note that this is NOT supposed to be a primary income of science and hacking, but only supplementary because Marauders offer new ways to spend hacking points. And science is always good.
    • (EXPERIMENTAL AND UNTESTED!) Updated Kaizers Marauders to no longer require the first expansion The Spire Rises to function. To accomplish this the Raid Blaster (which Marauders can use when having acquired Spire Debris) will no longer load when TSR is not installed, and the Setting for giving Maruaders debris at start will hide. Additionally the Nukes of the Mark 7 Kaizer use the Autobomb model and no longer the warhead model, thus making them Vanilla-compatible.

Version 2.702 Hot-Reloading Mods And Expansions

(Released December 12th, 2020)

Ship Line Swap Menu

  • Add some QoL improvements to the Swap Ship Lines menu.
    • Information is now in columns for easy reading
    • Ship Line Name is now colour-coded based on Mark Level.
    • It also shows the Strength of a Ship Line as well as the name and number of ships.
    • Along with the flagship name, it also tells you the hotkey number and the fleet strength
      • The goal was to make sure all the information you might want is included in this screen
  • Add a bit of colour to the Headings for several Fleet-related menus

New Included Mod: More System Defenders by CRCGamer

  • Added a new mod that is now distributed along with the game in an off-by-default fashion. This one is by CRCGamer.
    • Description: More System Defenders Revision 1.13 - Now with DLC checks
    • This mod primarly adds alternative planetary defense options into the game. Some of which are also utilized by the AI as well.
    • Notable Additions to the game include (but not limited to):
      • Escort Carrier, A light frigate with a debuff and sub units available in random gen fleets, ARS, planetary defense fleets, and some AI defenses. Also includes a special cloaked ambush variant also in general distribution.
      • Flypaper Frigate for Logi and Military systems and a special AI defense option. Loves blowing up small fry with small power grids.
      • Gorgon Aggregate Body Frigate a medium hull with heavy paralysis that breaks apart into smaller damage focused units in combat.
      • Artillery Cruiser, A defensive champion that punches big holes in heavier targets at range and boasts fairly stong defensive armament. Vulnerable to shield bypass however. Is available at Military Commands, a special fleet version can be acquired from FRS, and the AI is happy to use them as Dire Guardian alternatives. Only available if you have The Spire Rises installed.
      • Cruise Missile Battery: Advanced defensive structure that attacks using self-homing missiles from long range. Home command and Logi system supported. AI has special fortified version. Also available only if The Spire Rises is installed.
    • Several additional systems mainly available within GCA include:
      • Briar Patch cloaked turret that slows down enemy ships entering a system from a wormhole for a short while before being revealed. Automatic for Econ Commands as well.
      • Screamer Rocket Pod an absolutely devastating disposable fusion armament that ignores shields and deals double damage to enemies under half health.
      • Bomb-Pumped Laser Mines are short lived but incredibly damaging within a small line effect.

Xml Parsing Upgrades

For Speed, And For Groundwork For Hot-Reloading

  • Completely reorganized our xml parsing logic from game start.
    • Previously, we were opening xml files one by one in groups, parsing out the information into one data format, wrappering the format a little, then parsing the data from that data format and wrappering a bit more as we went.
    • This was SLOW, because sometimes we'd wind up waiting on disk access for a few extra ms on some file and that can compound (OSes can be funny like that), all that other main parsing had to happen on the main thread, and in general only the final parsing happened on background parallel threads.
    • The new approach finds all of the files in the background in about 25ms, then loads them all on background threads in about 300ms (on a quad core machine, on a basic SSD), does all that wrappering and initial translation on those same background threads, and THEN later goes back to the normal final parsing process with no need to worry about the disk anymore.
    • In practice, it looks like this actually does not speed up much (siiiigh), but it does remove some variability on slower machines in particular, probably. And the reorganization of this allows for us to make further enhancements to both speed (maybe) and functionality (definitely).
    • Update: actually, this may be a bigger deal than we expected at the start. Even on an SSD, sometimes this will spike to about 5 seconds instead of 300ms. If this was not happening on many background threads at once, then the wait might be even longer, so this is probably a solid win.
  • The LookupSwaps table no longer uses a lock to write into its dictionary. Instead it uses a ConcurrentDictionary.
    • This takes a process that was often between 2-6 seconds long (just depending on luck), and turns it into a 300ms event.
  • In the event that a sprite can't be found for some reason during sprite lookup in xml parsing, it now gives you much more informative reasons for that, and in a more brief format.
  • Previously, any game settings or achievements that were defined in expansions would not appear in the main game. Fixed.
    • This is one immediate and concrete benefit of the revised xml parsing logic.
  • Restructured even more of our xml reading and pre-parsing so that it happens on background threads absolutely as much as possible. This leads to a small speedup.
  • Carefully continuing to make changes to our xml processing while verifying that the results remain identical. We are now removing the "get row or create it if you don't find it" method, because this was only a sentiment that we wanted to enact three places in the codebase (related to settings, expansions, and mods), and the potential harm of accidental usage is a lot higher. This also sets us up for our next two goals on table row creation.
  • The name and ready status of xml nodes is now read on background threads and cached.
  • All of the creation of any row nodes is now done on the main thread, prior to any multithreaded processing that will later happen with them.
    • This lets us avoid using locks, and avoid using the ConcurrentDictionary for the central list of rows.
    • This also saves us a couple of dictionary lookups in the end, and in general reduces the chances of there being thread contention that causes inexplicable extra load time delays... fingers crossed. We do have a few other places with locks, but they are not used remotely so frequently as the other central lock was.
  • For xml tables that are parsed without multithreading, they now have a slight code branch to avoid using any locks at all, which speeds them up slightly once more.
  • RowAlteredByPartialRecords has been removed from table rows, as we are not actually using that.
  • Finding the "None Row" is now way more efficient on tables, and happens on the background processing threads.
  • The DoPostInitializationAndSortingLogic() method on tables has been split into two rows, one on the main thread and one on background threads.
    • Same with DoPostInitializationLogic(), which is also now more clear as being DoPostInitializationPreSortingLogic() with those two variants.
  • The sorting for table rows, and a lot of the post-initialization stuff, now happens much later (after the initialization of all threads) and on parallel background threads.
    • This drastically speeds up certain aspects of loading the game, and lets us handle certain things in a more orderly fashion on more threads.
  • The RowsBase collection has been removed off of ArcenDynamicTableBase, which simplifies a number of things and makes for fewer operations.
    • On ArcenDynamicTableBase, there is now a new DoForRows() method which lets us iterate over the rows even without knowing the type of the end table generics. Handy.
    • Also added a variant of DoForRows that is kind of like Parallel.DoFor(), since that's a pretty neat processing pattern. This turns out to be very useful when combined with yield statements, which can't be in anonymous methods directly.
    • Additionally, added a GetCountOfRows, which also helps with much the same group of things.
  • Several places that were trying to get things from ArcenDynamicTableBase later in the runtime are now more efficient thanks to using the DoForRows().
  • Added LogDelayedSingleLine() and DumpAllPriorDelayedSingleLines() to ArcenDebugging, which allows us to not have rapid multithreading messsages miss some line writes.
    • Otherwise, when there are many threads all trying to write to a log within microseconds of one another, they wind up largely not all writing. This makes it so they can all write.
  • Added a new OverrideAndSkipSortingNoMatterWhat to ArcenDynamicTableBase, which lets us skip the sorting even if some sort orders were specified.
    • For whatever reason, an old bug was preventing the team color definitions from being sorted, and that was actually good. The revised code does not have that bug, so we have to explicitly tell it not to sort.
  • Surrogate tables load a bit earlier, and death effect type tables sort themselves extra early on the main thread in order to maintain consistency with the order that things used to be in.
    • At this point we again now have parity with the way things have been up until now, despite doing a whole lot of things on background threads that used to block the main thread.
  • Rather than having LoadFinalSFXStuff() as a one-off for the SFXItemTable, there is now a generalized DoFinalLoads() that can be triggered on any table during load by setting a new HasAFinalLoadStageToCall = true on it.
    • The idea is to make it possible to do this style of late-load-with-UI-conting for any data table, and also to make that possible on reload.
  • Though in the end we found up needing this specific one load earlier, because of the way it links across to other things.
  • Adjusted a number of pieces of code in our xml import pipeline to be more multithreading-friendly. We noticed that there were cases where if there was an erroring row then it could potentially hit multiple tables that were unrelated to it, which was very confusing. But it turns out that in general we were just not quite threadsafe with every last bit of import process, so the remaining parts have been moved into standalone xml importer objects that no longer have these issues.
    • As a side effect, it now runs even faster (if your machine was prone to cross-thread contention). Either way, it runs properly correctly, which is the real thing that matters.

For Hot-Reloading

  • There is a new PrepForCompleteReloadLater() abstract class required on every table.
    • The job of these for any tables where ReloadDuringRuntime.Allow is set is to make sure that any static variables are reset or destroyed.
    • But frankly, any instance variables that are lookups or big lists of things should also be reset.
    • This will likely break at least some code mods, but they need to implement it in order to be sure that they are not doing anything that will cause a problem with in-place reloads of the mods and expansions when switching those out when the game has already loaded. This is the chance for the modder to fix anything that might be going awry that would be a memory leak or otherwise.
  • Added a new ObjectDumper.DumperPurpose.DataTableAggregations, which lets us output the table instance variables and any collections on them.
    • The idea here is that if we have tables that allow for reloads, and they have some sort of aggregators, we want those aggregators to now be instance variables rather than static variables so that this process can verify correctness.
    • There are certain classes where that would be incredibly hard to do, like input actions or music buses, etc. We are NOT reloading those tables during runtime, because untangling all that is too complicated for now and also not likely something that any modder would need.
    • However, there are some new classes that previously were set to disallow reload-runtime (not that that was a feature yet, but we were preparing for this a long time ago), and those are now set to allow reload.
  • Dozens of classes have had minor changes to make things not be static that were previously static, or otherwise shift things around so that we can reset things after a during-runtime data table reload and then verify correctness.
  • A variety of functions on the ArcenDynamicTableAggregator class have been updated to properly allow for resets and removals of surrogate tables (aka stuff from externaldata) more easily.
    • Initially we thought we were going to have to change things up substantially in a way that would break mods, but the current approach is a lot more gentle and centralized.
  • Substantially upgraded our ObjectDumper code so that we can now import the details of a lot of lists, which is really handy.
    • Specifically when we have lists of things like key values, and the value is a list inside the list, it now exports the inner list.
  • DumpInternalNameOnlyForArcenDynamicTableRow now longer works except on ArcenDynamicTableRows. Now you must use DumpInternalNameOnlyForAnything for other things.
    • This lets us assigned the former to lists of values, and have the values way down in there just export row names, but not stop at just giving the name of the inner list type itself.
    • This works specifically for entity system types, which are no longer ArcenDynamicTableRows (have not been for quite some time).
  • All of the various data tables now export header information talking about any instance objects they have with all their various data on them.
  • Added INoFurtherDumpingNeededBeyondMyToString and INoFurtherDumpingNeededBeyondMyToString as root interfaces to help us have a bit more brevity in how we output some of our KeyValuePairs in particular.
    • The GameEntityTypeData was getting SO huge to export that the text files were no longer something that could be compared with regular diffing tools.
  • Added a IDumpDetailsNoMatterWhat, which we can now use on structs that we want to report their details, such as TaggedUnitIncomeData.
  • And really, we just had to keep changing and changing even more things for the data dumps, but the end result is that we have a clearer view of more data when we choose to do them, and they don't take TOO long.
    • This is in general a really important part of us being able to do something like load or unload a mod on the fly and then know if the game is in a correct state or not.
  • Added a new GameProgramIsAboutToReloadExternalXmlAndSimilar() virtual method that is on all of the faction implementations, and which we or modders can override as needed to proactively clear out data right before the game tries to dump all its stuff and recreate things from xml.
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo for inspiring this addition.
  • Added a new IDumpForMyselfRatherThanBeingAutomated interface relating to ObjectDumper, which lets certain classes choose to stop being dumped via reflection and instead state how they wish to be dumped.
    • This is now used on ArcenRandomDrawBag, so for the first time in these dumps we can actually see the entries for each item in there and how many tickets each one has! This is pretty darn important for knowing if something actually changed, or if we have the wrong number of tickets now after a reload, etc.
  • FleetItem and FleetItemForLater both now override ToString() so that they give details on what is in them for cases where things like them being in draw bags happens.
    • This makes Arcen.AIW2.Core.FleetDesignTemplateTable_Header.txt and Arcen.AIW2.Core.FleetDesignTemplateTable.txt and similar super informative and interesting even when we're not trying to debug anything. For someone interested in the design and how the ratios of turrets or whatever are actually stacking up, this is great info to be able to see now.
  • Enabling and disabling mods and expansions now causes the game to purge a lot of its data and try to reload that immediately, rather than requiring a game restart.
  • The settings for exporting the data after an initial game start and after a purge and reload are now two different options for the sake of ease of testing.
  • A variety of changes and tweaks have been made to various parts of the xml import pipeline to let it actually properly reload things.
    • Additionally, a variety of small tweaks to prevent exporting working data that muddies the view of the data dumps for comparison.
  • Added in some centralized logic to get the DeathEffectType to properly sort themselves at the right time during reloads.
  • The way that music data is initialized is done a little more consistently with other tables now, and music tracks can now be dynamically loaded from xml based on expansions or mods.
  • Made some substantial improvements to our general data table reloading and export dumping for purposes of checking validity.
    • Specifically, generalized out the overall pattern from this to a new IReloadableXmlSource interface, which is now being applied to ArcenAbstractExternalData.
    • This means that when mods make changes to things like the core constants, visual constants, and things like that, those now actually get applied (or un-applied as the case may be) during a hot reload.
  • The way our ExternalClassDefinition files are initialized is now more efficient, and also compatible with optional reloads of linkages where needed.
    • Actually, wound up splitting this into two new versions: ExternalSingletonClassDefinition and ExternalClassFactoryDefinition.
    • It's worth noting that if a few of these things are altered as part of a mod -- and that would be one heck of an ambitious mod with really super unusual properties -- then the ones that are based on the factory class won't properly be reflected in the visuals after a hot-reload.
      • All of those are basically revolving around the code of how ship-to-ship lines/beams, special effects, and ships themselves are drawn. The odds of anyone actually needing or wanting to wholesale replace those, even in a total conversion mode, are next to zero. There are better ways to accomplish the same thing, depending on the level of C# savvy the modder has.
      • The ones that are based on a singleton ALSO are incredibly unlikely to need or want to be replaced, but they can be replaced with ease and the hot reloading will update them properly. These are the ones that would actually affect gameplay rather than just visuals, too.
    • This actually wound up being a bit of a time sink, but at least it works correctly now.
  • Changed the final calculation stuff from the game entity type table to use the recently-added DoFinalLoads() callback.
    • This thus fully fixes most of the remaining things that were wrong with game entities when we do a hot-reload of them.
  • The game now completely throws out all the old xml and reads the new xml from disk when you do a hot reload of expansions or xml mods.
    • With this change, the last strange little ghosts we were having are all fixed in terms of the data not coming in quite the same way again.
    • This also has the side benefit of being a quicker way to refresh the xml if you want to do that without restarting the game.
  • When doing a hot reload, the game now properly expands its search for code to look in the newly-available mods that have just been turned on.
  • The game now properly updates things like the paths it will look for asset bundles on when you change the expansions/mods and thus do a hot reload (this was never possible before, so it's a new thing).
    • All of the data in the game now properly hot reloads!! This is a pretty major milestone after a lot of work. It saves an enormous amount of time for players and for us as developers.

Ship Model Loading Improvements

  • Error checking for ship models has been shifted to be sure it only does it once per actual ship visual, rather than once per ship type.
    • Essentially we have a ton of variants of ships that use the same model (six different kinds of raiders, for instance), so checking those fewer times makes things way faster.
  • Added a new debug settings option, defaults to off: Check For Errors On Ship Models During Load
    • If you are creating a mod with custom ship graphics, you may want to turn this on. When we are adding new ship models, it's also useful for us to turn this on. But otherwise this is something that most users can skip.
    • Previously we were always doing this on all ships when you had ship graphics on, which made the loading of ship graphics needlessly slow.
  • If you had ship models disabled, and then later enable them, it now draws the correct model rather than just raiders at various scales.
    • Thanks to Vic, Badger, and Ovalcircle for reporting.
  • Previously if you had ship models disabled when you loaded the game program, and then turned that on, various unpleasant things would happen:
    • If you turned it on while playing, then the ship models would still not show until you left the game to the main menu and came back in. Now they just appear immediately.
    • If you were on the main menu and loaded into a game, then it would sit around for a REALLY long time (many seconds) with the game seeming to be frozen as it loaded all the models. Now it loads them as-needed as you play in this scenario, which leads to slight hitching when new ship graphics are seen for the first time, but that's pretty minor.

General Fixes And Additions

  • It was apparently possible in some cases to get exceptions in trying to initialize the dynamic table base for various tables at random. These errors are now caught better and reported more accurately.
    • These seemed to be more likely in hot reloading, but now should not really be possible at all, or at least not break the game if they do happen.
  • Fixed a few errors that could happen with modal question boxes where they could potentially have errors when you clicked them multiple times if they were still executing a long command (such as a hot reload) after you clicked the button the first time.
  • Implemented some new ways to force immediate hiding of all the windows that are open, for purposes of getting things out of the way for doing things like a hot reload.
  • Also implemented ways to hide the main menu background scene during these sorts of times.
  • Added a few more coroutine yields near the end of the load process. This will make "Stimulate Modulation" no longer take an inordinate amount of time if that's what was actually being slow for you. But also, there are some multithreaded processes in there and it will let them breathe a bit easier between one another and avoid situations of one group running up against the next. That was happening on some internal builds when things ran too fast without a gap of at least one frame, and the hope is that won't happen at all anymore.
  • On every main loop of the UI, the game now checks for "delayed log messages" that were sent from other threads, and logs them.
    • Please note that because of the multithreaded nature of these, they are often not quite in the correct order when a bunch of them come in at once. If you see a bunch with the same timestamp, then the order within those is effectively random, but that's okay.
  • Our delayed message logging system is a bit more robust now.
    • One thing that we can now do is call ArcenDebugging.LogDelayedSingleLineErrorThatMayBeFromAMod, and pass in a mod-or-null (typically these are related to a dynamic table row).
    • This lets us detect if certain kinds of data loading errors are coming from mods, and if so we append a note on the front of the error message that explains that the mod has had an error.
  • Certain xml errors are now more brief, and these error messages also specify what mod they are coming from if they are from a mod (which is really common if you use a mod that requires an expansion or another mod).
    • We have also made it so that if an official expansion has such an error, then it specifies the error, but that is hopefully exceedingly rare.
  • Various types of xml parse errors were previously then leading to secondary errors about unrequested attributes or nodes. Those secondary errors were spurious and got in the way of seeing the real errors. They are now quieted.
  • Fixed a perplexing issue that was remaining with exceptions happening in multiplayer from speed groups being created. We suspect that maybe some of the code did not get properly pushed in the most recent build for that one item, but if it was properly pushed then this will make it work properly, either way.
    • Thanks to CRCGamer and Badger and their multiplayer groups for reporting.
  • Fixed a couple of cases where multiplayer clients were potentially causing either exceptions or excess gamecommands or both based on exogalactic aattacks.
    • Thanks to Badger and his play group for reporting.

New Mod Capabilities

Mods That Adapt To What DLC Or Other Mods You Have Enabled

  • Every type of xml row in the game now can use a new required_expansion_list="whatever" attribute.
    • If this is present and there is at least one expansion listed in there, then this row will be completely ignored if the expansion(s) are not present.
    • This is super useful for mods that want to make changes to both expansion and base game content, as one example.
    • It is also useful for our own expansions that might want to add certain things if another expansion is present. For example, DLC2 adds a some more content to the Scourge if you also have DLC1.
    • For an individual row, you can say required_expansion_list="1_The_Spire_Rises" to just make it happen if DLC1 is present, or you can say required_expansion_list="1_The_Spire_Rises,2_Zenith_Onslaught" to make it so that the individual row requires BOTH the first and second expansions for some reason.
    • If you specify an expansion that does not exist, then the game will throw a visible error, since it's assuming that's a typo. There are no expansions that exist that an up to date version of the game would not be aware of.
    • It's worth noting that if this is place on a parent node, then it does not have to be placed on the child nodes under it. The child nodes will be ignored automatically.
  • We also added a required_mod_list attribute, which works exactly like the above.
    • However, in the event that a mod is not found, it logs something much more brief, and does so silently on game load only.
    • The reason for this is that it's extremely likely that a mod might not be on your computer but another mod requires it. We only know about the mods that we either package with the game or that you happened to install.

Cosmetic-Only Mods

  • Added the concept of "cosmetic mods," and added an example cosmetic mod (the example is disabled so that it doesn't show up in-game).
    • To turn a mod into a cosmetic mod, simply add a file named ModIsConsideredCosmetic.txt to your folder
    • Here's how it all works:
      • This is an example mod that shows how to create a mod that is purely cosmetic -- aka it changes nothing that would affect gameplay. This mod then is not logged in the list of mods applied to a game, which means that the savegame can be shared with other people. The other people would have no idea that a mod was in use at all, in fact. You can even use this sort of mod in multiplayer, with you having the mod on and others not, and there are no problems.
      • The general idea is that this is for text changes, or visual updates, but nothing else. If you change the size of a unit's radius, even, then that will affect gameplay in terms of how ships decollide.
      • If you do something like double the ranges of your turrets, you could still mark that as a cosmetic mod. With no new ships being added, and no new shot types added, other players can load your savegame fine. If you have a personal list of tweaks that you want to make to the base game, but you want to still be able to send in savegames to the devs easily, this is a way to do that.
      • In multiplayer, if you have very different stats on your ships in a "cosmetic mod that is actually affecting gameplay after all":
        • Then if you are the host, the game will proceed by your rules, to the surprise of everyone else.
          • Everyone else will see the usual ranges and stats and things, but ships will be violating those rules seemingly without reason. Please don't prank people and then send us bug reports on that.
        • But if you are the client, you will see your ships start to act your way, and then they will constantly be corrected by the host.
          • No one else would be aware of your shenanigans, and you would not alter the game flow at all, but your ships and shots will tend to jump around and make shots that differ from the host and just generally test the self-correction the game has in place.

Fixes To Existing Mods

  • The adjustment for the scourge faction in DLC2 now uses a required row for DLC1, so that people who have DLC2 without DLC1 won't get errors.
  • The "Extended Ship Variants" mod by NR SirLimbo previously had a separate variant that was specifically for DLC1. That has been removed, and wrapped into the main mod. So all of the features are all in a single mod, and the extra stuff for DLC1 just turns on if you have that (and is harmlessly off if you don't).
    • We are using this as an example of how to handle a mod of this sort. There are some things that were originally part of the fallen spire mod that COULD function without the first DLC (no errors happen), but they would have wound up not making any sense. These are mostly in the Fleet Design Templates. So you can see we limited those to also require DLC1, which means that they will only appear when the ships that would populate them would appear. This might seem obvious, but it's easy to overlook.
    • We also are using this as an example of how to combine mods. We are using ModAlternateNames.txt in order to include the old name ExtendedShipVariants_FallenSpire, and with this that means that if either mod was enabled before, they both map to the one combined mod now.
    • And lastly, we also have updated this to be a proper example of prefixing of filenames. We have the prefix ESV_BaseGame for the files that are for the base game, and ESV_TSR as the prefix for the ones that require DLC1, just to make things easier.
      • In the base game, you see many files with prefixes like CMP or KDL or Badger or similar, but these are simply the initials or handles of Chris, Keith, and Badger and should not be copied elsewhere. For the ease of knowing where a file came from (when just looking at the filename itself), you should use your own name, initials, handle, or mod name.
  • In the event that you enable the Spire Railgun Shop (mod by Lord of Nothing) without having DLC1 installed or enabled, that mod no longer generates a bunch of errors.
  • The More Starting Options mod by ArnaudB has been updated so that it no longer strictly requires DLC1 to be installed. Most of the additions will not be present without DLC1 installed and enabled, but there were a couple of fleets in particular that happen to use only base game ships, so they would appear.
    • The mod no longer gives a bunch of silent log errors (and strange options with next to nothing in them) if players enable it despite not having DLC1 installed.

Version 2.701 Good Grief Hotfix Bonanza

(Released December 6th, 2020)

  • Confirmed that beam weapons DO work in the new multiplayer system for clients.

Bugfixes

  • Put in some various protections for exceptions that could happen when it was trying to calculate the difficulty of various hacks. This kind of falls under the category of "how did this ever work?" since it was in some cases trying to check information from the first AI faction even if you were not in a game (and thus there were no factions yet).
    • In other cases where it might be something else, these errors are now also more informative as well as not causing issues in further execution of the code.
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue in the most recent version that had prevented things from compiling properly and thus was causing all manner of strange issues. Visual Studio has been acting a little funky on Chris's machine and doesn't always report errors the way it usually should, so this slipped past (rather than having a big list of errors, you have to look for the tiny text of build failed, which disappears after a few seconds -- fun!).
    • Thanks to Puffin for discovering the issue in code.
  • Previously it was possible to hit an exception in GameCommand_CreateSpeedGroup that would cause the entire execution to stop in multiplayer. We're not sure exactly what was happening there, but now two things are true:
    • Firstly it will no longer block the rest of everything. It also has some code in there to prevent a few possible causes of this.
    • Secondly it will now give a more detailed report on what went wrong if something does go wrong in here again in the future.
    • Thanks to CRCGamer for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue that was probably not a real issue, but if it does come up again it will at least give a more visible error and also ask about missing mods.
    • Essentially this was probably due to the compile bug, but was entity systems not being found via fast blast data sometimes.
    • Thanks to CRCGamer for the log that had this in it.
  • Fixed an issue in the most recent version of the game where disposed rect transforms could wind up being checked for position offsets, thus causing endless streams of exceptions. This was most common when opening the settings menu and then clicking to the performance tab, but could also happen other ways. We now intercept this so that it doesn't happen.
    • Thanks to ParadoxSong, ArnaudB, Puffin, and NRSirLimbo for reporting.
  • Fixed another bug with hacking difficulty causing exceptions. Factions are sometimes just validly null in there, and it now recognizes that.
    • Thanks to CRCGamer for reporting.
  • For unknown reasons, it was possible for the Scenario on the long term world setup data to be null on multiplayer clients, particularly with certain mods in use.
    • The game now has been adjusted all over the place to use wrappered calls to scenario objects and get the default scenario if one is null. Additionally, if the scenario is STILL null then the game just skips whatever was supposed to happen there.
    • The client will wind up getting the proper information from the host soon enough.
    • It's possible that code mods may need to be recompiled against this.
    • Thanks to CRCGamer and NR SirLimbo for reporting.
  • Added a new debug setting: Thread Debug Log
    • Log when each thread kicks on and off. Only use this for short periods if you are experiencing a game lockup, particularly with multiple mods on.
  • Added a new debug setting: Per-Second-Sim-Stage Debug Log
    • Log when each part of the per-second sim stages process on and off. Only use this for short periods if you are experiencing a game lockup, particularly with multiple mods on.
  • Added a new debug option: Network Code Branches Debug Log
    • Log when various parts of the networking code kick on and off. Only use this for short periods if you are experiencing a game lockup, particularly with multiple mods on.
  • Fixed a couple of boneheaded programming bugs that could lead to infinite loops and the game locking up when the server was trying to send certain data to clients.
    • The recent changes in the last version of the game made it a lot more likely, particularly when ships were added by a background thread, but that version did not originate the problem.
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo and CRCGamer for reporting and providing an excellent savegame test case.
  • Put in defensive code in a few places that could have exceptions if the multiplayer client had exceptionally bad data because the host was having some kind of issue of its own. Hopefully never needed, but at least making things more clear and self-repair-y if there are problems.
    • Thanks to CRCGamer for reporting.
  • When loading savegames, it was possible to get a bunch of log spam that was invisible but said "Shot had no origin system, so discarding." This is quiet now, as it's not important. It only will go to the log when these are network messages.
    • Thanks to NRSirLimbo, CRCGamer, and others for reporting.
  • Fixed that bug that could still happen on clients if speed groups were created in multiplayer.

Version 2.700 Multiplayer Shared-Faction Reaches Beta

(Released December 6th, 2020)

  • Previously, the new "invert ui mousewheel scrolling" feature was not inverting lists inside of dropdowns. Now it does.
    • Thanks to False and Daw11 for reporting.
  • Added a new setting to the HUD section: Mousewheel UI Scroll Speed
    • How fast should the scroll wheel move UI scrollbars when you spin it? The default value is 30, which should be comfortable for most folks. But if your OS has unusual settings, and the in-game interface feels like it scrolls to slowly, then go for a higher number. If it's too fast, go for a lower number.
    • Thanks to Daw11 for suggesting.
  • The tooltips from dropdown items now aligns to the dropdown item itself instead of the base dropdown. This makes it consistent with all the other UI elements, and again far more legible.
  • A further continuation of the bug that Badger was running into last night in multiplayer, it was still possible for the fast blast process to try to send squad info from the server to the clients before the fleet membership was assigned. It now detects that, waits up to 2 seconds, and then discards the data if the squad was never fully set up correctly.
    • There are two scenarios here. One of them is that sometimes we might start trying to create a squad which then we decide to discard, and those need to just get junked.
    • The other is that we are having a race condition within a few milliseconds or even microseconds one thread and another, and thus the main thread just needs to wait a bit. It tries every 50 milliseconds or so for 2 seconds.
    • Thanks to NRSirLimbo for reporting.
  • New galaxy map display mode: Priorities
    • Very focused view that just shows you any priorities that you have set, and nothing else beyond your own fleets. This information is available in every view, but this view makes it easier to see this information on its own.

Version 2.647 Planet Names, Notes, And Priorities

(Released December 5th, 2020)

  • Fix a bug with clicking on the Spire Debris notifier
    • Thanks to UFO for reporting
  • Fixed an exception in Kaizers Marauders tooltips due to some changes in the Vanilla codebase.
  • Likely fixed the bug where galaxy map under-attack or ping indicators were showing in the planet gravity well edge in the prior version.
    • Thanks to Mac for reporting.
  • Deathgrip tackle drones now have aggro invisibility like most other drones.
    • Thanks to poljik2 for reporting the oversight.
  • Corrected an oversight in the threat strength galaxy map display mode that showed you threat that was not actually visible to you because of the fog of war.
    • Thanks to Daw11 for reporting.
  • Fixed a variety of potential places where exceptions might happen from the host to the clients when trying to sync squads. Why these ones were happening is a bit of a mystery, but it will either be more informative now, or fixed.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue where playing with the nanocaust and winning the game could cause exceptions at the end.
    • Thanks to Crabby for reporting.

Edit Planet Name, Notes, And Priorities

  • For planet priorities, in the original AI War we had P1 through P10 with specific colors, and we by convention players used those for specific things. Those are all making a return in this game, with the same colors.
    • However, because we have the flexibility to do so much more, we've also added the following words with their own colors: Ignore, Important, Later, Next, Danger, Help, Protect, Wanted, Trap, Wave, Hack, and Team.
    • We've also added the following letters with very different colors, for allocating sub-teams or objective order or whatever you like: A, B, C, and D.
  • Previously, intel-based higher and lower priorities would show on the galaxy map with lower to the left and higher to the right. Now it shows both of those on the right.
    • The new "planet priority" that you can set directly is instead shown on the left (if present).
    • If there are an uneven number of rows between the two things, then it puts blank rows on the opposite side to make other things line up properly.
    • Also if there are high and low priorities on a planet, it now only mentions the count of high priorities since the low priorities are not worth thinking about. This cuts down on clutter.
  • The Edit Planet button on the galaxy map is now fully functional.
    • Clicking this allows you to edit the planet name, add freeform notes to the planet (up to 512 characters, that show in the tooltip for the planet after that), and set a priority for the planet. The priority levels for the planets include the same exact ones from the original AI War, plus a bunch of new ones.
    • Thanks to Quiet, doctorfrog, Chthon, Badger, and others for suggesting various parts of this.

Version 2.646 Pings And Battle Indicators

(Released December 4th, 2020)

  • Civilian Industries Update
    • Updated for the latest version of the game.
  • The Abandoned Asteroid Mine now has a bit of flair to make it easier to tell it apart from regular metal generators. I do think this probably could use some additional icon tweaks for more clarity, but it's something.
  • Fixed a bug in the logic for the top units by strength not showing properly if you had fleets at that planet, in the Strength With Top Ships mode.
  • Ship lines in the Fleet Health menu are now sorted from strongest to weakest.
  • Added a new hotkey to a new Other UI section of the controls window: Toggle Fleet Status Window For Current Planet
    • Pressing this button combo will open or close the fleet status window. You can also open that window from the bottom left bar on the galaxy map.
    • Defaults to Ctrl+F.
    • The button on the galaxy map now informs you this tooltip exists.
    • Thanks to Badger for suggesting.
  • Added a new hotkey to a new Other UI section of the controls window: Toggle Fleet Status Window For All Planets
    • Pressing this button combo will open or close the fleet status window for all player fleets in the galaxy. You can also open that window from the bottom left bar on the galaxy map.
    • Defaults to Ctrl+Alt+F.
    • The button on the galaxy map now informs you this tooltip exists.
    • Thanks to Badger for suggesting.
  • One of Chris's greatest pet peeves, which for some reason stayed under the surface in terms of actually really thinking about doing much about it, is now resolved.
    • Essentially, big tooltips often covered the thing you were actually trying to look at, which was just super frustrating. Now tooltips automatically try to either move up or down, whichever is available, to not cover the thing you are hovering over.
    • As one example among many, the new ping button was absolutely invisible when you moused over it, because of its own tooltip. Now you can see the darn thing.
    • Dropdown elements may need some adjustment at some point, because it aligns to the top or bottom of the dropdown itself, not the dropdown item in the popup, but that's a smaller annoyance than what it used to be, at least.

Battle Indicators On Galaxy Map

  • In any galaxy map mode, on planets that are owned by a faction that is friendly to the players (or is in fact player-owned), if there is an attack going on a little animation of swirling circles like voice echoes play around the planet. It comes in four severities:
    • Darker blue and smaller if good outnumbers bad 2:1.
    • Lighter blue and still pretty small if good outnumbers bad.
    • Orange and larger if bad outnumbers good less than 2:1.
    • Orange and more vigorous and larger if bad outnumbers good 2:1 or more.
    • We experimented with a variety of effects, but all of these ones are subtle enough that they should be noticeable but not something that cause anything close to a strobing effect or anything that would cause motion sickness or headaches. But please let us know if you experience something different. The idea is to just draw the eye a bit, but it's a pretty small indicator on your screen. Overall the goal being to notice spots of conflict on the map more easily.
    • Thanks to Badger for inspiring this addition.

Pinging Planets And Locations For Multiplayer

  • Another new button in the Other UI key combo section: Toggle Ping Mode
    • Pressing this button combo will enter or exit 'ping mode', in which you can leave colored markers strewn across one or more planets. These markers fade over 6 seconds, and are mainly for communicating in multiplayer.
    • Default: F1
  • The ping button on the galaxy map is also now fully functional. Its new description in its tooltip:
    • Click to enter ping mode, which works on the galaxy map or at individual planets (shortcut key: F1). Any pings you leave on the galaxy map last for 6 seconds, but don't get any smaller over time. They're for drawing the attention of multiplayer allies with a little green marker. If several of you are pinging at once, it's a good idea to take turns for the sake of clarity as you discuss things. On an individual planet, you can draw a whole series of pings, which get smaller over time, thus letting you indicate direction.
  • It is now possible to hold down hotkeys during ping mode and do different ping colors: orange, blue, pink, and yellow in addition to the usual green. This lets you indicate different things more easily while discussing. The UI shows what will happen very clearly, and you can customize the keys.
    • Thanks to Badger for suggesting.

More Galaxy Map Display Modes

  • New galaxy map display mode: Energy Consumption
    • Shows how much energy the selected faction(s) are using at this planet. If there are two lines, then the top line is how much is being used by units directly, and the second line is how much is being used by units contained in other units (usually transported ships). Unit icons shown under the planet are for the three heaviest energy users at the planet.
  • New galaxy map display mode: Threat
    • Very useful! Ignores what factions you select on the left dropdown. Shows how much Threat strength there is at this planet from any source. So this is threatfleet ships belonging to the AI Sentinels, and AI Hunter ships, mainly.
    • Thanks to ArnaudB and Badger for suggesting.
  • New galaxy map display mode: AIP Reducers
    • Ignores what factions you select on the left dropdown. Shows any unit that is able to reduce the AI Progress (AIP) of the AIs.
    • Created by Badger in 2017.
  • New galaxy map display mode: AI Defenses
    • Ignores what factions you select on the left dropdown. Shows all major AI defensive structures at each planet as icons. In text, shows the strength of all hostile units at each planet. If it's stronger than your current selected ships, then it's orange text. If it's more than 2x as strong as your current selected ships, then a deeper orange. If it's less than half as strong, then it shows as a light blue.
    • Created by Badger in 2017 and spruced up very slightly.
  • New galaxy map display mode: Capturables
    • Ignores what factions you select on the left dropdown. Shows any unit that is considered to be a capturable, or that maybe are not capturable but exist purely to be hacked to gain new stuff.
    • Created by Badger in 2017 and spruced up to include a lot of new things.

Version 2.645 Hotfix

(Released December 3rd, 2020)

  • Fixed a wide array of exceptions that could happen, particularly as of the last version, if you had a partially failed save or quickstart load. If the playeraccount was missing, which is the real bug, then certain other parts of the code would spam tons of errors and obscure the real one. They no longer do.
  • Fixed a one-line typo with the recent changes to delayed invasion support for the nanocaust that was causing all older quickstarts and savegames that included the nanocaust to not be readable.
    • Thanks to Cel for reporting.

Version 2.644 So Many Good Things All At Once

(Released December 2nd, 2020)

  • Added a new "Invert Mousewheel UI Scrolling" setting to the HUD section of personal settings:
    • Description: Normally when you spin the mouse wheel forward, any scrollable areas you are hovering over in the UI go up; spinning backwards goes down. This lets you flip that functionality. OR, in the case that your hardware or OS is inverted for whatever reason, this lets you correct it to work like everyone else.
      • Note: if you also want/need to invert how your mouse wheel works when zooming the game view, then be sure to also set the 'Invert Mouse Zoom' option in the All Cameras section.
    • We also updated the other setting to also mention this one, so that if you find one of them you can find them both. We left them as two separate settings since some people might want one and not the other if this is a personal preference and not the "backwards linux mousewheel" bug.
    • We thought that this was something we could not fix without unity taking care of it on their end, but we took a peek at some of their old decompiled source code and found an efficient way to find all of the objects that need reversed scrolling and update them in cases where that is indeed needed.
    • Thanks to Blu3wolf, The Main Man, whetstone, TechSY730, Matruchus, Elos, carewolf, and others for raising the issue again.
  • Remove a mechanism where fireteams would deliberately overestimate turret strength; turrets are no longer under-valued strengthwise so this mechanic was now making the Hunter even more timid.
  • The Hunter is no longer allowed to retreat from a battle involving the AI Overlord. They must fight to the death there. This includes Exogalactic War Units.
    • This has been reported in a number of places, but most recently by Waladil on discord

Delayed Invasion Support

  • Marauders can now be requested to do a "delayed invasion", ie they won't start attacking until a ways into the game.
  • The Nanocaust can be set to invade at a random time during the game, or immediately. This replaces the old "Non-Immediate Nanocaust are seeded as beacons" paradigm.
    • If not explicitly requested, the nanocaust will appear in a beacon.
    • This change means the Nanocaust now works "correctly" in the game lobby.
    • This resolves bug reports from ParadoxSong and Isiel. Possibly others as well
  • Also you can request the nanocaust to appear on a player planet. This is a terrible idea unless they are your allies
    • Requested by Arc-3N-4B

Galaxy Map UI Additions

  • On the galaxy map bottom left bar, there are edit planet and ping planet buttons, but for now those are just going to have a "coming soon" tooltip on them. We'd rather not delay the rest of this release another day just for them.
  • The new default for when icons and text on the galaxy map stop drawing is 10, rather than 1.5. It will update existing settings for you.
    • This makes them always show, even if it does get crowded. Trying to use galaxy map filters with them disappearing was an exercise in anger management.

Planet And Unit Search

  • Added a new "GalaxyMapTextboxFunction" xml table, which lets us (or modders) define "a thing that uses a textbox on the galaxy map to do something."
    • That is vague somewhat on purpose. But mostly we expect it will be used for searches of various sorts.
    • For now we have implemented one for finding planets, and another for finding units.
  • There is a new bottom-left UI element on the galaxy map view. This has a number of functions built all into one.
    • First of all, it has a new find planet option, which is extremely responsive and lets you search for planets by partial text, darkening all others that are not including that text.
      • It also shows the names of all the planets that come back as possible matches, even if they would not normally be shown right now.
      • It does not try to do any centering on the planets it finds, as it might find many. But at any rate, this is a very dynamic and simple way to find planets by name.
    • Secondly, it has a function that lets you search for planets by name of a unit (ship or structure).
      • Any icons shown at planets will be shown in this mode, regardless of zoom distance.
      • Even better, it actually hides all of the icons that would normally be shown, and instead shows the first ship icon of each match that it's finding on that planet (if there are 100 v-wings, it will only show the icon for one of them, but you're usually not searching for something like that).

Fleet Status Window

  • Added a general new Window_BottomLeftSelfUpdatingTextWindow, which works pretty much like Window_ModalSelfUpdatingTextWindow from a code standpoint. However, this lets us give a non-modal (aka non-input-blocking) onscreen view of some sort of information over there on the left where chat and such would be. Tooltips and chat and similar will block this view, but otherwise it stays open until you close it, which can be useful for information players want to have at their fingertips and that a modder or developer wants to provide them.
  • Over the last couple of weeks, Badger has been working on a Fleet Status display that was kind of hidden up there on the attack buttons in the top resource bar. There is now a dedicated F Stat button on the galaxy map that you can hover over to find out about this function, and left click or right click to get information on local fleets or all fleets.
    • This is the first usage of the new Window_BottomLeftSelfUpdatingTextWindow, and it lets you keep an eye on your own status of fleets, or the status of allies in multiplayer, that sort of thing.
    • This is no longer openable off of the resource bar, but instead just off this new galaxy map button.

Galaxy Map Display Modes

  • Galaxy map display modes make a triumphant return!
    • All of the prior ones that were there were really old, not having been altered since... goodness, September 2017.
    • When we updated the game to a new UI style in 2018, these were disabled and we never got back to adding them in until now. With that said, we're revisiting what they actually do, or replacing them.
  • Normal display mode (what you've seen always for the last few years):
    • Ignores what factions you select on the left dropdown. Shows your strength on the right of each planet, and enemy strength on the left at each planet. Unit icons shown below the planet are a general mix of high priority units.
  • On all of the galaxy map modes, it now is sure to keep showing your own fleets, since those are useful to be able to select and click and such no matter what else you're looking at.
  • Metal Production display mode:
    • Shows how much metal the selected faction(s) are generating at this planet in gray, and how much is available but not used by that faction in red. Unit icons shown under the planet are one per type of metal generator.
    • Useful for seeing which planets have more metal that you might want to capture, where your main metal production is, and where your metal production has taken damage.
  • Energy Production:
    • Shows how much energy the selected faction(s) are generating at this planet in gold, and how much is available but not used by that faction in red. Unit icons shown under the planet are one per type of energy generator.
    • This is useful for seeing where you're generating energy in a visual way, AND for finding large energy generators that you might want to capture out in the rest of the galaxy.
  • Science And Hacking
    • Shows how much science and hacking points are left to be gathered on each planet. The only unit icons shown under planets are player fleets.
  • Strength:
    • One of the most useful display modes! Shows how much strength the selected faction(s) have at each planet. The only unit icons shown under planets are player fleets.
    • This is the really important filter! This is how you find out just how strong the hunter is, wherever it is, or easily pick out exactly where the warden is hiding. Assuming you have up to date intel, of course.
  • Strength With Top Ships
    • Mostly the same as the Strength display mode. However, this is much more cluttered because of the icons showing the three strongest units of the relevant faction(s) being shown as icons under each planet. So this is less useful than the general Strength display mode for seeing an overview of everything, but it's great for observing what the big hitters are at various planets all at once.
Faction Filters
  • On the galaxy map, there are now detailed faction filters for EVERY faction, including normally-not-listed ones, all organized into various categories with proper explanations.
    • This actually took WAY longer to create than we expected, but it gives the ultimate in flexibility in all that.
    • The nice thing is that this only fills in as you actually encounter members of each faction, so this starts out smaller but then grows substantially as you find sub-parts of the AI, etc. So for example, you likely will not see any Praetorian Guard entries for a while, and you would not see AI Reserves until they have struck you at least once, etc. No tamed macrophage unless you actually meet one.
  • Factions in general can no longer override CheckIfPlayerHasSeenFaction(), which we have upgraded to properly support beacons and other things of that sort.
    • There is now a new DoOnFirstSightingOfFactionByPlayer() that factions can override to get the same sort of effect they used to have.
    • You may need to let the game run for about one second before things will properly show up in terms of factions that should be visible.
  • Added a new FactionGroup class, which lets us start displaying/discussing factions by whatever arbitrary categories.
    • For now we have All, My, Allied, Hostile, and Beacon as the categories, with tooltips explaining each.
  • Added a new FactionFilter struct, which lets us mix actual factions with faction groups, and display them in a nice list that we can also sort.
  • Badger's fancy SortFactionsForDisplay() has been removed off of Human.cs and is now on BattlefieldVisualSingleton.
    • However, it should never be directly called anymore. It should now be retrieved from FactionFilter.GetLatestSortedFactionCompleteList() to get that result which is cached and only updated once every 10th of a second.
    • This now lets us get that from other parts of the code that are not in externalData, too.
  • Beacon factions that have not been summoned yet now show "(Beacon)" in front of their names.
  • Added a new is_considered_visible_part_of_the_ai_faction_for_filter_purposes for factions, which lets us have certain sub-factions like the AI Hunters and such show up more prominently in the list of factions in the galaxy map filters.
    • Also added is_considered_player_allied_for_filter_purposes for purposes of getting the Outguard to show as a player Ally even though they are usually invisible.

Updates To Included Mods

  • Fixed the spire railgun shop mod to use the newer xml that is about spire ships not working when not on a PLAYER planet, instead of a specific owner faction. This was a change we made for multiplayer compatibility, and it changed an xml tag.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Kaizers Marauders improvements:
    • Removed the ability to assign negative budget and in return changed and integrated the Invasion Time setting from Vanilla
      • Assigning negative Budget would work, but had its issues: Marauders were forced to start out very small, the timing was estimated at best and could vary incredibly
    • Now the player can choose Immediate, 1-10 hours and Random /Early/Mid/Late/Very Late game and Random All, which translate to 0-2, 2-4, 4-6, 6-8 or 8-10 hours of actual game time, with Random All being 0-10 hours
    • Essentially the mechanic is that in beacon mode the beacon will self-destruct when the time mark is reached, BUT the player can still destroy it earlier. During this time Marauders gain NO Invasion Budget
    • When not in beacon mode Marauders are prevented from doing any invasion logic until their time has come, but they passively accumulate more budget and will invade with quite a few forces. Note that they do NOT get any bonus budget from owning no planets as that would likely lead to much, much greater invasions yet...
  • AMU now has a new function: parseFIntFromStringUpToFirstSpace(). Can parse numbers like 1 / 1.6 / 100.738, etc. If more than 3 decimals are used any excess is discarded.

Bugfixes

  • Fixed divide by zero exception that could happen in the risk analyzers faction. This was not related to any recent changes, it just was apparently rare.
    • Thanks to Isiel for reporting.
  • Previously, mod names with spaces in them would cause the settings file on your machine to become corrupt and unable to be loaded. This should no longer be the case, although we've not tested it.
    • Thanks to ArnaudB and Isiel for reporting.
  • The capsule colliders on the lines between planets on the galaxy map no longer size up or down. This can mean that on very far zoom on very large maps it can be hard to get your mouse exactly over the line, but it's still very much possible and this is hardly a crisis. The main thing is that these no longer get in the way of the planets themselves, which may have been happening.
    • We investigated the planets themselves getting off on scale, but did not find any evidence of drift, and were already using the careful approach that we were considering "switching to."
    • We did also find a number of cases of places where things like notifications might have been getting in the way, with text that was extending beyond their bounds. We fixed all of those as well, in case those were what the problem was.
    • Thanks to AxiomExotic, afterthought, Vortex, Karlant, and Badger for reporting the problem with the hitboxes on the planets on the galaxy map still being there after long enough sessions of play. This may not solve it, but it does remove several areas of potential problems that were in place.
  • If a dropdown list is extended, and the number of items in the list changes, it now refreshes with the new options included. Previously, you had to close and reopen the dropdown list. That was potentially not possible to have happen as a situation before, but with the list of factions on the galaxy map it now is.
  • Fixed another issue with dropdowns still staying open after you switch to a different context where their parent window area is no longer visible. This was super noticeable with the new galaxy map controls.

Balance Tweaks

  • Fixed Veteran Sentinel Gunboat having lower damage than normal, due to being missed in a long ago previous update.
  • Fixed Cloaked Mugger having less health than the normal version, due to being missed in a long ago previous update.
  • Reduced range of any Tier 1 Extragalactic units that were above 8,000 (before global range modifier) to 8,000.
    • Due to mentions of most Turrets being incapable of fighting these, and these are the tier that will be hit in most normal games, excluding modded ones and Fallen Spire runs.
  • 'Ram' Auto Bombs swap their armour damage bonus for a new one, that works against armour of +90mm. Mass damage bonus increased from 5x to 7x.
  • Altered Parasitic starting fleet. Normal Parasites are replaced with 25 Parasitic Pike Corvettes, 1 Mugger is removed, and 40 Stalkers are added.
    • The Why:
      • Too many Parasites and not much damage led to this being a very slow start.
      • Thus, some Parasitic Pike Corvettes were swapped in for some extra firepower, but keeping zombification.
      • 2 Muggers is actually in excess of the normal cap size, so 1 is removed.
      • Stalkers are added to give this fleet more single target power, making up for the loss of the Mugger, and lets it fight things such as Sabot and Nucleophilic Guard Posts early on (things which counter said Muggers).
  • Dire Tesla Guard Posts weapon jam works on armor <= 90, rather than <= 101.

Turrets

  • Altered "large" Turret energy costs to have the same "cap scaling" as the "small" Turrets.
    • E.g a Pike Turret cost 2,250 energy. A Crusher Turret cost 37,500 energy.
    • A full cap of Pikes would be 5, costing a total of 11,250, compared to the full cap of just 1 Crusher Turret, still 37,500.
    • Now, the Crusher Turret costs the same as that full cap of Pikes.
  • Mini Fortress energy cost halved.
    • An exception, due to a report about its power, this has less of a change (66% reduction often).
  • Crusher Turret magnetic pull range increased from 4,200 to 6,500 (before global range modifier of 0.8x). Crusher weapon range changed from 1,000 to 1,700, hits 20 targets instead of splitting damage evenly, net DPS the same.
    • The last part lets it focus damage more, rather than spreading it out so much it doesn't help to kill anything off.
    • Also hopefully improved its pull targeting.
  • Acid Turret effect increased from 50 to 65, shot count 3 -> 5.
    • Will attempt to add Mark scaling to the effect, requires code investigation.
  • Increased target priority of Bulwark Turrets a chunk.
  • Doubled the self-build rate of the "Raid" technology Turrets, excluding Blitzkrieg which is a "large", and did not have the appropiate build rate for its size. It now does, and then that is doubled, leading to it being 6x what it was before.
  • Fusion Turret reload time reduced from 2s -> 1s, damage 700 -> 350, loses shield bypass. Instead, gains a 12x damage bonus versus personal shielding.
    • This replaces the ability to quickly destroy structures (not too useful on defense) with instead a highly supportive role, potentially useful combined with Imploder and Subverter Turrets.
  • Fuseball Turret range 10,100 -> 15,000.
  • Makeshift and Blitzkrieg Turrets no longer spawn units on death. Instead, they use the "drone guns" present on Combat Factories, as well as Tesla Torpedo and Tackle Drone Frigates (they have infinite range).
  • Makeshift Drone damage reduced 33%.
  • Increased Vampire Turret damage 25%.
  • Shredder Turret range increased from 4,200 to 5,200 (before global range modifier), damage increased roughly 30%.
  • Increased Imploder Turret damage 50%.
  • Doubled Deathgrip Turrets tractor count, increased range from 4,200 to 5,200 (before global range modifier), damage increased 20%.
  • Increased Jammer Turret damage 50%.
  • Increased Translocator Turret damage 50%.
  • Doubled Tritium Sniper Turret damage, halved multiplier.
  • Increased Fortified Tesla Turrets cap sizing to the same as normal 'small' Turrets. Reduced health by 40%.
    • Cap health is the same, cap damage is up 66%, but in the hands of the AI they are easier to kill (who don't get any more or less from current).

Aggro Invisiblity, And Drones In General

  • Added a new cannot_target_or_alert_ai_reinforcement_spots option for ships, which provides the following new ability:
    • AGGRO-INVISIBLE: Enemy target ships and structures (mainly guard posts) that contain guards cannot detect this ship, and this ship cannot fire upon those targets.
      • Once those targets have been alerted and have released their guards to fight, those targets can then be attacked by this ship.
    • Thanks to Strategic Sage and zeus for inspiring this addition.
  • The new Aggro Invisiblity ability has been given to all of the sniper ship variants, sentinel gunboat variants, sniper frigate variants, sniper guardian variants, and sniper turret variants.
    • This prevents them from engaging guard posts and similar unless those guard posts are already aggro'd, and thus not alerting an entire planet just because you bring them along.
    • Why have this on the guardians? Mostly for AI Civil Wars, but also in case you capture some.
    • Why on turrets? Mainly for purposes of beachheads.
    • Thanks to Zoreiss, AnnoyingOrange, Asteroid, Fluffiest, and others for reporting.
  • The various drones that had been switched over to the "drone gun" format as of a few weeks ago have been returned to the regular drone behavior.
    • Thanks to discussion with Strategic Sage for letting us know how much the new format was not great.
  • Pretty much all drones use the new Aggo Invisibility ability.
    • They can still go hit things right next to guard posts without causing an issue, and they can even hit guard posts that have already emptied their guards.
    • Guard posts can even still shoot at these drones if the guard post has any weapons, though the drones can't shoot back until the guard post is aggro'd by something else. These drones would not bother going near the guard post unless there was something else there to shoot, though.
    • Thanks to Puffin for helping set all this up.

Beta 2.642 Nearing Beta For Multiplayer

(Released November 30th, 2020)

  • Fix a bug where the Incoming Exo Notifier would show the wrong % when it was sync'd with something
    • Thanks to afterthought for reporting
  • The Metal Flow Planning screen works again
    • Thanks to Crabby for reporting
  • Scrapping an MDC or GCA now correctly triggers the AIP increase
    • Previously if an MDC was about to be killed, you could scrap it to dodge the AIP increase
  • The tooltips for savegames in the save and load menu now includes what players are in the game in question (with that colorized), and also includes what size the savegame is on disk. The former is particularly useful when you're trying to remember which games you were playing with what other players.
    • We also shifted how we are finding the last write time for each file, which hits windows security less hard and thus makes opening the load game menu vastly faster when there are a bunch of files on windows in particular. This may also be somewhat faster on linux and OSX, but on windows in particular if you had dozens or hundreds of savegames, it could take a second or two to even open that window.
  • The way that error windows appear has been updated to be a lot more legible, as well as a LOT more dramatic and scary-looking. Wow that's a lot of red!
    • This was one of the last parts of the game that was not just in AN old UI style, but in the old UI style from the first prototypes back in 2016. Go figure.
  • There is a secondary error message window now, which is used when you try to load a savegame or quickstart or do something in the lobby or joining a new game and have some sort of error doing those things.
    • Those errors tend not to be fatal, and also tend not to repeat infinitely, and so it gives you a simple "ok" button that you can use to close the error and which then clears the history of how many errors have happened this game.
    • In recent versions of the game, you could try to load one broken save, get a message saying it's broken, then load a valid save and have a permanent blot on your UI saying that there were something like 2 errors since you started the game. Now that doesn't happen.
  • The metadata for savegames is now loaded asynchronously, except for its file size and last modified date. The actual rest of things that are shown in the tooltip data is loaded very fast, but not on the main thread. This means that the load menu opens even faster, on any OS.

AI Intelligence Improvements

  • Fix a bug where fireteams going after MDCs could get hung up on not wanting to attack planets between the MDC and the Hunter.
    • Hunter ships required to go after a particular target (like an MDC) are now allowed to explicitly attack planets on the way
      • Thanks to ArnaudB for reporting
  • Tsunami CPAs will now wait a minute or so after launching to gather their forces before they attack. The goal is to make the initial CPA punch a bit stronger; previously they were trickling their forces in piecemeal and not providing as much of an impact as desired.
    • It will still look just like the same behaviour to the player once the attack starts, there will just be a bit of a pause between the CPA spawning its ships and then those ships actually hitting your planets.

New PKIDs Approach For Multiplayer

  • WARNING TO MODDERS! We don't suggest you just do a global search and replace for your various places in the code that are now calling methods marked as obsolete.
    • As tedious as it is, you should go through those line-by-line and swap them over to the new non-obsolete variant, which will note that it returns null in MP.
    • With all of these calls, it's up to you to check to make sure that if the method you just called returns null, you ignore whatever happens next.
    • In general, if there's anything that is changing more data about the entity that was just created only-on-the-server-but-null-on-the-client, then have it skip that logic, but do all the rest of the logic. A general return out of the method you are in is not usually the desired approach (but it does vary by situation).
    • The faction data will catch up on the client either way, and all of those changes you make to the entity after the null-return-point will be passed over to the client as well. However, if you don't handle the null-return-point, then players will get nullref exceptions in your mod only in multiplayer, which will be frustrating for everybody.
    • The one exception is CreateNew_DuringMapgen. You can just search and replace for that with CreateNew_ReturnNullIfMPClient unless you were using it wrong to begin with.
    • There may be entire methods now where you want to check if ArcenNetworkAuthority.DesiredStatus == DesiredMultiplayerStatus.Client and just return before it even thinks about making any entities. See things like ReactToPowerLevel() on the AI for examples.
    • TLDR: This is a minor pain in the rear right now, and looks a bit tedious to do. But this is far simpler and far less tedious than getting bug reports from MP players that you have to chase down for your mod in the future.
      • If you wind up with questions, then @ chris on the Arcen discord channel.
  • Added a rather complex new ArcenDelayedDeserializationBurst class, which uses a really efficient way to store network message for future deserialization.
    • We normally reuse our deserialization buffers, so it's an extra delicate class. As long as nobody ever tries to use this in some new way beyond the way it is currently used, all will be well. The code is filled with dire warnings in the comments.
    • The capability that this adds is essentially for us to have slightly time-delayed execution of network data unpacking from the host to clients, if the host is a bit more than 1 sim frame ahead of the client.
  • The MayCreateEntities bool has been marked as obsolete, and is never set now, as all threads (even long-range planning ones) are now considered A-OK for immedidately creating entities as much as players want to.
  • SpawnEntity and SpawnEntityOrReturnNull have both been marked as obsolete (and will block modders from compiling against them), but will still for the moment keep working with existing compiled mods.
    • This is how we're going to try from now on to handle when we change the specifications of things that would break mods, where we can. It gives modders a chance to catch up.
    • In this case, it now wants you to use the new SpawnEntity_ReturnNullIfMPClient() method.
    • The same is true for the various CreateSquad methods, all of which now want you to use CreateNew_ReturnNullIfMPClient.
  • GlobalLastSquadIDSourcePrimaryKeyID no longer exists in savegames.
  • The ability to generate PKIDs for speed groups, fleets, squads, shots, and otherIDs are all now exclusively host abilities.
    • If a client tries to call these, it now returns -1 for the client and throws a visible error message on the client.
    • A bunch of cases where we were syncing these over to the clients are removed. We no longer care, for the most part.
  • The game now has a new "Fast Blast of Created Objects" that the host sends to clients.
    • In these cases, essentially when you go and try to create something that requires a PKID that would be consistent on the clients and the host, the clients just skip doing it, but the host does it and then sends it to the clients asap.
    • The host is usually a few hundred ms ahead of the client at minimum, and so if it's on a future frame number from them, then it tells them at which frame to unpack its new data.
      • If the client is closer to the host in time, and the frame gets there late, it still just unpacks it and can sort out minor discrepancies later.
    • The idea here is that a LOT more things are just being done on the host, and skipped on the client, and the client is getting the information in small download packages that it inserts into its own sim at the appropriate time.
      • There is some very slight divergence in sync caused by this, but it's pretty darn slight in most cases.
      • The great news is that this uses less network data, and substantially less CPU power, on clients than having wrong IDs assigned does. This lets us just send the correct object once, rather than creating the wrong object, discovering it, requesting a fix, getting the correct object, and deleting the wrong object.
    • This is a fundamentally different approach to object creation, and in some ways this has a bit more in common with an MMO architecture, except things are faster and more responsive than your average MMO. But this is now blending a third general model of network code into our existing interesting stew of models. It pairs really well with the other bits.
  • On GameCommands, we now have the ability to specify how many entities of various sorts we plan on creating (or potentially creating), and then the host provides available IDs that will be consistent on the client and the host before the execution happens.
    • This is yet ANOTHER approach, but is one of those cases where we take the most efficient networking approach for any given type of data event. That is surprisingly optimal, it turns out.
    • The idea is that which networking model is superior is really contextual, so we look at the context and use the best one in any given circumstance. Any errors we make are already handled by the sync code (that's not new), but this cuts down on the number of errors.
  • Added a new "Log Decoded Network 'Fast Blast' Sync Data To Disk" setting to the network section, which does what it says on the tin.
  • The way that shots appear, and the way that shot sound effects are triggered, have both been updated in order to support the new way things function in multiplayer.
    • We were looking in particular for silent shots, or shots that did not show things like their AOE effects. Those are all working.

Other Multiplayer Miscellany

  • Unrelated to the rest of this, the clients now send their GameCommands completely separately from their "finished a sim frame" messages.
    • This lets the client send the GameCommands in a more timely fashion, thus reducing command lag on the clients.
  • Fixed an issue that we don't think anyone hit, but where if you were playing one multiplayer game and moved to another one it could execute some commands from the prior game on a delay.
  • Fixed a wide array of minor glitches and annoyances that would give clients warnings or errors (visible or otherwise) in multiplayer.
  • A lot of classes serialize themselves more clearly, ranging from shots to wormholes to gamecommands and beyond.
  • In the event that the host sends over world data that errors, the client should now wind up back on the main menu.
  • Fixed a number of small serialization issues between multiplayer, including errors when new planets are created. The creation of new planets and their various links between one another are now verified to work properly between the client and host. Aka the Dark Zenith invasion in DLC2 (spoiler alert, though that doesn't tell you much).
    • We have NOT yet verified if nomad planets work properly in multiplayer now (displaying properly on clients to match the host), and would appreciate if someone checks that out once this build becomes public.

Version 2.638 Why Do We Fall, Master Wayne?

(Released November 25th, 2020)

  • strength_multiplier_for_turrets has been 2 since we added this, but that seems to overestimate their power a bit.
    • We've adjusted this value to 1.55, per discussion on discord and a suggestion by TechSY730.
  • Added a new strength_multiplier_for_armed_guard_posts, which lets us adjust up the strength of guard posts to be more accurate if it seems to be undervalued.
    • We're starting this off at 1.25.
    • Thanks to TechSY730 for suggesting.
  • We also added a new strength_multiplier_for_non_combatants, which lets us adjust down the strength of anything that doesn't have any guns.
    • Sometimes things without guns still have a lot of health and shields, and that's really not something we want to consider as strongly since it can't hurt you directly.
    • This would affect forcefields, any sort of captured buildings, and things like unarmed transports.
    • We're starting this at 0.4.
  • A new balance_seconds_after_transport_change_before_can_switch_back has been added, with default value of 3, that prevents players from putting ships into and out of the same transport more frequently than within 3 seconds.
    • In multiplayer, we need a small bit of time to refill the list of pooled IDs for upcoming player transports. In reality that only takes a second or two to refill, but potentially less than a quarter second.
    • Originally we had thought to have this be an even larger window, like 30 seconds to prevent players from messing with the AI by popping in and out of transports, but there's already a 5 second no-firing time limit that covers that. And folks on discord made their feelings about that change pretty clear (it was not welcome).
  • Home forcefield generators can now be scrapped just like all other FF generators. From back in the pre-fleet days they were not scrappable because at the time you could never then rebuild them. Now you should be able to rebuild them, so you can also scrap them.
    • Thanks to Democracy for reporting.
  • Updated AMU
    • Now uses all the new Icons for Metal, Energy, Hacking, Science and Strength
    • Removed the SimpleStringBuffer as it is now less efficient compared to the ArcenCharacterBuffer and ArcenDoubleCharacterBuffer
    • Gave the latter two 35 new functions, most of them adaptions from the SSB or shortcuts from formating inside the AMU Core
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo for adding.
  • Updated Kaizers Marauders
    • Tooltips, based on the above logic, are now faster and produce less GC Churn
    • Also dynamically rounded the percentages in the outpost description to show up to, but not always 3 decimals
    • Removed an extra line inside the Player-Owned Kaizer full descriptions.
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo for adding.
  • When a stack dies and is going to spawn something on death (such as hydra heads as one example), then the new things that are created come out pre-stacked in the same ratios as the original.
    • So for instance, if a stack of 3 is vaporized, then a stack of 3 heads is created. If each should create 2 heads on death, then 2 stacks of 3 heads are created.
    • This is a lot kinder to the CPU and performance in general during heavy death situations with hydras aand similar.
  • Before you can start hack, the game checks that you have enough hacking points. This check now also counts active hacks.
    • The goal is to make it harder for players to wind up with negative hacking points.
      • Thanks to ultamashot and NRSirLimbo for reporting
  • A ship in an exogalactic strikeforce now shows "Exogalactic Strikeforce" instead of its faction name when hovered over
    • Previously it was really hard to tell if a unit was in an Exo or not.
  • Rework the way Exogalactic War Unit spawn locations are chosen to prevent the case where the AI was accumulating large numbers of Exogalactic War Units on its homeworld, if they were required to go after factions with other things in the way.
    • If the War Unit is against the player, the war unit spawns at the AI homeworld.
    • If it is against a non-player faction then if there's a safe path for the war unit to get to the target faction from the AI homeworld, it will spawn at the homeworld.
    • If not it tries to find any warp gate with a safe path to the target.
    • If it can't find a safe path at all then it will spawn directly on a suitable target. Minimally tested but seems to work
    • Only applies to newly spawned Exogalactic War Units
      • Thanks to a number of people for pointing out that Exogalactic War Units could get stuck, most recently zharmad and ArnaudB
  • Since we are not actually using the SquadIDSources, it makes sense to provide older methods that the various code mods like Civilian Industries were looking for. StarKelp is not able to update that this week anyhow, so we made some changes to make sure that his stuff still is compatible with the new version of the game anyhow. So far as we can tell, Civilian Industries seems to work again.

Bugfixes

  • Improved the error handling on incoming_damage_modifier to be more clear.
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo for reporting.
  • Fixed an exception where any damage modifiers that were hull only would throw an exception when you tried to apply them.
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo for reporting.
  • Fixed an unusual error that was possible to happen in ReinforceSpecificPlanet(). Not sure why this was happening, but there's a vague chance it may have been related to mods. At any rate, it's no longer possible to get the exception.
    • Thanks to Isiel for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue where cluster bombs would not spawn more bombs because they were not dying from enemy fire. Now the only reason that sub-bombs won't be created from things like this is from a unit intentionally being scrapped.
    • Thanks to Puffin for figuring out what this problem was, and to ArnaudB, Isiel, and Democracy for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue with the name generation for multi-owner factions so that it now properly says the names of the multiple owners. Previously, each party was incorrectly just seeing their own name as the owner. Of course, in these situations it's best of all to give your empire a specific name, but you don't have to.
  • Spire cities should now work if they are on planets owned by other Players
    • Reported by NeverZero

Improvements To Error Handling

  • Put in a bunch of wrapper methods for various faction methods that are commonly used by mod factions. These wrapper methods let us gracefully catch exceptions from the mods and then disable that part of the modded faction so that the game can continue without you having an endless spiral of exceptions.
    • For instance, in this build of the game we have broken both Kaiser's Marauders, the AMU, and Civilian Industries. Rather than having those be absolutely unplayable savegames with infinitely logging errors, it now pops up some errors the first time, then shuts off the brains of those particular factions. So you'll see those factions stop working and just kind of sit around (or use whatever intelligence there is that is coming from the central NPC logic), but the savegame itself won't be a total loss.
    • It's still best to stop playing after you have exceptions like these, but it doesn't make you completely dead in the water.
    • We also implemented a neat new thing where we are able to detect even caught exceptions inside these methods, so if the mod author is doing their own error handling, we still find out about the error and shut off that faction.
    • It's worth noting that this applies to base game and expansion factions just as much as it does to mods, frankly. In general this is pretty handy for letting parts of the game essentially have a stroke and die without turning off the rest of the game or leading to endless errors that cause lag.
  • In the list of factions in the escape menu, if a faction has had any sort of fatal error, it now shows "FATAL ERROR IN FACTION" next to it, with animated red and orange colors going past.
  • Whenever you have an error message popup, it's only showing you the most recent error out of potentially a long series of errors. Now the game has a first line there that is "Errors since start," and that counts up as more errors are logged. It may count up while you're reading an exception, for that matter.
    • The idea is to make it so that people don't just see the last error and think that's it.
  • If you have had an exception happen in your game in the last 5-10 seconds, then it now shows the count of errors since the start in the chat sidebar. This way you can't miss the fact that errors have been happening recently, and if you're in the unfortunate situation of having ongoing errors every few seconds then you will see that counting up and be aware of it. Sometimes people would hit "ignore all" and not realize why their disk was still being slammed by errors, and the fact that things were probably not working quite right. Now it will be impossible to miss.
  • Similarly, if any factions that have partially shut down from having errors, it now has a count that just won't go away up in the chat area that says "Factions Shut Down From Fatal Errors: 3" or whatever the number is. This is not so obtrusive that you can't keep playing, but it's obtrusive enough that maybe you'll realize you should stop playing if you care about those factions doing anything.

Failed Experiment: PKID Generation Revisions For MP Client Smoothness

  • An older approach that we were going to take with Primary keys, with a new PKID struct and a PKIDGenerator class, has been stripped out. It was going to be too unwieldly to implement, and would have made filesizes and network data a bit larger. We have come up with a better approach since coding that. It was never used, but the plan was to use that to keep multiplayer sync in better shape.
  • We only care about PKIDs for squads in terms of where things are diverging so much, so we've got a new SquadIDSource class.
    • The squad creation methods (in the codebase, "squads" are all ships and buildings and units) now mostly require a SquadIDSource to be passed in.
    • These sources keep some certain number of "for future use" PKIDs either for the faction or some other scope, and usually for some sort of sub-purpose on a faction.
    • These are serialized to disk and across the network, and every sim step have their pools replenished and synced over to other players from the host.
    • In the event that a source has run out of IDs to distribute, it has a fallback source which is usually the "failover" pool of IDs on the faction in question.
      • This first level of failover means that it is more likely to not have collisions when trying to find something to fill in for a source that was too thinly populated at the time of being called.
        • A single faction is more likely to mostly be synchronous relative to itself in terms of actions, so desyncs between clients are less likely.
        • But additionally, even if it is a desync, it winds up limiting the scope of the cascade of desyncs to mostly be limited to that one faction rather than affecting many factions all at once.
    • In the event that the failover has ALSO run out of IDs to distribute, then it goes back to the main central ID generator that has always been used up until now.
      • This is almost certainly going to cause a minor desync, or several minor ones, in multiplayer. However, these are going to be corrected by the same process that currently corrects multiplayer and makes it work as smoothly as it does.
      • Right now, MP clients are seeing things like every new ship that is spawned getting duplicated and then recreated, or just shifting spots. This is annoying in terms of how constant it is, but overall even with it having a desync EVERY time something is created, it's not that in-your-face that you can't play just fine.
      • So at any rate, there are multiple levels of prevention aimed at stopping this in the first place, but when it does happen it's not the end of the world and the game just recovers and keeps going like it has in all the MP versions prior to now.
    • The goal with all of this is to make things more smooth for clients, particularly when they are building ships from a factory or placing turrets and similar directly. And a secondary goal is to reduce some extra sync fix network traffic. But in the grand scheme, long-term sync is already assured by all the other characteristics of our multiplayer engine.
  • To support the new SquadIDSource class, there are a wide variety of sources that are placed throughout the codebase for various purposes.
    • As noted, all of the CreateSquad() and SpawnSquad() methods now require a SquadIDSource to be passed in, but if you don't then they will work out how best to get an ID to work around that lack.
    • However, for modders and faction coders, the way to update your code is relatively straightforward.
      • If you are doing something in the "long range planning" that creates a squad directly, just know that you're already immediately creating a desync, since that only runs on the host.
        • The game will recover from this automatically, but it will be wrong on the client with these new units you just created for 1-5 seconds, and may be wrong with some other units created around the same time. So ideally don't do that.
      • If you are creating squads directly in the "stage 2 or 3" methods, then you will now want to almost always use CreateNew_ForFactionBackgroundGeneration().
        • That method gets its own SquadIDSource inside itself, and there are loads of queued IDs in that source, so your risk of causing any desyncs at all with this is remarkably low. And if any do happen, it's probably not going to bleed over to something the player notices very easily.
        • There is also a version on faction that is SpawnNewUnit_ForFactionBackgroundGeneration() that takes the place of what was SpawnNewUnit() before.
      • If you are creating squads during part of mapgen, such as initial seeding logic for instance, then you should use the CreateNew_DuringMapgen() method.
        • This method entirely bypasses the SquadIDSource class, and just generates IDs directly. Mapgen only happens on the host, prior to syncing to everyone else, so there's no need for those sort of ID queues there.
        • If you mess up and have a method that uses CreateNew_DuringMapgen() both during mapgen and after mapgen, then you've probably introduced a minor desync with whatever is created, but again it's something the game will auto-correct within 1-5 seconds. The good news is that it should not really affect any other units than the ones you used this way.
        • Conversely, if you mess up and use CreateNew_ForFactionBackgroundGeneration() or similar during mapgen, then it will just do things as normal with not even any slight ill effects.
  • In single player and multiplayer, you can now see the ID stores and the statistics about the ID usage in the memory pooling section of the escape menu.
    • All savegames are a bit bigger now, maybe about 100kb or so. It's a fairly small addition in general, but in one example save we have an extra 65 thousand IDs pre-generated for use in specific scenarios. We can see even in a single-player game if it's ever hitting the central stores, etc.
    • You might wonder why we are also using this in single-player, but in general this does not cause a performance hit, and we have always tended to do everything the same between single and multiplayer even if that's not strictly required, so that we could maintain as few differences and as consistent of performance as possible.
  • The PKID Sources are now fully synced over the network in multiplayer, and they are centrally stored for reuse and assignment within savegame and across the network.

The Actual Result, With Intriguing Data

  • For now, after all the immense amount of work to get SquadIDSources working (and the two days after it to figure out the one-line networking error --which wound up having us greatly expand a bunch of debugging tools for multiplayer in general at least), we're currently choosing not to bother filling the SquadIDSource objects at all.
    • With this in place, they wind up adding an incredibly minor amount of overhead, but no actual functionality.
    • The fundamental premise of these is to try to reduce collisions of PKIDs between the clients and the host by having them queued up and ready to go, but that... really doesn't seem to happen. There are too many things in motion constantly, perhaps? It's honestly kind of hard to say exactly why this doesn't work, at the moment.
      • The most obvious answer is that the timing is too tight, but the Sources being filled with a certain number of values in advance really should be working around that. So that would seem to indicate that maybe there's some secondary problem, like the order of the queues getting messed up during sync, or something like that.
      • A more subtle answer, which is probably the correct one, is that we have two different timescales of network communications. On the one hand, we have the network sync info, which gets applied immediately. On the other, we have GameCommands, which get applied 100-200ms later. It's seeming likely that the sync of the queues is removing key entries from the client before the client can actually make use of them, since the client may be on a 100ish ms lag from the host. This could be solved in a variety of ways, but would need more testing.
      • However, seeing these in practice, the savegame sizes go up dramatically, and there is a notable slowdown in performance on the clients, which we didn't really expect. Part of it just has to do with how many factions can be in the game, particularly factions that are minor-use or only have a few units in them (tamed macrophage, etc, which may not even be active). This whole thing adds a definite per-faction extra cost in terms of data usage, and running out predictions for a long games is fine... but doesn't really feel great. What's notable is that turning this off feels like a breath of fresh air in terms of performance immediately after, so that says something right there about how advisable this is. Is this worth fixing?
      • Deciding if this is worth fixing or not is not something we want to decide late at night after three very frustrating days of staring at this and related problems, so for now we're just leaving it empty and pushing out this release so that folks can have the many many other fixes that we put in this build. This build has been delayed long enough by this blasted feature.
      • If this particular approach for PKIDs isn't used, then what do we do? Well, there are a variety of options.
        • On the one hand, we could do nothing. The sync code already corrects divergences, and is doing so with a minimum of bandwidth and no extra savegame file size, etc. However, it does cause minor jitter on new ships on the clients, which we don't like. So that' not our first choice. It seems like a lot of people don't notice this much, but at the very least for directly-placed human ships we can do better.
        • So, on that note, we can adjust the way that units are created. Right now, there are many places where the simulation creates a unit, and it tries to do that in lockstep on the clients and the host. This... may simply be not the way to go. We've contemplated this before, for a long time in fact. It may be a lot more tenable to make it so that the "create unit" code actually only runs on the host, and then that data gets synced over to the clients asap.
          • Originally this was something we had discarded because it would require a huge refactoring of all of the code for all of the external factions and mods. Not just a search-and-replace sort of change, but a really deep dive shift in the creation of all units. That is highly undesirable for many reasons. One of the reasons is that it would negatively affect the feel of the game on the host, and in single-player, because in theory we would be creating new units via GameCommand, which is something that happens on a delay.
          • The thing is, creating units only on the host doesn't mean it has to happen in a GameCommand. Actually one of the things that this entire code branch with the sources has demonstrated is how VERY fast we are able to get information over to the client. Normally we want to have new things get created and sent to clients via GameCommands in an orderly fashion as part of the main sim loop... but the thing is, the sync code is really freaking good. In almost all cases, if the ships actually appear 100-200ms early on clients, that matters... why? In reality, it doesn't seem like it matters much at all. If that causes a minor desync, it's still far more minor than the desync that we're getting right now with units having wildly wrong PKIDS. Likely their position or other stats would be slightly off on the client, and that is REALLY trivial to fix within seconds, and happens automatically already.
          • Overall, even though the PKID Sources approach was a complete dead end (probably) in a direct sense, this does provide some ways that we could theoretically reduce sync errors when it comes to even things like shots, which we've been concerned about for a while with IncomingShots being off since we don't consider shots worthy of sync (they last too short a time). But if we used the back channel data to generate shots only on the host, and had those synced to the client only once, on creation, that might be very interesting indeed. One of the possibilities with shots and even units is that we add a new SimFrameStartedExisting or something to that effect, and if that's in the future then the client just keeps them as invisible and not part of the client sim just yet. That would allow the host to give early "hints" to clients, who then have data ready to go as soon as the appropriate sim frame rolls around. Heck -- the clients don't even have to have fancy new logic for holding those units in abeyance. They could simply keep the data in its packed form until the appropriate frame. This would be very lightweight.
          • Ironically, this even paints some ways in which the "only create ships from gamecommands" approach of the "long term planning" code that is host-only is something that we might need to do away with. That would make things a bit simpler on modders if we go that way, and it would even allow us to in theory shift some of the per-faction processing onto non-sim-blocking threads. The only reason that those need to be sim-blocking right now is in order to maintain sync in multiplayer. But the thing is, we never expected for the general baseline sync to be this good... or for there to be such an effective faster-than-sim backchannel for the host to shuffle data over to the client. Despite this being our third coded multiplayer model over the span of 7ish released multiplayer games, this one really takes the cake for being the most advanced, and it has revealed some interesting new avenues to consider.
    • So the bottom line is, at first this really felt like a huge waste of time, on top of being a monumental disappointment. After taking a break for an hour or so and putting my kids to bed and thinking about it some more... this is actually pretty interesting data, and suggests that we may be able to be even more "fast and loose" with things than I ever expected, and thus really take the potential worry away from modders and faction designers, lower the network load, keep the savegame sizes small, and still improve sync. Having the host be fully authoritative over PKIDs was not something that seemed like it would be possible without introducing input lag on both the client and the host... but we already have the most minute (100-200ms) of timing lags between the client and the host, so that actually opens up a ton of options.
      • Crazy sidebar? One of the things that particularly bugs me about playing multiplayer right now, as the client, is the input lag. There's a lot of strictness that we have going on with trying to keep the client close to the host in timing, and making sure that GameCommands are executed at just the correct timestamps in the correct order, etc. But what if... we didn't care? Why not let the client instantly ask the host for things, and the host instantly execute them, and tell the client to also do the same? Sure it would introduce some new timing inconsistencies, but... so what?
      • Also crazy, still sidebar? This is even a way to potentially get around dropped packets and other situations with high latency or high ping. Let the host just get ahead, who cares, have the client blunder on without permission and catch up with what the host wants in a few hundred ms after the network blockage has cleared. This pulls the game further and further away from even pretending to be a lockstep multiplayer model, but to be frank, the performance that we're seeing, that we're able to get, is what makes that a feasible thing.
      • Want to stay in crazy sidebars? Things like FInt, our fixed-integer math struct and its related code, could largely be removed from the frequent sim calculations. There are some MUCH faster floating-point math functions, several of which use SIMD, that we use right now only for non-sim purposes. But it's already clear that the amount of drift we see in a few seconds is next to nil, and we're syncing things so frequently that any real drift that mattered would be correct within seconds, and typically would be smoothed out by the very awesome lerping that the vis layer does to keep things smooth in general.
    • So... yeah. This experiment was a huge disaster, on the surface. On the other hand, it took me through every piece of the code that creates units at the moment, and gave me an enormous amount of data on how some of the data is able to be passed around faster than game commands. I will need to weigh my options carefully, and probably focus on gradual improvements over time since the baseline is already pretty good right now. But making things more host-driven ought to be one easy quick improvement for sometime very soon.

More Multiplayer Technical Work

  • Removed some debug lines on the network clients about wrong key syncs (which always showed as zero because we wound up never deciding to check for that).
    • The adaptive system for sync that has continued to evolve out of seeing real data basically made that irrelevant.
  • The new sync of the PKID sources is now split out into its own separate sync cycle (for time slicing purposes mainly), separate from the faction sync.
    • Also separated out the "external data" of factions rather than having that be in the "Faction basics" sync.
  • The "Show Network Sync Details In Escape Menu" option in networking has been moved to the top of the other networking features, as it is the most helpful one by far.
    • It has also been given the prefix "Helpful: ".
  • Added another new setting to the network section, as well: Log Decoded Network Faction Basics Sync Data To Disk
    • Description: Same as the 'Log All Decoded Network Sync Data To Disk' setting, but only writes data for the faction basics that are periodically synced. If something gets awry with that data, this is a way to figure out why there's a discrepancy.
  • Multiplayer sync messages are now numbered by the host, and the clients read the number out when they get the message. This way, if a host sends out a sync message prior to a client joining, or a client misses a message or whatever else happens, the logs will still match up on both ends and are something we can compare.
    • We were running into the baffling situation where the logs did not match in ways that should be impossible, but this was because the clients and host were being allowed to number their own messages independently.
  • ArcenExternalData-RowIndexNonSim is no longer logged in general, because it is specifically something that is non-sim and thus will be different on the clients and the host. The matching isn't done based on it, so it's not a part of sync that matters.
  • We slightly reduced the maximum fragment size that we're willing to send, from 512kb to 500kb, still minus 100 bytes in both cases.
    • We had one report of a user on Steam getting an exception when trying to connect with the prior limit and the new limit does not make much practical difference to anyone else.
    • Specifically it complained about 524,199 bytes, when 512kb is actually 524,288 bytes; with the new limit of 500kb, that is coincidentally 512,000 bytes, which is potentially the actual accidental number of casual-math bytes that Valve actually is limiting to. We thought we remembered seeing in their code that it was 512 * 1024 that they defined their limiter as, but nonetheless that was only in a header file and so the internals might be defined differently.
    • Thanks to NRSirLimbo and CRZgatecrusher for reporting.
  • Fragmented error messages now give more informative error messages when something is off.
    • It's now vastly more common for savegames to be over the limit, since we now have all the pre-caching of PKIDs. One small 275kb savegame changes to 527kb in the new version.
    • Good thing we spent so much time on data efficiency earlier this year, because we really require an abundance of extra data to make sure PKIDs come out nicely between the client and the host.
  • Completely re-wrote our custom packet fragmentation-and-reassembly code. It's more efficient on the client now in general, and works properly.
    • We've tested this with a maximum allowance of 50kb so that it fragments a variety of messages rather than just the initial savegame. It was all working well, now, so we've gone back to 500kb.
    • It turns out that, previously, we had an accidental game of Russian Roulette going. Depending on what bit the last of the fragment header ended on in its final byte, it might automatically advance to the next byte on its own. That gave it a 1 in 8 chance of dying on a fragment by skipping one random byte of data. That's no longer possible, but took us forever to track down.
  • ArcenSerializationTester, which was used as a single static-style class, has been removed.
    • Because of its static-class nature, it was not threadsafe, and we could not guarantee that we were not having mixed serializations or deserializations in one batch.
    • As part of this, we have replaced it with a new ArcenSerializationLogger class, which lives on actual serialization and deserialization buffers and thus can't be confused across threads.
      • As part of THAT, we are also now making it always write directly to disk, rather than buffering in memory sometimes. So the settings option "Write Savegame Serialization Logs In Realtime" has been removed, as it is now always true.
    • It is worth noting that this method of logging is somewhat less performant, and definitely wastes some RAM, but that's not of relevance to our purposes. If you have this logging turned on, you're already in a debug mode that is going to have performance that suffers by its very nature. What we prize most in that situation is accuracy.
    • This removes any doubt of any logs getting scrambled by simultaneous writes, or by overlapping requests to log, or things of that nature.
      • As a side effect, if you enable several kinds of overlapping debugging at once, it is possible to get an exception now, but that's better than before where it would just scramble your log happily.
  • Added a new setting to the network section: Log All Decoded Network Data To Disk
    • Will massively slow the game down, but dumps ALL messages as they are encored or decoded to the disk in files inside the PlayerData/NetworkSentDecodedData and PlayerData/NetworkReceivedDecodedData folders. This covers absolutely all data, and includes message headers that other forms of decoded-data logging do not. With this logging enabled on both the client and host, you can compare the output and see what serialization problems are happening, if there are any.
    • This is a last resort sort of debug option! Since ALL data is being actively decoded as it is written, it is far larger (and in plain text) than the actual data being sent across the network. A typical ratio might be 40MB of decoded data for 500kb of actual network traffic. You can have a few GB of data on your disk after just part of a minute of letting the game run in this fashion.
    • Warning: do not use with 'Log All Decoded Network Sync Data To Disk' or any of its sub-options also turned on, or you'll get errors.
  • The game now sends a unique 64bit messageID with every message from the sender, in sequential order of send, so that the sender and receiver are able to compare notes.
    • Full support for understanding the serialization of message headers is also now in place.
  • The game is now able to do some temporary buffering of serialization data to write to disk, prior to knowing what the name of the file should be, and then come in later after it has done a bit of deserialization and knows what to name its new message.
  • These new abilities combine to give some really rock-solid and overkill-style logging abilities that let us find bugs that otherwise escape us in the networking code.
  • After about two days of wanting to tear his eyeballs out trying to find an incomprehensible error, Chris found the single-line typo that he was missing.
    • The PKID syncs work fine on clients now when it comes to things like building structures directly, but for most other purposes there are just as many catastrophic mismatches as ever. Sigh. This is going to take some doing.

Version 2.637 Threatfleet Conversion, Chat, And Clickable Planets

(Released November 21st, 2020)

  • The game now tracks a new BecameThreatfleetAtGameSecond on each entity. When it is detected than an AI Sentinels ship is in Threat status (meaning it would show up as Threatfleet), it now logs the current game second so that it remembers how long it has been threat.
  • Added a new seconds_threat_exists_as_threat_before_joining_hunter_fleet on AI difficulty, which is currently set to 2x seconds_threat_waits_before_joining_hunter_fleet for all AI difficulties.
    • This sets a new and absolute timer on how long threat can be threatfleet for the AI Sentinels before getting transfer orders to the Hunter Fleet.
    • Previously, based on the other timer, if the AI Sentinels threatfleet is engaged in whatever activities, even if that activity is indecision, then it would never switch to the hunter side.
    • This makes it impossible for ultra-long-term threatfleet to remain in the galaxy, unless it is pointed at a non-human faction, or it is of a specific type that can't convert (usurper, overlord phase 2, drones, etc).
    • Overall in some edge case savegames, this makes it so that suddenly a bunch of idle threatfleet that was too stupid to figure out your particular empire now gets converted to the far-smarter hunter faction and joins teams dismantling you.
    • Thanks to TechSY730, Metrekec, ArnaudB, and Crabby for reporting.
  • Previously, it was up to the host and the clients individually to tell when the game was won or lost.
    • Sometimes there is a tiny bit of a disconnect between an event happening on the client and the host, however, and the client has a part of a second where it might think that you've won. We're being vague here to avoid spoilers, but it's a pretty common result that would happen at the end of each game.
    • At any rate, now the multiplayer host is exclusively in charge of saying when the game has been won or lost, since it never has any missing data even for a part of a second.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Made a number of changes to the in-game chat textbox to prevent it from capturing your input even after it was closed, thus leading to mysterious sends of extra keys as well as your keybindings in general not working while the capture was in place.
    • Thanks to StarKelp, Puffin, Democracy, and Badger for reporting.
  • Also wound up re-plumbing the entire textbox input pipeline, because there were a number of cases of strange and annoying lag that could happen with them. So far all the ones we've tested are working great now and are more responsive. But please do let us know if there's any that are funky for you.
    • This could in some cases lead to race-condition-like behaviors, and repeat sends of messages.
    • Thanks to Sigma7 for reporting.
  • Fixed issues where pressing the escape key while in a chat textbox would send the chat rather than erasing it. This is because of our use of OnEnterOrReturnPressed(), which apparently also fires on escape being pressed. So now we have left notes in the code to that effect, and use a different method of detecting that enter is pressed to send chats.
    • Thanks to Sigma7 for reporting.
  • Should finally have fixed the super annoying bug where sometimes a planet on the galaxy map is un-clickable. We did this by making sure that the collider box for the planets is now way taller than anything else, and so things like the links between planets can't accidentally override them.
    • On the off chance that somehow the collider was actually being turned off for the planet icon, we actually are now always making sure that is on every frame, too.
    • If you were seeing some sort of other tooltip for something but unable to click the planet, and you see the problem again, please let us know what the tooltip is for. If you were seeing no tooltip at all, then that was probably the collider being disabled in some fashion. We do turn off the colliders for icons that are supposed to be off, but that should never affect planets. If it was affecting a planet icon previously, that should no longer affect a planet icon.
    • Thanks to Badger, TechSY730, GreatYng, CRCGamer, RedPine, denko, crawlers, Isiel, Cyborg, Asteroid, Kizor, Strategic Sage, and probably others for reporting.

Version 2.636 Text Hotfixes

(Released November 21st, 2020)

  • Shots now visually scale up at 6x the rate they previously did when you are zooming way out from a battle. This should keep them visible in farther-off battles, while not being so large when closer in.
    • They also now only start scaling up after a distance from the camera of 150, rather than 50, and their scale factor subtracts off the original 150 so that there is not a sudden jump in size when you cross that distance threshold.
    • Thanks to Badger for suggesting that these be scaled up better.
  • Fixed a bug in the prior build with how integers and chars were being written using the revised ArcenDoubleCharacterBuffer. It essentially either made numbers stay stale, or be outright invisible, in a wide variety of situations. Other times they looked just fine, but it was dependent on exactly how the calling code worked. From what we can tell, all instances of this are now fixed.
    • Thanks to Wuffell, ArnaudB, Daniexpert, TechSY730, Smaug, and Crabby for reporting.
  • Fixed one other issue with the revised ArcenDoubleCharacterBuffer, where if the next string from the buffer was SUPPOSED to be blank, it would just return its most recent string instead. So messages that were popping up various places but then should disappear when no longer relevant could not do so. They could be replaced by a different message, but could not actually just fade to nothing.
    • Thanks to Wuffell, ArnaudB, Daniexpert, TechSY730, Smaug, and Crabby for reporting.
  • If an exception happens in FromServerToClient_PeriodicPlanetFactionSyncDataThatJustOverrides, we should now get far more useful error messages now.
    • In this method and in a variety of other network sync methods, it now also checks to see if the galaxy is null, and returns early if that is true. This basically prevents errors from stray network syncs that are trying to be processed after the game is being disconnected.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.

Version 2.635 AOE Visibility

(Released November 20th, 2020)

  • Some improvements for frigate roll colouring in games created on this patch
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for suggesting
  • Fix a bug where Discoverable factions weren't appearing in the Edit Factions screen
  • Some minor UI improvements to the Active Metal Flows screen and the Brownout Notification
  • The descriptions for the AI Reserves unique units now mention they are used to combat player Deepstrikes
  • Fixed a couple of exceptions that could happen if you were viewing the tooltip for an ship or structure right as you exited the game. There were probably a few other cases that could also cause this.
    • Thanks to Corpserule for reporting.
  • Majorly reworked how the "time do die now" code paths work for ships and units in general, so that we can more accurately tell them when they should explode or when they should not explode.
    • This solves the problems of ships exploding when they are removing one to add itself to a stack, as well as the problem of ships on MP clients exploding as they move to their proper position after a sync error (if the PKID itself was off).
    • It is likely that there may be some bugs resulting from this, but fingers crossed nothing too severe after we fix the initial raft of those issues.
  • The settings for screen edge panning have been moved higher in their respective camera controls sections, and have been renamed slightly to make it clear that it's only for the single camera type, not both cameras.
  • Fixed an issue (that was probably not new) where when you had the camera low enough that gimbal icons for ships were not showing, those gimbal icons would still show their explosion animation when the ships under them died. Now you just properly see the explosion animation of the ship itself.
  • Fixed some minor bugs that may or may not have been present previously with srapping units not always showing them exploding as they do.
  • The game will now complain if it can't find various materials and such that are used for things like under construction status, etc. At the moment, nothing complains.
  • Fixed a very small parser error that was causing AOE effects to not show up at all, ever. This was introduced a bit ago when we improved the xml parser for modders.
  • When Autobombs blow up, they now have a flak-style effect that appears around them.
    • Same for all of the minefields.
  • Added a new xml flag, is_okay_with_null_aoe_effect_for_aoe_attack, which is used for the ExplosiveInvisible shot type, aka for Crusher turrets and weapons.
    • These are meant to be invisible AOE damage that crushes stuff near them, and so we don't want the (new) "usual" error of "hey there's a missing AOE visual effect when you are doing an AOE attack" to happen.
    • Actually, we wound up suppressing the error, because more things were hitting it than expected and it's not worth it.
  • The flak effects now appear again properly, we can now verify. This being with grenade launchers most notably. They're on the small side, but that's somewhat by design so they are not overwhelming the battlefield.
    • The tesla effects are also back, but again more thin and more reasonably sized. We may need to look into scale on these some in the future at some point.
    • For the flak effects, they do seem to be strangely crunched down on themselves compared to what we were seeing in our videos, but we'll have to investigate that at some point in the future.
    • Thanks to TechSY730, Badger, Isiel, Puffin, and Corpserule for reporting.
  • Fixed a variety of sync exceptions for multiplayer that would cause duplication of various things on ships:
    • The ships granted if they are hackable, etc.
    • The amount of damage dealt to ships of various death-types.
    • Various data relating to AI reinforcement points (guard posts, etc). This was not endlessly duplicating, but was causing some funkiness.
    • The incoming shots.
    • Various things with forcefields protecting a ship.
    • Various bits with where an AI ship thinks it is guarding something.
    • Any techs that were granted by hacking a ship.
    • This should handle all of the cases that people have reported, plus some things that were not visible to people directly. Please do let us know if you see more of this!
    • Thanks to Puffin, Arides, Daniexpert, jrad, SilverLight, and others for reporting.

More Performance Improvements

  • A new version of our internal ArcenCharacterBuffer has been added, which now wrappers a StringBuilder and uses many of the benefits that has been added to that class over the years. The performance of adds and updates should be a couple of orders of magnitude better than what we've had up until now, making large interface elements more responsive.
    • Though in fairness, we don't use too many ArcenCharacterBuffers, it's mostly another class which will also be updated.
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo for benchmarking all this and figuring out where there were some major slowdowns with this.
  • A much more substantial performance boost has been achieved by replacing ArcenDoubleCharacterBuffer's internals with a new approach that uses a mix of StringBuilder and our own form of logging of "WrittenValues."
    • This makes really long text displays that are continually updated much faster (before they would take you down by 10-20 fps on a fast machine just for viewing them), and that includes really large tooltips.
    • This also seems to make the game load a bit faster, and also in general makes the UI generate faster all over the place. It seems to be around an 8-10 fps bump on a very fast dev machine. Slower CPUs should get more benefit.
    • On the escape menu, under the memory pooling section, there is now a "Texts saved" versus "texts new." In under 1 minute of just sitting there and moving around a bit, we wind up with values of around 500 new, and 500,000 saved. That's.. substantial.
    • Based on testing by NR SirLimbo, all use cases of this are faster, but in general the average improvement in speed is using 98% less processing power to draw text than we used to (and the processing power was nontrivial). The load time of the game itself has also improved by at least 2 seconds for most of the faster machines, and maybe more for slower ones.
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo for sparking this line of inquiry.

Visual Improvements

  • On February 4th, 2020, we had an accidental regression that caused the "ship placement" material, and the under-construction and under-construction-stalled materials to all lose their shaders and some of their textures. So when we tried to draw units with these visual effects on them in the game, they would just be invisible (icon aside).
    • This was during a larger purge of some unused shaders and textures, and had this as an unfortunate casualty. We've now restored those items, and things from those areas should "just work" again in the next version.
    • Thanks to a lot of folks for pointing out that this had gone missing, including RabidSanity and Mckloshiv.
  • Arcen "Death Chain Effects" have long been used for things like flak hits and tesla attacks. However, they were entirely scripted and robotic, before. The only difference between one playback and the next was the rotation of the entire effect.
    • We've now added a tremendous amount of randomization in how these play out, including to the position and scale of their sub-components, how fast they move through their animation per explosive, and things of that nature.
    • The end result is that we're now able to make a single death chain effect look a bit different every time it plays, for almost no extra processing power, and so the entire battlefield will look way more alive and unique when these things are happening in large numbers.
  • The shader that we use for our "death effects" for AOE damage, most notably flak explosions and lightning explosions, has been rewritten to use a custom lighting path rather than using surface lighting.
    • When we redid our lighting pipeline earlier this year, it unintentionally made all of our death effects of this sort look TERRIBLE.
      • Essentially, they were showing up for a bit before visually appearing, in kind of a ghostly form, and they were also then showing up a lot more white than they should have been. This was them interacting with the HDRI reflection cubemaps that are now in the scene.
    • The new version of the shader looks better than the old one ever did even pre-lighting-update, and no longer has any of the above issues.
  • The flak explosions have been completely reworked to the point that they are almost unrecognizable.
    • All we've done is adjust the shaders and the randomization of the chain effect, but this went from an effect that made us cringe to one that we'd love to see in massive quantiles taking out our foes.
  • Plasma AOE explosions are far simpler than the flak explosions, since they only have one main body of the explosion, but that's no reason for them not to look cool.
    • We've introduced some new variance into this effect, and in general made it look better, so that now it has a distinct "rush and pop and slowly fade into wisps" feel to it. With the speed and details being randomized, this definitely brings it to the next level.
  • The tesla AOE effects, both the "guardian" level and the "regular" ones, both look vastly better now and way more like lightning.
  • A new "Victory" fire text has been created, for purposes of being used like the "you have lost" text that can happen when you lose.
  • When you lose the game, it once again shows the "You have lost, humanity has perished" message in big burning letters.
    • That lasts for 7 seconds, and then immediately after that you go to the loss screen. This makes it so that the transition to the loss screen is not so abrupt. Plus people liked the text.
  • When you win the game, it now says "VICTORY" in giant fiery letters, rather like the "You have lost" for when you lose.
    • This one waits only 4 seconds, and then transitions to the normal victory screen. This again makes the transition a bit less abrupt.

Version 2.634 Multiplayer Solidification

(Released November 18th, 2020)

  • A new planet naming scheme, Oddball, has been added to the game:
    • Aims to give a sense of history. One heavy with warfare and bored scout captains. Created by Kizor. Thanks to Loweko, R. Jean Mathieu, Vornicus, McMartin, Reiver, Quasispace, Derakon, Kyoshyu, and the anonymous.
  • Several updates to journal entries for extra lore details.
    • Thanks to Puffin for writing these!
  • The sabotage hack, when there are multiple viable targets on one planet, now includes the text:
    • Whichever of these is closest to the hacking unit will be the one hacked, so park your hacker right near the target you intend.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for suggesting.

MP Performance Boost

  • Previously we had a rate limiter in place for only checking if background work threads were done if it had been at least 50ms of time since the last check. This is not a super expensive check in the grand scheme, and we'd rather react to these being done as fast as possible in order to avoid small timing discrepancies causing larger delays in sim cycles kicking off or moving to the next frame. So for now we've just entirely taken the limiter off, which should have only positive effects from what we can tell. The limiter was originally put in place out of an abundance of caution, when we were not sure how slow it was to call ThreadState on threads.
    • Update: apparently this actually majorly cuts down on multiplayer lag and small jitters. This tiny bits of timing really add up when you have to wait on the other computers in particular. What a lucky find! This would have taken us ages to figure out if we'd actually been looking for it, but instead we found it while fixing the flickery dropdowns.

Bugfixes

  • When a client is getting sync correction data from a host about entities, there were several cases where it could detect some invalid data, and it would then throw a visible error... but it would also just keep trying to process this now-known-bad data, and thus run into further problems.
    • Now it actually stops processing all of the sync fix data from that batch, and logs warnings into the log silently. This way we can go back and find them if need be, and certainly if your log is filling up with these that would be bad. But these will not affect the running of the game (just how rapidly sync correction happens for this specific batch of units), so they are starting their lines with "Not fatal - just a warning" to be extra clear on that.
    • There were various errors that would show up after these, previously, that were simply a matter of "hey, bad data was sent, but we tried to parse it anyway, and of course that went about as well as you could expect."
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • On the host in multiplayer, it now does a last-minute check to see if it's about to send the sort of mangled data for a ship that would cause the client to have to do the sort of toss-out of the entire batch that the clients were doing in the most recent fix. If it finds that it is, then it should now just skip that unit and leave it for a future sync pass.
    • At this stage, we can assume that maybe the unit JUST died on the host, and so within 2-4 seconds the client and the host should get synced up properly regarding it. But in an abundance of caution, there's always the chance that actually this unit is still alive, but just was changing planets or something, so let's not tell the client to delete it just yet.
    • This sort of scenario should be an edge case, but the idea here is that we make it less likely than the client would have to throw out an entire batch of divergence data, and instead just the one problematic ship will get re-evaluated next cycle and we don't even need any bad log messages about it, etc.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Fixed a minor bug in the macrophage, which nobody has ever even hit, where if the king was not found it could wind up having some pathing errors unless you had debug flags on.
  • Fixed a really rare bug with the Zenith Trader where, two seconds into the game, it was theoretically possible for multiplayer clients to get a nullref exception when the trader was trying to spawn. No one actually hit this yet.
  • In multiplayer, on the client, if findHumanKing() cannot find a result, it no longer throws any form of error (they were silent errors in the log, before).
    • Essentially, sync data must be slightly off, and that is fine and something that we should just ignore. The host will take care of giving proper orders to ships, and the client will find out about that soon enough and have all its data corrected anyhow.
    • Same logic on findAIKing().
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Some of the data for how things that use internal build points (for things like viral shredders in particular) was being set up on the fleet memberships, and cached there as well.
    • Now it sets it up once only, at game start, in ComputeBalanceStats_OneTimeOnly(). This is more efficient, and also gives us errors on load if our xml is wrong, and also fixes a compatibility problem.
      • There was previously a bug in multiplayer where viral shredders would lead to endless exceptions on the client because it was missing the extra cached data on the fleetmem, ouch.
    • As an additional bonus, we are no longer storing this data on fleet memberships in general, which means we no longer have to serialize and deserialize that.
      • The fact that we WERE serializing it was making the question of the exceptions in multiplayer even more confusing, but at any rate now some sync data and all savegames will be a tiny bit smaller.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • MP clients in general will no longer throw any exceptions related to things with internal build points on their fleetmems. If something is off, it will just let the host take care of that and inform them within a few seconds.
    • However, the error will still happen on the host if something is messed up, but it will be more informative and not block the rest of the execution of this fleetmem per-second cycle.
    • And based on the fix above, this should now just work properly in general on clients, but we prefer an abundance of caution.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Previously, in multiplayer if there was a reroll hack that was done, it would give a different result on the client and the host.
    • That has been corrected by making it so that on the host it now calls FlagAsNeedingForcedFullSyncToClientsJustInCaseIfInMultiplayerAndWeAreHost() on completion of the hack, which is the general standard that we should be aiming for with this sort of information in the future.
    • This applies to the ARS, FRS, TV, and GCA.
    • There is a slightly-more-automated fix for this that doesn't require individual mod-author (or faction-designer or unit-designer) input, but this is still a good idea to do.
    • Thanks to a variety of folks for reporting this, including Arides, Daniexpert, and others.
  • Apparently it is possible to get an exception when hovering over a tech tooltip in multiplayer. This has not yet been fixed, but now when it happens it will be sure not to be destructive to the rest of the game, and it will give a far more detailed error message. Right now we really have no idea what the actual error is, but this will at least contain it and let us fix it after we have a new report in the next release.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • TextEmbededSprites now have a few new capabilities:
    • The scale float xml parameter allows you to set the scale of a sprite relative to what it would normally be (default is 1.0).
    • use_geometry_queue as an xml parameter allows for you to make a for-the-galaxy-map-by-planets-text version of sprites.
      • If this is set to true, then those versions of the galaxy map sprites will be vastly more efficient and will dynamically batch as we set up last build.
      • If this is set to false, then this is for use anywhere else in the GUI, including the header and tooltips and whatnot. If this is set to true and you try to use it in the interface elsewhere, it will be invisible, as we discovered yesterday.
  • Using the above, strength icon is now properly batched on the galaxy map (as with last build) but all of the other sprites being drawn in the GUI now actually draw visibly again (unlike last build).
    • Also, while we were at it, we adjusted the scale of the strength icon to be 0.9, since it was a little bit on the large size in most text.
    • Thanks to Badger, Daniexpert, TechSY730, and Crabby for reporting the invisible icons in the GUI.

MP Sync Improvements

  • During multiplayer, if there is a hack happening, then every second where something is changing, the host does an extra forced sync of the hacker and the hack target (if there is a hack target) to all clients, thus keeping them all in the loop.
    • This is central and automated, and should probably actually catch cases like "something was different after a hack between the client and the host" even if the end programmer/modder/etc doesn't account for it fully. This is just a handy new feature in general!
  • When units are claimed, or when they complete construction for the first time, there is now an automatic forced full sync of that unit from the host to the clients.
    • This gets rid of a lot of potential desyncs that otherwise could linger for a bit.
  • The ability to set the importance of intel tab entries is now shared among players in multiplayer.
    • This was previously set up to only be local, kind of by accident.
    • This has some code to keep it nice and responsive as if it was still just a local change, but if you click really rapidly on the same intel entry and cycle it through, you may see some slight funkiness to that. Should not be a big deal, but we'll see.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • FlagAsNeedingForcedFullSyncToClientsJustInCaseIfInMultiplayerAndWeAreHost() has been renamed to FlagForForcedFullSyncToClients_FromHost().
    • Added a new FlagForRequestedForcedFullSyncToAllClients_FromAnyClient(), which lets clients request updates on an entity rather than the host having to tell them.
    • Both of these calls remain utterly impact-free when we're talking about calling them repeatedly, or calling them during single-player. They intelligently weed out extra requests, and don't do any substantial processing directly.
    • The FlagForRequestedForcedFullSyncToAllClients_FromAnyClient() method in particular throttles itself so that a fresh flag can only be set on a given entity on 1 second intervals. So if the client is repeatedly asking the host for updates on an entity, that's just fine, but it will only get results on that given entity once per second. Other entities may be requested inside that timespan.
    • The upshot of this is that, whenever you look at a ship or structure as a client, by hovering over them to see the tooltip, you immediately get a refreshed copy from the host (within 100ms or so at the most, probably less, so too fast for you to notice), and then every 1 second after that you get further updated info.
      • There's a lot of extra data that is stored normally only on the host. That gets sent to you as a client when you first connect, but it's mostly stuff happening on background threads and affects faction decision-making. Some of the DLC2 factions gather various resources that you can see in the tooltips, for instance.
      • Previously, before this addition, clients would just have incomplete tooltips. Now their tooltips are updated with host data as-needed, and already the behavior of those sorts of ships would be updated by the host (so if you're not hovering over something for a tooltip, it will still act correctly; and you don't need the extra data in the tooltip unless you were to hover over it).
    • The other side effect of this is that if you feel like maybe there's a sync error with some ship or structure, and you go to hover over it to check that out and see for sure... it's going to instantly fix itself. So do be aware of that, though it's more or less a good thing.

UI Improvements And Fixes

  • The concept of "Update Cycles" in the ArcenUI framework has been removed.
    • Instead we are basing things on ArcenTime, which was developed after the initial design of the ArcenUI.
    • This in turn lets us have reactions which are framerate-independent, which is thus more consistent across machines.
  • Using the above shift, plus also an extension to allow dropdowns to properly handle tooltips even on their "off frames," we have fixed the flickering dropdown tooltips that were introduced in the last update of the game.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Various lobby dropdowns have been improved as follows:
    • The tooltips for map type planet count entries still retain the header text of what you are doing. Also, colors for the selected vs potential items has been added.
    • The tooltips for the planet naming types are a bit more clear in general, and it now shows the name in a line above the description for extra clarity. Also, colors for the selected vs potential items has been added.
    • The tooltips for the map types explain themselves a bit better, include the name of the map type, and have the new colorization.
    • Tooltips for the map linking flavor and planet layout and such now match the others in function and colorization, including showing the details of currently-selected item when you hover over the closed dropdown for the first time.
      • Also discovered a special discrepancy in how these were being handled that was causing these to still flicker like crazy even after we fixed dropdowns in general.
        • Also found and fixed this on all settings on the personal settings window, although all other windows seemed to be okay.
  • Put in a fix that will prevent dropdowns in general from using the code combination that leads to flicker:
    • Essentially, HandleOverallMouseover() has been removed, and you should now use HandleMouseover() for that, and continue to use HandleItemMouseover() for items.
    • We are able to control how this flows properly and remove the flicker, whereas before if someone used HandleMouseover() by mistake -- when they were supposed to use HandleOverallMouseover() -- then they would get a flicker.

Version 2.633 Roaring Performance

(Released November 17th, 2020)

  • Civilian Industries Update
    • Put in some defensive code to prevent potential pathfinding lock ups when multiple civilian factions are in play.
  • When hovering a Flagship, the 'max possible strength' value in the tooltip is now colour-coded to let you know what percentage of that strength currently exists. So if your fleet has taken heavy losses, the Strength colour will be darker. If you are at full strength it is brighter. This matches the behaviour of the tooltips for Factories.

Performance Improvements

  • On the main menu scene, improved the culling mask on the scene-view camera to greatly improve efficiency of that scene.
    • It looks like the main menu may have been accidentally drawing 1.8 million tris rather than 800k tris because of this being set wrong.
  • The reflection probe on the main menu scene has also been updated to have an appropriate culling mask, for the same reason.
    • The reflection probe updates, which are quite heavy and frequent, should also thus be correspondingly faster and draw so many fewer triangles as well.
  • Poly few has been employed on the main menu scene to combine all of those meshes of the hangar into just a single mesh with 16 submeshes for the various materials.
    • This cuts the number of draw calls on the main menu down from about 3000 to about 250. The visual end result is identical. The performance gain is potentially massive, but varies heavily by hardware.
  • We have historically had static and dynamic batching disabled for this game, because we use GPU instancing instead (which is far more efficient and direct).
    • However, when we made the new main menu, we had implemented things such that this type of batching would be useful there, so we turned it on.
    • We have now changed things around again to remove that, and so once again removed those from being on in the application as a whole.
    • It's quite possible that these were dragging down performance on some machines in general, as the game may have been spending some CPU cycles fruitlessly looking for things to dynamically batch during the main game itself.
    • It's irrelevant to the end result of how things look, but there's no chance of that popping in and impacting performance negatively anymore, which is good. If it wasn't a performance impact, then no worries there, either.
  • Using Blender, we've manually removed some off-screen sections of the main menu meshes. This has overall reduced our polygon count in the game on the main menu by another 300k or so triangles.
    • This sort of hand-optimization is something that we had been saving until it was clear this is where the bottleneck was, and after it was clear that the new main menu was a winner (and that we had time aside for it).
  • With these changes, on Chris's main two computers he sees:
    • On the main menu on his main dev machine (GTX 1070 and a few year old i7 laptop) a jump from about 55-60 fps to instead being about 100fps.
    • On the main menu on his MacBook Pro from late 2013 which has an i7 but does not meet the minimum system requirements in general, it jumps from 26fps to... 26 fps. So there's a different limiting factor other than polygon count or draw calls on this ancient of hardware.
    • Most likely, any machines that are actually meeting the minimum system requirements, or vaguely approaching the recommended, environment, should see a substantial performance bump on the main menu. And for everyone, the disabling of the static and dynamic batching may improve performance beyond the main menu.
  • In our main menu scene, the way that the reflection probe is update has been changed fairly substantially.
    • Previously it was every-frame every-face if you had at least 30fps, and every-frame individual-face if you had at least 15fps, and below that would not update over time.
    • The individual-face updates were really jarring, however, and not something that is a good idea for any sort of smooth feeling.
    • Now only if you have at least 50 fps will it do every-frame every-face updates, and below that it will just not update over time, instead only having the reflection from the initial onawake event.
    • On Chris's main machine this makes no difference since it runs at 100fps now, but on the under-min-specs OSX machine this brings performance up to 31fps from the previous 26fps.
  • On the main menu, a number of lights were set to affect more than just the Scenes layer. This probably did not affect performance, but we are correcting that anyhow.
  • On the main menu, we had one extra spot light that was drawn in a not-important weighting, and that was very dramatic and looked good in general BEFORE we started having ships with lights on them moving around.
    • Since having ships moving around, that spot light would disable itself as the spotlights overtook it, then re-enable itself, and the transitions were jarring. It did not seem to affect performance much on the high-end or ultra-low-end machines, but in the middle-tier it might, also
    • This spot light is simply removed, as it was not needed for the new scene composition.
    • We experimented with turning off the point lights used on the ships, or even with turning off the reflection probe from being on at all, but the former gave 2fps on the super-old mac (from 31 to 33 fps), and the latter gave no boost at all.
    • Whatever is holding back the ancient below-specs mac is really not the sort of thing that is holding back the rest of the potential computing audience. And this is one excellent reason why we have system requirements in the first place. Not that 30fps is a cardinal sin; the original AI War was hard-locked to 20fps most of the time.
  • Added a new Performance tab option: Unrestricte UI Update Speeds
    • Normally, most UI windows only update their contents every 50-100 milliseconds. If your framerate is much higher than this, however, you may prefer that the UI update at whatever your actual framerate is.
    • This will likely reduce your framerate, potentially substantially, but it leads to the ultimate in responsiveness. Prior to version 2.633, and since sometime in the game's alpha, the UIs were all running on unrestribted update speeds.
    • We are not noticing any substantial benefit from this on our powerful machines, but on lower-end and middle-tier machines this may make more of a difference.
    • At the moment, things seem to perform equally well either way, but it's nice to put a lesser load on things where we can. Since this does not seem to make a visual/feel difference that we can detect at the moment, this seems fine to have with a differing default from the past.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for inspiring this change.
  • In the ArcenUI_Element class, we have a SetActiveIfNeeded() method that long ago had some gating that was based on a cached wasLastActive in the class.
    • This was working poorly, back in alpha or beta of the game, because of how unity handles commands to enable objects that are disabled in the heirarchy, and things like that.
    • The game has now been updated to do a check against the activeInHierarchy property of the gameobject, which will always give the real result. This should not result in bugs, and should in theory result in some slightly better performance in certain cases where large numbers of ui elements are turning on or off frequently.
    • We don't really see much of a difference based on this, but in general this was something we noticed that was an optimization we had wanted a long time ago, and being able to have a tamer version of that back in here now is nice.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for inspiring this change.
  • Over the last few months, as we've added functionality, the performance of the galaxy map has dropped notably.
    • In combination with a much-more-recent performance drop related to how we draw sprites-in-text and how that affects the galaxy map only, full galaxy maps were down in the 25fps range and really choppy to move around, today.
    • We've now restructured a lot of things to update in a time-sliced fashion, and the performance is now in the range of 90fps when zoomed all the way in, and 60fps when zoomed all the way out on a full map.
    • There are still some performance improvements we need to pursue related to sprites-in-text in this specific instance, but those will be in the next build.
      • We did experiment around with trying some things like adjusting the sprite-in-text shader to allow for GPU instancing, but that went absolutely bonkers in a way that we don't care to untangle. There's a better approach that we'll implement soon.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • A whole messload of the new background images and other accents that are used in the new UI have been made vastly more efficient.
    • This may actually vary by OS just how much more efficient they are, but in essence these are all now able to be stored in DXT1 format, and all of the ones where relevant now have mipmaps for more efficient drawing at smaller resolutions.
    • The amount of VRAM that this should save, and the extra load removed from the GPU pipeline, should be substantial.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for getting us to look into this.
  • Discarded these changes: Rather than using raw "TextMeshPro" text renderers for the text that is shown all around the galaxy map, we are now using individual Unity GUI Canvases with embedded TextMeshProUGUI objects.
    • Visually this looks identical, but now we are able to take advantage of the compositing stages that unity canvases go through, and thus we can have things like strength icons be embedded directly in these canvases without them causing extra draw calls.
    • At the moment we have one canvas per planet, with three text sections inside of that. This is less efficient per update of text, but more efficient for drawing text, which is the more common operation.
    • None of these respond to mouse raycasts at all, so on the off chance that the occasional (could not click a planet on the galaxy map) was relating to these, that no longer is possible.
  • Replacement changes for the above: In the end we went back to raw TextMeshPro text renderers, as their performance was superior to anything we tried with an abundance of canvases.
    • We did wind up also making it so that the shaders for TextMesh Pro sprites now use the Geometry queue instead of the Transparent Queue, which improves performance on rendering and also allows for batching.
    • And for the various ship icons in both the main view and the galaxy view, those also now use the Geometry queue. Those should generally get picked up by GPU instancing, but in the event they do not they will now get picked up by dynamic batching instead.
    • We actually have re-enabled dynamic batching for the game, but still left static batching off, and this seems to give the optimal performance when that's paired with these shader changes for the sprites.
    • Sprites used to always do perfect instancing, but now the sort order sometimes messes that up since there are multiple materials and it feels like it needs to handle them in proper order (really, z buffer ought to be sufficient and overdraw is probably preferred, but anyhow). The queue change makes these more likely to instance, and in the event they don't instance it makes them batch, thus leaning on the z buffer as noted.
    • The end performance boost on the top machine we have is now getting us back into the 90s fps on the galaxy map, up from the high 20s in the prior build, and still in the 90s on the main planet view. And both feel smooth rather than jittery, now, which is good.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting the performance loss observed lately.
  • On the galaxy map, we are now properly buffering text such that we don't put back in the same value into a field that just had that value.
    • This was causing some needless thrashing and re-parsing of rich text tags.

Version 2.632 Multiplayer Sharing

(Released November 16th, 2020)

  • Fix an XML parsing error related to the Human Marauders
    • Thanks to Crabby, zharmad and okonomichiyaki for reporting
  • Add a setting for 'Show Faction Ring Around Ship', which displays a circle around a ship of the colour of the faction.
    • This is intended to make it easier to follow how battles are going without icons on, since it looks really cool that way.
  • Add some Red text to the Delete Campaign popup to make it a bit harder to do it by mistake
    • Prompted by the woes of Pat on the forums
  • Mod updates: Fixed Tugboat Drones always slowing enemies by 80%. Instead they now start at 20%, increased by 5% per mark beyond 1, ending up at 50%. Note that Tugboat Drones can still archive the maximum slow if their slow fields overlap.
    • Thanks to zeusalmighty428 for reporting.
  • Micro Mod Collection fix/balance:
    • The Energy Converter no longer produces negative energy and instead consumes the same amount of power. It was causing errors when a bad brownout could turn the energy generation of the player negative.
    • Doubled the metal cost of the Research Expedition.
      • From zeusalmighty428's balance feedback

Multiple Players Controlling A Single Faction In Multiplayer

  • In the lobby sidebar, you can now see on the client and the host if other people are in spectator mode, not just if you are personally.
    • This is quite helpful for knowing if the multiplayer lobby is truly ready to start.
  • Under human player entries in the factions tab in the lobby and the factions screen in the main game, you can now add and remove players from factions.
    • The tooltips make it pretty clear, but basically you can switch who is controlling what faction, or make someone just a spectator, or have two people share control of one faction, etc.
  • Fixed an issue where regenerating maps was causing faction assignment auto-allocation previously.
  • Two players are now confirmed as being able to share the same faction, and both can order around the ships of it and see everything as if it was just controlled by one of them.
    • What is not shared is the state of your GUI, such as what you are looking at or what you have selected, or what you are hovering-over, etc.
    • This is essentially the same as even really old RTS games like the original Age of Empires that would let you share a faction if you gave two players the same color.
    • However, with this you are able to still do text chat with the colors and the names of the individuals who are a part of the game, whether they have their own factions or no faction or share a faction. This feels pretty awesome!
  • Joining a game late as a spectator is confirmed to still be possible, but now that's the only time it warns you that you are a spectator.
    • If you join the game in spectator mode during the lobby, or the world is regenerated while you are in the lobby, it doesn't show the "hey you're a spectator, is this on purpose" message. That was really annoying when changing galaxy sections to have fewer factions or while someone was just intending to spectate.
  • New feature, after someone has joined a game late (or frankly, even if they have been there from the start):
    • You or they can unassign them from factions, and assign them to other factions or no faction.
    • This is great for having a game where you were playing solo, but now have some friends coming in as extra sets of hands.
    • But surprisingly, since this is so quick and so seamless of a way to pop over and see the perspective of another player, I can see this potentially being used as a "hey, look at my metal flows and such for a minute" type of view, too. You can do it while paused or unpaused, the game doesn't get interrupted while people change status or come and go in general, and overall this is just really smooth.

Version 2.631 Multiplayer Swaps And Performance

(Released November 13th, 2020)

  • Fixes to when GetIntValueForCustomFieldOrDefaultValue or GetValueForCustomFieldOrDefaultValue have empty strings in them, to where they will now return the default values properly.
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo for identifying the problem and likely fix.
  • Kaizers Marauders fixes:
    • Fixed another exception in relation to missing settings. Tracing the issue back lead to finding out that Vanilla GetValueForCustomFieldOrDefaultValue() sometimes still does not return the actual default value but an empty string. OnS0_KaizerUpdating() now detects this and produces an informational popup before correcting it to "Never" which is the actual default value.
    • Debugging lead to the discover of a bug in the Budget Updating logic where (due to the same issue) they would every second set the starting budget of [nothing] without ever beginning to accumulate budget. They now start with 0 and begin accumulating.
      • Thanks to Isiel on Discord for reporting and delivering a save to reproduce these issues with.
  • Fixed an exception that could happen in RemoveInvalidatedOrdersAndReturnFirstValid_IncludingDecollision() somewhat at random on multiplayer clients, mainly as a race condition.
    • Thanks to crawlers and Driftwood for reporting.
  • For whatever exact reason, the Macrophage faction really doesn't work well if the client is also trying to calculate all the decisions for things in multiplayer. This is referring to the DoPerSecondLogic_Stage3Main_OnMainThreadAndPartOfSim() method in general, but the telium spawning logic in particular.
    • Since this was a constant source of errors, and since the desync repair code should catch things like this quickly in general, for now we're just not running this on the client at all anymore. This stops the errors, and any divergences should be quickly and easily picked up by the desync repair logic.
    • Thanks to crawlers and Driftwood for reporting.
  • Fixed potential exceptions that could happen in OnlyInMapgenOrInActuallyGettingRidOfEntities_ImmediatelyRemoveFromSim() in general during cross-threading, but most often on multiplayer clients.
    • Thanks to crawlers and Deadwood for reporting.
  • A variety of data that is only relevant in single-player or on MP hosts no longer shows up on MP clients in the escape menu sidebar.
  • Previously in MP, it was possible to get some errors like "Hey, we have generated drones from a ship of type CarrierGuardian that can never be properly deployed by the fleet it is not the centerpiece of, of type NonPlayerDrone" on the client in a spurious fashion.
    • These are simply not written right now, and the natural sync process fixes those already within a couple of seconds.

Swapping Fleet Lines Between Multiplayer Players

  • Created the ability for players to swap out ship lines between each others fleets in multiplayer.
    • For the sake of convenience, every player can slot in every other player's ships into their fleet, or grant their own ships to any other player's fleet.
      • In AIWC, we required players to actually gift ships or similar from themselves to someone else, but in this game you can outright take from others. You're all on the same side, so divide up tasks how you will.
    • The owner of the fleet is included in the row of the swapping target so it's easy to see who owns it.
    • For balance reasons and to prevent technical hiccups, any ships that are swapped between players in this fashion get destroyed and have to be rebuilt by the player on the other side.
      • This is fairly similar to how, when ship lines are swapped between fleets on different planets, the ships are scrapped and have to be rebuilt then, too.
    • It's worth noting that this sort of thing does allow for a lot of extreme focusing of tech lines in multiplayer, making MP even easier than it would have been before (you take all of the ships that benefit from tech X, give me all the ones that benefit from tech Y), but this was always a feature we were planning, regardless. Player flexibility and the ability to coordinate is more important.
      • We could implement punitive-style tech costs in MP, to make it so that it was more costly to use techs, but that would probably just encourage even more specialization.
      • In general, it's simply worth noting that a MP game is substantially easier than the equivalent game played solo. So either up the difficulty, or add more secondary foes to deal with, or enjoy the extra ease.
      • The original AI War had a much more limited set of factions at the start, and only could ever have two AIs, etc. So it was important for that game to scale the difficulty up as more players were added. But in this sequel, the amount of other factions, and their power, make it so that you can really tailor it to your own needs, instead.
    • Huge thanks to NR SirLimbo for implementing this! This was on our list to do, but to have a modder implement it for us in advance is a great time saver.

Multiplayer Performance Improvements

  • The multiplayer sync-repair of planets, with planet-factions included inside of them, was by far the largest amount of bandwidth being sent by the game during gameplay, and it has now been set up in a time-sliced fashion so as not to cause a bunch of lag on the client.
    • It's quite likely that, on some certain very heavy games on Steam, this was actually able to cause an exception where the amount of data being sent in one message was larger than what Steam allows.
    • At any rate, this was causing periodic lag on the client that was so severe in some games with larger counts of planets that it was making the entire game laggy.
    • We have not only started time-slicing the planets, but we actually split out the data for the planet factions themselves and also time slice THOSE now, too.
    • As a direct result, the performance of multiplayer games has skyrocketed when it's involving large number of planets and/or factions, but we're going to take this a bit further.
  • Previously, we had a system where ALL of the various types of network sync repair work shared one large time-slice.
    • This really only worked when we had fewer types of sync repair, and when they didn't also internally have lots of time-slicing happening.
    • As we have added more types of sync repair, and have started wanting to time-slice those, this would otherwise mean that the really core stuff -- namely ships/units -- could fall further and further behind, which is not good.
    • Therefore, we've moved both the "ship sync checks" and the "divergent ship fixes" out of the central time slice group, and they are handled every sim frame instead.
      • For ships, these were already time-sliced, and so those happen over the course of a couple of seconds. Probably closer to 2 seconds now, rather than 4, but it depends on the number of ships in the game.
      • For divergent ship fixes, those now don't wait on anything, and just get sent to clients asap after we realize that it is needed. This makes that far more reactive in a good way, and ultimately the data is small enough not to be concerning.
        • As we get to fewer PKID conflicts in the future, this will dwindle even further, but having it be nice and reactive is good.
  • Now that we don't have to share the time-slicing with the time-sensitive ship fixes, we can make some of the rest of the sync repair data happen on a more relaxed schedule.
    • This actually is a dramatic reduction in the amount of data transferred, and even more importantly is a dramatic reduction in the amount of CPU processing on clients required to handle this.
    • Planet Faction sync is by far the slowest stuff to sync, and has the most data, so we're time-slicing it over 20 frames now, which is about 2 seconds, rather than 4 frames like earlier in this build (before this build, it all happened in a single frame every two seconds or so).
    • Planet other-data sync is not exactly small, either, so it's being time-sliced over 8 frames now instead of 4 frames like earlier in this same build. Again, prior to this build this AND the planet-faction data was all in a single giant laggy frame every 2 seconds in large games.
    • The data on these things is just not all that visible or important in this sort of time schedule, so cutting it down in this fashion keeps things from drifting over long periods of time without impacting game performance like it previously was.
    • We may add in extra time-slicing in the future if it really becomes needed, but at this stage it is seeming to be a good balance between keeping things up to date quickly and not draining performance.
    • Thanks to crawlers and Deadwood for providing an MP savegame where basically the performance was stop-and-start laggy; in this new version, we can run it at full sim speed with no waiting on the client, which is really awesome!
  • Non-new ships on tier 3 planets now get synced FAR more slowly, and are counted as skip-syncs.
    • These catch up at a rate of roughly "one full sync cycle multiplied by 1/10th the number of planets, rounded up). In practice in one large savegame with 12k stacked ships and 93k ships total on 120 planets, this winds up being about a delay of 68 seconds at most for any given ship. If players moved onto a planet that is slightly stale on the clients, that planet would be immediately updated.
    • The main cases where we might have a problem here is with strength calculations being off on planets where there are large numbers of reinforcements suddenly dumped into new ships. The host would always be correct, but the client would have some slightly stale data in the galaxy map for up to 60 seconds, which would be annoying.
    • There are some ways we can adjust for this for specific ships as they are updated, though, and the next step is to add that. This whole process at the moment does wind up saving a ton more bandwidth and CPU processing, though, which is excellent.
  • Added two new methods to GameEntity_Squad for ships:
    • FlagAsNeedingForcedFullSyncToClientsJustInCaseIfInMultiplayerAndWeAreHost() causes a ship to immediately be fully synced from the host to any clients. It is unused on the client side.
      • This is a great way for mods in particular to, after having updated some sort of special mod-only data (like resources they are carrying) to cause a full ship sync.
      • This should not be done too frequently! But if you have a mod that is gathering resources, and periodically updating information that would not normally be caught by the sim thread, then having this periodically called on the gatherers would keep the tooltips of clients up to date.
      • In the escape menu networking details on the host, you can see how many of these have happened via the "Ship Syncs Forced" item.
      • BUT, this may actually wind up never being needed, stay tuned. We're going to make some additions so that anything a client is hovering over to get a tooltip gives them up to date info without you having to be predictive about it.
    • FlagAsNeedingFullSyncCheckIfInMultiplayerAndWeAreHost() is specifically to say "ignore my tier3 delayed status," to work around the feature we just added today where background ships get ignored a certain amount.
      • This is mainly something to use when something unusual changes (other than a ship existing at all) that would be visible on the galaxy map for client player, without them clicking into the target planet.
      • So for now this is something that happens whenever a ship marks up, and it also happens whenever the AIReinforcementPointContents contents are changed (increasing, decreasing, transferring, deploying).
      • This should keep the galaxy map accurate for clients, while at the same time not having so darn much data transfer for ships on planets where players are not active.

Version 2.630 Arbitrary Icon Inclusion And Weapon Exclusion

(Released November 11th, 2020)

  • Add death effect damage a unit has sustained into the tooltip for it at or above Medium detail.
    • Each type of damage is listed separately, and displays the current damage, and the amount required.
    • Thanks to Puffin for adding.
  • Fix a Macrophage typo
    • Thanks to crawlers for reporting
  • Fixed a bug in Astro Trains where they were looking for a nonexistent variable in their custom xml. This was always a harmless bug, but newly showed an error while in the past it was silent.
    • Thanks to ussdefiant60 for reporting.
  • GetDefaultValueOfWhateverSort() on the SpecialFactionData object has been updated to match the way that the default values were returned on the faction screens.
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo for reporting that this was not working consistently.
  • The CustomFieldValues array on faction objects is now private, so that people don't try to directly add or find data from it.
    • Instead, mods and factions and whatnot should set data through SetCustomFieldValue (which works the same as before), and they should get data via either GetCurrentIntForCustomField() or GetCurrentStringForCustomField().
    • Both of those latter two methods have a method that lets you pass in the specific field (more efficient), or which just takes the name of the field (less efficient).
    • Either way, the idea is that there's never confusion with not getting the default value back when there is a blank present in the main data (which might be an old savegame or quickstart, or various other valid conditions).
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo for finding this accidental modder-landmine for us.
  • Fixes for Kaizers Marauders:
    • Instead of failing horribly when added as a Random Faction, or when loading older saves where old Marauders were enable (be it just as a beacon), which includes quickstarts they will now use somewhat defaulting values. It's not perfect, and not really intended for use this way (simply because of the sheer amount of options available) but it works.
    • Fixed a potential issue with Debugging global stuff for Marauders (such as logging Kaizer Updating or the Shared Planetary Cooldown List) where the debug could be turned on, but when only a specific Marauder Faction was set to be debugged it could re-overwrite with false later on, leading to no printouts.
  • Remove mentions of 'tiers' from the scourge unit hovertext, since it was confusing peoople. It was only ever a cosmetic thing.
  • Suppressed a pair of harmless-but-annoying exceptions that could show up in your log files if you were shutting down the game from the main menu in just the wrong way. These were related to the Slate cutscenes trying to stop at the same time they were being eaten alive by your OS taking back its memory. All is well, no need for a dying scream.

Fix To Ship Weapons Mismatch

  • Added a new ArcenNonTableUniqueStringList class, which we can now use for keeping lists of arbitrary string that we want to serialize.
    • We're going to be using this for entity systems.
  • EntitySystemTypeDataTable has been removed, and EntitySystemTypeData no longer inherits from ArcenDynamicTableRow.
    • This was really old logic, and is the one instance in the codebase of us really not using dynamic table rows properly.
    • The result was slow during startup, in the best of times, and more recently it has been actually scrambling up the data for systems between different ships! That latter part may be new in the last few builds, or it might just be more common. Either way, this has needed a shift for a while.
    • The EntitySystemTypeData no longer has an InternalName, but instead has InternalName_Original (which is just the raw xml name like FusionBomb), and then an InternalName_Longer (which is the entity type appended in front of it, like "Mugger_FusionBomb").
    • The new serialization for these by index uses the shorter name, which just makes savegames a bit smaller. But it doesn't really matter what is used in the longer-term effect, because these are no longer stored in one central lookup. They are now properly full sub-entities of the GameEntityType.
  • With this change, shockingly, we have still NOT solved the issue of things like Mugger frigates sometimes getting Brawler weapons. So that's going to need even more investigation.
    • This overall change is still worthwhile, as it shrinks future savegames a bit (not ones from prior versions saved in the new build, though), and it also makes loading the initial game program a bit faster and less prone to potential issues... despite still having this particular issue.
    • Note from later: this actually solved 90% of the problem, but there was still a case of us managing something slightly wrong that let it keep bleeding over. So the last 10% is below.
  • The "copy_from" tag, which was never used on entity systems inside an entity, and which probably would not have worked well there if it had, has been removed.
  • Fixed a bug where our "dump data tables on load" debug option was no longer working (the hotkey was, but not the on-start version).
  • Fixed a very peculiar issue that only affected a couple of unit in the prior version (in the main game and DLC, anyhow -- more may have been affected in mods) where if there was a unit that had its systems altered on a child, and there were then other co-children, the other children would sometimes get those altered stats and sometimes not. Normally it should just pass to grandchildren and so forth, not to siblings.
    • Essentially, the way that we handle partial records is normally very explicit (is_partial_record="true"). And in fact, when we have a partial record like that, we WANT for it to inject itself into any other descendants later.
    • But in the case of entity systems, we have this kind of implicit "child partial record" system going on, where you just name the same system in the child as you had in the parent, and make some changes, and those changes then keep going in that lineage.
    • What we do NOT want to have happen is the siblings to also pick up those changes, which is what was sometimes happening here because of the funky way that we handle systems and systems alone in the game.
    • From looking at the raw data, without mods in play this mostly just affected muggers and brawlers, and a few spider turrets. Most everything else was already consistent properly. But if you play with mods on, you may have seen a lot of other chaos happening beyond these particular ones.
    • Thanks to crawlers, Ovalcircle, Spaz, Puffin, and Darkshade for reporting.

Work To Allow Arbitrary Sprites In Game Text, Part 2 (Complete!)

  • The sprites in TextMeshPro have been updated so that their default index is 0, not -1. That way if no sub-name or image is specified, we are still able to figure out where they are.
  • We don't use the mspace monospacing markup, so we're keeping things simple and redefining that to mean "no advance"
    • This essentially lets us put <mspace>around things we want to all be on top of one another</mspace>, which is really useful for our compound icons.
  • Since we already use non-atlased sprites in every location in the UI, and have those present and available as needed, we're just going to go with that for the TextMeshPro sprite embeds as well.
    • There aren't any sprites that we only have in atlases but not also in asset bundles directly, although there are ones that are loose and not in bundles.
    • With that in mind, this lets us avoid the glyph metrics that were working so poorly with our sprite atlases, and the efficiency of the whole thing is not much changed given how compositing on the UI works and how infrequently (overall) we include extra sprites.
    • This actually turned out to be a particularly good move, because what we've discovered is that if there are two different sprites used in a single text area, the following happens:
      • The draw order is based on the order of the first sprite dictionary used that is shared, not the order of the sprites in the text.
      • When multiple sprites are in one dictionary, this can lead to funky results. When there are single sprites per dictionary, the only time this can mess up is when there is a single sprite used more than once AND you want them to overlap one another.
      • It's worth noting that we don't care about the order of sprite drawing, normally, except for the new mspace markup.
  • The new custom TextMeshPro dll has been updated (by building the WorkingTextMeshPro project, as silly as that is) and the result has been put in ReliableDLLStorage so that we can compile against it and use those capabilities in ArcenUniversal, etc.
  • The copies of TextMeshPro code for the other three main projects that use it have all been updated to match the new capabilities.
    • This won't work in the main game build until it actually has a build done, though.
  • Added a new TextEmbededSprite and TextEmbededSpriteTable table, which are in ArcenUniversal and PARTLY filled by xml entries from the new TextEmbededSprites folder.
    • The rest of these are able to be filled programmatically as we load sprites from other locations, specifically when it comes to ships by name.
    • The purpose of these are to define sprites that can be used inline in text for improved display purposes. You can expect to see us doing more of this over time now that we finally have the capability.
    • It is possible for an auto-added sprite in here (such as for a specific unit type) to manually get some tweaks by adding xml for it. The order of that happening does not matter, which makes the system extra flexible.
      • This does mean that, because of the lack of order mattering, this table intentionally allows for malformed entries (those defining some metadata but having no actual sprite assigned). That's a necessary byproduct, since other parts of the code are assumed to add those sprites later, but might not do so if they were themselves removed.
    • bundle_name and filename are optional, and specify the location of where to directly load the Unity Sprite or Texture2D from during game load.
      • These are NOT used in cases where another class (like GameEntityTypeData) is creating new TextEmbededSprites on its own. In those cases, the sprite or texture2D is sent from the other class.
      • In the case where these ARE used, we need to know whether we can load it as a Sprite (ideal) or a Texture2D (slightly slower). The xml tag bundle_target_is_texture2d defaults to false, and so tries to load the target as a sprite. Anything used elsewhere in the UI would work this way. But if you need to load a Texture2D and make a Unity Sprite out of it at runtime, you can set this to true.
  • Added a static CreateRuntimeSpriteFromTexture2D() method on the TextEmbededSpriteTable, which takes in a Texture2D and returns a Sprite.
    • This is something that is particularly useful, because it keeps track of ones that were previously created, and reuses them rather than creating extras. This can only happen on the main thread.
  • About 50 initial sprites have been set up as text embedded sprites for use coming up.
    • There is more metadata that we want to get in there, plus some other things to make these as simple as possible to call on, and we need to actually cross-wire this to the new TextMeshPro stuff that we worked so hard on. But that will come tomorrow.
  • Fixed the AIW2ModdingAndGUI project so that it now has the proper TextMeshPro code embedded within it and so that it won't erase our customizations every time it is reopened in the unity editor.
  • Fixed the WorkingTextMeshPro project so that it now has the proper TextMeshPro code embedded within it and so that it won't erase our customizations every time it is reopened in the unity editor. This is how we build our custom variations on that code, and now we're not at risk of random regressions from unity package manager automatically wiping our changes.
  • The following float options are now available on any of the text embedded sprites for manipulating how they fit into the text they are embedded in:
    • x_draw_offset, y_draw_offset, width_draw_offset, height_draw_offset, advance_draw_offset.
      • All of those do the basics of what you might thing in tems of adjusting how the sprite draws, while advance says how much space to go over before the next character draws (or how it plays into word-wrapping or whatever else).
      • All of these are in fairly abstract units, where roughly something like 100 is about the height of a line, regardless of how many pixels that line actually is.
      • Most of the time you won't want to mess with these at all, but in some cases you may want to adjust the vertical centering by using y_draw_offset in particular. Beyond that, most people would not use any of these.
      • Frankly, to get the kerning of the strength icon working perfectly, we will probably add a few more dials to this soon.
  • Our TextEmbededSprite sprites are actually loaded up into TextMeshPro sprites now, completing the main integration of arbitrary sprites.
  • default_color_hex is a new string option available on the text embedded sprites, for allowing a default color to be applied to sprites.
    • Please note that, unlike sprites we had in the past that were based on vectorized glyphs inserted into a wingdings-like font, these sprites can be full-color to begin with.
    • The one "downside" is that these sprites can't be infinitely zoomed-in-on like a font, but that's hardly a downside given that we could render these crisply on an 8K monitor or more.
    • The default text colors are nice for purposes of things like resource icons that are embedded in text.
  • For now, ArcenFormatting has been updated to stop using the old font-based resource sprites, and now use the new TextEmbededSprite sprites.
    • This is a major jump up in quality in general. Also, now all of the resource icons properly match all throughout the GUI.
    • One thing to note, however, is that these sprites no longer inherit the color from their parent font.
      • So, in order to match the text color properly, we needed to add ArcenExternalUIUtilities.GetStrengthIconWithColor_Wasteful(), which hits the garbage colletor, and ArcenExternalUIUtilities.WriteStrengthIconWithColor(), which does not (use the latter if at all possible).

Main Menu Further Refinement And Expansion Logos

  • The planet that scrolls by in the background of the main menu sometimes has been removed, as it was having some glitchy effects on it that we definitely did not want. In the end, we don't really need the planet in order for this to be a very interesting scene as it is.
    • Thanks to Badger and others for reporting the problem.
  • The material properties of the main game logo have been updated substantially so that they look more natural in the light and shadow of the main game.
    • Thanks to Badger for suggesting.
  • The main menu now has logos for all three of the current and upcoming expansions, and they are more lit-up if they are on (installed and enabled).
  • The AIWarExternalCode library now links against ArcenThirdPartyCode so that it's able to make changes to certain things in the front-end game.
  • The main menu now uses a hook to go in and find our custom BetterRotationScript on the background that spins the space skybox, and slows it down substantially compared to prior releases. This saves us the wait of a 40-minute rebuild process, and in theory actually would let us have a variety of random rotations if we felt like it.
    • Thanks to Badger and Asteroid for suggesting.
  • In fact, since we can, the rotation of the stars in the main menu is now entirely random, but at a much lower overall speed than it was before. It can rotate at a combined maximum velocity that is still only 3/4 of what the prior maximum speed was, and almost all of the time it will be vastly smaller than that.

Version 2.629 Ship Cap Hotfix

(Released November 10th, 2020)

  • Corrected the OpenGL launcher script on GOG, thanks to GOG support (it was our error -- thanks to them for figuring it out!).
    • It appears that the issue didn't affect all flavors of linux, but it certainly did affect some.
    • Thanks to rudhek for reporting.
  • A simple typo was breaking all of the xml parsing for sub-lists of data of the following types (unless they had the requirement of IsUnique on): fint, arcenpoint, vector2, vector3,
    • Most of these were new or unused in general, but fint was not new and is used for the scaling of ship caps in the game, as well as for the engine stun seconds progression.
    • All of our other list parsing, which are more commonly used, were all working fine.
    • Thanks to Wuffell, ArnaudB, ThyReaper, and other for reporting.

Version 2.628 Mod Proliferation

(Released November 9th, 2020)

  • Fixed a bug where the Tame Macrophage Hack was not correctly responding on certain Quickstarts.
    • In actuality, the Enraged subfaction was entirely missing from those quickstarts! Very bizarre.
      • Thanks to Smidlee and Metrekec for the bug report and saves for testing, and StarKelp for fixing.
  • Fixed Cloaked Transport Flagships from starting fleets having the default transport direct tech upgrade costs instead of the higher ones that captured cloaked transports do.
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo for fixing.
  • Adjusted the amount of Combat Engineers Support Factories get for both starter fleets and captured fleets, balancing them a bit and bringing both spawned and captured fleets more in line:
    • Rejuvinator: 8-13 (starter fleet remains at 10)
    • Overloader: 4-7 (starter fleet changed from 3 to 6)
    • Everything else stays the same, but the Combat Factory starter fleet goes up from 6 to 8 engineers
    • This hopefully kills the bug where Combat Fleets spawn in with 2 Sentry Frigates too.
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo for making these changes.
  • Added 2 more tiers to Metabolization and Greater Metabolization in preparation to additions to ESV.
    • To clarify: This is NO new types of Metabolization but simply new conversion ratios damage/shot -> Metabolization points. By default Gangsaws for example deal 10x as many Metabolization points as they dealt damage.
    • The new tiers are "BigMajor" for a conversion ratio of 5x, and "SupportWithoutDPS" for a conversion ratio of 50x.
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo for adding.
  • Some minor buffs to Shark B
  • Fix a typo in the Mesopotamia planet list description
    • Thanks to Lord of Nothing for reporting

Included Mod Updates And Additions

  • For modders reference: rename BadgerFactionUtilityMethods to FactionUtilityMethods.
  • Disabled mods and/or expansions that are installed on your machine no longer temporarily show up as enabled for just a few moments during the initial load of the game. That was confusing.
    • The Settings from any installed-but-disabled mods and expansions ARE loaded, so that those can be kept properly if you are enabling and disabling mods over time, but those are the only parts loaded when they are disabled.
  • KM / AMU mod fixes:
    • Fixed a very strange bug about fireteam debugging where for some reason it couldn't find the Fireteam.GetDangerOfPath() function.
    • Hopefully fixed another very strange null ref exception in the Marauder LRP
  • Civilian Industries mod:
    • Fixed a bug where Fireteams were being rude and not letting civilians use their danger pathing code.
    • Optimized a few pieces of code to hopefully help with the performance issues some people have been recently having.
  • Fixed a literal 1-symbol-bug in Kaizers Marauders where they would not accumulate AIP but instead reset their AIP to the most recent increase.
    • This also lead to the discovery of a bug for the Debug Mode where Marauders produce and use real AIP that multiply AIP by the number of AIs present.
    • Thanks to ussdefiant60 for noticing.
  • New content for the Extended Ship Variants mod and its counterpart for Fallen Spire. Do note that the latter now requires the base ESV installed!
    • Extended Ship Variants:
      • Added 4 new types of Transport Flagships: Engineering (hybrid between a stronger engineer and a transport), Vanguard (hybrid between a Vanguard and a transport), Tugboat (has small drones accelerating everything to at least 700 speed and can slow down enemies) and Target Painter (long-range beam that amplifies damage dealt to a single enemies)
      • Added 3 more types of Mobile Factories: Metabolizing (launches Metabolizing drones), Rescue (creates rescue-beacons that can revive ships), Translocator (good AoE explosion that pushes small ships back and paralyzes them)
      • Added 6 new mobile starter fleets with ESV ships and transports included into them.
      • Added 5 new support starter fleets, 3 with ESV mobile factories and 2 with vanilla mobile factories that did not have a starter fleet before
      • Buffed the Agile Transport: +25% speed on entering a new planet for 5 seconds, -50% damage if attacked from >= 5000 distance, 21 gx engine to resist Black Hole machines
    • Extended Ship Variants for Fallen Spire:
      • New Transport Flagship: Cyber Command (reduced hacking response, much more expensive, much more fragile hull but decent shields)
      • New Mobile Factory: Acidic (launches drones spreading acid onto enemies)
      • New Mobile Starter Fleet: Hacker Fleet (designed to deal with AI hacking responses)
      • New Support Starter Fleet: Combat Engineers and Acidic Factory
  • Increased the timer on Kaizer's derelict to allow for a longer time period to save him. Instead of 1% health per second he now loses only 0.3%, which grants 334 instead of 100 seconds time to save him if the player so desires.
    • From a discussion with SilverLight on Discord.
  • Updated Kaizers Marauders to be compatible with this new AIW2 version (no functional change) so players should be able to hop back in as soon as the update drops, without having to wait for an update of the mod in response to an update of the game itself.
    • Updated the source files on AMU.
    • Worth noting that the Civilian Industries mod did not actually need an update for this new version because it didn't happen to be using the features that changed.
  • Fixed a type mismatch now exposed through the new External Constant Loading in Kaizers Marauders: AIAlliedInvertedTechBonusFactor was declared as FInt, but loaded as int. Is now also declared an int so it works.
    • Curiously this didn't seem to have any impact on the mod in any way... Strange, but ok.
  • ExampleMod and ExampleMod2 have both been removed from the game, as they were utterly pointless at this point.
    • There are more and better ACTUAL mods of all sorts for you to look at if you're thinking of getting into modding.

New Micro Mod Collection By NR SirLimbo!

  • Added the Micro Mod Collection mod to the off-by-default mods.
  • Currently adds:
    • 4 types of Distribution Nodes: 6m metal for 1 AIP, 45 hacking points for 2 AIP, 3k science points for 3 AIP, 4m metal/30 hacking points/2k science points for 4 AIP.
    • Energy Converters (10 for Home Command, 5 for every Economic Command Station) that convert 50k energy to 150 metal/second
    • Research Expedition: Mobile science/hacking gatherer that can speed up gain on owned planets but also extract from allied/neutral worlds, scout adjacent planets and at higher levels decloak/cloak itself. Fragile, high-priority target for the AI, producing 20 AIP on death.
    • Reinforcement Seeder: AI ship dropping Minor Reinforcement Warp Gates that increase planetary reinforcements by 5% per gate.
    • 3 types of AI Command Stations with escalating levels of strength: Gravitic (slow aura), Tachyon (decloaking aura) and Pulsar (periodic paralysis aura).
  • Balance and general feedback required and sought after!

Work To Allow Arbitrary Sprites In Game Text, Part 1

  • Added a working testing project for altering TextMeshPro, while retaining compatibility with all the various unity scenarios in which we use it.
    • Attempted three different ways of updating it to have new sprite embeds, but so far those methods were all a bust. Going to try another method of injecting our own sprites, instead, and for that we need to start basing our things on having some sprites and then shoving them in. Thankfully we have a nice little isolated test project for this, which now has some added info in it.
  • Added some code in ArcenXml that lets us parse xml directly from TextAssets, mainly for testing.
    • This is also used now in parsing the sprite dictionaries that we are creating via TexturePacker.
    • Also set things up so that we can now have sprite dictionaries that are a single sprite loaded directly from a unity-style sprite with borders, etc, intact.
      • This is useful for some of the other new icons-in-text that we want to do.
    • The general purpose of this is partly for test loading sprites of two different categories in a way that we can start trying to get them into TextMeshPro programmatically, but this also would be used long-term once the testing phase is past.
  • Made a change that makes it so that if a sprite material is destroyed (such as one that was created at runtime in the unity editor) it will now just display as a blank image rather than throwing errors inside TextMeshProUGUI. This is mostly helpful for our own internal testing of our injection of our custom sprites into TextMeshPro's rendering pipeline.
  • References to ArcenSprites are now stored on their parent ExternalIconDictionary.
    • We never needed this before, but now that we are translating entire dictionaries into use for TextMeshPro, it's a thing.
  • TextMeshPro has been expanded to allow for us to inject our own images at runtime, from any source (not just Resources, but rather asset bundles and whatever else).
    • We can inject unity Sprite objects, unity Texture2Ds, and our own custom ArcenSprites in their entire ExternalIconDictionary.
    • This new capability is set up so that we can also control things like how they are scaled and offset, and essentially how the kerning works.
    • Whether we use all those features or not is not really relevant, but it's good to have options.
    • This is far more powerful than our old method of drawing images in text in TextMeshPro, which was limited to a special "Arcen Icons" font where we had vectorized some of our icons into a font format and were using that to draw icons.
      • In some respects that was nice because that gave us infinite zoom on those icons, and now we're using raster images with a fixed maximum resolution, but those other icons really did not behave well when it came to trying to line up with varied fonts. Often the offsets and kerning were terrible, and updating them at all required a rebuild of the central game executable, which is time-consuming to say the least (that's about a 40 minute wait).
    • This new approach allows for images to be inserted into text by mods, let alone just our own code.
  • We don't yet have the new TextMeshPro stuff integrated into the main game, but it should be tomorrow.
    • For now, we've got our new data formats and are testing the last of the capabilities we need, and trying to make sure that our sprite dictionaries translate properly to theirs, which is so far not quite working right but getting close. Single images are working great.

Giant Overhaul Of Xml Parsing For Accuracy And Speed

  • exclude_children_from_copy was not an xml feature we were using, and it was slowing down xml parsing in general, so we've removed it.
  • The way that child nodes and attributes are determined to NOT be copied in xml is now vastly more efficient, and doesn't involve any GC churn.
    • This should lead to more accuracy when we pair it with some other changes, as well as faster loading times in general once we finish with our changes.
  • Really substantial xml processing speed improvements during game load. These have to do with our checks to make sure that the xml is correctly formatting and we are importing all the proper nodes.
  • The way that attribute-checking is logged and verified is now vastly more efficient than it was, so again loading is faster in the initial part of the game.
  • The xml parsers that were able to give back a list of children no longer do; there are instead DoForChildren methods that don't require a hit to the garbage collector, and which also make it so that they don't have to be wrappered more than once.
    • This is substantially more efficient in several ways.
  • Instead of copying xml attributes and nodes from parents to children in partial records and copy-from records, these are now linked, and calls like GetBool() and similar are able to process through them much faster and with accuracy.
  • Added a new EqualsCaseInvariant() overload to strings based on ArcenUniversal.
    • It turns out that this is very slightly more efficient than doing a ToLower() and comparison to the lower-case version.
  • Our xml parsing now gives visible errors when trying to parse integers that are not valid integers. Before, it was just failing silently and returning the default value.
    • GetInt32List was removed from our xml parsing, as it was inefficient and not something we've been using in AI War 2 in general. This was generally used in some of our older titles.
      • Same with GetInt16List, GetByteList, and GetFloatList.
    • Also, a variety of duplicative methods that were concerned with complaining if a value was missing-or-default have been folded into the main methods for getting from xml. We also now only complain if the value is outright missing, as in basically any case where the default value is specified that is an intentional thing.
      • We have now removed the ComplainIfAttributeNotFound() method, since that was only used when we were looking at complaints about "missing or default, but actually default is fine." This makes for far cleaner code.
  • Our xml parsing of vector3s is now much more efficient, although we do not process those very often anyway.
    • Our xml parsing of FInts is now a bit more efficient, and that is processed extremely often.
    • Our xml parsing of enums is now a bit more efficient, and more normalized (same with FInt actually), as these are processed very frequently.
      • One change that may affect mods is that FillEnumIfPresent has been removed, and is now just FillEnum. Assuming you pass in false to ComplainIfMissing, it will act as you previously experienced.
      • Another is that FillEnumAndComplainIfDefault has been removed, so now you'd just use FillEnum and pass in ComplainIfMissing as true.
        • This is technically a difference in functionality, because this only checks to see if something is missing, not if it has a default value (usually None or whatever).
        • Generally speaking, our experience has been that if someone sets up a default value in xml explicitly, then they probably have a reason to do so. We've been having to work around this with reading in xml in general, and now it doesn't complain about explicitly-set defaults with other data types, either.
        • This should not negatively affect anything current, as any xml that was "invalid" by the old standard would have been complained-about already and preventing clean game launch. Any new xml that is created in such a fashion is probably on purpose.
      • We also got rid of GetStringAndComplainIfMissing(), which had basically the same sort of issues. Just use GetString() or FillString() and complain if it's missing, but if someone sent in an empty string from xml, they probably meant to.
  • The way that we were previously handling "custom data sets" on xml rows was incredibly slow as well as kind of brittle, particularly when it came to modding.
    • This is seeing an entire rework, with the pattern for getting custom data becoming far simpler (but also more powerful, as mods and copy-from and partial records will now work correctly in all cases).
    • First of all, the CustomDataSet class and all its methods have been removed in general. ParseCustomDataIntoSet() and GetCustomAttributeNames() have also been removed. Also the CustomDataLookup class.
    • Custom attributes are instead something that code is able to parse as-needed later on from the xml, and the "requested attributes" code just ignores anything that begins with "custom_"
  • The ExternalCoreConstants, which was not actually used for anything, has been removed.
  • Vector2 xml processing is now consistent with Vector3, whereas before it had only a subset of the capabilities.
    • Same with ArcenPoint.
    • AngleDegrees has instead just been removed, as it's not something we use and we can store that in different formats more easily.
    • Loading DynamicTableRows from xml has also been given full parity, and in addition to that they are now able to take empty commands now to set null instead of the prior row reference. This is a new ability.
  • We were previously using various forms of XmlElement (which is a built-in-class) manipulation in order to handle copy-from and partial records cases.
    • This was not appearing to work as expected, and at any rate is generally something that is probably pretty slow.
    • We are removing our TotallyReplaceContentsOf, CopyAttributesIntoBlanksOf, and CopyChildrenTo methods entirely.
      • The CopyChildrenTo, which affects child nodes, had some notable strangeness that it was overcoming when nodes were being copied from one document to another (aka two different xml files). We just don't need that sort of hassle.
  • The ArcenXMLElement RawElement entry on ArcenDynamicTableRows has been renamed to be OriginalXmlData instead.
    • This is far more clear, and is going to be very key for the later forms of parsing that we're doing.
    • ArcenXmlElements now have private DirectParentsICopiedFrom and PartialRecordsLaterAppliedToMeInOrder variables that get set as-needed. Internal processing handles these properly so that end-user modders or developers don't have to think about these details.
      • These help to ensure that data is applied in the correct order, as intended, and that the data can be reconstructed as needed.
    • HasAttribute() has been removed from ArcenXMLElement, and instead we have GetMostRecentAttributeValueIncludingParentsAndPartials() and GetMostRecentAttributeValueFromSelfOnly().
      • This will seem inconvenient in a variety of places for modders, but it saves us a ton of extra read calls into a potentially expensive method (especially now that we properly handle xml inheritance). Just read the value once, if it's a string, and if it's blank or null then that's your answer. Or use any of the fill methods and just say you don't mind blank entries (or only do if it's not a partial record, your choice). It will fill things properly.
    • During the read of nodes, it now causes either RegisterMyDirectParentsICopiedFrom() or RegisterAPartialRecordAppliedToMe() to be called, and/or OriginalXmlData to be set.
      • From looking at this, in the past versions, most likely OriginalXmlData (aka RawElement) was probably being overwritten improperly once a partial record was applied, and this was probably where our errors were coming from in parsing certain mods.
    • Additionally, if a single xml record is defined as being both a partial record and a copy-from record, it will now throw an exception. That should not have actually been the case on any, but now it should check on them properly.
  • On ArcenAbstractExternalData and its descendant classes, like ExternalConstants for instance, there is now an ArcenXMLElement OriginalXmlData property.
    • This one works just like the one on rows, although in this case it's just used for partial records, mainly (there are not child nodes, and there's only one root node in these files).
    • This then lets us make direct calls to GetCustomFInt_Slow() on the ExternalConstants singleton and similar in order to get "custom" xml data that is added belatedly, as we see for a lot of the faction data and mod data.
    • This particular change will require changes to most mods, as the CustomData by namespace and all that is replaced by far more direct and efficient calls here, now. Though if the results are checked with any frequency, you should still be caching them for sure.
    • We are using wrappered methods, rather than giving direct access to OriginalXmlData, in order to control error handling and make sure that if your mod is looking for a field and fails to find it, it will yell.
      • Bear in mind these particular fields are not found at game launch, but rather whenever the faction or mod initializes. So typos are likely to be cause errors during first unpause with a faction present, rather than during load of the initial game like everything else.
      • The extra error handling that is in this is absolute crazy, incidentally, so if you're not getting the result you expect, then you automatically get an entry in the log with the details of what was present so that you can figure out what your typo was.
  • With external constants and similar dictionaries, it now ensures that the base data is now read in before any partial records are read.
    • It seems like someone was referring to this being hard to mod, and this would likely solve that. At any rate, with our new more-strict reading this also became needed in general.
  • With the new XML parsing, the game does a far better job of reporting problematic data from xml (aka something like a floating point number being imported into an integer field).
    • Why this was not working properly before is a bit of a mystery, but it works now, which is the important thing.
    • There were several bits of rogue data that we've thus fixed, including the amount of extra intensity the scourge gets from human science amounts. This may have some balance impact on the scourge, as those values were probably previously reading in as zero.
  • Full list of data fields now corrected that were previously not reading in properly and thus probably affecting faction performance in some fashion:
    • Scourge difficulty:
      • AllowedBuildersIncreasePerScienceUnit (was always 0 because of type mismatch)
      • BuilderIncomeIncreasePerScienceUnit (was always 0 because of type mismatch)
      • SpawnerIncomeIncreasePerScienceUnit (was always 0 because of type mismatch)
    • Human Resistance Fighters
      • RatioForFriendlyPlanet (was always 0 because of a typo - RxatioForFriendlyPlanet)
  • In the event of partially-mangled data from entity systems, the game now does a bit better job of reporting clearly what the problem is with the xml and setting some general defaults rather than just starting in a completely invalid state.
    • This is most notably with a missing range being set on a system.
    • Additionally, we've added a new WriteSystemDataToLogDueToError() onto GameEntityTypeData, to let us see what the state of all systems on an entity are when a problem arises.
  • There was some funkiness in how some of the passive systems were looking for ranges that they did not need to have, in ComputeBalanceStats_OneTimeOnly(). Those have been corrected/
    • This is a case where we wonder how this was not causing errors in the past, but whatever. Again, it works now.
  • Further cases of fields that had malformed xml and thus did not read in properly:
    • Settings:
      • Windowed Mode Window Height maximum (typo of case Max instead of max led to it being infinite rather than 7000).
      • Kaizer's Marauders Marauder_DebugID, same typo of Max.
      • Hidden field of FullscreenHeight, same typo of Max.
      • Kaizer's Marauders Marauder_FireteamDetailLevel, same typo of Max.
    • AI Types:
      • SimpleEnsemble was not having its type_Difficulty read in, because it should have been type_difficulty
  • The game now allows any fullscreen resolutions that your OS/hardware reports as being available.

Version 2.627 Hotfix

(Released November 5th, 2020)

  • Hopefully make Warden fleet ships less likely to turn to the Hunter when in combat
    • Noticed by a lot of people
  • Make reconquista a bit less one-dimensional.
  • Fix a bug where the galaxy map was showing the wrong faction colour for enemy units.
  • Fixed a bug in the prior version where the scrollbars and scrolling in any dropdowns was not working.
    • Thanks to JonnyH13, Karchedon, and Badger for reporting.
  • The selected status of the stance buttons in the bottom left of the screen have been adjusted once again in order to be dimmer and less distracting.
    • Thanks to Metrekec and crawlers for reporting.
  • Balance Adjustments to Kaizers Marauders:
    • Changed the budget income modifiers per intensity to be based off the 0.4 + (AI income/1.5):
    • Also increased higher-intensity base defense buildup cap: Medium Intensity from 40 strength to 50 strength, High Intensity from 70 strength to 125 strength to make them more defensive.
    • When their budget was increased gradually to compensate for the high growth of strength that high-ranking AIs had it made them too powerful when fighting lower-intensity AIs.
    • Now, hopefully, Kaizers Marauder intensity roughly follows the same scaling as AI difficulty, but lower ranks are still supposed to expand further and by comparison are stronger.
    • When picking the intensity for Kaizers Marauders I suggest: Think about their most likely adversary (the AI) and their difficulty as a base line, potentially increase to compensate higher-difficulty AI types and other minor factions to fight.
    • Kaizers Marauders definitely need balancing feedback!

Version 2.626 Kaizer's Marauders

(Released November 4th, 2020)

  • Underlying mechanics now available for mods, but not used by any units at the moment:
    • Added the Classic (AI War 1 style) Hydra regeneration and Hydra Head mechanics.
      • Regeneration is done with: seconds_to_fully_regenerate_hull="" and starts after the normal repair delay.
      • Hydra Heads are done with build_points_per_damage_taken="" and unit_to_make_with_build_points_from_damage_taken=""
      • A head will spawn when build points = total health, / current mark + 1. So a MK1 unit will spawn 1 head at 50% health, a MK2 will spawn every 33%, MK3 every 25%, so on.
      • Current bugs with Hydra Heads: Build points are not serialised and so are lost on load. If a unit with a damage bonus shoots one of these, only the base damage adds to Build Points, not the bonus.
    • Thanks to Puffin for adding this.
  • Drone Fleets (Support Fleets, but most importantly Hive Golems) will now load their drones if ordered so even if enemies are on the planet left.
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo for implementing.
  • Journals now allow for the insertion of [playername] in them.
    • Thanks to Badger for adding.
  • The FRS now uses a different icon from ARS, to avoid confusion and make it clear what is what.
    • Thanks to Badger for suggesting.
  • Combat Factories of all sorts no longer use normal drones like before (those aggro guard posts in an annoying way).
    • Instead, hidden drone launchers trigger if there are enemies within a certain range of the combat factories. Letting them defend themselves, but not aggro enemy guards just by being on their planet.
    • It's worth noting that existing savegames will still have both kinds of drones present -- those in the fleet, and those from the launchers. So they will be double-powerful but still annoying. Any new campaigns will just have the launchers properly.
    • Thanks to several people for bringing up this issue with combat factories, and Puffin for helping fix it.

UI Reskinning Part 4

  • There are still some little things we want to do with the UI, mostly in the "nice to have" category. The general overhaul is complete, in terms of improving things that were already there.
    • There are a VERY few cases where the old resource icons are used in text, but that should still be easy enough to figure out. We're going to sort that out with new icon-embedding capabilities sooner than later.
  • Fixed an issue where the border bar on the selected ships window would move up and down as that window got larger or smaller.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • The glowing states of the following icons in the new UI has been dimmed some:
    • Attack move (leftmost item), pursuit mode, stop and shoot mode, hold fire mode, scrap button. Group move has been left alone.
    • Thanks to Metrekec, crawlers, and Isiel for suggesting.
  • We missed updating the map tab left panel in the lobby, but it now has a proper background and fonts.
  • Updated some prefab buttons so that things like the font in the Tips window now use the expected new font.
  • The visual style of dropdowns in the game has been updated to match the new style of buttons and other elements, and looks much more sleek.
  • The visual style of horizontal sliders in the game has also been updated to match the rest of the new stuff.
  • The tooltip backgrounds have in general been updated to look more like the rest of the new UI.
    • We are opting not to do specific graphics for the planets versus the ships, at least not built into the UI panels per se. We'll handle that stuff via image insertion in text, most likely.
  • The icons for metal harvesters, and energy generation sources, have been updated to the new icons.
    • Same with science (not used as a ship icon anyhow) and "metal to energy," which is.
  • Color improvements to notifications in the top bar.
    • Essentially, notification colors being based on the faction that is discussed is something that looks like it means something else. It looks like red is extra bad, or things like that. We are using color to mean something with the backgrounds and icons up there, and so the text also having color is just problematic unfortunately.
    • We are largely moving the color that was on the text to instead be in the tooltip text.
    • Astro train faction color moved from notification text to tooltip text for notification.
      • Ditto Dark Spire VG notification, although the timer colors are still there.
      • Ditto Dark Spire Loci notification.
    • Things were fully changed with the color from the tooltip for the Dyson Antagonizer.
      • Ditto exostrikes.
      • Ditto exogalactic wormholes.
      • Ditto AI eyes.
      • Ditto raid engines.
      • Ditto instigator bases.
      • Ditto Zenith Trader.
      • Ditto macrophages.
      • Ditto AI relic trains.
      • This was done previously for the Devourer.
      • Relic search was already fine.
      • Debris was already fine.
      • Imperial Spire was already fine.
      • Brownout was already fine.
      • Nemesis was already fine.
      • DLC2 AT civil war was already fine.
      • DLC2 Nm were already fine.
      • DLC2 Zm were already fine.
      • DLC2 Zb were already fine.
    • AI Reserves are keeping their colors for now, in their countdown timer, but if it looks bad or you have feedback on them, please let us know with a savegame.
      • The same is true for counterattacks. Additionally, the icon on these grays out when the counterattack is stalling. This may be confusing people, so we may change this up some.
      • The same is true for hacking notifications. Please let us know if the timer colors look tacky, but the faction bit got moved.
      • Also same for risk analyzers.
    • The planet attack notifications actually show the colors of the attacker and the defender, so keeping those makes a fair bit of sense. Let us know if it looks awful sometimes.
    • DLC2 AT warnings had some mild colorization based on severity, but we were already handling that with the background in recent versions, so the text color is now just always white.
    • Overall we need to do more things with the notification icons themselves very soon. This has been on our list since prior to DLC1.

Additional Space Backgrounds By Puffin

  • Thirty new space box backgrounds for planets created by Puffin have been added to the game.
  • Six new space box backgrounds for the galaxy map created by Puffin have been added to the game.

Revised AIP Mark Level Thresholds By Difficulty

  • The AIP amount required for an AI to go to a higher level used to be as follows: https://bugtracker.arcengames.com/file_download.php?file_id=15174&type=bug
    • We are making the following changes:
      • Mark 3:
        • Diff 4: 295 from 305
        • Diff 5: 275 from 295
        • Diff 6: 255 from 285
        • Diff 7: 235 from 275
        • Diff 8: 215 from 265
        • Diff 9: 195 from 255
        • Diff 10: 175 from 245
      • Mark 4:
        • Diff 4: 470 from 480
        • Diff 5: 450 from 470
        • Diff 6: 430 from 460
        • Diff 7: 410 from 450
        • Diff 8: 390 from 440
        • Diff 9: 370 from 410
        • Diff 10: 380 from 420
      • Mark 5:
        • Diff 5: 650 from 670
        • Diff 6: 650 from 660
        • Diff 7: 640 from 650
        • Diff 8: 620 from 640
        • Diff 9: 600 from 630
        • Diff 10: 590 from 620
      • Mark 6:
        • Diff 5: 810 from 820
        • Diff 6: 800 from 810
        • Diff 7: 790 from 800
        • Diff 8: 780 from 790
        • Diff 9: 770 from 780
        • Diff 10: 760 from 870 (the original was an error in general)
      • Mark 7:
        • Diff 6: 1100 from 1110
        • Diff 7: 1080 from 1100
        • Diff 8: 1060 from 1090
        • Diff 9: 1010 from 1080
        • Diff 10: 980 from 1070
    • Thanks to Ovalcircle for reporting the discrepancy, and to Badger for suggesting these numbers get a bit of a look in general.

New Included Mods By NR SirLimbo

  • Uploaded the AMU (AI War 2 Modding Utils) and Kaizers Marauders mods.
    • Kaizers Marauders is a new spin on an old faction gone, for lack of a better word, insane. Expect an entirely new Marauder minor faction with its own unique ships, turrets, superstructures, new and improved raiders and tons more. The forum thread is here: https://forums.arcengames.com/ai-war-ii-modding/mod-kaizers-marauders/
      • It started out as a request to the AIW2 devs to include journals. So I wrote some mods. Months later it's turned out to be a full rework with TONS of special stuff added and everything is in - except for a hand full of journals. Wow.
      • Some highlights: Unique Marauder ships, turrets, forcefields, etc. Most of these can be acquired by the player for themselves.
      • Some featured mechanics: A realistic metal economy, defectors, super-smart fireteams, tech upgrading, and even an alternate victory condition.
      • For more check the forum thread.
    • AMU is a requirement for Kaizers Marauders and consists out of modding functions to be used by various other mods, even further reworks I'm planning todo, as well as any other modder. It will get a full documentation and forum thread, but for now simply ping me on discord (-NR-SirLimbo) for debugging it. A partial documentation is already distributed, along with the C# project itself.

Bugfixes

  • Fixed Lone Wolf fleets being excluded from the ability to load ships. If for whatever reason (mostly mods) ship lines end up in Lone Wolf fleets they will now obey loading/unloading orders entirely and not hug the centerpiece perpetually
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo for fixing.
  • Updated StarKelp Civilian Industries for the latest version of the game.
  • Fixed a race condition that could occur when setting militia caps.
    • Thanks to various people for reporting, most notably SirLimbo.
  • Fixed multiple places not having reservations for Lone Wolf fleets (both officer and golem):
    • CalculateContentsCount(bool IsForNetworkSyncCheck)
    • CalculateHasAnyContents()
    • GetStrengthOfContentsIfAny()
    • GetEnergyCostOfContentsIfAny()
    • Noticed and fixed by NR SirLimbo when unloading a fleet of Kaizer's Marauders-boarded ships began to cause brownouts...
  • For Extended Ship Variants: Fixed the Strike Wing having its damage bonus based on target time on planet, not its own time
    • Thanks to zeusalmighty428 for wondering why it was raid tech
  • Put in a fix for various of the new shaders for UI glows logging "doesn't have _Stencil property" warnings logged into the player.log.
    • We aren't actually using this property, but then again we're not allowing for these buttons to interact with stencils and masks and so don't need it.
    • Thanks to Puffin for noticing this.

Beta 2.624 Revised Resource Bar

(Released October 30th, 2020)

  • When AI units with Metabolization kill something, the AI now uses its extra metal to boost its reinforcement budget
    • Prompted by a discord conversation led by TechSy730
  • Tsunami CPAs are now the default.

Roguelike Changes

  • By default, the Esc menu no longer tells you what factions are in the galaxy until you actually encounter them in game. The goal is to give the game a stronger feeling of exploration and finding the unknown.
    • You can have the old behaviour by enabling the Always Show Factions option under Scouting in the game lobby
  • Add a new Quickstart, "The Rogue Badger" taking advantage of this. You won't know what factions are in the galaxy till you find them
    • Please don't load this quickstart into a game lobby or it will ruin the surprise.

Quality of Life

  • In an ARS, GCA or fleet you could capture, the number of ships for a given ship line is now coloured to let you know how good the roll was
    • If the number is a bright green you rolled close to the upper-end of ships you could have. If its a dark green, you rolled closer to the lower end.
      • Only applies to newly started games
    • Thanks to ParadoxSong for pointing me in this direction
  • Capturable flagships adjacent to the player homeworld will always get good RNG with how many ships it has.
    • The goal is to make sure the player gets something to be excited about early. Also to make it harder to have games that are screwed by bad RNG
  • The selection window now shows the strength of the selected units
    • Thanks to TechSY730 for suggesting
  • Improve the hovertext for factories for more clarity. The name of the fleet now indicates how many losses it needs to rebuild
  • Improve the AI Reserves notification
    • If there are no wormholes spawned, it gives you the countdown of seconds until a wormhole spawns
  • Autosaves are now in a more readable format
  • The objective hovertext for ARSs is now in a better style
  • If you double-click a fleet's keybinding while in the galaxy map, it now centers the galaxy map at that fleet
  • Clicking a Planet Under Attack notification from the galaxy screen, it now centers you on that planet
    • Thanks to Vortex for these two bug reports

UI Reskinning Part 3

  • The bottom left icons on the main screen are no longer quite as glowy when you are not hovering over them. They light up the same amount while hovered, though.
    • The idea is to make it less visually distracting when you are just checking the game clock.
    • Thanks to Badger for suggesting.
  • The ship selection UI has been updated so that the icons are the same as before, but they now have similar glowy appearance to the buttons in the bottom left of the screen.
    • The "hotkey indicators" are now colored to match the button's general highlighted color, but the baseline color is now that same dull blue rather than bright white like it was before.
    • When these are highlighted, they now glow brightly in their specific color, and if they are moused over the same thing happens.
  • The sidebar backgounds have been reworked to better function with the different heights that they can all have, rather than looking really wrong and off when stretched.
  • In the top bar, the galaxy map icon has been reworked, and now looks like a galaxy rather than a map pin. It also now glows and reacts to mouseover.
    • The hover for the planet name now also highlights the background of that button in the top bar in general.
    • The metal icon has been replaced (anvil becomes metal pieces).
      • Note that metal harvester icons still need to be updated, and metal icons in text.
    • The energy icon, and science icon, and hacking icon, and threat icon have also all been updated.
    • The old threat icon is the new AIP icon.
    • Thanks to Badger, Puffin, -NR-SirLimbo, Tzarro, and zeusalmighty for all helping figure these out.
  • The various fonts in the sidebars have been updated to be more legibile at smaller sizes in particular.
    • Some were returned to the way they previously were, others are new.
    • Thank to Strategic Sage for reporting the grainy appearance and eye fatigue with the other new bits we tried.
  • In the top resource bar, all of the text and numbers are in a new font that is a bit clearer and quicker to read.
    • In times where the metal would say "Starving" in the past, it now says "Drain" to save space.
  • The hacking and tech sidebars now use the correct image, and also react to hovering with a glow.
  • The background from the load menu has been kept the same, but is now vastly darker rather than being bright and in your face.
  • The background for the save menu has been made to match that of the load menu, and is also now darker like the other one is. The other one was particualrly tacky and distracting.
  • Fixed a minor issue with the notifications not being properly rounded up in the top area.
  • The game has been updated to actually set and use the fancy new priority level backgrounds for the notifications in the top bar.
    • Bear in mind that this is something that we may tune over time based on feedback, in terms of what gets what notification priority level.
    • The notifications are now sorted by priority level from OMG, major, medium, minor, informational, and then hacking, prior to whatever the rest of their sorting would be.
  • Wave notifications (of various sorts) now have the following notification levels:
    • All CPAs are major for now.
    • Any waves against not-a-player that are shown are considered minor for now.
    • Reconquest waves are all major for now, unless they are not aimed at the player.
    • If a wave isn't one of the above and also is not targeting a planet, it's considered minor for now.
    • If a wave is headed to a planet, but that planet isn't allied to the local faction or has no owner, considered minor for now.
    • If the wave is weaker than 2/3 of the combatants friendly to the local faction at the planet, then this is minor.
    • If the wave is stronger than 200% of the combatants friendly to the local faction at the planet, AND this is a player home planet then this is OMG.
    • If the wave is stronger than 150% of the combatants friendly to the local faction at the planet, then this is major.
    • Otherwise this wave is considered a medium priority.
  • Regular notifications that are created by whatever other means are now required by code to specify their priority level when they are being created.
    • Those shake out as follows for now:
      • AI Reserves notifications are always major for now, given reports on the difficulty of these by players lately.
      • Dark Spire vengeance strikes and loci are medium and major respectively.
      • Dyson antagonizers are major.
      • Nanocaust frenzies got removed from the code, since those aren't a thing since fireteams anyhow!
      • Wormhole Invasions are always OMG level at the moment, we may adjust this.
      • Devourer Golem is informational if it's on a planet that is not owned by anyone or which is not friendly to you. It's minor if it's on a planet of you or ally.
      • Zenith Trader is always informational.
      • Hacking events are hacking priority.
      • Spire Relic Train is informational, and so are risk analyzers.
      • Spire relics and debris are also informational. Same with imperial spire.
      • Brownouts are OMG.
      • Macrophage of 4 or more are medium, less than that are minor.
      • Enemy nemesis is OMG, allied is now shown for the first time and is informational.
      • DLC2 NP move is informational.
      • DLC2 AT expansion is medium, civil war of it is major.
      • DLC2 ZM mnrs > 0 is major, just probes is medium.
      • DLC2 ZB are medium, unless all are in flight in which case are informational.
      • When your planet is under attack, the priority is normally medium, unless:
        • If it's a human homeworld, and enemies outnumber you and allies, then it's OMG.
        • If it's a human homeworld, and enemies are more than 50% of your strength, then it's major (just in case).
        • If it's a human homeworld, and enemies are less than 10% of your strength, then it's minor.
        • On non-homeworlds, if you and allies are outnumbered 2:1 in strength, it's major.
        • On non-homeworlds, if enemies are less than 50% of your strength, then it's minor.
      • Exo strikes are major until they are 95% charged, at which point they turn OMG. MDC exos no longer exist (they do something cooler), so the code for that is just scrubbed.
      • Raid engines are medium, unless they are targeting a non-player faction in which case they are informational.
      • AI Eyes, since they don't spawn anything, are rated minor.
      • Counterattacks are:
        • Minor if they are stalled
        • Still minor if the strength of the counterattack plus all local enemies at that planet is less than all the local allies and own ships at that planet (aka you are outnumbering even if the counterattack launches).
        • Major if the strength of all those enemy forces noted above is at least twice what the allied local forces mentioned are.
        • Medium if it's in the middle range.
      • Astro Trains are generally minor, but if one is headed to a depot that does something once X number of trains have reached it, and there X-1 trains have already reached it, then it jumps up to major.
      • Instigators are generally medium, but if a given instigator has done its thing at least four times, then it upgrades to major status.
    • Huge thanks to zeus for suggesting most of these, and Badger for helping figure out details, and Ovalcircle and DEMOCRACY? DEMOCRACY! for helping a ton also. And Puffin!
  • GetIsHostileTowards(), GetIsNeutralTowards(), and GetIsFriendlyTowards() on the planet faction now take in variants with a faction directly.
  • On planets, there is a new GetStrengthOfFactions_HostileTo() that gets the strength of all enemies of a faction at a planet.
    • There is also a GetStrengthOfFactions_FriendlyTo(), which lets a faction include itself in that total or not, as well.
    • There is also a new GetStrengthOfFactions_Self() that gets it just for the faction in question.
  • Fixed a pair of typos with astro train journals not firing properly.
  • The devourer golem no longer shows its warning with the color of its faction directly in the notification. That blends really poorly now in general.
    • In the tooltips it will now show that, but with deep blue in the tooltip it was a blurry smudge. We will have to make some more changes to notifications over time to make this all more clear.

Beta 2.622 Hangar Ship Diversity

(Released October 28th, 2020)

  • Fix a typo in one of the Tips for returning players
    • Thanks to Breach for reporting
  • One can no longer manually click on a ship with active repair-delay and get your engineers to repair it
    • Thanks to Arides for reporting
  • Exos that are being sync'ed with Wormhole Invasions or CPAs now always have a notification
  • Slightly improve the nanobot center hovertext
  • The Esc menu now shows the "Display Name" of the map type instead of the "Internal Name"
  • Slight buffs to the AI on intensity 10. The goal is a bit more raw power.
  • Fixed a bunch of cases of "address" being spelled with three Ds.
    • Thanks to Ovalcircle for reporting.
  • CPAs are now a bit smarter at detecting when they planet they were going to is no longer relevant. CPAs for higher difficulties (AI difficulty >= 8) are now better at focusing their forces.
  • Add a new Game Lobby setting to prevent Beacons from spawning in the game
    • Intended for people trying for Pure 10 runs, and for anyone who hates beacons
  • Add a setting for 'Hide Undiscovered Factions from Esc menu'.
    • This is mostly for people who like surprises and have a poor memory of what was going on in their games
  • If some piece of UI doesn't load properly, the main menu should no longer freak out and throw endless errors.
  • If you are adding a new faction in the game lobby and that faction has the same FactionCenterColour as an existing faction, the new faction gets a random colour

Astro Train Changes

  • Astro Trains now count as 'Large Ships' for the 'planet in combat' notification hovertext
  • Astro Trains get fewer guards. Guards now attrition (quickly) if their train is dead, and they attrition slowly if their train is on a different planet
  • Astro Trains are now better at heading to their Stations, and not getting distracted
  • This section thanks to feedback from GreatYng

Refinements To Main Menu

  • The reflection probe on the main menu is now located more to the side, so that it is not in the path of ships that go flying through out.
    • This makes it so that the reflection of the ships is shown, but there is not a giant flash on the entire screen as a ship exits the view.
  • The AI War 2 and Arcen Games logos are now subtly on the wall in 3D in the background on the main menu.
  • The old ship that was being used for the main menu animation in yesterday's build is no longer used at all. That was a junky dark ship that was never actually used in the game.
    • Now we are using spiders, bombers, raiders, and MLRS corvettes.
    • There are two different animations for each one leaving the hangar, and the quality of the animation is now higher, as well.
    • The overall idea here is to give a lot more of a sense of life and personality to the scene, and make it clear that these are multiple ships launching instead of just one repetitive animation on loop.
    • There are also now point lights on these ships, which helps give even more of a dramatic bit of motion that interacts with the rest of the scene as they exit the hangar.
  • Added a new ArcenFramerateTracker that now let's us track the framerate of the game at any time. We've previously been tracking sim performance, but not the actual framerate.
  • Also added a new ArcenCutscenePerformanceManager class that lets us react to poor framerates during a cutscene by reducing the reflection probe load.
  • On the main menu, next to where it shows the amount of time it has taken to load the game, it now also shows the FPS of the game on the main menu.

UI Reskinning Part 2

  • Fixed an unsightly bit of extra partially-transparent white pixels in the corner of the rounded menu backgrounds.
  • The textbox used throughout the game has been updated to look much more attractive than it has in the last few beta versions.
    • Actually, then we updated it yet again to make its construction vastly more complicated, but to show the halftone pattern undistorted, the borders cleanly, the interior drop shadow properly, and all that at a variety of sizes as need. Whoof, that took forever.
  • Updated fonts on the tutorial screen, and the background to help differentiate it more from the other similar screens.
    • And gave the same treatment to the load quickstart window, but with a different background that is more golden and different shapes to help tell this one apart from others.
    • And also the load game menu, where it looks like a bunch of microprocessors and similar.
  • The following windows have had their fonts updated, but no special backgrounds as they are not used all that frequently and don't need differentiating:
    • Controls window.
    • Credits window (also updated it so that the names on the right-hand screen are not cut off).
    • Kickstarter backer credits window.
    • Background story window (this also has been updated to have a more readable and better-sized font for the central story).
    • Add/edit profile window.
    • Color picker (team and border based).
    • MP client connect by IP and List windows.
    • MP client connection status window.
    • Same for the two general "popup list option" window components.
  • The chat/log window has been updated like the others, but also with a dark blue background in there to set itself apart a bit more.
    • The factions window has also been updated and has a new different background, but it's a very subtle one.
      • The sectional factions and galaxy options tabs in the main menu has been updated to match a combination of this and the chat window, since it incorporates elements from both. This really helps to make them stand apart.
        • The standalone chat on the right in the map tab in the lobby in multiplayer then matches the chat colors and such from THAT.
    • The personal settings window now has different visuals, slightly, from the galaxy-wide settings menu. Again to help with people knowing where they are at a glance.
      • The tips window also now has its own variant off the personal settings.
    • The settings sidebar popout has also now been updated (this is mainly used for fleets, but can be for other things also).
  • The notifications images have been updated a bit to have a slight bit of extra detail in their background.
    • These also now have different background images that we can swap in for minor, medium, major, OMG, informational, and hacking events.
    • Right now all the notifications are just set to medium, but we will hook them up to use different backgrounds later.
    • Thanks to Badger, zeus, Tzarro, Ovalcircle, and NR SirLimbo for helping figure these out.
  • Updated the visuals for tabs, and the top bar in general in the lobby.
    • Also updated the tabs on the left of the main screen to match this new style, including slightly different spacing for the tabs themselves.
    • Updated the build sidebar's fonts slightly, and in general its backgrounds and so on.
    • Same for the fleets tab.
    • Same for the hacking tab, except for the header part that has the hacking icon. That bit will be updated later. The button color here has also become green.
    • Same for the journal tab.
    • And outguard tab.
    • And intel tab.
    • And science tab. Here again the header icon has not yet been updated.
    • And the planet tab. Later there will be many updates here, but those will have to wait.
  • The selected ships window has been updated except for its icons, which are going to be replaced and improved.
    • Same for the main header resource bar in the game.
    • These will get some more work done on them tomorrow.

Beta 2.621 Gorgeousification

(Released October 24th, 2020)

  • It is now possible to set up material swaps on a list of images related to a given button, which in turn lets us make the glows more intense or even different colors.
    • We're now using this for the buttons in the lower left corner of the main view, so that as you hover over them it's super clear what you are hovering over. This feels far more interactive, and has a lot more in common with what we are doing with other buttons elsewhere in the game.
  • Added a new "pre-canvas LDR camera" that makes sure to do a no-algorithm tonemapping from the HDR range to the LDR range.
    • This essentially does add an extra compositing step, but makes it so that anything that might peek into the HDR range from things like hovering over certain faction icons can't possibly interact with the new bloom effect that is used for buttons.
    • Because we have a number of special extra cameras for things like the effects where we have not scouted or don't have current intel, this was the cleanest way to make sure that nothing else goes wrong.
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo and Puffin for reporting.
  • The asteroid belt ring that goes around the playing area on planets has been updated so that it has full lighting effects on it, with a dark side and a light side that also matches the direction of the sunlight hitting the planet.
    • On dark starfield backgrounds, you'll mostly just see the brighter side of these asteroids, but you'll still finally be able to see them.
    • On light starfield backgrounds (lots of nebulas), you'll mostly see the shadowed side, which then looks a lot like before.
    • On areas of transition and contrast, you still have something to visually pick out in either situation.
    • Thanks to a lot of folks for reporting this over the years. I tried this a while ago and couldn't get it to look acceptable, but this time it worked out.
  • The timer text in the bottom left corner of the main view is now a bit smaller so that it can hopefully always fit its contents in there.
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo for reporting.
  • The new background image behind the right window in the escape menu was actually too far forward, and was also set as a raycast target. Consequently, it looked slightly wrong and also caused the scrollbar to not be clickable.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.

Revised Key Scenes

  • The victory screen has been completely overhauled in terms of the visual background style, and the fonts used, and the composition of where text is, etc.
    • The overall color scheme and the visuals are based on what the main menu has been for the last few years, except it's more dramatic than before in the sky and the lighting.
    • We were fond of that old main menu screen, and so wanted to keep it around in some fashion, but also to make it more dramatic in a way that is fitting for a victory screen.
    • We were NOT fond of the old victory screen visuals, so those are just tossed out.
  • Fixed a typo in the victory text.
    • Thanks to Venger for reporting.
  • The loss screen has been pretty cool for a while, and it was based on an even older version of the main menu (go figure), but it still needed some work.
    • First of all, the armada in the background has been repositioned and also doubled in size, to better fit with the composition of where the AI overlord is located and not distract from certain other elements of the image.
    • Secondly, the background visuals are far more vicious and red and angry, and have even more visual interest, in terms of how and where they are positioned.
    • Thirdly, the blue planet now has an even stronger glow off its atmosphere, but more pale and more in the background.
    • Fourth, the lens flare and glare has been turned off of the bloom effect being used here, to keep things more consistent with the rest of the game.
    • Lastly, the text has been moved around a fair bit, and the fonts changed and button repositioned, etc. It's more similar to the loss screen, but not the same.
    • This screen is not the super most legible text, just by nature, but it's at least attractive now and it definitely is readable. But if any screen is going to cause a bit of eye strain while reading, it's this one. We figure that's okay, as you don't really need to read the parts that would be at all that way, anyhow.
  • The main menu scene is now completely overhauled, and shows a scene from inside the hangar of one of your fleet leaders.
    • This ship is moving around in such a way that the starfields outside are spinning past, and you can see the reflections of these, and the planet that goes by, affect the dark metals of the large ship you find yourself inside.
    • Through the floor, ship after ship is raised up from the bowels of the structure and accelerated out into space. Those who have been playing the game for a really long time will recognize this ship from being the "mascot ship" on the main menu 2-3 years ago. It had the game logo and company logo in 3D on the side of itself back then, but no longer does.
    • As part of this change, now that this scene is so much darker than the old main menu, the buttons fit in better in general. We are no longer tilting those backwards in order to make them fancier. It has always introduced aliasing issues around the edges of those buttons.
    • To make the ship move and accelerate properly, we have now integrated Slate Cinematic Sequencer by Paradox Notion. We've had that for years, but never had anything worth integrating it for in this project. We're aware that Unity Timeline exists, but this was a quick and familiar thing.
    • This overall scene is pretty heavy, so if it's causing lag on the main menu, please let us know.
      • On an i7 from 2016, and with a GTX 1070, at the moment we seem to only be getting around 40fps, which is a surprise. In earlier testing with this scene we were getting 130fps or so.
      • We're not sure if this is related to the Slate cutscene stuff, which was the most-recent-added, or if it's something else that we're not clear on. At any rate, the realtime reflection probe at a really high quality doesn't help matters, but boy is it gorgeous.
    • At the moment, the main menu scene (after the loading scene, which is the same as it has been for a really long time) does not include the AI War 2 logo or any other logos.
      • Later it would be nice to include the main logo and expansion logos, but perhaps integrated into the scene in some fashion.
    • Overall this, plus the changes to the other two scenes, are requiring about 300MB more disk space, and something along those lines in terms of RAM. It doesn't have any effect on the speed of loading the game.

Beta 2.620 Hotfixes

(Released October 24th, 2020)

  • Fixed an error in the most recent beta where the lobby was broken if you didn't have DLC2.
    • Thanks to cml and UFO for reporting, and Puffin for pointing us to where the issue was.
  • Fixed a known issue from the last beta where the settings and chat visible buttons in the lower left corner of the main screen were not working.

Beta 2.619 Quality Of Life And Polish

(Released October 23rd, 2020)

Since there are many visual changes in progress, to save confusion this is only on the beta branch on steam and gog right now.

  • Marauder Outposts now have more health
  • The faction list of the Esc menu is improved. It is now sorted for easier reading, and the 'allegiance' section of the Esc menu is color coded and simplified.
  • Updated the galaxy map camera view to now use a 4-camera stack instead of a 3-camera stack. The new camera on the stack is just for rendering the space background, and it now uses a field of view of 60 rather than 40 so that it has the proper perspective and scale on those background starfields and nebulas versus seeming super zoomed-in. The field of view of the map parts itself remains at 40, to avoid distortion on them.
    • Thanks to Puffin Emeritus for suggesting.
  • Harmonic turrets must be fully constructed in order to apply their "Strengthen other harmonic turrets" buff. Turrets under construction no longer count, and neither do remains
    • Reported by ArnaudB
  • Updated Harmonic mechanic to be able to increase per Mark. Harmonic turrets gain 10% of the original value per Mark.
  • Vengeance Generators now prioritize other VGs close to deploying ships when sharing energy. The goal is to get multiple battles going at once. Also improve the hovertext for VGs with some colour
    • Thanks for GreatYng for prompting
  • Astro Trains guards now spawn pre-stacked if appropriate
  • Add a new setting to not show the Dotted Lines between player planets and AI planets without wormholes. I like being able to see the colour gradient better.
    • Off by default

Journal Tweaks

  • The game now does a better job of telling you when journal entries appear through their Chat text
  • When there are new journal entries to read the "Journal" tab on the sidebar now changes colour to make it easier to notice
  • Add a few journal entries for the astro trains

UI Reskinning Part 1

  • Textboxes throughout the game now go to an ellipsis if there is not enough room for their contents, rather than looping to a second line in a strange way. This rarely came up because of character limits.
  • When you go from hovering over a textbox to then clicking it, it no longer flashes a different color for a moment.
  • Designed some new UI shaders that allow for us to use HDR blooms on icons.
    • Added a post-processing stack bloom item on the GUI-layer camera that is specifically for anything that is still in the HDR range when it is post-processing there.
    • This should not apply to anything except the UI itself, since everything else should have been mapped back down to the LDR range by the tonemapping prior to now.
    • At any rate, this then lets us use, very selectively and carefully, some glows on icons and similar in the UI and have that behave properly and give a much better sci-fi effect.
  • We've been working on this all week, but at this point the various UI elements are about... maybe 1/3rd updated to a new and improved style.
    • The escape menu, and all of the popup yes/no windows, are all done. The main menu buttons area is done (but not the actual main menu scene in the background or the angled-buttons stuff).
    • New font selections for headers and buttons are done, but they're not universally applied everywhere yet.
    • The bottom-left corner buttons and timer on the main view is fully updated, but the sidebar and resource bar and selection windows and such are not at all.

Version 2.618 Astro Reserve Tuning

(Released October 21st, 2020)

  • Add some warning text to the X map saying it has balance issues
  • Fix a bug where ai-allied factions like the scourge or marauders weren't correctly allied to things like Astro Trains. This was causing a number of issues, like 'Astro Trains never spawn'
  • CPAs will group-move more often
    • Suggested by Crabby on steam
  • Change the way Threat numbers for the resource bar are counted.
    • AI and AI-aligned factions (Instigators, CPAs. Not AI-Allied Marauders or the like) are the only factions that now count as Threat.
  • Add an Experimental setting under "Game" to allow Hunter ships required to go after a specific faction to go through other factions on the way
    • The most usual case was if you owned the center of an Octopus map, and the AI homeworld on one of the legs was building up Threat against a Nanocaust on another leg. The AI really didn't want to send attack you with its Anti-Nanocaust ships, so they would just sit around.
    • I'm not sure how well this works, and whether it has potential problems, so I'm making it an opt-in setting to get feedback.
  • AI Reserves ships now attrition much more slowly
    • Attritioning is done as a neat thematic, and also to make sure that the reserves will die if they can't get back to their wormhole, but it was going much too quickly
    • Thanks to GreatYng for pointing this out.
  • Fixed an issue where command stations and NPC fleet leaders could be seen to be in the new "stationary flagship" mode.
  • The new "stationary flagship" status now defalts to off, and for all savegames prior to this one will have them all set to off.
    • Thanks to Strategic Sage, Metrekec, Smidlee, Asteroid, TechSY730, crawlers, and others for weighing in on this.
  • For the included "Extended Ship Variants" Mod:
    • Fixed the Oculus not having a limit on the damage modifier, which meant that it could deal an amazing 1430x damage to them (assuming the 2.5x multiplier based on time also applies). A single Oculus Mark 7 could do 926,640 points of damage - per shot (120 x 5.4 x 1430).
    • Found by ArnaudB, when his Spire Great-Shield Emitter got eaten in an instant.
  • For the included "Extended Ship Variants" Mod and the Fallen Spire version as well:
    • General Change: The AI ship group weight of all variants was reduced by 50%. So now they should be spending much less budget on them, and more on base variants
    • The Void Bomber's full-invulnerability fortification effect has been nerfed
      • It now only applies to shield, and reduces damage to 0.1% (so only 1 in 1000 points of damage applies). Shields were also buffed from 250 to 500 points.
      • Hull was increased from 500 to 2500 to resist at least a bit of fusion damage, which (along with melee) is king against them
      • The defense buff now activates at a range of 350 instead of 1000
    • The Vex Guard had its cost increased: AI Budget cost up a quarter from 80 to 100, Metal cost from 4500 to 6500 and Energy cost reduced from 800 to 500
    • Also from a discussion with ArnaudB on Discord.
  • For the included "Extended Ship Variants Fallen Spire" Mod and the Fallen Spire version as well:
    • Buffed the EMP Missile Frigate up again, increasing its paralysis potential
      • The description now (accurately) states that it has 10 shots (instead of 5, it always had 10), but it now also gains 2 shots per mark level beyond 1 for a full 22 at Mark 7. This is because, as fights expand, more missiles will inevitably get shot down.
      • The maximum amount of targets hit per EMP missile is 7 instead of 5
      • EMP Missiles have an albedo of 0.6 instead of 0.3, making them immune to most tractor beams (if not all).
      • The base cap has been increased from 1-2 to 2-3 ships, or from 2-3 to 3-4 ships in the Frigates-With-Support fleet template.

Astro Train Buffs

  • Astro trains mark level goes up based on the number of trains spawned. When they begin spawning stronger variants the mark level resets to 1.
    • Previously the astro trains had just taken on the mark level of the AI, which meant it generally stayed low all the time.
  • The astro trains can now have Guards; each train can have some Guards who will deploy when there are enemies, and will return to the train when there are no longer enemies
  • Astro Trains can get more guards when they reach a Station. They also can heal a bit on reaching a station.
    • Guard strength increases based on trains killed (regardless of who killed the trains)
    • Guards are intended to make trains a bit harder
  • Astro Trains can spawn stronger variants after enough trains have been killed by the player
  • The largest balance change is letting the train mark level increase more readily. Guards are intended to be a bit of extra cool/flavour with some balance impact.

Version 2.617 Calming For The Nerves

(Released October 16th, 2020)

  • Should now be a new Journal message for AI Relic Trains.

Quality of Life Improvements

  • Add a new Galaxy Map Setting to change how the links look. Instead of using Red for "these two planets are hostile" or Blue for "these two planets are friendly", the game can now show a color gradient between the faction owners
    • The old style version is still available as an option.
  • There is a general problem with "churn" in ships and stacks being so fast that if you have many ships selected it was almost impossible to remove a status effect based off of a simple toggle.
    • Our overall logic was "if at least one of the selected items doesn't have the status, then add the status." But this gets intensely confusing, and we introduced transports that is part of why we made L be load and U be unload.
    • So let's revisit our older standing orders, too, because this is just problematic with trying to toggle them.
      • G is no longer "toggle group move" it is now "Enable Group Move"
        • You now have to use Ctrl+G to remove ships from group move. None of this toggling business!
        • Additionally, on the interface for the game where it shows the icon under selected ships, right-clicking that button now removes, while left-clicking enables. The tooltips are updated to say all this.
      • The same exact setup is now true for "Stop To Shoot Mode" and the K key, including its button and Ctrl+K and all that.
      • Exact same thing again with "hold fire/disable" functions and the N key, and Ctrl+N, the interface button, etc.
      • Ditto again for Pursuit mode and the V key.
      • And a final ditto for attack-move mode and the X key.
    • This is something that has been reported since at the very least February, and even before that, apparently. Somehow or other this still frankly just slipped past our attention. The amount of information overload that we sometimes face is kind of intense when it comes to bug reports.
      • But with that said, holy cow this was incredibly annoying. There's nothing like pressing a button and not having it do what you want to induce rage. We just don't really use these options all that much, or when we do they are with only one fleet selected, and it was working well in single-fleet situations. Something about multiple fleets in one selection was particularly throwing this off, but it's hard to be sure of the exact full reasons.
      • At any rate, we're glad to have it fixed now, and thanks to folks for bringing this up again so that it finally registered in our attention properly. This feels like a major frustrating oversight.
    • Thanks to Strategic Sage, Asteroid, Arides, and TechSY730 for reporting.
  • The escape key no longer clears your selected ships and fleets. There really was no good use case for this, and it was annoying to at least some folks.
    • Thanks to Asteroid for suggesting.
  • If you are on a map that is large enough that you can zoom out so far that the "Icons By Planets Hides At Distance" setting kicks in (default is 1.5, but you can change that up to 10 if you prefer), then now it will still show any fleets or other on-galaxy-map-units that you have selected. Later we can customize other display modes to show things in this scenario in various ways.
    • Thanks to Asteroid for suggesting.

Stationary Flagship Mode

  • New setting in the Ship Controls section of the controls: Hold To Give Orders To Stationary Flagships
    • Normally flagships that are unarmed will not listen to any orders that you give them. This is because usually you select their entire fleet, and you mean 'everybody but you.'
    • However, there are times when you definitely DO want to give them orders to move somewhere, perhaps transport some ships for you, and holding down this key while giving those orders will make them listen to you.
    • The alternative is to take them out of stationary mode, but this is far simpler. Movement orders on the galaxy map screen are always obeyed.
    • Default keybinding: control key.
  • The pre-existing "Flagship Movement Mode" option in the fleet options panel is now renamed to "Flagship Roaming" for the sake of clarity.
  • A new "Flagship Orders" option in the fleet options panel has been added.
    • It is either "Follow All Orders" or "Stationary Flagship Mode".
      • Unarmed flagships are by default stationary, while armed ones by default will follow all orders.
    • Description in the tooltip:
      • Some flagships are meant for fighting, while orders meant for hanging back. How far back is up to you.
      • When this is set to 'Follow All Orders', it acts like any other ship in your fleet. This is great for Golems and Arks. Not so hot for unarmed transports.
      • When this is set to 'Stationary Flagship Mode' mode, the flagship will just sit there and ignore all orders you give it. The assumption is that the orders are meant for the rest of the fleet.
      • To override this while staying in stationary flagship mode, hold Control down while issuing orders to the flagship. It will follow them as if this mode was not even on. This is perfect for rapidly giving different orders to your unarmed transports and the rest of the fleet they are supporting. Movement orders on the galaxy map screen are always obeyed.
  • If a flagship is in this new stationary mode, then they will show up with the "guard" shield icon behind them, which we don't really use for other purposes much.
    • This should help players who are jumping right into this new version realize that something is going on when their ships are not listening to them.
    • When Ctrl is held, then this shield status icon goes away and whatever the normal status icon would be appears. This is immediate visual feedback of what is happening, and also lets you check to see that your flagship is indeed in pursuit mode or what have you.
  • When a flagship is in the new stationary mode, and you are not on the galaxy map (where that is irrelevant), the tooltip for the flagship now shows "Stationary Flagship Mode!" even in the super brief tooltip, and then has more details if you go to medium and then full detail.
  • This whole thing with the flagships sometimes rushing to their deaths has definitely been one of the most singularly-annoying things since we introduced the concept of fleets, way back in the middle of Early Access.
    • At first, more fleets than not had big weapons (Golems and Arks), so it seemed like less of a thing. But over time, it has become more and more annoying.
    • This was something we have thought about for a long time, but for whatever reason we never could come up with a good solution for it despite how much it annoyed us directly, let alone player reports.
    • Thanks to Strategic Sage, nas1m, Asteroid, and others for contributing to this discussion since last December, and then more acutely more recently when this solution was arrived at.

Bugfixes

  • Fix a bug where the AI Reserves journal message was playing incorrectly when loading a sufficiently old game save.
    • Thanks to Metrekec for reporting
  • Fix a typo in the AIP hovertext in the resource bar
    • Thanks to Puffin for reporting
  • Don't let Exos sync with a wormhole invasion if the AIP is too low for wormhole invasions
    • Thanks to NRSirLimbo for reporting
  • Fix a bug where the AI was telling you where its major structures are, even on unexplored planets
    • Thanks to TechSY730 for reporting
  • Add some defensive code to the DoOnAnyDeath code path for the player
    • Problems were reported here in several multiplayer games.
  • Fixed a bug in the nanocaust where any savegames that included them and which were from version 2.614 would fail to load in 2.616.
    • Thanks to Cyborg for reporting, although we also ran into it ourselves.
  • It turns out that in some older savegames, we already had the wrong data types on certain other objects, such as having DoomData on certain ships.
    • We fixed this in later versions of the game and had them become more strict with how they are loading the related data in order to now allow for this sort of wrong data to persist, but in turn this made some older savegames (from the 1.3x timeframe and prior) unreadable.
    • For those older savegames, we've now relaxed the restrictions to allow for the bad data to be read in, and it will throw a warning message as you load those saves but should still actually get them open properly (the example save that we have now loads fully).
    • Thanks to Strategic Sage for reporting.
  • Fixed an exception that could happen in certain circumstances after failing to load a bad savegame.
  • Further updates: after a savegame with old bad data is loaded in, it now discards that old bad data after it loads it. This has no effect on gameplay, it was data that wasn't being used anyhow. But this does make it so that if you save it in a newer version of the game and then try to load the NEW save, you aren't just right back in the same boat with it not loading the save because of that bad data.
  • Updated the TimeBasedPool class to no longer expand, but rather to start large and just use the parts that it needs, throwing any excesses away if there really are any that are that far out of bounds.
    • There was an exceptionally rare exception that could happen when shutting down the game or going to the main menu out of the game with the way it worked before, but much more common was some extra slowness in how it was having to resize arrays to handle those events in general. That is all faster now, and can't have that sort of exception.
    • Thanks to Endovior for reporting.
  • Also put in some changes to further distance ships from pooling, and somewhat start a road toward prepping them more for the new style of PKID generation.
  • Fixed a cross-threading exception that could happen in UpdateEntitiesShownAtPlanetDirectly() if you were on the galaxy map view and a ship died at just the wrong time.
    • Thanks to UFO for reporting.

Version 2.616 Stop Printing Money, AI!

(Released October 14th, 2020)

  • Grappler Guardian balance updates from zeusalmighty, for those new units that come as a unique thing in the new AI Reserves mechanics Badger added yesterday.
  • Added a new Dire Singularity Guardian by zeusalmighty, for basically boss-level seeding in the new AI Reserves mechanics.
  • Fixed an issue where black hole generators that were not also on a ship with a gravitic core of some sort would not work.
  • Fix a bug where the scourge were spawning unlimited builders
    • Thanks to a number of people, including Sombre and ArnaudB for reporting. Thanks to Badger for fixing even after retirement.
  • Fix a bug where right-clicking a journal entry could cause an Exception
    • Thanks to Ahnold for reporting. Thanks to Badger for fixing even after retirement.
  • You can read all about The Badger And Puffin Legacy, if you like. Puffin retired earlier this year, and Badger is retiring now, so this is a good time to pay some respects.
  • The reinforcements seem to have a math bug in them, so we put in extra detail and formatting in how we export them.
  • Fixed a math bug in reinforcements that was basically "printing money" once the game really got going, and would let planets of the AI reinforce almost infinitely.
    • We're not sure if this is fully a new bug, but it has certainly found new expression in the new reinforcement logic.
    • This may have been an older bug that was somewhat suppressed by the old reinforcement logic, or it's a brand new typo, but because of how much code has changed it's hard to be sure.
  • For the first time, we now have a way for the budgets of the AI to dump their details to log files. What we found was a bit surprising and definitely horrifying.
    • First of all, for quite a long time, apparently the logic for partially-neutered planets has been horribly wrong.
      • If a planet was neutered down to 1 reinforcement point, then the budget would be 5% of usual, no problem.
      • If a planet had not lost any reinforcement points, then the budget would be 100% of usual, no problem.
      • If a planet had lost some reinforcement points, then the budget would... be multiplied by whatever the number of reinforcement points are.
        • So, you killed reinforcement points down to 4 left out of 7 original? Congrats, the cap is UP by 400%.
        • The correct number should have been 57% of normal, and now that works properly.
    • Then there was a really harsh AIP multiplier that was being applied. It was adding far too much based on whatever the budget was, and larger budgets were more affected.
      • Now it only adds budget for each AIP above 100, which is softer to begin with, and then it also only adds it based on 10% of the current running total, rather than on the entire running total.
    • Finally, there was a portion that was added based on time (number of 10 minute increments).
      • This was also too harsh. This is now based not on the running total of budget, but 1/10th of it, instead. Making this also a much gentler slope.
    • None of these were new errors, but they were showing up now more because the reinforcement logic calling these budgets was so much more effective.
    • Without these in place, AND with the above actually-charge-me-the-budget fix in place, now reinforcements happen at a rate we would expect.
    • Thanks to ArnaudB and Crabby for the saves where we could verify it, and others also for reporting.

Prior Release Notes

AI War 2: Sunset of The Badger Era