AI War 2:The Great Refactor

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AI War 2: The Final Cycle

What was this phase all about?

We hit a point, while working on the beta branch, where we realized we just needed to really rework a lot of the underlying code to make multiplayer and modding and so on be as bug-free and compatible as we wanted for the future. So this was supposed to be a digression that would take a week or two at most, but wound up taking closer to four. And there are then after-effects for a while, on top of that. But the good news is that it dramatically improves... performance, multiplayer correctness, how easy or hard the game is to code to, etc.

The goal of this phase was to finish up reworking all of the things that we need to, for maximum long-term enjoyment of the game. This also meant getting multiplayer almost, but not quite, out of beta.

We also did a huge number of extensions to DLC1 (The Spire Rises), and a lot of work towards the releasing-after-this-phase DLC3 (The Neinzul Abyss).

This was 94 releases over 230 days, from Jul 17th, 2021 to Mar 4th, 2022. You can read more about it here.

4.000 Return From The Endless Beta

(Released March 3rd, 2022)

  • The Scourge are a major offender for exceeding their unit cap. I've added a new mechanic to make sure this doesn't happen. The Scourge now track their unit caps. Once they exceed 70% of their cap they will sometimes skip building new units and instead give bonus experience to their existing units. The more units they make the fewer units they will create, until at 130% of their cap they will never make another unit, only donate experience to other units.
    • This exp instead of units behaviour also triggers when the scourge have too many neophytes at a spawner, or the scourge detect that the game itself is running too slowly.
    • I'm not entirely sure what the balance implications of having scourge units level up more quickly is; I suspect it won't be a huge buff for them because most scourge don't head home to upgrade immediately, and the game tries to spread out the experience donated a lot, but I might be wrong.
    • Also, this should only happen in games where the scourge are really powerful anyway.
  • The fuel "How to Play" entries from Strategic Sage are all now in place.
    • Thanks to Strategic Sage for composing these.

DLC3

  • Make the Defensive Necropolis cheaper to build and upgrade, to help differentiate it from the Minor/Major
    • Thanks to a discussion on discord
  • Fix a bug where templar assault waves weren't being sent. This was leaving the necromancer starved of resources.
  • Feeble elderlings are worth a bit less Essence, and all other elderligns are worth a bit more essence. We'll see how this feels balance-wise
    • From a discord balance discussion
  • Enraged Macrophages spawn as Wights instead of Mummies, since Necromancers could farm huge numbers of mummies from hacking the macrophage and getting a swarm of enraged macrophages to harvest
    • Thanks to Pmm5000 for reporting
  • The Elderling journal entry now mentions that higher mark Elderlings grant more essence
  • Give the necropolises some Modules. Defensive necropolises have the most module points. This is not at all balanced, and is provided to give people some flavour, and as an example for zeus

Bugfixes

  • Make wormhole borers less apt to target their own planet
    • Thanks to a report from Daniexpert
  • Potentially make the Uneasy Allies achivement work
    • Thanks to Master Buttermilk for reporting
  • Added a mechanic where the dyson spheres, which are quite large, now push immobile units (including metal harvesters) and wormholes off of themselves, and with a little bit of buffer zone, so that players and NPCs can definitely use all of these.
    • Also shrunk the zenith dyson sphere radius a bit, as it was slightly overlarge compared to its visuals.
    • Thanks to Tuntematon for reporting.
  • Fixed the tooltips so that the "distributed economy" mode notes that it is required for Challenger+ (it said Expert+, but was wrong), and Fuel properly notes that it is now required for Logistician+ (it also said Expert+ but was out of date).
    • Thanks to Histidine for reporting.
  • Some persistent error in IAttackAPlanetNotifier keeps showing up, so that code has been instrumented more so that we can actually fix it when it happens again. The code itself has been reviewed at this point, but there's no obvious culprit.
    • Thanks to Tuntematon for reporting.
  • Fixed another exception that could happen in the fleet popout window when looking at certain modular ships.
    • Thanks to Tuntematon for reporting.
  • In the lobby, the planets themselves are drawn smaller so that you can see them all on the screen at one time regardless of how spread out the map is. However, this often means that the text for the planets was shown really tiny.
    • The game now draws the text larger in the lobby over the planet names, and in particular over selected planet names, so that you can better see these. This is actually not a new issue; it's probably been around for 8+ months, but go figure.
    • Thanks to Zwei and Strategic Sage for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue where attack notifiers could throw exceptions or give empty color tags as text.
    • Thanks to Tuntematon for the save that could reproduce this.
  • Fixed up the way that GameCommands are serialized so that they cannot be corrupted as they are sent from the client to the host or vice-versa.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.

Beta 3.907 Release Candidate 4

(Released March 3rd, 2022)

  • Add some placeholder entries for Fuel in the How To Play section of the menu for when Sage finished them

Bugfixes

  • Add some additional debugging code for MP clients
  • The Necromancer no longer gets Objectives for the Outguard
  • Added a new debug option: Show Command Stats In Upper Right
    • Gives statistics on how many game commands have been executed, how many are waiting to be executed, and things of that nature. If you feel like you're having dropped inputs, this would be a thing to turn on to verify what is happening.
    • Thanks to Badger for the report that led to this addition.
  • Fixed some issues where loading existing savegames into the lobby could throw some errors that were not really errors in that context.
  • In general, fixed a number of serious bugs when it came to loading existing savegames into the lobby to start them over. This was really quite a hash, turns out.
    • Thanks to Badger for the report with a save that led to finding this.
  • Adjusted things so that the Explore All and Watch All options in the debug menu now reveal all factions regardless of whether the scouting would normally reveal them or not.
    • This puts a pin in a "corrupt save" issue that I was chasing, where the save was not actually corrupt at all. It just had trouble loading into the lobby, mainly.
  • Fixed a potential nullref exception in GetStrengthOfContentsIfAny.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • _Sim.ArcenExecutionManager.SoleContext will no longer complain for 200 seconds, rather than 20, so that at game start it should not happen anymore.
    • Thanks to Tuntematon and Badger for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue with the Zenith Architrave where they were never loading their custom xml info from DeepInfo, which meant that they would have exceptions when trying to have a civil war, among some other issues.
    • Thanks to Relay Bot for reporting.
  • Various parts of the game that might be lagging behind a shutdown order and then throw an exception saying that threads are supposed to be done now just get a null back instead. This tidies up some ongoing error message sources that were harmless but annoying.
  • Cleaned up some excess debugging when AI Eyes or similar were generating waves against players.
    • Thanks to Tuntematon for reporting.
  • Made an adjustment to our version of lists that will allow for swapping even the last element in it.
    • Thanks to Tuntematon for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue in DLC3 where the elderlings have never properly been linked up to their per-unit baseinfo because of a typo.
    • Thanks to Tuntematon for reporting.
  • Fixed a minor error where character buffers could complain about not being put back into the pool under some unhelpful circumstances.
    • Thanks to Tuntematon for the most recent report.
  • Found a bug that could have led to some gamecommands never being executed. If their frame on which to execute was erroneously set to 0, then those would never get executed at all, versus being executed instantly. This may be the solution to Badger's report, we'll see.
  • The game command watcher now also reports the max frame in advance of the current one there is a command queued for. This should never be higher than about four.
    • If the number is quite high, then that's indicative of game commands that are not going to be executed for a REALLY long time, and this is another form of bad data.
  • Fixed a bug with the new FRS ships added last build, where they did not have the proper tag to actually add themselves to the FRS!
    • Big thanks to Darkshade for figuring out what was wrong.
  • When ships have just exited a transport, or just traversed a wormhole in sight of a player, it now sends a bit of extra data to make absolutely sure that it's at the proper location on MP clients
    • This has been getting increasingly hard to replicate in the last day or so anyhow, with some of the other improvements, but once it goes wrong once it tended to go wrong over and over from then on.
      • In the hopefully-unlikely event that this still occurs in some fashion in the new build, my guess would be that this is in the Vis layer. I saw some ships from an AI wave appear at the same odd off-coordinates that my transport was, and those coordinates seemed to be the old spot they had once been in.
      • If that's the case, then I would need to put in another instruction that immediately sets the location of the Vis layer to match the location of the sim layer, which I usually try to avoid. Knock on wood that wouldn't be required.
    • Thanks to Bummeri and Tuntematon for reporting.

Beta 3.906 Release Candidate 3

(Released March 2nd, 2022)

  • Added a new max_damage_to_deal_per_target_hit_by_mark="0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7" attribute that is optional for weapon systems.
    • This specifies the maximum amount of BASE damage that can be done from this system to a target ship of a given mark (the first slot is for markless, then the next are by mark level").
    • On a really basic level, for just regular shots, this is a way to make something do less damage to mark levels of certain sorts, although I'm not sure that would really be desirable.
    • On AOE weapons or beam weapons, this is a way to make sure that no one target absorbs too much damage. For instance, if a super powerful attack has a ton of damage that can be divided among 100 targets, but only 1 target is in range, this puts a per-mark-level cap on how much damage can be done to that single target (or per target even in the 100 target case, or anything in between).
    • Please note that this applies BEFORE multipliers based on things like implosive weapons, or other things like that. As noted, this is just a cap on the initial base damage, and its main purpose is for AOE items.
    • This is untested so far, but should work.
    • Thanks to CRCGamer for requesting.
  • ReevaluateUnitOrders is once again run on MP clients, for the first time since April 2021. Essentially, this was seeming to be a divergence point for clients, but on the newer versions of MP, this is probably more divergent not to run it than to run it.
  • Added a pretty new green color prefab..
    • Thanks to Bummeri for the color choice.
  • Transport load/unload time lockouts have been removed, as they often feel like commands are being dropped and feel particularly bad in MP.
    • This was to prevent one exploity thing that players were doing, but it's not worth making the entire game feel worse.
  • Added a new cheat code: Brain Death
    • The higher functioning of all the NPC threads shuts off, leaving only autonomic functions in place. This essentially gives their ships the same level of intelligence that your own unattended ships would have. It's a lot like the NPC players went AFK.
    • Useful for testing certain things without having the noise of all the things the NPCs are thinking about and asking the game to do.
  • Added a new testing command: log fast blast
    • The host and all the clients will log their fast-blast data to the PlayerData/FastBlastLog file until this command is entered again. Only run this for short periods for diagnostic purposes.
  • Added a new testing command: dump all ship info or dump ships
    • The host and all the clients will log the state of all ships that they have any know about into PlayerData/FullShipStatsLog.
  • Added two new kinds of logging tool, mainly for being able to get legible information out of multiplayer that we can compare in a timely fashion.
  • Improve the Spire City Upgrade notification
    • If the spire city name is > 10 letters (which is the default), the planet name will be printed instead; these long names were causing a ton of text wrap which made it hard to read
    • When you click to upgrade there's now a confirmation dialogue window. Upgrading a spire city is a committal move, so this makes it hard to make a mistake
      • From a ticket opened by samnainocard
  • Some improvements to the necromancer in-game documentation
    • Thanks to a discussion on discord including donblas and Pmm5000
  • Fix a spire infused empire journal typo
    • Thanks to donblas for reporting

New Additions

  • Added five more strikecraft variants to the FRS ship pool. These units don't fleet boost (and thus are fully functional in Expert+ anyways) but cost between 2-4 AIP to acquire and mark up with Expatriate Tech. Most of them are based on versions of strikecraft newly employed by HRF or Marauders.
    • The Halberd Corvette is a variant of the Pike Corvette that only fires two shots instead of five per salvo. But the shots are of higher damage and feature an x5 multiplier versus high armor in comparison to the usual x3 of standard Pike.
    • The Sprint Bomber has less health and armor than a standard bomber but slightly stronger engines and a considerably higher top speed.
    • The Pincushion Corvette is a premium variant of Concussion Corvettes. The line is notably smaller ship count than normal. But each ship is roughly seventy percent more durable and the overall line puts out several times as much damage. Of course each ship is commensurately more expensive when lost because of this.
    • The Electropulse Tank is a Pulsar Tank with somewhat lower damage per shot but faster fire rates and a penchant for stripping shields or weapon jamming thinly armored opponents.
    • The Armored Parasite is effectively just that. The biggest differences here is that it is no longer as vulnerable to weapon jamming and tritium damage. Slightly more expensive per ship than its common cousin.
  • Added four more units to the pool used by HRF and Marauders.
    • These are variants of already existing units and are the non-player versions of the ships. These are what the new FRS additions are effectively based on.

Balance

  • Both the Lightning and Storm warheads within DLC1 have been revised.
    • Both warheads now feature a damage cap of one million versus markless and mark 7 units and two million versus anything else. They are wide range AoE weapons meant to flatten crowds in a regular game. Not assassinate Exowar units.
    • Lightning warheads now do 25m spread among up to 400 targets at most. Very effective against massed strikecraft but will have issues against stuff heavier than that in big groups.
    • Storm warheads now do a whopping 100m spread among only 100 targets. One or two of these into a rather annoying Warden and/or Praetorian ball should be quite the door kicker to level the playing field.
  • Siege Frigates get a bit of help at being better when hitting crowds instead of just one thing.
    • Base damage for Siege Frigate shots raised from 24,000 to 36,000
    • Damage cap imposed of 125,000 to any single target
      • The previous balance point for a Siege Frigate capped at roughly 134,000 damage dealt per shot once at Mark 7. Now the total damage at Mark 7 would be roughly 201,000 per shot if hitting at least two targets. The single target damage cap only really applies once the Siege Frigates are Mark 5 or higher.
  • Spire Fleets now spawn at the 3rd and 5th city, instead of all from the galactic capitol.
    • Otherwise the player gets all their flagships at high mark which is a balance problem
    • Thanks to daniexpert for reporting
  • The player's Overall Power Level for the human empire for Expert+ is now higher
    • The numbers are 2x for Expert, 2.3x for Logistician and 3.5x for Deathwish
    • This will mean players will see Exo War Units much earlier

Tooltip Changes

  • Fuel is now shown next to energy in the 2nd row, and in the stat rows when data for more than one entity count is displayed. This should be fully functional with switching colors to warn the player of shortages.
  • Being unable to claim beacuse of fuel cost will now be displayed int he claiming tooltip.
  • Metal current/needed for building and claiming is now displayed inside the claim section, so to give a bit more space in the 2nd row of tooltips.
  • Redid all the spacing for the top 3 rows plus the multi-entity stat rows in order to fit fuel and prevent overlap when mark-upgraded stats in brackets are shown.

Bugfixes

  • Fixed a large number of typos in Game Setup regarding Map types
    • Thanks to Mac for providing the list
  • Fixed a rare exception in "UpdateVisualObj at debugStage 1900"
    • Thanks to NRSirLimbo for reporting.
  • Crippled units can no longer be tractored at all.
    • Thanks to zeus for reporting.
  • The game now only reports that NPC factions are over cap if they are 50% over cap, rather than cap+100. This gives more time for the game to try to push it lower.
    • However, the message also now includes the text "Please report faction overage as a bug with a savegame, as this may affect game performance," to make it clear that this is considered an error state and that the faction author should be either adjusting the cap to be more appropriate, or (more likely) needs to put in some helper code to make their faction condense the units down.
    • The purpose of this code is so that a faction in general can't accidentally do more than it's supposed to, regardless of the intensity it is set at, and thus tank game performance as a whole. On insanely high intensities, factions should use tools like stacking, or removing two low-mark units and creating a higher-mark one, or removing multiple weak units and creating a scarier one, in order to keep things moving smoothly.
    • As more mod factions come about, this is a way in particular to make sure that if they are flooding the game with units, it's clear that's why the game is running poorly, versus there being a problem with the central game itself.
    • Thanks to pmm5000 for reporting.
  • Fixed an exception that could happen in the fleet popout window when modular ships were present.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Fixed all typos in factions' descriptions.
    • Thanks to Mac for providing a list.
  • Fixed a number of typos that said "Mark Siz" rather than "Mark Six" for the Dark Zenith.
    • Thanks to crawlers for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue in the fleets popout where the line would wrap sometimes when it did not need to when it was transporting ships.
  • Fixed issues where the selected ships window pane was double-counting the strength of units being transported, undeployed drones, etc.
    • Thanks to Tuntematon for reporting.
  • Fixed an exception that could happen when generating tooltips for attacks on neutral worlds when the necromancer was in play.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue that was locking the aggro distance of guards on challenger+ mode to being 3000 rather than the appropriate default of 5000.
    • Thanks to Strategic Sage and Mac for reporting.
  • Changed the display for stacks to, instead of limiting the multiplied amount to 5x and claiming it's damage, show that it's shot count without limit.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Resolve a colour problem with the fuel tooltip
    • Thanks to ozone for reporting
  • Add some additional defensive code to make it harder for Dark Spire Loci to spawn on planets with pre-existing VGs
    • Thanks to crawlers for reporting
  • Fixed an issue where MP clients did not have appropriate strength estimates for their ship lines, and also did not have proper ship counts for their ship lines for any ship lines that included stacked units. This was a bug introduced on Friday, when I shifted things about the ship counts to be calculated only on the host.
    • This was leading to a variety of issues, but one of them was divergent engineers on the client who were constantly trying to help factories build ships, and negative metal flows that were not really there, etc.
    • In this case, it looked like the client had many fewer units than normal, which is backwards from a couple of other reports where it looked like the client had extra units.
    • Thanks to Noble and Badger for reporting.
  • Fixed a source of random-seeming deserialization issues in ship systems that has been around forever.
    • Essentially, it was possible for the number of targets that a system has to be altered right as the data was being written to the network, or even to a savegame. Honestly I'm surprised this has not corrupted any saves.
    • All of this has been moved into methods that are protected by locks, and which try to use as minimal locks as possible while still providing full protection.
    • Thanks to Tuntematon, Bummeri, and Noble for reporting.
  • Add some defensive code for when units die on MP clients
    • Thanks to Tuntematon for reporting
  • Fix a bug where the game was incorrectly telling you that wormhole invasions were not unlocked
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting. This was a very old bug, first reported in 1.025!
  • Add defensive code in the hover entity code for MP Clients to help figure out where these exceptions are coming from
    • Thanks to Tuntematon
  • Fixed an issue where transported ships were a minor memory leak on MP clients... and actually another place where they were a leak on hosts and in SP, too.
  • Fixed a number of places where our style of serialization was exposed improperly to thread volatility, which could lead to random seemingly-unexplained failures, but typically only in multiplayer and only part of the time.
    • Player accounts and achievement statuses being sent with the world.
    • Transported ships (encountered this for sure) and modular ship statuses being sent for fleet memberships (the latter was already partially-hardened, might not have been an issue, but better to be absolutely sure).
  • When you have just loaded or unloaded a transport, that transport's fleet is not considered a valid target for assistance from factories for a few seconds. This prevents engineers and factories from temporarily redirecting resources to them (on the host or client or in SP, but it's most noticeable on clients) because it thinks that ships being unloaded are not actually present and need to be replaced.
  • Fixed an issue where the nonsim unique ID was being shown improperly in the chat log at the end of each line (it was a debugging thing that got left on).
  • The case of "client gets confused and creates way too many ships" was pretty much solved by my prior fix that also fixed clients from thinking they had too few units in general, but just in case (and for edge cases in general), I've put in further code that prevents clients from adding to stacks or the number of transported ships or similar. This is more for preventing flickery wrong info.
    • Thanks to Noble, Bummeri, and Democracy for reporting.
  • The world object now does the new-style count-less serialization for:
    • Chat text, fleets, historical data, planets, (were undoubtedly a problem sometimes, even if it was not explicitly hit yet)
    • Journal entires, outguard state, and factions (less likely a problem, but better to be safe)
  • Lots of parts of factions got the new count-less treatment, and pretty much all of them were some degree of risk for problem (and a number of them have actually expressed a problem before, but at the moment it's hard to know which because of the nature of the prior canary errors):
    • Faction indices of children, hostile, and allied.
    • Speed groups (including internal changes), hacking history (also including internal), tech history, metal and energy gifts, items added to the player command, vassal missions.
      • These internal changes to hacking items and vassal missions also improve entries on planet and squad.
  • Now planets are getting the treatment for no-count serialization, all of which were potentially problematic:
    • under the influence of factions, linked planets, viewed by player accounts, AI counterattack forces, vassal missions (outer).
  • Fixed a general bug in multiplayer where "under the influence of faction index" was just growing infinitely, and never losing any entries.
  • Ships/squads are now getting the count-less serialization treatment, and these are the main culprits that kept biting us over and over:
    • number of times hacked by each type of hack, systems (this is the big one), guard patrol points, protecting shields, AI reinforcement point contents, death effect damage done, ship grants,
    • Also fixed three other small places where in theory the host could wind up sending split data that would cause problems, even though it was not a count.
    • Also fixed a minor memory leak related to the number of times a unit was hacked. Was worse on MP clients, but was on all computers.
  • Fleets now have had the non-count update treatment:
    • Watchlists, member groups.
    • Also vetted planetfactions, systems (internal), wormholes, and shots, all of which were fine and did not need updates.
    • Also fixed what looked to be a bug related to watchlisted fleets, with them probably never becoming un-watched on MP clients once they were ever watched.
  • The internals of transported ships are now in the new count-less format.
    • So far as I can tell, this is probably all of the data that needs this adjustment.

Beta 3.905 Release Candidate 2

(Released February 28th, 2022)

  • Some settings in the Game Lobby (like starting science/hacking) that use IntTextbox now mention the max values for the field in the tooltip
    • Suggested by Pmm5000
  • The "Spire Intereference" random faction class now includes a few more of Kelp's recent factions
  • Add a new Neinzul Abysss random faction class, with neinzul units
  • Make the DZ and scourge less likely to go after ZA territory
    • This can get them bogged down
  • Added a new cheat code: Table Flip
    • The game is immediately "won." This is obviously a cheat, and it calls you out on that, but shows you the victory screen without giving you any achievements from winning.
  • Fixed a bug where anyone who won the game got the loss screen by accident.
  • When you are full on metal, it no longer implies that this just goes to nothing. Instead it is given to the Civil Authorities, and the amount shows up on the game over screen, as well as potentially being a cache of metal that can be partly given back to you if you find yourself in a very metal-poor (Drain) situation later on.
    • We really don't want people to feel like they need to rush in the early game just because metal is being somehow wasted, like every moment is a rush to optimize every moment of your existence.
    • Thanks to FwiffoForce for inspiring this addition.
  • Added a new Human Balance galaxy option: Civil Authority Repayment Multiplier
    • The Civil Authorities are given any metal that you gather while at metal cap. They are willing to pay back some of that metal if you are later having metal troubles, but will only do so at a limited rate. This multiplier determines just how limited the rate is. By default it is 0.25x, which is already quite stingy, but on Expert and above it is 0.1x.

Introducing The 'Logistician' Campaign Type

  • After discussion on discord, a new campaign type has been introduced: Logistician
    • This sits in between Expert and Deathwish, and it is now made clear that the advanced-player meta is on Expert, not Logistician.
    • Expert has been essentially split into Logistician and Deathwish, so let's just talk about the differences between them that are new in this version, rather than talking about what is in each one completely:
      • Cubular map type is now forced off in Logistician rather than Deathwish.
      • Share Allied NPC Vision is forced off in Logistician, but is now optional in Expert.
      • Bonus Random Faction Allegiances is forced to Hostile in Logistician, but can be whatever in Expert.
      • Beacons Enabled is forced off in Logistician, but is now an option in Expert (for a pure 10 win, this is still not allowed). Note that beacons are temporarily absent from the game, anyway.
      • Fuel is forced on in Logistician, but is merely optional in Expert. This is the really huge dividing line which is why Logistician was added, and where it got its name.
    • The introductory messages for each mode have been updated, as have the tooltips in the lobby.
      • PSA: Existing games on expert mode will still behave as if they are essentially logistician, because their settings were locked when the game was started.
    • Thanks to Dvd for the initial impetus behind this, but also the ongoing commentary from CadeyrnDragheim, Althaea, and Evil Bistro has been instructive.
  • New description for Expert mode in the tooltip:
    • Expert mode is meant to be where the advanced player meta lives.
    • This is not a replacement for Humanity Ascendant (HA) mode, but is a natural jumping-to point for more advanced players who want a more complicated and dangerous game flow based on their own capabilities and limitations.
    • If you wish to report the 'bug' of having beaten the top-tier AI, using Expert mode (or higher) is required. HA mode is inherently simpler and has some mechanics that advanced players can abuse but that are fun for new or midlevel players. If you hit the point where you feel like HA mode is just too easy, or is exploitable in XYZ way, then that's why -- that's a great sign you should be on Expert or at least Challenger mode.
    • Details: various galaxy options that make the game cheesy-easy are locked off, and you must fight a minimum of two AIs. A lot of the complexity of the game is lost when you only have one AI, because you don't get that ramp-up in challenge after defeating the first one, and have to figure out how to still deal with the second one.
    • In addition to everything that Challenger mode adds, this mode forces on mechanics that make beachheading harder to cheese. You also get only one Battelstation at the start, rather than two. There are some other features that are only forced on for Expert, but you can enable most of those features in lower modes as well.
    • Fuel is not required until Logistician, because that fundamentally changes the game flow in ways that not everyone is going to appreciate. However, fuel can be enabled as an option in any mode.
  • Description for Logistician mode in the tooltip:
    • Logistician mode is a step up from the 'normal' advanced player meta, and one that divides opinion. This adds in concepts like fuel as a required component, which makes the game substantially more complex to manage.
    • Overall, Expert mode is meant to be where the advanced players move if they want a more challenging version of the normal game. Logistician and higher changes the nature of the game in ways that many players enjoy, but others may find off-putting.
    • Details: In addition to everything that Expert mode adds, this mode forces on fuel, which require you to think differently about how you take and hold territory. There are some other features that are only forced on for Logistician and higher, but you can enable most of those features in lower modes as well.
  • Further reworked the descriptions of Humanity Ascendant and Expert mode in the lobby, mostly pulling directly from what Dudeman wrote.
    • HA:
      • Humanity Ascendant (HA) is the default campaign type for AI War 2. HA campaigns are dynamic, aggressive, and reward the seizure of territory with powerful features even if they are difficult to defend. Your primary challenge will be assembling a force that can crack the AI Homeworld(s) without allowing the AI to scale beyond your means to defend against. Other than your home command station, there are few strategic locations that are critical to defend, making HA campaigns more of a cat-and-mouse war.
      • Any game features, factions, or quickstarts will work in any mode.
    • Expert:
      • Expert mode is an alternate, more difficult, official campaign type for AI War 2. Expert campaigns are tense and complex, where you must choose your strategic targets very carefully and have many fronts that you must defend.
      • If you wish to report the 'bug' of having beaten the difficulty-10 AI, using Expert mode (or higher) is required. HA mode has some mechanics that can be abused in service of that specific goal, and that's a feature not a bug.
      • Details: various galaxy options that make the game cheesy-easy are locked off, and you must fight a minimum of two AIs. A lot of the complexity of the game is lost when you only have one AI, because you don't get that ramp-up in challenge after defeating the first one, and have to figure out how to still deal with the second one.
      • In addition to everything that Challenger mode adds, this mode forces on mechanics that make beachheading harder to cheese. You also get only one Battelstation at the start, rather than two. There are some other features that are only forced on for Expert, but you can enable most of those features in lower modes as well.
      • Fuel is not required until Logistician, because that fundamentally changes the game flow in ways that not everyone is going to appreciate. However, fuel can be enabled as an option in any mode.
    • Thanks to Dudeman for the great thoughts!

Balance

  • Made adjustments to the Prototype Assault Frigate within DLC2.
    • Given feedback via Zwei ship count per line in new games will be 5 instead of 6.
    • Health and damage adjusted upwards to account for one less ship in the line.
    • Metal cost and energy usage also adjusted upwards.
    • Made the fact they are faster moving than normal versions also more obvious.

DLC 3: Necromancer

  • Specter rate of fire decreased to once every 3 seconds instead of once per second
  • Lightning Tower now has harmonics. Every other LT gives a bonus base damage of 1,000 +250 per mark capped at 8K
    • The LT was feeling overshadowed by the other defensive options. Now, there's a good reason to have multiple LT as a main defensive option
  • Base Skeletons now have (very weak) harmonics (1 base, +1 per mark, 1,000 cap)
    • These were never worthwhile as a tech investment but make up the "backbone" of your armada. Now theres a compelling reason to get a skeleton horde together as they can eventually do considerable damage
  • Tweak some unit hovertext and a journal to more clearly indicate how the necromancer gets resources from killing Templar/Elderlings. It now specifies that the necromancer does not need to deal the deathblow.
    • From a discussion with Tuntematon
  • Add some defensive code to necromancer hacks
  • The Zenith Trader requires a player faction that uses metal
  • Fix a bug where skeleton lord homes weren't actually granting skeleton lords
    • Thanks to zeus for reporting
  • A tidying XML pass for skeletons and wights to make sure the descriptions are mechanically accurate in terms of attrition description
    • Thanks to Mac for reminding me about this

DLC 3: Templar

  • Stat block changes to Templar Fortifications
    • Still need to update their weapons
  • Fix a bug where the templar were sending Elite low-tier wave leaders incorrectly
    • Thanks to zeus for reporting
  • Hospitallers now regenerate units properly (and in general this mechanic should work for non-player factions)
    • Thanks to zeus for reporting

DLC 3: Elderlings

  • Fix a bug with the calculation of required elderling XML
    • Thanks to zeus for reporting

Beta 3.904 Release Candidate 1

(Released February 25th, 2022)

Balance

  • (DLC2) Shortened the primary weapon burst fire cooldown of the Ethereal Cruiser so it synchronizes better with its secondary weapon
    • Finally got around to implementing Darkshade's suggestion -- thanks!
  • Gungnir Cruiser's beam weapons now properly align with its model
    • Thank you to DarkShade for pointing out this visual oddity
  • Tesla Guardian and variants (including Dire) now have shield harmonics so they can actually be engaged by ships with a bubbleshield
    • Thank you to Dark Shade for reporting this bad interaction

DLC3: Templar

  • Nerfs to the Templar Wave Leaders (Herald, Prophet, Harbinger)
    • Also reduced science/hacking bounty from the leaders
  • Reworked the Grand Master: A powerful Templar destroyer, the Grand Master wrangles large craft with a reverse tractor beam to optimize its focused battlecannons for disgusting damage.
  • Reworked the Hospitaller: A supportive Templar destroyer, the Hospitaller regenerates fallen allies at the expense of its own health but can regenerate outside of combat. Has a planetary ranged attack designed to destroy freshly arrived ships.
  • Reworked Seneschal: A devious Templar destroyer, the Seneschal is cloaked and has two paralyzing weapons specializing in singular large ships and groups of small ships, respectively.
  • Add some additional templar balance levers for Zeus, all for the TemplarDifficulty.
    • AIPToStartUsingEliteWaveLeaders:
      • this uses the same approach as other Elite units (percentElite = currentAIP - Difficulty.AIPToStartUsingEliteWaveLeaders).
      • Defaults to 150. See the XML I added for examples.
    • AIPForWaveLeaderTierOne-TierFour
      • These tiers aren't literally ship lines being unlocked, but instead gives modified percentages for the mark level of wave leaders and how likely they are to spawn low/mid/high.
    • Elite Wave Leaders now have a unique qualifier name instead of "elite": The "Blessed" Herald, the "Holy Prophet, and the "Divine" Harbinger
  • Add a new cheat, templarwave, to launch a templar attack wave

DLC3: Elderlings

  • Wrathful Elderling can partially focus fire now

Bugfixes

  • Fixed an issue in the prior build with the MP easing code that solved jitter on MP clients -- essentially, part of the logic was inverted, but the effects were subtle enough that it was very hard to tell until a certain amount of time had passed and certain units started drifting off into the asteroid belt and beyond.
    • Related to this, fixed an issue where new fixed-position units placed on the client could seem to be placed at random spots around the gravity well (when in reality they were at the correct spot, but showing incorrectly on the client and unable to move to their proper location.
    • Thanks to Badger for both reports.
  • Further improved the "easing into place" code on MP clients, so that things stay out of position for a shorter period of time and will jump into place if they are very newly placed.
  • Final improvements for now to ship positional interpolations on MP clients.
    • There will always be the occasional edge case (these are evident in every realtime multiplayer game ever, and there are a lot of classic discussions of these on all the major games out there), but this seems to handle all of the main cases in as smooth a way as possible.
  • Adjusted how the ship caps for fleets are calculated, so that they are done on MP hosts only, and all the parts are done in sim versus a small part (relating to command station type swapping) being done in the UI. This has the following results:
    • Fixed a visible flicker on MP client build sidebars for some unit types, most notably some necromancer structures and command stations.
    • Fixed certain data being very slow to appear on MP client build sidebars still.
    • Fixed an intra-frame flicker on hosts and in SP games that would potentially cause mis-sorting, ui sort randomization, and other very subtle ills.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Fixed a display issue where the inhibitor citadel was still using the old art, and drawing it at enormous size. It now uses the proper art at the proper size. All the other citadels and battlestations looked okay in an xml review.
    • Thanks to Darkshade for reporting.
  • Fixed a serious bug in multiplayer where two separate threads were trying to use the same buffer when the client was requesting certain data from the host. That was inevitably going to result in some errors, and it's actually surprising it did not result in more.
  • Fixed a couple of fairly rare cross-threading exceptions that could happen in Client_CheckSyncDataSentFromHostAndNotifyOfAnyDivergences on MP clients, and also instrumented both that method and a related sub-method fully so if we ever have any future errors in there, we'll have more info on where the problem is.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • If there are multiple entities doing ghost-checks for the same ID on a client, it now checks to see if any of those were quarantined or pulled back out of the pool and gets rid of them silently if so. If units have transformed recently, then it's possible for this to happen in a valid way.
    • In the event that there are not extenuating circumstances like that where we can just toss one of them away, it now gives a more informative error message with extra info.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • In cases where there are duplicate squads on an MP client, and one of them is bogus, it will now just silently correct that, versus correcting that while also telling you about it. Previously it was fixing it, but giving you a warning that you don't need to see. Right now it will just give you that warning if both of them are supposed to be viable.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Fixed a rare exception that could happen in DoSystemOnDeathEffect on MP clients. Also improved the instrumentation all around this area.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • The "Allow higher planet counts" option in the lobby now still only allows a max of 200 planets even if the map type defines more.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert, -NR-SirLimbo —, and Strategic Sage for reporting.
  • Attractant fields work again. They were accidentally broken in an update on January 28th by yours truly.
    • In addition to these working again, area boosters of all sorts (there is presently only one sort) now specify in their tooltip how many ships they are boosting. Additionally, on the protected/boosted ships' end, they each give a list of all their boosters/protectors. So if you're underneath three Orbs of Protection, it shows that now, etc. And if it's protecting 7 units, it shows that.
    • Thanks to zeus for reporting the broken mechanic.
  • Fixed an issue with the ship class system that was setting any negative modifiers to zero.
    • This broke at minimum the "pull" (negative knockback) mechanic, but potentially others also.
    • Thanks to zeus for reporting.
  • The DZ are now better at linking their planets
    • Thanks to Lord of NOthing and Bob_1 for reporting
  • Fixed an issue with our version of MersenneTwister, which I made threadsafe on December 19th. Unfortunately, when I made it threadsafe, I also included a one-line error which made it effectively non-deterministic when it was set to a given seed. Basically, the setting of the seed was not fully "taking."
    • This has been messing up mapgen ever since, making it so that when you see a map with a seed, that's not really what you see. When the map is regenerated to go into the game, it scrambles to something else. Sometimes the map cache would save you from that, which is why it was not noticed faster.
    • Also of giant relevance, this also completely broke any sort of sync between MP clients and hosts, which meant that basically all of the random calls may as well have been perfectly random for their code paths. This meant that multiplayer sync has really been working overtime trying to bring things back into sync, and the degree to which that has been accomplished is actually really impressive and speaks well of the sync code. Regardless, it's really nice that it won't have to work so hard anymore.
    • Thanks to Lord Of Nothing for this discovery.

Beta 3.903 Multiplayer Polish

(Released February 24th, 2022)

  • Tweak the hovertext for ships with a galactic cap to hopefully reduce confusion
  • In the Game Lobby when choosing factions to add, there's now an icon for most of the factions.

Balance adjustments

  • Noticed plasma guardians were surprisingly cheap for the AI. Waves of these can be extremly deadly so these have been made more expensive
  • (DLC2) Blackguard Cruiser's C. Lightning weapon no longer only hits strikecraft/frigates, but now all mobile units (and only mobile units)
  • Lord of Nothing noted that base forcefield guardians ended up with larger shields than the Dire version did at high marks.
    • Adjusted universal shield radius scaling for guardians to cap at 1.4 instead of 1.8
    • Adjusted Dire FF guardians to have a base radius modifier of 6 instead of 5

DCL3: AI Types

  • Adjust Heroic/Jabberwock AI Templar units. Elderling variants now are more expensive for the AI. Roughly akin to Royal guardians
    • AI version of Templar strikecraft/guardians have less health and damage
      • AI Accursed Elderling decreased to x.02 of base Eldering from x.05

DLC3: Templar

  • Increased the purchased cost of the Wave Leaders. These were too strong
  • Nerfed the Herald
  • Templar Knight ROF slowed from 2s to 5s
    • Reduced its vampirism from .5 to .15 damage dealt
      • Templar Knights base damage from 3.5K to 1K
  • Reduced Page engine from 20gx to 14gx
  • Renamed the Sergeant into the Inquisitor
  • Prophet now Mark 4 (instead of 7)
    • Half the damage and removal of extraneous damage multipliers
    • Allows for more counter play since its conversion weapon only works on lower mark units
  • Units with Devour (or Absolve) now only hit mobile units
  • Adjustments to Templar difficulty settings

DLC3: Necromancer

  • Orbs of Sight base damage reduce. Intended to be a specialist against high albedo

Bugfixes

  • Fixed a potential memory leak introduced in AI Sentinels Seeding logic
    • Thanks to Ovalcircle for the bugreport
  • Fix a typo in the Autobuild Forcefields setting description
    • Thanks to Ozone for reporting
  • Add some defensive code to GetRaidTraversalDifficulty
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting
  • Add some defensive code to the objectives menu
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting
  • Add some defensive code to squadVisualizer
    • Thanks to Ovalcircle for reporting
  • The "Found a squad still in a PlanetFaction list after it was already in quarantine, yikes!" error message no longer displays on MP clients, since it looks like it's simply cleaning things up properly in those instances. It will still display on hosts and in SP, since there it would be evidence of a non-orderly cleanup of a unit, probably.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Hardened the movement planning logic against rare cross-threading exceptions.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue in the scourge updateExperienceAndMetal where it was complaining about something that ultimately did not warrant being complained about, thus shutting down the scourge faction without good reason.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Finally fixed a longstanding bug in multiplayer where it was possible to get a deserialization error on a squad if one of the orders in the squad was null. It was telling the client to expect more orders than it would really send, despite precalculating properly how many it would send. One-line typo, incredibly hard to spot.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Multiplayer clients no longer call the "Warning A! Called CreateExternalBaseInfo" message. They just correct the data and move on.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Fixed a number of vassal mission issues:
    • On MP clients, there was an infinite number of duplicates that would stack up on planets.
    • On factions themselves, there was a memory leak with ones referenced there.
    • And probably there was a serialization issue of some sort, so canaries have been inserted, although the actual serialization itself is not yet fixed.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue where hydra heads trying to spawn on MP clients could lead to an exception.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Dropdown lists should generally drop... down... unless there is not room, in which case they flip and go upwards. The logic for this from TextMeshPro was not working entirely properly, possibly because they were trying to keep to canvas space (their code has to work on a huge number of situations, including canvases in various levels of world space). At any rate, I've reworked this to look purely to the screen space coordinates (as adjusted into world space), ignoring any canvas space requirements.
    • This keeps lists dropping down more of the time, and only dropping up when there is absolutely not enough room. This then also fixes the bug where sometimes lists that were at just the "right" spot in the middle of the screen would pop up rather than down, and hang a few pixels off the top.
    • Thanks to Badger and Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Fixed an exception in CalculateSpeed index 7000 that could happen in the encyclopedia, or in general at random.
  • Fixed an issue in the selection window where if you selected a fleet with modular ships and then anything else, the modular ships would wind up showing in place of fleet names, making things look really scrambled and wrong.
    • Thanks to Lord of Nothing for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug where modular ships were double-counted in the selection window's strength estimate if you also had their fleet selected.
    • Thanks to Lord Of Nothing for reporting.
  • Fully instrumented RecalculateSpireCityMobileFleetContents_MainThreadSimOnly so that if there's an exception, we'll know specifically where it's coming from. I was unable to duplicate the error that was reported from there, but if it happens again we will be able to pinpoint it.
    • Additionally, that said, it seems like there was a specific issue where the game thought there was a missing centerpiece and was trying to repair it, and just getting rid of that logic is likely to fix this (as it's not really a concern of that happening).
    • Thanks to Saya for reporting, and to Badger for investigating this.
  • Expert mode tooltips were incorrectly showing "fleet wide bonus disabled" for way too many ships.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Fixed a boolean inversion that was causing tachyon beams, tractor beams, gravity generators, and similar to never show up in the tooltips in the last release or so.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert, Democracy, and Incognito for reporting.
  • Fixed a pair of rare exceptions that could happen in FixDuringDeserForTemplate_AddAnyMissingFactions.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Fixed some exceptions that could happen in CalculateDamageMultiplier.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue that has been plaguing Humanity Ascendant mode for quite some time apparently, where if you did not have the distributed economy on, you still got a massive bonus to the astroid mines from economic and home command stations, and a bit of a bonuse from logistical. Military command stations had no effect on this. This was majorly inflating player income.
    • Thanks to althaea for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug in the fleet swap window where the comparison was bad and would cause some endless errors if there were multiple valid fleets without any key bound to them.
    • Thanks to Lord Of Nothing for reporting.
  • Fixed the sort in the fleets sidebar to not just be alphabetical in each category, but rather to move all of the fleets with a hotkey to the top of each section first.
  • Hopefully solved the potential for errors in AttacksOnMyPlanets, but if anyone sees this again (it's an exception that happens when you hover over attack notifiers in the top of the screen), then please let us know with an included savegame if you can.
    • Thanks to Tuntematon for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue that could happen host-side in MP with fast-blast data for shots, squads, or wormholes.
  • Fixed a nest of funky issues that affected multiplayer clients and could lead to units that were alive on the host being marked as dead on the client (and having lots of extra bandwidth trying to reestablish them).
    • In general, clients are able to recover from a dead unit now (when the host says to), and additionally, clients no longer mark units as dead themselves, but wait for the host to tell them to (I thought that was what I'd set up previously, to be honest, but I missed three cases somehow).
    • The net result is that ships die when they are supposed to on clients, ships don't disappear after being crippled, and ships don't disappear after being claimed. Potentially plus some other random fixes to problems we had not logged yet.
    • Thanks to Bummeri, Tuntematon, and Badger for reporting.
  • The game now once again calculates the OverallPowerLevel of factions. This was lost months ago during the Base/DeepInfo refactor, and has been making the game much easier for players for most of the beta.
    • Thanks to a number of people for reporting, including Lord of Nothing
  • The rubber-banding and jitter that ships on MP clients have always been experiencing because of micro-desyncs and timing issues that are fairly intractable are now gone.
    • The solution turned out to be to not ever just correct the position of errant units (that the player can see), but rather to "apply pressure" in the direction that the unit needs to move.
    • The end result is less accurate, but it is close enough, and it smooths out all of the jitter so that clients feel just as smooth as the host. The clients are already getting their firing information from hosts, as well as a lot of other relevant data, so there's basically no downside to this. This also only applies to places the player is actually looking.
    • Thanks to Bummeri for the most recent report on this, although I've been mulling this for quite some time.

Beta 3.902 Spire Onslaught

(Released February 22nd, 2022)

  • Change the post-hacking exo strength on Challenger/Expert/Deathwish. Previously Expert/Deathwish were 10x HA. It is now
    • 2.5x stronger on Challenger
    • 4x stronger on Expert
    • 6x stronger on Deathwish
      • From conversation with CRCGamer and Zeus
  • module_points_added_per_mark_level now supports decimal numbers (like 0.5 or 0.25 per mark level being added).
    • Thanks to CRCGamer for requesting.

DLC1: Splintering Spire For All

  • The Splintering Spire are now available for everyone who has DLC1!
    • A large scale war between the Dark Spire and all Sphere factions in the galaxy. Sphere factions will unleash small task forces that band together in an attempt to dismantle Dark Spire VG for parts, while the Dark Spire VG will be far more likely to expand. As Dark Spire VGs are destroyed, they will leave behind Derelicts, that Sphere factions will than fight over for extra income for their respective factions. Yesterday's friend is tomorrow's foe.
    • A Gray Sphere, a Chromatic Sphere, and a Dark Spire faction will be automatically included when this Faction is enabled, and these factions will use the Intensity set on this faction.
    • If you help either the Gray Spire or Chromatic Spire become suitably dominant, you will be able to hack them in order to get either Warheads (Gray Spire) or Interplanetary Weapons (Chromatic Spire), respectively.
    • HIGH IMPACT: By enabling this, not only are you adding in two Sphere factions and a Dark Spire faction, but every single one will be stronger than normal, and be actively aiming to fight. You will have a whole other war to worry about during your own.
    • Most notably, the Dark Spire do not care who attacked them, and will be out for blood. You'll want to shore up your defenses more than usual to account for this.
    • Thanks to StarKelp for adding!

DLC1: Spire

  • Initial balance pass for modular Spire
    • Slowing effects for non-flagships in most cases had module costs increased and effectiveness lowered. Non-flagship Battleships and Dreadnoughts lost planetary range grav-gen slows in particular.
    • Module point gains for non-flagships reduced
      • Frigates and Destroyers gain half a point per mark thus 3 extra points by Mark 7.
      • Cruisers and Battleships gain 3/4 point per mark. 4 extra points by Mark 7.
    • Railgun modules on the frigate and destroyer were given a tap so they wouldn't be stronger DPS than their coilbeam options.

DLC3: Templar

  • Reworked the Templar Prophet to have similar stats to a Destroyer. Converts enemies into Knights Errant with promises of glory and immortality.
    • This uses a combination of "devour" and "infection" to instakill frigate-sized ships and turn them into knights. Fires only once per minute so you can make it waste its shot
  • Reworked the Templar Herald. Now sort is sort of a mishmash of the Dire Shield Guardian and the Dire Pike Guardian, the latter with the opposite damage bonus (low armor and low health) instead of high armor full health)
    • Also has a retinue of squires and pages to attend to it (as orbitals)

DLC3: Venators

  • Quick balance pass to the venators. These are supposed to be hard counters but they were pretty great against everything
    • Pretty much anything that has a bonus multiplier of x10 has its base damage divded by 10
    • Nadir Venator now has a cost comparable to a D.Guardian. These musthave been showing up everywhere. These had a base damage nerf but given a x10 multiplier against mass >= 8tx
    • The anti-sniper venator now has a counter-sniper weapon
  • Additional tweaks to Venators across the board to make them tougher than guardians. Increased the cost for the AIP to purchase accordingly

DLC3: Necromancer

  • Necromancer upgrades now cost way more science after Mark 3.
    • Necromancer can farm science pretty effectively so the later marks need to be more expensive
  • Reworked Skeleton warrior to be a melee unit. Traded bonus damage against bubbleshields for a polarizer (anit-armor). It also gained radar dampening
    • Skeletons were lacking a melee variant and I was never choosing this over the archer or rogue.
  • Skeleton archer took the warrior's bonus against bubbleshields. Basic Triangle complete

DCL3: Elderlings

  • Adjusted Elderling sanity levels to hopefully make Elerderlings go mad more often.
  • Maddened Elderlings now move much faster
  • Fix a series of bugs around elderlings upgrading to Med or High tier forms, including getting the wrong form and not resetting to mark 1
    • Reported by zeus and Daniexpert
  • Elderling Territory Changes
    • Elderling Max Territory is now 4 planet for Low Tier, 6 planets for Med Tier and 8 planets for the high tier.
    • Elderlings have a 50% chance of getting more territory (if they are below the max) when they mark up after mark 2
    • The Max Territory Size values can be tuned with MaxTerritorySizeLowTier (and Med/High variants) in the elderling difficulty XML
  • Elderlings can no longer change form while in combat; its very frustrating if an elderling changes to a new giant scary one in the middle of a battle.

Art

  • The notifier icon for the chromatic horror now uses its own (new) icon rather than reusing the devourer golem icon.
  • All of the new DLC1 content now has proper icons, most notably the new spire factions. This completes the icon work requirements for exiting beta, but there are still some other art requirements that would be nice to do.
    • A few of the ward icons in DLC3 are now in place, but not nearly all of those yet.
  • Visual updates to the base game:
    • Dyson Antagonizer graphics completely redone.
    • Same with data centers.
    • And coprocessor.
    • Turret schematic server has unique graphics for the first time.
    • ODSS also has unique graphics for the first time.
    • CCF has unique graphics for the first time.
    • DCF also has unique graphics for the first time.
    • Human Home Command Station (regular and core) have been visually improved a lot.
    • Updated the regular human command stations (military, logistical, and economic) as well.
    • All of the battlestations and citadels have had their visuals improved.
    • This concludes the planned updates to the base game and DLC1 visuals!
  • Visual updates to DLC2:
    • Spartacus cruiser has real graphics for the first time.
    • Ditto Gungnir cruiser.
    • Also Zenith Architrave Caestra (regular and phased)

Bugfixes

  • Quiet some debug logging text about Best Target Null
    • Reported by a lot of people
  • The new "displaces other units" new feature is no longer enabled for player golems or the Zenith Trader. It's just a thing for zenith miners, chromatic horror, elderlings, devourer golem, and similar.
    • This feature has various issues with units being pushed into unfriendly situations, and it's not worth the time to try to chase all the edge cases. This is a fairly minor feature, but it's nice for the really large enemy ships.
    • Thanks to Incognito for reporting the most recent set of issues.
  • Fixed an "HandleSpecialEffectRequests Error at debug stage 800" error.

Beta 3.901 Modular Forcefields

(Released February 21st, 2022)

  • Add a journal entry at the very beginning of the spire campaign just to let people know that it's happening
    • Suggested by Starkelp and Strategic Sage.
  • When you are in build mode, all forcefields (finished or not) now show their maximum range as an extension around themselves.
    • Thanks to several players for requesting this.
  • Much longer-ranged units draw their ranges now, since it is no longer so gpu-intensive to draw those as it was back when we first put in the limiter.
    • Thanks to Mac for requesting.
  • When you are showing the weapon ranges of a unit, it now also includes the forcefield range if it has one.
    • Non-enabled modules do not show their ranges on units, since that gets nuts fast.

More Modular Ship Updates

  • Modular ship modulars are now sorted by point cost, after their sorting group, but before their module name. This makes it so that the cheaper stuff in each sorting category is near the top.
  • New modular capabilities! There are new systems called module stat adjusters, which can currently adjust the hull health or shield health of units.
    • module_stat_adjuster (values: None, HullHealth, ShieldHealth, BubbleForcefield)
    • module_stat_adjuster_multiplier is then used to set a multiplier.
  • All of the Fallen Spire units now have light and heavy hull and shield health multipliers that can be used to customize them in addition to the weapons and the special tools that they already had.
  • There are now modular forcefields in the game, and the fallen spire flagships all have those as an (expensive) option.
    • To add these, simply use module_stat_adjuster="BubbleForcefield" module_stat_adjuster_multiplier="[YourMultiplier]" module_stat_adjuster_radius="[YourRange]"
      • Having a multiplier of 1 is fine if you just want to use the module to convert personal shields into bubble. This can be combined with other modules that increase shield strength, assuming the player has enough points.
      • The range expressed does not change with mark level, unlike non-modular forcefields.
      • The type of forcefield is still determined by stats on the main ship itself. So if you want to have a forcefield module that players can get, and it should be a hardened great-shield, then set those attributes on the core ship and then later add the shield just as a module.
      • It's possible to have multiple forcefield modules on a ship at once, but all it would vary is (in theory) the radius and the strength. If players turn on both at once, it gives you the combined strength multipliers, plus the largest radius. It is NOT possible have the shields on a ship vary in whether they are hardened, great-shields, electrotoxic, or whatever else. Those are centrally-defined only.
  • When you select modular ships, they are now always broken out as their own line items in the selection pane.
    • Additionally, even if you have select-by-fleet on, it now always shows a separate line item for fleet leaders, since that's something that a number of folks had wanted.
  • Proper icon is now in place for the "unspent fuel points" notifier warning.
  • Pending any bug reports, the modular ships feature is now feature-complete.

Expert And Similar Modes

  • Added in tip entries that appear when you start a new campaign on challenger, expert, or deathwish campaign types.
    • Thanks to Strategic Sage for adding these!
  • In expert and higher modes, it now has an explanation of why you only have one battlestation as an early tip in-game, plus some added context about that whole area.
    • Thanks to Strategic Sage for writing this!
  • Fixed an issue where Ultimate Fortress was forced on in Challenger mode, when it should have only been forced on at difficulty 8 AIs or Expert mode.
    • Thanks to Strategic Sage for reporting.
  • Fixed issue where cross planet waves was forced on in Challenger mode, when it should have only been forced on in Expert mode.
    • Thanks to Strategic Sage for reporting.
  • The starting tooltips for fuel, more challenging modes, etc, now show up in the first few seconds rather than after 55 seconds.
    • Additionally, the Helper Tips no longer controls them. Now it's a "Advanced Mode Helper Tips" setting that controls these.

DLC2 Additions

  • Riot Control Cruisers have now been brought forward to the modular age!
    • Note that this will only apply to new games since the old pre-bake versions in the wild on saves from previous versions of the game have some limitations that make them impossible to easily convert.
  • Now introducing the Prototype Assault Frigate available within select FRS for owners of DLC2.
    • Heavily based around ignoring or deleting shields with the available modular weapon systems.
    • Upgrades with Expatriate Tech.

DLC3: Templar

  • Reworked the Templar Squire: A basic Templar strikecraft, the Squire excels at lobbing grenades from afar at small clusters of enemies, which are particularly deadly to small ships.
    • Elite version has x2 health and x3 damage
  • Reworked the Templar Exorcist: A strong Templar frigate, the Exorcist deals bursts of area damage around itself, excelling at killing ships with a high albedo, like cloaked ships. On death, releases one final blast.
    • Added a Decloaker to the Exorcist
    • Elite version has x3 health and x2 damage
  • Reworked the Templar Paladin: A strong Templar frigate, the Paladin can purify enemies, giving them a second chance to serve a noble purpose as a Penitent Page. Harshly rebukes those beyond grace with radiant light.
    • Elite version has x3 health and x2 damage
    • Foretold version identical to Elite but min. mark 7
  • Reworked the Templar Sergeant: A fragile but deadly Templar frigate, the Sergeant is a cloaked bombardier that fires in bursts, cloaking before it fires another salvo. Its weapon specializes in taking out ships with powerful engines.
    • Elite version has x3 health and x2 damage
  • Templar Knight Rework: A strong Templar frigate, the Knight charges at its enemies to strike at melee range. Recovers health as it deals damage, especially against armored foes.
    • Elite version has x3 health and x2 damage
    • Elite Knights no longer have x10 the shields they are intended to have
  • Templar Constructor no longer has a weapon (won't break saves, its just deprecated)
  • Castles give 750 science instead of 1,000 and no longer grant essence
  • Reworked the Templar Harbinger. On death, summons a group of Foretold Paladins to carry on the crusade.
    • Stats are akin to a T1 exo unit, these are intended to be late game and not necessarily spawn at all in low difficulties. We'll see if that design goal is too narrow
  • Wave Leaders now grant more science/hacking

DLC3: Necromancer

  • Banshee has increased range for decloaking. It was previously shorter than its weapon
    • Banshee base damage reduced from 150 to 50. This unit should be weak against most threats except cloaked (high albedo)
  • Killing Sacrificial Blasphemous Elderling now grants corresponding flagship (instead Envious flagship)
  • Added mark lvl requirements to transforming into the Elderling flagships
  • Envious Flagship now correctly has the tractor beam that then envious elderling has
  • Bone Dragon can focus fire skull wave attack
  • Envious Flagship now has the envious elderlings weapon (instead of the accursed elderling)
  • Retrieving spent science for the necromancer is now more expensive and can be tuned separately from the Human Empire
    • Thanks to zeus for the suggestion
  • Increased the hacking costs for Amplifiers, retrieve science, and transform flagship
    • Necromancer floats a lot of hacking so we'll see if this helps

DLC3: Elderlings

  • Elderlings Exp to gain a mark is now based on tier of the Elderling. Low tier needs a little, high tier needs a lot
    • Mark 7 Nether Drakes appearing out of nowhere were painful. Hopefully you will now encounter these while they are lower marks

Bugfixes

  • Fixed a bug where the "Bonus Random Factions" feature was not working properly in the revised mapgen code. It now does.
    • Thanks to Bob for reporting.
  • Fixed some hull and shield health caching that was making it so that if fuel overuse happened, it would not always properly decrement (or then increment) the health of affected ships.
  • When you resume a saved game, forcefields are no longer invisible until you unpause the game.
  • Some of the short-term thread processing is now more accurate in general, as it was discovered that in long-running situations it would sometimes not process all the background planets well enough.
  • Forcefields are now calculated even for background planets, or planets without enemies, since this is all done on a non-primary thread.
    • This allows you to see what is under protection and what is not better, and it also allows for fireteams and other AI agents to properly anticipate things based on this, too.
  • FlagForForcedFullSyncToClients_FromHost() is now called on instigators after their times are updated on the host, so that clients will see the new info.
    • This is a good example of the MP model doing exactly what it is supposed to, but the code for the faction not being very MP-oriented and so the client seeing something suboptimal.
    • Most things like this are automatically handled by the mouseover from the client calling a request, but since this is an indireect notifier and not a direct mouseover, the host code has to be updated.
    • This is untested, but should work just fine.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue where you could get "ghost unspent module points" after C-clicking an FRS or ARS or similar.
    • This also seems to have fixed the "upgrading a command station causes ghost unspent module points" bug reported by Daniexpert.
    • Thanks to CRCGamer for the report and the save.
  • Made a whole raft of improvements to how systems on ships are conditionally processed for when they are sometimes on and sometimes not-on.
    • The most obvious new case of this is modules, but in truth this has always been a thing with systems that disable or enable themselves as unit mark levels change. These fixes apply to both cases.
    • The first group of fixes is related to whether a ship considers itself to be sniper-ranged, melee-ranged, return-fire-shooter, or what; that affects how it kites and how it pursues enemies, and it now properly only looks at enabled systems.
    • The second group of fixes has to do with how pursuit mode targets are calculated for units, as well as how the (lengthy) targeting lists are calculated. Previously, it did it for all systems, period, which actually was a bit of a bloat on older savegames if they had a lot of ships with conditional systems-per-level-group (DLC2 has a fair bit of that in NPC units in particular). It was even worse with modules. Now it just calculates for whatever is active at the moment.
    • This fixes the spire frigates not chasing pursuit targets even when in pursuit mode, with the sniper range weapons, for instance.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting and the save, and CRCGamer for figuring out what it was! This was still a gnarly one to chase down, and a good example of why I wanted modular stuff to sneak in with at least a part of a week window before we left beta.
  • Added a new DoForChildrenOfType_ExcludingParentsButIncludingPartialsAndSelf method to our xml parser, and it is now being used instead of DoForChildrenOfType_AndParentsAndPartials for the following sub-nodes:
    • entity_type_drawing_bag_used_on_death, entity_type_drawing_bag_used_on_periodic_spawning, entity_type_drawing_bag_used_on_spawn, auto_seeding_on_planets, fleet_membership, ai_ship_group_membership.
    • All of the others continue to inherit like before.
    • This should mean that things like the bustarius, some hydral heads, and etc didn't need their Disabled row definition anymore, as it was complaining about them. They no longer error, but checking their behavior has not yet been done.
    • Further, this should mean that the phased cestus should not try to spawn a copy of itself because it inherits from the regular cestus. However, this has not yet been tested either, since we didn't have a save just yet.
    • Thanks to Probablynotnoah for reporting.
  • Debug info no longer shows on the outguard spawn groups.
    • Thanks to habakuk for reporting.
  • Fixed all of the likely possible sources of nullref exceptions that were in the unspent module points notifier.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Added a new skip_checks_in_targeting_code_for_if_disabled_by_mark="true" feature to DLC1, to continue allowing Tackle Drones to work. Those were working via a quirk of how the targeting logic used to function, CRCGamer noticed, and so this should allow for them to continue to drag their targets off to the end of the gravity well despite the other targeting becoming smarter.
    • This is untested, and if we need a new mechanic for them to get them to work, let me know. I think I recall having a report about tackle drones just sitting there even some versions ago.
  • Related to the same targeting method used by the Tackle Drones of DLC1 the tractor drones of the Backdoor Factory also use a similar trick. Applied same fix.
  • Rather than spawning endless errors when an invalid number of planets is chosen for our pathfinders, it now just shows a few errors that actually explain that the planet count is too high, and then it disables pathfinding calls in that game (so ships can't get between planets in general, except to directly next door).
    • The maximum number of planets is 299, and the save in question had 301 (it started with 300 probably, and then added a nomad).
    • More than the normal 120 planets is really discouraged, as the performance in larger galaxies get more-than-exponentially worse.
    • Thanks to william montag for reporting.
  • Fixed two issues in the More Frigates mod where I misspelled the word yellow.
  • Fixed a bug where icon underlays from one game (fimbulwinter, etc) could persist into the next.
    • Thanks to Lord of Nothing for reporting.
  • Per-second sim repair has been instrumented with more debugging info so that if it has an exception again, we'll know where it is. The exception was harmless, thankfully.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • If you are playing the game in Expert mode, and don't know that fleet wide bonuses are disabled on purpose, it seems like a bug when they aren't mentioned at the FRS. The FRS units now explicitly mention that their fleet-wide bonuses are disabled by a galaxy option that is probably related to the campaign type.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.

Beta 3.900 Modular Ships / Ship Loadouts

(Released February 20th, 2022)

DLC1: Modular Ships

  • Modules have come to AI War 2!
    • The loadouts system is now in place, and is ready for the xml designers to start adding things to new ships.
    • As part of this, the spire that you get as part of the Fallen Spire (or Spire-Infused) games are all now modular, and their existing starting modules are a mix of their old guns and the weapons from the (now-retied) Spire Railgun Shop by Lord of Nothing. Thanks again to Lord of Nothing for giving those to us.
    • Still todo: adding bubble forcefields, health, and shield health from modules. Weaponry, cloaking, tachyon, etc, all already work. Also some form of prefixing or name adjusting based on selected modules needs to be figured out.
      • Note: I am not planning on adding any sort of "base frame switch" mechanic. Because of the extremely large number of modules that we can have now, that really seems unneeded. Flagships already have that capability anyway, so this is really just referring to things that are modular and yet not a fleet leader.
  • If you have unspent module points on a unit, then there's a notifier that shows up at the top of the screen, letting you quickly cycle through all of those without having to dig in menus.

DLC3: Templar

  • Reworked Templar Apprentice: A basic Templar strikecraft, the Apprentice is a cloaked melee fighter equipped with fusion saws to partly bypass shields.
    • Elite version has x2 health and x3 damage
  • Reworked the Templar Page: A swarmer Templar strikecraft with a hardened hull, the Page is exceptional against highly-armored ships, particularly if they are also massive.
    • Elite version has x2 health and x3 damage

DLC3: Necromancer

  • Skeleton Mage has 50% damage buff and no longer only hits strikecraft/frigates
  • Doubled Cyclopean flagship damage
  • Adjust stats of the Necromancer flagships. Flagships gained from Elderlings now scale more based on the tier of the Elderling
  • Reduced Catapult base damage from 2,500 to 1,500 (for the catapult weapon)
  • Increased Lightning Tower based damage from 1,500 to 1,750
  • Treacherous Totem spawns a new Orb of Entropy every 20s instead of every 10s
  • Blasphemous Flagship's beam weapon now only hits albedo < 0.7 to make consistent with Elderling (see below)
  • Necromancer Flagships now have firing_delay_for_transported_ships="6"
  • Increased the repair time (i.e., metal) for Necromancer flagships. The top-end ones are akin to Golems
    • This is an indirect buff to Lifeforce Totems and Igors, as these will be needed to quickly uncripple your flagships
  • Heroic AI Templar units now have their strikecraft/guardian/D.Guardian entity status so they grant ships to the Necromancer. This AI was pretty brutal without that ability

DLC3: Elderlings

  • Doubled Clyclopean damage
  • Plagueswarm Elderling creates its plagueswarms every 2 seconds (instead of every second)
  • Nether Drake Elderling creates its Fireballs every 5 seconds (instead of every second)
  • Adjustments to Elderling intensities. Generally, requires more AIP to unleash higher tier Elderlings
    • More Elderling intensity adjustments. Starting eggs reduced by 1 and chance to spawn 2 Elderlings decreased by 5%. Exp needed to mark up increased by 100
  • Blasphemous Elderling beam weapon now only hits albedo < 0.7 to give more counterplay. Cloaked units in particular
    • At Mark 7 these were pretty much a fleet wipe. Should still approach with caution
    • Nether Drake now correctly only spawns 5 fireballs instead of 50.

DLC3: Sappers

  • Gave the two strikecraft used by Sappers a bit of work so they were not carbon copy placeholders anymore.
    • Emerald Blaster now additionally likes beating up high albedo targets.
    • Topaz Blaster now is considerably more durable, fires slower, uses a beam weapon, and really applies damage to higher mass shielded targets.

Balance Adjustments

  • Applied a balance adjustment to the Retribution Guardian in DLC2
    • Shifted its health around to give it a more pointed vulnerability to shield bypassing damage. 55% of its health is in shields now instead of just 34%. Piercing tech enthusiasts rejoice.
  • Armored Golem albedo increased from 0.5 to 0.8

Bugfixes

  • Fixed an issue where ship lines could not be paused from construction if they were a city-fed custom fleet like the spire or necromancer.
  • Fix a bug where wormhole invasions were getting very strange target planets
    • Thanks to Lord of Nothing and Daniexpert for reporting
  • Fix a logic inversion that broke Scrub Foes
  • The bolstering interface now actually has a popup that allows you to choose from a list of cities, versus a basic toggle through the cities.
    • Also this now will work in multiplayer (previously it would be completely ineffective on MP clients).
  • Fixed a bug where the list of player spire fleets had duplicate issues since the introduction of the Spire-Infused Empire.

Mod Updates

  • Minor update to More System Defenders
    • Quick fix for setting the new beam_weapon_visual_style property for the Gorgon Frigate and its variants.
  • Updated all of the mods to include the new tags for the beam weapons (with variable colored lasers) so that they all should work properly.
    • Thanks to motai for reporting.
  • Fixed one source of "yikes! fleet changed" errors in the civilian industries mod. If mods or other content are to change the fleet of a ship, then they also need to change the central registryinfo of the squad to note that this was an intentional thing. Otherwise the game is going to think it's a multithreading error and report endless errors.
    • In this particular case I was able to just change it to put it in the correct fleet from the start (this is what should have been done in general for slightly better performance), but if there are cases where the fleet actually needs to change, then the code will need to be adjusted there as well. I didn't see any such cases in a quick code review, but you never know.
    • Thanks to mashtong54 for reporting.

Beta 3.807 Spire And Neinzul

(Released February 19th, 2022)

DLC1: Splintering Spire (Preview)

  • Added Splintering Spire, the renamed and reimagined Sphere Wars
    • A large scale war between the Dark Spire and all Sphere factions in the galaxy. Sphere factions will unleash small task forces that band together in an attempt to dismantle Dark Spire VG for parts, while the Dark Spire VG will be far more likely to expand. As Dark Spire VGs are destroyed, they will leave behind Derelicts, that Sphere factions will than fight over for extra income for their respective factions. Yesterday's friend is tomorrow's foe.
    • Thanks to StarKelp for creating this! Please note that this is presently only available to DLC3 testers, but it will see a more general release soon.

DCL2: Zenith Onslaught Updates

  • Jormugandur now hits 50 targets up from 30

DLC3: Necromancer Updates

  • tripled skeletons damage. These did basically nothing
  • Skeleton warriors now do x5 to bubbleshields
  • Mummies now have the "Devour" mechanic so they can sustain themselves better. They will still slowly attrition to death
  • Igors now act like combatants (selected with fleet)
  • Non-skeleton ships now all have the frigate scaling
  • Possessed Wight's damage reduced by about 30%
  • Infectious Wight's damage doubled

DLC3: Elderlings Updates

  • Plagueswarm and Nether Drake now grant 1,000 science when killed, and 8 +4 essence per mark
  • Reworked the Accursed Elderling. Weaker than similar-sized Elderlings, but causes its enemies to take damage whenever they fire upon it. Its primary weapon deals massive damage to a single target, bypassing any personal shielding. No longer has a bubble shield
    • Accursed Flagship operational! Claim this by killing a hacked Accursed Elderling.
  • Slothful Elderling hull increased from 1.4M to 1.5M and shields increased from 300K to 500K
  • Wrathful Elderling hull reduced from 1.4M to 1M and shields increased from 300K to 1M
  • Decadent Eldering hull reduced from 9M to 6M and shields reduced from 6M to 3M
  • Envious Elderling Rework. Now has advanced tractor beams that restrain ships up to its own mass. Deals more damage to ships caught in its tractors
    • Envious Eldering hull increased from 3M to 5M and shields increased from 3M to 4M
    • Envious Flagship operational! Claim this by killing a hacked Envious Elderling
  • Blasphemous Elderling now has a modified Ion cannon weapon. Shoots 6 "drill" beams that each deals up to 10% of targets max hull. Resisted by target being same mark or higher.
    • Letting these get a lot of marks is very dangerous, so kill them while they are weak
    • Oh, these don't have hilarious gigantic models anymore
    • Blasphemous Elderling's primary weapon now only hits mobile units. Given an additional weapon (blasphemous blaster) that deals bonus to mass >=5tx
    • Blasphemous Flagship now operational! Get this by killing a transformed Blasphemous Elderling
  • Significant rebalance of the elderling intensitiy settings. These have more uniform changes than before.
  • AI versions of Elderlings now corresponds to guardian/D.Guardian strength
    • This is a pretty sizeable change all together. Added a couple of missing Elderlings as guardians. Heroic AI is halfway there to being "finished"
  • Add a new cheat
    • cmd:elderling, NameOfElderling|TagForElderling
    • so MedElderling or EnviousElderling will both work. It is case sensitive.
  • Fix some elderling tag related typos
    • Thanks to Zeus for reporting

Bugfixes

  • Fix a null reference exception in Helper_MakeThreatChunksFight
    • Thanks to Habakkuk for reporting
  • Fixed a bug where the FRS damage boost and hacking-point-cost individual ship damage boosts would apply twice. This was simply some duplicate leftover code.
    • Thanks to Lord of Nothing for reporting and NR SirLimbo for fixing!
  • Fixed bad info in the debug logging data of Coilbeams and AoE explosions where it would only show the stacks of the attacker and target after the damage was done, not also the stacks from before (targets might die, and attackers might also with self-damage).
  • Fixed a bug with beam math where the damage number shown for the weapon was not the full damage dealt if the primary target and others were hit at the same time, the primary target damage was simply forgotten to add up, which meant the next bug was flying under the radar.
  • Fixed a terrible bug with Coilbeam math (yay, has been a while!) where the primary target could be hit for as many times as it has stacks with full damage.
    • Thanks to Lord of Nothing for reporting, testing and giving several saves to test on, and NR SirLimbo for fixing!

Beta 3.806 Space Lasers

(Released February 18th, 2022)

  • Added a new DLC1 feature, sets_target_to_random_location="true" for entity systems, which casuses anything damaged by that system to go warp to a random spot in the gravity well.
  • Improved the randomization of "get random point in circle that is also in planet gravity well." It was tending to only pick points at the edge of the circle, and now it does a better job of picking points anywhere in the circle.
  • The color pickers now show a tooltip with the name of the xml field that you are hovering over. This makes it vastly easier to choose things that will be for faction defaults or new presets, etc.
  • The "Skip Drawing Unit Models" performance setting has been split into two parts:
    • One is now a dropdown, which allows you to skip drawing small only, medium and down, everything except huge and fleet leaders, or everything.
      • This is a lot more flexible, and allows you to tune things based on your machine's performance and your personal preferences. Also, none of these options disable planet-standins now (the new in-gravity-well dyson spheres), which makes that consistent with the way that dyson spheres used to work as well.
    • The second option is "Skip drawing heavy models," which can be toggled on separately for to disable models that are unusually heavy for some reason. Right now the only model of that sort is the flenser.
    • Thanks to Puffin for suggesting.
  • Added a new beam_weapon_visual_style, which must be set now for all beam weapons. This allows you to choose from the following options:
    • Laser_BlueBright, Laser_Cyan, Laser_Green, Laser_GreenBright, Laser_Purple, Laser_PurpleBright, Laser_Red, Laser_RedBlack, Laser_Yellow, Laser_YellowBright, Lightning_Blue, Lightning_Gold, Lightning_Green, Lightning_Purple, Lightning_Red.
    • Hooray more options for unit designers!
  • Updated the rust/dirt shader that is now used on the scourge neinzul to include my normal reflection cubemaps stuff so that those wind up looking like they belong in the game rather than being overly matte in texture. This shader will be used on a lot of the zenith stuff coming up, so that's handy.
  • Random factions now tell you the Impact of all the factions in a given class. This lets players make more informed decisions

DLC1: Warheads And Interplanetary Weapons

  • Added a new subtract_one_ship_cap_on_death="true" for units that are consumable, like warheads. Aka, once one is used, you can't build a replacement without getting more cap some other way.
    • This is not yet tested, so please let us know (with a save) if it has problems.
  • Added a new destroy_planet_on_death="true" xml field, which is used by nuclear warheads (now in DLC1).
    • Actually, this one completely removes the planet from the galaxy network and re-routes the wormhole links, which is interesting but too powerful for the nuke.
  • Also added ravage_planet_on_death="true", but that's too tame for a nuke. That's part of what needs to happen, but it also needs to destroy more than just the metal harvesters.
    • That said, some other units may find this useful, particularly in a mod.
  • Finally, added ravage_planet_and_all_units_on_it_on_death="true", which leaves the planet on the galaxy map network, but with a dead husk in place, no metal harvesters, and takes out all units.
    • This is the friend that our nuclear warheads have been waiting for, so they're all set now.
  • emp_blast_on_death="true" has been added, and is now on EMP warheads in DLC1. They now fully function.
  • Warheads and similar that are paralyzed now fizzle on explosion. This may never really come up, or it might become some interesting part of some mod.
    • But essentially, don't try a one-two of an EMP and then a nuke, because your nuke will fizzle but you'll still lose the cap and have AIP rise with no benefit.
  • Mark 7 units are now properly spared from nuclear explosions and even zenith miner planet destruction. No sneaky sniping an AI Overlord with these.
    • Also EMPs.
  • Added ravage_current_and_adjacet_planets_and_all_units_on_it_on_death="true", which is used on The Last Resort, an interplanetary weapon you can get from the Chromatic Spire (with great difficulty) in DLC1.
    • Implemented The Last Resort using this, at a cost of 120 AIP and with no restrictions on what planets you use it on. If you use it on AI core worlds and it has very little effect... that's a whoops. And same if you use it next door to your homeworld and you insta-lose. Maybe this was your choice to take the enemy with you. I've certainly done that in AIWC.
  • time_stop_current_and_adjacent_planets_on_death="true" has been added to support The Time Stopper interplanetary weapon in DLC1.
    • This basically does an EMP blast that lasts for 60 seconds, paralyzing everything friend and foe that is not mark 7. It's a great way to soften up an enemy before attack, if you're a bit back.
    • The Time Stopper costs 10 AIP to detonate, but I decided against actually implementing any restrictions on where you can detonate it (since using it on core worlds and home worlds is probably of limited use anyhow, since they are mostly mark 7 units).
  • Added a new death_spawn_happens_on_own_planet_and_all_adjacent_planet="true" feature to DLC1, which allows for a unit to make spawns on its own planet and all adjacent planets when it dies, rather than just spawning things on itself.
    • Added The Wormhole Jammer as the final interplanetary weapon:
      • Spawns one Super Black Hole on its planet and all adjacent planets when destroyed by enemy forces or scrapped. These machines block all wormhole travel out of those planets (but not in) for 120 seconds. Detonation of The Wormhole Jammer costs 10 AIP, but unlike other warheads or interplanetary weapons it can be rebuilt if you wish.
  • Also added a new adds_black_hole_effect_for_all_entities_period="true", which black holes all units, no exceptions, period.
    • This is meant to never be countered by any mechanics, as it's intended to be a temporary state of affairs when a unit uses this.
  • When units have been black-holed, that now shows up in their tooltips like paralysis and similar do.
  • Added two new galaxy options:
    • Using Nukes Is Considered Cheating
      • Nukes are fun, but incredibly powerful. If this setting is on, then detonating one of those will be considered cheating for purposes of achievements, winning-against-diffuclty-10, etc. Forced on for expert mode.
    • Using EMPs Is Considered Cheating
      • EMPs can save you from a desperate situation, but are they too powerful. If this setting is on, then detonating one of those will be considered cheating for purposes of achievements, winning-against-diffuclty-10, etc. Forced on for expert mode.
    • Worth noting: you can still use the Wormhole Jammer in expert mode, that means. It is difficult and expensive to get, costs 10 AIP, and affects everyone equally; seems like a fair use to me! Lightning and Storm Warheads are also currently not banned in expert mode, but hopefully their AIP costs and other challenges of acquisition are considered sufficient.

DLC1 Minor Faction: Chromatic Horror

  • New Minor DLC1 Faction: Chromatic Horror
    • Like the Devourer Golem and Zenith Trader, this wanders around at random. Like the Devourer, this causes trouble.
    • Specifically, this one is not as strong as the Devourer, and also does not do as much damage, but it shuffles anything it shoots all around the gravity well. Watching it go through AI planets on 5x speed, it's pretty hilarious seeing it looking like it's dribbling some units around like a soccer ball at times.
    • This faction is very simple, and was largely made because I had some cool art that I had made that I wanted to use (this thing is gorgeous), but also paired with the fact that I wanted to see a really spatially-disruptive faction that was not militarily strong on its own.
    • This is potentially devastating to your own planets, since it will shuffle all your turrets around, and your forcefields as well. That said... on enemy planets, it can create some really interesting situations by spreading them out more, too.

DLC 3 Balance

  • Sabot Ward base damage nerfed from 1,000 to 100.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert and Mac for pointing out how op these were
  • Shield Ward nerfs:
    • (Mark 1) shields reduced from 75K to 50K (These still are Mark 5 by default, since these are from the FRS)
    • Metal cost increased from 100K to 250K
    • Embrasure Ward per Shield Ward reduced from 5 to 3
  • Stinger Ward based damaged buff from 100 to 300
    • Thanks to Starkelp for feedback!
  • Give the DZ some bonus income when the fallen spire is active. This can be tuned in the DZ Difficulty XML. The knobs are
    • SpireRelatedMetalIncome
    • SpireRelatedOtherIncome (it gives X of each other resource type)
    • SpireRelatedIncomeInterval (how often to give the above bonuses)
      • The bonus income will happen as long as the player has at least one spire city

Necromancer/Elderlings

  • All Necropolis varieties (excluding Phylactery) start with an additional hex
    • Thanks to Sounds and pmm5000_1 for their feedback!
  • Ikiyrios weapon range now matches gravity generator range
    • Thanks to Mac for pointing out this issue!
  • Phylacteries now spawn near the middle of their starting planet
    • I think Daniexpert asked for this?
  • Plagueswarm Elderling tweaking to be more performance-friendly. Reduced number of plagueswarms and viral swarmers.
    • Above applies to the Plagueswarm Flagship too
  • Plagueswarms now have a short-range weapon instead of a melee one. (Sorry Puffin)
  • Decadent Elderling devour-vampirism reduced from 10% to 2.5%. These things have such large healthpools they were a pita to kill
  • Lightning Tower ROF reduced from 9s to 6s
  • Necromancer/Elderlings use Purple beams
  • Very slightly increased coverage of orbs of absorption (the distance from the ward increased from 3,000 to 3,100)
    • We'll see if further adjustments needed after attractive fields are fixed
  • Move some necromancer journals around to not dump all of them on players immediately.
  • The Rift journal entry now includes the name of the planet
    • Thanks to Sounds for suggesting

Bugfixes

  • Fixed the lasers of the devourer golem being offset strangely because of the xml having an error.
  • Made an adjustment that should solve issues of things like engineers not being able to get in range of certain units. The math that was previously there looks to have been backwards, potentially for years, so that's curious.
    • Thanks to Tuntematon for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue with how player units were scrapped that could cause them to not do their on-death effects. For warheads in particular, this was problematic, since (as in the first game), the main way of setting off the warhead is to scrap it.
  • Fixed a further issue with only_fires_on_death not working because it thought the system was still cooling down (of course it was not, it has never fired by definition).
    • Thanks to tadrinth for reporting.
  • Fix a bug related to Random Factions where you could get lobby-related errors as the game starts
  • Improve some code in the selection window for long flagship names
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting
  • Players can no longer hack friendly Elderlings
    • Thanks to zeus for reporting

Beta 3.805 Bolstering Spire

(Released February 17th, 2022)

  • Player-Allied Elderlings are tracked by the player as soon as they are spawned (in games going forward)
  • Take a pass over the Necromancer Tips; there's now some color coding to make clearer what entries are what. Also add some new Tips explaining some additional necromancer concepts.
    • From feedback from Sounds
  • Updated Risk Analyzers with lobby configuration settings, with defaults set to the current values
    • Now you can make it much more shifted in the AI's favor, maybe even as pure strikeforce generators, or give more of a benefit to you for holding them, tons of options
    • This was always able to be changed, but only via editing External Constants, which would make configuring it for multiplayer in particular annoying
  • Rebalanced Dyson's Budget/Strength scaling to better match their old implementation
  • Necromancer Amplifiers now identify themselves as part of a Necropolis Fleet
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting
  • Dyson Spheres no longer (in code) ask the background planet to draw a planet that cannot interact with them.
    • Instead they ask the planet to be blank, and then they themselves are huge and in place of where the planet would be, but still part of the game space. So they can have giant lasers they fire, etc, now.
  • Added is_always_forced_to_planet_center="true", which makes the dyson spheres always go exactly to the center of the gravity well.
  • Added a new displaces_other_ships_planet_tier="true", which allows for units like dyson spheres to push other units out of the way as if they were a forcefield.
    • Also added has_special_immunity_to_planet_tier_displacement="true", which allows for zenith miners to get past this so that they can still eat dyson spheres.
    • That said... this didn't feel right in practice, so I turned it back off.
  • While I was at it, added displaces_other_ships_giant_object_tier="true" for golems, which is a lot less disruptive than the above.
    • This allows for golems to push each other, smaller ships, etc, out of the way -- including ships from their own team, so it looks a little nicer. Some folks had asked for this for a long time, but it was not feasible performance-wise previously.
    • This style of pushing can't push anything that generates a forcefield, anything with the norris effect, or anything that isn't mobile.
  • Getting into transports is now done at the radius of the transport plus 100, so that there's room to get in even if it's a golem that is blocking those units like a forcefield.

Spire Related Changes

  • People seem to have been confused recently about the Bolstering mechanic, so I've provided in-game documentation
    • The Spire Infused Empire now gets a 'Tips/Journal' entries giving a very quick overview of how the Infused Empire works, and how the Spire Sim-City works.
    • The Fallen Spire campaign journals now explain in more detail how the limited-flagships/Bolstering mechanic works, and also provides a new journal entry for the building of the 3rd and 5th cities mentioning the building of new flagships.
  • Fix a bug where the Spire Infused Empire's overall power level was being undercounted
    • Thanks to Magiik for reporting
  • The AI sends an exo against the Spire Infused Empire whenever a city is built.
  • Some tentative tweaks to the imperial spire for spire infused empire
    • Thanks to StarKelp for the report
  • Fix a bug where Spire-specific structures in the spire infused empire were having too high of cap values
    • Thanks to Lord of Nothing for reporting

Art!

  • Upgrades to the materials on the various units:
    • Base game:
      • Spire archive
      • Lost spire frigate (two new versions, instead of just having only one version like before.
      • Dark Spire Eidolon
      • Dark Spire Phantom
      • Dark Spire Specter
      • Dark Spire Vengeance Generator
      • Dark Spire Wraith
      • Dark Spire Ward
      • Zenith Dyson Sphere Sentinel, Defender, Bulwark, and Bastion improved slightly
    • DLC1:
      • Spire Buttress
      • Neinzul Spire Warrior (both the neinzul and the spire parts majorly updated).
      • Neinzul Burlust Warrior (just the neinzul part)
      • Neinzul Warrio (just the neinzul part)
      • Peltian Spire Warrior (the spire part only)
      • Evuck Spire (the spire part only)
      • Thoraxian Spire (the spire part only)
      • Thoraxian Neinzul (neinzul part only)
      • Macrophage Spire Harvester and Spore
      • Marauder Spire Raider
      • Nanocaust Spire Obscenity
      • Spire Frigate, and a new variant for the imperial
      • Spire Destroyer, and a new variant for the imperial
      • Spire Cruiser, and a new variant for the imperial
      • Spire Battleship, and a new variant for the imperial
      • Spire Dreadnought, and a new variant for the imperial
      • Spire debris (three variants)
      • Spire Research lab (just the spire part)
      • Spire City Hub
      • Spire Frigate Neural Net
      • Spire Destroyer Neural Net
      • Spire Galactic Capitol
      • Spire Engineering Center
      • Spire Lesser Spy Cradle
      • Spire Greater Spy Cradle
      • Spire Mining Facility
      • Spire Plasma Driver
      • Spire Shard Reactor
      • Spire Shipyard
      • Spire Transciever
  • More new visuals
    • Base Game
      • Zenith Dyson Sphere (it's not a whole lot different, but a bit, and now it shows up in the game field and can shoot and doesn't need a warp gate, etc)
    • DLC1
      • Crystalium - Chromatic Spire Dyson Sphere
      • Pleiades - Gray Spire Dyson Sphere
      • Overtone, from the the Chromatic Spire
      • Bloom, from the the Chromatic Spire
      • Opalescence, from the the Chromatic Spire
      • Four Dark Spire Derelicts
      • Chromatic Spire Horror
      • The Zenith Collector, for the Zenith Dyson Sphere to be able to take place in the Spire Splintering
    • DLC3
      • All 13 Neinzul Yongling types (these are not yet fully integrated, I ran out of time)

Bugfixes

  • The TakeDamageDirectly method has finally been instrumented, deeply, because we occasionally have problems in there, particularly on multiplayer clients, and it's been just impossible to find them.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug with self-constructing units where they would not build if you didn't have double the energy required for them. The energy check (and fuel check) needs to be there to prevent a bug that Badger was seeing a while back where the unit could not complete construction and so would just infinitely drain metal, but the check is supposed to be "do we have a net positive" and not "do we have a net positive if we subtract our current usage from the net." The latter case was double-counting.
    • Thanks to StarKelp for reporting.
  • Feeble Elderlings no longer count as threat
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting
  • Fix a number of MP client null reference exceptions
    • Thanks to Badger for the bug reports and fixes
  • Fix a null reference exception in the fleet loading code
    • Thanks to Tuntematon for reporting
  • Add some defensive code to SquadVisualizer
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting
  • Fix a bug where wormhole invasions would still spawn forces even after the projector was destroyed
    • Thanks to Lord of Nothing for reporting
  • Fix a few tracing problems
    • Reported by Daniexpert
  • Fix a bug with colours in the Fuel Production view of the resource bar
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for the report
  • The "Error A! Called CreateExternalBaseInfo<Whatever>() when BaseInfo was actually a different type" error is now just a silent warning. It should self-correct, and it's rare, but it would be nice to see these from logs, regardless.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.

Beta 3.804 Bug Smooshing

(Released February 15th, 2022)

  • Added a new XmlReadLimiter.NoInheritance option to the xml parsing framework, which allows us to have certain things not inherit from xml they copy from.
  • Overly choke-point-heavy maps are now disallowed on Challenger and up, as they can make the game ridiculously easy far faster than most else.
    • This includes X, Concentric, Maze, Bubbles, Compass, Encapsulated, Honeycomb, Linked Rings, Octopus, Squares, and Cubular.
    • This leaves Realistic, Simple, Chaotic, Classic, Clusters, Clusters Microcosm, Dissonance, Grid, Swirl, and Wheel for the advanced game modes.
    • Thanks to Strategic Sage for indirectly giving the idea (I'm not going to throw him under the bus on this one).
  • Revision to the map types revision. The various map types that were gated off on Challenger are now only gated off on Deathwish. Except for the cursed X map, which is now gated off on Expert, as well. It's just super cheese.
    • I'd rather not have bug reports that are "beat difficulty 10" on the maps that were mentioned, but aside from that I hope that folks will do what they enjoy in terms of map types.
    • To clarify: all features of the game are available in Humanity Ascendant mode, but each further mode has further restrictions that eliminate cheese and make the game complex. But you can turn on any of the higher-level features from Humanity Ascendant mode, essentially making custom modes if you like.
      • If you want to store your custom mode settings for frequent reuse, you're encouraged to make a quickstart as an option for a new starting spot.
  • In the encyclopedia, when you click into the popup for a given unit type, if that spawns other unit types on death or as drones, it now includes the lowest-mark version of those in that same popup.
  • Zenith Dyson Sphere notifier has been updated to account for Antagonizers, and is now far more dynamic in how it displays both names and information
  • Zenith Dyson Sphere has had its scaling budget cut by approximately 80-90% based on intensity, due to how quickly they were able to spiral with even a single Budget hack
    • This does NOT apply to its starting per second budget

Bugfixes

  • Fixed a bug in the galaxy map where planet name text would not always show if you had exited to the main menu and then come back to the same galaxy.
    • Thanks to slake-moth for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue where the strength of the Belle Prime ark was dramatically under-reported.
    • Thanks to schoenberg for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug from January 2, where burst-fire weapons started reporting zero DPS.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Fixed a variety of transport entries showing up multiple times in the encyclopedia because of extra minor variants in the xml. There are other cases in the data like this, and the answer is always the same -- some sort of minor variant (for seeding or whatnot) that looks identical from an encyclopedia standpoint, so we just need to mark the extras as hidden.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Fixed most of the elderlings having two encyclopedia entries because of their AI variants (which are used by the jabberwock and heroic AI types). These are mechanically identical, so again just hiding them keeps things nice and clean.
  • Added in some features that allow for the redirection (automatic when possible, directed when not) of "very similar variants that are hidden" to their base original copy so that things can be properly counted and shown as present in the encyclopedia.
    • Specifically, one good example is the elderlings of the Jabberwock were completely invisible in the encyclopedia when you played against them, but realistically this also affected hundreds of other cases. All fixed now.
  • Fixed an issue where "_UI.MetalFlows" would complain if it ran super long in giant games.
    • Thanks to Tuntematon for reporting.
  • Add some defensive code to rift hacks
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting
  • The Combat Circles on the galaxy map are less likely to appear if you have no mobile forces; this hopefully will decrease the amount of time necromancers cause combat circles by leaving guard posts around
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting
  • Spire Infused Empire now causes Dragons to spawn
    • Thanks to Magik for reporting
  • Spire Infused Empire now allows for Bolstering again
    • This change does not affect pre-existing cities, only new cities
    • Thanks to a number of people for reporting
  • Add some defensive code to elderling appenders, and fix a bug where they would report the wrong amount of essence to give the necromancer
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting
  • Completely reworked the premise of how the metal flows data is calculated for that subwindow in the game.
    • This is calculated on a background thread, but it was doing so in such a slow way previously that in large games it was really not usable. Even on an octa-core machine this would cause the machine to be more choppy, but on a quad-core it would make it downright unplayable (I was getting 3fps and 70% sim speed on an RTX 2060 and i7 quad core). Note that this negative performance impact was all the time, not just when that window was open.
    • Worse, regardless of its impact on gameplay, it was so slow to generate (I was seeing it take 12 seconds on both the quad-core and octa-core) that it was not very useful.
    • A lot of the problem was that it was trying to show every last line item, and then condense those line items. That's just too much data for a realtime application like this that changes really rapidly.
    • The solution is that I've broken it down to simply how much is being spent at each planet, and how much is being spent per spending category at each planet (ship repair, ship construction, factory construction, etc), and that's a much smaller amount to calculate.
    • The performance issues from this have disappeared (I now get 60fps and full sim speed), and it now take between 1 and 8 milliseconds to calculate on both machines, rather than 12 seconds.
  • The AI is no longer allowd to shoot your spire debris
    • Thanks to Slake-Moth and Lord of Nothing for reporting
  • Fixed a tooltip typo with the science individual harvest tooltip referencing hacking.
    • Thanks to Mac for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue where Zenith Dyson Spheres Antagonizers would infinitely spawn
    • Thanks to Chris himself for reporting
  • Better instrumented an annoying shot-hit error that keeps happening, and also potentially fixed it. But if it happens again, we'll have better information at least.
    • Thanks to Tuntematon for reporting.
  • Fixed a further set of errors in GetThicknessMultiplierForLinkBetweenPlanets that could still happen.
    • Thanks to Tuntematon for reporting.
  • Fix some bugs with elderings counted as threat. This fix will only affect newly spawned Elderlings
    • Thanks to daniexpert for reporting
  • Fix a bug where Templar Castles weren't marking up
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting
  • Fixed an error that was causing a multiplayer desync if the unit died on a client right before it tried to deserialize a unit order out of its list of orders.
    • Thanks to Badger for the report.
  • Entity orders are now structs rather than classes, and no longer need to be pooled. This is a notable boost in speed, particularly because these are so extremely frequently used and replaced. This should smooth out performance on MP clients in particular, but it also makes loading a save slightly faster. This should also reduce the surface area for further MP bugs from this section.
  • Fixed an exception that could happen in intel generation, and also made the error handling in that section more robust.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.

Beta 3.803 Encyclopedia Madness

(Released February 14th, 2022)

  • The game is now locked to the default 2 Major Data Centers on Challenger and up, rather than being locked to a higher 4.
    • Thanks to Strategic Sage for reporting.
  • The tooltip wording for fuel overuse ratios has been improved to be more clear.
    • Thanks to Strategic Sage for the new wording.

QoL

  • Improved the way that tooltips behave in general, particularly on things like dropdowns. They are now more likely to go over to the side of the element that they are snapping to, rather than above or below it. That assumes that they can fit, anyway. But this makes it so that tooltips stay way more out of the way when you are browsing narrow lists of items.
  • Tooltips now prefer to be to the right, and/or to the bottom, of elements you are hovering over. This feels much more natural.
  • Two more dropdown QoL improvements: they've been driving me crazy, and I know the same is true for many others.
    • Now the dropdowns open much taller if they can and need to. No more tiny scrolling area, but instead about 3x as much space.
    • Now the dropdowns are not always back at the top when you reopen them. Instead they in general open with the current selected option near the middle of the selection area.
  • A number of debug keybinds have been shuffled around, including making F12 no longer bound to anything so that it doesn't conflict with steam screenshots.

Encyclopedia Improvements, Round 2

  • The encyclopedia now has a fully functional search, which filters whatever your current category is (ranging from All, to some other thematic group, which is very very useful).
    • You can search in the name, description, or lore text at the moment. For this sort of search, this is probably all we'll need, but you never know.
  • The encyclopedia now does all of its searching and sorting and filtering on background threads, since this now can be quite heavy (and will get heavier), and also could be even more heavy as lots of units are added by mods, or new functions are added by mods.
  • The counts on the left side of the encyclopedia now update to show how many matches there are based on any search or filter conditions that have been entered, which is really handy.
  • The unit encyclopedia now directly shows the tooltip for the highest-mark unit that each entry has, and if there is lore, it shows the lore in a tooltip unless that is more than 4000 characters, in which case it shows a subset of just the first 4000 characters and then an ellipsis.
    • These things make the encyclopedia way faster to browse.
  • Fixed exceptions that could happen in the encyclopedia if you hovered over units with a description appender (since the unit does not exist).
  • The new list-style filter is now in place, and can be extended easily by mods and modders (I am using only a single C# class for all of the filters at the moment, but mods can add their own C# classes as desired).
    • The list-style filters have to be set up by hand for each type of feature that we want to track, and I've set up a HUGE number of such features that you can now filter by, but I may have missed some. If there are things you want to search by that are not present, please let us know!
  • The encyclopedia now works a bit differently in-game compared to in the main menu.
    • It now has a faction filter at the top (same logic as the galaxy map faction filters) which allows you to filter to only show units owned by specific factions or groups of factions or allegiances in the game.
    • It also shows the count of (visible to you) units of each type in the game that match the faction filter, if any do.
    • It also shows the color of the first faction that it finds that has a given unit type (just to make things look a bit nicer).
    • In general, you can now use this to see what sort of units are out in the galaxy (again, that you are aware of), and to further filter by the various criteria that are built into the encyclopedia.
  • The oddness with the little tooltip for the ship icon alone was annoying, and that tooltip is also now redundant with the full one that shows the icon large in the full tooltip, so it has been removed.
    • Thanks to Puffin for the report.
  • The encyclopedia, when in-game, now has a filter button up at the top that allows you to filter to just things that are in-game, versus showing everything.
    • This is forced on when you select anything other than "all factions," since those are specifically showing you something based on some specific faction or allegiance.
    • This makes decision-making much easier, since you can see what is actually involved in your current game.
  • The in-game version of the encyclopedia now keeps track of which unit types are available if you hack for them (based on current visibility), as well as which units you can build now but have not (often certain turret lines, etc).
    • These are now treated as being in-game, and it shows you that these statuses exist for them, which makes them much more informative in terms of the true availability of things for you to work with.
  • The encyclopedia now has a sort function, which also adjusts the rows so that they show more information related to whatever is being sorted-by. With three forms of filter, plus the sort function, you can now really get right down to the things you're looking for.
  • There is now an encyclopedia button directly on the top resource bar, for quick access.

Bugfixes

  • Fixed a bug in the new fuel buttons on the resource bar where they were all showing the net energy rather than the net fuel for each of them (in the direct display; their tooltips were correct).
    • Thanks to Strategic Sage for reporting.
  • If you are consuming zero fuel of a type, then it does not warn you about an overuse ratio. Since you start out with zero xenon, and are using zero xenon, that was confusing.
    • Thanks to Strategic Sage for reporting.
  • Paid closer attention to my canaries that were in Badger's most recent MP report, and did a code review of the system serialization for the dozenth time... and found what looks to have been the problem with serialization that was coming up intermittently in multiplayer.
    • Specifically, there was some data that was being serialized only in the event that the pursuit target was alive. However, the data that it was basing this on was based on two sequential calls, and it was possible -- however, "unlikely" in some respects, for the pursuit target to die in that interval. In those cases, the host would say "here's the FRD that is alive" and then would go "whoops it's dead, don't send the rest of the data actually" and the client would see "here's the FRD that's alive, good" and then try to read the follow-on data, not knowing the host didn't send that. The host is now consistent about not sending that by using a local variable to ensure consistency between those two calls.
    • This is something that Bummeri and his group have been sending me logs for for a month or two, and hopefully this is finally the solution to that one. It's been really confusing! Thanks to everyone who has been making reports on this, and fingers crossed that there were not two of this sort of issue in that part of the code. At least I have a better idea what to look for if I need to, and I can always seed more canaries if I find I need to.
  • Added one more canary into MP, to make sure that if there's an issue with external deserialization, we'll know about it. I think there might be.
  • Just in case the "theseus error" is not fixed by my prior fix in this build, I've built out the data collection for the theseus error a lot more, and it now gives us more information.
    • Even if I have fixed things at the moment, there's always the possibility that a theseus error could happen again (because of mods, actually, is one big reason), and so having that extra error information should let us point to which faction or which mod, or know that it is in fact base game info (there's now and "error 6" that will happen before the theseus error if it's internal data).
  • Added better instrumentation to Server_SendBatchOfSquadsToSyncCheck, since it was able to have errors on the host in rare cases, apparently.
    • Discovered one place where an error could have happened if a squad died right before being sent to the client (this had to do with the planetfaction being null, and was not possible until last week because of other semi-related changes I made, so this might not be so rare now, actually). Anyhow, it's fixed.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Added in some more canaries for network code around planet faction communication, because I suspect that the hash code canary is telling the truth and there's a second issue in there. I didn't see it on a code review, however, so this one is probably still in the wind. It's something else temporal, I have a feeling.

Beta 3.802 New Challengers Approach

(Released February 13th, 2022)

  • The threading model now shows, in the threading screen, how long each thread has been running and how many of it there are, which is quite useful when certain threads run overlong.
  • The tooltip descriptions for challenger, expert, and deathwish modes have been updated to reflect their current status and how they are intended to function.

Challenger Mode Updates

  • Updates to Challenger mode: the following are now forced on in Challenger as well as Expert, versus being optional like before:
    • Sniper fleet is hidden (too much cheese)
    • Turtle defenses are hidden (too much cheese)
    • Brutal Guardians are forced on (these are very interesting and are just something we are making sure doesn't hit new players)
    • Zombies Go To Necromancer forced off (too much cheese)
    • Enhanced Overlord forced on (much more interesting)
    • Skeleton and Wight decay intervals no longer adjustable.
    • Zombify everything forced off (mega cheese)
    • AI Civil War forced off (this is just for fun, and is too much cheese)
    • Allied Factions Generate AIP forced on (if you have friendly NPCs, you can't use them to bypass AIP costs)
    • Tsunami CPA divisor forced to 30 (to not make it easier or harder)
    • Unit balance sliders are locked to the defaults (this majorly messes with balance)
    • Distributed economy mode is forced on (this gives the AI more chances to attack you; but you don't have the complexity of fuel unless you enable that separately).
    • Harsh Turret Ranges on non-human worlds are enforced (makes beachheading more challenging, but still possible).
    • Battlestation and citadel upgrades cost more (this really is key for the balance in general with any level of advanced play)
    • Command station upgrades cost more (ditto, this is key)
    • And engineer upgrades cost more.
    • Beachheading is more expensive (again important for balance on any level of advanced play)
    • Outguard also costing xenon is forced on (only applies if you have fuel also enabled, and that part is optional on challenger mode)
    • Number of planet scouted at once is locked (this is a balance thing; but we don't enforce the fog of war in challenger mode)
    • The various abilities to change planetary resource gains and starting resources are locked (those are way out in cheese land)
    • And that's it! This is all the basic balance stuff, without getting into things like limiting FRS abilities, ARS options, and so on.
    • The goal of challenger is to get at the core balance things, and allow for further customization to the extra complexity/scarcity side of things, without getting into things that change the game fundamentally like fuel.

Encyclopedia Improvements, Round 1

  • Lots of encyclopedia updates from Puffin, now that we can see what the data looks like. Thank you so much, Puffin!
    • The encyclopedia is way more useful in its data, now.
  • The encyclopedia is now a lot more efficient in how it draws its rows; it only draws the rows that you can actually see, which means that it doesn't spend a lot of time drawing units that are not seen. Normally we have not had the volume of data to where this sort of improvement is all that relevant, but here it does matter (and actually, there are a few other places where we could make that improvement in the near future).
  • Fixed an issue with a bunch of non-unit items showing up in the unit encyclopedia (shots, etc).
    • Thanks to Puffin for reporting.
  • Now that the encyclopedia window is performant enough to handle this, there is an All category that has a few auto-populated subcategories, and which includes all of the ships (except those are hidden because they are too similar to others).
  • The encyclopedia now shows the icon of each unit directly in the rows, and there is a tooltip over that part of the row that shows the icon even larger.
  • The prep work for sorting, filtering, and searching in the unit encyclopedia is now in place, but the actual contents for that is not ready yet. That will be something I put in tomorrow, most likely. The plan is to make this like the galaxy map filters, where modders can add to these as-desired.

Bugfixes

  • Fixed an issue where the Ultimate Fortress was causing errors if you did not have DLC2 or DLC3 (either one would lead to errors.
    • Thanks to Uttley, slake-moth, and Lord of Nothing for reporting.
  • The "camera types" settings options in the personal settings have been fixed on a single value each since 2018, and were not intended to be changed anymore. Turns out it was possible to get some errors by changing them. These settings are now hidden, and forced back to the defaults that are intended. One less bit of clutter!
    • Thanks to slake-moth for reporting.
  • Fixed an exception that could happen in "GalaxyMapPlanet PrecalculateCertainVisualAspects"
    • Thanks to Tuntematon for reporting.
  • Fixed an oddity that could lead to exceptions with the zenith dyson sphere when it was becoming antagonized. The code is old and kind of strange, so this may need a look by someone more directly familiar, like StarKelp. I've left some detailed notes in the code in question, and for now it won't error anymore and should work better based on the best of my analysis.
    • Thanks to Tuntematon for reporting.
  • Fixed things up so that if the network thread runs overlong, it won't throw an error.
  • On Feb 6, I added some code to catch certain kinds of invalid data being passed to entity systems, which were previously unexamined. The game has now hit some of those, primarily because of some systems on some ships being renamed or removed, from what I can tell; that sort of thing can mess with old saves, although it's meant to recover from that gracefully.
    • The code has now been further updated to catch those cases that it caught and gracefully recover from the data differences it is experiencing, thus allowing the old saves to load without incident.
    • If there are unexpected data differences between a client and a host (for instance, some xml didn't get downloaded properly on either one of them), then this code is likely also hit, so it's more likely to gracefully recover from that, too.
  • Fixed a couple of exceptions that could happen during map regeneration in the lobby on MP clients since the CPU load calculations were added in.
  • Hacked elderlings aren't allowed to run away; they must stay and fight to the death
  • Spire Infused Empire now respects 'can't build cities on adjacent planets' rule from FallenSire. If a city can't be built it gives a reason why in the build menu
  • Spire Cities and Necropolises that are out of sockets now have additional UI in the build menu to show when they are out of sockets
  • Remove some extraneous templar ship hovertext for AI-owned templar ships
  • Rifts now respect a mark level cap for planets, and try not to spawn on bastion worlds
  • Increase the size of the icon for Templar Prophets and Heralds
  • The Necromancer Essence colour is now correctly purple in more places
    • Thanks to Mac for reporting
  • The "Square" map type now defaults to being extremely square
    • Thanks to Zweihand for suggestion
  • Add some outguard defensive code
    • Thanks to Tuntematon for the bug report
  • I have grown increasingly wary of the canary code reports, and the lack of metadata failures surrounding them -- something seems to be off with one or the other of them, either with the metadata not failing properly, or the canaries failing when they should not, or some mix of both.
    • We've had some multiplayer groups who had the full metadata transmissions on, and keep getting zero issues from that, but still hit canaries, and we've had sporadic canaries in general, and that whole thing just makes no sense. One part of my code is just clearly not working.
    • With that in mind, I've done a really heavy makeover of how the serialization metadata gets sent, and how "am I in network mode" is detected (for purposes of doing canary warnings), and that is now in place.
    • The game works, and the metadata errors are actually happening now, which is very very useful. Next step is to fix whatever is going on with those.
  • Unsure why the fleet member swap window had an error that was punching through a try/catch statement, but went ahead and just made a ui-only variable for caching prior to sort, which leads to better performance and results than using the try/catch anyhow. This should solve the problem.
    • Thanks to Tuntematon for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue that could happen with duplicate shots causing issues on MP clients.
    • Thanks to Badger for the initial report.
  • Spire Infused Empire gets to choose their starting flagship, battlestations, etc....
    • Pointed out by Dragoris
  • If spire debris is being hacked when it runs out of time, the other faction does not get it
    • Pointed out by MaverickPenken
  • C-Clicking necromancer tech items no longer suggests that it will increase the ship cap
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting
  • Fix the Nodorian Tortoid still mentioning an old damage bonus it no longer has.
    • Thanks to Puffin for fixing!
  • In the event that a client requests an update for a ship (which happens when you mouseover ships), if that ship is a fleet leader or command station, the entire fleet status is sent to the client.
    • This works around an issue where if the sidebar is slow to update for a command station, or the ship caps seem off, mousing over the centerpiece fixes it.
  • I have tried to make the command station fleets and similar auto-update from the host when they are finished constructing, but something about my timing is off; the client still winds up waiting.
    • To get around that (because it takes a silly amount of time before a client sees their proper build menu when they are switching command station types, adding a commmand station, etc), I've made it so that having the build sidebar open treats it as if the mouse was over each of those builders on that planet that are relevant to that client. This means that any status updates at all will be sent pretty frequently (about once a second, up to a delay of two seconds).
      • The net result is that the build sidebar is now far more responsive not just when the structure is finished building, but it should stay responsive to any changes that are happening that are build-related.
    • Thanks to Badger, Bummeri, and others for reporting.

Beta 3.801 Load Estimates And Unit Encyclopedia

(Released February 12th, 2022)

  • There is now a GetHighestAIDifficulty() method available directly on the World_AIW2 object, which lets us query some things in Core, which is useful.
  • It is now possible to have galaxy options and faction fields be set to specific values when an AI difficulty level (the highest one if multiple AIs) is above a certain value.
    • This is highly useful, since there are some features that we don't want to inflict on every new player, but that really are intended to be on once you're a certain amount into the game. This allows us to turn those on at difficulty for the really mean stuff, or lower for stuff that is less rough.
    • Note to modders and developers: it is possible to use this off of ONLY the AI difficulty and not the campaign type if you want. To do that, set a "max campaign harshness" of something like 20,000, which is higher than any campaign types that exist, and then set use_fixed_value_as_if_above_campaign_harshess_if_highest_ai_difficulty_is_at_least="10" if you want (for instance) this to be a feature that is forced on for difficulty 10 but not any particular mode.
  • There are now full header buttons in the resource bar for the three kinds of fuel, and necromancer essence.
    • These can finally be hovered for a mouseover tooltip, and they have slightly glowy icons that glow a lot more when hovered, etc. The features of other resources.
  • Fuel consumption and production is now tracked in a detailed fashion just like energy flows are, and by clicking the fuel buttons in the header you can now see those breakdowns.
  • Adjusted the color of necromancer essence to be purple rather than green, so that it's more distinct from hacking points.
  • In the event that a progenitor has too many descendants, it will delete descendants that are over cap.
  • The Plagueswarm elderlings now only have 18 orbitals (for now), down from 60, and will see some further adjustments from Zeus next week.
  • A new full_lore="whatever text" now exists on all units, and can be used to have lore that displays in the unit encyclopedia.
  • The unit tooltips are now able to draw without a faction being passed in, instead just using the color of the local player profile and otherwise skipping faction-related stuff. This lets them draw on the main menu, outside of gameplay.

New Base Game Feature: Ultimate Fortress

  • Beware the "AI ULTIMATE Fortress!
    • Base stats as a "normal" Super Fortress ... but has 3 fortress-variants surrounding it. Any combination of the new Tesla, Lightning, Sabot, MLRS, or Fusion Towers will orbit the Ultimate Fortress. As long as these towers are alive, the Ultimate fortress is invulnerable. Towers rebuild automatically every 5 minutes.
    • Big thanks to Zeus for coming up with this!
  • Brutal Guardian Lairs were already forced on for expert mode, but now are for difficulty 8 and higher, as well. They are optional for any other scenario, so lower difficulties can turn them on of course.

Major QoL: CPU Load Estimator

  • A major new "CPU Load Prediction" feature has been added to the game, which rates your setup based on the factions you have chosen, how they are set up, how many planets you have, and so on.
    • At the moment it mostly sticks to things like the number of factions, how they combine, and their intensity levels, but it can be made to account for any other factors -- galaxy map options that affect factions, modes like civil war for the zenith, whatever.
      • Right now that sort of extra estimation seems like overkill, but if we find some cases that are estimated far too lowly or too highly, then we can correct the estimator to account for whatever is off, which is really nice.
    • Opening up a variety of saves of different intensities, I am at this point seeing estimates that match reality, so that's a good start at the very least. This is also something where modders who make factions (or adjust official factions!) can specify load prediction specifics for their own work, so this isn't just something centralized to us.
    • The goal with this whole feature is to give you an idea of how your entire game is likely to go, performance-wise, versus just how the early game might go, or how the game is going at one specific slice in time performance-wise.
      • If you've set yourself up with a very extreme scenario, and you don't have that new of a CPU, then knowing about that sooner than later is a good thing. Similarly, if you want to keep adding in more factions, and are wondering at what point it will become problematic, then the predictive tool is also helpful there.
    • This is something that would have been flat-out impossible to make prior to this latest beta period of the last half year. Thanks to the general restructuring of the game, and the game's increased ability to profile and analyze itself, we're able to actually give you this sort of information, since we actually know it ourselves now.
      • As a sidebar, the game is able to handle MUCH more now than it ever has been able to in the past, which is very exciting. But lately we've been having some players throwing absolutely huge scenarios at it beyond what we would normally expect (23 heavy factions, with double that in sub-factions, with mixed alliances, tons of fighting, and all intensity 10 -- still getting 80% sim speed and a choppy 50fps on my machine, but I have 8 cores and it's still in the Apocalyptic Load zone because it doesn't perform as smoothly as I feel like the game should; but the player who submitted it wasn't even complaining, they just had a minor other bug and Badger and I had a freak-out about the performance until we saw just how crazy the load was).
    • My goal is for people to be able to do whatever they want, and so if you want to have huge numbers of factions but with fairly iffy performance, and that's okay with you -- then go for it! I just want to make sure the expectations are clear in the game, based on the CPU Load prediction. On the other hand, if you want the game to feel nice and smooth at all times, but you still want a big game, then I want to help you find the sweet spot for that with a tool like this.

Unit Encyclopedia!

  • There is now a full unit encyclopedia, which you can view either through the escape menu or from the main menu.
    • It has all of the units in the game, and any mods that are installed will also have their units show up there.
    • This has units sorted by "thematic groups," like types of units and factions and so on, and the groups are themselves sorted into category (unit type, race, coalition, etc).
    • For any units that don't have thematic groups set up, they will show up in Unsorted, and the idea is that they should be put into whatever groups are appropriate.
      • For modders: you can put your own thematic groups in your mods, and put your units in those as well as the main groups. Whatever helps players find your stuff by mod, by function, etc, is great!
    • As far as the existing data goes, it's largely pretty decent -- thanks to Puffin! -- but still is missing a number of things that were added after he did his pass, and there are some things that need some adjustments in general.
      • We'll be working on cleaning those items up in the near future, but it's a minority of the items from what I can tell.
    • This section is also where the lore text goes! You can see it by clicking a button beside each line item if it says it has lore. However, none of them have lore integrated yet, as we just added this feature.
    • Thanks to a lot of players for requesting this over the years, and Strategic Sage for pushing for this most recently.

Bugfixes

  • Fixed some areas in GalaxyMapPlanet where we could get exceptions on background threads because I was not properly using the local scope variables.
  • After exiting from the game to the main menu, there's a brief period where the game is not yet ready to be started again, and it would previously throw an error if you clicked to try.
    • The reason the errors have been happening more recently is because of the multithreaded improvements of late, which means that you get back to the main menu faster but the game is still cleaning up in the background.
    • Now, while the game is in this state it won't let you click any of the start-game type buttons that would cause an issue, and instead shows a red tooltip over each one saying that it's not quite ready, wait just a moment. The tooltip disappears the instant it is ready, so it's nice and responsive and avoids the errors.
    • Thanks to Zweihand for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue where metal harvesters and equivalent were not properly transferred to the player's planetary fleet, which meant that they did not benefit from tech upgrades or fleet upgrades.
    • Thanks to althaea, william montag, and vinco for reporting.
  • Fix a bug where the Spire Infused Empire could not upgrade its cities
    • Thanks to pmm5000 and tamnica for reporting
  • Fixed a couple of ways that TargetListPlanning could have some exceptions under situations of extreme load.
  • Fixed a bug with migrant fleets where they could get a nullref exception under extreme load when trying to seed certain units.
  • Expanded the warning period for short-term threading so that if there are threads running very long in extreme simulation circumstances, it no longer will pop up warnings. It should hopefully only be popping a warning if something is truly stuck.
  • The background tachyon planning thread is now dramatically more efficient, which doesn't matter for most practical purposes, but in heavy games puts a bit less load on your CPU cores.
    • It was previously acting as if it had a cap on how many units it could hit (it probably did at one point in the distant past), and so it was painstakingly sorting targets by desirability, and then doing lots of list manipulation activities as it processed... all of them.
    • Now it doesn't sort, and it doesn't mess with the lists in inefficient ways. It just loops through and handles all the data, which it was going to anyway.
  • Fixed another bug where some stale galaxy map data could show up in the next game after you quit one and go into another without restarting the program.

Beta 3.800 That Expert Has A Deathwish!

(Released February 11th, 2022)

  • Added GetCustomBool_Slow, GetCustomByte_Slow, GetCustomFInt_Slow, GetCustomInt16_Slow, GetCustomInt32_Slow, and GetCustomString_Slow on dynamic table rows.
    • We've been using this functionality on external constants forever, but this technically has always existed (and just had no convenient interface) on all table rows in general. The idea is that you can add custom fields on things like a faction definition, and read those out at will.
    • As you can see, these are slower fields to call, so their results should be cached rather than being called repeatedly during runtime.
    • Thanks to StarKelp for requesting.
  • A new is_nasty_pick="true" xml tag is now available for identifying nasty picks.
    • Any unit that has a tag with the text "NastyPick" as part of the tag (so "NormalPlanetNastyPick" is fine) get this assigned automatically.
  • Turret count of AIs now allowed to be 2k instead of 500 before it starts stacking them.
    • Thanks to Zeus and StarKelp for suggesting.

Expert Mode

  • A new fuel journal entry message now plays at the start of any game (expert or otherwise) with fuel enabled.
    • Thanks to Strategic Sage for writing it!
  • New galaxy option under Balance, Human Balance: Disable Fleet Wide Bonuses
    • Ships from the Fleet Research Station (FRS) are powerful ships that also give a bonus to the rest of their fleet. In Expert mode and above, this is judged to be too powerful. Therefore, they still are a powerful ship line in and of themselves, but they no longer give a bonus to the rest of their fleet.
    • Untested, but should work.
    • Thanks to Strategic Sage for suggesting.
  • Added a new galaxy option to the Human Balance section of the Balance tab: Use Harsh Turret Ranges On Non-Human Planets
    • Only affects player turrets, and only affects them on worlds that are not on a human-owned world (this includes affecting them on worlds where the command station just died).
    • For turrets meeting these criteria (aka beachheading turrets):
      • Any with range over 15k now have 15k range.
      • Any with range below that but at least 11k now have 70% range.
      • Any with range below that but at least 6k now have 85% range.
    • This is untested so far, but should work.
    • Thanks to Strategic Sage and CRCGamer for suggesting.
  • Human players no longer get a second battlestation at the start when they are playing on expert or above.
    • Additionally, if they choose the Turtle Defenses, which are too powerful, the game will show a warning and make them choose something else. And Random will not give out that option.
    • Thanks to Strategic Sage and CRCGamer for suggesting.
  • If you are building turrets on a planet that belongs to a hostile faction, then that now costs 2.5x as much as normal. It is not slower, and the mark level of the planet doesn't affect the cost. It's just a flat 2.5x, in general.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the original implementation, and to Strategic Sage and CRCGamer for suggesting.
  • Deathwish Mode: If there are any dire guard posts on a planet, then you cannot build turrets there until those are dead.
    • Untested, but should work.
    • Thanks to Strategic Sage for requesting.
  • New Human Balance galaxy option: Non-Player Nasty Picks Take Less Damage
    • Defaults to off. Forced on for expert mode. If this setting is enabled, then any weaponized 'nasty picks' for planets (eyes, ion cannons, etc) take 1/5th normal damage as they are shot.
    • Untested, should work though.
    • Thanks to Strategic Sage for requesting.
  • New Human Balance galaxy option: Non-Player Guard Posts Take Less Damage
    • Defaults to off. Forced on for deathwish mode. If this setting is enabled, then any weaponized guard posts in still in the hands of the AI take 1/8th normal damage as they are shot.
    • Untested, should work though.
    • Thanks to Strategic Sage for requesting.
  • Added a new Outguard Balance section to the Balance galaxy options window.
  • Added a new galaxy option to that outguard balance section: Outguard Also Cost Xenon
    • Defaults to off. Forced on in Expert mode and above, and has no effect when there is no Fuel enabled. When enabled, the hack to claim outguard permanently removes 5000 Xenon from your inventory for every 1 AIP the hack costs (so typically that's 50k Xenon).
    • Additionally, with this option on, if you have any Outguard and you have a balance of zero or less Xenon, they will be less effective.
    • Fully tested and works.
    • Thanks to Strategic Sage for suggesting.
  • If the fuel efficiency is below 100% and affecting a unit, that unit now shows that in its tooltip.

DLC 3

  • Reduced turrets spawned by orbital guardposts from 8 to 5. It was too many for a moderate AI type
  • Slightly reduced how frequently orbital guardposts are likely to spawn with turrets
  • Tech for Skeleton Rogues no longer calls them detonators
  • Elderlings now have a unique mark scaling. Because these are already so tough at mark 1, they needed something less severe. Default has x5.4 hull; Edlerlings now have x3 at mark 7
  • Added a new scaling for the Necromancer defenses. Necromancer has less static defenses by design, so the scaling of these defenses needed to be elevated
  • Tachyon Turret now has a stronger version of the weapon its orbs of sights possess (increased damage to albedo at least 0.7)
  • Reactivated the Necromancer's Starburst Flagship (now the "Harrowing Flagship"). Can't let that artwork go to waste!
  • Changed name of "Tank Flagship" to "Unyielding Flagship"
  • Changed name of "Blaster Flagship" to "Terrorizing Flagship"

Bugfixes

  • If the game is still busy unload when you try to load a new game, it now gives you a better message rather than a scary error.
  • Fixed an exception that could happen in CalculateDestinationPoint_Safe on units, mainly if they had an invalid wormhole move order.
    • Thanks to habakuk and Tuntematon for reporting.
  • Resolve some debris bugs for the spire infused empire
    • Thanks to slake-moth for reporting
  • Removed all of the time-slicing from the galaxy map display, as it was causing all sorts of garbled results, most notably when you were searching for a unit (but possibly not only then).
    • This makes the framerate plummet again, but at least it is correct. Next step will be to pull as much off onto a background thread as possible.
    • Thanks to Puffin for reporting.
  • Now that the galaxy map is drawing correctly again, starting the process of pulling it out into a separate thread (rather than trying to time-slice it).
    • Since this is a fair amount of code surgery, I'm going to do this in chunks. The first part done now is that the battle circle status is now calculated on a BG thread. This is showing a load of 1-2ms per cycle, with a highest cycle-time of 25ms. Given we have an entire frame-time goal of 16.67ms at absolute minimum, this is a great improvement, although it's still not the bulk of the load.
  • The rest of the expensive galaxy map calculations are now pulled onto a background thread, including the entire contents of whatever is calculated in any given search mode, galaxy map display mode, etc -- well, all the parts that have to do with icons and icon choices, darkening, and lightening, etc. There are still some text calculations that might be able to be moved over.
    • On the average small map, this is only a few ms at most on my machine, but on very large maps that are fully revealed, this is 10ms or more per frame being extracted (again, our goal is everything done in 16ms, so this is huge). When searching for a unit in a large game, this pulls out a whopping 45ms on average from the main thread.
  • Because of the changes to remove time-slicing, this also seems to fix an issue I had noticed where the centering of the galaxy map on a proper planet was not quite right, and of an observed "things are different than what we were shown in the lobby after starting the game" but reported by others.
    • Thanks to Bummeri for reporting the map being off after generation, and Sounds for noting that planet selection by click in the lobby gave inaccurate results lately.
  • Further improved the performance of the galaxy map in large or giant games.
    • In particular, the planet link info is now calculated on another thread, and the text info at each planet on the display, too. This gets us up into the 50fps framerate realm even on the truly outlandishly-oversized savegames (600k units). That particular save had yesterday been performing so badly that its lines between planets actually flickered and strobed, making it impossible to read.
  • For the sake of that one insane save, also made it so that the metal-flows window thread can take up to 90 seconds before the game will complain about it. In that save, it's taking about 65 seconds per update to run, so it's really great that we're able to multithread for that sort of over-the-top case.
  • Fix a bug where you couldn't swap command station types
    • Thanks to Tuntematon for reporting
  • Add some defensive code to the ship line swapping code
    • Thanks to Tuntematon for reporting
  • Fixed a bug in the sidebar where categories with zero offensive ships but some noncombatants would show their content overlaid on top of other visible categories improperly.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert, SNAFU, and Badger for reporting.
  • Add some defensive code in CalculateIsThreatInGeneral
    • Thanks to habakuk for reporting
  • The "Tsunami CPA Strength Modifier" has been renamed to "Tsunami CPA Strength Divisor"
    • Also, it's description has been updated: This is an experimental setting to allow players to change the strength of CPAs; Lower numbers allow the CPA to use more ships, making them much more powerful. The default is 40, and going substantially below 20 will probably result in instant death.
    • Finally, if this value is set below 30, it now shows this message in the chat log, in red, when the CPA is launched: "Your tsunami cost multiplier is set to the low value of X -- enjoy death."
    • If you need to correct this value, it's under AI Behavior, and you can change it during the game. 40 is suggested unless you are expert mode or up, in which case 30 is enforced.
    • Thanks to dEAdOnE77, our accidental guinea pig who had this on 5, and to Puffin for figuring out what was going on.
  • Fixed an issue with the "scrub foes" command where it could get into an infinite loop if you used it on enemies that spawn other enemies on death, if there's no end to said enemies.
    • Thanks to StarKelp for running into this -- I ran into the same thing with the duplicate command earlier this week.
  • Fix a bug where Fallen Spire cities could build the cities from the Infused Empire
    • Thanks to vinco for reporting
  • Fixed a bug that was causing the "quick access" settings to not properly be loaded when they included some settings that were set by the campaign type to non-default values.
    • The most visible sign of this was that the EnableFuel quick access would be false, and this in turn would lead to fuel disappearing off the top bar after you load a save, among other symptoms.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.

Beta 3.799 Spire Infusion

(Released February 11th, 2022)

  • Add an experimental mode (under Debug Settings) to try to make ships smarter about chasing down enemies. It doesn't work well at the moment, and it's just something for badger to mess with.

New DLC1 Feature: The Spire-Infused Player Empire!

  • Add the Spire Infused Empire as a player-type. The Spire Infused Empire is mostly a regular human empire that has the Fallen Spire built into it.
    • You start with a galactic capitol, and the right to build one Spire City. Every additional 4 planets you capture lets you build another Spire City.
    • No spire relics are used, but debris spawn when you build a spire city
      • This involved a refactor of the Fallen Spire, so testing is needed for both Spire Infused Empire and Human Empire + Fallen Spire

Bugfixes

  • Fixed a mistake in the prior build where I had broken map generation. Originally I was trying to fix what I thought was a threading issue, but it turned out it was a bug of my own that was new. However, in trying to fix the non-existent threading issue, I wound up breaking mapgen and then somehow not noticing (it was generating for me for a while there).
    • Thanks to Sounds, Badger, zeus, motai, and dEAdOnE77 for reporting.

Beta 3.798 Reliability

(Released February 10th, 2022)

  • Using some new flags on player type and on faction types:
    • Spire-Infused Factions cannot be used in the same game with the Fallen Spire Faction (they're the same thing, and there needs to be only one between them).
    • Multiple Spire-Infused Factions cannot be used in the same game.
    • The Fallen Spire campaign cannot be used (spectator mode aside) without a player faction that uses metal being present (necromancer factions don't work well with fallen spire unless there is also a traditional empire of some sort there).
    • Thanks to Pmm5000 for reporting the Necromancer and Fallen Spire combo issue.
  • The lifespan of macrophage spores has been doubled from 20 minutes to 40 minutes to give them appropriate time to wander around and fully make trouble in long games.
    • Thanks to motai for suggesting.
  • Added a new setting to the debug setting of personal settings: "Deep Logging On Object Histories" (default off)
    • Log when objects go into and out of pools, and when units are moved between fleets, planets, and so on. Useful for chasing the 'yikes' errors, and shows up only in those if needed.
    • If someone finds they are getting a lot of yikes errors, then this will help figure out what is going on, but that should be much less of a thing going forward, and we don't need all that info other times.

Warheads, And New Cheats

  • Four warheads have been added to DLC1, which is very soon to get a rename and a price increase along with the various new features.
    • Specifically the warheads added at the moment are lighting, storm, EMP, and nuclear.
    • Right now the only way to get these is through a cheat (see below), but they will be something you can get through normal gameplay shortly.
    • Looks like the nuke does not work quite right yet, but the lightning and storm do great. EMP is not yet tested. There's a few features I need to add to make these work in an ideal fashion, looks like.
    • These have all their visuals in place, as well!
    • Special thanks to Puffin for the xml to get a head start on these from his Classic Fusion total conversion mod!
  • New cheat code for DLC1: warheads
    • The issuing human player gets a new fleet named "Puffin War[Something]." The fleet flagship will be a basic transport, but it then has two of every kind of warhead, and a single one of every Interplanetary Device.
    • This one is specifically for testing warheads, but can be quite powerful and fun as a toy, as well!
  • New cheat code for DLC3: zeus ds
    • The issuing human player gets a new fleet named "Zeus DS[Something]." The fleet flagship will be a basic transport, but it then has a ton of cruisers (two of each created by Zeus Almighty).
    • This one is specifically for testing destroyers, but can be quite powerful and fun as a toy, as well!

Bugfixes

  • Fixed a bug where if you were out of energy or fuel, factories and engineers would still expend metal trying to finish construction on things that were not allowed to construct.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Corrected the metal flows window so that it now shows how much is actually spent, and how much each flow wanted to spend if that is different.
    • Previously, it was showing how much was desired to be spent as if it was how much was spent regardless of how much was actually spent.
  • The game now calculates the metal flows visual display on a background thread. Previously, if you opened up that window in the toolbar it could make the game extremely laggy, in some cases to the point of almost locking up the game. One particular save that I am testing with takes 4.5 seconds to generate this data, so when it does that every 2 seconds, you can imagine how much that constrains the game.
    • Part of this benefit is now that it has the data for you (from the last time it generated) as soon as you open the window, versus always saying "Generating..." for 3+ seconds.
  • Fixed a bug where the map could get stuck on generating the map infinitely in the lobby in the new threading model.
    • Actually, no I did not. I eased the clarity of a bug where if I accidentally coded an infinite loop into the new threading model, I would get an infinite thread.
  • Fixed an issue where missing savegame metadata files or quickstart tooltip files could cause errors in certain cases, mostly if they were deleted all of a sudden or the file system decided that you were not allowed to read that many files in a row, other things like that, etc.
    • Thanks to Sounds for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue in "SeedNormalEntities in stage 414" to be more explicit about what the problem is if it does run into one.
    • Thanks to Sounds for reporting.
  • Fixed a "DetermineAiOwnership error at stage 3001" error, in the case where there are no AI factions for some reason, to give a proper message saying "there are no AI factions, please add one to continue."
    • Thanks to Sounds for reporting.
  • Improved "FixDuringDeserForTemplate_AddAnyMissingFactions" for have better error-handling, and to also keep its errors from hopefully spilling out from one faction it was supposed to add to another.
    • All of the auto-added factions are normally removed and then added back in fresh, and so this is how one might wind up with a savegame with no AI factions, for instance. There's a solid chance that there's some error in a file downloaded by Steam and so a verification of local files needs to happen if this is the case for the affected player, but we also want this to be robust enough to survive past that.
    • Thanks to Sounds for reporting.
  • Fixed an exception that could happen when trying to get the planet of an entity, mostly on MP clients.
    • Thanks to ptarth for reporting.
  • Fixed a piece of code that was returning "natural objects" for any planet factions on entities that were null. This was decidedly unhelpful, and led to a number of errors happening for people, particularly in multiplayer on clients, where it looked like units had switched sides but really units were dead.
    • Thanks to ptarth, Bummeri, and Badger for reporting.
  • Fixed a piece of code that was returning "natural objects" for any planet factions on entities that were null. This was decidedly unhelpful, and led to a number of errors happening for people, particularly in multiplayer on clients, where it looked like units had switched sides but really units were dead.
    • Thanks to ptarth, Bummeri, and Badger for reporting.
  • Fixed what seemed to be bugs related to squads still having a reference in the central registry after being killed. These don't affect anything negatively, so it just silently fixes these versus giving you giant warnings like it did for the last two builds.
    • On the other hand, it now looks for squads that are in both quarantine AND deployed in the planet faction lists, and it now both fixes that as well as (for now) will complain about it. We haven't seen any evidence of this so far, but it was worth checking for.
    • Thanks to ptarth, Bummeri, and Badger for reporting.
  • Updated our in-game notifications to now use a SafeSquadWrapper so that we are certain that we're never getting stale data that is being passed beyond the quarantine boundary and somehow becoming something else while being displayed. Notifications aren't always updated super duper quickly, so there was some risk of that, and I suspect it was happening in a couple of notorious cases that kept popping up.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Improved a few places in SafeSquadWrapper and LazyLoadSquadWrapper that could still potentially return certain kinds of dead units, and in particular could return PKIDs of a dead interior unit. This may not have had any negative effects, but it's better to be sure.
  • All of the forms of swapping ship lines between fleets should no longer throw any "yikes what happened" errors.
    • Thanks to Zweihand, slake-moth, and habakuk for reporting.
  • Even if a ghost-suspect is suspected of being a ghost with no resolution for 60 seconds on the client, the client will not delete that ghost, now.
    • I strongly suspect that this is where the "disappearing units" that are reported are coming from. In general, it's possible that this may lead to some ghosts again, but in practice I think that the real ghosts actually get cleared properly thanks to the creation of the central registry in games, and so I think that this is a code relic that is just causing problems rather than solving them.
  • Canary code is now more explanative when expressing what went wrong, and also now only has one version (string) instead of having a char variant that could in theory have been misused and cause spurious errors.
    • In general tidied a few things up in this area. Not sure that it will make any difference for the errors that Bummeri and his group were seeing, but here's hoping.
    • Thanks to Bummeri for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue where an exception could still happen inside the budget spending for border aggression.
    • Thanks to dEAdOnE77 for reporting.

Mod Updates

Lost Humans Update

  • Save Breaking Update
    • StarKelp: Apologizes to whoever this impacts, didn't expect to keep adding to this, and if I want to keep expanding it, this was a long tine coming. Shouldn't happen again.
  • Greatly reorganized the codebase for easy maintenance and expansion
  • Fixed a bug where Travelers and Rogues would all spawn on the same 2 or 3 planets
  • Implemented a number of XML optimizations curtesy of RocketAssistedPuffin

Beta 3.797 Eldritch Art

(Released February 9th, 2022)

  • Your ships will no longer target Ion Cannons, Mass Drivers and Templar Defensive Structures while they are being hacked
    • Thanks to Ranakastrasz and Pmm5000 for the bug reports

Elderlings

  • Wrathful Elderling has "wrath" weapon modifier to deal more damage as it and/or its target become closer to death
    • Wrathful Flagship online! Get this by killing a hacked Wrathful Elderling as the Necromancer
  • Cyclopean Elderling revised slightly, mostly removing unneccesary features and highlighting its special coil beam attack
    • Cyclopean Flagship now on line! Get this by transforming killing a hacked Cyclopean Elderling (as the Necromancer)
  • Slothful Elderling Rework: This weak elderling patrols the galaxy. Prone to indolence, this elderling resents nimbleness and attacks in short bursts at long range, excelling at taking down ships that have powerful engines or move quickly.
    • Slothful Flagship online! Get this by killing a hacked Slothful Elderling as the Necromancer
  • Decadent Elderling Rework: It reels ships towards itself so it can devour them, replenishing health in the process.
    • Decadent Flagship online! Get this by killing a hacked Decadent Elderling as the Necromancer

Necromancer

  • Skeleton Detonator now the Skeleton Rogue
    • Cloaked and hardened (reduces damage to .25 max health). Hits up to 3 targets but can focus fire on a single target. Fusion damage, so bypasses shields.
    • Can be selected as a starter skeleton choice
  • Skeleton, Skeleton Warrior, Skeleton Archer, and Skeleton Rogue no longer have shields. Hull buffed proportionally
  • Skeleton Lord buff to health, about 33%
  • Vengeful Wight's weapon now partially bypasses shields (50%). This is to make sure the Necromancer has the ability to specialize in fusion weapons, paired with the skeleton rogue, spectres, and certain flagships
  • Lightning Tower no longer restricted to attacking only strikecraft and frigates. That turns out to be really limiting...
    • Thanks for pointing that out, Chris!

Art Updates

  • Visual updates to the base game:
    • AI Superfortress graphics completely overhauled, and it looks much larger and cooler now.
    • AI Fortress graphics also overhauled and it looks better.
    • Engineer visuals improved a bit (shader/material improvements)
  • Visual updates to DLC1:
    • AI Spire Citadel updated to the new fortress style, and consequently also looks way better.
  • Visual additions for DLC2:
    • Hyperion is now done in the new fortress style, but with its own colors and shader and such.
    • Frenzy Golem now has unique graphics.
    • Retribution Golem now has unique also.
    • Retribution Guardian ditto.
    • Dire Lightning Guardian.
    • Drone Garrison, DroneReclamator, and Drone Stockade.
    • Polarized Guard Post.
    • Attractive Matrix Fortress.
    • V-Wing Hangar.
    • Salvage Depot.
    • Starfish Cruiser, Viral Arm, and Viral Arm Ghoula
    • Lanternfish Turret
    • Fragmenting Minefield and Frag Mine
    • Proximity Minefield
    • Jammer Minefield
    • Kinetic Buffer
    • Anchor Minefield
    • Ragnarok Guard Post
    • Gladiator Guard Post
    • Dark Zenith Huskarl
    • Dark Zenith Ulfsark (kill it with fire)
    • Dark Zenith Jarl
    • Dark Zenith Trelleborg and Atgeir (now with eggs)
    • Dark Zenith Skeggox and Ingelrii
    • DZ Javelin, and ZA Bola
    • Wormhole Borer (mobile and stationary - stationary now with particles! https://youtu.be/nj8LGUmHabc)
  • Visual additions for DLC3:
    • Necrobomb
    • Phylactery
    • Necropolis - Major, Minor, and Defensive
    • Catapult and Hedgehog
    • Skeleton and Wight Homes
    • Skeleton Bonus
    • Haunted and Desecrated Keeps
    • Brutal Guardin Lair
    • Skeleton, Skeleton Warrior, Archer, Rogue, Mage, Lord, and Weak
    • Templar Encampment and Elite version
    • Templar Fastness and Elite version
    • Templar Castle and Elite version
    • Necromancer Base Flagship, Blaster, Tank Starburst, and Drake
    • Fireball
    • Slothful Elderling, Feeble Elderling, Wrathful Elderling
    • Eltritch Elderlings (Red Giant and Yellow Sun variants): https://youtu.be/j6kE9lXBv48

Beta 3.796 Greatly Thinning The Turncoats

(Released February 7th, 2022)

  • Add a Tip of the Day, and a regular in-game Tip explaining the Wait For Stragglers setting

Necromancer

  • Mummy now has a retribution weapon (mirror) that deals 500 damage to attackers. Gained Tractor Beams. Stats buffed to be more consistent with a Dire Guardian (engine, armor thickness, energy, etc.)
    • Royal Mummy minor adjustments. Still x2 hull/shields and damage compared to standard mummy
    • Decaying Mummy has a slightly stronger primary weapon compared to standard mummy and gained an attrition field
    • Withered Mummy now splits into 4 "Mummy Minions" upon death. These have x.25 hull/shields and damage compared to standard mummy
  • Bone Dragon base stats are now more akin to a Golem. Gained a chain lightning attack
  • Necrobomb nerf to health. These things were tanks, now they are made of tissue paper. (Cloaking and freely respawn, these are basically mines)
  • Catapult now has orbiting. The coil beam has been replaced with 2 weapons, both inspired by the Peltian weapon (deals more damage the further away it is). The first weapon specializes in massive targets, the second weapon focuses on masses of small mass targets.
  • Lightning Tower gained bonus damage (x10) to targets >=7.5K energy usage
  • Flagships cost more metal (strictly to make them repair less quickly). They now cost 40K energy to make them have hard counters
    • Blaster Flagships weapons now do paralysis. First weapon for strikecraft. Second weapon for massive ships, and paralyzes up to mass 6tx
    • Tank Flagship now is hardened (reduces damage to .1 max health) and regenerates out of combat in 2 minutes (from 1 health)
  • Halved the healing/repair rate of mending orbs
  • Orb of Entropy now only has 6 necrobombs from 30 (they were sharing a cap but this bug has been fixed -- thanks Chris!)
  • Banshee gains x100 damage to ships with albedo >=0.7 (This is otherwise quite feeble, its main role is to decloak ships. This gives them an extra oomph to make them more exciting)
  • Ikiryo has doubled hulls/shields. Now is hardened (reduces damage to .1 max health). Range of gravity generator and primary weapon increased. Primary weapon now deals exteme damage to ships with weak engines (for similar reasoning as to the Banshee changes)
  • Corrupt castle hack now takes 30 seconds (from 0)
  • The essence cost to upgrade a Minor Necropolis now half the cost for the major necropolis. The minor version gives half the amount of hexes as the major per mark, so this seems appropriate to make it a meaningful choice
  • The "Level Up Flagship" section of the fleet sidebar for the necromancer now uses the correct colour.
  • Fix some exceptions in Rift Hacking
  • At the beginning of the game, the necromancer flagship begins unloaded
    • Thanks to 5ounds for suggesting

Bugfixes

  • Improve some error messages about getting the wrong fleet leader
  • Fixed the last of the turncoat ship bug, and also took out some of the logging that had been related to that.
    • The most recent part of this issue was due to the fact that I had stopped letting planets, planetfactions, and fleet memberships be set to null.
      • It could potentially go "I am already in that planetfaction, so don't add me to it." This is one of the chief things that changed since last week, when things had been smoother-sailing for Badger in his testing, but still not fully smooth for others. I had partly addressed this in the interim, but this still left a variety of other problematic cases.
    • The pooling is verified-good now, and the IDs are all being used only once, too, so that has checked out even when this was all having issues.
    • There was also a timing issue that was erroneously reporting things as changing to null factions or fleets or whatever when the ship was still initializing, and those no longer check so early on ship statuses, which resolves that. This was a relatively minor case compared to the others, though.
    • Thanks to 5ounds, motai, habakuk, slake-moth, and Badger for reporting.
  • Expanded the warning time limits for several thread types for how long they have not been run, to make sure that they aren't hit in normal gameplay.
  • Fixed an issue with some of the new children-spawning mechanics where it was doing that for units that were not yet fully built, not yet fully claimed, or in remains form. Also if it was crippled, or disabled for some other reason.
    • Thanks to zeus and Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Improved the tooltip of progenitors so that they show how many descendants they have at present.
  • Fixed a bug where progenitors would not forget their dead descendants, and so would not build replacements.
  • Further improved the UI of the progenitors so that you can see what their build progress is towards their next descendant.
  • Fixed some very wrong code that was giving progenitors a shared unit cap rather than a personal one.
    • This doesn't seem to be related to any code that could let one go OVER cap, so that part was probably the general chaos of some recent builds.
    • Thanks to zeus for reporting.
  • Fixed a dramatic performance regression that was added to the game as of yesterday, when I shifted from ConcurrentQueue<> over to Queue<> plus locks inside of TimeBasedPool<> and ConcurrentPool<>.
    • Essentially, the Concurrent collection was never the culprit here, despite my suspicion, and there are better ways implemented at the moment that check up for code bugs related to these (and yesterday's fix to the Nov 17 bug was the real original issue with this whole thing, anyway).
    • The regression was such that random frames would take up to 10 seconds to happen (wow!), with things only going downhill from there, the longer you played. This was because of more traffic in the pools, and the simplistic locking strategy that I implemented being far inferior to the ConcurrentQueue class.
    • I'm now seeing times returned to normal, and no intermittent spikes, as well as no return to mixed-up threads, so knock on wood everything seems happy.
    • There are other parts of the code that are no longer using ConcurrentDictionary and instead use Dictionary, but the locking strategy there is way more efficient (because it could be), and so I don't yet see a need to go backwards there. Again, knock on wood, things are looking good!
  • Fixed a rare "ArcenUI_Window.OnUpdateWindow Error: Arcen.Universal.ArcenThreadsAreShutDownRightNowSoYouCannotHaveThatException" exception that could happen.
    • Thanks to Daniexepert for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug in recent versions where if you had necromancer flagships that were showing a control group number, then later other icons could gain random control group numbers because of stale data.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Fixed some debug text that got left on for tachyon units.
    • Thanks to Tuntematon for reporting.
  • "GalaxyMapPlanet::DoPerFrameUpdate, debugCode 150" errors should now be more specific, if they happen again, and give details of whatever is going on in DrawPlanetUnderAttackAlertIfNeedBe().
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Fixed an "OnUpdateScience" exception that could happen under just the wrong circumstances, particularly in multiplayer.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • The debug logging for the ship data changes are now back in place, as Badger has reported that the turncoat units are not done with me yet.
    • At least it's much harder to replicate, now.

Beta 3.795 Deduplicating

(Released February 6th, 2022)

  • Add some XML support for Dire CPAs with the hope that the remaining changes are just in the XML from here
  • Max of one CPA Bunker per planet

Necromancer

  • Phylactery now starts with 7 hexes from 6
  • Major Necropolis now starts with 5 hexes from 3
  • Minor Necropolis now starts with 4 hexes from 2
  • Increased the "rift hack--cap increase" for the skeleon warrior, archer, detonator, and the wight bodyguards
  • Hex cost changes for Necromancer 'homes":
    • Revenant from 1 to 2 Homes now create 4 up from 2
    • Ghast from 1 to 2. Homes now create 3 up from 1
    • Spectre from 1 to 2. Homes now create 6 up from 4
    • Dragur from 1 to 2. Homes now create 4 up from 2
    • Mummy (all types) from 4 to 3
    • Dragon from 1 to 5
    • Skeleton Mage cap per rift inceased to 2 from 1. (Needs Necopolis >=2 so you need to already need to invest more)
    • Skeleton Lord cap per rift inceased to 3 from 1 (Needs Necopolis >=3 so you need to already need to invest more)
  • Unit changes:
    • General. Increased the energy costs to correspond roughly to strikecraft, guardian, etc. Although they don't use energy, they still need to have this in place for the counter system
    • Dragur has 33% more hull and shields. Increase base damage from 1,500 to 1,700 (30 target salvo). Weapon jamming affects armor less than 85 mm (up from 60). Armor from 50 mm to 120mm
    • Ghast has 10% more hull and shields and gained a cloaking device. Increased base damage from 1,630 to 1,800 (10 target AOE max). Armor from 50 mm to 85 mm
    • Spectre has 33% more hull and shields. Engine increased from 14gx to 22gx. Now has "fortified" to resist damage from distant ships
    • Revenant gains added_shots_per_salvo_per_mark="1" to its paralytic sniper weapon
    • Increased speed of Skeleton Lord from 700 to 1,000. Increased its albedo from .3 to .4
  • Add a bunch of Beginner Objectives for the Necromancer to make things easy for new players
    • Hack Templar Rifts (always visible)
    • Hunt Elderlings (always visible)
    • Fight Templar (always visible)
    • Build Necropolises (only shown when the player has < 3 necropolises)
    • Upgrade Flagships (tells player to upgrade flagships with essence; not shown immediately, and only shown until you've done a few upgrades)
    • Upgrade Necropolises (tells player to upgrade necropolises with essence; not shown immediately, and only shown until you've done a few upgrades)
    • Use Hexes (only shown when a necropolis has unused hexes)
    • Use Flagship Variants with blueprints (only shown if you have no variants and have done some flagship upgrades)

QoL

  • Add a 'Wait For Stragglers' personal setting under Automation; it defaults to 'Off'
    • This is to solve the problem of "I want to load this flagship then send it to another planet. If I hit L then issue the move command then my flagship flies away before all its ships can load"
      • Detailed Description:If you have a flagship in load mode on a friendly planet, or a neutral planet without enemies, and it has ships on this planet flying to the flagship to load, the flagship will not leave the planet until everyone is on board.
  • If you are in combat on non-player-controlled planet and you have no mobile ships there, don't bother with a notification.
    • This can happen with the necromancer claiming guard posts on far-flung planets

Code Framework Improvements

  • A new NonSimTrueUniqueID has been introduced on GameEntity_Base, and this is now used to populate Equals and GetHashCode.
    • Not only will this let us check for object equality really well, but it also allows for us to have game entities persist in dictionaries and other hashes between pooling events if need be.
    • Most importantly, this lets us do a Contains check and correctly identify if this unique object is in a list or queue or not.

Threading Model

  • All of our methods that call to Parallel have been removed (there were not any usages of those methods left, anyhow). Task.Run is better for our purposes in all cases.
  • A new ArcenThreadingRequestTypeTable has been added, and is tied to all of our Task.Run calls. This allows us to centralize a bunch of logic that otherwise was spread out.
    • This allows us to time, monitor, and protect all of the threads in the game.
    • These are now visible by right-clicking the clock and looking in the "All Potential Thread Request Types" section.
    • Will this actually resolve any problems? It's hard to say at the moment! But it gives us greater clarity, and if there were any issues with threads overlapping, then this is likely resolving those.
  • Civilian Industries and Lost Humans have both been updated to use this new set of code.

Bughunting Tools

  • Added a new utility/cheat command: decimate
    • decimate or decimation
      • Destroys 90% of all non-leader, non-contained, non-guardpost, non-AIP-related units in the galaxy, for all factions (including yours).
      • Example usage: cmd:decimate
    • I've added this specifically because units seem to do strange things when coming back out of the pool a second time, so having a quick way to put lots of units back into the pool for all factions is useful for testing what happens when they start drawing them out again.
  • On the escape menu, you can now see the count of quarantined items, and you can also see the number of quarantine errors prevented (if any).
  • There is a new "empty quarantine" command.
    • empty quarantine
      • Any objects (ships or otherwise) that are in quarantine (and thus not valid yet for being put back in the central pools for redistribution into the game) get dumped back into the central pools immediately.
      • This is something that should not be done unless you're specifically testing some aspect of the game and potentially trying to make it goof up.
      • Example usage: cmd:emptyquarantine
      • Never considered a cheat.
  • And a new duplicate command:
    • duplicate or duplication
      • Make a duplicate copy of all non-leader, non-contained, non-guardpost, non-AIP-related units in the galaxy, for all factions (including yours).
      • Example usage: cmd:duplicate
  • Useful sequence for testing:
    • cmd:decimate to kill lots of units.
    • cmd:emptyquarantine to flush the quarantine.
    • cmd:duplicate (once or twice) to pull lots of units back out for all factions and see what breaks.

Bugfixes

  • Add a bunch of defensive code for problems Badger saw in an MP session tonight
  • Fix some bugs where a human empire was spending metal building for the Necromancer
  • Removed some code that was part of the entity and which tried to repair null fleet memberships. This was running on a background thread as of fairly recently (a few weeks or a month), and it resulted in the message "Went To Loose Fleet Because Had Null FMem" in our debug logs for fleet membership changes.
    • What is interesting here is that this actually was not fixing anything, and could not possibly be -- that variable is not allowed to become null anymore. Instead, what we were seeing was a failure in atomic operations, most likely.
    • There's a good explanation of what an atomic operation is here in this discussion where I was reading about the Interlocked.Increment operation: https://stackoverflow.com/a/24350105/73066
    • Or if you'd like some examples of torn reads, here's an example that shows decimal failing: https://benbowen.blog/post/cmmics_iii/
      • AI War 2 is 64bit only, and we don't use decimal or many other volatile types larger than a 64bit word. So torn reads are largely not a thing for us. That said, I think that we're seeing a manifestation of the same general idea here. We'll see if there are still issues.
  • Fixed a major bug that has been plaguing us since November 17th, but which only really got true terrifying expression more over the last month or so (largely because of improvements in other parts of the codebase to be more multithreaded and similar).
    • The short version is that multiple copies of the same object were allowed to be put back into TimeBasedPools. This leads to a variety of problems, most notably that the same object will be taken out and given to two separate factions (or two separate ships for the same faction), thus leading to all sorts of contention and messed-up data.
    • The long version is that this was a one-line typo having to do with the quarantine status, but also there's some multithreading considerations in general when it comes to atomic operations that really meant a two-field design is needed for this field. This is what we had prior to Nov 17, and we've moved back to that now.
    • Hopefully this should be the end of most of the really strange errors that we've been seeing lately, but if you see more, please let us know!

Beta 3.794 Synchronicity

(Released February 5th, 2022)

  • Loading pre-Refactor saves now gives a better error message that includes the exact beta version you can switch to on Steam (which also now has been set up) so that you can continue an older save.
    • Thanks to Badger for suggesting improvements.
  • Tweak the formatting for DLC3 lore journals
    • Suggested by Daniexpert
  • Improve the AIP history code for necromancer hacks that cause additional AIP
    • Suggested by Daniexpert
  • Real graphics for Ymir and Jormugandr in DLC2 are finally in place! The ones from before were temp, but now we have cool exciting models. More to come for DLC2, as well as some reworks for the base game, all the DLC3 art, and some new stuff for DLC1 (DLC1 is expanding in general with some new features, and will get a price increase and rename as well as part of that).

Expert Mode

  • Seed an Argon fuel generator on the DZ planets if they invade in Expert mode
  • If an Expert mode game is started with non-fuel using factions, don't seed fuel

Bugfixes

  • Added a new EnqueueIfDoesNotMatchPrevousItem() option to our implementation of Queue<>.
    • Added a new GetAllContentsAsCommaSeparatedStringForDebugging() extension method for Queue<>/
    • When the "Yikes! Anything of note just happen in the game in terms of actions taken?" messages are written now, they now include a list of the last 10 reasons that a squad's fleet membership changed.
      • All of the ships that are having funky results seem to have a most-recent reason of "Went To Loose Fleet Because Had Null FMem", so we need to go back further to understand what is happening.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert and slake-moth for reporting.
  • That said, for the Planet and PlanetFaction fields, it was already not allowing null to ever be set for them (that causes too many issues with distant threads), and that seems like a nice improvement to fleet membership as well.
    • So now it will just throw away any requests for a ship's fleet membership that would turn it to null, and we'll see if that happens to resolve this problem. That should be a positive change in general.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert and slake-moth for reporting.
  • Fixed a "exception during sappers LRP debugCode 300" error.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Based on some of the recent bugs we have had, and in particular one that DaniExpert ran into, I am starting to strongly suspect that in a very small minority of cases, the game is actually giving back a single item from a pool to multiple calling threads.
    • In general, there are two types of pools that are relevant for these purposes: TimeBasedPool<> and ConcurrentPool<>. Both of these previously used traditional locks with internal Queue<>s, but were something I transitioned over to internally having ConcurrentQueue<>, instead.
    • ConcurrentQueue<>, ConcurrentDictionary<>, and ConcurrentBag<> are all three data types that I am getting increasingly suspicious-of. They seem to prize throughput over accuracy, whereas we need absolutely pristine accuracy (these ships that are double-returned are very much a tiny minority case, and only on some machines some of the time, one or two bad returns out of hundreds of thousands, but this is still way too frequent for us).
      • A build or so ago I already transitioned our central dictionaries away from ConcurrentDictionary<> over to regular Dictionary<> collections with write-specific locks surrounding it to maximize throughput while not allowing for write-based errors of any sort.
      • Now I'm doing the same for TimeBasedPool<> and ConcurrentPool<>, except in their case it's for read and write. We do multiple orders of magnitude fewer reads from these than we do from the central dictionaries, and read and write are both equally volatile from our perspective here.
    • So far, the performance seems functionally identical, which is not surprising given the other architectural improvements to the game. The end result of this should hopefully be that we no longer get units jumping ownership, or the many other strange related-seeming bugs that might come from that.
      • Originally I made the switch to the newer .NET data structures because I assumed that they would maintain perfect accuracy like locks do (I have not seen anything stating that they do not), but without the risk of deadlocks, and potentially with some improvements to performance.
      • That said, over the last 8 months I've wound up making a lot of other performance improvements to the game, and it turns out that these are not part of the critical path for performance (either they are not now, or they never were). So all the performance improvements since the last stable version have mostly come from structural shifts to code, shifts to the threading model, and etc. With that in mind, we don't lose anything by switching back to simpler and more battle-tested locking strategies like this.
  • Improved the instrumentation on sappers stage2. This didn't fix the error that was encountered there, but the changes to other structural things may already have fixed that. This makes it so that if the error does happen again, we'll see more about it.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Fix a bug where some tech were reported as costing about 10 million science
    • Thanks to slake-moth for reporting

Beta 3.793 The Turncoat Question

(Released February 4th, 2022)

Dire CPA

  • The game now has a concept of "Dire CPAs" which are enabled in the game lobby. These are always enabled on campaigns > HA.
    • With this enabled, the game will periodically spawn CPA Bunkers in the galaxy.
    • These Bunkers will create extra ships when a CPA is triggered. Bunkers will spawn periodically, and you must blow them up.
      • This is currently only in DLC3 (for testing)

Bugfixes

  • The game now requires a reasoncode for any units that change planet, fleet, or faction. That is now displayed in the "Yikes! Anything of note just happen in the game in terms of actions taken?" message that pops up when the sim repair process detects a wrong faction or fleet membership.
    • At the moment I have no idea what is causing ships to sometimes swap fleets or faction, so this should prove instructive.
    • Thanks to habakuk, Bummeri, and slake-moth for reporting.
  • Put in code to prevent exceptions from unloading a single unit more than once from a transport (before you'd just get an extra unit, now it's an error along with that), but now neither should happen and you should just get out what you put in.
    • Thanks to slake-moth for reporting.
  • Fixed a very strange divide by zero exception that could happen in metal flows calculations. And fixed a few others that might happen, just in case.
    • Thanks to habakuk and Apthorpe for reporting.
  • GetHumanReadableKeyComboForAction has been adjusted to a method that generates a bit of extra heap garbage (which is easily cleaned up), but does not have a need for pulling temp character buffers (so this is faster now), and also doesn't have a risk of "memory not cleaned up" errors.
    • Thanks to Robert Carlisle and Tuntematon for reporting.
  • Templar and Elderling settings no longer appear for non-necromancers
    • Thanks to Starkelp for reporting

Beta 3.792 Thread And Entity Sanity

(Released February 3rd, 2022)

  • ARSs now can sometimes grant extra strikecraft lines instead of frigates, to add variety to ARSs.
    • 60 percent of the time, ARSs on Expert mode have 3 strikecraft instead of 2 strikecraft/1 frigate
    • 10 percent of the time, ARSs in HA get 4 strikecraft instead of 3 strikecraft/1 frigate

QoL

  • When you ping a planet from the galaxy map, a small notification appears for the next 2 minutes allowing other players to see which planets have been pinged recently. Pings on a specific planet are not tracked here.
    • Clicking on the notification will take you to the recently pinged planets
    • Thanks to Tuntematon for the suggestion
  • For fleet leaders, if they have an overlay for their icon, and also should be showing their fleet control group ID, then it stops showing the mark level of the fleet leader, and instead shows the control group ID.
    • Specifically, since it needs to show how many ships are inside it -- if there are any inside it -- then it will flip back and forth once per second between showing the ship count inside larger, and the control group larger, since you can really only see one at a time like this (both are there, but one tends to get covered and tiny). If it's not transporting any ships, it doesn't do this.
    • This means that for transports of various types, we can finally have overlays if we want to!
    • Thanks to Badger and zeus for reporting.
  • Fleet leaders on the galaxy map now behave the same as they do in the planet view, regarding the new showing of their control group even if they have flair, etc.
    • This was more challenging and different code than you might expect, but it works!
    • Thanks again to Badger and zeus for reporting.

Lost Humans Updated

  • Added in Lost Human Construction Convoys
    • These are groups of ships that spawn in and travel the galaxy in a fixed path, viewable via the new Lost Humans Galaxy Display Mode
    • They will build Turrets, Tractors, Mines, or Tachyon for whoever owns the planet as they travel.
  • Added in Scourge Labs
    • Requires The Spire Rises Expansion
    • Occasionally, incredibly powerful mobile labs can be found defecting from the AI
    • Like Lost Colonies, you will need to capture their planet before the AI does
    • Unlike Lost Colonies, you don't gain any shiplines for this, and instead gain the following bonuses:
      • The Lab is a very potent mobile Citadel
      • The Lab will launch waves of Scourge ships at the AI
      • The Lab's planet comes with double the regular amount of Science and HaP
    • These bonuses comes at a cost: 20 AIP
      • Either to capture it, or to destroy it. There is no avoiding this AIP, so you better do your best to get the Lab before the AI recaptures it and uses it to send waves at YOU
  • Added in a new Lost Humans galaxy display mode
    • This will show the first type of every unit on a planet (so 5 Travelers would be shown via one icon)
    • It additionally shows the planned path for the Lost Humans Construction Convoy via a Green Line
  • Updated a number of default settings
    • All waves have lower strength, and a higher interval, but now have scaling by default
    • Travelers now spawn less frequently
    • Organized the settings menu, so all options to enable/disable functions are located at the top of the menu
    • Disabled Rogues and Construction Convoys by default, due to their far higher impact

Bugfixes

  • Fix a reference to "science" in the necromancer flagship levelup hovertext
    • Thanks to Puffin Emeritus for reporting
  • Fix a bug where the ZA was expanding their Core Territory in a runaway fashion
    • Thanks to Apthorpe for reporting
  • Add some scourge defensive code
    • Thanks to Bummeri for reporting
  • Fix a bug with the tech sidebar for the necromancer
    • Thanks to zeusalmighty for reporting
  • Lots of updates to the way that we centrally track entity info!
    • The short version is that now we're keeping track of a bit more information, and we access it differently (a regular dictionary and a lock when writing, rather than a concurrent dictionary).
      • The reason for the dictionary change is partly performance, and partly to avoid issues with thread sync.
      • Also, the way that we store some of the debug information about the number of units created is now more efficient, now also requiring three fewer concurrent dictionaries.
    • As part of this, the game now does a per-second check to see if any units have unexpectedly switched fleets or switched factions, since that was something that was happening to a couple of folks lately. It will give an error immediately if so, now.
      • The hope is that with the restructuring of how data goes in, that this will no longer happen in general. That said, if there is a "valid" call to SwitchFaction that is just calling to the wrong place, then we'll have to do more instrumentation.
    • Another part of this is that if there is a duplicate PKID registered (this may have been the cause of unexpected faction shifts), then it now does a better job of getting a new non-conflicting PKID on game hosts (and in SP).
    • Thanks to Tuntematon and habakuk for reporting.
  • Passing in a duplicate key to Add() methods on dictionaries is no longer an error. It just overwrites.
    • This is a general semantic difference that never has really mattered, especially not for our purposes here.
    • Thanks to habakuk and slake-moth for reporting.
  • The threading-protection (with Interlocked.Exchange) that Badger figured out and put in place for some of the short-term planning threads a build or so back has now been applied throughout the rest of the program, in about 30 locations.
    • The threads were still overtaking one another in some places, and that is likely something that was causing some crashes, some very odd behaviors, and some exceptions in metal flow planning, among other issues. Knock on wood, that should all be behind us.

Beta 3.791 Network Defragmentation

(Released February 1st, 2022)

  • The asteroid field around the game play space is now more attractive.

Expert Mode Updates

  • Add a new setting for 'increase the strength of the post-hack exo'.
    • This setting is forced on for Expert mode
  • There is now a setting to reduce the options available from an ARS or TSS; with this setting you now have 3 ship line choices per ARS (2 strikecraft, one frigate), and 3 turret choices per TSS
    • Forced on for Expert Mode

Network Improvements

  • Steam Multi-Sockets has been renamed to Steam Multi-Port, and there is now added information in place that explains that it uses five ports rather than just a single one, so that players will know what to open on their firewall. A further clarification has been added to LiteNetLib that it only uses UDP on the single port that you have selected.
    • Thanks to Bob for sparking this realization.
  • Updated the game to use six channels for data (or six ports in the case of Steam Multi-Port).
    • There is a new "bulky 3" channel, which is now used just for sending time-sensitive ship information across. This should prevent issues with data for ships arriving really late because of dropped packets, and should reduce lag based on packet fragmentation in general.
  • Changed the MP client asking the host for data about a set of squads to send data in batches of no more than 100 -- it may generate several messages in a single frame by this method, which is fine.
    • The idea is to keep this well under the MTU, to prevent any fragmentation, but to at the same time keep it from spamming messages.
    • Additionally, in doing this I discovered that previously it was trying to limit it to 300, but really could tack on as many ghost-checks as it wanted, which is why hosts were sometimes hit with "fixed possible runaway loop" errors (I never could figure that out).
  • Aside from just sending the ship-sync data via bulky-3, the way that divergence data is sent from hosts to clients is now very different:
    • Any deletions are sent as one bulk message. This is another case where it could in theory go over the normal limit of 300 ships at a time, so it no longer has a warning about a possible runaway loop here, either. It really should rarely send so much, but it won't complain for 90k ships now, which is way outside the ever-likely bounds and so should not happen all in one frame.
    • For actual ships that have their data being updated, it sends those as individual messages now. These should mostly fit under the average MTU, although it will vary. This should keep network speeds up since we no longer have to worry about fragmentation and reassembly here, and in the event that some packets are misordered, we technically don't even care about that.
    • This should make high packet-loss situations a lot more playable, without us having to get into the situation of stale ship data being discarded.
  • The planet-faction sync data in multiplayer is now sent with one message per planet, which makes them a bit less prone to fragmentation errors (they are still not under MTU, but that's fine).
    • Additionally, there is a better throttle on these now so that with more factions, it syncs fewer planets at a time. Previously, bandwidth would go up a lot for this part of sync as the number of factions in the game increased.
  • The sync code for factions -- basic data and external data -- has been updated to be time-sliced so that it does not send proportionally more data when there are more factions in a MP game.
    • Additionally, each faction is send in a separate network message, which simplifies a bit of code as well as guarding against network fragmentation.
  • The planet sync data is now more time-sliced, so that it's just 5 planets per cycle regardless of how many there are. Before it was set to be 1/8th of the number of planets in the game.
    • Additionally, it breaks out each planet into individual messages, again getting the anti-fragmentation benefits.
  • Fleet data sync in multiplayer is now time-sliced, whereas it was not before. And like the other sync pieces, it's done in multiple messages to better dodge fragmentation.
    • Overall this should hopefully remove some of the canaries that folks were getting in the fleet sync code, which was the last of the mystery canaries for now. Knock on wood, anyhow.
    • Also, it turns out that there may have been an issue here with fleets getting deleted inappropriately on the client at various points, which would lead to all sorts of mysterious bugs. That is fixed if it was happening.
  • Now that there is a lot more time-slicing going on in each stage in the MP sync process, it now shows a counter next to the stage in the host escape menu, so that you can tell when it's moving.
    • Incidentally, if it gets stuck for long periods, you'll see "sync acks skipped" start counting up, and that's going to really slow down sync in general. Why exactly this happens is not super clear to me, but it's some sort of message getting lost in the shuffle and not being sent back (not something that should happen in reliable UDP, but interesting). This may have been related to some of the previous problems with ships randomly disappearing and things of that sort.
    • It's possible that the acks are overkill here in general, but I put those in a while back as a way to naturally limit bandwidth overflow (since it won't queue up a ton of messages until it hears back from the last set of them). If this becomes a problem longer-term, where things get stuck on tons of sync acks being skipped (not just one or two here and there, which is fine and likely a timeout being hit rather than actual lost data), then I'll have to revisit it.

DLC3

  • When the necromancer is enabled, the Templar/Elderling factions no longer appear in the game lobby. Instead you edit their settings as options under the Necromancer (just like how the Warden/Hunter are edited under the AI)
    • The default option for the Strength of both Templar and Elderlings is 'strength of strongest ai in the game', but you can also choose a value from 1-10 directly
    • If multiple necromancers have different settings for the difficulty, the highest difficulty will be chosen
  • Necromancers now get Wights when killing regular Macrophage Harvesters, not mummies

Bugfixes

  • Fixed the likely cause of "Quaternion To Matrix conversion failed because input Quaternion is invalid {0.000000, 0.000000, 0.000000, 0.000000} l=0.000000", which was probably an uninitialized quaternion.
  • Fix a bug with nemesis notifications
    • Thanks to Tuntematon for reporting
  • Added some defensive code in the SphereNowAntagonized_MayReturnNull dyson sphere code.
    • Thanks to Badger for adding, and to dEAdOnE77 for reporting.
  • The hacking notifier mouseover will now show a more informative error if it has one.
    • Thanks to slake-moth for reporting.
  • Previously, if you were changing lobby options after having been in-game and selecting a galaxy map filter, it could lead to errors. Fixed.
    • Thanks to Tuntematon for reporting.
  • The "Found PKID in central list and planetFaction list, but the status in the central list is [whatever]" is now no longer an error at all. It just fixes any data that it finds.
    • Thanks to Badger and Tuntematon for reporting.
  • In the event that sim repair can't add an entity that is in the central registry to the planet faction list for some reason, repeatedly, then it deletes the squad from the central registry. This pretty much only happens on MP clients. The host should then detect the missing unit and send an update, now that it's not in the central registry.
    • Thanks to Badger and Tuntematon for reporting.
  • If a ship is malformed in the number of systems it has (this is mostly an MP client thing), it now should fix that rather than complaining about it. It will still complain about it if it just absolutely can't fix it, so we'll see what happens.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • The "Found PKID in planetfaction lists but and central lists BUT it was null in the central registry" error should no longer happen (knock on wood), because it should be reassigning in and fixing that data.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • One of the characteristics of "reliable UDP" is that messages will get to the destination, and be in the proper order, but that does not mean it will get there in a timely fashion. Packet fragmentation or other network conditions can create quite large delays. When it comes to ship sync data, if that data is at least 5 game seconds out of date, then it now just junks that information rather than syncing it "back in time."
    • It's possible that on a suitably rocky connection, this could lead to a lot of messages being lost. On the client in the full network stats (and on the client in the network stats that get written into your log after playing), it now shows how many data groups of this sort were junked from being slow.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Fixed a nullref that could happen at "Helper_SendThreatOnRaid debugCode 400"
  • Fixed an exception in debug stage 5400 of SwitchToFaction.
    • Thanks to ptarth for reporting.
  • Fix some rare bugs that could happen at just the wrong time in GetWarningLevelForPlanetLink.
    • Thanks to ptarth for reporting.
  • Fixed the actual error in DoForKnownWavesAgainstHumanWorlds that could happen on clients in rare cases.
    • Thanks to ptarth for reporting.
  • Fixed some exceptions that could happen on the client in DrawPlanetUnderAttackAlertIfNeedBe.
    • Thanks to ptarth for reporting.
  • Added extra instrumentation to "entity tooltip text generation at stage 380," but did not fix the actual error that was encountered there yet.
    • Thanks to ptarth for reporting.
  • Discovered that network stats are not logged on the client properly when the host sends an orderly shutdown command. Go figure.
    • Thanks to ptarth for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue that could happen after losing a game, and it now uses the loose fleet rather than having an error.
    • Thanks to Bummeri for reporting.
  • Fixed some nullref exceptions that could happen in fleet button tooltips and click handlers.
    • Thanks to Bummeri for reporting.

Beta 3.790 Defense Against Rogues

(Released January 31st, 2022)

  • Holding Ctl when hovering something in the science menu now tells you the cost for each upgrade
    • Requested by Apthorpe
  • Add some defensive code in Short Term Planning threads (like Tachyon planning). Also add some defensive code in nomad notifications
    • Thanks to bug reports from a number of people, including Tuntematon, Apthorpe, motai and LordNSR

DLC3

  • The Science sidebar for the necromancer now only shows the ships you have unlocked
    • Thanks to zeus for reporting

Mods

Lost Humans

  • Added in Rogues
    • Rogues scour the galaxy, trying to hack into structures that contain ship lines to steal them, such as ARS.
    • Upon success, the AI deploys a Firewall to try and prevent further incursions into that structure.
      • Unluckily for you, Rogues are sneaky; so the defenses generally just make your life harder.
    • The good news! You can tap into the Rogue's loot in the form of Rogue Guilds; buildable on your planets when a Rogue is visiting.
    • Rogues on a planet with a Guild will deposit their stolen Fleetlines within, and the Guild will use any stored shiplines to attack the AI with waves of Anti AI Zombies.
  • Also cleaned up the options screen and xml files a bit.
  • Added scaling strength wave values, which default to off
    • Thanks to LordNSR for the request
  • Stop Rogues from hacking non-ai structures, and stop Rogues from hacking things of immense strength in the early game
    • Thanks to LordNSR for the showcase
  • Rogue Guild now only shows in the build menu if the Rogue has loot on hand
  • Fixed a bug where Hostile Lost Colonies were using Firewall Wave Strength in their description appender

Beta 3.789 Network Consolidation

(Released January 29th, 2022)

  • In your log, the game now specifies how long the network data session was, and also which framework was in use.
  • The gamecommand and ship creation stats are no longer logged into the log after you quit the game. Those are no longer of use, so they're just clutter.

General Balance Changes

  • Scythe ward base damage nerfed from 1,000 to 600.
    • These were pretty good apparently. Demo and Tom I think pointed these out.

Necromancer

  • all variants of wight homes now match hull/shields of other homes
  • Necromancer "all strucutres" tech renamed "Tower Defenses"
  • Phylactery nerf to healthpool. Hull reduced by 75% and shields reduced by 50%
    • These were super tough but justifed before there were reliable defensive options. The totems below warrant a significant reduction
  • All Necropolis have nerf to healthpool, same reason as for phylactery. Defensive Necropolis's nerf is less than the others
  • Added new defensive/utility tech: Totems
    • Protective Totem: The Necromancer's primary method of protecting its assets. Orbs of Absorption encircle the totem, attracting weapon fire within their zone of protection. Produces one orb every 30 seconds, to a max of three. All orbs will perish if the Totem is destroyed.
      • Orb of Absorption: A defensive orb that attracts weapon fire of targets shooting within its zone of protection.
    • Tacyon Totem: The Necromancer's primary method of revealing cloaked enemies. Orbs of Sight encircle the totem, dealing devastating damage to high albedo ships (like those with cloaking fields).
      • Orb of Sight: An orb created by the Tachyon Totem that specializes in destroying cloaked ships and those that otherwise have a high albedo.
    • Lifeforce Totem: This totem saps the life force of enemies, healing itself in the process. Summons orbs of mending to heal damaged allies
      • Orb of Mending: An orb created by the Life Force Totem that specializes in healing allies.
    • Treacherous Totem: The Necromancer's most powerful totem, only available to the Defensive Necropolis. It has a blackhole generator effect, preventing most ships from fleeing through wormholes, and slows down ships in a wide area. Its primary weapon deals extra damage to ships stuck in tractor beams. It creates orbs of entropy that orbit the totem, trapping ships in its tractor beams. These orbs create their own minefields, wreaking havoc to ships caught in the tractor beams.
      • Orb of Entropy: This orb traps ships with tractor beams and unleashes necrobombs that orbit in range, wreaking havoc to ships caught in the beams.
      • Necrobombs: A replenishing minefield that orbit orbs of entropy, destroying ships caught in the orbs' tractor beams.
  • Skeleton Lord and variants now have multiplier against massive targets (x5 for mass >=5)

Serialization Tracking Improvements

  • Added a new setting to the network tab: Heavy: Send Full Metadata
    • If you want to turn this on, the host or a client can do so at will, and the game will adjust automatically.
    • This setting causes a vast increase (about 50x) in the amount of data being sent across the network (you can see the amounts in the escape menu), because it will send the metadata about each piece of data, and not just the data itself.
    • This is not normally a setting you'd want to turn on, but if you get any sort of network send errors, or in particular a 'canary' is hit, then you can have everyone disconnect, turn this setting on, and reconnect. Shortly you should get a much more informative (to us) error about what data was malformed.
    • Canaries are our way of finding that there is an error in a general area, but this metadata setting is the way to pinpoint an exact problematic line so that we can fix it.
    • If a client is getting errors on their end, then the host needs to turn this on so that their data being sent out has the metadata in it. If a host is getting errors on their end, then the client sending the errors needs to turn on this field so that their data has metadata inside it.
  • The "AddItem" overload for AddBool, AddFloat, and AddFInt has been removed.
    • This was something that was needlessly confusing to read in code, and led to errors.
    • This required about 180 replacements in the main game.
    • Also fixed up civilian industries and lost humans, which only needed 1 change between them.
  • Various things that are network-saved have more metadata on them now.
    • Also fixed a few otherwise-harmless inconsistencies, such as one in gamecommands.

Deprecation Of Some Networking Frameworks

  • Steam P2P has had support removed for it -- it's still there in the xml, but you have to uncomment it to use it.
    • It actively garbles data, so there's really no point in using it.
  • Steam Tubes have had support removed for them -- the multi-socket version does everything that one does, and much better.
    • The tubes were having trouble even connecting lately, so that's also really quite pointless.
  • The rankings for steam multi socket relay have been moved down from S tier and A tier to B tier and C tier.
    • It really is quite inferior, and not just in terms of lag. There's a lot of other problems with things like fragmentation and freezing the game while it waits for the steam client, and even soft locks.
    • It may be that we wind up having to drop official support for these overall, if they keep causing so much trouble; I had wanted to support steam networking, but it just isn't great. GOG networking works very well from what I can tell, but doesn't support linux and is a lot less-tested than the steam one. LiteNet is absolutely killing the competition, and runs fast and well and accurately.

Networking Performance

  • The networking code is now run on a background thread, which seems to work fine and also eliminates the freezing and jerkiness that the steam networking framework was causing.
    • This does make initial connection slower (for some reason), but it's only about 12 seconds or so. After that, it's a lot faster and smoother this way.
    • Fragmentation issues aside with steam, potentially this means that framework will actually be fully viable. That would be really nice.
  • LiteNetLib no longer has a throttle on its update frequency, since it's now run on a background thread. This makes it connect about 2 seconds faster than it was recently.
    • Also an interesting side note now that things run on a background thread: no more soft lock happens from connecting to steam multi sockets with the header data on.

Bugfixes

  • Removed the implicit conversion from SafeSquadWrapper to GameEntity_Squad.
    • This then required a tour through 74 files in the codebase, and over 250 changes, to make it compile again.
    • As part of this, discovered dozens of places where nullref exceptions would have eventually happened (the sort I've been fixing the last few days), but which had not yet happened. Fixed all of those.
    • Additionally, found maybe three places that might have been soft locks, and fixed those as well.
    • These things were obviously not coming out for most people when playing, but they were going to be latent bombs there in the code for a good while. Should all be gone now.
  • Fixed up civilian industries and the lost humans mods to work without the implicit conversion of SafeSquadWrapper to GameEntity_Squad.
    • As part of that, fixed up maybe four bugs that were in those two mods that were of the nullref variety.
  • Fix a null reference in Neinzul Custodians
    • Thanks to Bummeri for reporting
  • Fixed some spurious "Fixed likely runaway loop in FromClientToServer_RequestSyncForSpecificDivergentSquads" messages.
    • Thanks to Bummeri, Jusa, Kale, and Badger for reporting.
  • Fixed an exception that could happen in GetHopsTo().
    • Thanks to Bummeri for reporting.
  • A proper multithreading lock is now used on fleet membership collections. It's kind of amazing that it somehow functioned without that prior to now. This may have been related to the canary issues, since they may have been downstream errors.
    • Thanks to Kale for reporting.
  • Removed support for delayed processing of fast-blast and omni-blast data. This is typically only 200ms behind at most, and waiting seemed to be causing some garbling. This may resolve a lot of the canary issues, but it's hard to be wholly sure.

Beta 3.788 Canary Search

(Released January 28th, 2022)

  • Made the Sentinel Frigates have a stronger tachyon beam that can hit any albedo.
    • The combat sentinel frigates can still only hit 0.7 and down.

QoL

  • The top of the screen notifications now show how many ships are cloaked in their tooltips when describing how many ships they have of each type.
  • The tooltips over the sidebar headers now show how many units are cloaked, when there are units cloaked.
  • On the left sidebar, where the ship icons or text are shown (depending on your settings), it now finally shows counts for cloaked ship counts in each category. This has been an extremely long time coming for this game.

Bugfixes

  • The game no longer complains about serializing data that is below the bounds of the current serialization block. It just corrects that data and moves on.
    • It will still complain about things that are too high, though.
    • Thanks to dEAdOnE77 for the most recent report.
  • Fixed two nullref exceptions that could happen in dyson antagonizers.
    • Thanks to dEAdOnE77 for reporting.
  • Fixed a handful of nullrefs that could occur in the cross planet attacker logic.
    • Thanks to dEAdOnE77 for reporting.
  • Quieted the "Warning: could not handle FromClientToServer_SignalDoneWithFrame because no player account for senderNetworkID" error message, because that basically was just something that happened when a client was disconnected from a host, and was not worth an error message.
    • Thanks to Urist McBukkit for reporting.
  • The game is now only allowed to sync 500 ships at a time, rather tan 9000, to keep performance from spiking periodically in multiplayer.
    • Thanks to Urist McBukkit for reporting.
  • Fixed another couple of exceptions that could happen in checking for AOE hits.
    • Thanks to motai for reporting.
  • When notifications throw an error from a tooltip, they actually log it rather than just having it flash by in the tooltip.
  • Fixed a boolean inversion in the prior build which broke tachyon beams.
    • Thanks to motai for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue with the ships sidebar where it would flicker around something terrible if you closed one of the categories.
    • Thanks to Vestire for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue with the top-right message box always being visible in the prior version.
    • Thanks to easytarget and Badger for reporting.
  • Fixed a data contention issue that could lead to exceptions in multiplayer in trying to check hull points lost on a client versus the host.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Several more network canaries have been added to GameEntity_Squad. There is evidently an issue with sending some form of data from them, and I'm not yet sure what it is.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Same deal with more canaries on the planetfaction data. Not sure what the problem is yet, but one was detected, so this will narrow it down.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • RemovedToBeAddedToStack and LastMinuteWasUnknownButToldToRemoveSoExplode should now self-correct rather than having funky warnings on multiplayer clients.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Fixed an exception that could happen in area boost planning if ships died and were recycled just the wrong way.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Fixed a funky issue where fleets of your allies could kinda-sorta be selected in multiplayer. It didn't seem to actually have them selected to the point you could give them orders, but it was letting you select them and having them appear in your selection window when you select your own fleets.
    • This is probably related to the fact that you can now select ships of other factions other than yourself, but the selection of ships is different from the selection of an entire fleet.
    • Thanks to Bummeri for reporting.
  • Added a bit of extra canary code for fleet syncs, which apparently also have a rare issue in them.
    • Thanks to Jusa for reporting.
  • Put some more canaries in place around fleet memberships and transported ships.
    • Thanks to Kaler for reporting.
  • Fixed an exception that could happen on entering the lobby.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.

Beta 3.787 Yet More Performance

(Released January 27th, 2022)

  • Adjusted things so that the max file size of our error files is now 4MB rather than 2MB.
  • Orbital ships that are orbiting the center of a planet now move slower when they are in higher orbits; previously, since the orbital angles per second was equal at every distance, this meant the velocity could get stupidly high on the edges of very large gravity wells, making them impossible to catch for normal-speed units.
    • Thanks to Puffin for reporting.
  • A player's first flagship now starts out as Watched

Escape Menu Data Improvements

  • Some key (and expensive to calculate) data that is in the escape menu is now calculated on a background thread instead of on the main ui thread.
    • This lets you look at the escape menu for stats with it having less of an impact on your framerate to do so.
  • The framerate is now shown in the escape menu next to the sim speed. Previously you could only see this when hovering over the clock in the bottom left of the screen.
  • Fixed the "fast forwarding" multiplier in the bottom left tooltip on the screen showing 4x when it was actually 3.5x, and similar.
  • A lot of the ship counts in the escape menu were incorrect since the addition of the death registry, since it was counting death registry entries as living ships. Yikes! This made it so saves looked larger than they were until you saved and reloaded, and the number of ships "shrank."
    • Now it shows a correct number, not including death registry entries, for "ships."
    • Next to that, it now shows a new number, "standalone ships." This is the number of ships that physically exist in a deployed fashion in the game, and it's the metric that the NPC ship caps are measuring against, as well as the primary thing that costs CPU to maintain.
    • Under that we have a "stacked" number, which previously was also there but was incorrectly calculated since the death registry was added. This is the total number of ships that exist as numbers-above-1 in a stack.
    • Next to that we have "stacks," which used to be the same as "standalone ships" (but miscalculated since death registry). Now this instead shows the number of stacks of at least 2 ships, which is a more interesting number.
    • Below that, we have the number of ships contained (transported, in guard posts, whatever), and the number of containers. Those were correct already, and still are.
    • And next we have a new number, which is the death registry count of ships. This should not be a negative impact on performance, and mainly exists so that MP clients can query the host about it. It drops to 0 after a save and load. This number was getting mixed in with the others, above, since its addition.
      • If it seems to genuinely be a problem at some point, I can start scrubbing out entries that have been in there for a suitable amount of time.

Performance Improvements

  • Time slicing has been added to the galaxy map manager, so the galaxy map draws at a more consistent framerate even when there is an absolute ton of stuff to draw.
    • Essentially, it's no longer allowed to take more than 10ms per frame on updating the visuals there. When loading in a truly oversized map, this can mean that it only appears in chunks for the first few seconds, but then it feels pretty normal (just higher framerate) afterward.
    • Previously it would show things immediately, but give you incredibly choppy framerates and poor update quality, so this is a major improvement in the cases of relevance.
  • Decollision processing has been split out into three separate sub-processes rather than just one background thread.
    • One of these runs for just the player ships (however many players there are), and so this is always very very fast even in super huge games. This keeps your ships feeling responsive and behaving as you would expect, versus bunching up in sluggish ways when games get excessively large.
    • The other two run for half of the NPC factions, divided simply by their index numbers. One or the other of these is likely to be much heavier than the other, but it's still better than having them all run on a single thread at least.
    • In truly gigantic games, expect to see your processor at 100% utilization if you didn't already; I have an octa-core machine with hyperthreading, and all 16 of my virtual processors are going for broke in a few overly large simulation saves we have (this is what we want! What good is having a highly multi-threaded machine if we can't use it to run a bigger sim?)
  • This is partly a performance thing, and partly a correctness thing. At any rate, the ship to ship targeting (what you might call the autonomic functions of ships) is no longer just run on one background thread, but is instead run on five.
    • This gets one thread for all the players, and then four threads divided between the various NPC factions. These are uneven like the decollision ones are, but since it's split into four groups rather than two, it still doesn't let anything get too slow, at least in our current test scenario (which is nine and a half hours into a scenario with 13 difficulty 10 factions, 3 difficulty 9 AIs, two other intensity 5 factions, and then the zenith trader. Under the hood it is 49 factions. So... this is a pretty extreme situation, because a lot of those factions also hate one another).
    • In the test case, I was seeing about 7.5 seconds of realtime processing time per targeting cycle, which means that it takes 7.5 seconds for a ship to notice another ship is in range. Given the game sim is running at 3.5x speed, that's the equivalent of over 23 seconds of gametime before ships know to start shooting.
      • In these situations, if a ship already has a targeting lock on an enemy, then it will close and fire on them, because it's not scanning for targets. But if it's just flying past some other ship, it won't fire at it for those 23 seconds.
    • Now, same scenario, the five threads take between 0.15 and 1.03 seconds to acquire targeting locks, with the player thread being the fastest one.
      • This does give players a bit of an advantage in super intensive battles, but that's partly why I chose 4 NPC threads rather than 2. I didn't want players to be able to use CPU bottlenecks as too major of an advantage.
      • There's nothing more frustrating than seeing a bunch of enemy ships sail right past your turrets while your turrets do nothing, though, so giving the players a slight processing edge makes sense from that point of view. As it stands, for all reasonable scenarios and a number of unreasonable ones, the NPCs should react relatively quickly, and player ships should react super quickly, which should keep things feeling good without requiring a supercomputer.

NPC Unit Caps

  • There is a new NPCShipCapTypes xml table that allows for various ship caps for non-players to be defined.
    • These ship caps only apply to NPC factions (aka, anyone who is not a human player). These are for performance purposes, not strictly gameplay. These only limit the number of STACKS of ships of given types that are out in the world. Contained ships, units in stacks, etc, don't count against this.
    • The idea here is that we don't want insane numbers of ships to spawn and drag the game's performance down, and so any overages that try to spawn get logged as failures. Faction designers can then put those overages into stacks, or put them into containers for later use, or spawn giant scary things instead of a ton of small ones, or whatever else.
    • At each faction, you can override the cap of stacks to be lower or higher, as is appropriate for that faction. You can also make more categories if you need them, for more sub-groups.
  • On each ship, there is a new npc_ship_cap_type="Type" xml field that can be used to set what type they should have.
    • Many many things are auto-detected for the various categories, but you can override any of those with this field if you prefer. And if it's not auto-detected, then you must set this.
  • Individual factions can now have "<npc_ship_cap name="Strikecraft" overriding_per_faction_cap_of_stacks="2000" />" entries that override the value of an existing NPC ship type category.
    • Additionally, you can now see the NPC ship caps for all of the NPC factions by right-clicking the attack icon in the header of the game. The faction allegiance debug info has moved to the middle-click of that button.
  • The game now calculates, on a background thread, how many ships are in each NPC ship cap for all of the NPC factions.
    • Again, note that this doesn't include stacks, things inside containers or transports, etc. This just means raw performance-affecting ships.
    • For each category that has no ships in it, that shows as grayed out in the window that shows the ship cap stats. For those that are at or over cap, it shows up as red. For those at or above half cap, yellow. For those that have some ships, but below half cap, it shows as white.
    • Currently these caps don't do anything when it comes to the fact that there is an excess of ships of a given type. However, this is something that the faction author can directly look at, and have ships collapse into more densely-threatening units, or things of that sort.
    • We'll also have some automated tools along those lines, but for the moment this is just informational.
  • When factions are over their NPC ship cap for a given category -- which is meant to be so large and generous that it never happens even on difficulty 10 games with that faction -- it now shows a warning in the upper right as if it were a slow thread warning.
    • Faction designers have two choices in a case like this -- either 1) just increase the cap (which I did in a few cases already, but is generally not a good idea), or 2) have the faction notice when the cap is being approached, and intelligently cull ships until they are under cap with an appropriate buffer.
      • Generally my suggestion would be to either delete 2-3 smaller ships in exchanged for a more powerful one, or to delete a few lower-mark ships in exchange for a single higher-mark one.
        • However, I was reminded today of just how different all the factions are, and so rather than trying to make a generalized solution (other than identifying problem spots), I've opted to just make a thing that encourages players to report problems and allows faction designers to query things that are over cap.
  • Stacking now takes into account the NPC ship caps for groups of ships for NPC factions.
    • This actually is remarkably effective, when paired with the existing stacking logic, and basically brings the NPC faction unit counts into line gently over a few minutes rather than all at once.
    • Additionally, when a faction is over cap, it now only complains if it's more than 100 over cap. It also no longer suggests sending a save to the faction designer. If a faction is persistently over cap, then likely that will happen anyway, but at this point they should usually self-correct.
    • The stacking logic for NPCs has now been expanded to also include turrets, whereas previously it could not work on immobile objects. This helps a lot with civilian industries, marauders, and zenith architrave, among others.
      • Civilian industries is not able to get all the way down under its cap, but it was able to cut its numbers to about 60% of what it had been based on this.

Bugfixes

  • Fixed a pair of nullref exceptions that could happen in gravity planning.
    • Thanks to Puffin for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue introduced last build where any exceptions in sort methods would not give a full enough stack trace to be useful.
  • Fixed an exception that could happen in exogalactic attacks as of the prior build.
  • Fixed an exception that could happen in the scourge notifiers.
  • Fixed an issue with multiple threads calling into part of the sim at once.
    • Thanks to william montag for reporting.
  • Fixed a divide by zero exception that could happen in compressed shots.
  • Fixed a nullref in HandleFireteamCatchupLogic in neinzul custodians faction.
    • Thanks to william montag for reporting.
  • Fixed a nullref exception that could happen in tachyon planning as of the prior build.
    • Thanks to william montag for reporting.
  • Fixed nullref exceptions that could happen for most fireteam-using factions when they were choosing where to retreat to. This was new in the last build.
  • Fixed an exception that could happen during sync checking in multiplayer.
  • Fixed an exception that could happen in the templars processing.
  • Found and fixed an error in multiplayer where a ship could be in the central registry but not in the planet faction (and thus regular game view). The net effect for a client was that it seemed like a ship was invisible, or in general it was just missing and refused to sync.
  • Fixed an oversight where the new world-attached external data was not properly syncing during multiplayer games (it was syncing only during initial connection).
    • Thanks to Badger and others for reporting that AIP was not rising on clients.
  • Fireteams should be willing to attack again
    • Thanks to Puffin for reporting
  • Necropolises now place themselves more precisely
    • Thanks to Dragoris for reporting
  • Fix another nullref that can happen in the astro train code
  • Fixed a wrong "libsteam_api.so" being in the root folder of the game, which meant that linux steam users were not logged in properly.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting, and to NR SirLimbo for helping me chase it down.
  • DZ planets are now immediately visible in Spectator Mode
    • Thanks to whimsee for reporting
  • Fixed a couple more cases of strange things that could happen with ships getting misplaced various ways by the sim, and it now recovers from those without complaint.
  • Fixed a couple more exceptions that could happen in tachyon planning.
    • Thanks to ptarth for reporting.

Mods

Civilian Industries

  • Militia Outposts are no longer built facing friendly wormholes.
    • If a wormhole becomes friendly, or moves, or is destroyed, instead of the outpost assigned to it blowing up, it will turn back into a Militia Construction Ship, and bring all of its turrets with it for future assignments.

Beta 3.786 A Very Intense Patch

(Released January 25th, 2022)

  • Add a cheat, 'spirecity' to kill all enemies on a planet and build a spire city there
  • Add a cheat, 'popcity' to immediately fill all the sockets of a spire city with new structures
  • Macrophage Spores now list how long they have left before dying in their description
    • Thanks to motai for reporting
  • Overlords and Exos should hopefully be a bit smarter at chasing Ark Empire home arks
    • Thanks to bug reports from whimsee
  • "forced_to_be_this_state_of_matter_when_on_former_or_current_ai_homeworld_or_bastion_worlds" is now "forced_to_be_this_state_of_matter_when_on_former_or_current_ai_homeworld_or_bastion_worlds_unless_enemy_king_present"
    • In an Ark Empire, when you take your Ark over to the AI homeworlds, it will now actually fight you, in other words.
    • Thanks to a variety of folks on discord for weighing in on this, and to Badger for bringing it up further.
  • The game now logs reasons for unit creation, and when you look in the escape menu, it now has sorted histories for unit creation by reason, faction, planet, and unit type.
    • The idea is that if something funky is going on, we ought to be able to see it in here. This often is some sort of behavior that is not a central bug with the game, but maybe a faction not behaving ideally in a given situation.
  • Inspired by the other recent changes to dumping more useful multiplayer info at the end of each session, it now dumps more useful history of the command counts, unit creation counts, and so forth when you end a game, too.
  • If the scourge have a bunch of neophytes on a planet, they will now get fewer new neophytes but those neophytes will become warriors much more quickly.
    • This isn't intended to be a big balance shift, but a performance improvement so there are fewer neophytes in giant games
  • Squad and fleet external data now has a CreateCopy() method on it that lets it duplicate itself for whatever purposes.
    • This is not on world or faction external data because those are not used in remotely the same way.
    • There is also a new CopyTo() abstract method required on squad and fleet external data now, which can be used on its own but is also part of CreateCopy.
    • The squads now have a new DoAfterStackSplitAndCopy(), which lets them adjust their external data after a stack split, if need be.
    • DoOnStackSplit() on the faction external data has been removed, as that was doing the same thing as some of the above, but in a distant place that was hard to keep track of. The only faction that previously used it was the Scourge.
  • Added a new DoAfterSingleOtherShipMergedIntoOurStack() method for squads that are created.
    • This essentially allows for programmers to pull the external data from each squad being merged into the new stack and combine things from it if they need to. At the moment this isn't actually doing much directly, but it gives flexibility for anyone who runs into a need for it.

Minor Faction Throttling

  • In heavily loaded save games, some major factions will begin throttling their unit creation. This will affect balance, but the goal is to make the game "still playable in crazy situations".
    • The scourge, nanocaust and dark spire are now affected.
    • To adapt other factions, use FactionUtilityMethods.Instance.ShouldFactionsThrottle()
  • The faction allegiance debug info, and the detailed performance stats, are now no longer in the escape menu (they both made that very slow when present), and instead can be viewed by clicking or right-clicking the attack icon in the top resource bar.

DLC3

Wild Hives
  • Wild Hives Update
    • Added some Journal Entries
      • Thanks to Demo for assistance with them.
    • Large Wild Hives, when destroyed, will now have the captured structure released with the same Fleet Lines it had before, instead of rerolling them.
    • Friendly Soldier Clanlings are now also spawned over time from Hives in your territory, instead of only when attacked.
    • Wild Hive Factions no longer go into Contested Mode when on Player owned planets.
    • Friendly Wild Hive units will no longer fight regular Wild Hive units.
      • It would be weird to turn around and attack your family because your new job asked you to.
    • Friendly Soldier Clanlings now bond to your units, akin to how Migrants do, instead of randomly patrolling your territory until death.
    • Buffs to Wild Hive health and Soldier spawn rates, particularly their first Soldier spawn.
      • These were nerfed originally due to the AI's inability to handle them. Now that they can be targeted during Contested states, they're back in business.
    • Added in a Wild Hives Notifier
      • This shows the total infection of generators in Player space, and Galaxy wide.
    • Added in a new Galaxy Map Display, which shows the number of infected Metal Generators on each planet, as well as any Advanced Hives that exist.
    • Whenever a Worker is stuck on a planet for over 20 minutes, its health will begin to decay
      • This can be caused for any number of reasons, most commonly being blocked by a Forcefield
      • If the player does not act fast, it will quickly decay into an 'attacked' state, causing all hives on the planet to turn hostile in an attempt to free it.
Migrant Fleets
  • Migrant Fleets Updates
    • Moderate buff to Medium Wave intervals at higher intensities.
    • Updated Migrant Fleets notifier to show Wormholes and Migrants, instead of Safe Migrants and In Danger Migrants.
    • Updated Migrant Fleets notifier to show the number of Clanlings that have been acquired from Migrants.
Neinzul Custodians
    • Added separate Influx timers based on Allegiance
      • Updated AI's influx to take 50% longer than Player/NPC ones
    • Made Influxes have a longer delay based on how many Enclaves are currently alive on their team
      • These changes should assist with getting stonewalled by a heavily built up AI-allied Enclave threat late game
    • Made some more changes that should (hopefully) prevent them from leaving unarmed Guardposts alive
Necromancer
    • Added in two new Galaxy Map Displays for Necromancers
      • Both show all resources you would gain from killing ships on that planet, as well as the hostile strength on each planet, for ease of viewing.
      • Rituals additionally shows any hackables and capturables that can be used to expand your forces.
      • Reaping meanwhile shows important hostile targets that are worth valuable resources when slain.
  • Templar now correctly launch attack waves on many hacks.
  • Nerf templar defensive structure income so you can wear them down a bit; the intent is that you should be able to attrition their forces down.
  • Add a new Necromancer Hack, "Lure Elderling"
    • This will lure all the Tracked Elderlings with a given planet in their territory to that planet as long as the hack persists.
    • The Templar will launch periodic assault waves against you as you do this.
      • This is limited to Tracked Elderlings because otherwise it seems way too effective. This way we encourage players to interact with Elderlings more (and to spend more hacking in the process)
Elderlings
  • Added an Elderling Information map display mode.
    • By default, all it shows are Egg Hatching timers.
      • As you Tracking Hack Elderlings, information will be updated for them while this Map Display Mode is enabled.
      • In addition, you can click on Tracking Hacked Elderlings in order to visualize their territory.
        • In the case of multiple hacked Elderlings being on the same planet, only the lowest respective values will be shown, due to all values being variations on a timer.
        • In the case of multiple hacked Elderlings being clicked, only one will have their Territory shown.
Bugfixes
  • Fixed a bug where it wasn't actually possible for friendly Wild Hive Clanlings to spawn.
    • This is baffling, because it was working at one point.
  • Fixed a few logical issues related to Wild Hives being on player owned planets.
    • They should no longer actively target each other.
    • They should no longer let you kill them without a fight.
  • Fixed a bug that stopped friendly Clanlings from actually bonding.
  • Fixed a bug that prevented Migrant Wormholes from spawning.
  • Add some sapper defensive code
    • Thanks to zeus for reporting
  • Make sure multiple Phylacteries seeded on the same planet don't spawn on top of eachother
    • Thanks to Bummeri for the report
  • Added a new "claim_disallowed_for_players_who_do_not_use_metal", which is used on metal harvesters and similar and prevents non-metal-using players (like Necromancer and Suzerain) from capturing these types.
    • Won't affect existing games.
    • This is untested, so please let us know if it doesn't seem to work properly.
  • If there are no necromancer factions in game but the player still has 'all zombies go to necromancer', these just become normal zombies instead of giving errors
    • Found when hunting other bugs in a save game from william montag
  • Fix a bug where serializing elderlings might sometimes cause errors

Bugfixes

  • Fix a bug with clicking a deepstrike notification if there are no active wormholes
    • Thanks to Tuntematon and MeaslyTripod for reporting
  • Fix a typo in the description for Ultima Fusion Bombers
    • Thanks to schoenberg for reporting
  • Spectator mode only games now start at 1 AIP so the AIs will act more consistently. Apparently the game doesn't work as well at 0 AIP
    • Thanks to whimsee for the report
  • Fix a bug where the DZ wouldn't invade on spectator mode
    • Thanks to whimsee for reporting
  • The Instigators DeepInfo will do much less work if there are no human players
    • Thanks to whimsee for reporting
  • Factions that do not use metal (aka Necromancer) now cannot gift or receive metal to other factions, either per-second or one-time.
    • Thanks to Bummeri for reporting the exploit that this wound up being.
  • Improved the error handling for "GetStringValueForCustomFieldOrDefaultValue", such that it should not error anymore when trying to find a playertype in invalid cases, or it should give us a better exception that is also less disruptive to program flow.
    • Thanks to Mac for the report.
  • Fixed a bug with the plague swarm unit, and the hive golem, where they were able to infinitely build drones using some of the new mechanics.
    • This has been tested and fixes the plague swarm, but the hive golem fix has not been tested. It should work unless it's a different code path
    • This doesn't fix huge numbers of these things already existing in saves, but if you delete the overflow of what you have, it won't build back past the cap again.
    • Thanks to Bummeri for reporting.
  • The dark zenith are now accepting of the fact that their constructors might not have orders to go to a specific planet.
    • It's possible that this will lead to them sitting around, but in general there is only one place that DZConstructorTargetPlanetIndex is set (renamed to that because PlanetIndex can't be found easily with a code search). And based on this, it looks entirely valid for them to not have a target at least some of the time, and spamming the console with errors is not going to help matters. The code should just wait until they are given orders.
    • Thanks to william montag for reporting.
  • Fixed a scourge exception in "SendUnitToArmoryToUpgradeIfNecessary debugCode 1200"
    • Thanks to william montag for reporting.
  • Discovered that there were a couple of places where parts of the Stage 1 or Stage 2 faction logic could be run on multiple threads at once if one of them took a long time and you were switching between a paused and unpaused state.
    • This is something that made for some very nonsensical errors, as well as slowing the game down a lot when it happened. All fixed now, should be.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Fixed an exception that could happen if elderling sanity dropped below -1.
    • Thanks to william montag for reporting.
  • On MP clients, when a squad is being initialized without as many systems as it should have, it now does a more thorough job of trying to rectify that.
    • Thanks to Tuntematon for reporting.
  • "shot still existed in planetfaction despite being removed" errors no longer are thrown (this was really just a warning, to be honest.
    • This was being trigger in MP sometimes, but it actually is an instance of the game fixing itself, versus actually being some sort of a problem in the firs tplace.
    • Thanks to Tuntematon for reporting.
  • Fixed an exception that could happen in multiplayer on clients when certain units died. This looks to have been most common when canceling the hack for something like a superterminal, but probably had other cases it could also have come up.
    • Thanks to Tuntematon for reporting.
  • MP clients now have some extra logic for cleaning up expired waves, since this is an oddity where they could sometimes have extra waves still present on themselves.
    • Thanks to Bummeri and Tuntematon for reporting.
  • Completely adjusted how certain types of PKIDs are serialized to disk and the network.
    • There was an ongoing nest of bugs related to the way that this was handled before, and it's ultimately not that big of a bandwidth savings at all, so this was just not worth it in any sense.
    • Thanks to Badger for the most recent report.
  • Fixed an exception that could happen in the ZA notifications.
  • Fixed a bug where transports that consume zero energy were making it so that their contents were also energy-free while loaded up.
    • Thanks to whimsee for reporting, and Puffin for clarifying the issue.
  • Fixed a longstanding issue (apparently), where the ship counts and strengths on the left sidebar were not including transported ships.
  • Fixed an exception that could still happen in tractor sim planning.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Adjusted the destination on the sappers to use the lazy load wrapper, which gives it protection against various things like its identity changing partway through execution.
    • The old cost was only semi-protected against this, because it had a separate entry for the ID and the actual object reference. The ID reference was protected, but the object reference would have to be reconciled with that, which is very hard to do properly. The lazy load squad wrapper automates all that, with very few lines of code and also without having to really think about it much.
      • The short version is that when the ID in the wrapper no longer matches the ID of the unit it is caching, then it stops returning the cached unit and just returns null instead. This is very powerful, and does not take a lot of extra code to do, so lazy load squad wrappers should be preferred versus a pair of ID/object variables.
  • Fixed a bug where network stats were not properly being logged into the arcen debug log on network disconnect.
    • This was in there since last summer or before, but it was more recently prevented from logging because it was clearing the data before it tried to log it. Whoops!
    • However, now it also dumps the ping that it last measured, which previously it did not do.
    • Also also, it now dumps ALL the details that can be shown in the escape menu, which is a far more useful set of things to have dumped. No more screenshots from each participant to see what they had going on.
    • Thanks to Bummeri for suggesting.
  • CheckForShotAOEDetonation once again gives proper debug error line numbers. It was not giving anything useful before, so when there was an exception we had no real idea where.
  • Quieted some debug text that was saying "trying to start LRP thread but it had not yet finished" in essence.
    • This only should happen for super long-running LRP threads, and to be honest it had been long enough that I forgot this message was in here. It is essentially harmless.
    • Actually, there were two of these.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Fixed a "Exception in NonClosure_PerTractorSource at stage 14100" error that could happen during periods of extreme load, when data was changing under the tractor thread's nose.
  • Added a new SafeSquadWrapper, which is now used instead of direct GameEntity_Squad references throughout the external codebase.
    • This involved over 900 transitions for lists, drawbags, dictionaries and other collections.
    • There are som automated extensions to convert a GameEntity_Squad into a SafeSquadWrapper when adding it to these common types of lists, just to make things faster.
    • When pulling this stuff out of lists, unfortunately, this required more direct coding. We have to account for the potential of a null case (something being stale), and that can't really be automated.
      • On the plus side, this actually is a salve for a lot of potential errors, cross-threading and otherwise, so the time was well-spent.
      • Actually, some automation was able to be put in, which means that some errors that are nullrefs may still be possible, but at least it won't be acting on bad info anymore, which is a big improvement. A nullref is much easier to solve than "this squad isn't part of this faction anymore but we're still talking about it like it is."
    • If you are a code-mod author, then this particular changeset isn't forced on you (well, at least most of it isn't), but you should strongly consider the following:
      • Any lists, dictionaries, drawbags, etc, that contain GameEntity_Squad should ideally be swapped over to use SafeSquadWrapper instead.
      • The easiest way is to do the folowing replace in all files, minus the quotes: "<GameEntity_Squad" to "<SafeSquadWrapper" and "GameEntity_Squad>" to "SafeSquadWrapper>". Those should catch basically all the cases.
      • There are a variety of extension methods that are in place that prevent you from having to do hundreds of more lines of code of changes, but there will be some cases where you'll still need to do some adjustments. See the main game code for examples.
      • Why is this important? It ensures that the identity of the unit you are talking about is what you think it is.
        • A very real scenario that actually happens is that you were talking about some unit of type CityCenter, and your LRP thread is running long enough that it dies and gets reused as something else before you actually do your next set of orders with it.
        • In that scenario, you wind up giving orders to some random fleetship of another faction, thinking that is your CityCenter, but in reality your CityCenter is dead.
        • In the new code, the squadwrapper holding the CityCenter will return null rather than that other random fleetship. If you don't properly handle the null, your code will have an error. However, that is a very visible error compared to the "invisible orders to the wrong faction" bug.
    • Immediately after making this update, I started getting a shower of nullref exceptions in certain parts of the code that were not hardened against that, using the really high-intensity savegame we're currently testing. What this tells me:
      • Previously, these same parts of the code were giving wrong orders to ships, which is a much more subtle and nasty thing. So hopefully we'll not have a long series of this sort of nullref errors, but it's worth it to wade through them, either way.
  • Fixed a nullref exception that could happen in PurgeDeadUnits in fireteams when a unit was already dead a certain way.
  • The time delays for how long squads, transported ships, and shots are quarantined before being reassigned into the game via pooling has been extended in all three cases.
    • This provides the game more leeway under load to not accidentally reference the wrong thing.
  • Also, some of the new nullref exceptions that are happening with SafeSquadWrapper are actually due to squad death (not removal), and so these errors are not always of the sort that are "this would have been wrong orders to something that is now something else." Some of them would have been "pointless errors to a dead thing" or "bad targeting logic talking about something that is already dead." These nullrefs are annoying, but give us a chance to sort that stuff out, which means better performance and behavior long term.
  • Removed the implicit cast from GameEntity_Squad to SafeSquadWrapper, but left the implicit cast the other direction.
    • This means that to get our data into lists, it has to go through wrapper or check methods, which is good for weeding out "it's dead but we added it anyway" types of data, which then was resulting in more nullrefs than are really desirable.
    • This does mean that, because indexing into a dictionary (this[key]) is a property, and property extensions are not yet part of the C# framework, that our extension methods for these purposes needed to be changed to Get and Set methods.
  • For some reason, sometimes when the game tried to create an entity belonging to one faction, it would wind up belonging to the natural objects faction instead.
    • It's not clear why this was, and it was fairly rare, so it was likely a threading issue. The important thing is that I was able to detect it programmatically, and so rather than just complaining about it, it fixes the data now. It only complains if it can't fix the data.
  • Fixed another pair of tractor thread exceptions that could pop up.
    • Thanks to abjohnsonzz for reporting.
  • Adjusted some of the metal flows logic to simplify a few variables, and also solve a fairly rare exception (does not seem related to the other changes of this build).
  • Fixed an exception that could happen with chain lightning leaping from unit to unit, specifically if it killed intermediary pieces.
    • Because we do want lightning to jump off of recently-dead corpses, added a new GetSquadEvenIfDeadSoLongAsPKIDNotReassigned() method to SafeSquadWrapper, which lets us do that.
  • The alarmist-sounding "Memory leak detected" is now just "Memory not cleaned up properly," because that is more accurate.
    • If these happen out of the blue, then yes that's a memory leak. But that's pretty rare (usually it's with tracing logic now). Most of the time these are just following some other error, and are really not an actual error themselves (something else popped an error and made it so that these didn't clean up properly as a side effect).
  • Fix some squad stack planning exceptions that could happen now.
  • Put in some code that should prevent issues with planet factions not being assigned appropriately if they were already contained in that faction but were not locally set properly to it. This is a funky edge case, hopefully, but it did seem to be happening.
  • Dark Zenith Constructors are no longer allowed to stack
  • List sorts in general have extra protection now against cross-threading data changes.

Mods

Civilian Industries

  • Save Breaking Update
  • Converted Militia Ship's entity storage system from homebrew to Fleets
    • The primary benefit of this for me is that I no longer need to keep calculating ship counts and capacities every second
      • The primary benefit of the primary benefit for you all is even more performance
    • The secondary benefit is far less data is transferred to the client in multiplayer games
  • Made Civvies less likely (but not entirely barred from) building Patrol Posts on planets with a high amount of hostile strength left on them

Lost Humans

  • A brand new mod, for all the humans out there. (By StarKelp)
    • Enabled from the Galaxy Settings when creating a new game, Lost Humans are various humans that wander the galaxy, neutral to all.
    • Currently has two sub modules, both configurable from the Galaxy Settings:
      • Travelers
        • Slow moving ships that mindlessly wander the galaxy, they may occasionally bequeath you gifts when near.
        • The longer you're around a Traveler, the more they trust you, meaning the longer they'll stay and the more likely they are to give you goodies.
      • Lost Colonies
        • Akin to Rebelling Colonies from classic, occasionally a colony of humans may appear out in the galaxy, requesting aid
        • Saving them in time will requiring capturing their planet, which is cheaper! And you gain a few fleet lines for your trouble.
        • Fail though, and the AI will capture them, permanently, using them to send waves upon waves after you until killed.

Beta 3.785 Just Bugfixes

(Released January 14th, 2022)

  • Fixed a bug with necromancer sidekicks building the wrong units
  • Fixed a bug where sometimes octopus maps would generate without being fully connected (I blame Koro Sensei).
    • Thanks to Sounds for reporting.
  • Fixed a couple of possible rapid memory leak pool errors in "target hack at planet" hacks.
    • Thanks to Tuntematon for reporting.
  • Updated the game so that if a blank color hex code is passed into a character buffer, it should just skip those tags rather than drawing them inappropriately. This has not been tested enough to be positive it works, so please let us know if you still see that.
    • Thanks to MeaslyTripod for reporting.
  • The "Sim repair: cleaned up 1 squads that were divergent in the central registry compared to planetfactions. No problems now." message was something that I left in to have a general sense how often it is happening. In most cases, it's almost never. On MP clients, it's quite often. This is an example of the ghost hunting code working properly, and thus the other code for asking about ghosts not having to be called up. However, it's happening so often that it kind of spammed the log on some clients. This is definitely not needed, in that case!
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Fixed a very funky bug where trying to gift resources between players would throw an exception related to an unrelated faction type's custom fields.
    • This may actually have only been in 3 player or 5 player or up games, it's hard to be sure. I'm not sure if it happened in two player.
    • Thanks to Bummeri for reporting.
  • Fixed a further error where "ReadBig3PrimaryKeyID_PosNoDef" could still be null, even in single-player, even after it tries to fix it once.
    • Thanks to MeaslyTripod and motai for reporting.
  • Fixed some cross-threading nullref exceptions that could happen if the timing was just wrong when certain enemies died, and which would also then lead to spurious memory leak warnings.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • The game no longer even gives warnings about duplicate entity IDs that it has successfully handled. This was from units that moved between planets just as a savegame was happening, so they wound up getting included twice. No biggie in the grand scheme, the savegame load process solves it already. Now it just does so silently.
  • Fixed a funky issue that could certain savegames to sometimes be unable to load some of the time, but load fine the rest of the time.

Beta 3.784 Tractor Recursion

(Released January 13th, 2022)

  • The game now does not show the +X for hacking or science if the bonus amount is 0 in the planet hovertext
    • Thanks to Mac for reporting
  • Add a bit of text explaining Border Aggression to the 'How to Play' section of the game
  • When you change the mode (pursuit, not pursuit, attacker) of a ship, it should now dump any non-human-issued orders that it has.
    • Essentially, if it was chasing some unit, it should now reconsider its options and decide if it should chase something else. The idea is if the old target is out of range now, it shouldn't still be chasing it, or if its old target was a semi-useful one in range it should now choose one out of range if it can, etc.
    • How well this works remains to be seen, since I didn't have a save to replicate this from, I didn't test it at all.
    • Thanks to Mac for the report.

DLC3

  • Suzerain now starts on an empty planet, and its Vassals should spawn with it
  • Necromancer Players are no longer shown science/hacking points in the planet hovertext
    • Thanks to Mac for reporting
  • There is a setting for "Necromancer loses 5 HaP when a flagship is crippled". This is now disabled by default for HA, but should be enabled by force on Expert et al
    • Thanks to Mac for reporting
  • Migrant Fleets
    • Add a new Migrants notifier.
    • Roaming Enclaves acid bonus reduced from 500 to 50.
    • Wormholes and Chambers now all create a singular Youngling type, instead of every Youngling at once.
    • Clanlings create fewer Younglings.
    • Migrants now create multiple Chambers when they warp out, instead of Chambers spawning multiple Clanlings.
    • Larger Migrant waves, smaller Chambers per saved Migrant.
      • The larger Migrant Waves may spawn on multiple planets at once.
    • Clanlings will never pair with transports that have under 2 fleetlines in their fleet.
      • They will not unpair from transports if they become empty.
    • Clanlings may now pair with Command Stations.
  • Greatly clarified the error message for neceromancer sidekick if it's not on a planet with another faction:
    • Please correct the configuration so that the faction: [necromancer faction name] is sharing the homeworld of an empire-style human player. If this is a 'sidekick' style faction, it must be on the same starting planet as an empire-style faction. If you want to play this faction more independently, please choose the 'empire' style version of this, if there is one.
    • Thanks to Bummeri for reporting, and Badger for clarifying what should be happening.

Bugfixes

  • Using an _ to mark a varible as 'ignored for the compiler' is not supported in Badger's environment; replace those _ with unusedX
  • Fixed a "Tried to create a new shot with 0 or less compressed shots inside!" series of errors that could be triggered. This is happening right before the game crashes to desktop in the test case that I have, but this apparently wasn't part of the crash to desktop itself.
  • Improved an exception from Dark Zenith long range planning to be less disruptive if it occurs.
    • Thanks to william montag for the report.
  • Fixed a very confusing and semi-rare (but extremely consistent when it does happen) crash bug that seemed to be new in the last build. This was a very subtle code bug from myself that I didn't even recognize after putting in an initial fix until Democracy made a further comment.
    • This took an incredibly long time to track down because it left no actual errors and just crashed to the desktop, or left only errors unrelated to itself on linux apparently. It took 80 minutes to find this with a savegame in which I could reproduce the error in 3 seconds, and without that save (thank you BobDobbs!) I couldn't have debugged it at all.
    • The issue here was "what happens if two tractor beam units both grab one another and try to pull at the same time?" Unlike the peasant railgun, this is isn't an absurd speed that is reached, but rather a stack overflow that is so harsh it causes a segfault (writing to protected memory).
    • The general situation was like this: "tractor A grabs B, which is also a tractor, which grabs A. A moves, dragging B with it. B has moved, so it pushes A with it, which causes B to be pulled, which moves A, etc." Actually it probably does work like a railgun, except it essentially accelerates them both to infinity speed within a nanosecond, so the world collapses in a singularity.
    • I'm pretty sure that Zeus and I had talked about this a long time ago as a possibility with some DLC2 stuff, but the units in question at the time were set up so that we never had to test this corner case. I take it that the balance has changed such that this corner case became relevant.
    • Anyhow, originally I was just going to just make tractors not grab tractors, but then Democracy noted that this case was safely working before (Ensnarer Battlestations would do it). So that reminded me of the code change I did last build, and reviewed earlier today without seeing the issue. Based on that, I managed to let tractors drag tractors again, but keep them from infinite looping.
    • Thanks to Bummeri, william montag, and BobDobbs for reporting, to BobDobbs for the super helpful save, and to Democracy for the added notes about tractor dragging. Also thanks to abjohnsonzz and slake-moth for an error log. I could have fixed this in under 5 minutes if I'd seen their reports first, because it did not crash to desktop silently, but instead had a useful log -- however, in fairness, I probably would not have been positive it was the same bug.
  • Fixed an exception that could happen in AntagonizedDysonDescriptionAppender.AddToDescriptionBuffer.
    • Thanks to william montag for reporting.
  • Any errors in HandleDeathWithEffectApplied_AfterFullDeathOrPartOfStackDeath will no longer interrupt the sim as much as they did before.
    • Thanks to william montag for the error report.
  • Did a bunch of hardening of the zombification code so that it shouldn't have nullrefs anymore when an enemy is being killed right as they are zombified.
    • Thanks to william montag for the error report.
  • Fixed an exception where "Null UltraEfficientStyleData found for UEStyle: Unkown" could pop up from FillBig3PrimaryKeyID_PosNoDef or ReadBig3PrimaryKeyID_PosNoDef.
    • Thanks to william montag and MeaslyTripod for the error report.
  • Fixed a "Tried to write IntUltraEfficient H_ˉ1_To_1ˌ023, but passed value was: -3" error that could happen when the game tried to serialize a squad that had just died and been removed from its fleet membership. Now it won't actually have that error.
    • Thanks to Bummeri and Puffin for reporting.
  • The sim repair now just gives an aggregate note after cleaning things up, rather than one per entity, and also does not throw up an error.
    • This is probably mostly relevant to MP clients, who get hit by this periodically (this is why the repair process exists, at least partly).
    • Thanks to Bummeri for the log with needless errors in it.
  • Fixed a trio of civilian industries bugs, one of which was if a grand station died at just the wrong time.
    • Thanks to pheonix89 for reporting.
  • Fixed a "DelegateHelper_ProtectionPlanning_TryToProtectOrDisplace error at debug stage 4600" error that could happen.
    • Thanks to Puffin for reporting.
  • Fixed a couple of possible exceptions in astro train deepinfo stage3 logic, and also instrumented that entire method so that we'll know where the error really is if it happens again.
    • Thanks to Puffin for reporting.
  • In the event the game tries to seed more outguard beacons than are available, it now just removes those excess beacons instead of throwing an error.
    • Thanks to Predex for the report.
  • Fix a bug with Ark Empire seeding
    • Thanks to whimsee for reporting
  • In a "how did this ever work?" moment, there was essentially no code around for units to ever re-cloak. I can only really speculate that I broke that during the giant refactor, because it obviously did historically work. It's possible I broke it a lot more recently, when I improved the tachyon code, but I don't feel like that logic should have been over there, so... either way, it's fixed now!
    • Thanks to Kleenex for reporting this was still an issue.
  • Fixed an "insult to injury" type moment where an exception could pop up from the brownout notifier right after the AI won against you.
    • Thanks to MeaslyTripod for reporting.
  • If a programmer indexes into a ConcurrentDictionary<> for a key that is not found, it now just returns the default value for the type being stored as a value (usually that means null), rather than throwing a KeyNotFoundException.
    • This makes it equivalent to the TryGetValue method, more or less. This is the behavior that I was expecting, and that matches how Dictionary<> works now (to be made the same as the old ArcenSparseLookup, in turn).
    • This should solve some various errors that could happen if code was iterating over the list of entities and checking the central dictionary right as something died or went missing.
    • Thanks to MeaslyTripod for the log with the bug report.
  • Fixed it so that if the game for some reason has duplicate copies of a ship in a savegame, it will log it without complaining visibly about it. It's already fixing the problem, so no biggie. This might have been a ship that moved planets right at the time the savegame was happening. This is a relatively new thing that can happen, since things are so much more multithreaded now, and the save process doesn't make the sim wait for it.
    • Thanks to MeaslyTripod for reporting.
  • Fixed a "hilarious" (not really) one-line bug where fragmented network messages were being automatically recalled into their pool on game reload... which happens right after they finish gathering fragmented messages from the server. So they would essentially gather the data correctly, then promptly lose it.
    • Now that this is fixed, you can again properly connect with savegames larger than 200-something kb.
    • Thanks to Bummeri for reporting.
  • Put in some more protection against budget-expenditure errors in the AI code. There are a couple of code paths that can call it from multiple threads, although I thought I already had put in enough protection to stop these from clashing. I actually might have, but I don't see the notes about it, so better safe than sorry.
    • Thanks to dEAdOnE77 for reporting.

Beta 3.783 The Return Of Multiplayer!

(Released January 11th, 2022)

Balance Changes

  • Neinzul Ward no longer has a weapon. The Neinzul it produces are sufficient, and the strength of the wards made these terrible to use offensively
    • Think Tom, Democracy, and Mac may have pointed this out

Necromancer

  • Made icon for Phylactery larger
  • Skeleton Homes (all types) are no longer 1 shot by just about everything
  • Mark 7 science cost increased by 1K across the board. Players seem to have too much science in the late game, so the later techs should be more expensive to mitigate this. Expect these numbers to change
  • Lowered targeting priority of Necromancer flagships by a tier. Testers noted these were too much of a liability and frusturating to lose
    • Thanks to Tom, Mac, and Badger for pointing this out
  • Necromancer flagships have an engineering beam so they aren't totally dependent on Igors, which aren't guaranteed
  • Defensive Necropolis now grants vision 2 hops out, like a logistic station.
  • Unit changes:
    • Skeleton (base) reduced albedo from 0.5 to .3, and armor from 60mm to 50mm. Should be vulnerable to tractors and have additional damage vulnerabilities
    • Skeleton warrior. albedo increased from 0.3 to 0.5
  • Skeleton Mage armor decreased from 120mm to 70 mm

Elderlings

  • Accursed Elderling nerf. Health from 30M to 3M
    • Thanks to Tom for pointing out how absurdly durable this mid-tier Elderling was
  • Reduced orbital speed of the Plagueswarm so it doesn't go crazy at x5 speed.
  • Reduce plagueswarm from 100 to 60. Too many orbiting at once; visual change
  • Changed Essence Scaling:
    • Low (Tier 1) 3 / +1 per mark
    • Medium (Tier 2) 4 / +2 per mark
    • Heavy (Tier 3) 8 / +3 per mark
    • Transcendent 35 (flat)
  • Elderling Changes:
    • Cyclopean Elderling weapon now a Coil Beam. Feels like a nice homage to the X-Man

Bugfixes

  • Fixed a bug where LitNetLib could not be selected as a networking framework in the beta branch because it was silently failing to load it. That failure is no longer silent if it happens, and it also no longer fails.
    • Thanks to Predex for reporting.
  • Fixed a trio of client-specific issues in multiplayer where they were trying to call some host-side logic and then having errors from that.
  • Fixed a multiplayer exception that would happen every few seconds when it was trying to send fleet sync data, because of a format that had been partially changed in the great refactor, but not fully properly changed.
  • Fixed one more error in the periodic sync of data, this time in world data, for multiplayer. All of the sync types now seem to be working well, which is good.
  • Also built in a code way to override just exporting one type of network message under the hood if we need to, for easier comparison of data when it's incorrectly matched.
  • Fixed an exception that could happen in DoDeathEffects on squads. This was more likely to happen on mp clients, but could happen to anyone.
    • As a side effect of the fix, this bit of code now runs slightly more efficiently for everyone, too.
  • A few months back, ending on September 29th, I put in some new logic that makes the game run far smoother on hosts and on single player games. Basically it was looking at uneven frame times, and adjusting those to happen less.
    • However, at the time things were broken such that I could not test the impact on multiplayer. It turns out that the logic would cause a runaway cascade (after enough small bumps in the processing load on even a very strong client) to where the client would get and then stay about 20-21 frames behind the host, being unable to catch up (21 frames is the largest the host is allowed to get ahead of a nonresponsive client, to allow for situations where there is packet loss).
      • The logic now accounts for clients better, and does not apply the frame-smoothing logic at all unless it is only 0 to 1 frames behind what the host has authorized for activity. This allows for the client to catch up and stay caught up, while still doing frame-smoothing logic when it is in the pocket correctly behind the host.
    • This in turn fixes a whole lot of things that I was seeing with unit movement happening improperly because of over-aggressive syncs being in a different timeframe (up to two seconds ahead) of the client. This cuts out that entire big bandwidth usage area, as well as making ships move smoothly again. Hooray!
  • Fixed a server-side bug in multiplayer where the new omni-blasts of data (like voice sound effects) were being rejected on the host. Whoops.
  • Added a new "voice lady" cheat code command, which triggers a random warning message from the computer.
    • Useful for testing the voice framework, or annoying your friends in multiplayer.
    • Note that sometimes it doesn't actually play a sound, because some of the sounds don't have a sound. Ha.
  • Fixed a bug in the "omni blast" multiplayer code, which is what triggers things like "everyone play this voice sound now." This had not yet been tested since being added in the great refactor, but now it works.
  • Fixed a general issue where sometimes ships send by the host to the client were not being brought in as the proper faction. This seemed to be related to pooling.
    • This would lead to things like certain ships sitting invisible forever, especially your own turrets that you put down.
  • FINALLY fixed what seems to be the last of the fake-ghost issues in multiplayer, where it was deleting all your units incorrectly. The ghost check code is fairly complex, but now it seems to be working properly.
    • With this, multiplayer is now working at least as well in this beta as it ever has before, and arguably probably substantially better than before. It's now fully cleared for playtesting where you should be able to have a solid time!

Multiplayer Improvements

  • The gamesecond is no longer synced from the host to the client in MP, because that was obscuring how far behind the client was, if the client is behind.
    • Just visually obscuring, not actually causing errors in running.
  • There is a new "Show Network Stats In Upper Right" setting in personal settings.
    • Only applies when you are in multiplayer, and has different outputs on the host versus clients. Gives statistics on how far the client is behind the host from each point of view, and how many turns the client is running behind.
    • This also shows a network round trip time from the client to the host, which is sort of like a ping time but does include software decoding time, so it's a bit more accurate than a ping (for telling effective time to transmit something and get a response that is fully decoded, not just transit time between the two network cards), as well as being networking-agnostic. Just note that the effective round trip time would potentially be larger than the ping, if you separately measure that somewhere, and that's not a bug.
  • The heartbeats that the game send now send a beatback, which is a response to that actual heartbeat.
    • I was going to originally measure timing by sending data across, but it turns out that really doesn't matter, because there's only one beatback per network endpoint at any given time.
    • The only way to precisely measure time at a microsecond level in C# is via the Stopwatch class, and so that's what I'm using to time these; DateTime can be off by several hundred milliseconds, for instance, so that's not suitable, and my ArcenTime methods are very accurate but still have less precision than this.
  • If you turn on the above setting, you can now see both the current ping on the client or the host (as measured by itself), as well as the number of frames ahead/behind each client or host is.
    • So far, I've been having an immense amount of client lag, and that seems to be largely because the host is getting very far ahead of the client (20-21 frames and then holding there).
    • The host is normally trying to slow down for clients to keep up, but now the clients also need to do a better job of speeding up (they do try to do that, but it's clearly not working).
  • In general, the way that ship positions are synced is now less harsh. This should lead to fewer sync requests being required, and also to less visual jumping around of ships on MP clients.

Beta 3.782 Smooth Reloading

(Released January 9th, 2022)

Improvements

  • When transferring ships between fleets, the newly transferred ships now inherit the orders of their new flagship
    • Prompted by a discussion with Zaeron
  • Some vassal progress, hopefully making them able to go after a specific target
  • The game will no longer try to split stacks of ships where any of the ships of that type and mark level and owner have been on the current planet for less than 10 seconds.
    • A lot of times, ships that were going through a wormhole and arriving new on a planet in a slightly-staggered fashion were over-aggressively splitting out of stacks and then probably recombining into stacks.
    • Thanks to Badger for suggesting the change.
  • Ever since the great refactor has started, reloading the xml has been a really sluggish-feeling thing with no UI feedback for a lot of the time, because some resetting of variables was happening on the main thread.
    • This now happens on background threads, and shows you proper ui feedback the entire time.
    • In general, it is expect that the whole process should take about 6-7 seconds if the original load of the game took you 9-12 seconds. But if it's running slower on your machine for some reason, you'll at least see what progress it is making, and how long it takes. Speaking for myself, 6-7 seconds of no feedback feels way longer than 9-12 seconds with feedback; so subjectively it seems a lot faster now than it was, but I can't tell if that's actually faster (it is on a background thread, after all), or if it just feels better.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.

Bugfixes

  • Changed is_some_kind_of_zombification to is_some_kind_of_normal_zombification. Necromancy is not considered a "normal" type of zombification due to it being supposed to ignore the normal limits of zombification and nanocaustation, only the latter of which now have this set to true.
    • This should fix a number of entities that were supposed to be uncapturable from, well, being zombified or nanocausted.
  • Fixed a missing boolean inversion which made it so that no death effect could apply except for when it was specifically turned off.
    • This fixes the Necromancer being unable to take a large number of things, and it also padded the bug from above since effectively nothing ever could be zombified or nanocausted.
      • Thanks to BadgerBadgerBadger for reporting and NR SirLimbo for fixing.
  • Fixed a bug in the code for science/hacking gain per AIP, where AIP reduction would cause science/hacking to be lost.
    • Thanks to RocketAssistedPuffin for reporting and NR SirLimbo for fixing.
  • Fixed the inheriting of extra hull data being wrong:
    • The new pipeline now correctly inherits its predecessors' extra hull data.
    • RegisterMyDirectParentsICopiedFrom() now guards against attempts to register something as its own parent, which can lead to the game outright crashing with no exceptions or error logs. It also allows for an override that ignores otherwise wrongful alterations of the inheritance that was not set up in XML, but done in runtime itself.
    • There also is CanTheoreticallyInheritFrom() which checks if it's possible for something to in theory use something else as its predecessor.
    • Fixed yet another wrong boolean inversion in the code for checking if a game entity should use the hull of its predecessor to inherit from, or if had its own, new hull assigned.
      • All of the above fixes the Invincible Ohmu... not having been invincible - it could be damaged.
    • As added bonus: Total damage invulnerability now shows up in tooltips.
      • Thanks to tadrinth for reporting and NR SirLimbo for fixing.
  • Fix a bug where astro train guard description appenders were erroring out
    • Thanks to vorpal for reporting
  • Fix a regression from the Hulls system that caused units to lose orders and just sit there.
    • When a stack splits, the new unit created was not getting any orders; it should have inherited orders from the stack.
    • Thanks to a number of people, including motai and Zaeron for reporting
  • Fixed an issue in the ships sidebar where the order of some enemy units could flip around.
    • Thanks to tadrinth for reporting.
  • When you exit the game from the escape menu, it now forces the sound off before it can do any sort of spike upwards in volume.
    • I don't actually see it setting the volume incorrectly, so this increase in volume effect that we have is apparently a bug in the mixer in unity. The only way I was able to get it to be quiet was to disable the mixer, but that works just fine from what I can tell so far.
    • Thanks to Mac and Badger for reporting.
  • Fixed a longstanding issue where certain parts of the interface could be a bit stale after you exit one game and loaded into another. This was due to some caching over time of data that they were doing, to normalize out spiky data. Now it clears those buffers on game exit and load.
  • The "tagged unit income" that was a hunter mechanic added about a year ago has been removed for now.
    • Essentially, it could result in a variety of rare late-game situations where there were infinitely-spawning units, or just an unbalanced number in general, although that was probably pretty rare.
    • Overall we've added a lot of other mechanics (border aggression, wormhole invasions) that go after the same concept in a more interesting way, so we'll probably re-implement a hunter mechanic against specific targets in a fashion like that.
    • For now, simply getting rid of a source of infinite spawns seemed like the first step.
    • Thanks to deadone77 for reporting, and Badger for identifying the issue and a fix.
  • Fixed three different nullref exceptions that could happen in civilian industries commands.
    • Thanks to pheonix89 for reporting.
  • Fixed another civilian industries error that could happen when mousing over certain units/
    • Thanks to pheonix89 for reporting.
  • Fixed an exception that could happen when saving a game with units that had been decloaked by tachyon beams, because they were getting pushed way beyond the actual range of their cloaking and also above what that field can hold.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug where units were losing way more than their max cloaking points, making it impossible for them to ever reasonably recover and cloak again.
    • If any units still don't recloak, please let us know and send a savegame with it. This will fix the main issue, which was them getting infinite negative cloaking power.
    • Thanks to pheonix89 for reporting.
  • Fixed a one-line typo where I had broken the ability for ships to drag other ships with tractor beams in my recent performance improvements to tractor beams.
    • While I was at it, also made units with a lot of shielding a bit more willing to drag off units they have tractored, since that's a fun mechanic.
    • Thanks to Mac for reporting.

Necromancer tweaks

  • Sappers who are only allied to necromancers get a big bonus in their early resources to make them more helpful early game
  • Additional tweaks to the hover-flagship-in-planet-menu to show more detail for necromancer ships, and construction process for any incoming ships.
    • Badger is trying to put all the things he really wants to see at a glance in this window about a fleet's status
  • Make the first flagship/necropolis upgrades for the necromancer a bit cheaper
  • The player can now swap the locations of their Necropoleis with a hack
  • When upgrading a necropolis/flagship, the hovertext text now clearly indicates which resource you are using. Also it will remind you which planet the necropolis/flagship is on
  • Reduce the resources for the necromancer from AI-controlled templar units
  • Improve the tooltip for transforming a necromancer flagship hack
  • Necromancer defensive necropoleis grant vision of nearby planets, like a Logistical command station

Beta 3.781 Tachyon Healing Reversal

(Released January 6th, 2022)

QoL Improvements

  • Tweak the Eye notification hovertext
    • Thanks to Lord of Nothing for reporting
  • Lots of notification improvements!
    • The multi-hover feature has been added. This means that when you hover over one notification (or something else) that is related to multiple planets, it can highlight all of them for you rather than just one thing. This now is used for:
      • Spire Debris in DLC1, a frequent request
      • Crashing nomads in DLC2, a nightmare scenario but possible
      • Zenith Miners in DLC2.
      • Astro Trains in the base game now show their destination and their current location.
      • Nomad planets in DLC2, for when they're moving. Nomad galaxy is much better with that!
      • Wormhole borers in DLC2, for showing multiple borers AND showing the source and destination planets for each.
    • Thanks to motai for the save that let me test this way more easily.
  • Also updated the deepstrike notice quite a lot!
    • Previously when you hovered over it, it didn't show anything! Now it highlights all the planets with wormholes on them.
    • Also previously, clicking it did nothing. Now when you click it, it cycles through the planets with wormholes on them.
    • And finally, when the deepstrike is in absorb mode, it still keeps showing you the count of how many wormholes are left.
  • When the game is paused, it now still runs the Stage1, 2, and 2A logic on the BaseInfo of all factions.
    • This means that tooltips, notifiers, and so forth all have accurate information without you having to first unpause when you load a savegame.
    • Specifically, this means that things like spire debris notifiers show up instantly, and deepstrike warnings actually can count their wormholes instead of telling you zero. Among lots of other benefits.

DLC3 Improvements

  • The Necromancer now tracks how it got its resources; you can see this by right-clicking on the hacking section of the resource bar
    • This was added as a debugging tool to help figure out necromancer resource balance, but it's also a cool thing for players to see
  • Some necromancer rift hacks now have an additional AIP cost
  • High-end Templar and Elderlings now grant fewer resources
    • The goal is not to touch the Necromancer's early power, but to instead decrease the glut of resources late game
  • Make Elderling sanity loss happen a bit faster. It's a cool mechanic and we should lean into it.
    • I probably should make elderlings spawn faster and go mad faster in general
  • Put a bandaid on a bug with Hulls that prevented necromancy from working. SirLimbo will need to take a deeper look
  • Necromancy now works if your flagship is one hop from the battle. Forgiving Necromancy now allows it to be any number of hops.
    • Thanks to Tom for suggesting

Bugfixes

  • Fix a bug where you could hack your allied nanocaust
    • Thanks to henry700 for reporting
  • Add some fireteam defensive code. Throttle the scourge a bit; a max of 100 neophytes are allowed to move per LRP thread, and a max of 200 warriors are allowed to go off to upgrade per LRP thread
    • This was problematic on some giant saves.
  • Fixed 2 bugs in the Hull System:
    • The debuff, and potentially ammo type and other modifiers were wrongfully set to a default which gives complete immunity, meaning that entities under certain circumstances could spawn in with a wall of text consisting out of nothing but immunities.
    • The second was an error in the buff limiter, which only affected speed and only showed when an unit was impossible to fleet supercharge. Instead of that the code now checks for whether the entity can be buffed at all or not, and returns the base speed if speed is calculated in this function.
      • Thanks to BadgerBadgerBadger for reporting these bugs, and -NR-SirLimbo for fixing them.
  • Added in a new HostOnly_TimeWasLastGivenOrderFromLRP on squads, which can be set and used as a way to throttle how quickly new orders are given to the same unit.
    • This has no generalized power, but it has been implemented in all of the fireteam and faction utility methods.
      • If you pass 5f or similar to one of those methods, then it will only do that command if it has been at least 5 realtime seconds since the last time that unit (or all related units in a fireteam or other list) have has last been issued some order.
      • If you pass 0f or -1f or somesuch, then it will do the command no matter what.
    • There are various commands scattered around faction code that are called directly, and these won't be throttled at all unless someone (usually the faction author) feels like they need to be.
    • If this winds up feeling too limiting, then we can always back it off on any faction that is being slow to react to things. Generally having a rule of "if you just told me something, don't tell me again for the next 5 seconds" does seem to cut down on faction command spam in the extreme test case game that we're looking at.
  • Our List<> class has been extended with an AddButRejectIfNull() method, which can be used to pass in things which may accidentally be null and should be rejected if so.
    • This has then been applied to lots of places where the external data for factions is keeping track of things like territory. This should solve an exception that was able to happen in the elderlings code when it would find a null planet because and elderling who had died was still being processed by the LRP during that death.
  • The Dictionary<> class now handles null keys being passed in by ignoring them rather than throwing an exception.
    • The idea is that this helps avoid exceptions when a background thread gets out of sync.
  • Fixed "CheckForShotAOEDetonation error at debugStage 8000" errors on sorting potential targets.
  • Found a further place where the simulation was able to double-run on multiple threads if it was running slowly enough because of an extremely bogged-down sim world.
    • I thought I had gotten all of these yesterday, and indeed it was better, but one area slipped through and was the genesis of a ton of random-seeming bugs.
  • Fixed an exception that could happen in ExoNotifier.ContentGetter right as an exo was ending.
  • Fixed two DLC3 extensions on DLC2 data that would error if only DLC2 was present.
    • Thanks to slake-moth and motai for reporting.
  • Fixed a rare exception that could happen in the TachyonPlanning thread when data changed while it was in the middle of a sort.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Fixed a couple of new exceptions that were now possible when clicking the reset to default button in the lobby as of the prior build.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Possibly fixed the exception that could happen in AddIntUltraEfficient. I've been chasing this one for a bit, not sure if I've fully got it.
    • Thanks to Badger for the most recent report.
  • Fixed an issue in expert mode, when fuel overuse is disabled, where if you didn't have enough fuel to complete the construction of factory units, the factory would still spend metal infinitely trying to, and so would engineers helping those factories. Yikes!
    • Thanks to Zaeron for reporting.
  • Fixed two rather severe issues with tachyon beams in the prior build.
    • For one thing, tachyon beams did not point to the proper location of cloaked ships, and instead pointed to the planet center, which was confusing.
    • For another, cough, tachyon beams actually gave a constant repair to cloak (thus preventing firing ships from ever decloaking!), rather than damaging the cloak of enemies.
    • Both are now fixed!
    • Thanks to motai, Zaeron, Cybermantas, and Sounds for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue for total conversions where it was still loading DLC quickstarts in the total conversion.
    • Thanks to Puffin for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug where the "right click to toggle cleared" text was on a crazy line in the quick starts menu.
    • Thanks to Predex for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue where the fleet line items on the tech menu were not showing their cost as red if you had too little science (or whatever other resource) to upgrade them.
    • Thanks to henry700 for reporting.
  • Fixed an error where the game could complain about the logic for the attack buttons being blocked when you quit to the main menu.
  • Fixed a maddening flicker that was in the notifications bar in the upper part of the ui. This was due to some pooling that was taking back the items a hair before they stopped drawing (because of a draw buffer period). Essentially, a pair of excellent processes (pooling and buffering) interacting poorly. The solution was too add in a brief quarantine after each notification filler is finished being used, and then after the quarantine stage to actually clean it up. This makes for a 50% larger pool of rotating pieces of data, but it really doesn't matter, as it's small and it's stable, and it solves the problem in a way that makes sense.

Beta 3.780 Nomadic Ark Empires And The Hull System

(Released January 5th, 2022)

  • CRCGamer's More System Defenders mod has been updated into the new format and re-enabled.

Improvements

  • DLC3: Misc vassal work
    • All DLC3 save games with Vassal factions are broken
  • Start on DZ having economic vassal control.
  • Use reflection to populate `AIWar2GalaxySettingQuickAccess` instead of a manual switch statement.
    • These settings are not changed often, so it is reasonable to pay the cost of using reflection then.
    • Add new expert mode settings to it as well, since they are accessed many times per simulation frame. I expect accessing a static attribute is quicker than a dictionary lookup.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for adding!
  • Expert Balance:
    • Add an option that makes battlestations not get turrets and defensive structure, except from hacks for the individual battle station. (Citadels and Command Stations still benefit from hacks for all)
    • Thanks to tom.prince for adding!
  • Expert Game Balance:
    • Reduce number of Argon, Randon and Balanced Fuel Stations.
    • Reduce amount of Argon from Argon Fuel Station.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating!
  • DCL3: Add Neinzul Enthusiast AI Type, which uses younglings and clanlings on offense and has clusters and nests on most planets that spawn younglings.
    • Thanks to tadrinth for adding!
  • Add Youngling Hornet, Panther, Firefly, Shrike, Moray, and Ram (renamed existing Shrike to Buzzard), spawned by Clanling Sabertooth, Orb Weaver, and Ankylosaurus.
    • Thanks to tadrinth for adding!
  • Previously, right-clicking fleets on the sidebar would select them (or add them to selection) as well as center on them.
    • Now, right-clicking them just selects them or adds them to selection (if you hold shift down).
    • Additionally, middle-clicking them just centers on them.
    • The tooltips have been updated to reflect all this.
    • Thanks to Im Badman for requesting.
  • The way that tractor beams are calculated is now a lot more efficient and all on a non-sim-blocking thread. It is also double-buffered in a way that causes no data flicker (there was a slight flicker before, in recent versions, though you could not see it visually), and in general just makes better use of your cores.
    • Some of this was not really possible to do until many of the really recent improvements to the code framework.
  • Same treatment for the tachyon beams that the tractor beams got. They now impact the sim a lot less, have less data stored, and are fully double-buffered.
  • Same treatment now for gravity effects and black hole machines.
  • The area boosting logic has also gotten the various upgrades moving it to only deal with its stuff on its own thread.
  • The protection planning (force field code) now has also gotten the same update.
    • The way that ships move around the edge of them, when hostiles bump up against a forcefield, might be slightly different now. Probably better, but if it's a problem with them getting sticky on the side, then a savegame of that would be great. I changed a few assumptions in there about how frequently the things in the bg are run, to better match reality under any range of load conditions.
  • The entire CopyShortTermFramePlanningDataIntoSim() method is now removed, as that has been split up into its component parts on further-background threads. Yay sim performance!

DLC1: Ark Empire

  • The Game Lobby faction entry for Ark Empire now lists the chosen ark
  • The Ark Empire now starts with an Ark on an AI Mark 1 planet; you will need to capture your very first planet
    • This is just like the Alpha

DLC3: Necromancer Changes

  • The Necromancer can no longer get Banshees in their first Rift. Instead they will always be available in the second rift
    • Taking Banshees first was almost always a bad idea, since they are much weaker than the other options. However, since players may need anti-cloak early, that will always be an option.
  • Killing a DZ Jormugandr or a Scourge Nemesis now also grants Essence
    • A little easter egg for people playing with multiple DLCs
  • Balance tweaks
    • Make Necromancer upgrades more expensive (especially on the high-end).
    • Decrease the number of hacking points the necromancer gets from high-tier templar structures
    • Rift hacks now cost 4 AIP

Intel Menu

  • A formatting pass on a number of entries in the Intel menu
    • Objectives with ship lines are now more readable and include the icons for the ship lines
    • The "Difficulty of objective" text is now smaller, allowing the important text to take up more space
    • Fix a bug that was causing the intel menu to be all in white
      • This should be a major usability and readability enhancement for the intel menu
  • Fix a bug where the Tech Vault Objective was only showing one option
    • Thanks to Wuffell_1 for reporting
  • Quiet a bunch of Objectives that are not pertinent for the necromancer (claiming flagships and so on)
  • The Necromancer now has unique objectives available in the Intel Sidebar
    • For finding Rifts
    • For finding Amplifiers
    • For killing things to grant Essence

Hull System, by NR SirLimbo

  • Created the Hull System. This allows any GameEntityTypeData to get a hull type assigned. Do not mistake this for the ship type (Strike Craft, Frigate, Ark, etc), Hulls only exist to modify damage, debuffs, death effects and supercharging.
    • The following XML fields on Game Entities are now removed, and put on the "hull_data" sub-node of the game entity type in XML, or defined inside an actual hull itself:
      • should_never_be_captured_by_another_faction, which if set to true would prevent zombification and nanocaustation is now on hulls and named can_be_zombified_and_similar, which if set to false has the same effect.
      • cannot_be_supercharged_when_in_supercharged_fleet, which prevents units from gaining buffs from fleet-specific bonuses, is now can_be_fleet_supercharged on. One again the true and false states have been inverted.
        • There also are can_be_fleet_supercharged_damage, can_be_fleet_supercharged_hull, can_be_fleet_supercharged_shield and can_be_fleet_supercharged_speed, with the above acting as a "no" trigger for all of them if set to false, but if buffs are generally allowed these XML fields allow a more directed turning off of fleet buffs.
      • The immune_to_all_damage has been replaced by can_be_damaged similar to above.
      • Immunities to exotic damage (electrotoxicity, revenge shots, attrition) have been put on hulls as well, as sub-nodes of hulls.
    • Overall the following mechanics are now possible:
      • Modifiers to all debuffs. Every debuff may have a sub-node debuff_modifier for it, assigning a multiplier to the time received (which if set to 0 is total immunity to that debuff), and an added_count which adds a certain flat amount after multiplication. Note that this added amount can be negative, so it's possible to make something ignore X seconds of engine stun no matter what comes its way without being immune to longer engine stuns.
        • Additionally for Tachyon Beams and Knockback the multiplier and flat amount reduce or increase the amount of cloaking points taken or distance knocked back/pulled forth, as there is no time involved.
        • The odd one out here is Gravitic Cores, which only have a multiplier on the hull itself, not on a sub-node like the rest of debuff modifiers. Effectively the slow they produce (say -60% speed, down to only 40%) is multiplied by the hull's multiplier, so setting it to 0.25 would reduce the slow to only -15%, at which point the ship can still fly at 85% of the normal value. A flat amount here makes no sense.
      • Similar for death effects, with the exact same mechanics - only that it doesn't modify the time but the death effect amount.
      • Similar for damage from specific ammo types (which are also a thing now), in this case it modifies the damage received.
        • Additionally there is 2 fields, one for numeric and one for multiplicative damage resistance to everything.
      • Similar for all types of exotic damage (attrition, electrotoxicity, revenge shots, ion damage). There's also 2 fields for all exotic damage.
      • Additionally there are now individual flags for immunity for special mechanics: Tractor Beams, Black Hole Machines and Getting Devourerd, both individually and one XML field for all of them.
      • Buffs can also be limited via Hulls: As explained above fleet supercharging can be turned off centrally, or by category.
      • The same can be done for buff limits: It is now possible to set a maximum limit for the buffs to hull, shield, damage and speed by entity.
        • For speed there is 2 values used: One numeric and one multiplier. These work in tandem: The maximum speed a unit can gain from flat buffs such as FRS speed boosts relates to the flat bonus, while the maximum multiplier relates to all multiplicative boni (Command Stations, Magnifiers, etc).
    • Making these changes requied hundreds of manual adjustments in XML, and deep changes in the C# code. It would be a legitimate miracle if there aren't bugs around, so if you find some ping -NR-SirLimbo on discord, or open a ticket on Mantis (or both).
      • All mods except for Classic Fusion have been updated along with the Vanilla code.
  • Upgraded the Stack Splitting in response to Shot Compression
    • Incoming shots now take shot compression into account, applying more "stacks" of the same debuff to the same target. I.e. a group of 5 ships with 1 second of engine slow firing onto the same ships will leave that ship with 5 seconds of engine slow.
    • When a stack is hit by a debuff and the compressed shots don't divide rest-free through the actual number of stacked entities the stack splits correctly, into one stack with [no/less] and one stack with [existing/more] debuffs.
      • Existing Death Effects will be divided based on the number of old vs new stack counts between the stacks, so if say a stack of 10 splits into 3 and 7, the stack of 3 will have 30% of the death effect values, and the stack of 7 will have 70%.
    • When a stack splits debuffs are now also carried over 1:1.
    • Instead of reducing the knockback against stacks knockback now counts as a "debuff"-similar thing, which means that the stack splits and X amount of squads as a stack will fling out [furhter] behind the rest.
    • The Game Command to split stacks has been removed - instead it now calls a method on the GameEntity_Squad itself, which does the same. There was no more reason to keep that GameCommand around or do the whole logic around it.
    • These changes are also impossible to test for every possible scenario, so again: Find a bug? Ping -NR-SirLimbo on discord, open a ticket on Mantis or both.
  • Thanks to -NR-SirLimbo for these HUGE additions!
    • These are not something that are planned to be used overly much in the main game, but it's very helpful for mods, and in the base game does allow for things like the heroic ship trait.

Bugfixes

  • Fix a number of DZ tracing memory leaks from the great refactor.
  • Fix logic around fuel overuse, so that it checks fuel use if fuel is enabled and overuse is *disabled*.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing!
  • Civilian Industries Bugfixes
    • Fixed a bug with transported ship strength display
    • Fixed a MethodNotFound exception
    • Thanks to StarKelp for updating!
  • DLC2: Hopefully fixed Mosquito drones not marking up with their cruiser
    • Thanks to ArnaudB for fixing!
  • Fixed an issue where in recent versions of the game where it had an invisible exception where it was trying to trigger the fade to black from a background thread, and that was not allowed. Now it just sets a variable that tells the main thread to start the fade to black on the next frame.
  • Fixed an issue that was potentially letting too many threads run at once when you were exiting out of the game and going back into the lobby. Not positive that this was a problem, but there was one code change here recently and then people started reporting problems.
  • Fixed a very funky cross-threading CPU usage spike that was able to happen if your framerate was very fast.
    • Essentially, I made so many things offload themselves to secondary threads that in a couple of cases your the next frame could flip over before the prior thread finished, and this would then start another copy of that same thread, and then another, and they'd get confused and mess with the data. Fortunately this was only in about two places, and just by slowing them down (one to just being 10x per second, the other to being only on frames after it is done executing, however long that takes), this solves the contention issue and keeps threads running quickly.
    • As part of the hunt for this, I made it so that when you call one of the background threads, you have to pass in a name so that we can output it if we need to for debugging purposes. I had a suspicion that we were running extra threads, but it turns out it was just the same thread too many times, in the end.
    • Also as part of this, there's some logic that made the lobby slow in general if it ran every frame, and frankly that only needed to be run during the game in the first place.
    • And lastly, there were still two places in the code where we were using parallel loops over planets. That is something you do in order to saturate all the CPU cores as much as possible when there's a lot of heavy activity. In our case, the load just wasn't that much, so it was slowing down the simulation thread a bit for no real purpose. In one case it just executes directly on the simulation thread now, and is faster; and in the other case, it now runs on a single spun-off background thread, because the data is not critical to be correct that sim-frame and rarely changes anyhow.
    • Thanks to Badger and NR SirLimbo for reporting this funkiness!
  • Fixed what appeared to be (but was not) a thin slice in the roof of the main menu cutscene.
    • That was actually just the far edge of a rafter, but it always caught the light in just the wrong way so that it looked like it was a slit in the roof. This was a tiny detail that has been bugging me for a while.
  • Fixed a really funky bug that was causing planets to still have some stuff showing in the galaxy map when they should not, and which was also leaving some invisible planets active and in the way of your actual mouse cursor at other times on the galaxy map.
    • Thanks to ArnaudB and others for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue with duplicate IDs being given out to some units for unknown reasons.
    • One reason seemed to be that after loading a savegame it was possible to have a "last ID given out" that was improperly low. The key issuer now goes out of its way to look for conflicts and give you only valid keys.
    • If this still breaks at any point, then I'll have to adjust this further so that anything creating a squad takes out a lock on the ID issuance process until the new ID is centrally registered. The current approach is using Interlocked.Increment, which should be just as good, so fingers crossed.
    • Thanks to a variety of folks for reporting this.
  • Put in better error logging for an exception that should have no longer been possible as of last build (in ArcenSerializationBuffer.AddIntUltraEfficient), but which was still happening. If it's not fixed in this build, we'll at least have a new error with more info.
    • Also put in some general protections for protection from potential null loggers in serialization functions if serialization logging is enabled and then quickly disabled or something along those lines.
    • Thanks to xaid for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue with saves from version 3.778 where unfortunately it was corrupting savegames that it was loading.
    • If you loaded a savegame in that version of the game and then saved it, it's possible that the second version is irreparably broken (or might not be). However, the original version from 3.777 or prior, or a new save that was started in 3.778 but never loaded-and-then-saved-again, would be fine.
    • Put another way, the load process was what did the corrupting, not the save process.
    • This had all sorts of strange effects, like fleets disappearing, units disappearing, and so on.
    • Thanks to Zaeron for reporting.
  • The game is now far better at fixing things when it winds up with duplicate copies of entities for whatever reason. This should stop the repeated warnings about this issue when it arrives.
    • Thanks to Zaeron and william montag for saves with the issue.
  • Fixed a random "GroupMoveSpeed.SpeedGroupID" serialization error that could happen.
  • Fixed a cross-threading exception that could happen in ProtectionPlanning.
    • Thanks to Badger for the report.
  • Fixed an exception that could happen in Helper_SendThreatOnRaid.
    • Thanks to william montag for the report.
  • Fixed an error that was not really an error in shot compression, where sometimes it finds that there's no reason to shoot a target because of various late factors. It now just calmly moves to the next target to consider, rather than throwing an error about it.
    • Thanks to william montag for the save with the error.
  • Fixed some cross-threading errors that could happen, particularly in very large saves, when switching entities between factions.
  • Fixed a whole cluster of errors that could happen when a savegame was sufficiently large and some background threads were getting double-run.
  • Made the random draw bags a bit more robust in how they get items.
  • GameCommands that are issued are now linked to a faction at the time they are queued. There are cases where factions can misbehave and give truly insane amounts of commands from the long-term planning threads (I have a save which, when loaded, executes over 52 thousand commands from the scourge in about ten seconds of realtime), and those giant influxes of commands can now be seen both by type and by faction down low in the escape menu.
    • The goal with this is for us to be able to solve specific problems we might have now, but also so that modders who are working on factions in the future can resolve issues with their work. This way folks don't wonder why the game is slow or the network is clogged, if it's a specific faction that can be seen to be flooding the game with commands.
    • Thanks to william montag for the offending save.

Beta 3.778 Quick Fixes

(Released January 1st, 2022)

  • Some UI improvements for when hovering a Watched Fleet in the Planet menu
    • Thanks to Badger for updating!

Bugfixes

  • Added a new LazyLoadFactionWrapper, and fixed a deserialization issue that had arisen in the previous version due to the new message log histories deserializing before the factions were ready.
    • This will fix any savegames from the prior version that have been broken.
    • Thanks to vinco and Badger for reporting.
  • The game now uses 1 extra bit for any given type of data that is being serialized-to-fit. This makes it so that if you have something like 16382 squads, it can't then suddenly have 16630 before it will already be at M_0_To_32ˌ767_Def0 instead of L_0_To_16ˌ383_Def0; the latter could have created errors, but the former has extra space and is just 1 extra bit per thing serialized.
    • This fixes a very rare error that is timing-based.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Fixed an unexpected error in serialization that was possible sometimes if certain data had not been recalculated recently enough.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.

Beta 3.777 Last Refinements For The Year

(Released December 31st, 2021)

Improvements

  • Improve the fleet sidebar tooltip for cities:
    • Fix some formatting.
    • Only show bolstering information, if the city bolsters or can bolster something.
    • Show city sockets details.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the updates!
  • Edge scrolling is now disabled when you are in mouse-pan mode (middle mouse click and drag) or in mouse-tilt mode (hold Q or mouse button 4).
    • Thanks to dorenthas for suggesting.
  • Journal/tips popup windows now show the actual proper header that matches what is in the sidebar. It was really confusing, previously.
  • Several parts of the UI were set to have very very fast refresh periods, essentially every frame rather than just a few times a second. This has been adjusted so that they don't update THAT frequently.
    • This has a general positive impact on framerates, though not much of one on sim speeds.
  • Reworked the left sidebar tabs so that the tabs are a lot smaller vertically, thus never being at risk of being pushed off the screen, and even having room for more.
    • Rather than being text-based with sideways text like an IDE (a lot of people were never super thrilled with this), it is now icon-based and you can hover over them to see the tooltips of what they are.
    • These icons also glow when you hover over them, and change color based on which tab is active, which looks nice.
  • Upgraded Warden Sniper Guardian weapon jam effectiveness.
    • Increased the armor limit it can jam from anything below 70 to anything below 85. This means it can jam more turret types and almost any ship that isn't within the heavy hull category.
    • Thanks to CRCGamer for the updates!

Message Log Clarity And Clicking

  • The game framework has been extended to use the hyperlink functionality of TextMeshPro and thus allow for us to do hovering and click effects on subsections of text, which we have not supported before.
  • The "momentary message log" that shows over on the right-hand side of your screen now takes in custom handlers that allow for various things to be possible when you hover those items, or click them.
    • A lot of the time, it's things like "click to view the planet or unit that is being discussed."
      • This is really helpful in a wide variety of situations, like when a planet was just destroyed and you want to see where it was, or when something bad is happening and you want to get to the related ship really fast.
    • For things like journal entries or tips that it's informing you about, it's "immediately open that journal entry from right here."
    • For something like an AIP change, it will let you view the AIP history, and for notices about upgrades or hacks that are completed, it lets you view those sorts of histories.
      • One cool thing is that, in multiplayer, this lets you view the tech history or hacking history of another player without switching to their view.
    • This framework is super flexible, so it allows for modders and developers to add custom links and hover functionality when needed.
    • In the case of pure chat items (multiplayer or otherwise), or items without a custom handler, it says "click to view message log" when you hover, and opens the message log when you click it, thus making it clearer that there IS a message log.
    • Thanks to Sounds, dEAdOnE77, and others for requesting.
  • The tooltip text for the message log in the bottom left corner of the screen is a lot clearer, and doesn't make it sound like it's just a chat window.
    • Thanks to Sounds and dEAdOnE77 for letting us know how un-clear this was.
  • The "message log" icon in the bottom left of the screen has been changed from something that looks very much like a chat window (because that's what we were calling it) to something that says log and looks more like a log.
    • Hopefully this will catch folks' eye as a new icon, if they've been playing for a long while and have not noticed this before.
  • The message log header has been changed to say message log, and you also are now able to click line items within that, too.

Doomsday Mode Improvements

  • Doomsday mode now has a new control interface. You now set it to be On/Off with a boolean toggle.
    • You then also have sliders for "Base interval between doomsday strikes" and "Interval increase per destroyed planet".
    • This will cause the game to blow up more planets early and fewer planets late.
  • Also, planets that were adjacent to doomsday victims are much more likely to be chosen as future doomsday victims.
  • Previously existing doomsday mode games probably should be restarted at this point.
  • Thanks to Badger for these changes, and Sounds for the feedback on the mode.

Expert Mode Balance

  • Reduce Argon Fuel Stations to provide 400k (from 600k) and Xenon Stations to provied 200k (from 250k).
  • Reduce starting Science to 12k (from 15k) and Hacking to 48 (from 60).
  • Citadels use Xenon instead of Argon, and cost 100k instead of 30k.
  • Thanks to tom.prince for the updates!

Weapon Points, Devouring, and Infestation

  • Add the idea of Weapon Points. This is something that a unit gains and spends, depending on what's set up on any weapon systems they have. This allows things to deal additional damage depending on how much another weapon has fired.
    • This line goes onto the unit: max_number_of_weapon_points="5"
    • These lines go onto the weapons: number_of_weapon_points_to_gain_on_firing="1", number_of_weapon_points_to_consume_on_firing="1", additional_damage_modifier_per_weapon_point="1"
    • additional_damage_modifier_per_weapon_point="1" is what multiplication of the weapons damage to add on per Weapon Point. So 1 is adding on the full amount, 2 adds on double the damage per Weapon Point, 0.5 adds only half, so on.
      • This allows things such as Neinzul Fireflies to function.
      • Thanks to tadrinth for requesting, and to Puffin for adding!
  • Add the Devour mechanic.
    • can_devour="true"
    • Causes the weapon system it is put on to do no damage to anything, unless the target is the same or lower mark, and is a lower mass, in which case it instantly eats the target.
      • When combined with the above mechanic, can allow a reproduction of things such as Powerslavers from the first game.
    • Thanks to Puffin for adding!
  • Add the Infestation mechanic.
    • unit_to_spawn_on_infestation="UNITNAMEHERE"
    • Causes the weapon system it is put on, whenever it kills an enemy, to spawn the entity whose name you put in the quotes, at the victims location.
    • Thanks to Puffin for adding!

Bugfixes

  • DLC3: Fix backwards Sapper HematiteSniperTurret damage bonus logic
    • Thanks to tadrinth for fixing!
  • Fixed an issue where in the tooltip previews for what a ship would be upgraded to, it often (but not quite always) would show the ship as already being the new mark it would become. In the C-click view it was correct. Now it should be correct in all cases, but please let us know if you see anything else amiss!
    • Thanks to vinco for reporting.
  • Use WithUniqueIDForDuplicates for generating Ark Empire initial fleet memberships.
    • This ensures that if identical ship lines are selected for the initial ship lines, that you will get two lines of the given ship type.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing!
  • Consistently use `GameEntityTypeData.IsTransport` to determine if a flagship can transport things.
    • There were a number of places that instead used a switch statement to determine this, and there was inconsistency between them.
    • Add `HumanHomeArk` as a type of flagship that can transport things.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing!
  • Correctly generate a random fresh necropolis name.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing!
  • Make sure relentless waves, border aggression and templars attack *hostile* tasty targets (not non-hostile ones).
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing!
  • Fixed an exception that could happen in the exo-galactic attack code if a target or attacker died at just the wrong time.
    • Fixed a trio of memory leaks that would happen if there was an exception in the exo-galactic code, as well.
    • Thanks to motai for reporting.
  • For the arcen debug log, the ShowAsInfo option has been removed. It was rarely used, and worked the same as "do not show" so far as I can tell.
    • Instead, there is now a Chat option, which logs it to the chat.
    • This helps a lot when we are doing tracing or other similar things, and we want to see things scroll past in the main game window.
  • Fixed a bug that was possible when the game tried to link planets when no planets needed linking. Now it shows an error message to that effect, versus having an actual exception that messed with game flow and was also less clear.
  • Renamed some of the variables related to planet destruction so that we can search for them more easily and actually find all the references to them specifically and not also a bunch of other unrelated variables.
  • Fixed some random errors that could happen in GetColorForLinkBetweenPlanets.
  • Fixed a general bug with planet creation that could sometimes see them coming through with stale data, including thinking that they were destroyed right after they were created.
    • This probably had a number of bad effects, but the most repeatable one was that dark zenith would not properly get their new planets the second time after you were in a DZ game, went back to lobby, and started another one.
    • Thanks to Puffin for reporting.
  • Fixed an exception that would often happen when you exited the lobby to the main menu.
  • Fixed an issue with old icons often remaining into the lobby after you quit one game and go into the lobby afterwards.
    • Thanks to Puffin for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue with the macrophage where their count of harvesters that they are currently supporting would count up infinitely when they were supporting any harvesters. This would effectively allow them to travel way farther on the map than they normally should, but all other functionality was fine except for the tooltips.
    • Thanks to Magiik and Puffin for reporting.
  • Fixed a minor display issue with the target hacks at planets having an improper close-color tag.
  • Fixed the intermittent "Blank FleetMembership for ship of type" error.
    • This was something that was throwing up a warning when no warning is needed. It's simply a unit that died, and the thread doing the evaluation didn't notice that yet. Essentially, it was already working fine, but was warning us about something in a needless fashion.
    • Thanks to slake-moth, Zaeron, and dEAdOnE77 for reporting.
  • Fixed a general issue where sometimes units were double-dying, and thus in particular were bypassing certain things on death like reversion to neutral or turning into remains.
    • This should solve a wide range of issues that were not super reliable, but frequent enough, with things not dying to remains properly.
    • Thanks to motai for the report and save that let me duplicate it reliably.
  • Hardened a bit of the scourge code against potential exceptions.
    • Thanks to Zaeron for reporting.
  • Fixed an exception that could happen when trying to serialize AIReinforcementPoint.CountInside.
    • Thanks to Zaeron for reporting.

Code Improvements To Prevent Programmer Error

  • Collections no longer support the default constructors that you would usually see, if they are our custom collections.
    • The original intent was to make our collections invisible to programmers, and mostly that is still the goal, but we're already forcing people to name them, which makes them visible.
    • The way to actually intantiate a collection is now to call the static method Create_WillNeverBeGCed() on it, so that it is blisteringly clear even to someone not trying to think about things that this is a memory leak if they let these get created and fall away.
  • However, that alone isn't enough. There is now an INeverGarbageCollected class that all collections and pools inherit from, and normally if you put a collection in another collection it will freak out and error when you first load the game up.
    • This makes it so that when someone puts a list of something as the value of a dictionary, for instance, then it yells at them immediately, and suggests that DictionaryOfLists or DictionaryOfDictionaries or similar is something that they should be using instead.
    • Fixed two separate memory leaks in the Neinzul Custodians based on the above, plus a possible-leak in the sub-tables for dynamic tables (in the second case it probably was not really a leak, but boy was it unclear how those tables worked at a glance, whereas now it is clear).
  • Dictionary is no longer the base class for any other collections. SortedDictionary and similar have been split out with their logic in separate classes side-by-side now.
    • This was required for the new way of constructing these classes, but also is a VERY slight performance improvement.
  • DictionaryOfLists now has a SortIntoList method.
  • You can use the following regex to help make your replacements easier, if you have a lot of them in your mod:
    • Find:
      • new (List<[^>]*>)
    • Replace:
      • $1.Create_WillNeverBeGCed
    • Simply do that across files in visual studio Find & Replace.
      • Note that it doesn't work great for compound things that have <> inside of the outer List<>. Those require manual fixes or better regex.
  • The protected, compound, and double-buffered collections have all been brought up to the same standards.
    • The double-buffered ones had one argument reversed from all the others, but that has been made consistent.
  • All of the various pools have also been made consistent in that you must initialize them with Create_WillNeverBeGCed() on them.
    • For all of the basic types in Arcen Universal that follow this pattern, these are then things you know you must pool, versus just casually creating.
  • Implemented a new DoubleBufferedDictionaryOfDictionaries, which is also now in use by Civilian Industries, thus solving a memory leak it had introduced.
    • All the rest of this code from today is for the purposes of making this sort of mistake a runtime error (on load), and making it more obvious (at code time) in the first place.
    • Essentially, StarKelp is quite a good programmer and has been paying a lot of attention to this codebase, but he still made an error here. And when browsing past his code in bulk, I also was not seeing the error. I only happened to notice it when he flagged one piece of code as being ugly, and isolated it.
    • Things that are that subtle really need to not be the sort of thing that can bite modders in the butt, code-wise. This also is relevant for our programmers in general, and for future projects as well as this one.
    • By using core dumps while playing with civilian industries on, it would have been possible to detect this bug, but it would have taken a lot of scrolling through the core dumps (that's slow to begin with, it's thousands of lines long), and someone would have had to have a reason to do one (looking for a memory leak, most likely). Now that it's way more proactive about this whole class of error, everyone can code with a little more security. I've tried to make it really obvious where something is wrong, instead of really subtle.

Doomsday Mode Updates

  • Doomsday mode now has a new control interface. You now set it to be On/Off with a boolean toggle.
    • You then also have sliders for "Base interval between doomsday strikes" and "Interval increase per destroyed planet". This will cause the game to blow up more planets early and fewer planets late.
    • Planets that were adjacent to doomsday victims are much more likely to be chosen as future doomsday victims.
      • Thanks to Sounds for the Steam feedback prompting these changes
  • Previously existing doomsday mode games probably should be restarted at this point.

Mod Changes

  • Civilian Industries
    • Features
      • Added Trade Station Influence settings, which defaults to off
        • When enabled, your Civvies will attempt to build Patrol Posts on planets adjacent to Trade Station planets instead of only on Trade Station planets
      • Militia units are now able to flush units from either cloaking or reinforcement points when the majority of the strength is hidden
      • Cargo Ship capacity and per second transfer rate scales with Mark Level
      • Militia Construction Ships that are attempting to build Patrol Posts will no longer path towards trade stations before doing so
    • Usability
      • Implemented the new faction setting used by HRF to show off which Civvie units benefit from which tech in your tech list
    • Config Changes
      • Seconds Between Militia Upgrades setting removed
      • Ignore Resources setting removed
        • This has been exceptionally buggy for quite a while
      • Performance Mode defaults to on
      • Stockpile Percentage can now only be changed while in the lobby
    • Bug Fixes
      • Fixed a bug where Trade Stations could be rebuilt on destroyed planets anywhere between 200% and 400% faster than intended
      • Fixed a bug where some player structures were either not being given to the player, or not being detected by Civvies
      • Fixed a bug where npc-aligned Civilian factions were following player customization settings

New Mod: From Spire Frigate to Dreadnought, by ArnaudB

  • A new "From Spire Frigate to Dreadnought" mod by ArnaudB has been added!
    • This gives the three Lone Spire Frigate variant the possibility to transform into a Spire Battleship or even a Spire Dreadnought. Those ships of enormous power require a hefty sum of hacking points to transform and an enormous amount of energy to maintain them.
    • You now can get a hammer against the AI. A very powerful tool to throw yourself into ever more-difficult and crazy games... or just demolish all opposition if you're in the mood for that.
    • Unless you use the transform hack, this mod will do nothing and you can always chose not to use the forms. The high costs should keep this as balanced as having a Spire Battleship or a Spire Dreadnought around can be.
    • ...Yes. If you find multiple Lone Spire Frigate, you can get multiple Battleships or Dreadnought. Have fun!

Beta 3.774 Metal Flows

(Released December 28th, 2021)

  • Allied ships that are upgraded by your techs are now included in the tech upgrade preview lists.

Planet Count Cap (Unlockable)

  • New setting in the performance tab, under CPU load: Allow Higher Planet Counts (defaults to off)
    • The game is going to normally restrict you to 120 planets. If you want to use a higher count, you can enable this option. However, the performance is likely to be quite poor, even on very strong machines.
    • There are some throughput limitations that make this simulation run badly in the midgame at 180 planets even on the latest hardware as of 2021. It's possible that you're running this much further into the future, in which case... see what happens?
    • Honestly, the primary game experience is based around 80-100 planets anyhow, and there should be enough room even if you have quite a number of factions or a lot of people in multiplayer.
  • Additionally, some text in the lobby has been adjusted to give better advice when planet counts are quite high.
  • Also, it only allows you to select from every 2 planets below the count of 50, rather than 60, but it still gives you by-five counts up to 120 rather than 100 now.

DLC3

  • Neinzul Migrants now reward more clanlings at higher intensity.
    • Thanks to tadrinth for updating!

Bugfixes

  • Fixed an "Got to SetGuardPostAndCommandPlacerFromPlanetStats with a Mapgen_WorkingMarkLevel of 0" error that could happen in mapgen in certain cases. It will now use mark 3, instead.
    • Thanks to HaveAGreatDay for reporting.
  • Fixed up some code so that the InheritsTechUpgradesFromPlayerFactions function now works properly.
    • There is also a new uses does_player_style_ship_upgrades="true" that causes the above to be set automatically. This is now used on the Human Resistance Fighters and the Outguard.
    • Based on this, HRF and Outguard ships will ALL have any upgrades that the players choose. Specifically, they'll have the combination of the highest upgrades for each tech line.
    • This makes it so that you can upgrade any outguard ships via your techs (not just some of them), and so that you can upgrade the HRF using the Expatriate hull for the first time ever.
    • Thanks to vorpal for reporting the confusion.
  • Re-coded a fair bit of the tech upgrade preview code, to make it more efficient as well as to help stop the crazy counting up and down that it often does.
    • This needs more work still, but it's slightly better than before.
  • Finished fixing the "ships you have" numbers counting around strangely, and sometimes missing items.
    • As part of this, wound up making some new data structures and improving the internal pooling on a variety of data structures.
    • This still hasn't solved the issue with the "ships you can capture" list, but those have not been fully converted over yet.
    • Ideally I was hoping to truly understand why it is sometimes wrong with the old style, but thus far I only have a few theories and nothing absolute. This has proved to be a very elusive bug.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for reporting that this was still an issue.
  • Some further work for some other screens to get rid of some more of the old way of counting ships that you have and limit that to the new style.
  • Removed ShipTypeCountByMarkLevelData, ShipCounterByTypeAndMarkLevel, and IShipCounterByType in general.
    • Then proceeded to remove a ton of other code from ShipListerUtils.
  • Whew! Managed to almost completely re-code the way that the ships you can capture work, and the R-view (strong/weak against) ships as well.
    • These do a lot less CPU work to calculate themselves now, and no longer flip around like crazy anymore. They are showing the proper values for ship counts, and all of the appropriate ship lines.
    • Thanks to vinco and tom.prince for the most recent note that this was still messed up.
  • As the game has become more and more wildly-multithreaded, an issue has become more and more prevalent that seemed to be pretty rare in the past, but which is now being scanned for and thus we know happens with frustrating regularity on some machines.
    • It turns out that in code from 2016, which I had not really thought about the details of for a long time, we had an insufficiently-threadsafe way of generating new PKIDs for ships, shots, fleets, speed groups, etc.
    • I have now fixed that, which should be the end of the "squad in central registry was actually" error. Sometimes this was instant error spam, other times it was quite rare but would eventually find you, etc.
    • Thanks to various folks for reporting, including Puffin, Zaeron and others.
  • Fixed an issue introduced in the prior build where there were only intermittent metal outflows happening, depending on your number of CPU cores and how fast they are, etc.
    • Essentially, since it can take longer than a frame to calculate the flows, it needs to hang onto the previous flow for potentially more than one frame, and it was not doing that well unless your processor was quite fast (or some other lucky coincidences happened).
    • Now the flows are double-buffered, meaning that it constructs one set while using the old set, and it doesn't really matter how long it takes to do the calculations. Generally we're only off by an extra 100ms or so in the first place, but now that doesn't lead to a bunch of micro-gaps when it happens.
    • Thanks to Puffin for reporting.
  • Fixed a further issue with engineers and similar where their planned metal flows were not showing up in their UI, because of the same need for double-buffering that the faction has.
  • The ActiveOutflows code has been removed, as it was not threadsafe and was very narrowly used, as well as taking up useless CPU time.
    • There is now a much-more-efficient (and threadsafe) LastTimeSinceStartFWasSelfBuilding and LastTimeSinceStartFWasFactoryConstructing.
    • This fixes the last of the metal outflows code that seemed to be off, where engineers were not wanting to help construct things or boost factories, they only wanted to repair things and claim things.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the detailed report and investigation into what was going on.
  • Retired use of the Cross Thread Swizzle List, as we no longer do what is needed there in a fashion that works with the number of threads we have going on.
  • Implemented a new ShipToShipDrawCommandForBriefTime, which is more cross-thread compatible and replaces the ShipToShipDrawCommandForOneFrameCyle.
    • This removes the "draw during a frame sequence" nature of this, which is really handy, and so it allows for more flexibility for when things want to draw lines such as engineer or tractor beams from one ship to another. I'll be able to use that flexibility a bit more elsewhere to slightly speed up the sim in large games, I believe.
    • This is the same flexibility we've had in the beam weapons drawing code for a few months, although ironically we don't really need it there.

Beta 3.773 The Turbo

(Released December 27th, 2021)

Improvements

  • Don't grant science for destroying Drake Elderling Fireballs.
    • Since they are regenerated constantly, you get an unreasonable amount of science from fighting the Elderling.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the update!
  • When you are loading a savegame and you don't have enough mods or expansions installed for it, there is now an option to bypass those checks and load the savegame anyway.
    • If a mod was accidentally on but not actually in use, then this will work just fine. If a mod was in active use, expect to see a million endless errors. As it notes in the game, please don't report those latter case of errors.
    • Thanks to Strategic Sage for inspiring this addition.
  • If a drone-holder is disabled for any reason, it will no longer spawn drones (for instance, if you pause the entire hive golem, it won't build yellowjackets anymore; same if it gets crippled).
    • Additionally, if you specifically turn off a given drone line (such as an offensive line of units on the backdoor factory), then it will no longer spawn those drones, even though it will still build them internally.
    • Thanks to HaveAGreatDay for requesting.

Performance

  • The "Show Faction Performance In Escape Menu" setting has been removed, and the related functionality is now just always-on if you right-click the clock and go into that debug window.
    • Additionally, the functionality has been expanded a LOT, and you can see exactly which factions are taking much time in Stage3 and other per-second functions, and how long combat is taking, and so on.
    • In the test save that I'm looking at, I can thus see that pretty much everything from the per-second frames is slowness in the Hunter Stage3 and the combat section.
  • Dramatically sped up the game simulation by moving a lot of the core logic for ship deployment (which only happens on the host) and per-second combat checks (which happens on all machines, but is not likely to be perfect anyhow) onto deeper background threads that no longer block the sim.
    • There are likely to be some minor desyncs caused by this in multiplayer, but honestly it's kind of impossible to prevent that level of desync in general, and the game already knows how to quickly recover from that sort of thing. The performance in single-player (and multiplayer!) depends on being able to properly shove off some of the things that need to be calculated to be not-sim-blocking.
  • Slightly sped up some bits of the simulation by moving the hacking difficulty calculations to the background thread, but also made them more accurate so that they update more frequently (every few seconds rather than every 10 minutes or so).
  • Another dramatic speed boost by simply making the Stage3 DeepInfo logic of the AI hunters run on a background thread rather than the main thread. This is only run on the host anyhow, so there's no purpose to this being sim-blocking and it was taking about 25% of the sim cycle time (25ms) on my machine.
  • ChangeAIP() no longer takes in a context object.
    • Nor does DoOnFirstClaimByHumanTeamLogic_HostOnly(), DoOnAnyClaimLogic_HostOnly(), OnEarlyClaim(), OnClaim(), or CheckForOwnershipChange().
  • The per-faction per-step logic is now further asynchronous.
    • There's a slight chance of added minor desyncs from this in multiplayer, but this is a vast improvement in performance for both SP and MP, so having the desync repair take care of the issues is preferable.
    • That said, the amount of desync that might be possible has been minimized as much as possible, and may be closer to zero from this source.
  • The per-planet logic that is per-sim-step is now further asynchronous. It was already somewhat multithreaded, but now it's better so.
  • The per-fleet per-step logic is also now further asynchronous, and now even during large battles that were slowing down for me, I'm getting full sim speed (a choppy framerate still, but that comes next).
  • Moved some more general per-frame calculations on the planet into a background thread, thus boosting the sim a tiny bit and smoothing out the busy-galaxy framerate a lot.
  • The short-term planning contexts that are part of the simulation now run after the simulation data is calculated, rather than before, and thus are able to do their work in the background between sim steps rather than during a sim step.
  • The metal flows calculations have been split between player and NPC variants, and are each now run on separate background threads now.
  • EnergyUsageDataHolder and EnergyUsageData have both been removed.
    • The way that energy is calculated per-fleet for usage is now a whole heck of a lot more efficient, although it is broken out differently.
    • It now breaks it out by planet and by fleet, whereas before it broke it out by ship line per fleet.
    • These calculations were among a few main-ui calculations that had been dragging down the performance of any large game.
  • Some of the detailed ui-only copies of data about where metal outflows are going is now only generated when you actually look in that sub-ui, versus always generating it every frame.
  • Completely reworked how the data is stored for factories that want to help fleets. It's all exactly equivalent to what it was before, but it uses double-buffered collections (new since the great refactor) instead of older-style collections. This lets us avoid a threading lock, and avoid having a sub-list of data of a certain sort on planned metal flows.
    • This is one of the things that was slowing the sim down a fair bit, and it also was a data structure that caused a lot of cross-thread communication slowdowns. There's a bit more to do in this area, but this already starts getting the framerate more stable.
  • Planned metal flows are no longer pooled, and no longer have any collection on themselves -- they only benefit either a single squad, or a bunch of fleet memberships using factory details not on the planned metal flow object itself.
    • This is one of the largest pieces of frequent data being passed around during intense sim sessions, and it's now far higher-performing.
  • Final step with the planned metal flows, they are now a struct instead of a class, and thus never get allocated on the heap. Bit of a relief to the gc at this point, but not much other performance benefit.
  • A new form of logging has been added for tracking timings of the main thread, specifically.
    • All of the other threads seem to be pretty much where we need them to be for large games and combat, knock on wood, but there are certain things we can only ever do on the main thread, so that takes some extra looking-at. When the game sim is running great but the framerate is choppy, that's the main thread (or just graphics overload).
  • Improved the efficiency of the ships sidebar dramatically by making it only update the data behind itself a few times a second rather than every frame. The tooltip data and icon/ship line displays still update super frequently, but which icons are there are updated slightly less.
  • Also some debug logging has been added to MovementPlanning, because I got a random exception in there. I suspect there are a bunch of new cross-threading issues after today's work, but they should be reasonably quick to smite.
  • The resource bar now uses substantially less CPU on giant games.
    • This continues to smooth out the framerate in big games.

Bugfixes

  • Fix calculation of whether a metal flow target is in range.
    • For claiming and rebuilding remains, the distance to the target was only calculated for targets after the first. This meant that the first target consider was considered to have zero distance, so be in range.
    • Adjust some local variable names in the functions for evaluating metal flow targets, so that the functions all have similar naming conventions.
    • Use the now correct range information to determine whether an assister should move towards its target.
    • Add some extra debug to the metal flow information, that shows the distance to the metal flow targets.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the fixes!
  • Don't check range for rebuilding remains.
    • Since most rebuilders are flagships, which are likely not going to move towards their target, rebuilding should be infinite range. I believe it was *effectively* infinite range before, but now the code is explicit about ignoring range, so now it less likely to be accidentally changed in the future.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the update!
  • Fixed an issue introduced in the prior build where if you ever had an exception loading a savegame, then it would not let you load any more savegames until you restarted the program.
    • Also put in some defensive code to make sure that expansion and mod status is definitely updated after an xml reload, but that was already working fine, really.
    • Thanks to Strategic Sage for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug where the load menu was empty after reloading the xml for the game.
  • Fixed a new cross-threading exception that could appear in various parts of the code now that the timing is a bit different and entity orders might be gone for a while before that's fully noticed. That seems like a fix to the MovementPlanning bug.
  • Fixed some exceptions that could now happen in AreaBoostPlanning because of cross-threading.

Mod Changes

  • Civilian Industries
    • Save Breaking Update
      • Fixed a bug where some Cargo Ships were not having cargo properly applied to them.
        • Thanks to Zaeron for the report and saves.
      • Added in a new Performance Mode toggle in their settings.
        • This makes use of the same new logic Chris applied to Hunter Fleet to share the burden of the faction with background threads.
      • Resource Transferring logic now occurs every 5 seconds per ship, instead of every second per ship, regardless of Performance Mode's setting
        • This is just a very simple optimization for both, that has little to no impact to the faction as a whole

Beta 3.772 Refinements And Polish

(Released December 23rd, 2021)

Improvements

  • Highlight fleet being upgraded in galaxy view, when hovering over button in tech sidepanel.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for adding this improvement!
  • Highlight currently bolstered fleet in galaxy view, when hovering over button to change.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for adding this improvement!
  • Normally in our xml parser, we can't tell the difference between an empty string and an attribute that is missing. This normally does not matter. However, when you are using an xml override and you want to blank out an underlying string, it can be quite a problem, because there is no way to do that.
    • Now, if you would like to have a "blank override" in any xml string, you can use the ∅ symbol and that will come through as an empty string that overrides, versus an attribute that is not present.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for requesting a way to do this (he's not the first, but I didn't think of this until now).
  • The map seed buttons all now have tooltips, whereas they did not before.
  • After changing the map seed, sometimes you really want to go back to the last one. There is now a "prior" button next to the randomize button, which lets you do this. It only lets you go one back, but shows what it will be. If you click it repeatedly, it will swap back and forth between the two you set.
  • In a recent build (two or three days ago), I had changed it to no longer randomize the seed when you load old settings or a quick start. This was desirable in some circumstances, but in many it could mean people kept seeing the same map over and over again.
    • Now it is randomized again, but it sets the prior seed to be the fixed one, so that if you were looking for that you can still have it. Best of both worlds.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for reporting how stagnant the seed was without it auto-randomizing for folks.

Expert Mode Balance

  • Set Hacking per Planet to 25 for Expert.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the update!
  • Adjust Fuel Station spawning rates per Strategic Sage.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the update!

DLC3

  • Elderling improvements:
    • Change the XML data to identify the upgrade granted by transformed elderlings by name rather than index.
    • Fix the upgraded granted by the higher tier elderling to grant the correct flagship.
    • Given the transformed elderling the appropriate per-unit base info, so the "Track Elderling" hack doesn't throw an error immediately after the transform hack is complete. This currently copies the territory and whether the elderling is tracked, and prevents the hacked elderling from upgrading further.
    • Hide the Transform Elderling hack if there isn't a type to transform into.
    • Add some checks when loading, to ensure that if an elderling has the Transform Elderling hack, it also has a type to transform into and vice-versa.
    • Prevent the AI versions of Elderlings from having hacks and don't try to displaye Elderling specific data in tool tips for them.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for all the updates!

Bugfixes

  • Quieted the "Tried to create an entity that was already marked as dead, and not marked for resurrection!" when the reason it was bringing something back was SimplyMissing. This is a repair of data situation, and I was being overly paranoid.
    • Thanks to Puffin for reporting.
  • Fixed Hive Eyes not working due to a typo in the tags on their associated drones.
    • Thanks to Vinco for reporting, and tadrinth for fixing!
  • Fixed a minor memory leak that would happen (and throw an exception, which is nice!) when the "No suitable Dark Zenith spawning point was found" branch of code was triggered.
    • Thanks to Puffin for reporting.
  • Fixed a ZA bug that could happen if the per-unit data was not yet initialized on a spawner.
    • Thanks to Puffin for reporting.
  • Improved our implementation of MersenneTwister so that it is fully threadsafe. There were some funky cases where multiple threads could use a single of these random-generators, and that would lead to exceptions.
    • Thanks to Puffin for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug with major data centers -- which are supposed to be neutral -- where they were dying when human command stations were built or changed types.
    • These are only supposed to die when your command station is killed by enemies. This is something that now you can slightly game by scrapping your command station, but honestly if the AI has that weak of a force that they can barely pop one of your things, it will probably be the MDC itself it pops. This seems like a very weak exploit that someone could do, and it prevents you from being locked into the command station type once you choose one on the MDC planet (and also gets around this bug).
    • Thanks to nas1m for reporting, and tom.prince and Puffin for assisting in figuring out what was actually supposed to happen.
  • Put in a couple of changes to the selection window so that it should always show any fleet you have selected, even if that fleet does not belong to your faction, or was recently captured or similar.
    • If anyone sees this again, please let us know, ideally with repro steps. I wasn't able to duplicate it, and simply changed some code to make it less likely based on what was described.
    • Thanks to Apthorpe for the report.
  • Fixed a bug that could happen in the macrophage when some spores did not have their data for some reason, typically after a long while playing with the macrophage on. This was just a matter of some spores wanting to think about decaying, and not being able to.
    • Thanks to deadone77 for the report and the savegame that let us reproduce it!
  • Engineers should no longer be able to be given orders that would send them out of range.
    • Thanks to StarKelp for reporting, and tom.prince for identifying the offending area of code.
  • Fixed yet another few instances of the ship counts for benefits of things like marking up going crazy and counting up and down.
    • Thanks to Sounds for reporting.
  • Put in some defensive code against an exception that was happening on the fleet membership single swap screen. I couldn't actually duplicate it (it worked fine for me), but the error logs were clear enough. This should solve the issue, but if something still seems janky, then a specific save and which fleet is having the issue would be great. Normally these are easy to reproduce, but for some reason this one behaved great most of the time. Honestly, I suspect that this is fine now, though.
    • Thanks to whimsee for reporting.

Beta 3.771 Expert Mode And Civilian Industries

(Released December 22nd, 2021)

  • Thematic groups have been added for all of the units in the base game, and DLC1, DLC2, and DLC3.
    • This is for the upcoming unit encyclopedia, but also is in unit search terms.
    • Thank you to Puffin for setting up all this data!

Expert Mode Nears Feature-Completion

  • Add some more logic for seeding Fuel Stations:
    • Make sure random fuel stations are at least 3 hops out from a human homeworld. (Balanced stations are at least 5 hops out)
    • Ensure that fuel stations seeded near homeworlds are not on the same planets as those seeded randomly.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating!
  • Make sure Fuel settings use new defaults, rather than the initial values.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating!
  • Add an option to make beachheading more expensive.
    • When enabled, turrets will be more expensive on hostile planets.
    • 12% more expensive per mark-level of the planet, maxing out at 180% on mark 7 worlds
    • 350% more expensive on planets adjacent to a human planet
    • 500% more expensive on planets not adjacent to a human planet
    • This is forced on in expert mode.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for adding this, and to Strategic Sage, Metrekec, CRCGamer, and EvilBistro for coming up with the idea.
  • Add an option for Expert mode that disallows selectively claiming things on a planet.
    • For things like flagships that are crippled instead of dying, any costs for claiming them is incurred as soon as you first claim the planet.
    • For other things like Major Data Centers or Fuel Stations, it is not possible to pause claiming them.
    • This is forced on in expert mode.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for adding, and to Strategic Sage for the idea!
  • Add logic to force two AIs in Expert mode.
    • If there are all ready at least two AIs when changing to Expert. The extra AI will not be automatically removed when the campaign type is changed to a lower harshness, but can then be removed manually.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for adding, and to a variety of players for suggesting!
  • Multiplayer clients no longer spuriously complain about inactive faction threads (clients do not run those threads).

Mod Review

  • Mod updates (how that we're exiting beta soon, we can't have a bunch of broken mods showing as available):
  • Fixed up the civilian industries mod so that it can load to the main menu and even start a game, but at the moment it still has exceptions when the game is actually run.
  • The Civilian Industries mod is fully back up and going! Big thanks to StarKelp for getting that fully finished adapting into the new framework.
  • Mod statuses:
    • AMU has been down for a while, but a lot of the secondary functions of it have been added to be the main game by -NR-SirLimbo.
    • Kaizer's Marauders, and the Devourer Chrysalis, are super complicated and rely on AMU as well, so those have been down for a while.
    • The AI Core Shield Generators mod has been intentionally taken down after talking to the mod author a while back, as (with permission) that will soon be folded into the main game as a direct option).
    • The Reprocessors mod by CRZgatecrusher has been disabled for a while, since it will require many updates before it can work in the new framework.
    • The Macrophage Histiocytes mod by StarKelp has been disabled for a while, since it has a lot of updates required, and he was thinking of just building that into the main game after a discussion we've had.
    • Capturable Dreadnoughts by Zweihand is an xml-only mod and works just fine in the new version.
    • Exotic Ships by -NR-SirLimbo needs xml updates, and also relies on AMU, which is out of commission for now. So it has been disabled.
    • Frigate Focus by CRCGamer seems to work great, and is xml-only, so it's fine to use!
    • Micro Mod Collection by -NR-SirLimbo needed only small xml updates, so it has been updated and now seems to work great!
    • More Frigates by Zweihand needed only small xml updates, so it has been updated and now seems to work great!
    • More Starting Fleets by Zweihand is an xml-only mod and works just fine in the new version.
    • More System Defenders by CRCGamer needs more extensive xml updates than I can do right now, so it's been disabled until someone wants to update those.
    • Powerful Command Stations by ArnaudB needed only small xml updates, so it has been updated and now seems to work great!
    • Spire Railgun Shop by Lord of Nothing need too many xml updates, and is going to be wrapped into the main game (with permission) as modular spirecraft are introduced in the next few months. So it's disabled.
    • The three Strategic Rebalance mods by Zweihand all seem to work great!
    • Super Saiyan Overlord by Zweihand needs a lot more xml updates, and so for now has been disabled.
    • Tame Dark Spire by ArnaudB already seemed to work great, as it was just xml changes, so that's excellent!
    • Raising The Floor Multi AI Adjustment by ArnaudB already seemed to work great, as it was just xml changes, so that's excellent!
    • Supercharge Raiders by ArnaudB already seeemed to work great, as it was just xml changes, so that's excellent!
    • Out of the mods distributed with the game, I think that's a full accounting at the moment.

Bugfixes

  • Fixed a number of places the game could have errors when first starting up multiplayer if the local player account was not properly assigned.
  • Fixed an error where the player account was not being properly assigned to the local player when creating a completely fresh new multiplayer lobby (such as the first time you ran it, or after old lobby settings failed to load).
  • Fixed an issue with serialization buffers being pooled that was causing them to accidentally get pulled back into the pool immediately upon the client connecting to the host, thus making the client unable to connect. This is something that came about during the great refactor.
    • Now these are no longer pooled, but a few of them are just in various places in the code and reused, which is the even better efficiency than pooling would be.
  • Fixed some issues that could happen if there were multiple player accounts with the same ID in multiplayer.
  • Fixed some issues that could lead to duplicate player accounts in multiplayer.
  • Fixed some deserialization issues on clients in multiplayer.
  • Added more info to the debug details button in the lobby.
  • Fixed a really confusing bug where MP clients had the faction IDs for all faction config objects come through as 0, leading to many various errors.
  • "SendMessageToSpecificClient Could not find connection" will never be raised on the host anymore. This is just a client connection that has left for whatever reason.
  • Fixed a bug that was causing fleets to not be deserialized properly on MP clients.
  • Fixed a bug that has started since the great refactor, where extra player factions were getting added improperly when players joined a game.
  • Fixed a deserialization bug for world data on MP clients that was introduced during the great refactor.
  • When you hit reset to defaults in the lobby, it now adds a planet for any players who don't have one.
  • Fixed some timing issues with world syncing after mapgen in the lobby in MP now that things are multithreaded properly.
  • You can now fully get into multiplayer on the beta branch for the first time since the great refactor was started!
  • Move logic for adding new faction to WorldSetup, to enable re-use.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the improvement!
  • Quieted some annoying steam error messages that would sometimes head to the log if the timing was just wrong when you closed a multiplayer connection.
  • Finished some fixes to the player account management in multiplayer so that it now properly assigns player accounts for everyone new, with no duplicates or other issues.
  • Fixed one more issue where the host was still trying to send the world to clients from a background thread now that mapgen is asynchronous, which led to random-seeming errors.
  • More information is now in the clock-right-click menu about things like network connections and player accounts, for checking statuses of those on the client or host.
  • Fixed an issue that was preventing any of the fast blast, omni blast, or sync data from being sent to clients at all (super odd).
  • At the moment, multiplayer is "playable" in a very broad sense, but quickly comes up with a number of client errors that I just haven't gotten to, as well as having the client be annoyingly far behind the host for possibly-unrelated reasons.
    • It should be to a much more playable state (aka actually playable in a real sense) after tomorrow's release, for for now it's time to get things out for the single player crowd.
  • DLC3: Remove irrelevant MustHaveAnyNecropolisAtThisLevel setting from some Necromancer upgrades that don't appear in rifts.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the update!
  • Revert changes to Skeleton/Wight home cap granted by upgrades.
    • These changes were intended to change the bodyguard count granted by those homes, but I'm not sure what the intended changes to those are. It appears the numbers here did not take into account the current values.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the update!

Beta 3.770 Bug Roasting

(Released December 20th, 2021)

  • Add an option to the Fallen Spire that returns player-controlled Spire ships to their slower speed.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for adding.
  • Update starting fuel values per Strategic Sage.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating.

Bugfixes

  • Fixed several errors that could happen during wave generation, which were also causing waves to either not be launched or to be launched with zero strength.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for identifying the problem code, and to tom.prince, motai, UFO, dEAdOnE77, Puffin, and WanoU for reporting.
  • Fixed another error that could happen if you were hovering of the wave tooltip right as the wave hit.
    • Thanks to dEAdOnE77 for reporting.
  • Fixed spurious "The PrimaryKeyID [X] could not be found for the last 10 seconds, but it is not in the death registry. Where did it go!?" messages that could pop up when you had loaded a savegame and the unit that a ship had been targeting during the last save was already dead and thus not loaded into the new save. We only care about cases where the ship was literally alive and then disappeared.
    • Thanks to Puffin for the report.
  • Put in some extra protections in DoPerSecondLogic_Stage2Aggregating_OnMainThreadAndPartOfSim_ClientAndHost against an exception that could happen after extended play with the macrophage. If anyone is still seeing such an error, then we'd need a save to reproduce it.
    • Thanks to dEAdOnE77 for the report.
  • Finally fixed the tech upgrade preview window going nuts with counts scrolling up and down over time, or just counting infinitely up. This was a tricky bug that has been in the beta for a few months, but it's been increasingly hard to trigger.
    • Thanks to motai for the save that finally let me resolve it, and also to RedPine for reporting.
  • Fixed Engine_Universal.PermanentQualityRandom to be multithreading-friendly. Very oddly, this has never come up before now, but it could lead to an exception in settings-checks for any faction.
    • Thanks to dEAdOnE77 for reporting.
  • Fixed an exception that would happen when trying to view the tech history because of a data conversion that had been partially completed.
    • Thanks to Linux-nörtti for reporting.
  • Fixed an exception on all AI progress reduction intel entries on the intel tab.
  • Fully fixed the "PlannedWave.AppendStateForInterfaceDisplay exception hit. debugCode 500" error.
    • Thanks to Puffin for the report.
  • Reworked quite a few things to get the intel tab priorities working again, and also make it so that for items that are invalid for having their priorities changed, it now says that instead of saying you can change it when you can't.
    • Thanks to Linux-nörtti for reporting.
  • The entire death registry and general ship registry have both been re-coded more or less from scratch, and combined.
    • There were simply too many little odd cases of ships going missing, even during gameplay with no save loads, so the premise has been changed. Rather than ever getting rid of a reference to a dead ship (until exiting the game and reloading it), it just specifies what happened to it (why it is dead). This then helps with self-repair and so forth, which will hopefully work more reliably this time.
    • This had been an intermittent problem in single player, but a very constant one on multiplayer clients, so hopefully this stamps it out on both.
    • Thanks to Puffin for the latest reports.
  • Made some general ram allocation improvements based on a general core dump from StarKelp. Thanks for that!
  • Wormhole names will no longer wrap in the planet view. That's been a thing for a little while, mostly accidentally, and it was pretty annoying.
    • Thanks to Viss Valdyr and Mac for letting us know.
  • Three of the laser beams have gotten a bit less bright, and two of them have shifted from being a kind of fake-looking lance shape to just being the more traditional laser that is actually realistic. That looked neat when it was not scaled up, but did not work at scale.
    • Thanks to zeus for mentioning the brightness issue.
  • Added some new tools the memory profiling section of the escape menu. It now shows more about the pathfinder counts and related things (those are leaking at the moment), and it also shows the total amount of RAM controlled by the GC.
    • Essentially, it's the garbage collector's estimation of how large the "heap" is in managed memory inside the game. The game might be using 4.5 GB of RAM total, but only 0.5GB to 1GB is generally needed for "managed data" that run our simulations and so forth. The rest is all texture data, audio data, graphics buffers on the CPU side, and things of that nature.
    • This is a useful thing in general, but in the short term it confirms what we were already suspecting about pathfinders.
    • Thanks to Puffin and StarKelp for reporting and helping to narrow down the problem.
  • Fixed a spam of mostly-invisible unity errors into enginedebugging that was happening since last version because of a call I actually put in the wrong method. It wasted a bit of RAM and CPU, but not much.
    • Thanks to Democracy for reporting.
  • Fixed a ridiculous memory leak that I introduced on 12/17 when I converted pathfinders to be pooled instead of cached. I didn't quite complete the job correctly, and so they were leaking infinitely and quickly. Figure several GB per hour. Sigh. Fixed now!
    • Thanks again to Puffin and StarKelp for noticing it and bringing it up. All else looks to be well, memory-wise.
  • Fixed a number of issues where engineers would not properly repair things that they were in range of, or would not be assertive enough to go to an assistance target out of range.
    • Thanks to Viss Valdyr for reporting.

Multiplayer Fixes

  • The way that you can cancel hacks by clicking the hack in the notifications toolbar should now work properly on multiplayer clients for the first time ever.

DLC3

Neinzul

  • Roaming Enclave had their shield removed and added to their hull.
  • Roaming Enclave had their ranged damage resistance removed.
  • Clanlings now fire their Younglings in bursts
    • This should assist with them getting stuck in endless Youngling dueling loops.

Neinzul Custodians

  • Fixed incorrect math in custom lobby settings.
  • Make it so Enclaves will properly retreat when hurt, unless they're on the planet with their paired hive, in which case they will fight to the death.
  • Second draft at Difficulty settings, generally lowering the Clanling count and increasing spawn timers.

Beta 3.769 Neinzul Custodians And Total Conversions

(Released December 19th, 2021)

  • On the main menu and on the loading screen, if you have a total conversion mod installed and active, it will now show the name of that mod (it gets mighty confusing otherwise, even if you intentionally loaded into that total conversion).

Expert Mode

  • Add `fuel_use` and `fuel_use_type` to type data, to allow overriding fuel use.
    • Also have units that can't go through wormholes treated use Radon by default.
  • Use the new options to adjust some of the basic player non-turret defense to have the appropriate fuel usage.
    • Sentry Frigates, Tachon Arrays, Tractor Arrays, and Focused Gravity Generators all use Radon.
    • Combat Sentry Frigates use Argon.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for adding!
  • Make the Fuel info in the resource bar slightly more readable.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for this improvement!

Bugfixes

  • Hardened some of the wave launch code against a couple of types of exceptions that were possible.
    • Thanks to UFO for reporting.
  • Change `IOption.GetDescription()` to `IOption.AddDescription(ArcenCharacterBufferBase)`.
    • This avoid building strings in a number of places.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for this improvement!
  • Remove long-unused hacking and metal costs of ouguard groups.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for this improvement!
  • Replace NecromancerUpgrade.ToString with NecromancerUprgade.ToDebugString.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for this improvement!
  • Allow bolstering info to be set from any DLC.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the fix!
  • Improved a lot of the code around how galaxy map planets are hidden when things like hidden galaxy are used.
    • In the galaxy, it now shows the planet you are starting on and its adjacent planets, but also there are just some bugfixes in here.
    • Thanks to Sounds for the request.
  • Fixed an infinite loop that could happen in makeSureGalaxyIsFullyConnected when the map topology was invalid.
    • Discovered this as a bug where if you were on the galaxy map when you exited one game, then map generation would hang the next time you entered the lobby.
  • Improve the mapgen logging to be more informative, and also be written as it goes, so that if it has exceptions or other problems, it shows you where it stopped.
    • Also made it so that it logs them all into a MapGenLog folder, rather than just one file. Sometimes several mapgens happen rapidly back to back, and this is the only way to see them all.
  • Exiting the game and going back into the lobby now keeps your prior map seed.
  • Fixed another kind of crazy bug in general that was causing some of the planets to be thought of as destroyed when you exited the game from the galaxy map and went straight back to the lobby, which then led to various non-deterministic map results.
  • Updated the guard post and command station placer to error out if it can't find the proper entries it needs in xml, and state what those are, rather than taking forever to generate a suboptimal map.
    • Thanks to Puffin for reporting.
  • Fixed a regression from earlier this week where the cursor on the planet plane of play was really jerky, making it look like a low framerate. It was particularly noticeable during build mode.
  • Fleet leaders that are crippled can now properly self build.
    • Thanks to Puffin for reporting that this did not work. It's not done in the main game.
  • Fixed an issue in ArcenCharacterBuffer with floating point number formats that was causing all of the positional text to be shoved way over to the left in the C-click details of units that can be upgraded by techs, etc.
    • Thanks to UFO for reporting.
  • Refactored the ShipVisualizer to no longer use the lazy load wrapper, and to keep drawing even if the related in-game squad is dead. Between these two sets of changes, explosions of ships had stopped happening. They now work again, and should do so without risk of cross-threading exceptions.
  • Total conversion mods no longer load the Expansion or GameVersion folders. Those are exclusively loaded from the main game itself.
    • In particular, the GameVersion folder is important so that the game can deserialize properly without the mod having to be updated every time there is a new push.
    • Thanks to Puffin for alerting us to this issue!

DLC3

  • Add a description to the necromancer upgrade options available in the lobby.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for adding!
  • Neinzul Custodians are being added to replace the Territory Dispute faction, which was not working as well as we had liked. This new faction is much more interesting in practice.
    • More info will be coming about them later, but essentially they function like an allied Warden for you, with offensive capabilities as well, when you use them as allies. The Neinzul Sappers that Badger added are more focused on economy and defense, but the Custodians are a lot more outward-focusing. The pair of them can make for some really compelling vassals.
    • Thanks to StarKelp for implementing!
  • Neinzul
    • Rebalanced Clanlings slightly
      • Mammoth damage increased, bubble shield removed
      • Bear damage decreased
    • Thanks to StarKelp for updating!
  • Neinzul Custodians
    • Fixed a bug where Enclave deaths would not always destroy their attached Hive
    • Fixed a bug where 2 Enclaves from every attack could get stuck on their target planet
    • Stat Rebalances
      • Custodians were currently instant winning pretty much every engagement due to vast overtuned stats, making for subpar testing
      • Roaming Enclave Health/Shields 750k -> 500k
      • Roaming Enclave Shots per Salvo 50 -> 10
      • Justice/Bravery Damage Per Shot 1000 -> 100
      • Bravery damage mult per 10% hull lost 1 -> 2
      • Justice shots per salvo 50 -> 10
      • Clanling Mammoth Health/Shields 100k -> 50k
      • Clanling Mammoth Beam Damage 5000 -> 1500
      • Clanling Mammoth Beam Reload 1 -> 5
      • Clanling Mammoth max beam targets 30 -> 10
      • Clanling Bear Health/Shields 100k -> 75k
      • Clanling Bear Claw Damage 2000 -> 1000
      • Clanling Bear Roar Damage 2000 -> 500
      • Clanling Bear Roar max targets 50 -> 10
    • Thanks to StarKelp for updating!
  • Neinzul Custodians: Approaching ideal behavior for player aligned --npc aligned still a bit weird but also much better.
    • Added a new Overkill Ratio setting, which determines how much of an advantage they desire on planets before they consider it a victory
    • Added the ability for them to flush units from Reinforcement points and gave them anti-cloaking burst
    • Updated their Catchup logic to be far more responsive, was previously reliant on Fireteams updating their per planet ship lists
    • Removed the unused 'alliedDefense' list from their targeting code
    • Increased the speed of Roaming Enclaves to match that of Clanlings
    • Thanks to StarKelp for updating!
  • Fixed a bug where Migrants would try to warp right to the destination planet, and thus not move at all.
    • Thanks to StarKelp for updating!
  • Disabled Fireteam's built in anti-deathballing logic for Neinzul Custodians.
    • Thanks to StarKelp for updating!
  • Disabled Custodian's forceful retargeting due to their inability to ever gather quick enough before they reset.
    • Thanks to StarKelp for updating!
  • Made Custodian Tachyon Blast silent.
    • Thanks to StarKelp for updating!
  • Fixed a bug where the AI would try, and fail, to send waves against Custodians.
    • Thanks to StarKelp for updating!
  • Implemented hostile versions of planetary attack/speed boosters
    • hostile_speed_multiplier, hostile_speed_multiplier_added_per_mark
    • hostile_attack_multiplier, hostile_attack_multiplier_added_per_mark
    • Thanks to StarKelp for adding!
  • Neinzul Hives
    • Removed Gnats and replaced them with the new planetary attack/speed debuffs
    • Make it so hives makes their planet angry, even if you one-shot them
    • Thanks to StarKelp for updating!

Beta 3.768 Ironman And Doomsday

(Released December 18th, 2021)

  • The AI Reserves will not try to defend mark 1 planets. This should remove deepstrike danger for hostile-planet starts like we plan to have for Ark Empires, although the latter part is not tested yet.
    • Thanks to Badger for adding.
  • Added a new dire_singular_freaky_ship_group_cat in addition to the usual singular_freaky_ship_group_cat.
    • This is completely optional, and if left blank it will just pull from the regular category.
    • In general, the game now will seed items from the dire group on AI home and bastion worlds, if a collection for that is present.
    • Thanks to tadrinth for requesting.

Base Game - Ironman Mode

  • The base game now has Ironman Mode

DLC1 - Doomsday Mode

  • Doomsday mode is enabled by setting an int value. Approximately every X minutes a planet in the galaxy will be destroyed. It will not be a planet with a player flagship or a planet owned by a player. Also not AI Homeworlds, Bastion Worlds, Dark Zenith homeworlds.
  • You will get no warnings, so you can't try to game the system by protecting planets with flagships.
  • Planets destroyed in this way don't generate AIP from anything; command stations, black hole generators, etc
    • Thanks to Puffin for the idea and Badger for the implementation

DLC3

  • The Necromancer can now upgrade its buildable defensive structures with Science
  • Templar Rifts are no longer killable
    • Thanks to zeus for reporting
  • When a necromancer flagship is crippled, the player loses 5 Hacking points
    • This behaviour can be disabled with an in-game setting
  • When a necromancer flagship is crippled, it can no longer raise ships with necromancy
    • This behaviour can be disabled with an in-game setting
  • Templars no longer send assault waves every 4 minutes, but on more sensible intervals
  • Player-allied elderligns no longer spawn Feeble Elderlings when the player is a necromancer
  • Tracking an Elderling with a hack now also shows when it will mark up and next lay eggs
  • Additional adjustments to the skull pile. Now actually does have a unique skeleton per mark. Costs 2 hexes from 1.
  • Stat adjustment to the Catapult, now that this actually gains marks
  • Reworked the Hedgehog into the Lightning Tower. Feels much more thematic. Now has a chain lightning weapon. Short range compensated by arcing weapon that can greatly extend range
  • Basic Necomancer flagships stat adjustments:
    • hull/shields doubled to make it less prone to being crippled.
    • Range increased but ROF reduced
  • Adjusted necromancer upgrades. Generally increases the capsize increase from rift hack for skeleton units (more for the weaker types) and wights.
  • Special Necromancer Flagships have had hull/shields adjusted across the board. Buffs all around, more so for the elderling types
  • Adjusted science costs of defensive structures to be cheap for early investment but more expensive at end. Generally, defensive structures gain additional benefits at higher marks, making it a good idea to invest at least a few marks
  • Mummy science costs dramatically increased to be more in line with the others. They were super cheap, making them a braindead choice to mark up all the way
  • Reduced the science costs of Igor at the higher marks, since this is a utility unit. Shouldn't brank the bank to invest this all the way
  • Do a bit of buffing of the Elderlings a bit less made of tissue paper. The units still need a proper design though.
  • Standardized the hull/shields of the necromancer units buildings.
  • The Skeleton/Wight Launcher (created by hacking a Templar defense structure) are reworked into Forts. They were far too fragile/weak to be worthwhile
    • Skeleton Launcher is now the Desecrated Keep. Has a powerful MRLS like weapon
    • The Wight Launcher is now the Haunted Keep. Has a modified Drainer citadel weapon. (Fixed it to use wight drones instead of skeleton drones)

New "Speedster" AI Type

  • Add Speedster AI type - uses fast ships in waves, has speed magnifiers on all planets, and has special speed booster guardians in the warden fleet.
    • Thanks to tadrinth for adding!

Expert Mode

  • Change some details of Fuels per Strategic Sage:
    • Remove minor fuel stations and bump generation of major stations to 600k each.
    • Remove "Major " from the names of fuel stations, since there are not currently multiple types.
    • Display fuel stations in the galaxy map.
    • Reduce the number of fuel stations seeded near each AI homeworld to 1.
    • Remove the fuel stations seeded near player homeworlds.
    • Remove the fuel provided by the ZPG and Lost Energy Reactor (which were added for early testing before fuel stations were added).
    • Add a number of options to enable tweaking the seeding of fuel stations.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating!
  • Add some more fuel options.
    • Add a Balanced Fuel Station (with one seeded per galaxy).
    • Strategic Sage isn't sure if the is necessary or desirable. I've added the required C# code to seed them, so they are easy to test.
    • Add an setting to control how often multiple stations will be seed on a planet (this only applies to the randomly seeded stations, and not the ones near AI Homeworlds).
    • Thanks to tom.prince for adding!
  • Split the Balanced Fuel Station into two variants.
    • One has slightly more Argon and one has slightly more Xenon.
    • They have the same tag used for seeding, so which one you get is random.
    • Also, remove the description text for Fuel Stations about them being harder to defend, since there are no Minor Fuel Stations for that to be in contrast with.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for adding!

Bugfixes

  • Fixed an exception in the tooltip for the "locate enemy overlords" tooltip.
    • Thanks to marty651 for reporting.
  • The annoying "Error! Duplicate planet fleet" that has been around intermittently for the last month or so is now gone.
    • Instead, there are a few other errors that now can be thrown if invalid data is passed in to fleet creation, which would be more informative but also prevent some of the real errors if those happen.
    • And additionally, there is now a "Warning Only: Skipped creating duplicate fleet" that is preventative rather than actually letting the problem happen and then complaining.
  • Added a bit of protective code that does less work on partial map generation and should also avoid even getting the warnings about avoiding duplicate fleets.
  • Fixed an intermittent exception that could happen in GetMetalCost() on FleetMembership as of yesterday's build.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Fixed some text overlap in the top of the build menu if necropolis or spire city names were long.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • The way that "is this threat" is calculated is now a lot more robust and easier to extend in general if we need to.
    • Building upon that, now things that are orbital are now calculated properly as being threat or not threat.
    • This solves the issue of there seemingly being a ton of threat early in games with an orbital AI type, or in general having too much threat when there are a few orbitals hanging around no matter what.
    • Thanks to Zeus and Badger for reporting.
  • Removed StringBuilderCache, as that was less efficient and almost never used, and our own ArcenCharacterBuffer is a lot more efficient and does the same thing.
  • All of the uses of [ThreadStatic] in Arcen.Universal have been reviewed, and have either been replaced or marked as "ok because of their infrequency of use."
  • A variety of uses of ThreadStaticWrapperedPooledItem have been replaced with implementations that require you to get a temporary list from a central pool instead, and then return it.
    • Because of the sheer volume of background threads, the ThreadStaticWrapperedPooledItem is not the best idea because it can rack up a huge amount of ram usage during a long game even though it's not technically a memory leak.
  • Pathfinders no longer use ThreadStatic or ThreadStaticWrapperedPooledItem. These were huge amounts of RAM that could be orphaned on worker threads for long periods, but now it's all centrally pooled.
  • The Core dll has moved from having 38 remaining ThreadStatic objects, of which most were used super frequently, to only having 8 remaining.
    • 6 of those remaining 8 would be ideal to refactor, but are not all that important compared to what was already refactored.
  • There are now only 4 remaining threadstatic objects in the Core dlls. These ones would be destructive to try to remove or replace.
  • There were 187 threadstatic objects in the various External dlls.
    • 63 of these were lists of planets, although actually there were some others that were just static (and potentially some subtle bugs with multiple factions of the same type, therefore) rather than even being threadstatic.
    • All in all, after this update this gets me down to 121 threadstatic items in External. That math does not check out, but I actually fixed a number of just-plain-static planet lists, and some other collections that were not planet lists.
      • I believe it's quite possible that I fixed a few race conditions and bugs that were lurking to come out in just random periods, that are now fixed.
  • Added a new RapidAntiLeakPool, which is a lot like ConcurrentPool but with added anti-memory-leak bits added in.
    • Specifically, ConcurrentPool is meant for long term or arbitrary-length times of usage of items. But unlike that, RapidAntiLeakPool is purely for temp objects/collections/etc that will be checked out and given back rapidly. This makes memory leaks very simple to detect with them.
    • This is a very handy safety net, and even lets us know when things like tracing logs are leaking if tracing is enabled.
  • At this point, there were still 121 ThreadStatic items in External code. Time to keep chopping onto those.
    • After several hours, it's down to 73. Oooof.
    • On the plus side, I keep seeing little errors that these are fixing, although the errors were probably rarely going to pop up.
  • Okay, so starting the morning with 73 external mentions of threadstatic.
    • First starting focusing on some of the dictionaries, some of which are static but not threadstatic.
    • Some of the mapgen logic has been updated so that it is more robust and can properly handle capturable seed caps done in multiple passes, rather than expecting them to all be in one pass.
    • Down to 67.
  • All of the static dictionaries in External are now converted over if they need to be, whether they were threadstatic or not. 53 actual threadstatic objects remain.
  • The various tooltip appenders and pieces all now support either regular character buffers or double character buffers.
    • Lots of conversion of threadstatic character buffers of various sorts. Down to 29 threadstatic objects in External, one of which is now marked as okay. So 28 to still investigate.
  • Fixed a code-todo item that might have been behind ships not always being willing to move from one planet to another when you clicked a planet on the galaxy map.
    • This was done while fixing up some of the various threadstatic items, so a nice bonus.
  • The External code is now down to (giant sigh) 3 remaining threadstatic members. Two are okay and marked as such, while the other one is already a different form of memory leak from the look of things and needs a larger refactor.
  • Added a new ListOfLists, which is now used for writing the details of outguard when they are in tooltips.
    • This solves a very minor memory leak that was present there previously, as well as removing the last of the threadstatic items that needed to go. At last!
  • Fixed a minor memory leak with VassalMissions in DLC3.
  • Added a new AddIfNotAlreadyIn to List, which does the equivalent of "if not contains, then add" in one quick call.
  • The way that faction influence on planets is set has been updated so that it now does it all in one batch and thus does not introduce a flicker.
    • Previously, it was not flickering on the UI or on the main simulation because it was setting this as part of the main thread, but LRP threads and other worker threads could have experienced flicker that would cause them to behave inappropriately.
  • Fixed a bug where if you did not have DLC2 installed since the great refactor, when you started a game you'd get an error about StartingAIPlanetRatio missing.
    • Thanks to tadrinth for reporting.
  • Updated the civilian industries mod to the most recent code changes from this build, since it's fresh in my mind.
    • Overall there were 16 threadstatic collections that I had to translate over (I had been the one that originally added those anyhow).
  • I still have yet to be able to duplicate this myself, but several people have reported it, so if folks can verify this is fixed that would be appreciated. There was a bug where various ship counts you could capture, or that you have, or that units were strong or weak against could count up rapidly. This should be fixed now, but it was intermittent before and I never could trigger it.
    • Thanks to UFO for the most recent report.
  • Fixed an exception in GetHostileBlackHoleGenerator().
    • Thanks to motai for reporting.
  • Put in a bit of defensive code against a rare serialization error that could happen in GetUltraEfficientStyleData for some reason.
    • Thanks to UFO for reporting.

Beta 3.767 Elderling Sanity

(Released December 16th, 2021)

  • Hitting the return/enter key now closes OK popups, and also confirms yes/no popups. Hitting escape continues to mean No on yes/no popups, and also still closes Ok popups. This was actually super annoying not to have in place, not sure why it got left like this so long.
    • Thanks to tadrinth for suggesting.
  • Added a new metal_cost_multiplier_list on MarkLevelScaleStyle.
    • This allows for ships to have different metal costs at different mark levels. We're not planning on using this in the base game, but it's useful for certain mods.
    • Thanks to Puffin for requesting.

DLC3

  • The necromancer Phylactery now starts with 6 hexes. This lets them build all the structures they'd get from taking the first rift and also building their lobby utility choice. It felt kinda bad when you couldn't build all your initial stuff
  • Sapper crystals will flower more quickly when there's only one Habitat; this should let them get started a bit faster. Otherwise they can take a while to get started. This slow start is especially hard for necromancer-allied sappers
    • Thanks to Tom for the balance feedback
  • Changed the MLRS frigate back into the Chain Lightning frigate. Medium Splash frigate that does powerful single target damage, and minor secondary damage, more so to units with energy >=7K
    • This was always my intention but it seemed that the CL Mechanic was gated behind DLC2. This is no longer so
  • Skull Pile changes:
    • Skull Piles are now defensive structures. They shoot Weak Skeletons as weapons
    • Skull Pile now shoots another type of skeleton with each mark, to make this an interesting defensive tech choice.
    • Added "Caged" versions of skeletons. These are simply variants of the other skeletons that exist to be used by the Skull Pile
    • Skull Piles can only be built at a Defensive Necropolis. Having an additional defensive tool should make Defensive Necropolis more enticing, I hope
      • Thanks to discussion with Tom, Zeus and Badger. Thanks to Zeus for the unit XML

New "Panopticon" AI Type

  • Add Panopticon AI type - has AI Eyes on most planets, using the singular_freaky_ship_group_cat Reinforcement budget.
    • Add Tachyon, Gravitic, Sabot, and Hive AI Eyes - DLC3 but no DLC3 mechanics.
    • Add Aggressive, Hunter, Warden, and Dire Guardian AI Eyes - Spawn ships when alerted rather than directly attacking, using DLC3 raid engine mechanics
    • Add Dagger, Eyebot, and Praetorian Extragalactic War Eyes - Used only by the Panopticon AI Type.
    • Thanks to tadrinth for adding!

Elderling Rebalancing

The goal of this is to make the Elderling lifecycle a bit more interesting. I want it to feel like they have more of a real life cycle, and also to make it easier for players to get more Essence. There should be lots of weak Elderlings to hunt, but still to keep the "OMG that's terrifying" feel of the High-Tier Elderlings.

  • Elderlings will now generally start as weak elderlings and get stronger over time (first marking up to 7, then evolving into more powerful forms). Elderlings gain experience over time generally, and bonus experience if there are enemies in their Territory.
  • If there are too many elderlings on a planet, the weaker ones will lose Sanity. When an Elderling runs out of Sanity it will go mad
    • They will either fly away to attack an enemy faction's king, or becoming Maddened.
    • Maddened elderlings are hostile to literally everything. When a Maddened elderling is slain, other Elderlings on the same planet involve get bonus experience.
    • The goal of this mechanic is to make sure that the game spawns lots of Elderlings, but they don't get too thick on the ground. It's important for the Necromancer to have lots of Elderlings to hunt for Essence
    • Player-allied elderlings will never become Maddened
  • Elderlings now mark up based on Experience rather than time.
    • Right now Elderlings get experience over time or when enemies are in their Territory.
    • Other experience generators may be granted as well.
  • When a mark 7 Elderling would mark up, it instead becomes a more powerful Elderling
    • Low tier Elderlings become mid tier Elderlings, and mid tier Elderlings become high tier Elderlings
  • Also add the ability to Track elderlings; a player can hack an Elderling to have the Elderling display its Territory in the Elderling's hovertext
    • Gives the player another way to interact with Elderlings

Neinzul Wild Hives Updates

Neinzul Wild Hives have received a number of updates shoring up their core gameplay loop to feel far tighter, and make them feel much more like a fast acting, and reacting, infection. These changes help alleviate some issues related to them leaving half of the galaxy as a graveyard before you even arrive.

  • Saves Broken
  • Younglings now decay far, far quicker.
  • Wild Hives now consider a planet of theirs under attack for a full minute, instead of immediately thinking its safe.
  • Wild Hives and Enclaves are now targetable by other factions when they spawn soldiers, and remain targetable until they consider a planet safe.
  • Wild Hives and Workers now rapidly regenerate on planets that they consider safe.
  • Soldiers now decay much more rapidly on safe planets.
  • At Higher Intensities, Wild Hives are now able to consume other neutral entities.
    • At a high enough intensity, they are even capable of taking over entities like Major Data Centers and Lost Spire Frigates, requiring you to enrage their hive to gain access to them.
  • Removed their existing Mark Up Logic
    • Instead, all seeded Neinzul Hives spawn in at Mark 1.
    • When a Neinzul Hive has enough points to spawn a Worker, they spawn it at their current mark level, and than the Hive marks up.
    • Soldiers are still spawned in as their parent entity's mark level.
  • Various bugs fixed that were found by DEMOCRACY? DEMOCRACY! and RocketAssistedPuffin during testing.

Bugfixes

  • Fixed the raycasts against unit icons not working properly in the planet view since The Great Refactor.
  • Added in a new PerSecondSimRepair thread that does checking for seeing if there are squads, shots, or wormholes missing in the main dictionary lookup that are in the entity collections of planet factions, which would be the normal genesis of the "ghosts" problem in multiplayer. As well as the "such and such missing from death registry" bug, too.
    • So far nothing has happened, but it should self-correct any cases like that, if they still happen.
  • NewTimingsBeingBuilt and similar have been removed from the codebase, as they have not been used in a really long time (a couple of years) and we have better timings-checks in place now. This will probably improve performance to a mild degree.
  • Fixed a couple of bugs with the intel sidebar. One where things were flipping around in an unhelpful way since the great refactor, and another where some were blinking in and out of view over top of others since that same time.
    • This was all just a case of an older style of performance-enhancing caching clashing with the new kind, and has been resolved.
    • Thanks to Sounds and dEAdOnE77 for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug where range rings from build mode would continue drawing into the galaxy map if you tabbed over to there while in build mode.
  • Added hardening to prevent errors in GetStringValueForCustomFieldOrDefaultValue even if there's something like a misconfigured faction field that has a subtable that is empty or whatever.
    • Thanks to Puffin for reporting.
  • UtilityMethods in DeepInfo is now a public class, rather than an internal one, so that modders can use it and inherit from it and all that sort of thing.
    • Thanks to Puffin for reporting.
  • DoOnAnyDeathLogic_HostOnly_AfterFullDeathOrPartOfStackDeath on scenario is now a virtual method, which lets sub-classes inherit from it.
    • Thanks to Puffin for requesting.
  • Tutorials have been busted since the great refactor started, and they are now functional again. There may be some errors that pop up after playing them for sufficiently long, or in certain hover circumstances, so I'm still looking into those bits. But by and large, they seem to work now.
  • Fixed an issue on the galaxy map where if you clicked certain parts of the ui, your clicks would go through to the space underneath. This was problematic for a number of reasons, but most notably it actually made step 5 of the second tutorial impossible to finish.
  • The text of step 5 of tutorial 4 has been made more brief so that it fully fix on the screen.
    • A few other minor tutorial text tweaks, as well.
  • Tutorials now seem fully functional!
  • Fixed an issue where log messages were not being written properly when you loaded a game too quickly after having just quit another one.
  • Fixed a minor tutorial bit of invisible log clutter where it was complaining about certain planets being assigned to nobody (by design, it was a false warning).
  • Fixed an issue where tutorial starting planets sometimes had a blank background instead of a proper starfield.

Beta 3.766 The Red Harvest

(Released December 15th, 2021)

Balance

  • Raid frigates and variants engine power increased to 20 to resist Blackhole Effect.
    • Thanks to zeus for updating!
  • Raider strike craft and variants engine power increased to 20 to resist Blackhole Effect
    • Thanks to zeus for updating!
  • When the player gets 4 spire cities, the AI will spawn a Nadir Dire Venator; this is a fast, tanky melee brawler designed to be particularly good against Spire Ships
    • This only takes effect if there's an AI at difficulty 6 or higher in the game
    • Thanks to Badger for adding! Unit name and design suggestion from zeus.

Necromancers

  • The necromancer now gets Weak Skeletons or Weak Wights from drones. Also the Heroic AI Type no longer gets regular Harbingers (and heroic harbingers are weaker)
    • Thanks to Badger for updating.
  • Mummy homes now cost 4 hexes; Tom reported that mummy bodyguards were too easy to get previously
    • Thanks to Badger for updating.
  • Slightly tweak the essence cost of various Necromancer direct upgrades.
    • Before the change to scaling essence cost, the total cost for mark 7 was 90, afterwards it was 160.
    • For the phylactery and major necropolis, I decreased the cost of the initial level slightly, but scaled it a bit more quickly, so the cost for the final upgrade ended up the same. The new total cost to upgrade to mark 7 in 153.
    • For the minor necropolis, I decreased the initial cost and the rate of scaling. Now the total cost to upgrade to mark 7 is 109. A Mark 7 Minor Necropolis has 8 hexes, compared to 15 for a Mark 6 Major necropolis (which costs 108 essence).
    • For the necromancer flagships, I decreased the initial cost even more, and the rate of scaling by the same amount. The new total cost to upgrade to mark 7 is 99. In my experience, flagship upgrades are significantly less impactful than necropolis upgrades.
    • I've not touched defensive necropolis upgrades, since I don't have as much experience with them, and none with upgrading them. However, my initial thought is that both the upgrade cost and the number of hexes per mark should be decreased, inline with minor necropolises. Given that they can only build weapons and shipyards, so I suspect most hexes will be for weapons. Thus, each additional hex represents significantly more defensive power than for the other forms, but also significantly less offensive power. By decreasing the additional hexes per mark, that makes it harder for them to become impenetrable planets, and decrease the cost to compensate for their limited utility beyond that.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating!
  • Templar balance adjustments.
    • The templar now have a lot more things scale effectively with their faction Difficulty.
    • This includes number/mark level of wave leaders, wave rate, and range of defensive structures.
    • The Templar's 3 defensive structures now help planets at 1, 1 and 2 hops away on lower difficulties (suggested by Tom), and at more hops at higher difficulties
    • Thanks to Badger for updating!
  • Spawn a few more feeble elderlings, hopefully to counter reports of insufficient essence for the necromancer
    • Thanks to Badger for updating!
  • Add necromancer harvest count; the necromancer now keeps track of how many units and of what types it has raised during a battle. This information is shown in the combat Notification hovertext. The goal is to make the player feel powerful when they see how much many ships they've taken.
    • Thanks to Badger for updating!

Sappers

New turrets for the Sappers

  • Jasper: Wormhole only Turret. Hybrid of Ambush and Deathgrip. Cloaking is to keep it alive as it does its initial burst of damage (as such Turrets are sitting in the alpha strike area) to the things held in tractors from the Array further below.
  • Garnet: Solely around Important Structures. Since these structures may well have Forcefields, and some may have penalties to units within, this one has the Bastille bonus to ensure it isn't a concern for players, particularly as you can't exactly stop the Sappers doing this.
  • Hematite: combination of anti Albedo and anti-Mass to deal with things immune to tractors and cloaked units. Can focus fire its weapon on singular targets
  • Lazurite: Intended as the beachheader. Using the Classic Fusion Ruffian Turret as a base. Radar Dampening (vanilla Ruffian has this), long range (same), but then bonuses against structures. As a curious experiment, giving it a minor ambush bonus as well, since enemies coming out of Guard Posts, and incoming Warden are viable victims.
  • Thank you to Puffin for replaciing the placeholders with some shiny new turrets!

Bugfixes

  • Clear planet lists before collecting them when determing planets to reinforce.
    • This may address the issue of some planets getting reinfored way to often, for one of the new NA AI types.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating!
  • Fixed an issue with my ArcenTypeAnalyzer where it was incorrectly resetting arrays during xml reloads.
    • There's now a subset of the ApplyDefaults code that explicitly handles arrays.
  • Fixed another issue with ArcenTypeAnalyzer where if something was a list but initially null, it was not being handled quite right, either.
  • Fixed an issue with how surrogate tables (external tables) were reloaded in xml since the great refactor. This had been making all of them come through blank, but now they're fine.
  • FleetItemCategory now implements IClearableDuringXmlReload, which means that the entire xml is now able to reload properly again!
  • There are now new debug settings that allow for doing the table exports that I used to find and fix all these issues.
  • The R-view now has more spacing so that the icon does not overlap any text.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.

Beta 3.765 Easier Upgrades And Necromancer Surge

(Released December 13th, 2021)

  • Fleets that can be upgraded by science now show up in your regular tech menu (as well as still in the fleet window).
    • This is a super useful learning tool for new players in general, who otherwise might not know they can upgrade fleets. And it's a time-saver for everyone, as well as making it more clear what all your options are on one screen.
    • On the tech window, you can see all the usual details you do about tech upgrades, but this time for fleets (how many lines affected, how much strength gain in mobile and defensive forces, etc). This is a lot of new information, which before was only available via C-clicking and not in aggregate; it's actually possible to see just how powerful these upgrades are now.
    • On the fleet popout, it now includes more of the details there in that window as well, just to make things even all around.
  • Add an integer for Salvage to the Planet object; done to make Puffin's like easier
    • Thanks to Badger for adding.
  • The game now tracks whether orders are from HumanPlayer, FRD or Other. The Wave and Templar factions now allow for the LRP code to override FRD orders to do 'more exciting' behaviour, like attacking a command station or bypassing your defenses to hit another planet.
    • Thanks to Tom for pointing out that there was a race condition between targets being assigned by the FRD code and the Wave LRP code
    • Thanks to Badger for adding.

Necromancer Improvements

  • Guard posts that are not marked as combatants will no longer be reanimated by players.
    • Thanks to zeus and Mac for reporting how useless (and expensive!) they are.
  • Don't endlessly clone player-owned guards posts when they die to remains.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the fix!
  • Copy flagship orders to units summoned by necromancy.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the improvement!
  • Added a new mapgen_should_all_guard_posts_be_armed tag for player types.
    • This is now on for the necromancer empire and sidekick. It makes all guard posts armed, so that there's something interesting to capture at all times for these necromancers.
  • Necromancer factions now start with two effigies already built, and one starting shipyard, so that they have more firepower than just their starting necromancer flagship when they are getting started.
    • Chris was finding it kind of impenetrable at the start, because until some buildings were constructed, there was not a lot to do and everything was very slow and frustrating. So starting the player off similar to how human empires have buildings in place to build things instantly makes the necromancer empire feel more familiar.
  • Necromancers now actually start with some skeletons and wights in their initial necrofleet, so that the initial stages of the game doesn't play out as if you were in molasses.
    • Necromancers are essentially a faction of inertia -- once you have stuff you can convert enemies with, you can convert more, and hooray. But if you have very little to help with the converting and destruction, then it's very very painful.
    • Most notably, now that all guard posts of the enemy are armed when necromancers are around, it pretty much kills all the Ikiryo and the flagship just trying to take out one. You can go hunting for skeletons for a while, but this is not exactly a stimulating start. So let's basically start the necromancer in motion, and get to the good part faster.
    • We thus give them 30 base skeletons, 10 skeleton archers, and 20 skeleton warriors, along with 5 base wights, 2 ravenous wights, and 3 infectious wights.
      • The starting necrofleet starts out in transport mode so that these don't all attrition away from the start, and so that the player can quickly just fly over to an enemy planet and start the first beatdown.
    • I don't really have a sense if this makes the larger necromancer game easier or not, but it seems like this sort of starting momentum is just going to be something that speeds up the early game without making the endgame any easier.
  • Necromancer games now seed some capturables.
    • There are now Skeleton/Wight/Mummy amplifiers; having one of those on a planet with a major/minor necropolis now grants the bolstered fleet a chance of getting bonus skeletons/wights/mummies.
    • The goal of this is to give the necromancer some actual objectives and things they might want to hold.
    • Thanks to Badger for adding.
  • More templar units are in Attacker_Full when they are created
    • Thanks to Badger for updating.
  • Add short names for city sockets, for use in build sidebar.
    • Add display of hexes (used and available) in direct build sidebar.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for adding!
  • Seed starting skeleton/wight home, instead of support unit tomb.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating!
  • Make it so that Necromancer Amplifiers can be rebuilt.
    • Also, make them immune to player damage.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating!
  • Make guard posts converted by Necromancers have the same mark as originally, rather than all being Mark 1.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing!
  • Reduce the metal cost of Necromancer Amplifiers.
    • Given that they currently don't stop functioning when they have been turned to remains, having them take a long time to rebuild isn't particularly impactful, and just requires micro to avoid them being prioritized for repair.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating!
  • The hacks for upgrading necromancer flagships and city-centers have been deprecated, as we'll get the exact same result a nicer way.
  • Player types now allow for extra info to be written at the top of the hacking and tech windows, and the necromancers now use that to write their essence.
  • Essence is now a reddish color instead of bluish. Green was definitely not the correct color, but blue also seemed too much like science. Red like blood is good.
  • Where possible, "resource one" is now named and defined as part of the PlayerType. Same with "resource two."
    • In other cases, players beyond the actual affected faction (like regular human friends of the necromancer) need to see a tooltip about something that grants essence, and in those cases we also now have a global working variable on World_AIW2 that names, colors, and so forth what Resource1 and 2 are.
  • Necromancer fleets of all sorts are now directly upgraded by techs, like most other fleets of that sort.
    • This lets us set really direct cost upgrade curves, as well as use a whole bunch of other code that is really intensive and that we wouldn't want to try to duplicate (how many ship lines are drawn, etc).
  • Techs now have an upgrade_resource option on them, which can be blank or Science (the default), or set to Resource1 or Resource2.
    • This allows for certain techs, like the necromancer upgrades, to cost something custom (like Resource1 / Essence) instead of Science.
    • This touches a lot of UIs, but in the grand scheme it's more flexible and less code than trying to add a third branch that brings in hacks instead of tech upgrades.
  • If two different factions are set up as player types which use different names for resource 1 or 2, then the game won't allow the player to be started with them together in the same galaxy.
    • This mainly applies to mods in the future.
  • We already had a galaxy_wide_cap_for_players_constructing, now renamed to base_galaxy_wide_cap_for_players_constructing, but now we have the following:
    • added_galaxy_wide_cap_for_players_constructing_per_x_planets defines how much is added to the cap every X planets that you control (can be zero)
    • galaxy_wide_cap_for_players_constructing_x_planet_variable defines what X is in the above formula.
    • So, you could say there's a base galaxy cap of 5, and that you then get 5 more cap for every 4 planets you control. It will round down. Or you can do something way more or less granular, which is nice.
    • No galaxy cap will be in effect if you don't set the base galaxy cap to at least 1. If that's set to 0 or below, then the whole rest of things is ignored.
    • Also please note, all planets controlled by any player will be counted for this.
    • You can also now see the galaxy cap inside the tooltip for units with one again, plus for the first time (since it's now a thing) you can see how the cap will increase.
    • There is also now a galaxy_wide_cap_match_string that lets us have a global cap be match between several units that are variants but essentially the same.
  • The necromancer major necropolis can now only have one at the start, plus an additional one per 4 planets you control.
    • The idea is to make players have to take more territory for the major necropolises, although this may be too stingy. Feedback welcome.
  • On the player type data, there is a new uses_energy_and_fuel and uses_metal.
    • When this is set to false, then energy is always assumed to be fully available, and will not be shown. For metal, same deal, but essentially the metal amounts on things affect how fast they build.
    • This is something that we want to be able to turn off mainly for the necromancer factions, which just don't have any practical purpose for these bits.
  • No necromancer ships have metabolization anymore (they don't need metal). Instead, they have a minor necromancy effect, whereas the larger necromancer units maintain their major necromancy effect.
  • A whole bunch of unit tooltip info now turns off when you're the necromancer, relating to metal and fuel and energy and such. So much more readable!
  • Fuel is no longer shown in the top bar even when fuel is enabled if you're playing a necromancer faction. More changes to come soon, but this is a quick fix to overwhelmingness.
  • A bunch of different galaxy map filters relating to fuel and metal and energy and so forth are also no longer shown in necromancer mode.
  • A bunch of metal and energy and fuel things in the planet tooltips also no longer show for necromancers.
    • The big thing will be the reorganization of the top resource bar, but that's not in this build.

Bugfixes

  • Don't give orders to Assisters (like Engineers or Necromancer shipyards) if their target is in assist range.
    • For Necromancer Shipyards in particular, this would often (always?) result in orders well outside of combat space.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing!
  • Don't allow orbital guardposts to build turrets while they are remains.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the fix!
  • Fix display of rate of building of orbital descendants.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the fix!
  • Guard post seeding has been updated substantially, and there should no longer be oddities on larger gravity well sizes.
    • Thanks to Puffin for reporting, and tom.prince for narrowing down the problem and suggesting a refactor.
  • Adaptive music no longer triggers outside of normal gameplay. The Esc menu now gives more information about game state with adaptive music enabled
    • Thanks to Badger for fixing.
  • When you don't have enough city sockets to build something, then it no longer shows a message saying city sockets. It now says necromancer hexes or whatever.
    • It also has the general suggestion "Typically upgrade your city to get more" so that people will know that they can expand, they just need to do something else first.

ZO Balance changes

  • Added a prefix to the different Zenith Miners to make it clear these get stronger over time
    • Thanks to zeus for updating!
  • Buffs to the later tiers of the Zenith miners weapons
    • Thanks to zeus for updating!

NA Improvements

  • Orbital Turrets no longer die when guardpost dies
    • Thanks to zeus for updating!
  • Orbital Guardposts are less likely to spawn with turrets.
    • Thanks to zeus for updating!
  • Exotic Destroyer's ward now only spawns the first copy, so it doesn't lose out their harmonic trait
    • Thanks to zeus for updating!
  • Redo the vassal mission code to provide for more functionality, and to serve as a reference for Chris for the things I plan to support
    • Thanks to Badger for adding.

Beta 3.763 Necromancer Reanimation And Refinement

(Released December 9th, 2021)

  • Add hooks for custom build sidebar category logic.
    • This is used to replace the existing logic for where command stations and necropolises can be built.
      • Command stations can be built on any planet without a command station. (Previously, this was on any *unowned* planet without a command station, but Necromancer's can now own planets.
      • Necropolises can be built on any planet without and Necropolis, and not controlled by a hostile faction.
    • This is used to control what type of DirectBuildable is created, for entities not associated with a specific FleetMembership, removing the special case code for Necropolises.
    • This also removes the `only_shows_when_planet_not_owned_by_anyone` and `only_shows_when_planet_not_influenced_by_local_player` settings on build sidebar categories, which were used to implement the old logic.
    • I've also changed the code so that entries added by sidebar categories with granted_by_any_mobile_fleet are only added to that sidebar category, and not every category that the type belongs to.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating!
  • Add ArcenCharacterBuffer.ToStringAndReturnToPool and use it in a number of places.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for adding!

Necromancer Improvements

  • Encampments, Fastnesses and Castles are now higher targets for FRD ships
    • Thanks to Tom for the feedback
  • Modify templar imcome; move some fields to the XML and remove others. This is a net nerf to the Templar
    • Thanks to Tom for the feedback
  • Minor buffs to some necromancer units; the early game seems to weak
  • Necromancers are now able to reanimate guard posts of the AI that they kill, and these guard posts then serve as the main defenses on a lot of necromancer planets.
    • Details!
      • At the moment, each one costs 10k metal per mark level of the guard post (so, 30k for a mark 3 post) to build, and they come in at 1 health and 0 shields. For dires, it is 40k metal per mark, instead. This may need to be shifted to be different on different difficulty levels, or in some other fashion.
        • These are able to self-build immediately, so they can join the fight and make for an automatic beachhead when you are attacking weak planets in particular. This is very interesting, but if it proves too powerful, we can easily make these be remains instead, which would not build unless you take the planet.
      • If you scrap a guard post, or if one is destroyed on a planet when no necromancer flagship or phylactory or necropolis is present, then it is gone forever. Them's the breaks. Necromancer is fast and brutal.
      • If a guard post that you control dies, it dies to remains, even if your units are not present. In order to repair it from remains, you'll have to actually take the planet, I believe, so this means that you can't infinitely aggro planets you don't own.
      • Note that the necromancer units themselves don't have to kill the guard post. It doesn't matter who does. A necromancer simply has to be on the planet.
      • In the event that you have no necromancer guard-post-converter unit on a planet, but you DO have necromancer units in general, then a guard post will be converted to remains when you kill it.
        • It's easy for your flagship to die and be bailed out of the planet and for you to then just casually destroy guard posts that are gone forever, otherwise.
      • If multiple necromancer factions exist, then the one who owns the planet gets the guard post. If none own the planet, then the one with the most guard-post-capturers will get it. If there are two factions with equal numbers, then the one that has the lower faction index (added first in the lobby) will get it.
    • This whole thing is going to need tweaking and tuning, but it's off to quite an interesting start. This is the last major function of the necromancer, so far as we know pending further testing.
    • Thanks to Puffin for suggesting this guard post capture mechanic!
  • The game now supports setting custom metal costs for units via code. This is useful for purposes of when we capture a guard post via a necromancer and want to have it cost something custom. The interface is now updated to show all of this sort of thing, and it makes the whole experience more clear.
  • Use LazyLoadSquadWrapper for tracking Templar home castles.
    • This should make the logic of castle defenders despawning when the castle is destroyed work.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the fix!
  • Fix checking for if a new Necropolis should be able to bolster Necromancer Fleets.
    • When switching building Necropolises to use DirectBuildable, I missed that the check for Minor Necropolises was against a tag which didn't match the type name. Update the check to use a tag explicitly for bolstering.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the fix!
  • Update the checks for available city sockets to properly handle FleetMemberships with no ships in them.
    • Because some of the Necropolises were listed as being on the Necropolis build menu, they were added as empty fleet memberships, which caused the count of available sockets to be inflated (and inflated per mark level of the city even). In addition to fixing the logic for calculating sockets, I removed the remaining `NecromanceBuildMenu` tag from necropolises.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the fix!
  • Disable seeding of some more things that Necromancer Empires can't use.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the fix!
  • Remove Build Necropolis hacks, now that building them is done through the build sidebar.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the fix!
  • Make the various self-hacks that Necromancers can do as only working on their own units.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the fix!
  • Update the message for officer self-hacks to reflect that they can be done on Necromancer owned planets.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the update!
  • Add an option to control whether city centers grant tech levels to the members of city-fed fleets.
    • Currently this is turned on for all city centers, but allows experiementing with different choices. In particular, I am wondering if this is too strong for Necrofleets.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the update!
  • Show Templar Rifts on Capturables galaxy display mode.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the update!

Player Type Improvements And Additions

  • Add tags to player type data.
    • This will be used to control accesss to things like build sidebar categories and tech upgrades.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for adding!
  • Add `for_player_type_tags` to build sidebar categories.
    • This is used to replace the necromancer specific attributes used for the same purpose.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for adding!
  • Replace 'for_player_types' on tech upgrades with 'for_player_type_tags'.
    • Also remove 'uses_tech_upgrades_from_player_types' which was used for the same purpose.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for adding!
  • Replace 'for_player_types_or_blank_if_for_all_empire_style_types' on tech upgrades with 'for_player_type_tags_or_blank_if_for_all_empire_style_types'.
    • Also remove 'uses_hacking_types_from_player_types' which was used for the same purpose.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for adding!

Mapgen

  • Added mapgen_should_fuel_seed_for_me_if_fuel_is_enabled and mapgen_should_arses_seed_for_me to the PlayerTypes.
    • Fuel now only seeds at all if there's at least one player faction that uses fuel. So, not spectators or suzerains, for example.
      • Additionally, fuel seeds near any player faction that uses fuel, not just empire-style factions. So this means there's extra fuel near a necro sidekick now, for example.
    • For ARSes, those now only seed at all if there is at least one faction that wants them. And then beyond that, it seeds them based on the number of players that want them, rather than the number of empires.
      • Necromancer empires don't use ARSes, for instance, but in theory someday there could be a suzerain-style faction that does get them. Right now suzerains do NOT get them.
  • Fuel depots have been fixed to always seed as un-owned. This way zombies and minor factions won't attack them when they are under the control of the AI.
    • We want all these sorts of things to be able to attack it once you have control of it, so this was just an initial-seeding issue rather than a targeting issue. Thematically the AI should not have owned these, anyway.
    • Thanks to RedPine for reporting.
  • Added a new SeedSpecialEntities_LateAfterAllFactionSeeding_CustomForPlayerType on IPlayerTypeSpecificCodeDeepInfo, which allows for completely custom late-seeding of "stuff in the galaxy" from whatever player type.
    • If there are any truly custom things that are capturables for a faction, then this is probably where to put them.
  • The EarlyOfficers tag has been removed, and there is now AnyEarlyOfficer and NonArkOfficer.
  • There is now a LoneSpire tag, and one of the three lone spire frigates now seeds based on that again.
  • Previously, other officer fleets (golems and arks) were seeding by the special entity type MobileOfficerCombatFleetFlagship.
    • They now instead seed based on the tag AnyOfficer, which is far more flexible.
  • Previously, regular fleets were seeding by the special entity type MobileStrikeCombatFleetFlagship.
    • They now instead seed based on the tag RegularStrike, which is far more flexible.
  • Previously, support fleets were seeding by the special entity type MobileSupportFleetFlagship.
    • They now instead seed based on the tag SupportFleet, which is far more flexible.
  • Previously, citadels were seeding by the special entity type BattlestationCitadel.
    • They now instead seed based on the tag SeededCitadel, which is far more flexible.
  • There is a new mapgen_should_coprocessors_seed_for_me tag on player types.
    • Coprocessors now only seed if at least one of the players in the game has a player type where this is true (all other prior seeding restrictions still apply, such as there must be at least 2 AIs).
  • There are new mapgen_should_zenithpowergenerators_seed_for_me and mapgen_should_zenithmatterconverters_seed_for_me tags on player types.
    • These only seed if at least one of the players in the game has a player type where this is true.
    • Works the same for mapgen_should_distributionnodes_seed_for_me, mapgen_should_minorcapturables_seed_for_me.
    • Also mapgen_should_datacenters_seed_for_me, mapgen_should_majordatacenters_seed_for_me, mapgen_should_superterminals_seed_for_me.
    • Also mapgen_should_tsses_seed_for_me, mapgen_should_odsses_seed_for_me.
    • Also mapgen_should_techvaults_seed_for_me, mapgen_should_frses_seed_for_me, mapgen_should_cruisers_seed_for_me, mapgen_should_destroyers_seed_for_me, and mapgen_should_lonespire_seed_for_me.
  • There is a new tag called mapgen_require_minorcapturable_tag.
    • If that is set to anything other than blank for any player type in a game, then it will switch to using that player type's tag for seeding rather than the usual tag of "MinorCapturable"
    • If there are multiple factions with different required tags set for their player type, then the one that is added last will prevail.
    • The purpose of this is to allow for various factions to override the normal seeding, but it's not expected to be done all that much.
  • Same as the items above, there are pairs for mapgen_should_officerfleets_seed_for_me and mapgen_require_officerfleet_tag.
    • When there is an Ark Empire in the game, the game will no longer seed any Arks as officers, only golems, which is quite interesting.
  • Then the same sort of thing is for mapgen_should_citadels_seed_for_me and mapgen_require_citadel_tag, but this only is for potential modding or future expansion in terms of the tag options.
    • Same for mapgen_should_supportfleets_seed_for_me and mapgen_require_supportfleet_tag.
    • And also mapgen_should_earlyofficers_seed_for_me and mapgen_require_earlyofficer_tag. For the Ark Empire, again the Arks are filtered out on this one.
    • And lastly, also mapgen_should_mobilestrikefleets_seed_for_me and mapgen_require_mobilestrikefleet_tag.
  • The distance from the player homeworld that "early officers" seed on difficulties 7+ is now 3-8 rather than being 6-16 hops out. For 6 and down it remains 1-4 hops out.
  • Added mapgen_should_spirearchive_seed_for_me and mapgen_should_outguard_seed_for_me, so that these can be turned off for the factions that can't use them.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for suggesting.

Ship Encyclopedia

  • Added new Thematic Groups and Thematic Group Types, which I had been planning for a long time for purposes of the unit encylopedia (which is coming soon), but which in the short term is also really useful for searching for units by name on the galaxy map.
    • Essentially, when units are added to thematic groups, those groups also provide text matches (for example: "Arks", or "Neinzul"). The group types are simply for later use in the encylopedia.
    • For now, the three group types are Race, Coalition, and Unit Class.
  • The Arks and Golems from the base game, DLC1 and 2, and the outguard from DLC2, have all now had their thematic groups assigned.
    • There's tons more units that need thematic groups assigned for the ship encyclopedia, but hopefully xml-oriented folks can help out with that, as that's a big job.
    • For now, one of the most useful things is that you can search for "ark" in the "Find Units" part of the galaxy map filters and actually get all the arks. Previously, ones like Nodorian Tortoid or Grand Salvage would not show up because Ark is not in their name.
  • Any units that are not part of any thematic groups now go into the Unsorted thematic group.
    • This is a signal that someone ought to sort these, so it creates a nice bit of a todo list for us or for mod authors.
  • Drones that are not marked as the thematic group Drone now get marked as that thematic group automatically. That's not enough to keep them from still being in the Unsorted group on top of that, though.

Bugfixes

  • Fixed a bug where difficulty 3 for AIs had an 8x multiplier to border aggression (that was going to be apocalyptically difficult) rather than 0.8x.
    • Thanks to Puffin for discovering.
  • Fixed an issue where total conversion mods were unable to find icon xml or code dlls in the original GameData folder from the game. They should now do that if they don't find it first in the total conversion folder.
    • Thanks to Puffin for reporting.
  • Make fuel stations actually capturable. (untested)
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the fix!
  • Remove some duplicate checks for finding hacker types.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the fix!
  • Allow human home arks to hack.
    • Thanks to Evil Bistro for reporting an issue related to this, and tom.prince for fixing!
  • Hide some really common errors that were introduced in r14956+r14957.
    • They are still accessible behind a tracing flag, so they can be debugged, but this should stop the duplicate reports we are receiving because of them.
    • For future debuggers: I suspect part of what is happening is that we are trying to return things to the pool twice, partially since we are stopping showing ships one frame early.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the fix!

Beta 3.762 Expert Necromancers

(Released December 6th, 2021)

  • The wiki now has a page for AI Types for AIW2, to go with the page for AIWC. It's not fully filled out yet though.
    • Thanks to Badger for setting it up and Lord of Nothing for filling out most of the fields we have so far

Expert Mode

  • All of the home arks, and the home command station, now produce 500k argon and radon rather than 100k.
    • Thanks to Strategic Sage for suggesting.
  • Fuel depots -- the base seeding of them -- is now more sparse than before.
    • However, there are now some extra fuel depots seeded relatively near to every human empire, and every AI homeworld.
      • These tend to make for some highly-valuable "megaclusters" that are very enticing. Thanks to Puffin for suggesting the megacluster part.
  • Overall, the major fuel depots now give more, and the minor ones now give less. In general making for more variation as you look around the galaxy map.
    • The idea is to make it more interesting as to which planets to take for fuel purposes.
  • Fixed a typo where the major fuel depots were labeled as minor. Confusing!
  • Major and minor fuel depots previously had an AIP cost on death of 10. That was a copy-paste error and not desired.
    • Minor now have an on death AIP of 1, and major have a cost of 3. You're going to be hurting enough from losing these as it is, and probably have to take more planets.
  • The icon offsets for the fuel and necromancer resources are now properly offset to fit inline with the rest of the text they are with.
    • This is just a handy little xml piece of work.
  • Zenith power generators now generate a lot more fuel, making them more exciting in expert mode.
  • Added a new "Fuel Availability" galaxy map filter that only appears in games with fuel enabled.
    • Shows how much fuel is available at each planet, for each type of fuel. Unit icons shown under the planet are one per fuel generator.

DLC 3

Necromancer saves are broken in this patch (all other saves are fine! Necromancers are an experimental thing at times still.)

  • Fix a bug with the first templar encampment's markups
  • The game tries to make sure a Rift doesn't have too many options that a necromancer doesn't have high enough mark levels for; it's frustrating if all the upgrades in a Rift are things you can't get
  • The necromancer now builds a necropolis via the build menu.
  • Add a new utility ship for the necromancer, the Ikiryo. This ship line specializes in preventing enemies from fleeing
  • The necromancer gets a bonus 'utility' ship at the beginning of the game. They can choose in the game lobby which ship type they would like
    • They can currently choose between an anti-cloaking ship line (the Banshee), an Engineer/Support shipline (the Igor), and the Ikiryo, a ship that focuses on preventing enemies from fleeing
  • Add a lore journal for the necromancer and templar
  • Add a bunch more necropolis names (there's now about 60)
  • Add a target evaluator to help ships with necromancy be more effective. Some balance tweaks to the Necromancer Tank Flagship
    • Thanks to Tom for this code
  • Elderling Eggs are no longer auto-targeted by ships; this way players can choose whether to let an Elderling egg hatch or not.
    • Thanks to Tom for suggesting
  • If the necromancer has built enough structures to have a > 100% chance of getting various sorts of skeletons/wights/etc, the odds are now scaled down to a 1 in 100 chance
  • Some tweaks to the text for the way DLC3-specific resources are shown in tooltips
  • Some tweaks to the text for bodyguard mark level increase upgrades
  • Give proper support for Mummies (gotten from killing Large/Scary ships). The goal of this is that Mummies should work very similarly to Skeletons and Wights.
    • There are now 3 variants; Royal, Decaying and Withered.
    • The player unlocks them through Rift Hacks.
      • The can build Mummy Variant Homes to give them the ability to get those ships; they also give a single bodyguard each.
  • The Templar Ships given to the Heroic and Jabberwock AI Types now have their own XML so they can be balanced separately
  • Higher Tier Elderlings will appear earlier in the game
    • Thanks to Tom for the feedback
  • Make the Necromancer Tank flagship less overpowered.
    • This removes the starburst weapon from it, and makes it available earlier.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating.

Bugfixes And Improvements

  • Factor out the logic of what cateogry of ship to summon from Necromancy.
    • I'd like to re-use the logic to prioritize targeting, so I've separated out the logic that picks between skeleton, wight and mummy, from the logic that picks a specific type of ship from that category to spawn.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating!
  • Add a target evaluator that priortizes targets that can be converted via Necromancy.
    • I've also applied it to most of the mobile ships with Necromancy. There are a few that also have other effects that impact targeting that I've not modified.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating!
  • The IExtraDamageModifierImplementation now also gets the system that is trying to calculate the damage passed as a parameter.
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo for adding! From a discussion with RocketAssistedPuffin.
  • Remove a level of indirection in GameCommand_PlaceSelfBuildingUnit.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating!
  • Use DoubleBufferedConcurrentList for Necropoleis.
    • This allows adding newly built Necropolises to it, to prevent being able to build multiple necropolises on a planet all at once.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating!
  • Make direct-building self-building units slightly more moddable.
    • This replaces `Engine_AIW2.Instance.PlacingEntityType` (which was really a `FleetMembership`) with a new `DirectBuildable` type. The behavior can be controlled by providing a new implementation of `IDirectBuildableImplementation`.
    • Most of the code in PlanetViewSelector that knew details about what to build was moved to `IDirectBuildableImplementation`. In particular, details about finding a builder for Command Stations, and constructing a game command to do the build were moved.
    • A new game command to build a Necropolis was added.
    • Minor regressions:
      • After placing a command station, you are no longer taken out of build mode. I've left a comment in PlanetViewSelector about how to fix this.
      • Placing a Necropolis now doesn't require the Necropolis to self-build again. I've left a note in the new gamecommand suggesting a fix for this.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating!
  • Remove the now unused NecromancerPerUnitBaseInfo.
    • This was superseded by the DirectBuldable code for customizing how Necropolises are built.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating!
  • Add some nerfs to the Transcendental Elderling.
    • Reduce the Essence gained to 50 (from 100).
    • Spawn the elderling on a random planet, instead of the current one.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating!

Beta 3.761 Savegame Safety

(Released December 3rd, 2021)

"Total Conversion" Mod Support

  • The game now supports "total conversion" mods.
    • A total conversion mod is a singular thing that ignores absolutely all of our xml, and has the option of loading a whole bunch of other code. This is not a mod that plays well with other mods. You can only have one total conversion mod on at a time.
    • Total conversion mods must currently be enabled through the filesystem, using the TotalConversionModOption.txt file in the PlayerData folder. If we actually start having some total conversion mods (Puffin has been working on one for a long time), then I'll make an interface for enabling these in-game.
      • Realistically, any total conversion mod is going to be going through a lot of growing pains until we're closer to being done with the Complete Edition of the game, so mostly this is just setup so that folks can do more with it in 2022, although it is functional now.
    • A total conversion mod loads none of the normal mods, however it does have support for having sub-mods that are created like anyone else.
    • Your settings and player data is completely separate between the normal game and any total conversions you use, so you don't have to worry about incompatibilities or one thing corrupting the other.
    • Total conversions don't "see" DLCs that you have installed in the traditional way, but they can pull art and music and such out of them just like normal, making things very convenient.
    • Total conversions don't "see" any code from normal game mods, nor do they "see" any xml outside of their own total conversion folder. It is totally possible to make a version of your mod for the main game and for a popular total conversion, but for many good reasons you'd likely have to maintain those separately.
    • Thanks to RocketAssistedPuffin for requesting.

Other Modding Extensions

  • There is a new ExtraDamageModifierTypeData, which allows mods to interject extra logic in the "how much damage does a weapon do against a target" code.
    • This is interjected in such a way that targeting logic will pick it up, meaning that if you give bonuses or penalties to ships, autotargeting will "just work" and know what it's doing.
    • This requires you to compile your own external C# dll to apply whatever logic you have in mind, but you declare basically a single class that inherits from IExtraDamageModifierImplementation and then gets to evaluate any time any unit does any damage to another unit.
      • If you're not intending to modify the output of all units, then just return the same value that is passed in to you on any given cases that are not relevant to you. The game has no idea what is relevant to you, so it just runs everything by you to see what you want to do.
      • The method signature is FInt ApplyAnyDamageMultipliersAgainst( FInt NearFinalResult, GameEntity_Squad Target, ArcenCharacterBuffer tracingBuffer, bool IncludeOutsideFactors, int OverridingDamage, int forCompressedShots )
    • The folder for the xml for this is ExtraDamageModifiers. This can be defined in a mod or in the base game or DLC or whatever. Right now we don't use it.
      • For example xml, see the TargetEvaluator folder, because we're not actually using this. This is just for mods.
        • For example code that implements ITargetEvaluatorImplementation and its CalculateNormalizedAdditionToCoreImportance in this same sort of singleton fashion, see the open source parts of the game that that xml references.
    • This whole thing is untested, but is very simple code so there's no reason it should not work.
      • This wasn't the highest-priority thing for me to work on today, but Puffin and I were talking about it, and at this point it took 10 minutes to implement and it lets me get this out of my brain as one less thing to have to remember, so here it is.
    • Thanks to Puffin for requesting.

Ark Empire

  • The various Arks for the Ark Empire now produce 2200 (+400 per mark) metal rather than 1500 (+300), and 350k (+25k) energy rather than 50k (+10k).
    • This makes them all the equivalent of the home command station when it is not in distributed economy mode. For the other command stations and such, distributed economy on or off will still work for Ark Empires, but I don't feel like the starting Ark getting changes is really a required thing.
  • The metal storage for the empire arks is now equal to that of the home command station, making them much more viable to play.
    • Thanks to Puffin for reporting how much of a problem the lack of that was.

Expert Mode

  • Added a new "Command Station Direct Upgrade Costs More" option in the Human Balance section of galaxy options which is normally optional, but becomes mandatory in expert mode.
    • Normally, command station upgrades cost 500, 1000, 1500, 2500, 2500, and then 3000. So the total cost of upgrading to mark 7 is a whopping 10,100, but the early marks are extraordinarily cheap.
    • With this option on, the first two direct upgrades to command stations cost 1500, and then the rest cost 2500. So to get to mark 7 costs more -- 13,000 science -- but the first couple of marks is not quite as severe a jump as the rest.
    • This setting defaults to off in the simpler campaign types, but then becomes mandatory.
    • Thanks to Strategic Sage for suggesting (although I did adjust the first two marks down from his suggestion of 2500 to instead be 1500, so people might still do it some. We'll see what testing brings).

Fuel!

  • Three kinds of fuel are now defined for later use in expert mode (sooner than later): Argon, Radon, and Xenon.
    • Tom had already started on the fuel implementation, which is SUPER helpful, but now this is split out by type.
    • Immobile combatants all now use Radon in the amount of what energy requirements would normally be. We can later override this as desired.
    • Officer ships (arks, golems, spire lone wolves) and elites (destroyers and cruisers) do the same thing, but with Xenon.
    • All other mobile ships (so strikecraft, frigates, etc) also do the same thing, but with Argon.
    • The various maluses that Tom had put in (not being able to build more of a thing, having the thing become weaker in attack and defense, etc) all still apply when you are in negative fuel of whichever sort.
  • The icon for necromancer essence has been integrated into the game, along with a color for it. It's still in the ugly temp spot on the resource bar, but that's okay.
    • Same deal for the three fuel icons. Those are still also in the not-awesome spot way over to the side, but they use their icons and colors now at least, and also are split out into three properly.
    • Later these things will have fully proper displays, their own tooltips, etc.
  • Home command stations and home arks now produce 100k each of argon and radon, but no xenon.
    • Some of the capturables out in the galaxy now produce a substantial amount of xenon, but none produce radon.
    • The main sources of further resources are meant to be new structures that are captured, but these things get you off to a start.
      • It is intentional that additional fuel (of any sort) is NOT produced by upgrading your command stations.
  • New option in the galaxy options tab, under Balance, Human Balance: Human Ships Use Fuel
    • This has been moved from Tom's Experimental Fuel mod into the main game now, and is forced on for Expert mode.
    • Description:
      • This is a feature with HUGE impact on the overall flow of the game. It's required for Expert mode and up, but you can use it at any level.
      • This is probably the most-core feature of Expert mode, and it essentially gives you a variety of permament-consequence weakspots that the AI can attack, as well as a bit more to think about when deciding how to expand your empire.
      • With fuel enabled, you not only have to think about Metal and Energy for your ships, but you also have to think about fuel.
      • Who uses fuel? Most small and midsize military craft consume Argon, which is relatively common. Officers (Arks and Golems) and Elites (destroyers and cruisers) use Xenon, which is harder to come by. Turrets and forcefields and simiar use Radon, which is about as common as Argon.
      • Where do you get fuel? You start with a baseline of Argon and Radon. You'll need to capture more by taking planets and holding these structures from them. These structures are also where Xenon comes from.
      • The balance on this is INCREDIBLY preliminary right now -- it's basically a proof of concept. The UI is also not complete at all. But it's a start, for testing purposes.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the initial implementation of this, and to Strategic Sage for designing this with me all the way back in May or so.
  • New option in the galaxy options tab, under Balance, Human Balance: Can use more than available fuel
    • This has been moved from Tom's Experimental Fuel mod into the main game now, and is forced off for Expert mode.
    • Description:
      • Defaults to off, and on Expert and above it is forced to be off.
      • Normally when you are out of fuel of a certain sort, you cannot build any more ships that rely on that fuel. With this setting on, you can over-use fuel.
      • Whether this option is on or off, you may find yourself short on fuel (usually because of loss of a fuel structure). In those situations, the ships using that fuel get weaker hulls and shields, and weaker attack power, which gets worse depending on how large your fuel crisis is.
      • A fuel crisis is a problem for you no matter what, but this option lets you intentionally put yourself into a fuel crisis, or still build ships of the affected sort while in a fuel crisis.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for adding this!
  • Minor and Major fuel stations are now seeded semi-randomly throughout the galaxy for all three of the fuel types. There's typically at most one per planet, but a 10% chance of seeing two per planet.
    • The minor fuel stations have the benefit of being mobile (but very slow), so you can move them wherever you need to.
    • The major fuel station provide way more resources, but are completely immobile.
    • In the case of both kinds, if they are destroyed, they are gone forever and you need to capture a new one.
    • This hasn't been tested yet, and is basically hot off the presses. The balance is probably incredibly off, but it's a starting point. There may be other things mechanically wrong, and the interface is definitely not ideal yet.
      • With that said, we look forward to the earliest feedback on this, and hope that this first version provides an interesting first look at a way that this can evolve quickly over the next few weeks.
    • Big thanks to Strategic Sage for helping design this, almost half a year ago now.

DLC 3

  • Necromancer Upgrades can now be gated on the following:
    • Flagship level: No flagship below X can claim this upgrade
    • Min Necropolis Level: A player must have a necropolis at this level or above to claim this upgrade; the flagship doesn't matter
    • This is necessary because flagships and necropoleis can be at different mark levels
      • Thanks to Tom for pointing this out to Badger, and Badger for updating.
  • The player must capture and then hack showdown devices to trigger the showdown with the AI.
    • Thanks to Badger for updating!
  • Mark Necromancer Phylactery as factory for Necromancer ships.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating!
  • Always show Necromancer flagships, even on planets without intel.
    • Without this, crippled flagships could disappear when crippled.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating!
  • Include a long description for the phylactery.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating!
  • Make the essence option from the Templar Rifts always the first option.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating!
  • Don't offer Flagship blueprints that the Necromancer has already received in Rifts.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating!
  • Add a NecromanceFeedsFleet tag to all buildings that provide ships to a bolstered fleet.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating!
  • Reduce the range that Templar castles will defend.
    • If there are a string of systems, all with castles, it can be overwhelming to try and make your way through those systems, if all castles within range 5 will defend each planet.
    • This redueces the distance they will defend at max tier to be 3, as a first step. I'm not sure what the right value is here (I had tried 1/1/2, which seemed difficult but not completely overwhelming).
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating!
  • The range of templar structures is now in the TemplarDifficulty.
    • Thanks to Badger for updating!
  • Necromancer Lobby improvements
    • The Necromancer now can choose its starting skeleton or wight in the game lobby
    • The Necromancer now has an option to start with every ship line. Intended to testing or sandbox play.
      • Added by Badger

Icon Work!

  • The Zenith Architrave Portal and Warp Point now have revised icons in DLC2, because the main icon that the Portal was based on work so much better for the necromancer in DLC3. Now they all look quite cool.
    • The lesser icon overlay for these is now also used for some of the necromancer skeletons in DLC3.
  • 3 new icons for the new fuels (Argon, Radon, and Xenon) for expert mode are ready to go, but not used in the game itself yet.
    • These are both in the format of production facility ship icons, and for ui use.
  • The necromancer Essence resource also is now in the game in both formats mentioned for the fuels, but also not integrated yet.
    • I have some work to do with the top bar (the resource bar) to make it dynamic for both of these purposes. I was going to do that today, but decided to do more icons instead while I was in that mode.
  • 18 new icons for the templars are now in place.
  • The overlays for the lesser and greater spire fortress and cradle are now much more pleasant.
  • 7 new unused ship icons are now in place (may be used later for DLC3 or DLC1 additions, or else just remain available for modders, depending).
  • 11 new overlays are now in place for the various kinds of skeleton the neceromancer has, plus 2 icons for skeleton-related things.
  • 11 new overlays are now in place for the various kinds of wight the neceromancer has, plus 2 icons for wight-related things.
  • 21 other icons are now in place for the various other units of the necromancer, and 13 icon overlays as well.
  • All of the Necromancer and Templar icons are now complete and integrated, although I might swap out and/or improve some of them with time and testing.
  • Showdown device progress by Badger.
  • The Necromancer can now choose their starting Skeleton or Wight in the game lobby.
    • Add a "Please give me all upgrades at the start" option for the necromancer. This is intended for testing or sandbox play
    • Thanks to Badger for adding!

Bugfixes / Tweaks

  • Adjusted some serialization code to be slightly more optimal. It breaks saves, but this should be the last day of that.
  • Some old code relating to alternate player data folders (this was for purposes of multiple copies of the game running on one computer to play multiplayer with themselves in prior games to AI War 2) have been removed.
  • Fixed 2 bugs with the EntityTypeDrawingBag:
    • It was impossible to create ETDBs with subcategories (both for AI Budgets and Fleet Design Templates), due to a bug where the subcategory lists were never created and actually null.
    • The XML field "periodic_spawn_faction_for_unit" was accidentally capitalized, which wasn't as much a bug as it was simply very confusing.
      • Thanks to tadrinth for finding, and N RSirLimbo for fixing!
  • Treat everything that has factory metal flows as a factory.
    • In particular, this makes the Necromancer Phylactery show factory status in its hover text.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating!
  • Don't allow things that have died to remains to build drones.
    • This is relevant for the buildins the Necromancer hacks from the Templar.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating!
  • data_extension on GameEntityTypeData is now able to be added properly to shots and wormholes, not just ships/squads/structures.
    • Thanks to Puffin for requesting.

Beta 3.760 Chaotic Maps And Ark Empires

(Released November 30th, 2021)

New DLC1 Map Type: Chaotic

  • Add Chatoic map type.
    • Planets are chaoticly arranged, with not planar links between them.
    • Note: Due to the highly interconnected nature of this map, it can be hard to judge proximity.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for adding this new feature!!

QoL

  • You can now toggle quickstarts as Cleared, so you can keep track of which ones you've done!
    • Requested by many people, thanks to Badger for the code.
  • Display necromance essence on the resource bar.
    • This is ugly, as it displays it in the empty space on the right of the bar, but provides an at-a-glance view.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for adding!
  • Show more detail in skeleton/wight home structures.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for adding.
  • Periodic spawning (Raid Engines, Brutal Guardian Lairs, etc) notifications now have the following priority level:
    • Starts out at 0 (informational).
    • If it's the local player, increase by 2. Otherwise, if the target spawned against a faction allied to the local player (including other players) increase by 1.
    • If the spawn is within the next 10 seconds or 20% of the timer, whichever is less, incrase by 2. Otherwise, if the spawn is within the next 60 seconds or 5% of the timer, whichever is less, increase by 1.
    • This way periodic spawning notifications dynamically adjust their priority based on the situation.
      • Thanks to Badger for suggesting, and NR SirLimbo for adding!
  • Include strength of stacks in planet sidebar strength calculations.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for adding!

Balance

  • If you had DLC2 installed, then previously the golems and Arks from the base game and DLC1 had different stats.
    • This was something we had tried out while we were rebalancing DLC2, but never meant to leave it exclusive to that. The following changes have now been made to the core content:
      • Base Game:
        • Artillitery Golem can be hacked for increased weapon power OR increased durability (I believe in DLC2 it was just weapon power, and in base game just durability)
        • Regenerator Golem deals health change per Vampiric Doubleshot from 1 to 0.5.
        • Cursed Golem shots per salvo at mark 1 down from 60 to 40, but gains 20 shots per salvo per mark. Paralysis effect twice as effective. Claim cost and metal cost from 2m to 5m. Energy usage from 200k to 50k. Secondary weapon gains +1 shot per salvo per mark, and does twice as much paralysis damage.
        • Botnet Golem stats were unchanged and so are unchanged.
        • Black Widow Golem can be hacked for increased weapon power OR increased durability (I believe in DLC2 it was just weapon power, and in base game just durability). Shots per salvo at mark 1 down from 80 to 40, but gains 20 per mark now. Also it now jams weapons rather than disrupts engines, and its tractor beam can grab up to albedo 0.5 instead of 0.4.
        • Hive Golem from 1.4m to 1.8m health, shields 0.7m to 0.9m, drone build speed from 7 to 4 at mark 1, but +2 per mark. Also 1 added shot per salvo as mark level increases.
        • AI variants of all golems get 1.33x to all costs, 1.5x to all healths, and 1.5x to all weapons.
        • Rescue Spore Drone moved from DLC2 to base game.
        • Orchid Ark gains a rescue spore drone launcher, and repair speeds 5x higher.
        • Ark One health from 0.65m to 0.5m, and shields from 0.35m to 0.5m. Shield stays larger, unlike what DLC2 had before. Range on the spider cannon increased.
        • Gyrn, the Voidhome energy production from 150k to 500k, and energy consumption from 100k to 0. Damage lowered from 16k to 10k on main weapon, now has a 2x bonus against ships of at least mass 5 tX. Factory construction speed slightly lower at mark 1, but increases faster as marks go up.
        • Thanatos Ark main weapon damage lowered from 12k to 8k, now has a 2x bonus against ships of at least mass 5 tX.
      • DLC1:
        • Belle Prime Ark strength multiplier is now 5%, meaning it does not look so overpowered. This is just for display and AI purposes, not actual damage output. Main weapon damage from 400 to 300, but the multipliers for damage based on time at a planet greatly increased and expanded. It's ability to ambush or deal with ambushers is higher than ever.
        • Great A'Thomek Ark now has the Distracting Metallics system, which pulls in shots to itself that were headed toward other friendlies.
        • Nodorian Tortoid Ark strength multiplier is now 200%, meaning it does not look so underpowered. This is just for display and AI purposes, not actual damage output.
        • Sol Ater Ark gains a cloaking device. Its main weapon loses a lot of power, but gains a 4x bonus if it has been on the current planet for at least 90 seconds. It also gets a further multiplier against enemies that are new here. Also it is an even better hacker now, with the AI response dropping from 85% to 70%.
        • Grand Salvage Ark health and shields up about 20%, and rather than its primary weapon doing AOE knockback damage to up to 50 ships in an area, it now fires salvos of 50 shots that knockback; this is notably more effective. It's secondary weapon also now has some paralysis effects.
    • Thanks to ArnaudB for adding all of these changes, and to Puffin for noticing that these were accidentally gated behind DLC2.

Improvements

  • In the tooltips for the player type, it now shows the details for each player type.
  • If there are problems that would prevent you from starting the game, it now says so in the lobby in the upper right hand corner, and also says so if you click Start Game.
  • Several pieces of code that were all lumped together in one file in mapgen have been split out into multiple files for easier management.
  • There was some very complicated and gross code related to the way that I added the randomization option for the starting player fleets and such. I've stripped out all of that, and made it so that Core Table Subsets and other similar things can now specify "I have a random option and this is its text" without having to create junk data.
    • Additionally, there was some severe redundancy in fields with the starting fleets and such, and that has all been cleaned up. This is all mod-friendly style stuff now, and also makes it much easier for me to implement what I want tomorrow for the Ark Empire, etc.
  • The support fleets now have better names that are actually more brief and thematic, rather than long and descriptive.
  • All of the starting fleets that you wind up with (battlestations, starting fleet, and support fleet) now use the name of their actual fleet template when you start the game. Previously, it was just using randomly assigned names based on your starting planet, which was not helpful at all.
    • See, we frequently choose a random battlestation in particular, and if you did that, then there was no way to ever know which one you had chosen and if you really liked it or what. Now you can actually tell all these fleets apart when you use them, which feels really good.
  • The game now loads every GameEntityTypeData list of units with a tag into a "core table subset" with a name of "ETag_[TagName]"
    • What this allows for is dropdowns in the settings menu or faction controls that contain specific lists of units.
    • If you wish to have a random option, you can use the new random name, displayname, and description tags on the field itself.
    • This is a pretty major expansion of flexibility that can be used for many things in mods and in the main game itself!
  • There is a new galaxy option in Advanced Dangers under AI Behavior called "Brutal Guardian Lairs" if you have DLC3 installed.
    • This is OFF by default, as we never want to make the game just blanket harder because you install some DLC. However, it is currently forced on for Expert mode and above. We're open to feedback on that decision, but it seems interesting.
    • Description (may need some work):
      • Enabling this makes it so that the AI will spawn 3 Brutal Guardian Lairs somewhere in the galaxy, at least 5 hops from the player homeworld(s). Currently they may not even spawn on maps such as X if the player is in the center.
      • Once the 5-minute time has run out a Brutal Guardian will spawn for the Hunter Fleet of the AI owning the Lair.
      • Once the spawning has started, it will not stop until the Lair is destroyed. Killing it will inflict 15 AIP, but also grant 500 science and 15 hacking points. The Lair will also self-destruct if the AI command station of its planet dies.
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo for adding this cool feature!
  • More Brutal Guardian work:
    • The Amalgam Gamma variant now has its own icon overlay, distinct from the Beta variant.
    • Added the Amalgam Delta variant: A fusion of Dire Stealth and Plasma, and Heavy Beam and Shredder guardians. Do not let it near your command stations and anything else that relies on shields and/or forcefields to protect itself.
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo for updating!
  • Removed the AgileCursedGolem, which was unused.
  • The start of renaming a lot of the systems of ships to be shorter names that don't mean anything, other than just what weapon they are (W1, W2, etc).
    • Essentially, this is the internal name that is never seen. The visible name is frequently very different from the underlying name, which is just used for matching to and upgrading on. It makes savegames smaller to have these be just symbolic, and it also makes the xml easier to read.
  • The rest of the systems in the game (all 1400 or so of them) have all been given one or two letter designations.
    • The game will now throw errors on load if a mod or dlc or whatever tries to use a system with a longer name (again, this is the internal designation, not the visible display name).
    • To reiterate, this is about performance and clarity.
      • Clarity: One thing that can never change about a system is its name. So if we start out with a system named FusionBlaster as its internal name, it must stay that forever, even if we rename the actual system to be "Fusion Cutter" or "Thor's Giant Smiting Hand" or whatever. It's actually remarkable how confusing it can be to see something that seems meaningful (FusionBlaster) in the xml for the internal name, and then to see the real name (Arcane Saw or whatever) is something completely different. It's jarring and makes it hard to read. Seeing things like W1 and W2 instead of that is a bit easier, because that's clearly just a designation -- "weapon 1, weapon 2, okay, what is weapon 1 called?" At no point do I get confused if the name is "W1" or "icy black hand of death."
        • I would have preferred to use a very consistent naming scheme, but unfortunately that would have led to more errors, particularly in places where there are a ton of copy-from descendants who then modify what their parent had. So there are a number of designations like B1 through D9, and same with V and Q and R, and those have no special meaning. I also used W and then every letter of the alphabet following it.
    • Performance:
      • We have to store these names somewhere in order to make sure we map to them correctly (the internal designations, not the longer players-see-it version of names). That list of names is then in every savegame, and transmitted over the network every time. That list is the full list of possible system names from any unit in the game, cobbled down. If there are 600ish unique names, averaging about 8 characters each, and each character takes us about 1 byte to represent in our format, then that's 4800 bytes, or 4.6kb. That's not super duper sizeable. But that was because we had a lot of reuse. If modders take to adding lots of custom names, and don't realize that the internal designations can be as simple as W1, W2, W3 for all the cool things they come up with, then it's really possible to see this sort of data just skyrocket in size. (I mean, what would we ever do if the game had a one-time transmission and storage of... 40 kb! Yes, I am joking. This doesn't save remotely as much data as I'd like, even projected forward.)
    • So I guess this was just about clarity with all the frequent renames we do. It's enormously common for us to create a new ship with some generic copies of some weapon, and then later give it unique names and art. Having old and mismatched internal names was not a welcome part of that process, and it was everpresent and confusing. Since changing those things breaks saves, this was my last chance to rectify it.
  • Hacks and techs are now serialized by index rather than name. They just barely cross the line to where they are more efficient to serialize that way. All the other things that are serialized by name are so rarely done that to store the lookup would be larger than the data of just sending the single name used.
  • ReactToHumansGettingFirstIntelOfPlanet is now actually called properly on the DeepInfo of factions when appropriate. And older logic that lets the dyson sphere and nanocaust react to this, or play an audio notification, are now triggered in the new format by this.

Player-Type Related

  • A new IPlayerTypeSpecificCode provides a linkage (rather like description appenders or similar) where some worker class can provide playertype-specific code.
    • This is separate from the actual BaseInfo/DeepInfo that player types use because we may need to call this sort of code from all sorts of places, and there's also no good reason that those factions can't otherwise just share a BaseInfo or DeepInfo in some cases. In other words, this leads to simpler code and more readable code.
    • That said, in the end we wound up needing to make a BaseInfo and DeepInfo version of these code executor interfaces.
  • There was still a bunch of remnant code for a "solo ark" faction that the game was going to have. That has all been removed. There will be a solo ark player type coming up soon, but it won't require any of the mechanics that were in our other faction code for it, and it will instead require some other new bits.
  • Some of the game logic for the earliest parts of the necromancer faction has been split out into the new IPlayerTypeSpecificCode code.
    • This is cleaner as a place for the logic in general, but it also is going to differ between lone necromancer and necromancer empire, so it's good to have separated anyhow.
  • Lone Necromancers are no longer auto-seeded on a random human empire starting planet. After all, the lone necromancer can exist now in games without any human empire present at all.
    • They seed on whatever planet you've selected for them in the lobby, and further details will be coming for them in the near future.
  • Overall the various player types are closer now to seeding the correct things on campaign start now, but it's still not quite right. Should be tomorrow for that!
    • At the moment, from what I can tell, the lobby behavior is correct for the various player types, except for the bit about not yet having all of the new lobby options I want to add for some of the new types.
  • Adjust the logic for notifications of homeworld attack to handle Home Arks.
    • This adjust both the notification, and the resource bar icon, to notify if any planet with a unit that causes a loss is under attack. This means:
      • If your ark is on a hostile planet, you will get a notification
      • If your starting planet is under attack, but doesn't have your ark, you won't get a notification.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating!
  • Add `uses_tech_upgrades_from_player_types` to player types.
    • This allows related player types to share tech upgrades, without needing to modify the base records of the tech upgrade.
    • In particular, this allows player types added in expansions and mods to use tech upgrades from base game player types, without needing to modify/enumerate them.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for adding!
  • Allow necropolises to control planets.
    • This add a city_centers_can_control setting to player types, that allows city centers of those players to control planets.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for adding!
  • Allow GameEnitity types to explictly mark themselves as king units.
    • In particular, this makes the Home Necropolis a king unit (without changing it from a city center), which allows Neinzul Sappers to spawn on the homeworld of a Solo necromancer.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for adding!
  • Split out a few DLC3 faction xml files for easier editing. Same with some of the other partial-record additions for DLC2.
  • requires_player_type on custom fields is now requires_player_types, a list of multiple player types. This allows for some fields to be shared between player types.
    • This is most useful for some of the player types that will just be slight variations on one another. Specifically the Necromancer Sidekick, which is easier for players to find and understand when it's a distinct type rather than just having it as an option under the lone necromancer itself.
  • Added can_lose_game on player types, which is normally true. But for helper-only or spectator factions, this is set to false because essentially they cannot lose at all.
  • WriteTextToSecondLineOfLeftSidebarInLobby is now implemented on the IPlayerTypeSpecificCodeBaseInfo, so that each player type uses that instead of the equivalent function from ExternalFactionBaseInfo.
    • Also added WriteFactionTooltipForSidebarInLobby, which handles mouseover of the faction tabs. Additionally it now just writes the player type name and description, and if there are any obvious problems with the current setup that are identifiable at the playertype-level (without custom code), then it goes ahead and writes all of that in the tooltip now, too.
  • A new GetDisplayNameWithoutPlayerNames() has been added on faction and faction config, and most places in the code now use that instead of the older SpecialFactionData.DisplayName.
    • Essentially, this gets either the faction name or the player type name if it's a human faction.
  • The game no longer requires at least one human player homeworld in order for the game to proceed.
  • The game really does need at least one human faction if you want to be a spectator, but it now just adds that in belatedly if there are no human factions listed.
    • This allows for the same user experience regarding spectators in multiplayer and single-player, while keeping things as-required on the behind the scenes side.
  • Added prevents_game_win_or_loss, reveals_entire_map_at_start, and must_be_sole_player_faction, all of which combine to complete the spectator player type's functionality in the base game.
  • Player factions are always now removable. Previously, the first player faction could never be removed. It is now possible to start a game with no player factions at all.
  • The Spectator player type is now fully complete, making it the second player type to reach that status (behind human empire).
  • Added a new hide_all_faction_fields_other_than_player_type field for player types, which is only useful for the spectator. This basically just keeps the spectator interface clean, since there's nothing relevant beyond "I am a spectator"
    • This fully completes the spectator player type, so that it's as simple and clean as I can make it.
  • For factions that cannot lose (right now only the necro sidekick), mapgen now will bar them from starting the game if they aren't partnered with another player who can actually lose. Otherwise the game itself can't be lost, which is obviously nonideal.
  • For factions that require vassals in order to play, the game now prevents starting when there are not enough vassals set up. It also gives a list of available vassals so that the player doesn't have to wonder which ones are available for that.
  • In the faction setup, when you have at least one faction selected that requires vassals (aka Suzerain is the only one for now), then the Vassal option no longer is hidden under advanced options.
    • Additionally, in the list of potential factions under Add Faction in this same circumstance, it shows the text "Can Be Vassal" next to each valid option.
  • When factions are selected to be a vassal, they are now forced to an allegiance of Friendly To Players, and they also have their Invasion Time forced to Immediate, if relevant.
    • Additionally, these fields just no longer appear on the interface for factions once you have made them a vassal, as they are not relevant.
  • Vassals now automatically share their vision with human players, regardless of other settings.
  • On the sidebar in the lobby, vassals now show up with their allegiance as vassal, rather than Friendly To Players.
  • The Dark Zenith "Spawning Options" field has been renamed to properly be "Invasion Time"
    • This allows for it to be properly overridden and hidden, etc.
  • Allow player types to specify other player types they use hacks from.
    • This allows Expansion and Mod player types to use hacks from the base game, without needing to list them in the base game hacking types.
    • Use this to remove access to a bunch of hacks from the Necromancer.
      • All the hacks that grant ship lines or tech, since they are not relevant to the necromancer.
      • Spire Archive and hacks to sabatoge AI structures, for balance reasons, since the Necromancer currently has effectively unlimited hacking points.
      • I had originally considered removing a bunch of minor faction hacks for similiar balance reasons, but decided to leave them in for now. (Note that these are only available to the Necromance Empire already)
    • Thanks to tom.prince for adding!
  • Make all the upgrade/build Necromancer hacks complete instantly.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating!
  • Get rid of the special case for building things in cities.
    • This removes the granted_by_any_custom_fleets attribute of build sidebar categories. It seems that this exist (at least after the city refactor) that the only reason this was necessary is because spire hubs were not considered `BuildMenuPopulator`s. However, that turns out to be because they did not grant any fleet design templates or logic; but there is no reason to have that limition.
    • Thus, by removing the check for fleet design templates/logic, we can remove the special case code.
    • It also turns out that the city logic had slightly different logic (it only showed things with a non-zero *explicit* cap, as opposed to a *effective* cap. I discovered this when I removed the unused fleet design for necropolises, and noticed some of the buildings could no longer be built, despite the fleet design being empty.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating!
  • Rework how bolstering is handled, to use external fleet base info.
    • When I originally added support for changing which fleet is bolstered, I used base-info on the centerpiece to stand-in for fleet base-info. Now that we can put base-info on fleets, it make more sense to use that directly.
    • While we are touching this code, make it so that only minor necropolises can change which fleet they are bolstering. Major necropolises always bolster the fleet the spawn, and defensive necropolis don't bolster anything.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating!
  • Only show bolstering UI if there is a bolstered fleet, or the city can change which fleet is bolstered.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating!
  • Refactor calculation of bolstered fleets contents, to share code between Spire and Necromancer.
    • This also adjust some code in both of those factions so that they don't get as confused if there is a necromancer in a spire campaign. I don't know if I addressed all the issues, but I fixed the ones I ran into.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating!
  • Scourge: add an option to smooth upgrading out. Intended for puffin
    • Thanks to Badger for adding!
Ark Empire
  • Ark Empires now spawn a new king-style Ark instead of a home command station and all the things that go with it.
  • The Ark Empire now allows for you to select from a list of all the Arks available for that mode, or to have it assign you one at random (this is using the new ETag_ functionality).
    • Over time, I could use some help from volunteers/modders/any-players who might have feelings about adjustments to the tooltip descriptions for these versions of the Arks, plus health or weaponry boosts for them.
      • Right now not all Arks are equal, and they probably never will be, but giving players more information (and/or somewhat closing the gap in stats) while at the same time not giving them the full insanely huge tooltip would be the goal. Things like "power level 1/5, 3/5, etc" might be one way to do it if people are thinking about it. But also closing the stats gap some, just for the Ark-Empire versions (not the main capturable versions).
  • Add some energy and metal production to Home Arks (for the Ark Empire).
    • In particular, without energy, you will immediately enter brownout at the beginning of the game.
    • Also, mark Home Arks as causing a loss, if they die.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for adding!
  • Ark Empires are not ready yet, but they are getting closer! You could play with them and potentially win, although it's not balanced or fully set up yet.
    • Your initial fleet for your Ark now comes complete with five lines of ships, which are individually something you can choose in the lobby.
      • This is a build-your-own-fleet feature, which is pretty darn exciting, I have to say. I'd love more input from folks on what they'd like to see as options for each of the five categories, but I started out with a pretty good starting selection just pulling from the base game.
        • I've been really tempted to add in a frigate line, and maybe even... a cruiser line also if you have DLC2. The problem with the cruiser line is that it would be conditional on DLC2, and thus would make balance shift SHARPLY if it was not present. So maybe just frigates instead, or there's a 6th line which either has stupidly-high caps of frigates and relatively-low caps of cruisers to choose from?
      • Each of the five categories has specific ship lines that are set up via tags in xml (aka, they are easy to mod, easy to add to without code), and this actually demonstrates using custom xml embedded on units (which could be handled via a partial record if we wanted to, but is not for this case). This shows several really powerful things that would be useful for various mods in the future, in short.
    • In addition to the above, your starting ark now acts as a factory with double the power of a normal single factory, allowing for your ark to build for you no matter where you are.
    • Major items still to do for the Ark Empire:
      • More ship choices for the five lines, possibly including that frigate/cruiser mix as a sixth line. Help would be appreciated.
      • I need to get it showing something different for the player other than the custom fleet in the left tab of the factions screen, since that is not even relevant for the Ark Empire.
      • You should have to fight to take your starting planet, versus it being cleared out.
      • The game should not consider you deep-striking in the early game of this player type.
      • The amount of metal and energy produced by the empire versions of these arks needs a look. Help is also welcome on that.
      • Ark Empires need to have some pop-out mobile home-style defenses that they can use as-desired, like forcefields. I need to add a few features for that.
      • After this short list of items, I believe the Ark Empire is fully ready to go!

Necromancer Changes

  • The "Home Necropolis" for necromancers is now called a Phylactory. The actual logic for how these work in terms of hacking and such is not in place yet, but the description updates are in, along with the journal entry by Badger, and the name change.
    • Thanks to Zeus for coming up with the name, and Badger for suggesting the functionality.
  • All of the necromancer journal entries are pretty much now for the tips tab, since they are more about advice than about lore dumps.
  • The necromancer can now use a hack to move its Phylactery (ie its home necropolis). To move the player must pay Essence and have a target necropoolis that is not crippled. When it moves, the old necropolis moves swaps places with the phylactery. When this location change happens, all stationary structures for both are destroyed
    • Thanks to Badger for adding!
  • More health to the necromancer flagships
    • Thanks to Badger for adding!
  • Modify necromancer economy to give more income but also higher prices. The intent is to not change the current behaviour too much, but having larger numbers is more fun for players.
    • The Templar can now use 'Elite' units that don't grant resources to the necromancer once the necromancer gets strong enough. This is intended to reduce the extreme amounts of science the necromancer can get in the mid-late game
    • Thanks to Badger for adding!
  • Give an Elderling a very expensive hack to summon a Transcendant Elderling; an extra scary elderling that can be hunted for a ton of Essence.
    • The goal is to give the Necromancer some fun things to spend their excess Hacking points on.
    • Thanks to Badger for adding!
  • Some templar income nerfs. Phylactory movement should now happen automatically when it would die
    • Thanks to Badger for updating.
  • The templar can't rebuild a defensive structure on a planet until 20 minutes have passed since the last time they owned it. This rule does not apply to structures built to defend a Rift
    • Continued work on Phylactery movement
    • The necromancer empire now correctly dies when its phylactery is crippled
    • Thanks to Badger for adding!
  • The phylactery for necromancer empire should be shown on the galaxy map, since it can move between planets
    • Thanks to Badger for updating.
  • Make necromancer upgrades a bit more expensive for the higher mark levels
    • Thanks to Badger for updating.
  • Necromancer building improvements.
    • First, the Necromancer can now build Skeleton and Wight Drone producers. Hopefully this will go a long way toward giving the player defensive resources. The drones scale in power with your existing science options (So science invested into skeleton warriors will improve skeleton warrior drones).
    • Secondly, A Defensive necropolis now can only build defensive or utility structures. Now they actually have defensive options!
    • Thanks to Badger for adding!
  • The necromancer drone producers are now only obtained by hacking Templar defenses. Chris has some plans for giving the necromancer other main necropolis defenses. This is now intended as a mechanism for letting players spend their extra hacking points
    • Thanks to Badger for adding!

New Specific Player Types

  • A new Necromancer Sidekick player type (for DLC3) has been added, with the goal of this being a multiplayer-only thing for when a less-experienced player wants to be part of the game but not risk actually losing the game for the group.
    • Description:
      • The Necromancer Sidekick is a powerful, player contollable faction -- that cannot lose. It can only be used in tandem when allied with another player faction, typically in multiplayer.
      • The Necromancer has come to this region of the galaxy to harvest life force from Rifts, powerful energy sources, in order to make itself more powerful.
      • Playing as the Necromancer Sidekick will cause an additional copy of AI-Allied Elderlings to be spawn, as well as a unique faction called the Templar.
      • Using the Necromancer Sidekick is compatible with any playstyle, assuming that the sidekick isn't doing much. But if the sidekick is playing fully, then generally the AIP is going to be driven up a fair bit.
      • Please see the in-game Journals for how the necromancer faction works.
  • The start of the Necromancer Empire player type (for DLC3) has been added, although bear in mind that it's not remotely ready just yet.
    • Description:
      • The Necromancer Empire is a powerful, non-traditional, empire-based player faction. It is not yet ready for testing -- not everything described in this tooltip yet exists!
      • The Necromancer has come to this region of the galaxy to harvest life force from Rifts, powerful energy sources, in order to make itself more powerful. Generally, a Necromancer must defeat their most powerful foes in order to become more powerful. Using the Necromancer Empire is not conducive to overly low-AIP playstyles.
      • Playing as the Necromancer Empire will cause an additional copy of AI-Allied Elderlings to be spawned, as well as a unique faction called the Templar.
      • The Necromancer Empire has both offensive and defensive components, but most of its defenses come from capturing AI guard posts and using them against their former masters. A Necromancer Empire is quite capable of standing on its own toe-to-toe with any enemies that a normal Human Empire could face, but is more complex to master.
      • Please see the in-game Journals for how the necromancer faction works.
  • The necromancer commodore has been removed as a separate faction, because after discussion on discord we realized that basically it would just be a subset of the necromancer empire at this point.
    • Having the necromancer sidekick separate is still required because of its unique role in multiplayer, but other than that the way to play necromancer is just with the full necromancer empire, plus any options that may be desired to make things harder or easier. We don't need a separate player type for any of that stuff.
  • Added the start of the last new DLC1 player type: Spire-Infused Empire
    • Description:
      • NOT YET FUNCTIONAL, JUST A STUB! Functions very much like a normal human empire, but also comes with spire cities and artifacts right from the start.
      • If you are familiar with the Fallen Spire faction, normally those act as a separate faction, and you can only grow them by gathering Spire Relics in various ways.
      • This faction skips the Spire Relic process, but keeps the rest of what makes Fallen Spire awesome:
      • If you like the quest-style attributes of Fallen Spire, then you should just use a regular human empire (or Ark Empire) and enable the Fallen Spire campaign.
      • If you just want Spire ships and a direct frontal assault type of game, then this is the faction for you.
  • Added a new base game player type: Spectator
    • Description:
      • If you want to just see other factions duke it out, then this allows you to do so.
      • Please note: if you don't actually set up any enemies amongst other factions, you're going to have a boring time!
      • This player type is mostly useful for single-player. If you want to have a spectator in multiplayer, then just unassign that player's account from any player faction and they will be a spectator who can just view what the other player factions see.
      • By using this player faction, the game will be unable to be won or lost, and the entire game map will be visible from the start.
  • Added in the last planned player type, the Suzerain (for DLC3), which I had forgotten to add the other day.
    • Description:
      • Humans exist only in a single Ark that cannot claim worlds or build other structures or ships. It's just you and your Ark for your faction.
      • For this reason, the Suzerain requires at least two Vassals to be chosen as subjects for it to order around, but you have the option of choosing more than two. Your victory hinges on your ability to effectively order around these NPCs.

Map Generation / Lobby Responsiveness

  • No actual algorithmic changes yet, but all of the map configuration data -- what is needed to generate the structure of a map, but not its contents -- has been moved onto MapConfiguration. This is going to allow me to decouple the structural generation from its population in a way that will be great for lobby responsiveness, but step one is getting all the data into the proper encapsulated locations.
    • That in and of itself led to a bunch of changes in 26 files, and I didn't want to have that mixed up with actual algorithm changes in svn.
  • There is a new thing called Map Populator in the galaxy options under MapGen:
    • Once the structure of a map is generated, it then needs to actually be filled with something. Normally there is a single central algorithm that handles this. However, it is possible for alternative algorithms to be added by mods, and you can then select those here.
  • Related to that, there's a new MapPopulatorType xml folder, and there's a single populator in there called Standard.
    • The main reason for this is to make it so that mods can put in their own replacements if they want to do that.
  • At this point, not much of the actual logic has been changed for map generation, but the population and the structural bits have been separated.
    • The goals of this are twofold.
      • Firstly, to create this separation so that soon we can run the structural parts only when those are changed (thus making the lobby more responsive).
      • Secondly, to make it so that our map population algorithm can be replaced by any modders who want to copy the existing one (it's open source) and make their own variant. Thanks to Puffin for requesting this part!
  • MapPopulators have been added for the test chamber and tutorials, getting the test chamber back into functional format. Tutorials are still out of commission at the moment on the beta branch, but not because of this. Those are on my list for soon.
  • PsuedoPlanetData is a data structure that we no longer needed, and it has been removed.
  • There is now a CachedPlanetPoint and CachedPlanetConnection, which allow us to "regenerate" a galaxy for which the map structure has not changed in a very short amount of time by skipping the structure generation if we know it's just going to be a copy of the one we last cached this run.
    • Often this can cut generation time down from several hundred ms to just two dozen ms. Or in the case of excessively large galaxies with many factions, it can cut it down from multiple seconds to just a few.
    • Overall this creates a vast improvement in the responsiveness of adding factions and such in the lobby, but changing the map type or style or seed still has the same sort of wait as it did before.
    • For a complex map with 300 planets, on my machine this takes 9.5 seconds to generate the structure, but after that is done, it only takes 280ms per faction added or removed. On an 80 planet map, it's 400ms and 20ms, respectively. Prior to now it would take the larger number every time we did anything like adding or removing factions, which was very confusing and annoying.
    • Thanks to Eluthena for reminding us of how annoying it was to have these long waits on things like changing faction colors, etc.
  • "Skipped an extra mapgen call that was substantially the same as one that was run X seconds ago" is no longer a feature (it's not needed).
  • Map generation now actually happens on a background thread, which keeps the interface moving while it's doing what it does. This is very handy for the giant slow maps that sometimes people like to start.
    • This was long-since meant to be happening that way, but for some combination of reasons had changed so that we were not actually doing it that way anymore.
  • "SerializeByIndex called on table with null IndexSerializationInfo" now makes an effort to fix itself before it happens.
  • Removed some old "work thread" stuff that was still in place from Stars Beyond Reach, which we had intended to adapt into AI War 2, but wound up being set aside because we found even better ways to handle things. The upgrade to the newer version of .NET in 2017 was part of that.
  • Engine_Universal.OnUpdateFromMainThread now gives more detailed error handling.
    • Same with UpdateGameController.
    • This was able to have some cross-threading errors now that I made these changes with mapgen. It only is a new risk during mapgen in the lobby itself, not during gameplay.
  • The game now ignores some "UnityEngine.EventSystems.ExecuteEvents.GetEventList" exceptions that can happen during repeated mapgen clicks.
    • Also one with "UnityEngine.UI.Graphic.Raycast"
  • The AIWarExternalCode dll (BaseInfo) now has a dependency on the ArcenAIW2Visualization dll.
    • There is no longer any base classes for the GalaxyMapPlanet and GalaxyMapPlanetLink.
  • All of the code for setting up and updating GalaxyMapPlanets has been completely reorganized and all resides in a few simple to understand methods rather than being scattered around.
    • In general, previously the planets were responsible for updating the galaxy map view. Now the galaxy map view takes care of itself by examining the planets. This has many advantages.
      • One of the advantages is that the Galaxy object no longer needs to store NewPlanetsExploredIfNecessary, NomadHasMoved, NewPlanetsSpawned, or NomadHasMoved. Instead, the code is able to just notice these things directly.
    • Other bits of code are now just more readable in general, since they now happen with less indirection, meaning you can just read linearly what they do.
    • Another benefit of this is that the galaxy map no longer blinks out of existence and then back in wehn you're changing parameters on a map in the lobby. This makes it far easier to see what is happening with a map.
  • Updated the lobby so that it now shows you (or the host in multiplayer, but not the clients) the progress of long mapgens as it gets the planets created and all the links populated.
    • This is great for long mapgens, such as the ones that take 15 seconds for 300 planets, although for the ones that take more like a third of a second it just feels flickery, so there's going to need to be a middle-ground here.
  • The visuals of the lobby map generation now adaptively change their behavior based on how long it takes your specific computer to generate maps of a given type. This gives a certain amount of future-proofing so that the behavior will always make sense, and it also makes it so that it behaves properly even on very differently-powered CPUs..
    • Essentially, the game keeps track of the longest it took -- since starting the program today -- it has taken to generate the given map type you've chosen with roughly the same planet count.
      • If it doesn't know yet, or it's over 1 second, then it lets you watch the planets be assembled sooner than later, which gives you a view of what is happening as mapgen happens, versus the game just seeming to be frozen.
      • If it's doing a very quick regeneration of the existing structure, or past mapgens took less than 1 second, then it just freezes the view of the planets until they are finished generating. Usually this is something like 300ms, but sometimes even less. The goal here is to make it so that you don't see planets or links between them flickering around, and in particular so that as you change map options on relatively small maps, you can see the links move easily because you're not seeing the intermediate movements that otherwise would be visible.
    • So far as I can tell, so far this gives the optimal experience in all of the various settings combos I've been able to come up with.
  • Adjusted the weights of the older galaxy map backgrounds so that they have more change to show up (or less in the case of one). All of Puffin's lobby BGs have a weight of 50k. Previously, all of my older ones had a weight of just 100. Now Black5 is 50k, SwirlyBlack is 10k, BlackHole is down to 10, and BrightBlack is 1k.
    • Thanks to Puffin for the help with this.

Bugfixes

  • Fixed several bugs with dropdowns in general not showing tooltips properly when you hovered over them if they were closed. This was super annoying, and I seem to recall some folks complaining about it months ago, now.
  • Updated ArcenExternalDllTypeInfoAndCache to be IClearableDuringXmlReload and thus properly reset itself during xml reload. Also solved a tiny memory leak relating to these on xml reloads.
  • Fix the use of incorrect tracing buffer causing tracing to fail.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the fix!
  • Don't try to fire shots, if the number of shots has been reduced to 0.
    • This can happen if the target already has enough incoming shots to kill it.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the fix!
  • Put in a potential fix for Shot Compression killing all shots at a target due to the target being protected by a forcefield, but enough shots to kill the target if it weren't shielded are already on their way.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for finding and NR SirLimbo for fixing. Hopefully this fixes the bug, but only further testing will tell.
  • Prevented Shot Compression from underestimating the damage of each shot due to rounding. This is only ever a single point of damage, but more precision is always good.
    • Thanks to tom.princefor figuring out the code could still do this and NR SirLimbo for fixing.
  • Fix error when switch maptypes in lobby.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing!
  • Don't reset planet count when changing map type.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing!
  • If we are removing a SquadVisualizer because the squad is going back to the pool, clear the related entity.
    • I think this probably causes a bunch of errors; but, along with the next patch, seems to stop the visual clutter of stray ship circles, and dead entities that can be hovered over.
  • As far as I can tell, the errors this produces are harmless to gameplay.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing!
  • Use LazyLoadSquadWrapper for references from the visualizer to squads.
    • This is the other part of the patch dealing with dead squads still being hoverable, and having ship circles.
    • I'm not sure if this is correct, but it seems like at least a reasonable stop-gap. In particular, when reviewing, I was unsure if the visual layer wants access to the squad, even when it is to be removed at end of frame[1].
    • Even though these patches causes a bunch of errors, I suspect it is worthwhile, as it makes those error easier to diagnose, since the accesses they represent would have caused issues anyway.
    • [1] Though I guess if it does want that, it would be possible to add an accessor to LazyLoadSquadWrapper that allowed access til at least end-of-frame.
      • Or to add a variant of LazyLoadSquadWrapper that had the behavior; and perhaps also doesn't fall back to looking up by primary key.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing!
  • Don't display 1000 as 1,0000.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing and Ranakastrasz for reporting!
  • Unity UI has been removed as a package from our code (it has not been updated since 2019), and has instead been directly integrated. This way we can make some adjustments to the source code in order to fix bugs as needed, since we're seeing a couple on the current internal build.
  • Suppressed the "Internal error. Trying to destroy object that is already released to pool." error, and made it so that it now doesn't allow further execution of that action that would be erroneous. This is an error inside unity UI that is being triggered by something changing during a raycast, near as I can tell. Regardless, when it detects the error state, it's easy to just not follow through on actually doing something wrong, and not bother telling anyone about it since it becomes a non-issue.
    • Those using svn will need a fresh build of the game for their OS (specifically the UnityEngine.UI.dll in the Managed folder) before they'll stop seeing the error.
  • Fixed some ErrorsReportedByEngine that were pointless and harmless.
  • Fixed a couple of errors in ProtectedList that could happen when you tried to iterate beyond its proper range, among other things.
  • Fixed a one-line typo in ToThrowawayListCanMemLeak_HugeWasteAndExpensive_AvoidIfAtAllPossible() where it was creating a throwaway list from a regular managed list, but then filling the contents of the managed list with the contents of the managed list rather than filling the throwaway list with the contents of the managed list.
    • This led to a pretty incredible infinite memory leak and crash to desktop in the rare cases where this is actually used, most notably in some of the map types. Swirl and linked rings were the main ones.
    • Thanks to Major Dullard, UFO, and Badger for reporting.
  • ExternalizedPool has been removed, as thankfully nothing uses it anymore. It was used previously for some mapgen stuff, but I don't think it was working entirely correctly anyhow.
  • The Dark Zenith per-unit base info is now properly being cleared between uses. It was not being properly cleaned up since the code rework until now.
  • The Zenith Architrave now attritions or absorbs ships in BaseInfo rather than DeepInfo, to avoid conflicts in multiplayer.
    • The AI Reserves logic is more complicated, so it still damages ships in DeepInfo, but it flags them as needing sync to the client so that the client will find out immediately.
    • I evaluated the death effects because of their use of TakeDamageDirectly in DeepInfo, but they're already okay because they're in the process of being caught in fast-blast initial sends.
    • Zenith Miner transformations on the host are done in DeepInfo, but will be translated to clients faster. Another case where we have TakeDamageDirectly being called.
    • Neinzul Sappers now attrition their turrets on the client and the host in BaseInfo, to keep from having extra transmissions be required from them.
      • There was another case where the weakest sapper needs to take damage to build something, and this does need to stay in DeepInfo, but it's now flagged for immediate send of that data to the client so it will stay in sync.
    • I had flagged GetMaxStrengthForCastle as being a potential for moving to BaseInfo from DeepInfo for the templars, but in reality there's nothing there that is cause for that.
    • This concludes a full review of things that affect ship health in DeepInfo and might still need to move to BaseInfo. It's one of those things I had marked a few months ago to come back to, and now I have done so.
  • Fix overlap in tooltip text for Spire(?) and Necromance structures grating ships.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing, and Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Add some missing tags for Necromancer flagships.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing.
  • Fix the type name for wight variants to transform into.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing.
  • Fix some indentation that was off by one space.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing.
  • Adjust the logic for allowing Necropolises to control planets, so allow for loss of control.
    • Previously it wouldn't detect if the city center was crippled.
    • Also remove the code for Necromancer to mark planets with influence. This is a left-over from when the faction was a minor faction. This prevented seeing the change in control in the UI.
    • That requires changing how Templars find a Necromancer to target. (This part is untested)
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing.
  • Allow Templars to actually attack in the new setup.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing.
  • Remove Necromancer flagships from the Necropolis fleet membership, as it is meaningless.
    • This was a remenant of before cities were seperated from mobile fleets.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing.
  • Remove unused fleet design template for necropolises.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for removing.
  • Fix spawning of initial necormancer fleet.
    • The code for spawning a necropolis was looking for specific tags to be passed to it, to detect whether it should spawn a fleet. However, the tags passed have changed a couple of times, breaking this. Instead, look for a specific (SpawnsNecromancerFleet) on the necropolis, rather than just the tag paased to pick it.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing in the new setup.
  • Fix a bug where the Praetorian Guard would try to kill the templar
    • Thanks to Badger for fixing.
  • Properly track necromancer flagship upgrades, and respect ship cap increases for them.
    • Of note is that currently, ship cap increases of bodyguards impact lines from any bolstering necropolis, but only if that necropolis is providing *any* of that ship type already.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing.
  • Handle per-fleet upgrades of skeleton/wight soft caps.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing.
  • fix warp gate guardian timers
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing.
  • Fix an annoying null reference exception in UpdateEntitiesShownAtPlanetDirectly
    • Thanks to Badger for fixing.
  • Some minor tweaks to templar balance
    • Thanks to Badger for updating.
  • Use GetStrengthOfSelfAndContents where we are currently open coding that calculation.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing.
  • Add a GetStrengthOfStack method to squads, and replace the places where we open-coded that.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing.
  • Include strength of stack in Human Resitance Fighters' budget refund when warping out.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing!
  • Make sure that in a couple of places, the templar spawn units in-bounds, that weren't before.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing!
  • Store Templar Constructor Location as ArcenPointFromCombatSpace.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing!
  • Don't include ship cap changes for mark level of ships in Necromancer fleets, when calculating strength changes.
    • Since Necromancer fleets don't have ship cap changes based on mark, make sure we don't confuse the player when calculating the effect of tech increases.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing!

Beta 3.754 Player Types

(Released November 18th, 2021)

Improvements

  • Templar Rifts will no longer spawn on planets with a lot of hostile strength
    • Thanks to Badger for adding.
  • Don't allow cross-planet waves to be interrupted on their way to their target.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for improving, and Daniexpert for reporting!
  • Cheat improvement: Trigger wormhole invasion instantly, on cheat request.
    • Also provide feedback that command was triggered.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for improving.
  • Some nerfs to elderlings.
    • Thanks to Badger for updating.

Bugfixes

  • Fix an exception with wave tracing.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing!
  • Fix serialization/deserialization of wormhole invasions.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing!
  • In general, CleanupForReuseAsNewObject is now WipeForReuseAsNewObject, and ClearDuringXmlReload is now WipeDuringXmlReload.
    • When I was typing Clear, intellisense was way to fast to give me the less-frequently-used other options, to huge annoyance.
  • Added a new Faction.PoolFor_FactionList, which is a better model than the one I'm using for planets and a few other things. I will convert more things to this style in the near future, as we can save some RAM and some processing power by moving away from threadstatic with these sorts of things.
  • Fixed a typo that was causing allegiance_factions_i_always_enemy to never be properly read in.

New DLC1 Feature: GameEntityTypeData Extensions

  • Added the core of a new ExternalGameEntityTypeDataExtension, which is not yet actually in use for parsing anything, but which we can use to add custom things like what necromancer has for its external logic.
    • It is this sort of thing which allows for certain faction behaviors to be custom with all sorts of ships without having to mod Core, but this won't allow for things like new ship weapon behaviors, since that's more tightly integrated into Core.
    • A lot of how the necromancer works is really interesting and unique, and being able to have that as a mod-style extension (from a code sense) is useful for future expansion when it comes to actual mods. That said, a lot of core behaviors relating more to weapons and such will always need to be in Core.
    • This new feature in general is a part of DLC1. It's available to all three DLCs to use, but any mods that use this will error if DLC1 is not installed, so they should be set to require DLC1.
  • All of the various necromancer features which were previously on GameEntityTypeData are now on an extension that is DLC3-wide.
    • The code and xml has really clear examples of how you can add these things (see data_extension name="DLC3" all over the place), and how they can even be made to conditionally-turn-on only in the presence of a mod or dlc (see data_extension name="DLC3" required_expansion_list="3_The_Neinzul_Abyss" on various AI Structures in the base game).
    • Essentially, this is a very powerful tool for modders, and also makes certain aspects of faction design both more compartmentalized and arguably more efficient.
    • An important design choice, which is noted by the code in a couple of places, is how many of these to have. My opinion is that the most efficient style is not to make this per-faction or whatever, but instead to make it global per-DLC or per-mod.
      • So if mod X has 14 factions in there, it would just have ModXGameEntityTypeDataExtender with a name of ModX, and thus would be very simple to get anything and everything of relevance from that mod's scope all at once.
    • It is also possible for code in general to look for the presence of one of these data extenders, and do something if it is found, and otherwise ignore it. This is really useful when you want a couple of mods to work together, but one mod defines some extra functionality that the second one uses if it's there, but ignores if it's not. That sort of thing.

New Feature: Player Types

  • There is a new PlayerTypeData table, which in the base game (for now) just has "Human Empire" as the sole type.
    • In DLC3, "Lone Necromancer" is a new type that we have so far, but we'll also have some more types in DLC3, possibly one in DLC1, and also a spectator mode in the base game.
    • With DLC3 installed, mods can also now add custom player types!
  • The game now only allows a single player faction type to be defined in the game, and it must be named Human. It throws an error if it finds multiple, instructing modders that they should implement their alternate player type as an actual PlayerType.
    • If people wind up trying to implement things in two different ways, we're going to get into some pretty nasty code situations in the future, plus it would just be darn confusing for players who want to look at all their options on how to play in one sensible list.
  • On player factions, the base_info_source and deep_info_source now comes from the actual playertype, rather than coming from the faction definition.
    • This allows for all the faction code to be as heavily-divergent as desired in terms of execution, while still maintaining central organization.
  • is_alternate_player_faction and alternate_player_type have been removed from the faction definition.
    • is_human_empire_faction, is_necromancer_faction, and is_solo_ark_faction have all been removed, too.
    • does_not_collect_science_or_hacking_with_other_players has moved permanently to the PlayerTypeData.
  • Reactive Ship Group Triggers now have an option for trigger_on_player_type, which lets them trigger based on specific player types.
  • On tech upgrades, for_alternate_player_faction and the related ForHumanEmpire filed are both removed, and have been replaced by the for_player_types list field.
    • On each player type, there is now a TechUpgradesForThisPlayerType, which is filled from the tech upgrade table in a helpfully-automated way.
  • Rather than having manual lists on the World object of things like "HumanEmpireFactions," each PlayerType now has a list of CurrentFactionsInThisGame on it.
    • This allows for a similar level of immediacy for iterating over factions of a type, while still keeping them data-driven.
  • Previously, human empires auto-gave metal from themselves to other human empires if they would be gathering an excess of metal when they were at cap.
    • Now, each player type defines a excess_metal_auto_gifts_to_player_types, which allows us to define which player types have that sort of relationship.
      • This is relevant partially because we'll have things like the Ark Empire which should totally share with normal empires, for example.
    • For now, if there are two lone necromancers, they can have metal flow between one another like that (because, hey, their balance is equivalent), but the empire-like player types can't donate back and forth to the solo-type faction (because their economies are way too different).
  • is_subject_to_energy_brownouts is now specifically set on the player type, so that things like necromancer don't get hit with those (they don't use energy), while various other player types of course still have them.
  • There is a new is_considered_a_full_empire on player types, which causes them to be added into a general EmpireStylePlayerFactions list.
    • This list is not for any specific type of player per se, but basically all of the big empire-like ones versus the solo-ones or helper-ones.
    • We'll definetely be having Ark Empire in DLC1, and Necromancer Empire in DLC3, and potentially a Spire-Infused Empire or something of that sort in DLC1, to go with the general Human Empire from the base game, and these are all functionally identical in SOME ways, but not all.
    • As a category, this turns out to matter for a few things like the way that science and hacking scaling happens in multiplayer, for instance. Also that these start with a homeworld of their own. And they affect how many nasty things seed out in the galaxy from various AI types and other factions. But I don't want to assume metal-gifting or certain other characteristics across all these empire types.
  • Added a new hacks_fail_when_hacking_points_exhausted, because for some reason the necromancers were set to not do this. I'm not sure if this is truly the desired behavior or not, but at least it is controllable by xml now and not hidden in the code.
  • There were a few very funky pieces of logic with the mark level setting and ship-cap-setting of some alternate-faction fleet members that I believe were not really used at all and have been safely stripped out, but if they were intended then I probably just slightly messed up how that works for the necromancer.
    • If that's the case, the logic was in the main Fleet class and is easy to put back with a conditional based on the PlayerTypeData, but it really seems like it was not actually used...
  • Added ship_counts_go_up_from_upgrades, which is more descriptive than functional. This is set to false for necromaners, since their techs work so differently, and this keeps the ship lister utils reporting correct numbers without having to hardcode anything about that faction.
  • Put a variety of helper methods in NecromancerFactionBaseInfo that allow us to do things for all necromancer factions without having anything hardcoded outside of the necromancer files themselves.
    • This consolidates logic and will make it easier for us to add the necromancer empire, etc.
  • Added uses_any_random_hacker_for_hacks, which is true for necromancers for a variety of their hacks.
  • Added reject_tech_upgrades_that_benefit_nothing, which necromancers set to false but the regular empires set to true. Data-driven rather than hardcoded.
  • Added fleets_only_show_mobile_strength_in_sidebar, which necromancers set to true but the regular empires do not. Again making it data-driven.
  • can_upgrade_city_fed_fleets_directly is another necromancer thing that is now data-driven.
  • auto_add_singleton_of_faction_when_any_count_of_other_faction_present is now auto_add_singleton_of_faction_when_any_count_of_other_factions_present, and allows for a list of factions.
    • There is also a new auto_add_singleton_of_faction_when_any_count_of_other_player_types_present, which lets us do the same thing for player types.
  • Okay! Lone Necromancers have been converted into being a player type, and in general things seem to work, with some oddities. Known issues at the moment:
    • You can't start a game with just a lone necromancer faction yet. I need to put in new logic for that.
    • When you start a game with a human empire and a lone necromancer, right now it's seeding the lone necromancer on its own planet, incorrectly, rather than putting them with the other player.
    • When you start a game with a lone necromancer, it's giving you a human home command station and cryogenic pods and such.
    • The descriptions for the player types are in place in the code, but do not visibly show yet.
    • It's possible that there are other issues that I'm not yet aware of, but those are all the ones I've seen thus far.

Beta 3.753 Necromancer Externalizing

(Released November 17th, 2021)

Improvements

  • Added a new ExternalFleetBaseInfo, which basically works like the squad BaseInfo.
    • These are attached to fleets, rather than squads, however, and they don't have a DeepInfo counterpart as that does not seem needed.
    • Right now there's one set up that is empty for the Necromancer, but so far this is just structural work.
    • The idea behind this is that sometimes a specific faction or other feature will require fleet-specific custom data, and this provides a mechanism for doing that. In the vanilla game and DLCs, probably the only need we'll have for this is with the necromancer, but this should be quite useful for mods that people dream up in the future, too.
  • Faction BaseInfo has a new DoWhenThisFactionIsToBeRewardedForKillingEntity, which basically allows us to collect a lot of the logic from DoOnAnyDeathLogic_HostOnly_AfterFullDeathOrPartOfStackDeath in the scenario and hand that off to specific factions.
    • This is called only when the faction itself is the killer and also determined to be the one "deserving a reward." At the moment it is unused, but it sure could be useful in the future.
  • Faction BaseInfo also has a new CheckIfPlayerFactionShouldGetRewardBasedOnAUnitDying.
    • This is called on every player faction when any unit is killed, period. It identifies who the killing faction is, and allows for custom logic to be run.
    • Many times, this will be utterly unrelated to anything the player faction needs to do. But if the player faction is "the strongest faction of type X on that planet where the thing died," for instance, then this is a method where that sort of thing can be calculated and then some reward can be granted.
    • I have converted over some of the necromancer rewards to this, and this actually has a lot more flexibility on the reward structure than before. I left a "BADER_TODO GetShouldThisNecromancerFactionGetARewardBasedOnThisKill" in place of an older TODO, because this is supposed to benefit multiple factions in a few ways when Elderlings are killed. This is now possible without getting into list structures or non-faction-specific code, which is nice.
  • Faction BaseInfo now has a new GetCustomHackingHistory().
    • If we want a given player faction to have a custom hacking history in place of the regular one, then we can write this here and return true.
    • If we want it to have ADDED hacking history in addition to the regular one, we can write it here and then return false.
  • The various elements from the necromancer faction that were embedded in Fleet and Faction have been moved into external data BaseInfo, instead.
    • Right now things have just been linearly converted across into the new format that is modder-friendly (where anyone can create a faction like this, in other words), but my next step will be converting it from this into a player-type instead.
  • Use a single single attribute to track the status of time-base pool items.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating!
  • Add separate tracing for Warden sub-faction.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for adding!

Bugfixes

  • Only generate periodic AIP increase if non-zero.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing!
  • Fix a divide-by-zero in the periodic AIP code
    • Thanks to Badger for fixing!
  • Don't count energy usage twice when checking if self-building units can complete.
    • The energy of self-building units is already counted in total energy usage, so we don't need to check if there is enough remaining energy for the unit in addition.
    • This meant that you couldn't finish building a self-building unit you had enough energy to build, if you didn't have enough energy to power one additional one.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing!
  • Re-add per-second logic to Warden, Hunter and Praetorian Guard that was inadvertantly removed in r14244 (this was during the Great Refactor, on September 18th).
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing!
  • Fix errors in fireteam tracing.
    • I'm not sure how *useful* these changes are, but it doesn't throw exceptions now.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing!
  • Get rid of duplicate list of fireteams on Hunter and Warden.
    • At least for the Hunter, this prevented the hunter from doing anything. It may have also affected the strength counting, if the Warden depended on that info.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing!
  • Move handling of IArcenUI_Element_Controller.HandleMouseover to OnMainThreadUpdate.
    • It was originally called in OnUpdateFromMainThread, but that meant that code that looked at values set by that were called in the next frame, rather than the same frame.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing!

Balance

  • Skeleton detonators are no longer options for game start (they cost too much metal). Update the necromancer faction description to suggest an allied faction. Give the necromancer a bit more essence
    • Thanks to Badger for updating!
  • Add a new ship line to the Necromancer, the Banshee; this is a cloaked ship with a decloaker attached
    • Thanks to Badger for adding, and Dragoris for pointing out we had no decloakers in the Necromancer faction!

The Start Of Fuel For Expert Mode

  • Add some *very* rough code implementing fuel.
    • This is intended to add more strategic depth to expert mode.
    • The setting to enable it currently lives in a mod to reflect the rough nature.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for adding this!
  • Allow overusing fuel, but cause apply penalties.
    • Your turrets are less effective by a percentage of twice the percentage of overuse (capped at 99%).
    • Thanks to tom.prince for adding this!

Beta 3.752 Pathfinding Efficiency

(Released November 16th, 2021)

Improvements

  • More work implementing AMU settings into Vanilla:
    • Each Human Empire may now set a starting amount of Metal, Science and Hacking. Like Cryopods and Settlements at campaign modes higher than Humanity Ascendant these lock into the current default values.
    • All values can go down to as little as 0 - meaning it's possible to start with literally nothing.
    • Science and Hacking can increase by 1/3rd over the current default values on HA, and vastly higher in Sandbox mode. This should still be relatively balanced, but certainly is a change potentially in favor of the player.
    • Since metal is already at the maximum capacity of the Home Command station there's no need to have any higher setting here.
  • Split the Necromancer Flagships, Skeleton ships/structure and Wight ships/structure XML into their own files. A single file was getting too cumbersome
    • No functional change
  • Reorganize the necromancer journals a bit
    • Thanks to Dragoris for the feedback
  • Show essence in hacking sidebar for necromancer.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for adding!

Bugfixes

  • Removed the unused AIP floor modifier external constant from the game, as it was never used.
  • Continuing work on porting over AMU's extended galaxy settings into Vanilla:
    • Starting AIP is now a setting instead of an external constant. The default was and is 10.
    • It is now possible to set an AIP value per interval and the interval time in minutes. By default no periodic AIP is generated.
    • Fixed some bad and/or wrong descriptions in the categories for the Extended galaxy setting subcategories.
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo for all of this!
  • PathCache has been converted to be concurrent-poolable, rather than between-mapgen pooled.
    • The idea is that various threads only need these for a while and can give them back.
    • Since CacheForPathingMode is a subcomponent of this, it also now has the same behavior as well.
    • ...and PathBetweenPlanetsForFaction also gets the same treatment, goodness.
    • GetOrAddPathCacheForFactionInThisThread in PathingHelper has been removed, and a new PerFactionPathCache concurrent-poolable object has taken its place.
    • This whole rework basically keeps all the logic the same, but makes the "pathfinder didn't finish before it was run again" bug impossible to hit now. Apparently it became more rare in the prior build, but was still possible. Exactly why is hard for me to tell, but it's hard to be sure why.
    • The secondary effect of this is that there had been a pretty massive amount of RAM being used for pathfinding cache data, 300MB or so after maybe 20 minutes of play from what I can tell, and it might actually have qualified as a memory leak, temporarily. The number of tracked objects was into the hundreds and climbing. In the same sort of scenario, the number of tracked objects is now... 3. And RAM stays stable.
    • Thanks to ColdPrototype for reporting.
  • Fixed five different pools that were only doing a pull-in of their items on xml reload, not on game reload.
  • The Civilian Industries mod has been updated to compile again, and no longer leak certain kinds of memory. Whether it actually fully runs or not is anyone's guess thus far, though.

Beta 3.751 Faction Processing Groups

(Released November 15th, 2021)

Improvements

  • When hovering ships you can take in an ARS, the game now tells you how many other ship lines you have with the same techs.
    • Thanks to Badger for adding!
  • Necromancers and Human Empire can no longer assist with eachother's construction. They are balanced around different amounts of metal availability.
    • Thanks to Badger for adding.
  • Begun to implement some AMU extended galaxy settings into Vanilla:
    • Science and Hacking points in the galaxy can now be edited, with the following settings for each in campaign types lower than . All of them are saved on a per-galaxy basis, with no changes in XML required, and by default no changes from Vanilla unless specifically set by the player:
      • The amount per planet can be set individually.
      • A variance to that amount can be applied and can range from 0 to 100%. At say 30 HaP per planet, and a variance of 50% the planets randomly have between 15 and 45 HaP.
      • The adjacency bonus for HaP can now be edited on a per-galaxy basis, and an adjacency bonus for SP is now possible at all.
      • There are now 4 options for the scaling of HaP and SP in Multiplayer: "Soft Decline" (as HaP do now), "Linear Decline" (received amount = 1 / player count), "No Decline" (as SP do now, each player gets 100% from all any-player owned planets), "Individual Harvest" (each player gets 100%, but only from their individually owned planets).
      • Per-AIP generation: (Fractions of) SP and HaP can now be granted whenever AIP is generated (except for the starting amount of AIP), similar to how HaP worked in AIWC.
    • The under-the-hood logic:
      • Created the AIWar2GalaxySettingQuickAccess class, which holds a few settings that are used very frequently used and directly stores their values so they need not be searched for whenever used.
      • This corresponds to the XML field has_quick_access_logic. Note that this does nothing alone, to work all quick access settings it need to be set up in C# code as well.
      • Planets now store a potential overriding HaP amount. This breaks savegames.
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo for adding!
  • Holding ctl when hovering ARS hackable ship lines now shows more detail about synergies
    • Thanks to Badger for adding!

Bugfixes

  • Game Entities now track both their CalculatedSpeed and their CalculatedSpeedWithoutSpeedGroups. Fireteams use the second number when figuring out how fast they should go.
    • This prevents a positive feedback loop where a fireteam would think it needed to go faster and faster. Hopefully no more super-fast fireteams anymore! Thanks to Badger for the analysis and fix, and lots of people for reporting the bug.
  • Thanks to Badger for finding and fixing!
  • Fix a bug where Svikari description appenders weren't working
    • Thanks to Magiik for reporting and Badger for the fix.
  • Fixed possible exceptions due to disabled EntityTypeDrawingBag entries on tooltips, for both periodic spawning and on-death spawns.
    • Thanks to Puffin for reporting and NR SirLimbo for fixing!
  • Removed the unused pooling behavior of ArcenCachedExternalType.
    • Everything is now pooled elsewhere, and had no interesting behavior related to this pooling. The only significant behavior is that ExternalData_Base (and descendants) are no longer returned to multiple pools. This was, in particular, causing the weird behavior of multiple AI factions in the lobby.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for finding and fixing!
  • Remove unusued `PrototypeObject`s from Base/DeepInfo, and a bit of other dead code.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for cleaning up.
  • Fixed a bug with the energy display's non-C-Click part where it wouldn't show fleets consuming energy.
    • Thanks to Eluthen for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug with the energy display in general where it didn't reset the energy produced per planet, thus counting up indefinitely.
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo for the fix!
  • Don't claim objects while the game is paused.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the fix!
  • Improved the pathfinding error handling debug info.
  • Added a new processing_group="Name" on faction definitions that is required.
    • This allows us to aggregate "hey, am I allowed to run at the same time?" in the way we really need to. We had something like this before, but not enough.
    • This in turn requires new xml in a new folder called SpecialFactionProcessingGroup, and that fills a SpecialFactionProcessingGroup object in the code, which is mostly used for LRP threading locks.
  • UniqueNameForFactionToAvoidThreadConflicts has been removed, replaced with a reference to the faction's SpecialFactionProcessingGroup.
  • Okay! This has been a problem for longer than I realized, as it turns out; it just has been more obvious in recent months.
    • Essentially, the way we were handling factions that used shared resources for their "LRP processing" previously only attempted to not let them START in the same lrp sim cycle, but it was not preventing them from starting in multiple cycles and thus overlapping.
    • Good grief, this was more untangling than expected. This SHOULD prove to be the end of any sort of "pathfinder already running" errors, but we'll have to wait longer and see if folks still run into it. I really don't think they will, knock on wood.
      • This should also solve any MersenneTwister.GenerateUInt issues, which are also basically an indication of a single randomizer being called by two threads at once.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert, Puffin, and ColdPrototype for reporting.
  • Fixed several faction shortnames being off.

DLC3

  • Skull piles now appear in the right portion of the build menu
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for the report and Badger for the fix
  • Fix a bug with Necropolis Bolstering, where swapping the bolstered necropolis wasn't happening correctly
    • Thanks to Puffin for the bug report and Badger for the fix
  • Add strength indicator when hacking for necromancer ship lines
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for requesting and Badger for the code
  • Show more detail in the ARS hacking tooltip to show how many other ship lines you have with tech synergies
    • Thanks to Asteroid for the bug report and Badger for the code
  • Fix a bug where necromancer tech upgrades were incorrectly implying you'd get bonus ships from them
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for the report and Badger for the fix
  • Remove "strength" text of Necromancer faction in lobby
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for the report and Badger for the fix
  • Fix some fallout from my bolstering changes
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for the report and Badger for the fix
  • Fix a Null Reference in the skeleton percentage code
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for the report and Badger for the fix
  • Fix a bug where Wights weren't decaying properly
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for the report and Badger for the fix
  • Add a necromancer upgrade history
  • Fix a bug with the Squares map type not connecting properly
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for the report and Badger for the fix

Beta 3.750 Smooth Simulator

(Released November 11th, 2021)

Improvements

  • Display more time delays with minutes and seconds.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the improvement!
  • Adjusted some ship group settings after complaints from Puffin and confusion from a user on Steam.
    • To be more exact reassigned AI ship groups for both Electric Bombers and Dark Mirrors. Removed Electric Bombers from one pre-made fleet group.
    • Thanks to CRCGamer for the improvement!
  • Counter-sniper turrets are no longer in the simple turrets ship group, and attritioner strikecraft are no longer in the simple AI ship groups with even a 1/100 ticket count.
    • Thanks to Puffin for suggesting.
  • The game now requires the following tags for each AI type, which are used to choose how to seed the four categories of "nasty pick":
    • big_gun_nasty_pick_tag, eye_nasty_pick_tag, support_structure_nasty_pick_tag, and wildcard_nasty_pick_tag.
    • Right now, these four all just point to the same tags that were globally used before. But the xml designers among us can now start splitting things out into tiers, or making specific versions for specific AIs, as desired.
      • The ratios of those four kinds of things are set based on the AI difficulty independent of the AI type, but you could always design an AI that used Eyes for all four categories instead of just the Eye category, for instance.
    • This is also a great way to allow for some very difficult nasty pick options, but only have those show up on AIs that are more challenging.
    • At the moment, there is no net effect on the game, but it gives xml designers and modders more power.
    • Thanks to Puffin and Zeus for suggesting.
  • Right-clicking the clock now has an "Other Silent Error Data" section where we can see things that had some sort of silent error that the game just worked past.
    • Most of these are going to be cross-threading issues of no real consequence, but it's nice to be able to dig in and see them if we suspect an issue.
  • In general, our "delayed logging" that happens from background threads now also logs the thread name and ID to aid in debugging of multithreading problems.
    • Thanks to Tom for the great suggestion, this makes a lot of things much easier.
  • World-attached BaseInfo and DeepInfo both now support per-second sim-thread actions, in addition to the existing per-sim-step logic that they already had available to them.
    • Thanks to Badger for requesting.
  • Other AI Types now get access to unique warden ships.
    • Thanks to Badger for adjusting!
  • Allow a wormhole invasion to be invoked with either 'don't launch and invasion without a good target' (this is typically used for the periodic AI Budget-based wormhole invasions), and 'always launch this invasion, using a bad target if necessary' (this is typically used for event-related wormhole invasion responses, like during Enhanced Overlord)
    • Thanks to Badger for adding!
  • StrengthCounting is no longer a part of the short-term planning (aka part of the sim directly). Instead it is now calculated as a long-term-continuous thread, and thus it no longer blocks the sim at all.
    • This was the largest source of sim slowdowns, and on slower computers and larger maps it would get progressively worse. I implemented time-slicing a while ago, but that only worked but so well. We still had occasional spikes.
    • The reason that this can be moved out of the sim is that all of the AI logic that uses this sort of data is run only on the host anyway, frankly. There are not per-ship decisions being made off this stuff. Other than that, this is all just for display purposes on the client and host (not entirely true, but close enough).
    • At any rate, the slight differences in results in MP, which are likely to be negligible if anything are not enough to warrant such a large load as part of the main sim. It's far easier for the host and client to handle it with error correction data when they need to.
    • For me, this takes my average frame time from 30-40ms per frame to 10ms per frame. Given we have a 100ms window per frame, this is truly excellent. Of course, this is combined with our other frame-timing improvements recently. This should have an outsized effect on older machines, which is great.

DLC3 Additions

  • Vanguard and Heroic AI Types added to DLC3
    • Thanks to Badger for adding!
  • Add Showdown Devices.
    • This is a Galaxy Setting under AI Behaviour.
    • When enabled, it seeds 4 Shutdown Devices in the galaxy.
    • If the player destroys all 4 of those then it triggers a countdown (currently 20 minutes)
    • During that interval, the AI will throw lots of Exos and Wormhole Invasions at you.
    • --
    • If you reach the end of the timer, several things happen.
    • First, all the warp gates and dire guard posts in the galaxy explode
    • Second all Guard posts will deploy all their units
    • Third, all AI ships in the galaxy will join the relentless wave faction.
    • Fourth, every Overlord Mark 1 will transform into a Galactic Command Ship
      • The command ship is going to be a reskinned Overlord Mark 2 (it uses the same balance mechanics)
    • Thanks to Badger for adding!

Bugfixes

  • Removed the RelatedString from the OutguardSpawnRequest - it always ends up being the Outguard Group's internal name, and since the above already stores its group, no need to keep that field around.
    • This was likely only because it was needed in the GameCommand_QueueOutguard - this part has been adjusted too.
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo for the simplification.
  • Add a missing space to deepstrike description.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing.
  • Fix the ability to control which fleet is bolstered by a city.
    • When I first implemented the ability to control bolstering, I mistakenly attached `BolsteringFleetPerUnitBaseInfo` to the bolstered fleet rather than the bolstering fleet. I didn't catch this in testing, because I had some code to upgrade saves and apparently didn't test on a fresh game.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing!
  • Fix sometimes not being able to cancel a hack by not using a global to track the hacker.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing!
  • The warning message "Warning: skipped mod "_Vanilla" in XMLLoadingOrder.txt because we couldn't find any mod with that name" will no longer appear. That's just an example mod. Actual mods that are wrongly named will still show this error if this file is used (generally, this file is not needed).
  • Further silenced a harmless error in TextMeshPro that was sometimes spamming the log, particularly on game exit but not always limited to that. ("UnityEngine.Material.GetFloat").
    • Last build I kept it out of the main log, but this time it was in the ErrorsReportedByEngine.txt file. Now this file ignores all of the same harmless errors that the main debug log does.
    • Thanks to Puffin for reporting.
  • Fixed an exception in GetShouldAttackNormallyExcludedTarget() for the nanocaust that I unintentionally introduced on October 31st when trying to prevent memory leaks and reworking the character buffer usage. In this particular case, the old code was not a memory leak, but my error in handling this was a source of infinite exceptions if you had nanocaust active.
    • Thanks to Major Dullard for reporting.
  • Fixed a random exception in CalculateSizeOfTextMeshProUGUIText. This was some funky code that was also a bit of a performance drain when tooltips were involved in general.
  • Fixed things up so that when a save fails to load when you're loading it into the lobby, it doesn't lead to an error spiral.
  • Fixed an issue where loading old savegame versions as the last-lobby-settings that are invalid into the lobby would pop up a message.
  • Fixed yet another issue where quickstarts and last-lobby-settings could get invalidated in the micro-format even though their data was fine. It was just not allowing them to load.
  • Fixed an issue with loading quickstarts into the lobby in general; it would error and not let you.
    • Also, related only somewhat, fixed it so that if you started typing a campaign name and then chose to edit a quickstart in the lobby, the name you typed will get copied over.
  • If the game asks for an outguard state for a null outguard group, it now gives an appropriate error message about that. This applies to the Territory Dispute faction right now.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for reporting.
  • Fixed some rather random-seeming exceptions that were suddenly showing up in SquadStackPlanning. It's possible that these were not new, but that they were somehow being masked previously. At any rate, it should be more robust against these now.
  • Fixed a couple of nullrefs that could happen in FactoryConstructionForPlayerMobileFleets.
  • Fixed an issue with TargetListPlanning where if it had exceptions, it would sometimes do funky things and send malformed gamecommands as a result. Now if it has an exception, it just stops trying to think about that round of targeting.

First Batch Of Threading-Related Fixes

  • Do less pause-specific work in SimPlannerImplementation.
    • It turns out that some of the logic that was being run while paused was *also* being run in the background sim planning[1] threads. This could lead to race conditions, in particular, the disappearing turrets.
    • In particular:
      • `DoFleetPerStepCalculationsOnly` is no longer called (and the parameter it took for dealing with being called from other contexts was removed).
      • The logic for calling `DoGeneralAggregationsPausedOrUnpaused` from faction BaseInfo was removed, since this is done in the main "sim" logic even when paused.
      • The logic for calling `DoOnPerSecondWhilePausedNonSimUpdates_OnMainThread` from faction BaseInfo was removed; nothing implemented this anyway.
      • The logic for calling `Planet.DoPerSecondWhenPaused` was removed, since this is done in the main "sim" logic even when paused.
    • Note that per r14349, "sim planning" is a misnomer, since it handles lots of things that run even while paused.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for figuring all of this out and fixing it!
  • Fleet and TypeData on FleetMembership have now gotten the same sort of treatment that I put in for TypeData and Planet and such on squads.
    • The idea here is that when things temporarily go null, we have some major issues that come out in random ways.
    • Same treatment for Planet and Faction on Fleet itself, too.
    • Thanks to UFO for a report of there being a FleetMembership error with TypeData after a number of map generations in mapgen.
  • Fixed a persistent recent bug, which may have been a memory leak and also caused crashes, where essentially some debugging processes for "sub thread information" in strength counting were being run from multiple threads at once (bad), and also were running even when we were not showing the monitoring window (mostly pointless, but hey let's save a bit of CPU).
    • Thanks to UFO and others for the crash reports that included these.
  • There is some sort of exception that keeps being possible in my list class when AddRange is called, which calls InsertRange, which does List.CopyTo. I think this is related to lazy-initialization, but I really can't tell what the heck is going on exactly.
    • What I've done now is made it so that it gives me way more detailed information on those operations if they fail, without too much in the way of cost, since these are not really used all that frequently to where they could be THAT large of CPU drains.
    • The end result of this will lead to incorrect data (aka the data won't be copied), but not an actual halt to program execution like it did previously.
    • Thanks to Major Dullard and others for the various reports that keep hitting this.
  • The exception "CalculateRequestedFlows exception hit. debugCode 390" has been instrumented further to give us much more detailed data about what is wrong.
    • To be honest, given the state of the log in which this was found, I think that the cross-threading issue that tom.prince found and fixed in this new version is probably going to resolve this. But just in case.
    • Thanks to Major Dullard for reporting.
  • Same deal with "CalculateRequestedFlows exception hit. debugCode 420." It's now a lot more detailed, but probably already resolved by tom.prince's fixes.
    • Thanks to Major Dullard for reporting.
  • Updated PlannedFlowsByPlanet_Sorted_ForUI to be a bit more efficient, and a bit more error-proof during its sorts. This is a rare case where I'm actually leaning more on the GC (with a RefThreeTuple instead of a Pair) in exchange for the ability to precalculate some data that was otherwise calculated repeatedly in a loop within a sort, which is definitely a slowing sort of thing to do.
    • Thanks to Major Dullard for reporting an exception that was happening in this code.
  • Altered our List.RemoveAt() code so that it now diverges from the Microsoft standard a bit more. It now takes an optional second parameter, ThrowErrors.
    • If that is true, then it works like it used to -- if the code tries to remove something out of range, it will freak out and die.
    • If that is false, which is the default, then the code will just silently return false. Previously it did not return anything.
    • There are times where we have one thread updating a targeting list and another thread reading from it, among many other circumstances, and it was possible to get errors in these cases. Now it will just gracefully keep going, instead.
    • Thanks to Major Dullard for the log with the report in it.
  • Ugh! There's an error "Error occurred in c-o-h sim planning context", but I can't fix it just yet because I forgot to have it actually include any details about the error it experienced. Sigh. So the new version reports those details. I should then be able to fix it next build, if it's not accidentally fixed by the other fixes in this new build.
    • Thanks to cml for reporting.
  • Silenced an error that could happen in trying to sort objectives in "ObjectiveCategory.SwapObjectivesFromBuildingToDisplay."
    • Almost certainly this was happening because of the bug that tom.prince fixed with this code being kicked off twice instead of once when the game was running twice, but it's good to make sure it's not interrupting game flow either way.
    • Thanks to cml for the report.
  • A bit better error logging inside ArcenThread.Start, although I think a lot of the errors happening in there were secondary to other things that people were running into.
    • Thanks to Puffin for reporting.
  • Fixed an invalid error that would happen when you were trying to load savegames, where it said "could load" because of a missing campaign name.
    • For one, fixed the campaign name to be read properly (it was right there), and for two fixed it to say "could not load" if it ever has that problem again.
  • The objective sorting errors got worse, not better, so I've put in even more debug code with those to see what is happening.
  • I was also able to get a bunch of the "c-o-h sim planning" errors, which at first seemed to be an error in BasicPool.Clear().
    • However, it looks like it's actually an error inside of some random BasicPoolable.Clear for a specific class. That is now made apparent in the error logs.
  • Okay, both of the two errors above seem to have been flavors of the same general problem: the way that I'm returning data from the squad and such still sometimes being null, or changing unexpectedly. Essentially I could set the TypeData member variable to be a value after discovering it was null, but then still end up returning null out of it.
    • This probably has to do with the equivalent of why one would normally use the volatile keyword, but I don't wish to do that in these cases. Instead what I do is the usual hardening-strategy, which uses a local variable and returns THAT. It also tries to assign the member variable, but if that fails for some reason it's not the end of the world and won't lead to an exception.
    • We're talking differences of literally microseconds here in data, and it does seem to happen way more on AMD than Intel, but that's why I'm running an AMD rig as my main dev machine since this summer. Anyhow, shifting the pattern of these methods seemed to fix a wide class of bugs -- properly, finally. The prior public build claimed to do so, but I don't think it worked for AMD, only for Intel (and maybe not even that; it's really hard to be sure).
  • BasicPoolable has been renamed to IBasicPoolable, because that's the proper naming convention. I'm not sure why I missed doing that initially.
  • Fixed an exception that could happen at "DoFactionStepLogic_Stage1 error at debugStage 10600" with some cross-threading situations.
  • Added robustness to ConcurrentDictionaryOfLists in order to prevent "Hit exception in BuildShipsLookup debugCode 400" errors.
    • The ConcurrentDictionary class really is only partly reliable, I have to say, based on observations so far. This explains a lot about the ghost ships and missing ships in general in that central dictionary.
  • Unfortunately, there's just something that is changing the objective information during a sort operation, on a different thread, when it comes to the objective counting. I have done enough profiling to be pretty sure that this is not multiple threads running at once. One other possibility is that there are two threads sharing the same objective information instead of it properly being in the pool, but that would assumedly create more of a visual mess.
    • For now, I have it just counting how many errors of these types it has, and allowing the sort to fail. This is on a random background worker thread, so it shouldn't be interrupting game flow or causing anything overly strange.
  • To prevent any sort of UI strangeness, if either of the sorts for objectives fail (this is on a random BG thread), it will try again up to 5 times. This should lead to perfect consistency, knock on wood.
  • ActualObjective is being converted from IBasicPoolable to TimeBasedPoolable. There were some errors that are mathematically impossible to have occur, and that's a good sign that we have cross-threading shenanigans going on.

Rework Of Threading, V1, Lots Of Lack Of Success

  • Okay, lots more debugging after taking a break overnight. There are multiple copies of some core threads kickinng off, which I am now able to detect and prevent, and warn about.
    • One core problem with the current setup (which is old and goes back to 2017) is that it's not very flexible when it comes to the separation of "context," thread, and code execution. With the ability to reload all the xml, we really do need that.
    • I'm not precisely sure how long this has been an issue, but in some form at least for a few weeks. I'm going to work on a midsize refactor of context-to-thread-to-code relationships, which won't affect end-programmer code, but will be more robust for the sort of reloading and pooling we do.
  • Our debug logging is now a little bit clearer and more brief when it comes to adding in thread information.
    • Thanks to tom.prince and Badger for suggesting.
  • IThreadStatusChecker was a supremely confusing name, and has simply been renamed to IArcenThread.
  • GetThreadByUniqueName_CreateIfNotPresent now locks the list of threads to prevent any duplicates from ever being created.
  • ArcenClientOrHostSimPlanningContext no longer has a readonly thread assigned to itself on initialization.
    • Instead, it now has a IArcenThread AssignedThread that I will initialize when I darn well feel like it.
  • The sim contexts are now separated out from their threads more, as well as the code that runs on them.
    • They now terminate at a poolable object, not a code-executing object. These are then pooled by type, rather than having yet another sub-type inheriting from them.
    • It's a much more consistent pattern with the rest of the codebase, and makes things way easier to keep track of. In a lot of ways, this is more MVC-like, though it's not exactly that design pattern.
  • MainThreadArcenClientOrHostSimContext is actually not pooled, because there should only ever be a single one of these, and it's for the existing main thread of the game.
  • NonThreadBasedArcenClientOrHostSimContext no longer gets assigned to static variables, as we pull these out and use them for a little while before putting them back.
  • ArcenShortTermPlanningContext is now a sealed class, rather than abstract.
    • A new ArcenShortTermPlanningCodeExecution has been split off of it that handles the code portions that are the various child classes, like StrengthCounting, etc.
      • None of these classes rely on static variables at all anymore, and additionally none of them are singletons now.
  • ArcenSimPlanningFrameProfilingData and all its related code has been removed. It has not been used in quite a while, and it's not efficient at all. We have better ways of getting the same info now.
  • The OuterLT_Intermittent thread is being removed, as it serves basically no purpose. I can get the same effect with less fuss by using Task.Run(), so there's no need to have this here.
  • ArcenExecutionContext has been converted away from being part of the inheritance chain leading to SimExecution. That was needlessly confusing.
    • This is now a static class called ArcenExecutionManager and it does exactly that.
  • A new ArcenLongTermContinuousPlanningClientOrHostManager has been split out of the core of ArcenLongTermContinuousPlanningClientOrHostContext, making the latter very very simple now.
  • The display when you right-click the clock now gives some more info on some of the intermediate threads and their run statuses.
    • Additionally, those threads are now pooled and executed a bit more clearly than before, though I may still make more improvements later.

Rework Of Threading, V2, Much More Success

  • ArcenThreadManagerBase has been removed, and a new ArcenThreading class has been introduced instead.
    • Overall, this new class provides ways to run anything we want on background threads, while at the same time allowing us to _block_ further runs of any background threads, and adjustments to the pools, etc.
    • Rather than ever calling Task.Run() -- a few exceptions in Universal aside, which are for my own reasons -- end-programmers should now call ArcenThreading.RunTaskOnBackgroundThread().
      • The functionality is identical, except for the fact that it will discard your request to run a task if the game is in the process of quitting to the main menu or exiting to the desktop.
      • If you use regular Task.Run(), the main risk is that you'll get errors in your code during those periods. It would be really nice not to have those, for your sake and mine, so hence it being very desirable to use this central thing.
    • Same exact deal with Parallel.For now being ArcenThreading.ParallelFor, and also Parallel.ForEach now being ArcenThreading.ParallelForEach.
  • When the game is in its shutdown phase, moving from the request for threads to stop doing their work into whatever comes next, the following happens:
    • There's a 200ms period where it first just stops refusing to start new threads, and also stops givinng out anything from pools.
      • In places where either is requested on a non-main-thread, it throws a new ArcenPleaseStopThisThreadException which can be caught like older ThreadAbortExceptions and allows for code not not bother trying to log the exception.
      • Also during this period -- it is assumed that all saving has already happened, so we don't care about anything because we're headed to the main menu or the OS -- it stops logging any errors or other messages to the debug log from any non-main threads. There's nothing to say during this part.
    • After this initial period of 200ms, it actually does the "quit to main menu" logic, OR it does the exit to OS logic.
      • If it's headed to the OS, then it ceases any more logging from background threads, period, and just lets the game be reclaimed by the OS. Everything of importance on background threads is done prior to now, so no harm.
      • If it's headed to the main menu, then it starts clearing the world, but puts a 2 second moratorium extension on things coming out of pools or threads kicking off.
        • It's possible that there may be some edge cases in the UI where someone can click THAT fast back into the lobby or something, and I may need to handle that in some way. Or shorten this time period. Since I'm not actively murdering threads anymore, I have to give them a bit of time to error on their own as they see the world disappear around them, and in general that's something that we've been making threads hardened AGAINST, so it's a slight catch-22.
        • Anyhow, after this period it then resumes normal operations and we're good to go. If there's something I need to adjust during this period, it's only involving a few buttons on the main menu (since that's where you are now), so I can handle that with a fairly minimal surface area.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for lots of great ideas on how this shutdown phase should work in order to avoid timing-related pooling problems.
  • All the various places that were handling ThreadAbortException now handle ArcenPleaseStopThisThreadException.
  • The threading model in general has been completely ripped out, for those threads that still used it.
    • IArcenThread, ArcenThread, and ArcenThreadManager are all gone.
    • These were only used for the main sim thread, and the various long-term background threads in External code. The short-term planning code and various other things were already using Task or Parallel.
    • It was also used for the status checker for connecting to a host by IP address using LiteNetLib or similar, but that has also now been converted over.
  • All of the places that had MyWorkIsDone now have IsCurrentlyWaitingOnThread. This is a lot more useful, and is consistent with the pattern I'm using elsewhere.
  • ThreadCompletionType has been removed, as that was a needless complication in the new design of things.
  • The interface that you can see when you right-click the clock no longer shows informations on threads, since those are no longer centrally tracked or handled by us directly (instead they are part of the C# TaskFactory, managed by mono).
    • You can still see the timings for everything, however, based on the contexts that we keep track of. I added some more pieces to that last night already, so it's at least as informative as it used to be.
  • Added a new IContextForMonitoring interface, which I'm using to hook in to give us the proper warnings for slow or halted contexts -- it's the equivalent of monitoring slow and stalled threads, but not actually threads now (though each context does correspond to some work being done on a background thread, that thread changes pretty rapidly and is just some random threadpool worker).
    • This actually gives us some insight into a few areas that we could not see previously.
  • Whatever DetailedProfilingEnabled and DetailedProfilingPassesBetweenDumpsToDisk used to be, they are now removed.
    • This sent up some alarm bells for me, because these were enabled for a couple of long-range threads. This might have been a source of something that appeared to be a memory leak or a performance churn, depending on what the loggin was like, and why it existed.
    • I'm pretty sure that this was something I set up at some point, but the actual parts that did whatever the logging were had already been stripped out (again, by me) at some point in the past. How far back, I'm not sure.
    • This was probably bad news at some point, these getting left on, and I just happened to find the remains of that at the moment without really being able to see how bad of news that was, whenever it was an issue.
    • It would certainly be darkly "hilarious" if this or something like it was the cause of some of the original memory leak reports sometime in the last few months. Regardless, I'm not going to waste time looking into it, because the codebase is so thoroughly evolved past that now, it was worth it either way. And I'd rather not resume grinding my teeht in my sleep.
  • Fixed a completely benign spam of "Error! Duplicate planet fleet ID" messages that were simply new fleets finding themselves in the list. Why this is different now, compared to any time in the past, I have no idea. At any rate, when it properly checks to make sure it's not looking at itself, all is well on that front.
  • Pools all now define a PoolBehaviorDuringShutdown, which has three possible values: AllowAllThreads (rarely used, but is needed sometimes), BlockAllThreads (needed more of the time), BlockBackgroundThreadsOnly (in theory could be useful).
    • The second one is what was described before, but it turns out that there are some pools that still need to act like normal during the shutdown period (things for temporary working lists, etc).
  • Added a new ArcenThreadsAreShutDownRightNowSoYouCannotHaveThatException that is thrown instead of returning null from pools on the main thread when they're not allowed to get something.
    • This turns something from "some random nullref exception" to a very clear "oh, something funky is happening right there" issue.
    • This actually now happens when you try to run a thread from the main thread, versus it just silently returning, too.
  • Improved code in a variety of places, including a couple on the main thread, to no longer use DoForPlanetsParallel. Instead, these places now use DoForPlanetsSingleThread.
    • Essentially, there's a certain spinup cost for each thread for the parallel version, and so if you're not doing enough work inside the delegate here, it's much much better to handle this all on one thread than it is to fire up many threads and then wait for them all to return.
    • Originally, I did this in order to keep from having to catch exceptions when the main thread was trying to run things in parallel while also shutting down, but it turns out this is a nontrivial performance boost also.
  • In that same spirit, renamed DoForEntitiesParallel() to be DoForEntitiesParallel_OnlyUseForSuperHeavyThings(). And the same for the factions and planets ones.
  • Overall the game is now much better at not doing as much work while it's trying to shut down to the main menu or exit the game.
  • Improved the performance of the ship disabled checks and current order checks by splitting those out and having them happen in parallel, with the disabled checks being on a worker thread while the order checks happen on the main sim thread.
    • Please note that I don't actually wait for the ship disabled checks to finish before I move on to the other parallel parts of the short term sim context. It doesn't seem warranted, since it would only have a very occasional sync issue on multiplayer, and that will self-heal cheaper than the CPU cost of waiting here.
  • The game has been upgraded to properly pool the host-side long-term-continuous threads, and to also make their execution visible to the UIs that show threads.
  • A bit more information about the last time threads were run is also now present in the clock-right-clicked screen.
  • Improved the cleanup of threads between one run of the game, going to the main menu, and running another.
    • At this time I'm still able to get stuck simulation threads, but it seems to be the entire simulation now, not some random smaller part of it. In some ways that is a big improvement, because it narrows down the surface area considerably.
  • The right-click clock window now has more information about why it did not run the last sim step, if and when that happens. Sometimes it's a valid reason -- like being paused -- and other times it's something that got stuck. It's right up near the top, in fairly small print.
  • The game now keeps track of the tasks that get spawned via ArcenThreading, and as those are completed it stops watching them.
    • Because of this, the logic for "when the game can again start spawning threads and getting things out of queues" has changed from "after two seconds of waiting, just to be sure" to "either two seconds of waiting, or when all the tasks are completed."
    • This seems to resolve itself in a matter of milliseconds, rather than having the annoying wait for two seconds.
    • It's fairly safe to say, this is the fastest and most responsive the game has ever been. It's _lightning_ fast at responding to things. Mapgen is still blocking the UI in an annoying way, but that's a job for another day. Also a job for another day is the fact that the main sim execution can still get stuck, although I have trouble duplicating that right now. The surface area for hunting for that is lower than it was before, at least.
  • In the right-click-the-clock screen, the "Details" row now shows a whole bunch of extra information relating to reasons why the sim might be blocked if it is.
    • Additionally, there is a "Sim Spots" line under it now, which has cryptic acronyms that count up every time they are hit. If the sim stops, some of those numbers should keep going up, while the others stop, and that will have narrowed down the area in which we have to search considerably.
    • If you run into a stuck sim thread, and can see anything interesting on the Details line, and/or identify where the numbers stop counting on the Sim Spots line, then I can probably figure out what the heck is going on and fix it.
    • Current theory: it's related to some of the super-ancient way that mapgen does its work, which is also actually one of the reasons that the lobby is less responsive than I'd like. This was already on my list to rework so that the lobby is nice and responsive even with giant maps, but I am betting that this also has to do with why the sim gets stuck sometimes.
    • Alternative theory: it has something to do with error handling. When factions have errors, evidently maybe it's more likely to appear? I was seeing it a lot more before I fixed all the exceptions I was running into, for instance.
  • Yet more logic has been put in place to figure out why the sim logic gets stuck. It turns out it was after all of my other instrumentation, which is a big surprise, because it means that none of my guesses as to what might have been wrong were remotely correct. Now I've instrumented things in the other direction, and it should give us a picture of where the problem is. This is lightweight enough code that I'll probably leave it in for good.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the report and duplication.
  • Corrected a couple of places where I was re-throwing errors in a way that really did not need to happen. It's possible that these were the things that were causing exceptions to stop the sim from running, but it's hard to be certain. In theory, this sort of issue should have had no effect, because the finally block should have handled it. But I'm going to not trust that, since things are being a bit funky. Similarly, in our catch blocks on these relevant areas, I put in calls to our thread teardown method just to make sure that things get handled okay. We'll see if this makes a difference or not.
  • Since all of the threads are now thread pool worker by name, the name is no longer included in the delayed writes. Just the thread ID.
  • Completely reworked how I handle the "thread is finished or not finished" logic to be based around the actual task at hand and looking at it to see if it is complete or not.
    • Previously, I was trying to rely on try/finally statements and Interlocked.Exchange, and that was just not reliably setting values back to what they should have been. It really seems like something is amiss with that, to be honest, but that's not my problem for now.
    • The new code does seem to work with no more thread stalls, but I am now finding some new errors that are popping up. Where were these a bit ago? Were they hidden for some reason because of the nature of how the threads died? It's quite mysterious. Either way, so long as it works now, things are pretty straightforward in terms of how they are set up, so that's good. This approach is simpler and better, but it's really not clear why the other approach did not work.

Rework Of Threading, V3, Holy Cow That's Complicated

  • Okay... updated lots of the codebase to no longer use try/finally, but to only ever use try/catch/finally. This was behaving in unexpected ways in some places where it was happening.
  • Put in some extra error handling in a few places, and removed a few finally blocks where those were simply not needed.
  • Updated the way that I'm kicking off the short-term sim thread secondary threads to be Task.Run instead of Parallel.ForEach, and then am using Task.WaitAll on the calling background thread.
    • This seems to be... a lot more efficient!? I'm not sure I wholly believe the stats just yet, but it is getting the work done so far as I can tell. I'm going to rework the stats-checking on this, but it seems to be doing the same work in 1ish millisecond or less on my machine, rather than routinely taking 30+ milliseconds for just PART of the work. That... really smells suspicious.
  • I found that even with using the Tasks that were returned from running, I just can't ensure that threads are not running over top of one another. So I put back in the Interlocked.Exchange method of tracking when a thread is busy in a code area -- but only in three central classes, not in as many places as it was before.
    • So far, with the combo of these two things, I now seem to always have threads running properly, and never doubling up. I don't see any threads stalling, either, but then again I was less prone to seeing those happen recently.
  • I still have some investigation to do here, and I'm deeply suspicious of the timings that are being reported to me (they are way too optimistic), but I can move ships between planets and engage in battles and I see everything happen properly, so that's a big step forward.
  • A variety of more debug logging has been added to the Sim Spots line in order to chase down the sim lockup that Daniexpert is still seeing happen.
  • Previously, for two of our main thread tasks types, I was tracking the start of a thread from an outer thread context that spawned it, and then decrementing that when that thread ended. It seems highly likely that some of these threads for some reason were not actually spawning, and this means that of course they can't finish.
    • I've adjust it so that it no longer does the second stop-check or the initial increment until it's on a background thread. This should lead to it being impossible for it to get stuck in the way it was before (assuming that's what the problem actually was).
  • Another two attempts to make sure that they always know when they are done.
    • Firstly, the teardown method's FIRST thing is to say it's done, rather than that being a secondary thing.
    • Secondly, it no longer keeps track of the Tasks that it is given back at all, just using the Exchange method only. The idea here is that a task might not be properly cleared, and might be running for unrelated reasons, or who knows.
  • For the main simulation thread, it now treats itself as aborted after half a second of being stuck. There is now a tracker that will show up on its line item with the number of aborts that have happened, if any have happened.
    • We're not literally aborting any threads, but we are assuming that they died on their own in the woods and that we need to keep the game running. Should be interesting to see what this does.
  • The game no longer has a collection of execution contexts where there is only one for the main sim. It just has a single object, and looks at it directly.
    • This slightly changes the error messages and so on, more than anything else. It's unlikely to fix anything, but it's a way to see that things are different, and it is probably very slightly more efficient, either way.
  • Adjusted the setting of the abort timing to be set only on the inner thread.
  • Also put in a new "Time Styles" line at the top of our right-click-clock menu.
  • Lastly, put in a "would abort at" time for the main sim thread. Whatever that number is, it should be aborting the main thread if it's less than the NSGT timer.
  • Split our timekeeper NonSetupGameTimeSinceLastLoadOrStartF into two parts.
    • NonSetupGeneralGameTimeSinceLastLoadOrStartF and NonSetupNetworkReadyGameTimeSinceLastLoadOrStartF.
    • The latter is blocked by things like the sim not running because of network lag, so that we don't get things like a bunch of threading errors because the simulation is waiting on other players in MP.
      • However, it was also being used to gate some things for the simulation itself, so at the very least it was preventing the threads from aborting properly. Was it also causing other issues? That is... really hard to know.
    • The former is new, and is now used mostly just for the aborts. If an abort happens with the sim frame, it should wind up progressively ahead of the other, I think. At any rate, the soft aborts should now work properly, regardless.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for helping discover this error, which is probably somehow or other related to our locked threads from the start.
  • The game no longer says "would abort at" next to the sim line. It only shows information for actual aborts, if any happen.
  • It turns out that my split of things into ArcenShortTermPlanningCodeExecution was not the best. I've merged that back into ArcenShortTermPlanningContext, which is once again abstract instead of sealed.
  • Fixed a new bug from today where the times for the short-term planning contexts were not being tracked properly.
    • This had also introduced some lag since strength counting was thus also no longer doing any time-slicing.
  • In the thread tracker window, you can also now see how long it has been since the short-term planning contexts were run.
Threading Works, But Chasing A Deadlock
  • The game now has a system of "accumulators" that run all the time, at very low CPU cost, which give information about parts of the simulation and similar that are running.
    • In the event that there is an abort of the sim, in the new style that we have, this is something that means we either have a deadlock or we have an infinite loop or who knows what. But it needs to be solved... where is it, though??
    • These accumulators act like lightbulbs for showing us at least generally where the problems are, and they get more specific as we need them to. Any that show up with an orange or red number are indicating a spot where the code was not reached because something immediately prior didn't exit properly.
      • If you've had any exceptions trigger, then this will lead to some red or orange numbers, and those are to be ignored. But if you've had aborts but no exceptions, then this is a way for detecting infinite loops.
    • To see these, you can just right-click the clock. If you have information on there at the top, then just do a screenshot and upload it for us. Or tell us which abbreviation(s) had the number, either way.
    • In the future, this can also be used by modders who accidentally shoot themselves in the foot with some sort of infinite loop. It happens to the best of us, and the normal ways of going about finding this sort of thing are really insufficient in unity, so here we are.
  • The various short-term threads all now show how many times they have started and finished. If one deadlocks or gets into an infinite loop, we'll now see that in the right-click-clock menu.
  • All of the code accumulator timings are set to only show the most recent 10,000ish out of their accumulator, but that's just a visual trick. Under the hood, it keeps the whole numbers, but visually it's easier to parse if these numbers can't get infinitely large.
  • Combat is an area that is deadlocking, so now we have more information in accumulators for that, in their own section.
    • Additionally, when paused we no longer run some of the combat logic, which keeps things lower-load when paused. A lot of the sim runs even when paused (by design), but just doesn't move ships, etc. These are some calculations that really are not needed when paused, though.
  • Added two sets of custom accumulators that can be used wherever someone wants to. They're on Engine_Universal, so they can be used in any of the dlls with ease.
    • These are meant to be set up by a programmer on a temporary basis, not used permanently. This gives modders the flexibility to instrument some code and see where the problem might be.
    • In my case, it also lets me quickly reuse some easy variables for testing purposes to narrow something down, without having to completely extend the framework in ways that might not be good for performance long-term. Win for everybody.
  • Narrowed down one of the infinite loops (or deadlocks, whatever it is) to DoEntityStepLogic_Ship.
    • From there, narrowed it down to DoSystemStep.
    • And from there, to ActuallyFireSalvoAtTargetPriorityList.
    • And there to InternalCreateActualShotForSalvo. Good grief, what a rabbit hole.
    • ...and then into SpawnShot_ReturnNullIfMPClient.
    • ...and then the real kicker is that this eventually led me to find a deadlock in TimeBasedPool, specifically when it was asked to give a shot back. Sometimes it would just hang forever.
      • This is one of those super strange cases, because this seems to work fine on the first run of the game, but then gets progressively worse. Why would that be? It is not remotely clear.
      • That said, ever since I laid eyes on the ConcurrentBag's internal code, it has made me nervous. And the performance profile has not been any better than ConcurrentQueue. Internally to TimeBasedPool, I used... ConcurrentBag.
      • I've now changed over to using ConcurrentQueue internally to TimeBasedPool, and it now works perfectly. I was able to reliably get a deadlock in a specific place, and there was a secondary deadlock also frequently coming up that I had not even chased yet. I can't replicate either, after doing five times the unit testing I would normall do to replicate it just once. At this point I can't get the game to do a sim thread abort at all (this is a good thing), whereas I could replicate it in under 30 seconds, before. Okay, so I tested well more than 5x normal.
  • We had 41 other places where we were using ConcurrentBag, mostly internally to pools, or as part of xml parsing, or for network messages.
    • Those have all been converted over to ConcurrentQueue.
    • Additionally, ConcurrentBag has been removed from our codebase.
      • It's possible that the bugs in this were something I introduced, rather than being something specific to the Microsoft version that I pulled from their open-source repository.
      • That said, the performance profile and functionality of it is extremely redundant with ConcurrentQueue, and you can just tell how well ConcurrentQueue is made compared to ConcurrentBag, which is way less impressive.
      • So, regardless of if this is my error or not, it doesn't really make sense to keep around both of these data structures. Nominally, ConcurrentBag exists to be better-performing than ConcurrentQueue, since it is unordered. However, in practice that just doesn't happen.
        • I have a strong suspicion that this was not a bug I introduced, but instead is actually a problem with ConcurrentBag in its original form when it's being called from too many threads. You can see in the code how ConcurrentQueue goes out of its way to handle some of that sort of thing, but Bag does none of that. Seems fishy. Either way, I don't need it.

Beta 3.746 Phantom Ship Syndrome

(Released November 5th, 2021)

  • Previously, it was possible for you to have "full metal" of zero, because you could get a metal storage amount of 0. This made a game basically completely unable to be played further after you have lost all your command stations.
    • Players are instead now given 10,000 metal storage for free, which means that you can survive and limp along if you want to play post-loss. It also means that you'll never get a misleading "full metal" when that metal is zero.
  • Move several DLC3 galaxy settings into base game.
    • This includes some additional roguelike options like Hidden Galaxy, and also Border Aggression is now on by default in base game.
    • Thanks to Badger for updating.

Bugfixes

  • Updated the last seven compound collections to do the lazy-initialization of their innards.
  • Fixed a logic error in CyclicalArrayPool that was based on my changes to the lazy-initialization yesterday.
    • This is an unusually complicated class, and I made a slightly wrong choice in how I implemented the new methods, and it caused exceptions and many visual artifacts.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Put in some more defensive code in SquadVisualizer just in case units are in a wrong state when they get there.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue with the science sidebar where FactionDoesNotHaveEnoughScience was being considered a critical bug rather than a normal part of operations.
    • This was a consequence of centralizing some of the science checks, which was a good move to do, but wound up with this side effect.
    • Thanks to Badger and The Beast of Bognor for reporting.
  • Fixed an exception in SortedDictionaryOfSortedDictionaries where it was not properly getting a placeholder empty list when it had nothing to report, and was instead erroring.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Fixed the "Exception in entity tooltip text generation at stage 5" error that has been annoying folks really lately.
    • This is related to some of the quarantine code, which I still need to directly fix, but having this gone is good either way.
    • Thanks to Badger, Daniexpert, and UFO for reporting.
  • Adjusted things, a bit experimentally, so that the DataForMark, TypeData, Planet, and PlanetFaction can never be set to null on squads, shots, or wormholes.
    • If the game attempts to set one to null, then it just ignores that. If they are already null (never properly initialized), then it tries to find a sort of random non-null value to give back.
    • This is pretty similar to what we're doing with other pooled data, where we don't want certain things to become stale. The quarantine period should have been enough to bypass this, but frankly sometimes something was getting over-aggressive and having the PlanetFaction in particular as null well before it ever reached the point of exiting quarantine.
    • Since everything is pooled, having stale data references in here should have no effect, because we're always updating these things to the proper values when we pull them out of the pool to use them, anyway. I've tested this over several savegames and fresh maps, and things seem to look sane, so we'll see. I'm not expecting a bunch of issues out of this, but you never know.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for helping to narrow down what the root issue was, although the actual root cause of it in the code is still a mystery. Ultimately, it doesn't matter -- having any section of the code able to torpedo the rest by setting a null like this is probably not wise. So now it should be protected against all of that.
  • Fixed another error in CyclicalArrayPool, this one in Reset. It was causing exceptions during battles.
  • Fix a bug with necromancer tech levels going to 8 by mistake
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for the bug report
  • Tweak the necromancer's early game to make it a bit smoother
  • Improved the display of debug "construction can't build" slightly.
  • When you load a savegame that has already been won or lost, it no longer plays the win or loss animation when you first start it up. This made testing certain saves, or continuing to play past death, pretty annoying.
  • Fixed some exceptions that could happen if you closed down the game during pathfinding and then reloaded a new one. The exceptions would happen in the new game, when it thought that a pathfinder was still running -- when in fact it had been validly shut down by a ThreadAbortException, probably.
  • Fixed a bug that may have been new in this build, it's hard to be sure. At any rate, sometimes the DataForMark was for the wrong TypeData, which led to scaling issues on ships, visually, amongst other gameplay problems. This may have been a consequence of my earlier fix to things to deal with quarantining, but either way it's good to have this resolved.
  • LoosePool has been removed from the game, as it was very clearly not needed compared to ConcurrentPool at this point.
    • I made this, and some other related changes to the names of some of the visualization components (for the sake of clarity in this case) while hunting the "ships still show after death" bug.
    • I really can't duplicate that, but I CAN duplicate the bug with forcefields sticking around after death, and even being visible on the galaxy map.
    • The good news is, after this changeover, now the forcefields are properly cleaned up after reloading into even the same savegame, let alone another one. So it's a less-severe leak, despite still being a leak.
    • Thanks to Eluthena for reporting.
  • The "bug with multiple pathfinders" happening at once was happening super frequently with the Elderlings for some reason. This has been adjusted so that it now uses interlocked to determine if it's still running, and also sets timing to let us know how long ago it was started, too.
    • Since this is something that runs synchronously, and which is run on the LRP thread, which in this case is SUPPOSED to only run once per 10 seconds, this is all very strange. I was seeing the error roughly every 70 seconds in a test session; not sure what's up.
  • Fixed a bug where various squads (sometimes with selection rings, other times with forcefields) were not properly cleaning themselves up and dying.
    • I really don't know why this changed, but this logic has always been squirrely. Right now, the gimbals (icons) are properly exploding, but the ships themselves just disappear, which looks bad. But it's much better than the other bug we had for a while. I'll deal with that one on Monday.
    • It's highly likely that this was also a performance drain, and potentially a memory leak, prior to now. Go figure.
    • Thanks to Badger, Eluthena, and in particular Daniexpert for a handy reproduction case.
  • Put in extra error handling in GetAIToPurchaseCostPresentForBudgetType. Not sure if the actual root bug is fixed by other code adjustments or not, but if it ever has another problem, then we'll know exactly where said problem is.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Put in protection against a really rare and strange bug inside MersenneTwister (our random number generator algorithm, by Takuji Nishimura, ported to C# by Akihilo Kramot). This thing has been a gold standard in prng since 1997, but apparently I've found some multithreading edge case that can cause issues with it. That's fixed.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for the very unexpected report.
  • Fixed a fairly funky bug in Sappers UpdateConstructors, which actually was in BuildStructureIfPossible, but because of its placement must have been related to the tracing buffers or something. Or more code has changed since the original report than I realized.
    • At any rate, there's now a lot more instrumentation, so if the bug recurs, then we'll have a much more detailed idea of where it is. This is a whole class of bug that should largely be fixed by this release now, though.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Fixed a rare exception that could happen in GetStringValueForCustomFieldOrDefaultValue.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Fixed a nullref exception that could happen in ProtectedList.Clear.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Silenced a harmless error in TextMeshPro that was sometimes spamming the log, particularly on game exit but not always limited to that. ("UnityEngine.Material.GetFloat")
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • After attempting a fairly disastrous tasks-based replacement for our thread-based approach to the main background threads, I've instead started looking into improving the thread-based items.
    • First issue: if there's a missing faction or deepinfo as it tries to run LRP, it will have an error (if it gets to that part of the code) and will also show the thread name appropriately. Thanks to tom.prince for the info on this avenue. I don't know if this is solved or not, it's hard to tell just yet.
    • Second issue: It is possible for all of the faction threads to be unassigned to a faction. I don't yet know what causes this, but it seems to be repeat loads of various games. Daniexpert first reported it today, and I've seen it once so far. I will have to chase this further on Monday.
      • Reproduction steps: load one savegame twice. Start a new game. Quit to main menu. Load savegame again. Boom.
    • Third issue (solved): I never have been able to figure out why the threads seem to kick off so much more frequently than it seems like they should. That in and of itself seems to be a problem. It turns out that I was having these run at sim-speed, and I often play at 5x, so it was doing waaay too much on the background threads. Now it actually uses real time. This may also help with some theoretical issues with gametime-based "last kicked off" logic.
    • Fourth issue: for some unknown reason, various non-faction threads sometimes get stuck. Executioncontext is the main one, but there are others. In these cases, Daniexpert was able to log that we get to the "THREAD Kicked next cycle" code.
      • This... is significant, but I'm not quite sure of the nuances why. Essentially, the thread thinks it is done, but has not died or cleaned up. What I now have it doing is killing the thread if the thread has been in this state for at least 4 realtime seconds. I may tighten that down to a substantially smaller margin if it turns out to be messing with the simulation, but I'm not sure on that.
      • Related to this, it looks like the Kill method had a bit of an oversight. If the thread was terminal, then it was not nulling it out and just let things go. Now it nulls it out, which makes the logic above do the proper thing. Or should.
      • Speaking of, if we try to run a thread and it thinks it is complete but still exists, we now check if it's terminal and then null it out if it is. I suspect that when we kill threads by going to the main menu and back into the game, sometimes it was having issues related to being in the terminal state but never nulled. Why this never mattered until recently is a mystery, as this code has not changed much until now.
    • Overall I expect things to be improved, and I'd be very interested in which cases still exist in the new code.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert, tom.prince, and others for related reports to this.
  • Fixed a random threading issue that could happen in RemoveFactionInfluencer.

Beta 3.745 Deadlock Removal

(Released November 4th, 2021)

  • New cheat code: grantalltech
    • All techs are immediately upgraded to their highest levels.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for adding!

DLC 3

  • Added Orbital versions of all existing nasty picks besides the eyes, including DLC2
    • Thanks to Zeus for adding!
  • Added a New Nasty pick -- the Orbital Inertia Missile Battery!
    • Orbiting defensive structure that exploits long distances to deal massive damage to enemies. Repulses smaller ships that get too close with inertia missiles, knocking ships back and inflicting engine stun. Inertia missiles do more damage to ships that are immune to the knockback effect.
    • Thanks to Zeus for adding!
  • Replace the Templar Castle temporary weapon with a new temporary weapon for improved balance testing
    • Thanks to Badger for the code, and Daniexpert for the report
  • Added the Orbital Polarizer Guardpost, adapted from DLC2.
    • Thanks to Zeus for adding.

Improvements

  • Display galaxy wide cap in build sidebar now.
    • This will show a galaxy wide cap if there is one. If the galaxy wide cap is less than or equal to the current fleets cap, then *only* the galaxy wide cap is show (while still indicating it is a galaxy wide cap), otherwise, both are shown.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the addition.
  • Adjust the color of the galaxy wide cap, when that cap has been reached.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the addition.
  • Move checking of faction type for tech upgrades to Faction.CanUnlockTech, rather than the UI.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the refactor.
  • Minor buff to Super fortress. (Zeus) Saw that its stats didn't seem so super

Bugfixes

  • fixed an issue with the orbital guardposts using tags. These don't support lists
    • Thanks to Badger for pointing this out and Zeus for the fix!
  • Fixed the orbital AI files not being properly included in the last build for DLC3.
    • Thanks to Zeus for the fix.
  • Fix a bug where Major Necropolises weren't correctly updating their buildable ships when structures are built. Also tweak the base skeleton balance
    • Thanks to Badger for the fix, and Puffin for the report
  • Fix several bugs with the orbital AI type structures
    • Thanks to Zeus for the fix, and Badger for the report
  • Fix `mypotluck` cheat command, which was broken during the refactor.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the fix.
  • Fix display of which settings are changed from default in setup lobby options tab.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the fix.
  • Changed how the tracking of lists and references is handled so that they are now spun off on their own background task threads.
    • These were leading to some deadlock situations in certain cases, some of which were rare, but not rare enough for my taste.
    • This does slow down the initial application startup time from about 8 seconds to about 10 seconds on my machine -- so an extra 2 seconds of load time.
    • However, I no longer can get the deadlock to recur in any of the cases where it previously existed, so that's excellent.
  • I also added in some tools for tracking thread status in detail. It shows up in the setting menu without having to have advanced options turned on now.
    • The next time someone runs into stuck threads, if they don't mind turning this option on for a bit, that would be appreciated. This will rapidly fill your log, so it's not something worth leaving on for a longer period.
  • Adjusted all of the various collection types to now lazy-load.
    • Well, actually there are still 7 that I didn't have time to do, but I got the other 30-something of them.
    • The effect of this is to make for less RAM usage, and relatively faster startup (and/or other intializations) where possible.
    • At the moment, just loading into the main menu with all three DLCs installed but no mods, this drops our total items in collections from 8.4m to 0.74m, and total capacity from 6m to 5.5m, and total collections from 250k to 76k, and references tracked from 392k to 181k.
    • Overall this is one of those things that will benefit the game more and more as there are more mods installed, keeping it so that things only actually spin up data stores as they are needed, rather than piling on a ton right at the start.
    • This also gets my own loading times back down to around 8ish seconds, sometimes 9, rather than being 10ish seconds; so it's helping to compensate for the extra startup time that I introduced with today's earlier work.

Beta 3.744 Pathfinding

(Released November 3rd, 2021)

  • Added a new FleetSimLogic, which moves some of our fleet logic out of the closed-source Core dll into the open-source BaseInfo External dll.
    • No logic was changed at this time (by design), it was just moved.
    • There is also one for the fleet memberships, but for now that is empty. The one method that would have gone in there so far is more efficient when on the FleetSimLogic class.
    • The purpose of these changes is primarily so that we don't ever have to have anything pathfinder-related in Core.
  • Orbital AI -- new feature!
    • No more stationary turrets, except for the wormhole sentinels. Instead, the Orbital Guardposts now spawn turrets that orbit the guardpost. These can be completely random or from a specific set to complement a given guardpost.
    • Thanks to Zeus for adding!
  • Show unused AIP reduction, and remaining AIP until next mark levels.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for adding!
  • Necromancy is now more easily practiced; previously it was hard for a non-flagship to deal enough necromantic damage to a fleetship without the fleetship already dying.
    • The base flagship no longer has a beam weapon; the beam weapon is on the blaster flagship. Instead the base necromancer flagship has multi-shot, to make it easier to necromance more ships early.
    • Thanks to Badger for updating, and Puffin for the feedback

Bugfixes

  • Fix notifications not displaying in the prior build.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing!
  • Elderlings: fix some additional problems with planet allocation
    • Thanks to Badger for updating.
  • Fix collapsing sidepanel groups layout not working quite right.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing!
  • Enable AI types that are marked as kiting to actually kite.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing!
  • Fix dispaly of AI type difficulty in game setup.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing!
  • Change a number of APIs dealing with planet indexes to use Int16 rather than int.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing!
  • Improve handling of attack orders given on galaxy targetting ships/structures.
    • The code previously assumed that the entity being attacked was on the currently selected planet, which is no longer true, now that you can attack things from the galaxy map.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing!

Pathfinding Performance Improvements, And ThreadStatic RAM Improvements

  • Added a new ThreadStaticWrapperedPooledItem, which is a way for us to keep some sort of complex object -- often a collection, but more things than that are planned -- in a threadstatic, safe way.
    • ...What?
      • Okay, so ThreadStatic. Basically, any time a new thread is using that variable, it can initialize its own copy. This is hyper useful.
      • However, with random background worker threads, this does mean that we wind up with some things initialized on threads that may never be used the same way again.
        • I'm referring here to things like Task<>.Run() or things that happen inside Parallel.For() or similar. Or older-school ThreadPool calls, whatever.
      • Additionally, we pool and reuse our own threads between loads of the game (meaning out to the main menu and back), for things like factions.
        • So if thread 554 was Dark Spire in one game, and you go to the main menu and come back into the same game, it might wind up being the AI Hunter thread instead.
      • Essentially this works vaguely like a memory leak, even though it is in no way a memory leak, because we wind up with stuff that has been allocated but will never be used again.
        • During our "before mapgen or savegame load clear," it makes more sense to recall all the threadstatic stuff, and pull those into central pools, and then start over fresh using them again.
    • How we do exactly that is... with this new class, ThreadStaticWrapperedPooledItem!
      • This wrapper item is instead now the thing that is threadstatic, and it communicates under the hood with a pool.
      • We can put anything in here. Collections, pathfinders, and so on.
        • A side benefit of this is that for things where we previous had a scope that was a "context" (that can be VERY confusing), the scope can instead be the thread.
        • Recently, we've been having some issues with pathfinders being called from more than one contextual location at a time, which might have been a false alarm or might have been a very dangerous bug. Either way, this will fix that.
          • But even more to the point, we might have been having some pathfinder bugs if people ever decided to use one from a given context in a Task or Parallel call. I don't think anyone was doing that yet, but if they did it would have given scrambled results.
      • A side effect of these changes is that we can allocate fewer lists and pathfinders in general, because not every faction needs them in the first place. And what we do allocate can get much more reuse.
    • If we felt like we needed to, we could extend this concept further and push kind of a library "check in, check out" sort of data structure that keeps things for less long than between map-generations.
      • That said, I think that there is potentially performance loss from that, and I don't expect the RAM usage of my current approach to be enough of a problem to warrant that extra CPU usage.
      • If I get proved wrong later, then I can make a second version of this general concept that prioritizes RAM savings instead of CPU savings, and it will be easy to swap out the ones where it's a problem.
  • The types of end pathfinders have been condensed down to three: PlanetPathfinderBasic, PlanetPathfinderConservative, and PlanetPathfinderWarden.
    • There is nothing in there about any sort of long-term or short-term differences now.
    • Additionally, when you find a path, it now requires you to pass in the faction and any extra debug info when you do so.
  • Added a new DictionaryOfProtectedValDictionaries, which is presently unused. Thought I would need it on CacheForPathingMode, but those are being pooled by map-reload, so no.
    • In general, a lot of the pathing code is now pooled way better between loads of the game. Previously... possibly it was lost and leaked? Maybe it was not leaking, but just kind of allocated in a useless place? Either way, fixed.
  • Man, there's a whole bunch of other changes where things with pathfinding were really confusing to me. I didn't have time to document them all.
    • However, the new approach is really clear and has comments or naming that explains what the rules are, and why. Also the code reads linearly from top to bottom, rather than jumping all over the place. So that also helps.
    • For an end-faction-developer, very little is different. It does ask you for a "debug addendum" string, but that's just so that error messages will be more informatively precise if you should run into any.
  • The sum total of these changes saves a LOT of memory, as well as making things load faster, as well as also eliminating the pathfinders-from-multiple-contexts bug. It also leads to some CPU speed improvements in several spots.
    • It also solves what was definitively still a memory leak in terms of pathfinders.
      • After 10 loads of the game prior to these changes, there were 169,706 PathBetweenPlanetsForFaction-PathToReadOnly collections, with 25,661,700 capacity and 115,592 stored items. This is absolutely freaking huge!
      • Now, after 8 loads of the game, there are 79 collections, 420 total capacity, and 19 stored items. This is... uh... quite an improvement.
  • Thanks to tom.prince and Badger for reporting the pathfinder errors that led to all these improvements. This was a tough nut to crack.

Beta 3.743 Return Of The Imperial Spire

(Released November 2nd, 2021)

Improvements

  • The FitListToSize_OrCreateWithDefault_OrThrowErrorIfEmpty() and MakeListAtLeastThisLongWithDefaults() support methods have been moved to ArcenDynamicTableRow since they can potentially do a lot of good where all XML-based objects can use them.
  • Additions to the EntityTypeDrawingBag (ETDB):
    • It is now possible to define mixed bags of parse types - as in spawning a certain entity by its name and then random entities based on tags.
    • The same way differing count types (raw count, strenth-based, metal/energy/AI cost) can now be mixed.
    • Additionally there is 2 new lists: duplicate_pick_handling_list (GenerallyAllowed, AllowedForDifferentTiers, GenerallyUnallowed) allows to set whether or not duplicates may be picked, while multi_pick_list defines how many separate, if need be unique entity types of a "tier" are picked (say that there's a tag with 3 units, and 2 should be chosen - this is where the "2" would go to make that happen). The maximum that can be picked is the maximum possible individual entries per "tier".
  • Outguard now instead of the primary/secondary/tertiary XML fields uses the ETDB, with some new ones:
    • min_spawn_count_increase_per_aip_interval is a list that defines how much is added to the min/max values of the spawn counts, while the intervals themselves are defined by the spawn_count_increase_aip_threshold list.
    • All XML was adjusted to compensate.
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo for adding!
  • Rename the Random Faction display name so as to get it toward the top of the Game Lobby 'Add Faction' menu. Otherwise it's a hassle when adding a couple random factions
    • Thanks to Badger for updating!
  • Refactor the code for generating spire city and fleet names.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating.
  • Brutal Lair: slow down the rate of Brutal Guardian spawning
    • Thanks to Badger for updating!
  • Add a couple new Elderlings for diversity
    • Thanks to Badger for updating!
  • Elderlings now grant essence when killed
    • Thanks to Badger for updating!
  • Add a new Feeble Elderling that's seeded near the player in necromancer mode
    • Thanks to Badger for updating!
  • Minor buff to sappear beachhead constructors
    • Thanks to Badger for updating!
  • Slothful and Wrathful elderlings can now be hacked for necromancer blueprints to allow new flagship transformations.
    • There's an explanation in the XML for how one would set up other Elderlings to be hacked for blueprints
    • Thanks to Badger for updating!
  • When the Necromancer is added to the game, it now also adds a copy of the Elderlings (AI-allied) and the Templar (AI-allied). These are visible in the game lobby so players can adjust the difficulty.
    • Thanks to Badger for updating!
  • Gave the Templar and Elderlings some new icons
    • Thanks to Badger for updating!
  • More Outguard work:
    • The spawn_delay XML field now actually works. Groups called in may take a delay in time until they arrive. Sidebar, tooltips and XML have been adjusted.
    • With the exception of the DLC 2 Outguard "Hyperion" all are still the same as before. Hyperion, as per original concept, now takes 30 seconds to warp in.
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo for adding!
  • Tweak the descriptions for macrophages and elderligns a bit
    • Thanks to Badger for updating!
  • Add some new options for the Necromancer to make the game easier.
    • You can A. start with bonus resources
    • B. Start with higher available skeletons
    • C. Start with higher available wights
    • D. Start with a bonus ship line of wights
    • The goal is to make sure that even weaker players can enjoy playing the necromancer.
    • Thanks to Badger for adding!
  • Add a couple of extension methods to ArcenCharacterBuffer for displaying human readable times.
    • AddHoursAndMinutes will display times like 5h 13m 20s, for use in description and tooltip text.
    • AddSecondsRemaining will display times like 13:20, for use in notification panels. By default, this will show times <20s in red and <60s in yellow.
    • I also went and changed a bunch of places to use the new functions. Most of the changes haven't been tested.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating!
  • Convert a few more notification panels to use AddSecondsRemaining.
    • Also add an option to AddSecondsRemaining to use the 10 minute intensity variation from nomad planets.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for updating!
  • There is a new GetShouldBeHidden() on the notification code that lets programmers specify that something should be hidden based on whatever they want.
    • Essentially, if a timer was counting down and would be negative, but we find that the notification is still in the list for a little bit, then instead this can just say "yeah, hide me," and it will disappear from the list at a proper time. This is particularly important for multiplayer clients, which might get data slightly late.
    • Overall nobody needs to go crazy with this function, but it exists as a new safety valve to help keep things from showing stale data. We already have this same sort of thing already on most of our UI element, so extending it here is an easy leap and quite consistent with everything else. It's only needed when it's needed, but it's nice to have it for those cases.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for the discussion that inspired this addition.
  • List<> and ProtectedList<> now both have an IsHardened bool property on them.
    • If a list is hardened, then index out of range exceptions are considered fine. Basically those are threading issues that should just return default(T), which is generally going to be null.
    • This does not help with inserts, adds, writes, or clears. It applies to for, foreach, contains, find, findall, findlast, get-index, etc.
    • If you have a list that is mostly used one place, and is only written to on a single given thread (main sim probably), then you can just flag it as IsHardened = true and read from it from other threads. If one of those threads happens to go what would be out of bounds for the list (generally because something was removed from the list on its main thread while the other thread was reading from it), that's no problem. You'll just get a null back, which you can check for.
    • In general when reading from lists, read into a variable with one indexing call and then use that value after you've verified it's not null. This is better practice for performance anyhow. It then keeps your surface area much smaller for the list. No need for try/catch around the index into the list now.
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo for inspiring this change.
  • Since OutguardSpawnRequest is going to be seen on the UI for longer than it might exist in the actual working pool, it makes sense to put in the time-based pool like we do for units, shots, etc. This has been converted over, and it thus then calls its Clear() object when it goes out of quarantine and back into the main pool, which is 2-3 seconds after going into the pool (the UI list refresh will happen every 1 second, so that's plenty of time).
    • Please note that this does not have any effect on the discussion of the way that the lists are filled, or how the lists are accessed -- the things that NR SirLimbo and I were discussing. Pooling strategy is one thing, and cross-thread read/write strategy is another, and the two can be considered independently.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for suggesting.
  • More under-the-hood Outguard work:
    • Put in the code for the new hardened protected list as primary list for the Outguard Spawn Requests. This should prevent any potential cross-threading exceptions when it's being read on an UI thread.
    • Clients are being kept (hopefully) perfectly up-to-date with Outguard spawn requests, so their sidebars also refresh as timely as possible.
    • Additionally it should no longer be possible to spawn the same group twice on hosts and clients by clicking basically at the same time, where the UI doesn't yet block the client from sending the game command to spawn the group.
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo for implementing!

Bugfixes

  • Mark items as coming out of quarantine when going into the main pool. (TimeBasedPool)
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing!
  • Make spire transciever work again, and add a global cap to them.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing!
  • Make imperial spire spawn from transceiver as well.
    • This does make the imperial spire twice as powerful, in a solo game, but that is really incidental, since they already have overwhelming force. This is mostly for flavor reasons, I was surprised when testing out the transceiver that they were at least initially arriving from the transceiver that called them.
    • Thanks to tom.prince for fixing!
  • Elderlings now properly join their allies in minor faction teams
    • Elderlings now mark up properly. They initially start with a 3 planet territory, then add one new planet when the Elderling marks up
    • Elderlings now try to max out at 3 Elderlings per Territory planet. They are now more organized in how to lay eggs, and to make sure that elderlings don't get too cluttered.
    • Thanks to Badger for fixing!
  • Fireteams: fix a bug presumably from the memory-leak changes where we had two almost identically named copies of a list, and would get confused as to which we were using. There is now only one list
    • Thanks to Badger for fixing!
  • Fix a bug where too many elderlings were winding up in the same space
    • Thanks to Badger for fixing!
  • Templar Encampments spawn a bit less frequently, but should be a bit stronger
    • Thanks to Badger for fixing!
  • AI-allied high-intensity elderlings will be more concentrated. Hopefully fix a null reference exception in the wave code
    • Thanks to Badger for fixing!
  • Fixed an exception that could happen due to a race condition in HandleLODsAndShipPartAnimations/
    • Thanks to Eluthena for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue where OutguardSpawnRequest was never being returned to the pool. It now centrally uses a ProtectedList rather than a List, which means it should automatically head back to the pool when we're done with it. (This was a memory leak.)
    • Thanks to tom.prince for reporting.
  • Fixed an error in my build scripts for GOG Galaxy that was leading to the updates on the beta branch being stuck on version 3.313. I had thought that things were working fine since it was still having something to download every time a new version was uploaded, but that was not the case.
    • What happened was, I upgraded to a new computer a few months ago, and when I did the paths changed for where my build scripts pointed to. All my steam scripts use relative path names, but the GOG ones are apparently hardcoded and were looking to a wrong drive. I would have expected some sort of error, but there was not one.
    • I've now corrected the path names to look to the correct drive, and folks on GOG can now get the latest betas properly for testing again.
    • Thanks to slake-moth for reporting.
  • In Disband_JustTheDeepInfoPortion, the "GetExternalBaseInfoAs<ScourgePerUnitBaseInfo>()" (which throws an error if it's the wrong type) now is just "TryGetExternalBaseInfoAs<ScourgePerUnitBaseInfo>()" (which is able to silently return null when it's not a match).
    • This is basically old code, as Badger notes, but the way that I had translated it into the new framework was suboptimal.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Fixed several groups of errors that could happen when deleting campaigns, relating to exceptions and having the wrong campaign selected, etc. Some of this was indeed because we were using an asynchronous callback when -- after a delete in particular -- we needed to use a synchronous one for the sake of accuracy.
    • Thanks to Crabby for the report, and tom.prince for the diagnosis and suggested solution.
  • Fixed a bug where if the campaign name was null, and you were NOT in the tutorial, it would start saving as "Tutorial".
    • That's been fixed so that it will now save as General, and if you're in a tutorial it will save as Tutorial.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert, Eluthena, and tom.prince for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug in GameCommand_DeleteAllSaveGames where it was using the current campaign name instead of the one that was passed in.
  • Put in error tracking in a number of places so that it will fail to save (and tell you about that) if the campaign name is blank.
    • Fixed a variety of places where the savegame or campaign name could be null and just cause problems or save into an odd space without warning. Now those places error, instead, so that we'll know when they happen.
    • When pooling the World object, we no longer ever reset the CampaignName. The first thing we do when using it out of the pool is set a new one, anyhow.
      • This should stop a variety of bugs with saving doing funky things since the great refactor.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert and tom.prince for reporting.
  • Fixed a deserialization bug in wormhole invasions.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for the report with the matching serialization logs that made this super easy to see in action!
  • Corrected Nucleophilic turret count on Webbed battlestation template 5 -> 25
    • Thanks to CRCGamer for fixing!
  • ArcenUI_AxisAlignment is now a struct rather than a class. It doesn't actually solve a leak or anything.

Beta 3.742 "Classic Map" For DLC1

(Released October 30th, 2021)

  • Add a minimal UI for changing which fleet is being bolstered.
    • Thanks to Tom for adding!
  • DLC3: Add a new Elderlings fashion.
    • This faction starts with an Egg. After some time the egg hatches into an Elderling.
    • Elderlings patrol the area around their initial egg. Every so often an Elderling can lay another egg.
    • Able to be allied to player/ai/minor faction.
    • Thanks to Badger for adding!

New Map Type For DLC1!

  • DLC1 has just not been popular enough with folks, so we're deciding to sweeten the deal and add some cool new things to it. You'll see some minor new factions, some notable cool new features, new units, and a new map type, among other things.
    • We're going to be renaming that DLC in order to make it more clear that this is a majorly expanded DLC compared to what it originally was, and when DLC3 comes out, we'll also be raising the price of DLC1 to match that of DLCs 2 and 3. Essentially, they're all going to be suitably giant to match DLC2. So if you want to get it for a couple of bucks cheaper, now is a good time actually!
    • In the meantime, the new map type has been added to DLC1, courtesy of Badger: Classic.
      • Practically, it's a mix of bunch of clusters and lonely planets with lots of connections; it has a bit of flavor of the maps from AI War Classic.

Bugfixes And General Improvements

  • Use AddedMarkLevelsForFleet_FromScience rather than CurrentMarkLevel to determine mark of Spire ships.
    • Thanks to Tom for updating!
  • Create second spire fleet at first Mark 3 city.
    • Previously, it would always spawn at the Capitol.
    • Thanks to Tom for updating!
  • Include planet name in Spire City upgrade text.
    • Thanks to Tom for updating!
  • Fix incorrect fleet name showing up in several tooltips.
    • In a number of places, it would always show the command station fleet of the current planet.
    • Thanks to Tom for fixing!
  • Display the city each Spire Fleet ship line is bolstered from in the tooptip.
    • Thanks to Tom for adding!
  • Fixed a place where I missed a fourth codepath for the "SaveGameData Create" log, which was what led to the log spam. I didn't actually forget to compile anything, looks like.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug in the dark zenith deserialization that was preventing savegames with them from being loaded.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Fixed a harmless but annoying typo in the logging for Zenith Architrave data.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Fixed another annoyance with log spam, this time with nomads spamming the log.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Territory dispute factions no longer clear their fireteams before calling FireteamBaseUtility.DeserializeFireteamsAndDiscardAnyExtraLeftovers, since that would lead to spotty data in MP.
  • Fixed an exception (a boolean inversion) that was preventing any fireteams from being deserialized.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Put in more instrumentation into ChooseWaveTarget, so that if it has an exception it will now be more clear where that was, and also still potentially return something marginally useful.
    • Also then fixed an exception that could happen when validly reporting "no target from X location." The code was looking for an old-style answer that no longer is possible since these became pooled, but has been corrected to look for "valid no-data" answers in the new way.
  • Fixed an exception that could happen in ShipVisualizer.RenderTarget.
  • Necromancer bolstering seems to work. Big thanks to Tom for his fallen spire work that I copied.
    • Thanks to Badger for adding.
  • Necromancer flagships are now better at seeing when they have hacks.
  • Fix a bug where we were breaking out of the wrong loop in the hacking display code.
    • Thanks to Badger for fixing.
  • Mummies now load into flagships.
  • Fix a bug where each necropolis bolstering a fleet was clobbering the 'how many ships are granted' data.
    • Added a mention of this to the Fall Spire code in case someone else sees the same problem; I'm not investigating further for the fallen spire though
  • Clear tooltips before clearing pools, when returning to the main menu.
    • Thanks to Tom for fixing.
  • Make various functions in Window_InGameHoverEntityInfo take GameEntity_Squad instead of GameEntity_Base.
    • As it is, that is all they handle anyway, so make that clear from the signature.
    • Thanks to Tom for updating!
  • Simplify some code in GalaxyViewSelector.cs around type conversions.
    • Thanks to Tom for updating!

Major Time-Based Pool Improvements

  • Previously, the game used ITimeBasedPoolable and TimeBasedPoolable for any sort of pooled objects, even if they were going in the ConcurrentPool.
    • This was a bit confusing (potentially, anyway), and also limiting (definitely), since the two types of pools now have different needs.
    • So we now have IConcurrentPoolable and ConcurrentPoolable, which are used in the vast majority of cases now, since mostly we use ConcurrentPools.
  • Time-based pooling has been majorly expanded to now have a three-stage process.
    • There's a quarantine phase that is far more clear now, and at the end of that there's now an extra clear step rather than there only being "enter pool" and "exit pool" clears.
      • This lets us hang on to certain references that would otherwise cause errors at various parts of the application, while still easing the objects out of the simulation in other ways.
    • Additionally, the "advancement through buckets" for time-based pools now happens on a background worker thread instead of the main or sim threads, which is WAY more efficient. This keeps the framerate and sim speeds up.
    • Also? It turns out that, all this time, time-based pooling has been running too fast, largely because I was trying to avoid excessive calls to take and put from the quarantine batches. This led to all sorts of anomalies.
      • Now that I'm running the time pool logic on a new random background worker thread, we can afford the extra time to make sure it's done right.
      • In general, this particular thing also is not quite such a large load as I'd once feared it might be (then again, I have the luxury of saying that when it's not blocking the sim, right?)
  • The squad pool was set to be stupidly long (30 increments of 12 seconds each, wow).
    • It is now set to be 3 increments of 20 seconds, which is a lot more efficient.
  • Shots, transported-ships, fleet-memberships, and external and base infos have all had basic translations over to the new time-based pooling for maximum efficiency and minimum chance of errors.
  • Squads/ships have had the largest transition, and a FAR larger amount of their stuff now happens on the new Mid phase.
    • This both speeds up the deaths and reuse of squads (major boon on many threads), but also helps avoid lots of random errors that could otherwise happen in LRP threads or in the UI, particularly notifications.
    • While in this part of the code, I also discovered that there was a leak with the external baseinfo/deepinfo for squads, and I fixed that. Whoops.
  • Fireteam history is no longer in a time-based pool. Because it's a sub-object of fireteams, it makes more sense to just be a concurrentpool, which is how we handle systems on squads.
  • Fireteams themselves were updated like shots, fleets, etc, were.
  • Squads now have a PermaDebugNonSimID on them, which never changes and which has no sim-meaning. It's different between the same units on different computers, and between different runs of the same game on one computer, rather like a hashcode for many objects in C#.
    • We can use this to trace the life of a literal squad object as it changes over time, if we need to, even as its identity is rewritten around itself.
    • This has been used to verify that the timings on the time-based pooling actually finally work properly for apparently the first time ever.
  • Thanks to Tom for the discussion that led to this change in how we do things with time-based pools, as this will make a LOT of code way less prone to random exceptions.

Memory Leak And Performance Work (Ongoing Part 2)

  • Added the ability for our dictionaries to expand in a non-doubling fashion, same as we have for our lists. It's not used very often, but in certain cases it can make for more efficient memory usage.
  • My CrossThreadSwizzleLists for ship-to-ship beams, etc, now use a lot less memory and will also consequently no longer even try to draw more than 9000 beams of a single type in one frame.
    • If more than that are requested, it just ignores the requests beyond that number. We've never had anywhere close to that number requested at once, and it would tank pretty much any GPU, so this makes sense. The limit before was 90,000, and there was no safeguard if it was exceeded, because it could not feasibly ever be reached.
  • I'm making many various other little updates to collection capacities and capacity growth curves as I go through Daniexpert's core dump. It's not worth noting them all, but it's just little tunings here and there that make things work better.
  • I decided to take a break and do a manual review of all of the classes in ArcenUniversal, of which there are apparently 464 at the moment.
    • I reviewed them all manually to see if they were suspicious or what, particularly paying attention to things in the realm of UI. For those that were suspicious, I've added some instrumentation so that we'll see in the future if they leak.
    • For four others, I find them worthy of further investigation, and I've just noted them down for now.
  • Removed the PlanetFactions list on the Faction object, as it turns out it was never filled and also never used (thankfully). The PlanetFactionEntityLists list is what is actually used, and that's been left alone.
  • Made it so that parallel processing of planets is a lot more efficient in terms of both CPU usage and RAM usage.
    • I had been making a working copy to iterate over, and there was a much better way to handle that, sigh.
  • The Queue class also now supports non-doubling increases in capacity, like our List class.
  • Lots more various improvements in how various collections allocate their capacity.
  • TemporaryBuffer has been removed from ArcenCharacterBuffer, because it was not threadsafe. Also it was not even used in this game!
  • ArcenCharacterBuffer can no longer be directly created, but instead is borrowed from a pool and then expected to be put back.
    • This is one of the largest memory leaks that we definitively still had, and it is now fixed.
    • Any time we were writing a key combo to the screen it was a major leak of these, turns out.
  • ArcenXMLSerializationBuffer now is created, used for a while, and then disposed, versus being kept for the long-term.
    • We're no longer doing reference tracking on these, since they don't have any data unique to themselves. Everything is part of the ArcenCharacterBuffer except a thin wrapper here around it.
    • In fact, these are now structs, since they contain so little data.
  • A whole bunch of debug and tracing output code has been updated to use the updated ArcenCharacterBuffers that are pooled.
    • The method now is more efficient, and also more robust against small typos.
    • For example, it turns out that there was an infinite-appending memory leak in code that was meant to be just for tracing in CheckForWarFooting for Zenith Architrave, but instead it was leaking infinite strings over time even when tracing was off.
      • There were some other examples like this, but this was the most notable one where it looks like it would cause gradual memory degradation over time until the game is restarted (or until actual tracing was turned on for the ZA).
      • In the event of something along these lines in the future, we'll see one of two things: 1) an exception (yay!), or 2) a rising number of ArcenCharacterBuffers being allocated and never put back. Prior to today, it was just invisible ram usage since we're not keeping track of "excessively long strings" or something of that sort.
        • That said, in the normal case of operations (aka not tracing something), it should just show up as an exception, which is the best result. Leaking character buffers would likely only happen during tracing, if it were going to from tracing activities.
    • It's vaguely possible that there are some leaks of character buffers when doing tracing. Given that this is only something developers or modders are likely to do, and only for brief times, this does not seem to be a big deal. However, there also should be a minimal number of these (it was a lot of work).
      • Actually, despite all my work, it's pretty likely there are some. At least they are minor.
    • It's also likely that there are now some random nullref exceptions scattered in the code that were previously infinitely-growing strings that memory leaked. That's unfortunate, but better than the alternative. I examined all of them by hand, but there were 1158 of them, so I had to skim kind of quickly.
      • Found some of those in planning wave (very rare), ZA (super hyper very very frequent), templars (minor), dark spire (moderate), scourge (very frequent), dark zenith (very frequent), base-oriented warden (minor),
  • Fixed several tooltips in the resource bar and the bottom left menu that would leak memory (and ArcenCharacterBuffers) like crazy when you hovered over them.
  • If a blank or null string is passed to SingleLineQuickDebug or ArcenDebugLogSingleLine, these are now ignored.
    • This is useful to have more brief code with certain tracing code. Sometimes it would accidentally be sending something blank, and that's fine and should just be easily ignored.

Beta 3.741 Clogging Holes

(Released October 28th, 2021)

  • Fixed two typos related to Necromancer

Memory Leak And Performance Work (Ongoing)

  • Added a new ProtectedArray collection, which simply lets us have automation with things like items going back into the pool, etc.
  • The MarkLevelStats on GameEntityTypeData is now pooled, and uses the ProtectedArray, so that when the game reloads all its xml it should now also properly flush this out.
    • Same deal with EntitySystemTypeData itself, and MarkLevelStats on EntitySystemTypeData.
    • And also HackData, on GameEntityTypeData.
  • Added a new ProtectedValue "collection" (of exactly one item), which again gives us that automated protection.
    • This is now used on the EntityTypeDrawingBag references on GameEntityTypeData so that they properly get pooled when there's a reload.
    • Please note! We're using this on things like PeriodicSpawn_EntityTypeDrawingBag because this IS the data, and so we want to make sure and clear it as well as the reference to it. So we DO use ProtectedValue.
    • Meanwhile, for things like UnitToMakeWithBuildPointsFromDamageTaken, that's just a reference to data that exists independently elsewhere. We'd want to clear the reference to it, sure, but actually cleaning up the distant data is not our call on GameEntityTypeData; it's not in charge of that data. So it would NOT use ProtectedValue.
    • More often than not, the proper decision is to NOT use ProtectedValue.
  • Added better error handling for "DoForAllElementsIncludingParentsAndPartialsInForwardOrderFromOldest"
    • If it has an exception, it now tells you what the sub-node was that it was looking at, and also doesn't stop processing of the rest of its row (thus preventing an error cascade that gives misleading errors that would go away if you fix the actual core error).
  • Working on memory leak hunting:
    • ArcenDynamicTableIndexSerializationInfo allocation capacities are now more tame. Also, these were leaking, it turns out, so they are now pooled and reused instead.
      • Same with ArcenNonTableIndexSerializationInfo on all fronts.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for the core dump that led to these.
  • Yesterday I split ArbitaryArcenOption so that it was an abstract base class and then also had an ArbitaryArcenOptionStandalone sub-class for being used.
    • It turns out that this was a terrible idea, and on top of that I had some other classes that were inheriting from ArbitaryArcenOption in a way that was really not helpful.
    • So, I'm combining ArbitaryArcenOptionStandalone back into ArbitaryArcenOption, and then making that class sealed (so nothing can inherit from it, because that's "crossing the streams" and gives very bad behavior).
    • Faction configurations and galaxy options continue to now use ArbitaryArcenOption directly, and it works as expected.
    • CampaignOrQuickstartFolder, CampaignOrQuickstart_SubFolder, and SaveGameData all now directly inherit from ArcenOwnedRowBase, which is the root behind both ArbitaryArcenOption and ArcenDynamicTableRow.
      • They also then implement IOption, that excellent idea that Tom suggested yesterday, and pool themselves without any worry about strange inheritance patterns.
      • I've also made these sealed, so nobody is ever tempted to inherit from them and cause the same problem again, just at a new inheritance depth.
    • These are verified to no longer be leaking, but these are definitely not the largest part of the leak that is in the core dump from Daniexpert. I haven't gotten to that yet, but I'm going through methodically. I've also fixed up a number of capacities to be more sensible based on seeing real-world core-dump data, and the savegames now load faster than ever, especially on second load and beyond.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for the core dumps for this and other related items, and to Tom for the IOption idea.

Beta 3.740 Code Panopticon

(Released October 27th, 2021)

  • Lost Spire Frigates now have "Roam if instructed" set by default
    • Thanks to Wuffell_1, TheIronBird and all the others for suggesting, and to Daniexpert for fixing!
  • Add some new integers, StoredFactionResource[One|Two|Three] to the faction object. This is for future modding support as well as the necromancer.
    • The Necromancer now treats FactionResourceOne as "Essence", which is obtained by hacking Rifts.
    • Essence is used to do all necropolis and flagship operations, which are spent through the Hacking sidebar.
    • Thanks to Badger for adding.
  • DZ Svikari: Support AI allied variant. Currently only in DLC3 for testing
    • Thanks to Badger for adding.
  • Allow stationary flagships to travel to specific planet locations with modifier.
    • Thanks to Tom for updating!
  • Add support for autobuilding forcefields.
    • While we are here, refactor the autobuild code somewhat, so we only loop over the command stations once, rather once per type of automation.
    • This could probably do with being somewhat more data driven, though.
    • Thanks to Tom for adding!

UI Updates

  • The planet sidebar menu now shows the actual hull points of crippled watched/local flagships, so you can easily monitor their repairs. It still includes the text 'Crippled' though, so players should not get confused.
    • Thanks to Badger for updating.

NA Balance changes

  • Magnet ward starts at mark 1 (instead of mark 5).
  • Sabot ward now fires in a burst of 3
  • Angelic ward strength multiplier reduced from 5 to 3.
    • Thanks to Democracy! for pointing out this issue!

ZO Balance Changes

  • Cruisers stat adjustments. Minimium armor thickness from 50 mm - 175mm. This fixes several cruisers, most notably the starfish, which was vulnerable to all sources of weapon jamming.
    • Thanks to Democracy! for pointing out this issue!

Bugfixes

  • Fixed a missing XML field in the Brutal Guardian Lair, causing it to complain about not finding any Brutal Guardians.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Fix loading NecromancerUpgrade table when DLC3 isn't available.
    • Thanks to Tom for fixing!
  • Mark orbital guard posts ship groups with `can_be_empty_or_filled_and_no_complaints`.
    • This allows them to be loaded without error without DLC3.
    • Thanks to Tom for fixing!
  • Fix some map description typos for Swirl and Bubbles.
    • Thanks to Tom for fixing!
  • Make sure that deepstrike eligibility is updated even when there are no deep strikes.
    • This was causing deepstrikes to never happen, as no planets would be declared eligible.
    • Thanks to Tom for fixing!
  • Save the name of PlayerCustomCity fleets. This avoids Spire City Fleets from having generic names after loading a save game. This breaks the savegame format for games with Spire Cities in them.
    • Thanks to Tom for fixing!
  • Clamp maximum distance to point in BadgerUtilityMethods::GetExtremelySafePointNearPoint to 5 times the desired distance.
    • If the distance the point can be placed at is not limited, it is possible to end up with maps where one or several satellite planets (in the X or Linked Rings map types), are an order of magnitude or more farther away then the rest of the planets in the galaxy.
    • Thanks to Tom for fixing, and cml, Wuffell_1, and Ecthelon for reporting.
  • Clear the savegame selection when deleting a save in the load menu.
    • This prevents errors when clickling the `Start` or `Lobby` buttons afterwards.
    • Thanks to Tom for fixing!
  • Don't randomize the number of spokes in a perfectly symmetric X map.
    • Thanks to Tom for fixing!
  • Achievements for the DZ now properly occur for the DZ instead of the ZA
    • Thanks to Tom for pointing the ZA were stealing the DZ's achievements, and zeus for fixing!
  • Count the number of planets in X map subtrees correctly.
    • Always divide extra planets among all children.
    • Ensure than main branches of symmetrical X map have the same number of planets.
    • Thanks to Tom for fixing!
  • Don't error when trying to get `NumberToSeed` faction configuration when chekcing achievements.
    • In particular, the Hunter Fleet doesn't have it, so checking for completion of "Kites Get Struck By Lightning, You Know" was causing an exception after you won the game.
    • Thanks to Tom for fixing!
  • Convert more places that use UniqueTypeDataDifferentiatorForDuplicates to use int.
    • The field was converted to an int in r14429, but there were a bunch more places that used or accpeted this value that needed to be changed. I think I've got all the remaining ones.
    • Thanks to Tom for fixing!
  • Add FleetCategory.GetCanHaveDuplicateLines to track whether fleets can have duplicate lines.
    • This is a followup to r14429, which changed how Spire fleets work. They use `FleetCategory.PlayerCustomCityFedMobile` fleets, and each city provides ships with a `UniqueTypeDataDifferentiatorForDuplicates` corresponding to the city's `FleetID`. Thus, that category of fleet needs to support the `*_WithUniqueIDForDuplicates` method variants. The new method is used to control this.
    • Thanks to Tom for adding.
  • Move the logic for per-city frigates to be attached to the hub.
    • I added a new tag `SpireFeedsFleet` to all Spire building that provide ship capacity, and changed the Spire Hub and Capitol to provide the per-city frigate.
    • The old logic was incorrect, since the per-city frigate wasn't additive withfrigates from other structures.
    • Thanks to Tom for fixing.
  • Calculate the stats of PlayerCustomCity fleets as player fleets.
    • In particular, this calculates MaxMarkLevelOfAnyInFleet, which is used to determine Spire Fleet strength.
    • Thanks to Tom for fixing.
  • Remove duplicate centerpiece upgrading for Spire Fleets.
    • There were two copies of this code, one from before splitting fleets, which recorded a journal entry, and one after, which didn't. I've removed the former, along with the journal entries, as they were now incorrect, and somewhat redundant with the city mark level journal entries which are granted at the same time.
    • Thanks to Tom for fixing.
  • Mark Spire Hubs as granting science upgrades to the fleet.
    • Though they can't be upgraded with science by the player, the city upgrade uses science to indicate the mark level of the fleet.
    • Thanks to Tom for fixing.
  • For PlayerCustomCityFedMobile fleets, use the mark from the bolstering city.
    • Thanks to Tom for fixing.
  • Don't grant science to non-centerpice ships in Spire Fleets.
    • Now that ships in spire fleets get mark from the cities they are fed from, we should not grant them from the fleet mark as well.
    • Thanks to Tom for fixing.
  • Use "science" to upgrade Spire Fleet Flagships.
    • The code previously called SetCurrentMarkLevel, but that only changes a transient value that gets overwritten on the next update.
    • Thanks to Tom for fixing.
  • Renable building Spire City structures.
    • Thanks to Tom for fixing!
  • Make spire cities automaticly bolster nearest fleet fleet.
    • This is at least partly a stop-gap until it is possible to change which fleet is being bolstered by a city.
    • Thanks to Tom for fixing!
  • Upgraded the engine to Unity 2020.3.21f1, from the prior version 2020.3.20f1 we had been using.
    • This is a pretty fast turnaround on engine version upgrades for us, but they fixed a memory leak that affected OSX players.
    • It seems likely that we've fixed our own memory leaks that affected all platforms, but at any rate let's not have that confused with an engine-level one.
  • Fix isGalaxyFullyConnected to not sometimes report a false negative.
    • The previous version tried to save allocations by having the caller pass in a reference to a list of planets to use for tracking a connected component. However, since it also need to pass the list to a delgate, it needed to create a local copy of the parameter. It looks like there was some confusion between the two variables that lead to the wrong list being used.
    • I changed it to take the list of connected planets as a regular parameter, rather than a `ref` parameter[1]. If the caller (i.e. `makeSureGalaxyIsFullyConnected`) want access to a connected component, or to reuse the list, it can allocate and pass in a list. However, if the caller (i.e. `removeSomeLinksBetweenPlanets`) doesn't care about either of those things, it can just pass in `null`.
    • I also added some documentation for the method, which explains the usage of the `connectedPlanets`, along with caveat about the behavior if it isn't already connected.
    • Thanks to Tom for fixing!
  • Fixed several cases where we could get spam of "Look rotation viewing vector is zero" invisibly in the player log, which led to memory rising as well as choppiness.
  • Fix a couple of errors in ArcenUniversal.List where passed in Lists were not initialized.
    • Thanks to Tom for fixing!
  • Fix a divide by zero in the Anti-AI Zombie patrol code.
    • Thanks to Tom for fixing!

The Code Panopticon

  • Added a new form of instrumentation where we can track all collections and see if things are leaking via successive dumps, which includes finding out WHERE something is dumping from.
    • This does require folks to specify what the use of their stuff is, and it also makes it so that (for the time beinng, when the logging is on), no collections are ever garbage-collected.
    • Honestly, I don't trust the garbage collector to do a good job in the first place. "Temp collections" should be using ThreadStatic, not just created and then dropped.
    • This does require code changes in a variety of places, including in code mods, but this is kind of the ultimate in memory leak detection and repair. It also forces programmers to think a bit about what sort of data they're just tossing away. At best, it's something that adds slight hiccups from the garbage collector, and at worst it's a memory leak.
      • Please bear in mind that I'm concerned not just with the memory leak we have right now (we had one in July, which was different and I fixed it, for example), but any future ones, including client-only ones in MP, and mod-specific ones. Having a true solution that lets us detect them -- in fact, lets a modder detect them -- is something that's important to longevity.
  • We had several methods for profiling the performance of the game, added over the years because the unity profiler is not great for multithreaded games (it is getting better, but still kinda stinks).
    • Some of these were potentially a minor performance drain, and we don't even use them anymore, so they've been removed. The StopwatchSegment stuff was the oldest one, and is now gone.
  • The collections in general, and some other classes that depend on them, now require you to pass in a string LocationNameForTracing,
    • One of MANY places where this affects things is also the ArcenDoubleCharacterBuffer and similar, which I've known for a while we have been churning out like crazy.
    • These are being abused all over the place, sometimes just through casual usage ("this is infrequent and won't matter much"), and other times by accident (a sub-object that gets lost when an outer collections of collections is cleared).
      • In that second case, overall my goal is to have data structures for those types of collections of collections so that the internal collections get pooled within the outer one, thus keeping code simple.
    • The downside for programmers is that they need to give a name to a lot of things that they did not previously have to. The upside is that this helps us realize "hey, if I'm naming this, I'd probably better not throw it away, because that might be a memory leak." And the super duper upside is that when we do wind up with a memory leak, we can see it, by name, and then just go directly where it is and fix it.
      • I originally tried to use stack traces to accomplish this same thing, but that make loading the game take 90 seconds instead of 8 seconds on my machine (ow), and loading a savegame increased from 2 seconds to 260 seconds. So that obviously wasn't a workable approach.
  • A new DictionaryOfDictionaries has been added, which works a lot like the DictionaryOfLists in that it has internal pooling to prevent leaks that otherwise were rampant when programmers used this sort of structural design.
    • The toFromPlanetCache now uses this, which gets rid of one notable potential memory leak.
  • Added a new ProtectedListArray, which is less critical but does prevent some accidents with a ProtectedList[]. It also makes that outer code simpler, like these other compound collections, which is good.
    • Same deal with a new ListArray.
  • For the sake of brevity and ease of use, ArcenRandomDrawBag is now just DrawBag.
  • Added a new DictionaryOfDrawBags, again for the same sort of "don't leak a collection" purposes.
  • Added a new DoFor() method on EnumIndexedArray.
  • Added a new EnumIndexedArrayOfLists, again for anti-leak purposes.
  • Added a new EnumIndexedArrayOfArcenOverLinkedLists, again anti-leak compound data structure.
  • Now we also have EnumIndexedArrayOfProtectedKeyDictionaries.
  • Interesting, a new ConcurrentDictionaryOfLists. Had not expected to need that, but it's useful.
  • Also added a new DictionaryOfDoubleBufferedLists, which is mostly used for some logic on the macrophage, but it's vastly more flexible and effient than what I had set up previously to run them.
  • SortedDictionaryOfSortedDictionaries has been added, and this may be replacing one of the areas where a larger leak was possible.
    • Interestingly, in adding this and then making that in use throughout ShipListerUtils, I found something that looked like it would lead to incorrect counts of ships in some circumstances. We've had sporadic reports of that, so this may be solved now.
  • Added DictionaryOfArrays, which I don't actually need right now, but I figured why not. Because...
    • Added SortedDictionaryOfArrays, which is slightly more complicated but based on the above one, and this one I actually do need.
  • Fixed various random issues that were discovered because of the above changes requiring lots of code review:
    • There was a code path that cause ArcenRandomDrawBag to not actually initialize its tracker properly.
    • Fixed up the ArcenLessLinkedList and ArcenOverLinkedList to use structs for their enumerators, like the internal official classes do. Way more efficient.
    • GetRange() and FindAll() on the standard List class now work in a way that does not generate any garbage, and is faster to run in general. This requires you to pass in a list when using them.
    • Internally improved the performance of the ConcurrentBag that Microsoft provided, making it so that it doesn't need to generate lists and garbage when it is stealing items from one thread's pool to another.
      • Also improved its performance in the same way for when it needs to do an enumeration over a list that happens to be empty right now.
    • Improved the performance of my own logging from background threads to the main thread. It was generating some needless garbage and cost.
    • Huh, interesting, it was possible to really improve the ConcurrentBag and ConcurrentQueue enumerations and CopyTo and so on even more.
    • Made the xml import a LOT more efficient because of how we handle creation of working lists and sub-lists and things. This one is definitely on me in terms of why it was not as efficient as ideal.
      • A new FillList method that is very efficient is now on ConcurrentDrawBag and saves a lot of locks and list allocations and so on that we had to do without it.
    • Now using DictionaryOfLists in xml import. And for input actions by category. And music tracks. And RowsByTag and RowsByPlanetSeedingType.
    • Now initializing a far smaller list of sub-collections as we import various xml elements and attributes. Yay efficiency!
    • When dropdowns change what they are showing, there is more efficiency there, too.
    • A few places where we use RefPair in Core have been changed over to KeyValuePair, which is more efficient. We had very few instances of using RefPair in general, outside of the Draw Bags where it is actually needed in the form that it is.
    • Various more cases where we now use the compound classes.
    • Fixed up the templars so that they properly clear their data now and don't leak any data. I had marked that with a data_todo but hadn't gone back to them since then.
    • Fixed a possible memory (substantial) leak in AOE attacks, although it's not for sure that was happening. Might be a false alarm, but either way it is good now.
    • Noted that ExoOptions, which were set up as a struct, had reference types (lists) as part of them, which kind of defeated the point of these being structs. It does cut down on the amount of gc being hit, but still has a notable hit. These are now pooled and tracked; these always get sent to SendExoGalacticAttack, so that properly returns them to the pool when it is done with them (or earlier, when it early-outs on an MP-client).
    • Certain methods, like GetPlanetsForExtragalacticBudget(), no longer return a list of things. Instead, they take in a parameter that is a list-to-fill, and they do that. This pattern is required in places like this (it's always a judgement call) so that multiple callers can work with the same method and not have scrambled results. ThreadStatic is another way to go, but then you run into problems with serial calls to the method on the same thread. So since this a return list that we don't know how long will be kept or used, it's better to let the list be something that we don't originate in a method like that.
    • There was some funky logic that was hard to follow with a few collections being passed around from waves to notifiers and being used for potentially too long. It probably was not a problem, but now it definitely is not.
    • Got the sapper unit data so that it properly cleans itself up. Here again I had left a note to myself, but not gone back to it yet.
    • A bunch of common game commands, like wormhole movement and regular ship movement, are now at worst more efficient, and at best also no longer leak memory.
    • GetOptions() no longer returns a list of options
  • Most references to Linq have been removed from ArcenUniversal.
    • Linq is inherently messy and create a lot of garbage and is slow and is not something to be used very frequently. I discovered this back in 2008, with the original AI War, and have maintained that position ever since.
    • That said, for our ObjectDumper, DiffLib, and a few other key things that are infrequently-used, we can get away with some limited use of it.
  • Added a new BetweenXmlReloadPool, which provides a new way for us to more efficiently hang on to certain data between reloads of the xml (reloads of the xml only happen when you change around your enabled expansions or mods, but it's still good to do).
    • Previously I was relying on certain types of data being garbage collected, but now I'm not going to trust that.
    • For now this is just used on MapSettingOption and MapSettingOptionChoice, but later it can be extended to table rows and similar.
    • There is a new enum that is used for the ConcurrentPool and the TimeBasedPool which specifies that things either will reload when the game is cleared (like going to the main menu, mapgen, etc), or when xml is reloaded, or not at all.
  • ArbitaryArcenOption is now pooled between xml loads. OptionWrapper also. Okay... the big one is ArcenDynamicTableRow, and it also now complies with this. This is going to be a pain in my rear, but there's just no other way to avoid memory leaks on xml reloads. How severe those would be is hard to be certain, but it's not great, so here we are.
  • CreateNewForPool() has been removed from the various pools. They now instead take a GetNewEntryFromAny<TValue> delegate, which is vastly more flexible and makes certain kinds of inheritance possible for the first time. This was the big blocker behind dynamic table rows.
    • Okay... to handle dynamic table rows, we really need to have something more automated, even it's more slow. This is just during xml reload, not during gameplay, so even if it's 10x slower it's still going to be plenty fast. During gameplay we need all the speed we can get, so we don't automate things.
      • This has led to a reflection-based approach that is able to copy all of the values of an uninitialized dynamic table row of a certain type (like GameEntityTypeData) and set them to their defaults. The idea is to kind of brute force this.
    • There's a new ArcenTypeAnalyzer class that we can now use for looking at a type and making a blank version and then applying the defaults from it to other copies of it.
  • EntityMetalFlowEntry has been converted from a class to a struct, using the better patterns that we have established for this sort of thing.
    • There was some confusion on my part in discord a few weeks ago, and I had to really re-learn how to properly use structs in certain classes of cases, but actually the microsoft collection enumeraters were a big help in showing big practices (and their KeyValuePair). This now follows those best practices.
    • IncreasingPrep has also gotten the same treatment.
  • Everything that inherits from ArcenDynamicTableRow is now forced to use a certain flow for creation that uses a private constructor and either uses a pool (normal case) or explicitly and clearly opts not to use a pool.
    • Previously it was really easy to accidentally wind up with multiple ways to create from these, some pool-based and others not.
  • A couple of memory leaks that were in various dropdowns, most notably in the Galaxy Options and Personal Settings windows, are now fixed.
    • It's unclear if these were true memory leaks in the sense that memory would never be given back, or if it was just a performance drain and hit to the GC. Either way it's fixed, and this is not likely to be the smoking gun of the main leak.
    • Actually, these particular windows were really just full to the brim of stuff like that, but at this point they have been restructured so that they now give compiler errors if someone tries to do the sort of things that we were previoulsy having problems with. A lot of this was I think my code, but from a long time ago.
  • PlanetWaveComposition has been converted from a struct to a class, and is now pooled. This is another one where it was leaking pretty fiercely, but exactly how much of a problem it used to be is hard to tell.
    • If I had to guess as to a main source of a leak from what I've seen so far, this is a high candidate, at least. Between this and some of the stuff in the beam weapon attacks, those seem like the potential worst offenders I've seen thus far.
    • Added a new ProtectedKeyList to help with some of the collections affected here.
  • Added a new DictionaryOfSortedDictionaries, which is used mainly for distant ships to be brought to the local planet.
  • All of the savegame and formatting code has been split out into their own files. The savegame stuff was not being pooled previously, but now is. Note that I'm referring here to representations of savegames on disk, not the actual contents of them.
  • In general, the number of ArcenDoubleCharacterBuffers has been dramatically reduced by making a lot of them static rather than instance variables. Other similar changes have also been made that help keep RAM usage lower and CPU usage more efficient.
  • Fixed a couple of places in the squad visualizer that were initializing absolutely insanely huge arrays. This was not a "memory leak" per se, but it was allocating two orders of magnitude more RAM than it should have been, which would wind up looking like a memory leak.
    • If this is what was causing the memory leak, that will be quite interesting. This is something that I accidentally introduced in the last few weeks, either way. I'll need to improve my tooling in general, because this particular thing would not have been detected by my memory leak detection code.
  • Added a new GetTotalCurrentCapacityForItemsForTracing() on TraceableCollectionBase, because the more I thought about this since last night, it's entirely possible that this entire "memory leak" (this time) was merely a matter of over-allocating to a frankly insane degree on each ship in a squad.
    • This only applies to ships that are being visualized, in the example yesterday. But let's look at the numbers. The ShipsLiving on each individual squad object visible in the game was allocating a list of 250,000 in size for ShipsLiving, and 10,000 in size for ShipsDying. These are good numbers for TOTAL ship counts, not per-squad.
      • I should mention that we still treat ships as being in squads, but just a squad of one, at the visual layer. This is minorly helpful, but mostly a remnant of past designs.
      • So, we have only as many squads as we need to draw on screen at one time, when it comes to these particular objects. This is just a visualization layer thing, not part of the simulation (where the core squad objects exist).
      • If we have a battle where there are 8,000 ships on screen at once, then that would mean 8,000 of these objects. Normally not a problem at all. Let's do the math here.
      • We'll simplify a bit, but internal to a list is an array. We're on 64bit systems, so each reference is 8 bytes. Even the unfilled references use 8 bytes. An actual object would be way more than that, but that's fine. There's a few other heads and things, but those always exist, so let's ignore those.
        • That gives us (8000 * 8 * 250000) + (8000 * 8 * 10000). In other words, 16,000,000,000 + 640,000,000, or 16,640,000,000 bytes. So that's 16,250,000 kilobytes, which means 15,869 megabytes. That's... 15.49 gigabytes. Yeah, that's the memory leak all right. Not a leak at all, just an insane over-allocation.
      • With that in mind, I'm going to be monitoring the over-allocations as well as for actual leaks.
  • Some of the calculations for fireteams and budgets now do their work a lot more efficiently in terms of reusing existing collections instead of creating a bunch of new ones each cycle and then having to garbage collect them.
  • Added a new ThrowawayListCanMemLeak class, which is like List<> but not tracked in the same way (it's still tracked numerically, but not by reference), and able to be garbage collected. It includes the following comment in its header:
    • READ THIS BEFORE USE! This class is very very close to being like the general List<> class from Microsoft. We have our own implementation of List<>, though, and that is both more efficient and also NEVER GARBAGE COLLECTED. That's appropriate for almost all purposes we could have, because we really want to resuse collections.
    • Creating collections just to toss them away is a really bad idea... 99% of the time, anyway. The other 1% is why this ThrowawayListCanMemLeak<> exists. This is exactly the same List<> class, minus the tracking and a few other minor features, and plus the ability to be garbage collected.
    • Please use this sparingly, and probably mostly in mapgen. There's certain kinds of recursive code that you just can't do without local variables of some sort, and this allows for that sort of thing. If you're using it in MapGen, great. If you're using it ANYWHERE else, I hope you have thought things through and have a good reason why. If so, great!
    • If you're using it frequently during normal runtime operations, on the other hand, then you're probably not doing performance any favors. Consider a refactor in that case.
  • The wasteful version of FindAll has been added to ThrowawayListCanMemLeak, since a bit of map code wanted that. Why not.
  • ThrowawayListCanMemLeak is now used in most of the mapgen code.
    • There's a few bits that still use List, and there are yet other parts that now use IList -- not Microsoft's version, but an extended version of my own that allows for more functionality to be shared between the two types of lists.
  • Put in a possible fix for isGalaxyFullyConnected not working the first time it was called, but have not had a chance to test it yet.
    • Thanks to Tom for alerting us to the issue.
  • When exos are spawned against you during the fallen spire campaign, it now actually does the splitting of that into two exos, one on the relic, and the other on something else of value to you.
    • Previously it looked like that logic was partially there, but never actually fully completed.
  • Improved the mapgen logic in a few ways where you don't have to pass in a list that won't be used, but instead can pass in null and it will still work fine.
    • Similar changes were also made to wave spawning logic. It gives more flexibility on getting things back, without having to declare unused lists.
  • Improved some various faction utility methods so that they internally use threadstatic lists rather than requiring you to send in a managed list that will never be used for anything else.
  • PlannedWaveOptions is now a pooled class, rather than being a struct. This is required because it has a dictionary on it.
  • FireteamRegiment is also now pooled, and should always be stored in a ProtectedValDictionary so that it gets automatically put back into the pool when the dictionary is cleared.
  • Added a new DictionaryOfDictionaryOfLists, which is our most-compound data structure yet in terms of the general ones. This one is mainly used by the outguard.
    • The compound data structures really are non-optional, if you're a modder and you're wondering. You're going to leak memory if you don't use them. If you need one that's not provided, then I can add it.
    • In general, though, compound data structures are sometimes not really as needed as they might seem. This is a good case of one where, yes, it really is actually needed.
    • That said, using a dictionary that has a dictionary of lists, in raw form, is going to leak both dictionaries and lists. So the compound structure that pools them is really non-optional as the way to handle it.
      • In the past, using Microsoft's version of these data structures, they would get picked up by the garbage collector (so we're talking a performance hit, not a memory leak). But my version of them are tracked permanently, so they will literally be a leak. That's part of the panopticon nature of all this. The code really needs to be able to observe itself in order for us to know when we're leaking or over-allocating. And we should be hitting the GC as little as possible (this is true for absolutely any game), anyway, for the smoothest end-user experience.
  • Added a new AddRange_IgnoreNulls on List, so that we can pass in a collection/list that is potentially null and just have it ignore the null if it is. This simplifies some other code.
  • The ArcenXmlImporter is now pooled. I had originally tried using ThreadStatic and static to handle this, but that turned out to be a disaster.
  • Added a new DictionaryOfArcenOverLinkedLists, as this is really required for any sort of good performance on EntityCollection's EntitiesByType_OrNull.
    • The old way of doing this was likely a pretty solid performance drain, yikes. I'm still not in love with the way this is done as a general concept, but... it's fine enough for now, I suppose.
  • We now use a LOT more of the [ThreadStatic] attribute throughout our codebase. But the downside with this is that it can be applied to non-static variables, in which case it... does nothing, and the variable works entirely incorrectly. I found a few cases of this (maybe three?) over the last week of reworking the game's code, and so had resolved to do a full review of all the code and see what I could find now, after the revamp.
    • It turns out that we have exactly 254 uses of [ThreadStatic] between our five main dlls, which is a curiously-significant number (being almost a power two, must have mystical power, right?). I had to review those all by hand, because the attribute goes on the line above the actual text, so I can't see if the line below it is declared properly directly in my find results screen.
    • Errors found out of those 254? ...zero. Go team, I guess! Good to have checked it, even if it was all fine. I did tweak the formatting on a few of them so that they are slightly more consistently placed in code.
  • ListWithLogging has been removed, as it was simply not something that was very efficient, and I can now get a similar effect in the future with the main list if I truly ever need to.
  • Fixed up a number of collections that inherited from CountedPoolBase to instead inherit from TraceableCollectionBase, since that's technically more accurate.
  • Fixed dictionaries throwing exceptions when empty and I tried to dump them.
  • For clarity, renamed ProtectedKeyList to ProtectedKeyValuePairList.
  • The internals of most of our collections have been shifted around a bit to allow for them to report on what they have in them even better.
    • Additionally, when it comes to the compound collections, they now just report once at an outer level versus repeatedly over-reporting each sub-collection as well.
    • We're able to get a better picture of the information, with less duplicative information.
  • Using the core data dumps, optimized the following collection capacities which were a bit too high:
    • ShipTypesThatThisBenefits on techs.
      • Also TagsList and TagsDict. These numbers seemed reasonable, but in practice did not turn out to be so.
    • CyclicalArrayPool turned out to be using as much as 380MB of space even early in the game, which was a huge waste. This is for drawing ships and such. And this would only get worse with time.
      • This is not a new problem, from the look of things, and I'm not sure how it was not more of a problem in the past, to be honest. At any rate, I've fixed this up so that now it uses VERY little RAM, mostly allocating in a lazy fashion as it goes, rather than preallocating way too much.
    • The dynamic table row counts also were using substantial size.
    • Map setting options and choices were also silly large.
    • Bundle cached objects, also.
    • Xml parsing working lists, too.
    • Some AIShipGroup collections.
    • The central pool list collections.
    • Between all of these various improvements, the game load time is back down into the 7 second timeframe for me (down from 10ish), despite the extra instrumentation.
      • Additionally, my starting RAM usage dropped from about 3GB to about 1.5GB.
  • Improved the capacity reporting of several collections (for the core dump file) to do a better job of explaining what capacity they have actually have allocated in memory, versus what they would if they get called on later.
  • Made the core dump report more brief in a few ways, more focused on the data I actually find useful (as it turns out).
  • In the event of some issues with the cyclical array pools, the game now gives a warning rather than freaking out and having endless display issues. These should never happen in the first place, but due to some internal changes and testing, it started happening.
  • Fixed a memory leak in our core dump code, irony of ironies.
  • Fixed some arcen double character buffer gc churn from the ui, which in this new build had turned into a full-blown memory leak because of the structural changes around it.
    • This does solve a leak that was persistent and annoying in the past, and should lead to better performance than before. And in the new version, also it then doesn't memory leak on us.
  • ArcenSerializationLogger is now pooled, and thus in general is a lot more efficient. Before it was "just" hitting the GC, but there are several areas of code that should be picked up by the GC, but which from memory usage in general I can tell are not being picked up. Pooling it is for these ones.
  • BufferTracker is now pooled and tracked. This was something else that was leaking on deserialization.
  • FragmentedNetworkMessage is now pooled and tracked. This is good for large messages in multiplayer.
  • ArcenDeserializationBufferModern is now pooled and tracked. This was a notable memory leak whenever a new savegame was loaded.
    • I still need to handle the serialization buffer as well as the arcen character buffer, since those seem to be leaking. And there's other stuff I need to instrument. But this is enough to get it closer to playable without too many leaks.
    • The Steam networking transport layer is now particularly more efficient because of this, too, as it turns out. GOG was already quite efficient in this area. This was because of my own methods of implementing them, not because of the inherent nature of either platform.
  • More work will be needed to make this work fully correctly again, but various improvements have been made to the new "rows are pooled" logic when you make mod/dlc changes in the settings menu.
    • At the moment, you can use those settings, but you may have to restart the game after doing so. It seems like it will often let you do a reload a single time, but not twice. Or at least it's based around certain things. Disabling DLC3 works, but enabling it does not. Disabling DLC2 doesn't work, etc. I just have more work to do with them in general.

Press F7 To Core Dump

  • The old "Dump External Hierarchy Data" hotkey has been removed, as it is being replaced with a newer and better thing that includes its info plus more.
  • There's a new hotkey called "Do Core Dump", bound to F7 by default.
    • If you suspect you're having a memory leak, then use this and send the result to us. When pressed, it will output a bunch of data about the current state of the game into [InstallLocation]/GameData/CoreDumps/[Date][Time][Status].txt.
    • A large bulk of the data is what we were exporting before with the thing we just replaced, but over time we'll add to it. And in the meantime, this data has been made smaller as well as more readable.

Beta 3.712 Loading Hotfix

(Released October 15th, 2021)

  • Add a new option for DLC3 for Enhanced Overlords. This is off by default for HA but enabled for Expert/Deathwish
    • With this enabled, as soon as you unleash the phase 2 overlord the AI gets a CPA against you.
    • Also, as long as the overlord phase 2 lives, the AI will launch exos and wormhole invasions against you.
    • Thanks to Badger for adding.
  • Created the new EntityTypeDrawingBag (GEDB) and its logic:
    • This drawing bag combines drawing from:
      • Direct internal names of GameEntityTypData
      • Tags used by GameEntityTypeData
      • XML-defined AI ship groups
      • Categories of AI ship groups
      • The budget types the AI uses for its reinforcements and various sub-factions
      • XML-designed fleets
      • SpecialEntityTypes
    • They are defined as sub-nodes in XML in 3 categories:
      • entity_type_drawing_bag_used_on_death -> Spawns something when the entity this is on dies
      • entity_type_drawing_bag_used_on_periodic_spawning -> Spawns something as part of periodic spawning (i.e. Brutal Guardian Lairs)
      • entity_type_drawing_bag_used_on_spawn -> Spawns containing things similar to how guard posts work. This mechanic was created in addition to all the entity type drawing bag logic.
    • The following categories can be defined:
      • display_name -> This is used by tooltips and notifications as replacement for the built-in write-to-buffer method of the GEDB.
      • data_list -> This can be entity names, tags, the names of ship groups, fleet design templates, etc.
      • parsed_data_type -> This defines as what the data_list is parsed. Possible are:
        • Disabled (this is used to stop spawning something for entities copying or partial recording something)
        • EntityNames
        • Tags
        • AIShipGroups
        • AIShipGroupCategory
        • AIBudgetCategory
        • FleetDesignTemplates
        • SpecialEntityTypes
      • When using AIBudgetCategory above, ai_budget_subcategories may be defined. Possible are:
        • NormalAIShipGroup
        • GuardPostAIShipGroup
        • DireGuardPostAIShipGroup
        • UnarmedGuardPostAIShipGroup
        • TurretAIShipGroup
        • NonTurretDefenseAIShipGroup
        • GuardianAIShipGroup
        • WormholeSentinelAIShipGroup
        • ForcefieldGuardianAIShipGroup
        • DecloakerAIShipGroup
        • DireGuardianAIShipGroup
        • SingularFreakySurprisesAIShipGroup
        • ExoLeaderAIShipGroup
        • All
      • When using FleetDesignTemplates above, fleet_design_template_subcategories may be defined. Possible are:
        • Strike
        • Frigate
        • Turret
        • OtherDefense
        • Centerpiece
        • Civilian
        • All
      • spawn_count_type refers to how the min and max values for spawning are iterpreted. Note that for anything except for raw counts the results are rounded down. Possible are:
        • RawCount
        • AIBudget
        • Strength_BaseMark
        • Strength_CurrentMark
        • MetalCost
        • EnergyCost
      • Finally min_spawn_value_list and max_spawn_value_list define the actual values worked with.
    • By far not all values need to be defined, as they default, lists auto-adjust to inputs and things should mostly fall into place.
    • Vanilla, Expansion and Mod files have been updated to include these changes. As far as tested everything should work.
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo for adding!
  • Added the Brutal Carrier Guardian - This one carries now weapon but spawns with between 22.5 and 37.5 strength worth of Mk7 ships inside. The type of ship depends on what type of AI is spawning the carrier, but they use the same ship group category that guard posts are reinforced with.
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo for adding!
  • Add 'Adaptive Music' to the game. This is an Audio setting, defaulting to "Off"
    • When you are in a battle of reasonable size then the game will prefer to play Exciting music when it chooses the next track to play. This currently means 5 + AIP/20 strength on both sides. So at 100 AIP a battle with 10 strength on both sides will trigger combat. This is set in AudioAndSimilarHandler.
    • The goal is that you don't get really chill tracks playing during exciting battles, or up-tempo tracks during a refleet.
    • To set a track to "Exciting" add this field to the Music Definitions xml:

tags="Exciting"

    • Thanks to Badger for adding this feature, and to Puffin for identifying all the exciting tracks.
  • When in an energy brownout, your factories will work at half-speed. Untested.
    • Thanks to Badger for adding!

Bugfixes

  • Fix a bug with "LoadAllFoundXmlFilesIntoMemory debugStage 6000: System.Exception: Passed in Dictionary<> capacity less than or equal to zero. in the log" and similar preventing the game from loading.
    • Thanks to Tom for reporting.
  • Templar defensive code.

Beta 3.711 More Fixes

(Released October 15th, 2021)

  • Fixed some further bugs where fireteams could still get "preferred speeds" less than zero.
    • Thanks to BoBy for reporting.
  • Could not duplicate the "GetStringValueForCustomFieldOrDefaultValue: The faction AI has 11 custom fields on it, but none of them were named 'StartingAILayout'" error, but have at least silenced it. In places where that error would have happened, it just treats it as "small clusters".
    • Thanks to BoBy for reporting.
  • CreateExternalBaseInfo<T>() on Squads is now more efficient, on par with GetExternalBaseInfoAs<T>().
    • Same for the DeepInfo equivalents.
    • We do so many sanity-check versions of Create rather than Get that they really should be equal in performance. Basically, they now are, and they are also identical in performance save for one fact: if the data is missing when you call Create, it will add it. If it's missing when you call Get, it will error.
    • Thanks to Badger for inspiring this change.
  • Updated the scourge to be less likely to throw errors, and to have better error-handling in SendUnitToUpgradeStructureIfPossible.
    • Thanks to BoBy for reporting.
  • Updated our custom implementation of Dictionary to work a bit better, so that now when doing a foreach over them, it will have a compile-time error on invalid casts, rather than a runtime one. This is how it has always been before, but it was a bit trickier than it sounds.
    • It turns out we were only down to one last one of these anyhow, in the fleet management window. At any rate, that one is now fixed!
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Improved the DictionaryOfLists substantially, so that it has more functions and also has an enumerator (so you can run foreach against it).
    • This is something that keeps the internal lists from having to be discarded by pooling them.
  • Civilian Industries has been recompiled to probably work again with the new collections. It uses the DictionaryOfLists, making it the first part of the game to do that.
    • In general, a bunch of things that were previously creating collections and throwing them away very inefficiently now use threadstatic collections instead.

Beta 3.710 Hotfixes Serialization and Performance

(Released October 15th, 2021)

  • Fixed a number of invalid cast exceptions and similar relating to the changes to SpeedGroup in the prior game. Essentially this made it so that you could not save, or really play all that long. Facepalm.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Added a new and more efficient method for TryRemove on ConcurrentDictionary that allows for multiple tries at once, and doesn't force you to take an out value.
    • If you only want it to try once, just pass in any number less than 2.
  • The death registry now supports resurrections, heh. Units that are put into a transport are considered "dead," but when they are brought back out they are now considered brought back to life as their same self.
    • This fixes an error in the death registry code that would happen around transports, which I had anticipated yesterday and then got sidetracked into all that drone business and didn't actually test it.
    • Thanks to Badger and Daniexpert for reporting.
  • In preparation for getting MP working again on the beta, the game now fast-blasts death registry data to the clients.
    • This includes removals and additions to the death registry, and slots them into the fast-blast order in the appropriate spot where we won't get death registry warnings.
    • For units being killed, this also proactively kills them on the client in the same way they died on the host, which is quite handy.
  • The sidebars, and many other parts of the game that involve adding an unknown number of items, headers, and sub-items, all now populate themselves in a time-sliced manner. This means that when you first open the build tab, for instance, you may see a slight flicker as it fills out all its entries.
    • Previously, I used a bit of an opposite approach, and it was not a good idea. I was trying to pre-create a lot of extra items to prevent lag spikes, but this meant that there was one big lag spike (often lasting a few seconds) when you opened up those sidebars for the first time.
    • This makes the interface more responsive in the early game, and reduces some bits of CPU and RAM usage (both in relatively minor ways) without leading to later lag spikes.
    • Thanks to StarKelp for reminding us of how annoyingly slow these were to open.
  • Fixed an issue with some of the new custom flagship types that made them unable to hack. This had broken the necromancer faction's ability to have their flagships hack, in particular.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Removed the constructor on my custom version of List<> which took an IEnumerable collection. This was inefficient to begin with in Microsoft's version, and generally used to work around things like the limitations of "can't be iterating over a dictionary and add or remove to/from it" (we now can do that with my version of dictionary).
    • In general, I am already planning on cracking down a lot on how collections are initialized and disposed for memory leak purposes in the very near future, so this is in line with my plans there, anyway.
    • In the short term, more to the point, there was a bug in my version of the list that took a collection as an initializer, and this was likely causing some issues in xml parsing being fully applied (not confirmed, but it seems likely), and also definitely was causing the necromancer hacks to come up blank, and may have also messed with some of the scourge logic and two map types.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Fixed some exceptions that could happen in DoOnAnyDeathInCombatLogic_AfterFullDeathOrPartOfStackDeath if the fleet had already been nulled out.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.

Beta 3.709 Upgrades And Serialization Fix

(Released October 14th, 2021)

  • For performance and accuracy reasons, the SquadWrapper has been retired, and everything that was using it is now using the LazyLoadSquadWrapper.
    • The lazy-load version does not require a secondary fill pass on deserialization. We've been having guards breaking ranks and becoming threat after savegame load recently, and this was most likely to do with them being released because of the post-process of the squad wrapper not being called properly. These now use lazy-load squad wrappers, which should protect against that.
    • To make really sure that I understand what is happening with our data flows with this, there's now a SquadWrapperStats class that we can set to be populated, and which then gets shown if you right-click the clock and look at the debug stats there.
    • There's still more I need to update with this, but this is a start.
  • Adjusted the wormhole invasion LRP thread to run every 15 seconds instead of every 30.
    • Anything set over about 25 seconds will wind up showing inactive thread warnings to players on busy games. Anything 30 and up will show inactive warnings on EVERY game, periodically.
    • The inactive warning starts showing after 30 seconds of not running, and LRP threads may naturally start up to 4-5 seconds after their "don't run for this long" interval is over, just depending on how busy everything else is.
    • Most factions have an interval of 1-5 seconds, but for those that really don't need to happen frequently, 15 seconds is fine. If something doesn't need to happen frequently AND is super cheap to run, you could set it as high as 20, but there's not a lot of benefit to doing that since by definition it is quick to run.
  • Speed groups now also use lazy load squad wrappers, and thus no longer require a post-processing pass after deserialization.
  • Fixed a performance issue in gameplay for squad wrappers where things that were set to ID 0 (meaning empty) were able to try repeatedly to look in the central dictionary, uselessly.
  • There is now a central "death registry" for squads that have died.
    • This was something I had been wanting to do for a while for multiplayer, to solve the ghosts issue once and for all in a different way, but it also has benefits in code protection on loading savegames in single-player or on the host.
    • Normally if a lazy load squad wrapper tries to look up an entity by ID in the central registry and cannot find it, then it marks itself as null and stops trying. This is... problematic in edge cases, and may contribute to strange behaviors like the golem guards turning aggressive.
      • Now if we come back with null from the central registry, we check the death registry. If the unit is properly marked as dead, then it's time to just do the above logic (yay!). However, if the unit is not in the death registry, we're going to wait 10 realtime seconds and keep checking the central registry as-needed. We may be waiting for data from the host, or we may be single-player and waiting for data to unpack fully from our savegame. Either way, if the data is simply incoming, we will wind up getting it. If it goes the full 10 seconds with no resolution, we now throw an error, because something is clearly amiss and needs to be looked into. This error won't mess up your save, but it will help us find out what is going on.
  • Fixed a serialization bug from the last few versions that was related to some new death-effect data.
    • Additionally, while I was at it, made those serialize by index rather than name, since that will be more efficient given the nature of their data.
    • Note that for hack types we're still serializing by name, since that's more efficient there -- there are many hacks, and few used at once, which is not a good candidate for by-index. But death effects are few in type but used many at a time, which is a great candidate.
    • Thanks to Eluthena, HarryT, Badger, and Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Both health_change_per_damage_dealt and health_change_by_max_health_divided_by_this_per_attack are now no longer on game entities but on individual weapon systems, which means it is now possible to design ships that have specific weapons that heal or damage them, instead of having to balance all weapons around that mechanic.
    • Updated code and tooltips to reflect this change. The health change based on max health so far didn't even appear in tooltips, it is now present named "Self-Assembly" (for healing) and "Disassembly" (self-damaging). If it's damaging itself so much that it'll insta-kill itself after just one attack it's named "Self-Destruct" instead.
    • Updated all existing normal and mod content to reflect these changes.
      • Tethuida Drones had a -100 health per damage dealt, which was most likely to mimic a self-destruct. But given something with high enough damage reduction they could actually fail, so they've been given health_change_by_max_health_divided_by_this_per_attack="-1" to make certain they always self-destruct on attacks.
      • Starbursts have an invisible melee weapon that causes them to move in close - however this also would take their health if it got to actually attack. Now it will no longer potentially do that.
      • Dark Splinters from the ESV mod no longer have the ability to self-destruct on the first revenge shot they fire. Only them crashing into enemies and doing damage does so.
      • There is a chance that I missed something due to copy and partial record changes. I was trying to be as thourough as possible - but chances are that I missed something. Please notify me if that happened.
        • At least all DLCs load without issue.
  • More Brutal Guardian Work:
    • Reduced the size of the Brutal Amalgam Alpha's head and tail a bit, so they aren't as large as the actual thing. Also fixed the Tail's description.
    • Added the Brutal Amalgam Beta Guardian. A combination of Dire Vampire, Forcefield, Tesla and Gravity guardians. Even while cloaked it protects allies and disrupts enemy formations with its forcefield, siphoning health with each vampiric attack while also slowing enemy engines and weapons in range. On death it splits into a Vampire-Forcefield head and Tesla-Gravity tail. When those die they will turn into their respective Dire Guardians.
    • Thanks to SirLimbo for adding!
  • Updated the tooltip for self-heal and self-damage to be a bit cleaner.
    • Thanks to CRCGamer for writing.
  • Experimented with moving around Drones and transported ships, but that did NOT work out. The performance hit is pretty massive.
    • Also experimented around with only as-need initializing a bunch of collections on squad, but that adds a ton of confusing code, and I already have put in lazy-initialization INSIDE collections, so that was utterly pointless.
    • Overall, wasted several hours on this, and reverted all of it. Except the two bits below.
  • Added a new DictionaryOfLists, which is a handy data structure we may or may not use.
  • Added a few new List methods, like RemoveAndReturn and RemoveAtAndReturnLast, which make common operations a bit more efficient and also less code.

Upgrade To Unity 2020.3.20f1

  • The game engine has been upgraded from Unity 2020.3.15f1 to Unity 2020.3.20f1. Improvements of note from Unity:
    • Graphics: Improvements to scene culling CPU performance - Shadow casters are rejected earlier if their shadow casting is disabled which should improve performance in scenes with scenes with lots of renderable objects that are set to not cast shadows. (This applies to AI War 2)
    • Graphics: D3D12 player will not crash/freeze when switching between full screen modes
    • UI: Backout a optimization of caching the change count where the layout is changed during a layout call. (Apparently this could cause UI scales to not be quite correct)
    • Graphics: Improve Line/TrailRenderer quality when points are close together.
    • Graphics: Reduced the Input delay in Vulkan standalone when VSync is enabled.
    • Graphics: Fixed a crash that was caused by a memory error when using Vulkan.
    • Windows: Fixed an issue for mouse deltas always being 0 when running Windows in a VM.
    • Graphics: Fixed FrameTimingManager produced incorrect frame time on Vulkan and DirectX12
    • Graphics: Reduced main thread hitching caused by Shader loading
    • Asset Bundles: Fixed Asset Bundle determinism (this makes it so that when we make updates, they won't require such large downloads on GOG and Steam)
    • Graphics: Fixed performance spikes in OSX while using an external monitor. Metal editor on OSX now uses CVDisplayLink to time frame presents.
    • Scripting: Fixed a performance regression when activating/deactivating panels in a canvas. (Yikes, probably)
    • Graphics: Fixed a crash when uploading large number of texture assets in DX12.
    • Graphics: Fixed a race condition deadlock when loading textures synchronously. (This was likely hitting us on game start; this was finally fixed on October 8th)

Beta 3.708 Bugfixes And Death Spawn

(Released October 13th, 2021)

  • Update the some Tips about the wormhole invasion to explain the new mechanics.
    • Thanks to Badger for adding.
  • Added the ability to spawn multiple entities on death.
    • The XML fields "spawns_on_death" and "count_to_spawn_on_death" are now both lists. They must be of equal size, spawns_on_death must contain the name of entities and count_to_spawn_on_death the amount of entities spawned for each type, which mus be 1 or greater.
    • Clearing these out will no longer work with the "None" keyword - instead simply empty out the lists (= spawns_on_death="" count_to_spawn_on_death="") if you want to prevent a copied entity type from spawning more stuff on death.
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo for adding.
  • The XML field spawns_on_death it seems can't be cleared with just nothing between the "". Instead, it can now be cleared by using "None".
    • This now fixes an ininitely splitting Hydral Hobbyist outguard. It already has enough heads.
  • More work on Brutal Guardian Lairs:
    • Fixed Brutal Guardian Lairs spawning against minor factions - I simply forgot to disable that in XML.
    • The Brutal Darkness Guardian now has 0.7 instead of just 0.6 albedo (it's cloaked), and has individual metal and energy costs. Before all of this was just copied off the Brutal Adaptive Guardian.
    • Added the Brutal EMP Guardian. When encountering the first enemy planet with a structure of 4 tx or more it self-destructs, leaving behind a depleted version of itself that attacks with a stun blast, and an EMP bomb that will explode after 5 seconds, massively stunning next to everything on the planet.
    • Added the Brutal Amalgam Alpha Guardian, a combination of the Dire Pike, Nucleophilic, Concussion and Tritium Sniper Guardians. When destroyed splits into a head that carries the Pike and Nucleophilic weaponry, and a tail that carries the Concussion and Tritium Sniper weaponry. When those are destroyed they split into the relevant Dire Guardians.
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo for adding.

Bugfixes

  • Fixed a missing empty space after the cloaking-loss-per-shot tooltip section.
    • Thanks to NR SirLimbo for fixing.
  • Fixed an issue where string-based dropdowns in the in-game galaxy options screen would not properly save their value. It worked fine in the lobby, but not in-game.
    • The new wormhole invasion settings are the first settings to ever use this feature, so this is our initial discovery of a bug dating back to at least June, if not prior.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue with my list collections from two builds ago where FindAll and GetRange could throw an exception if they were to return a zero-length list.
    • This was causing an exception in the Swirl map type.
  • From June 18th of this year, I made it so that map options were a lot more robust, but at the same time introduce a possibility where maps would not have an underlying related_int set properly.
    • Because of how this was done, this made it really easy for modders to shoot themselves in the foot, and I also shot myself in the foot with a ton of the existing maps as I tried to convert the data over. I essentially broke the sub-options on a lot of map types at that point.
    • To make sure that these don't just slide by unnoticed in the future, if the map generation algorithm tries to read an uninitialized integer or fixed-integer, it will now throw an exception.
    • Finishing the fix in the short term, then went through and fixed up the xml for tons of map types from the base game and dlcs, which have been quietly not having their sub-options working for all this time, it turns out.
    • Thanks to Eluthena and tom.prince for reporting, and tom.prince for noting that the xml was not set up correctly.
  • Broke savegame serialization again, but made future serialization more likely to be correct -- or at least error at the correct spot.
    • Also cleaned up some serialization logging flags that were slightly inconsistent and which thus would mask errors.
    • Thanks to Eluthena, HarryT, Badger, Daniexpert, SirLimbo, and BoBy for reporting.
  • FireteamRequiredTargets are now properly pooled; previously they were small objects that just leaked.
  • WormholeInvasionData was previously treated as a struct rather than a class, but after a lot of discussion it looks simpler to treat things like this as poolable structs.
    • These also really need to use DeserializeUncertainNumberOfEntriesIntoExistingList in order to avoid a memory leak in multiplayer on clients, and now do.
  • ProtectedDictionary has been split into ProtectedKeyDictionary and ProtectedValDictionary, since we might one to protect one or the other.
    • Also, these just now use IProtectedListable, rather than IProtectedDictionaryable.
  • WormholeWaveData has also had a similar update.
  • Found a general serialization bug in StoredAIPurchaseCostByBudgetForSpecificUnits, which was blanking out all of the budget types on save to disk or network.
    • The way this is stored and processed is now more efficient in MP and SP, but especially on MP clients.
  • OutguardSpawnRequest is also now pooled, and also no longer leaks on MP clients thanks to DeserializeUncertainNumberOfEntriesIntoExistingList.
  • I think that there are still other serialization errors for me to deal with, unfortunately. But things are better now than they were.

Beta 3.706 Expanded Wormhole Invasions And Raid Engines

(Released October 12th, 2021)

  • The game is now forced to load the game entity data in a single thread, since it was consistently during this step that people were running into deadlocks on game load. I am a bit surprised I did not think to do this before, but I had shifted the actual loading of graphics to be direct rather than asynchronous. It may be possible that this lockup is unrelated to unity jobs after all, and perhaps there's just something that was prone to (relatively, in the grand scheme of things) rare deadlocks. I've seen it myself, but only one in every 50 or so times I start the game, if that. (I start the game an average of 30+ times a day, depending on what sort of coding I'm doing).
    • Anyhow, we'll see if this helps, fingers crossed.
    • Thanks to Mac, Badger, and NR SirLimbo for the most recent reports.

Badger's Wormhole Invasion Redo

  • The player can now choose via a Galaxy Setting what mode of Wormhole Invasions they want. There are 3 options, the first two are simple:
    • Immediate Invasion: The current behaviour
    • Waves: The AI will spend its wormhole invasion budget on normal waves
    • Then there's the Planet Linking mode.
      • When in planet linking mode, the AI will spawn a Wormhole Projector on one of their planets. In a few seconds the projector will create a wormhole from its current planet to a planet that is (hopefully) behind your defenses. Then several Waves will be spawned.
      • Destroying the Projector will cause it to destabilize, and removes the wormhole in 60 seconds.
  • Add a new cheat, cmd: instainvasion, to trigger a planet-linking wormhole invasion. It takes an optional additional integer for the strength of the invasion. So cmd: instainvasion, 60 would trigger a wormhole invasion of strength 60. Without the number it will send an invasion of strength 20

SirLimbo's Raid Engine Mechanic Extensions

  • Gave the Raid Engine mechanic a few more options to work with, namely a few more XML fields:
    • "alert_wave_range_to_trigger" (default is integer 0, which is only the current planet). If set to above 0 then waves will be launched as soon as enemies are only X hops away. With this, Raid Engines could have a range.
    • "alert_wave_min_strength_to_trigger" (default is integer 0). If the base strength points (1000 bsp = 1 ingame strength) are below this, the Raid Engine won't fire.
    • "alert_wave_triggers_only_on_occupation" (default is bool false). This changes the behavior from triggering on enemy presence to only trigger on enemy occupation. If combined with alert_wave_min_strength_to_trigger then the occupied planet must have at least X amount of strength.
    • "alert_wave_spawns_unit_with_tag_instead_of_wave" (default is empty string). If set to something else than null or empty instead of launching a wave it'll spawn a random unit with said tag. This is how Raid Engines can quickly be turned into Dire Guardian Lairs.
    • Ditto form "alert_wave_spawns_unit_of_type_instead_of_wave", only with a special type (such as "AIDireGuardian"). This also supercedes the above!
    • "alert_wave_unit_name_override_for_display" overrides the name of the tag or entity type displayed (if it's set), so this is more readable for players.
    • "alert_wave_faction_for_unit_for" (accepts the following strings: "Sentinels", "Hunter", "Warden", "Praetorian", but could easily be extended if needed). If the "Raid Engine" spawns units based on tags instead of waves, the newly created units will be spawned for that faction.
      • Tooltips and notifications have been updated to work with these changes, such as being able to rigger even when the planet is not yet revealed (raid engines or Dire Guardian Lairs spawning from outside of visible range is a legitimate reason to be scared).
      • Raid engines (or any other entity with such a mechanic) no longer need their planet on alert level 4 if they trigger at a range. If they only trigger for the planet they are on nothing changes.
    • For a few examples: With this new logic you can:
      • Make a fully functional Dire Guardian Lair.
      • Give the AI Overlord Stage (stage 1 and otherwise) the ability to spawn exowar units for its Praetorian faction when a player settles within X amount of hops.
      • Make the AI spawn endless amounts of frigates so long as there is but one enemy faction with more than 0 strength in the entire galaxy.
  • Even more "Raid Engine" mechanic updates NOTE: This brakes savegames - but we're on beta anyway:
    • Code-internally it has been renamed to "PeriodicSpawn".
    • All but the mechanics of the Vanilla Raid Engine are now gated behind DLC 3. New stuff is highlighted with _NEW_.
    • The maximum timer periodic spawns can work with is now no longer 128 seconds but 32767 (some ~9.1 hrs, this should be enough for basically anything).
    • Since it was a bit confusing and XML fields have been renamed, this is the end result:
      • "periodic_spawn_initial_delay" (Vanilla) = the time before the spawner becomes active for the first time.
      • "periodic_spawn_delay_between_spawns" (Vanilla) = the time between each new spawning event.
      • "periodic_spawn_never_stop_once_triggered" (DLC 3) = once the first even has fired it will never stop. Basically, the max range is set to the highest possible value, the minimum strength is set to 0. The player-only and occupation-only factors, if set, still stand though. _NEW_.
      • "periodic_spawn_creates_wave" (Vanilla) = creates a wave when triggering. Compatible with exo spawning, incompatible with entity spawning.
      • "periodic_spawn_creates_exo_strike" (DLC 3) = creates an exo strike when triggering. Compatible with wave spawning, incompatible with entity spawning. _NEW_.
      • "periodic_spawn_wave_or_exo_size_multiplier" (Vanilla) = when spawning waves or exo strikes they are this much more powerful than base waves or exo strikes.
      • "periodic_spawn_max_hops_to_trigger" (DLC 3) = if set to more than 0 also scans nearby planets within the hop limit for valid targets to trigger against.
      • "periodic_spawn_min_hostile_strength_to_trigger" (DLC 3) = when scanning for planets to trigger against at least this much hostile strength must be present. This is in base points of strength (1000 BSP = 1 ingame Strength).
      • "periodic_spawn_only_trigger_on_occupation" (DLC 3) = when scanning for planets to trigger against, they must not only have enemy strength on them but also be occupied by an enemy faction.
      • "periodic_spawn_only_trigger_against_player" (DLC 3) = when scaning for planets to trigger against only player factions are regarded. _NEW_.
      • "periodic_spawn_create_unit_of_type" (DLC 3) = creates units of a certain SpecialEntityType when spawning. Takes priority over "periodic_spawn_create_unit_with_tag", incompatible with wave and exo spawning.
      • "periodic_spawn_create_unit_with_tag" (DLC 3) = creates units with a certain tag when spawning. Overwritten by "periodic_spawn_create_unit_of_type", incompatible with wave and exo spawning.
      • "periodic_spawn_min_units_to_spawn" (DLC 3) = when creating units, spawns at least this many. _NEW_.
      • "periodic_spawn_max_units_to_spawn" (DLC 3) = when creating units, spawns at most this many. If set to less than the minimum unit count it's set to the minimum unit count. If both min and max are the same, exactly this many units will be spawned per triggering. _NEW_.
      • "periodic_spawn_unit_name_override_for_display" (DLC 3) = overwrites the SpecialEntityType and tag units are spawned by with this in tooltips and notifications. Only exists for clarity.
      • "Periodic_spawn_faction_for_unit" (DLC 3) = can spawn the unit for a specific AI sub-faction. Allowed are "Sentinels", "Hunter", "Warden", "Praetorian", "BorderAggression", "CPA" and "Wave". The latter 3 are _NEW_.
    • Internal code, including tooltips and notifications were updated to reflect these changes.
    • There is new fields on GameEntityTypeData: HasPeriodicSpawn, PeriodicallySpawnsUnit, PeriodicallySpawnsEvent. These can be used to quickly identify what the entity does.
  • Added a new XML field "keep_damage_and_debuffs_on_transformation" which does just that: All damage to hull and shield as well as engine/weapon slow, paralysis and damage amplification will carry over. It defaults to false, which makes things work as they are now. When transforming the old entity type's XML flag being set to true or false counts, the not the entity type.
    • Affected transformations are: The mechanic AI Eyes or Gridlock/Deadlock use, time-based transformations such as warping-in structures, centerpieces tranformed via hacking points, necromancer transformations, Spire Telium transformations, Spire City flagship transformations, Neinzul Migrant wormhole transformations, Templar castle upgrades. Again: None of these are forced to have damage and debuffs carry over now, but the possibility to enable it via XML alone exists now.
    • Things that could be considered debuffs but aren't kept are time spent in a specific state-of-matter and death effects.
  • Fixed a bit bad formating with entity tooltips relating to the description of multi-hitting beams and shots.
  • Fixes and improvements to the periodic spawn mechanic:
    • Fixed the periodic_spawn_initial_delay and periodic_spawn_delay_between_spawns XML fields still being only bytes instead of shorts, limiting them to a maximum number of 128.
    • Fixed a bug where if the minimum strength to trigger on was set to 0 it'd always trigger - mostly against Outguard, unless more allied minor factions exist. In addition, when factions have the same amount of strength the raid engine or any other structure will spawn against the first faction with that amount of strength, which usually will be a player.
    • Fixed a bit of text overflow for Raid Engine notifications.
    • The mechanic will now work for all AI sub-factions as well, not just AI sentinels.
  • When DLC 3 is installed the AI will now spawn 3 Brutal Guardian Lairs somewhere in the galaxy, at least 5 hops from the player homeworld(s). Currently they may not even spawn on maps such as X if the player is in the center.
    • These react to any player presence, ignoring any other faction type. When a player unit comes within 1 hop range a countdown of 5 minutes will begin. If the player retreats it will stop, and if need be continue again.
    • Once the 5-minute time has run out a Brutal Guardian will spawn for the Hunter Fleet of the AI owning the Lair. Currently 5 types exist:
      • Brutal Entrenching Guardian: If outnumbered on a planet changes to being an immobile, stronger variant with more firepower and shields. When transforming does not restore health and shields, and all debuffs will stay as well.
      • Brutal Warp Gate Guardian: Acts as a warp gate and Raid Engine in one. Only triggers against occupied planets, not simply all enemy presence. Especially dangerous if lurking as part of a Hunter fleetball right next door to a player.
      • Brutal Attrition Guardian: High attrition damage and shield-depleting ability combined into one terrifying ship.
      • Brutal Adaptive Guardian: Has adaptive multishot and high generalist DPS, which means it can equally strike against swarmers and big targets of all types alike.
      • Brutal Darkness Guardian: Heavily cloaked, very fast and able to attack while cloaked for almost 40 seconds with all guns active. Its light and heavy sabot weaponry strikes well against most things as big or bigger than turrets.
    • Once the spawning has started it will not stop until the Lair is destroyed. Killing it will inflict 15 AIP, but also grant 500 science and 15 hacking points. The Lair will also self-destruct if the AI command station of its planet dies.
  • Outguard can no longer have the AI send waves against them. It makes no sense to do so anyway.

Beta 3.705 Blazing Collections And The New Spire

(Released October 6th, 2021)

Bugfixes

  • Corrected some base game starting battlestation templates having incorrectly divided by five twice over turret counts. Small turret counts returned to their correct 25 count values.
    • Thanks to Mac for reporting.
  • Fixed yet another exception that could happen in the faction windows when swapping between factions. It was kind of a timing/race condition thing with the UI refreshing.
    • Thanks to BoBy for reporting.
  • Fixed another exception in long-range-planning for the scourge.
    • Thanks to BoBy for reporting.
  • Since long before the great refactor, we've had occasional issues with fireteams getting strange preferred speeds set on them. I suspect it's some sort of integer overflow, or some other related issue. At any rate, there are now protections in place to keep from generating an absurdly high speed (anything higher than the highest speed available (unless everything is slower than 550, in which case it still accelerates to that), and also avoiding anything that is negative or zero. This should solve some strange errors that would occasionally come out of fireteams.
    • Thanks to BoBy for the most recent report.
  • The serialization of all prior savegames has now been broken again, because I made a major structural change to how we save entities into the list. (Remember, we are still in that breaking-savegames timeframe, but that won't last much longer).
    • Essentially, the old approach was inefficient on the host in multiplayer, and for the player in general when saving to disk, and it occasionally was prone to cross-threading issues when it comes to units dying on a background thread while trying to be sent over the network or to disk on the foreground thread.
    • The new approach uses one extra bit per entity being serialized (though it saves 32 bits before serializing all of them), so it uses very slightly more space and network bandwidth, but it requires only one loop over the entity lists rather than two (this is a really good improvement), as well as being a lot more robust against those cross-threading issues. The old approach was kind of asking for trouble, even though it was still rare to actually HAVE trouble.
    • This is in relation to the "faction A on planet B had X entities to serialize but only Y were actually serialized" errors that you could get, among other ails.
    • Thanks to BoBy for reporting.
  • Hardened EntityOrder.CalculateStrengthCountingData against cross-threading issues that could happen at stage 5000. Those should not be possible anymore.
    • Thanks to BoBy for reporting.
  • Fixed a visual issue where a wrong markup tag was causing the entire planet tooltip text to be bold.
  • Random Factions, a super cool feature, work once again! These have been broken since the great refactor, but it was not nearly as big a break as previously thought!
  • Fixed a bug introduced in yesterday's build where if you loaded up savegames or started new games after playing for a while in a different one, you'd have perma-vision on random planets. At least it was a two-line fix, but this was an error on my part as I went through the performance improvement work.
    • Thanks to Badger for discovering.
  • can_be_selected_by_any_player_even_if_not_owner=true" has been removed, as that is now universally true no matter what, anyway.
    • can_be_given_orders_by_any_player_even_if_not_owner="true" has replaced that. This is used mainly for the spire relic right now.
    • With some tweaks in this area, the "cannot give orders to spire relic" bug seems to be fixed. This was not something that was super reliable to reproduce, though, so it may still turn up again.
    • Thanks to Vinco for reporting.

Improved Handling Of Textboxes

  • The way that we were listening for TextMeshPro actions when a textbox is highlighted has been stripped out. It was not working reliably.
    • Essentially, we were listening for the escape key or the enter key to either clear or submit things, and this was too flaky to keep using it. It made sending chats recently (which also means entering cheat codes) a real exercise in frustration.
  • There is now a gets_sent_to_focused_textboxes="true" that can be added to any custom input (like open menu, open chat, whatever).
    • Things that have this one it will still not do their normal execution, but instead will be sent to the textbox that is currently open. The textbox gets to choose what to do with it, and then can also say "execute as normal" or "ignore it."
    • This gives us the flexibility to override things, and not have unexpected things happen, but at the same time to actually make these respond reliably.
    • This is now applied to OpenSystemMenu (Escape key), and Return (the Enter key). If we (or a modder) ever needs more than this to punch through, that's fine. I can't see what the use would be right now, though, as people are generally typing.8
  • Based on the above changes, plus adjustments all over the place:
    • Hitting enter in the textbox on the save menu after you've typed your text now saves the game right away, versus you having to click the button.
    • Hitting enter in the chat textbox now works reliably (omg this was rage-inducing for me before).
    • Hitting escape in the chat textbox clears whatever text is there as well as unfocusing. Hitting escape a second time closes the window.
    • In the galaxy map filter box, hitting enter leaves the text you have typed, but removes focus from the field. So you can then pan around or what have you. That keeping focus until you clicked was also hyper frustrating.
    • In the galaxy map filter box, hitting escape clears the text you have typed, and also removes focus from the field. This way you don't have to hit the little X button in there. Thanks to Badger for suggesting this long ago.
    • In the lobby, when you hit enter in the campaign name textbox, it now starts the game. Escape just clears focus.
    • In the quick start menu, when you hit enter in the campaign name textbox, it now starts the game. Escape just clears focus.
    • In the MP lobby, hitting enter in the chat box now works reliably, and hitting escape now clears you text.
    • Everything else seems to pretty much behave as you would expect.
  • In the multiplayer lobby, if you try to send a chat message and nobody is there, it no longer gives you an error message about failing to send to anyone.
    • This is a longstanding gripe of mine, finally fixed. It was an overcautious bit of error-handling on my part.

Improving The Fallen Spire and the Necromancer

  • Added two new special_entity_type options: MobileCustomFleetFlagship and CityCenter.
    • Removed becomes_centerpiece_of_custom_fleet_if_exists="true" and is_quasi_centerpice_for_stationary_structures_in_fleets="true"
    • Both the fallen spire and necromancer have been converted to use this.
    • A couple of spire-specific and necromancer-specific rollups have been removed as redundant, as well.
  • Added a new PlayerCustomCity FleetCategory.
  • A new CityBolstersFleetID has been added on fleets, only for PlayerCustomCity.
  • The compound "city and mobile fleet" concept from the fallen spire has been removed from the game. That was such a mess, and made many things like "destroy distant fleet members" not work correctly.
    • The entire premise was just very not-helpful. There will instead now be separate fleets for the city and for the mobile forces.
  • Added Pluralize.NET to our source code (it is MIT license), and added a new ArcenStrings.Pluralize() method, which efficiently wrappers it.
    • If you have a word that is singular that you want to make plural, this is how to do it -- don't just add "s" one the end, or what have you.
    • This aids in our dynamic text generation.
  • We now have name_for_city_sockets="string" and name_for_city_center="string" for cities and city sockets, which are required for any unit that uses those features.
    • This allows us to properly talk about spire city sockets, and necropolis bone holes (wow that sounded wrong) or whatever we want to.
  • "City Sockets" in Necropolises are now called "Necropolis Hexes," at least for now.
    • In spire cities, these are also now called "Spire Casings."
    • I specifically chose "city sockets" in the past because it was generic, but now we can be specific.
  • At this point, things compile and the spire cities have been separated from their fleet portions, but not combined back in. This means fallen spire is effectively broken, but that won't last long.
    • Similarly, the necromancers spawn their base necropolis just fine, but their core fleet stuff has also not been split out properly yet. This breaks them, too.
    • I made enough changes that I was nervous about continuing to make more without first checking these in, though.
  • Spire cities (and necropolises) can now be renamed if you wish. I'm not sure if that was possible before, but I think it was not.
  • When you create a spire city, you now only get a city itself, not a half-city-half-fleet.
    • You will get up to three fleets (shared between all human players as they wish) depending on how many cities you have.
    • The first spire city gives you a first fleet. The first time you get any spire city to mark 3, you get another spire fleet. The first time you get any spire city to mark 5, you get a third spire fleet.
    • This starts you off with a more manageable and limited number of spire fleets, and keeps them separate from the cities (which work the same as ever), while letting you grow your fleets over time so that you can eventually cover many areas of the map.
    • Overall, thanks to this separation, the fleets for the cities and the actual fleets themselves work... way more like you'd expect. It's so much easier to deal with, now.
    • More changes are needed to adapt this whole thing into this new idiom, so stay tuned, but this is a good start.
  • The city interface now has the start of where you can control which mobile spire fleet (or necromancer fleet) is being "bolstered" by the current spire city / necropolis. The idea is that each city-type-thing gives its units to one fleet or another, and that can be changed as you get more fleets.
    • The full functionality of being able to actually change that is not in yet, but the basic structure is, including auto-bolstering any new spire fleet from any cities that are not bolstering anything yet.
    • There's still more to do there, and the logic is per-faction, so I'm going to be having some hooks in there so that the necromancer can do whatever it needs to do, which is likely to be slightly different from the fallen spire. This is again something that is very mod-friendly now, so similar sorts of things can be set up in mods in the future. (So many possibilities, SirLimbo...!)
  • The FleetCategory PlayerCustomMobile has been split into two parts: PlayerCustomCityFedMobile and PlayerCustomUnattachedMobile.
  • For the city-fed fleets, there is now a FedHereFromCityFleetID on each fleet.
  • The Necromancer is back to being more functional, with a Necrofleet being spawned with every Necropolis.
    • The term Necrofleet is obviously subject to change, and right now I'm not sure that all of the ships that should be spawning in the fleet are doing so -- they may still be spawning in the Necropolis itself.
    • But at any rate, it's progress.
  • Removed the DoForFleetsParallel methods, because those are basically never going to pan out as a positive performance boost.
  • Added a new DoForCityCenterFleets() and a new DoForCityFedMobileFleets(), and the underlying data structures needed to support making those run quickly.
    • Also made it vastly faster to look up fleets by ID, partially because in some areas we will be doing that a bit more (but honestly I should have done this a while ago, now that I look at it).
    • Also made it faster to loop over just player fleets.
  • Necromaner ship attritioning and updating has been moved from DeepInfo to BaseInfo. This will be much better for multiplayer.
  • More necromancer logic has been moved into BaseInfo. This is stuff that needed to be present for both the client and the host to work properly in MP.
  • The necropolis mobile bits have been split out more, and the city should be feeding them. There are still some glitchy bits with it, but I think it's because I'm getting some extra fleets right now.
  • More necromancer updates to try to get it to populate the mobile fleets from the city fleets. No dice quite yet.
  • Success! The necromancer no longer creates double-fleets (meaning quadruple total) when it creates the major necropolises and the attached necrofleets.
    • Additionally, the skeleton and wight caps and so on happen on the necrofleet, fed by the necropolis bolstering them, rather than being created directly.
    • As far as getting back to prior functionality baseline of necromancer, this seems like we are pretty much there. More things will need to be adjusted in the coming weeks, but this is a great start.
  • UniqueTypeDataDifferentiatorForDuplicates is now an int, rather than a byte. We're using this to delineate which ship lines are bolstered from other fleets, now, to make things easier.
  • Added a new FleetQualifier string on fleets, which lets us identify certain fleets even if their fleet leader has died.
  • In the fallen spire campaign, it now upgrades all of your flagships to battleships after you have your first mark 3 city. Once you have your first mark 6 city, they all become dreadnoughts.
  • In the fallen spire campaign, all flagships of the spire are simply the mark level of the highest-mark city you have. This is simpler than the other system we had discussed on discord, and this faction is complex enough to play already.
    • This way you don't have to worry about spire flagship booster buildings, that's not a thing now.
  • In the past, there used to be one fleet led by a spire flagship for each city you had. This is no longer the case.
    • You now start out with only one fleet. Once you have your first mark 3 city, then you get a second fleet. Once you get your first mark 4 city, you get a third fleet.
  • In the fallen spire campaign, your cities properly bolster the fleets they are assigned to, and give more units in them at the mark level of the city.
    • There's still some functionality to add here, but the generalities are in place now.
  • From the very start, each spire city now gives one spire frigate to the fleet it is bolstering.
    • This does make them a bit more powerful, but you are getting fewer flagships than before, and it's nice to have a bit of new ships from the start with every city.

Code Refactoring For Clarity

  • Fleet.Membership has been changed into FleetMembership.
    • This is mostly for ease of file organization, but also ease of typing it.
    • In your mods, just do a simple search and replace that is case-sensitive and whole-word for "Fleet.Membership" to "FleetMembership"
  • Civilian Industries (the mod) has been updated to function with the above change.
  • The "PlayerPlanetaryDefense" FleetCategory has been renamed to "PlayerBattlestation"
    • This is way easier to understand in the code and know what you are looking at versus having to guess.
  • General cleanup. Removed some deprecated code and data.
  • SpecialEntityType: MobileCustomFleetFlagship has been changed to MobileCustomCityFedFleetFlagship.
    • MobileCustomStrikeCombatFleetFlagship has been changed to MobileCustomUnattachedFleetFlagship
    • These were set to be confusing as heck. The latter is not actually used right now (but is useful for mods), and the former is used for spire and necromancer stuff.
    • This separation also allows for me to start putting some specific sub-data on MobileCustomCityFedFleetFlagship fleets.

Collection Performance Improvements

  • I have reimplemented a custom version of the List<> class from Microsoft's generics, and made various improvements to make it faster.
    • Overall it ranges from 3% to 10% faster on average, but it also no longer takes a poor-performing parameterless constructor. That was about 300% slower than a proper use case.
    • Sorting is also about 10% faster than before.
  • A new test framework for testing how well various data structures work IN UNITY has been added.
    • Thanks to SirLimbo for originating the base versions of it.
  • ArcenListPool has been removed, as we can do the same thing much better with ThreadStatic.
    • This was used only in the layouter rebuilder for the UI, and was a source of some slowness.
    • Got rid of TMP_ArcenListPool for the same reason.
  • Removed Debugging_ArcenReadonlyList, because we simply did not even use it and it's not useful.
    • Oh, also Debugging_ArcenReadonlyArray.
    • Also RefPairCollection.
  • The Queue<> class has been moved into ArcenUniversal. For the moment there were not really any performance improvements to make to this.
    • However, we may make some in the future, and because of the fact that we moved List<> into the codebase and we want to replace that, we need to also handle the other Generics collections.
    • So, same deal with Stack<>.
    • Oh, I did make the Clear() method a bit more efficient on both of them.
  • Dictionary<> has also been moved into our codebase and made slightly more efficient.
    • Also one plus is that if you call in to get a key that doesn't exist, it gives the default value for that type, rather than throwing an exception. This is the same as our ArcenSparseLookup.
  • ConcurrentDictionary has been pulled into our codebase, along with the other collections, so that it can use our own versions of the enumerators consistently, and so that if we need to make performance changes to it later we can.
    • At the moment I'm not super aware of any performance issues with these, and they're used only in certain circumstances anyhow. But being able to take control of our most central collections and correct errors that we do find is useful.
    • This of course means that ConcurrentQueue and ConcurrentBag also are making the jump in.
    • After looking at the code for ConcurrentQueue vs ConcurrentBag, I can see why there were such differences in performance that some programmers on the internet were reporting in the past.
      • These have completely different philosophies on how to build handle themselves and their data, and the fact that ConcurrentQueue was faster than ConcurrentBag in practical uses is probably not just a "whoops there was a small error there" sort of issue. Supposedly it was fixed so that Bag is now as fast or faster than Queue in the concurrent classes, but I've never seen any benchmarks, and I have not yet run any of my own.
      • From just looking at the code, however, I am now deeply suspicious of ConcurrentBag. It really throws off a lot of extra objects at the very least. It is notably simpler code (sort of) compared to Queue, but the thing about this simplicity is that it is missing some of the support data structures on Queue that just _happen_ to seem to make that likely to be faster.
      • In other words, I'm not convinced that Bag can ever be faster than Queue without a complete rewrite, or if it is then it will be highly context-specific. You would think that the fact that the Queue is ordered would make it perform better than the unordered Bag, but to me with a bit of a look through things, it looks like a lot more intensive thought went into Queue than Bag. Which is a shame.
      • We currently use some of both, but we are really going to need to test out performance in a real-world scenario and see if we can actually get an answer on which seems to be faster for those purposes, minus the noise of other things that fluctuate. I'm not convinced that any meaningful test-bench type tests would give us realistic expectations or results when it comes to the concurrent collections. It would be really easy to accidentally design tests that favor one or the other artificially.
  • On ConcurrentDictionary, I have specifically avoided implementation of certain methods and properties, such as Values and Keys (the properties that give you IEnumerators or similar).
    • Those particular properties are handy in the abstract, but really are just kind of a convenience to make outer code the TINIEST bit more brief. But what happens is, under the hood, rather than doing a wonderful iteration over the internal buckets with a yield statement -- like the normal ConcurrentDictionary enumerator is able to do -- it has to pull things out into a separate list, and then enumerate that. Translation: lots of extra garbage being generated, and some performance loss. So, yeah, we can do without that feature.
    • In general with all of these collections, if there was something that is likely to shoot your in the foot with performance without you knowing it, then that's missing. If you're trying to do something and find you can't now... well, there's an easy mostly-equivalent still there, and it's going to perform much better than whatever it was you were trying to do.
    • Another notable example on all of these is CopyToArray() or similar. That's something that is rarely really useful in a runtime sense. It can be a handy shortcut when you're doing a debug dump or something... but just loop over things and use the extra performance during said debug dump (it will be slower than CopyTo or CopyFrom would have been, but that's okay because this is a debug dump). The thing I want to avoid is someone trying to do a CopyTo, thinking that's okay to do during runtime, because it's really not. There is a method to my madness! Often programmers make choices without understanding the hidden costs in the classes they are calling, and my goal is generally to help avoid that. Microsoft's goal is maximum flexibility, by contrast, and so you can shoot yourself in the foot all day as far as they are concerned. We have different goals, so provide different things.
  • One side effect of a lot of these changes is that you can't declare "var" as the type of the thing you are doing in most foreach calls. The reason why is a bit complicated, but since this leads to more-readable code (that also performs faster in visual studio when you're editing, as a side bonus), I'm not going to complain or worry about it.
  • Another side effect is that I can (and have) now put in base classes that let me control more things in the future, and which make my custom version of ObjectDumper now give a vastly better snapshot of game RAM when I do a dump of that sort.
  • I swear, I have no idea where certain code was coming from, like TryDequeue on the regular Queue. That is in the Microsoft specifications, but not in their published source code. It must be added by some sort of other dll.
    • There have been some odd cases in the past for me where I had a Clear() method only some of the time for certain collections (this is weeks ago), probably based on which using directives I had imported. That was annoying as heck. All of the stuff is now directly implemented. If there wasn't an implementation, I made one.
  • Side effect of some of these changes: the game itself may load more quickly now (getting to the main menu), and map generation may be a tad faster (probably not much), and savegame loading might be faster (closer to the speed of a second load rather than a first-load).
    • Depending on the specifics of your machine, it may make very little difference or it might be really noticeable.
    • Also during actual runtime, it should run more smoothly for basically everyone, but here again this is... cleaning up a lot of tiny paper cuts all over the body, essentially. It's not some giant wound or something. So seeing exactly how that has an effect in aggregate is always interesting.
    • On the MP client in particular (still not functional yet in the latest beta, but coming soon) there's some speedups with where I had been using the .Keys sub-listing of ConcurrentDictionary, having no idea that that performs terribly.
  • I did not port over Hashset, so I have implemented RemoveWhere() onto dictionary, since that's something that StarKelp seems to find handy. (And yeah, that is handy.)
  • If you have code of your own (for instance a mod), you'll want to remove the following references. You can do a global search and replace to make them blank:
    • using System.Collections.Generic;
    • using System.Collections.Concurrent;
    • using System.Collections; (this last one is optional -- you may need a couple of things from this, like IEnumerator, so you can leave it if you want).
    • Assuming that you use a using reference to Arcen.Universal, that's all you need now.
    • You can then expect to see some errors of the following kinds:
      • Collections that you didn't specify a starting capacity for asking you for one. Go ahead and set those up to be a little bit larger than you need, because RAM is cheaper than CPU on the scale we're talking about (small ram, big cpu to expand).
      • Any place you used var in a foreach will need to use the actual type name.
      • Any attempts to loop over the .Values list of a dictionary will also be busted and you should just loop over the dictionary itself.
      • Any places where you are using "IEnumerable<" should become "System.Collections.Generic.IEnumerable<" Easy global search and replace.
  • Our regular dictionary now lazy-loads its internals, so that we can specify a desired size without actually having to do any work if it's not going to be used for a while. But at the same time, it doesn't initialize to a too-small value that then has performance issues during gameplay. The loading time after getting all this running was truly abysmal, double what it used to be with these changes, and RAM usage was also too high.
    • Most of that had to do with initializing a lot of lists and dictionaries to sizes that are sufficiently large for use, but which are very often only contextually-used, if used at all.
    • There are actually a ton of lists and dictionaries in our codebase that get initialized "just in case" of future need, and by lazy-loading those instead of aggressively front-loading them, we can save ram and performance and the end code never knows the difference.
    • This is the sort of cool thing that we can do now that we've taken control of our own collections, versus letting them be just part of the core .net framework.
  • The KeyCollection and ValueCollection have been removed from the Dictionary class, which means that .Keys and .Values are also gone.
    • We did not use these super frequently, but they were a definite performance drain both when initializing a dictionary and also when making these calls. These essentially made the entire game a bit slower, and so now we just loop over the core, same as with the concurrent dictionary.
    • Also, this prevents programmers from making some... uh... questionable array accesses inside loops for things like serialization. Again a speed boost.
      • Actually this was happening in more than just serialization. So, yay, speed boosts in a variety of places, then.
  • The Stack class now lazy-loads, giving it the same performance boost as dictionary now has.
    • Queue now, also.
    • And then the big one: list. Performance is back to what I would hope for all this, and is now finally better than the old standard.

Sparse Lookup Replacement

  • Dictionaries, lists, and so forth all now support doing a foreach on them even when changes happen.
    • This means that you can remove from a dictionary you are foreaching over and not get an error. Similarly, if another thread touches the data, it no longer will error a foreach.
  • Added a new ProtectedDictionary, which does much the same sort of thing that ProtectedArcenSparseLookup does, but for Dictionary.
    • Most things that used to use the ArcenSparseLookup are being converted to Dictionary, so this also needs to exist now.
  • Ported ClearAndCopyFrom() from ArcenSparseLookup to Dictionary.
  • ArcenSparseLookup has internal improvements from both our new List and Dictionary classes, but it's still stupidly slow because it does both things at once.
    • Essentially, the dictionary class now does everything that this one did, except faster, with one exception: sorting. So in the event you need that, you need this. Otherwise Dictionary is the way to go now.
    • With that in mind, this has been renamed from ArcenSparseLookup to InefficientSortableDictionary.
    • Unless you need sorting capabilities, please be sure to use Dictionary from now on!
    • If you are converting things over, you can do a global search for "ArcenSparseLookupPair" with "KeyValuePair".
      • Also replace "ArcenSparseLookupPair" with "KeyValuePair"
      • And replace "ArcenSparseLookup" with "Dictionary"
    • You will find some cases where previously we took advantage of the fact that ArcenSparseLookupPair was a reference type. The old code from ChooseWaveTarget() is a good example of this.
      • That code will no longer work, because as a value type, trying to assign into the KeyValuePair is readonly on purpose (it prevents programmer error). You would now instead need to assign to that in a constructor, or assign directly into the dictionary itself, depending on what you are doing. This is a very good thing, it's way more performant and also error-proof.
        • See the above method (check diffs if you want) as an example of how to deal with it. The code is just as legible now, if not more so, and it also doesn't throw any garbage onto the heap.
  • Added a new extremely-efficient CopyToList() function on Dictionary, which works via a special hook I've set up with List<> to make that work really really well.
    • This is an early example of the sort of power we've now got to (either shoot ourselves in the foot if we make an error or) do really cool things that allow for better functionality and also improve performance while we're at it.
  • Added a new GenericDictionaryBase, which defines some abstract methods that are normally implemented by dictionary.
    • This allows me to make ProtectedDictionary inherit from Dictionary, rather than wrapper it. This is notably more efficient, and also more functional.
    • This will be a nice little performance boost in general, and since I'm using abstract methods, it's just as fast. Note that I could have gotten the same effect by marking dictionary methods as virtual, but if you look at the language specs, that is slower.
  • Okay, so a minor case study. One of the things that we needed to sort previously was EnergyConsumedPerFleet_ForUIOnly. This is on factions, and was an ArcenSparseLookup.
    • This is now just a dictionary. Previously, it was aggregating the data during sim AND sorting it (which it even noted was redundant, sigh). It no longer sorts this data until you actually view these details, in the UI subwindow where it was already re-sorting before.
    • But wait! We can't sort a dictionary... what's happening, then? Well... this is where we get into the magic and vastly better performance (and code that is also simple.
    • Before, the code looked like this: localFaction.EnergyConsumedPerFleet_ForUIOnly.Sort( ArcenSparseLookupPair <Fleet, EnergyUsageDataHolder> ). And then we'd iterate over the internal list (hyper inefficient, sigh) that the SparseLookup had.
    • Now we do the following in the UI code when we want to draw this in a sorted way:
      • Declare a List<KeyValuePair<Fleet, EnergyUsageDataHolder>> energyConsumedPerFleetForSorting, which is one line of code. This is very efficient.
      • Call this: localFaction.EnergyConsumedPerFleet_ForUIOnly.CopyToList( energyConsumedPerFleetForSorting, 0 );
      • At this point we have a list copy of all our dictionary data, and it was done using Array.Copy internally, and allocated nothing new. It's super duper efficient, and only runs when we actually need it.
      • Of course, now that we have a list, we can just sort it. And we can do this when we need to, but skip any other times.
  • Okay, let's follow up the above case study. That is indeed not TOO bad, and you can do that still, but it's more code than I want to deal with. Generally there's a 1:1 relationship between the thing you want to sort and the dictionary, right? So let's build that into dictionary instead, a bit more directly but with that same degree of high efficiency.
    • The TLDR is that I don't feel like typing that much code each time I want to do a sort, and since I control the dictionary class now, I don't have to. Let's see how much shorter we can make the code while not incurring even a tiny bit more performance:
    • Define a holder working variable in the local method like this: List<KeyValuePair<Fleet, EnergyUsageDataHolder>> energyConsumedPerFleetSortedList = null;
    • Then assign into it in one call like this: energyConsumedPerFleetSortedList = localFaction.EnergyConsumedPerFleet_ForUIOnly.SortIntoList( yourSortHere )
    • Then just loop over your energyConsumedPerFleetSortedList, and ignore it other than that. Much more quick to type! Same efficiency as before.
  • You know what this means, I think: goodbye InefficientSortableDictionary! There is absolutely no reason to have it or its variants now. The above case study for sorting is far more efficient.
  • While I have been going through the dictionaries to fix these up (well, the ones that were arcen sparse lookups in a prior life), I also have fixed a number of places where we were doing extra allocations and hitting the GC. Basically just stuff from before we knew about ThreadStatic, or where somebody didn't bother to use it for whatever reason.
  • Added a new SortedDictionary class, which mostly just uses dictionary EXCEPT that it is expects to be sorted and will enumerate over the internals of the sorted list rather than the dictionary itself.
    • This is used in very few places in our code, but this is the only way I could really think of to make sure that code remained readable and also high-performance and without being prone to bugs. My first couple of ideas on this were terrible, so I dropped back to this, which works very well.
    • This is mainly for the strong-against and weak-against code, and some other ship lister results, and I haven't tested it yet. If there's a bug, that's where it will be. It's also used for the "list of ships that will benefit from hacking a tech vault." Also the list of planets that have threat on them when you mouse over the threat tooltip. Oh, also the list of ships that will benefit from upgrading a fleet by science directly. Aaaand it's also used for the ships that benefit from regular techs, too. If those tooltips are broken or not sorted nicely, you'll know it's this.
    • Okay, have tested these out now, and they do work (I had a few fixes to do before they did).
  • For the sake of efficiency and code brevity, I've added a SortIntoListWithoutSort() and GetRandomKeyValuePair( RandomGenerator Generator ) onto the dictionary classes.
    • This makes it easier to do some things that we used to only be able to do with the sparse lookup. It's less efficient than not doing these things on a dictionary, but it's more efficient than sparse lookup used to be.

Beta 3.704 Unexpected Turbo Sim Speed

(Released October 1st, 2021)

  • In the lobby, the AIs now have a nicer display on the left sidebar of their difficulty and their type.
  • There was some OLD logic in our "read strings from files in a folder" logic that said to look in an "Override" folder inside that folder if you wanted to, well, override it. That's been stripped out.
    • This logic instead now checks all the mod folders for the folder name in question, and if it exists then it pulls from all of those mods (if there are more than one with the same folder name) and ignores the main game.
    • Translation: this now allows for mods to be created that have fleet names or planet names. These can be additional sets, or they can be replacement sets for our existing "Standard" option or what have you.
    • Thanks to RocketAssistedPuffin and NR SirLimbo for reminding me that this was one hole in our modding toolkit.
  • Added a new "League+" name set for planet names, created by Angel of death.
  • The fleet management window has been updated slightly, to make room for modular unit controls.
  • The start of modular ships -- aka, ship loadouts -- is in place now.
    • There is an is_modular="true" field, which can be assigned to any unit from DLC1 or DLC3, or any mod unit if you have DLC1 installed (loadouts/modularity are going to be considered a DLC1 feature -- a few other DLC1 features are coming, along with a later price increase on DLC1, to make all three DLCs equal in scope and value).
    • Right now the modular flag doesn't do much, but it's the gateway to the next things I'll be adding on those units.
    • Of note, I wound up looking at how I was thinking about changing things like forcefields to work via systems, and... definitely decided against that. I'm going to wind up with a split system for handling modules, one for weapons (easy), and one for "other random stuff" like extra health, or bubble forcefields, etc. I have a good design in mind, and it will be higher-performance and not require breaking existing saves in order to do it. All in all that should make it faster to implement, too.
  • The fallen spire ships have all been split up so that they now have a base root unit for each class which is what gives the general stats and such to the imperial spire versions and regular and flagship versions, but no weapons.
    • Right now, the regular, flagship, and imperial spire versions all have the same weapons, but they have some other different stats. The imperial versions are used by NPCs and are marked as not-modular.
    • The regular and flagship versions are going to become modular soon, and will have potentially different modules than one another, so hence having a divergence from a new common base.

Bugfixes

  • Fixed exceptions that could happen with CustomData_StartingAILayout, CustomData_StartingAIPlanetRatio, and CustomData_WormholeBorerIncomeModifier if the data for them was blank. Now it just uses the default value in those case. Not entirely sure how the data can be blank, but in some fashion or other it was just data that was initialized without the player actually making a choice about it.
    • Thanks to BoBy for reporting.
  • Fixed an exception that could happen in Marauders stage2 with lazy-initialization of their external data.
    • Thanks to BoBy for reporting.
  • Fixed an issue where the lobby and in-game factions screens were showing the same information in the tabs on the left for every faction beyond the first for any given type of faction. So for instance, each AI showed the info from the first, etc.
    • This actually finally explains how the attachedfaction used to be null in that area, which is nice to know I wasn't crazy. I couldn't see how it was null, but it was using something outdated that I forgot existed. Now it uses the expected central items.
  • When I set up the AI data and subdata in as part of the great refactor, I accidentally wound up having two copies of the central AI type and difficulty. One on the main object (not needed), and one on the sentinels sub-object. Most things were reading from the latter, but the latter was also always set to the defaults rather than the values you chose.
    • Now there is only one set, and everything reads from that, and this works great.
    • Thanks to Arctic for reporting.
  • At least since the great refactor, but maybe longer, the escape menu where it shows the list of factions has been a bit of a mess, with extra intensities showing and so forth. Fixed up those bits, and then also just made it look a bit nicer than it did in the past for the AI types in particular.
    • Thanks to Arctic for reporting.
  • Fixed a nullref exception that could happen in SpecialFactionPlanning.GetNeedsToRun().
    • Thanks to BoBy for reporting.
  • Fixed a cluster of issues that could result in the AI sub-types or sub-difficulties not being set properly when loading savegames in some cases.
    • This then fixes all sorts of other random issues that would show up in other spots if this happened. The central logic for these is also now set to error if they still remain null, so that we know what the true problem is rather than worrying with random other issues.
  • I can't (yet) duplicate the error, but there was a pathfinder being used from two contexts incorrectly, and I've now put in a lot more code around making that not happen. It appears that this was caused during an exogalactic attack, but that was honestly the part that looked correct from the log -- there was some prior call from the AI sentinels to the wrong pathfinder, and that set things up for the later error. I now have it so that it will detect the FIRST wrong call, and not just when there are calls from two contexts. I've done a manual code review of all the affected areas, and can't see how it would have a problem, and I've done some testing for a while as well, so I guess we'll just have to wait for it to trip again. Next time will be more informative, or should be.
    • Thanks to whimsee and Vinco for reporting.
  • HandleExogalacticAttacks has been updated so that it is now using threadstatic working collections so that it is fully threadsafe. An error in a log may have been due to that method being called by two factions at once, or it might have been related to the pathfinding issues. Either way, I made the method threadsafe, made it slightly more efficient, and then also put in extra logging spots so that we will know which it is if it ever has an issue again.
    • Thanks to Vinco for reporting.
  • Fixed an exception in the scourge that could happen during long-range-planning if their warriors were not properly assigned their BaseInfo data yet. Honestly this seems risky from a threading point of view to have it handled this way, but apparently it worked prior to now. At any rate, now it should still work.
  • Further fixes to the scourge. Their data is now initialized in Stage2 if it is missing, which should avoid any LRP issues or other cross-threading issues, and some followup exceptions that I saw.
  • Improved the error detection when deserializing faction data.
  • Previously, if you were trying to hack something but got an error about having too many hackers to choose from, there were the following problems, all now fixed:
    • It would choose one and hack anyway, which was potentially going to be quite a problem.
    • It would only show you this warning AFTER you clicked "yes I'm sure," rather than before, which is just plain frustrating.
    • Thanks to Vinco for reporting.
  • Fixed a variety of errors that could happen with astro trains based on them not having their external data properly initialized. At least one or two of these were translation errors on my part during the great refactor.
    • Thanks to whimsee for reporting.
  • The internal nomenclature for getting network-attached settings is now a lot more clear. It says NetworkAttached, specifically.
    • In order to trigger journal entries properly in multiplayer, the network-attached settings idiom is still really useful for our automation settings. At first it seemed superfluous, but it's really not.
    • Found and fixed a problem (maybe from the great refactor, not sure), where network-attached settings were not properly being sent. This affects singleplayer as well as multiplayer.
    • With that, watchmen frigates now auto-build again, and any other non-default automation settings also work properly.
    • Thanks to whimsee and Vinco for reporting.
  • The timings window now shows us how many player accounts are in a game (way down below the threading info), and which one is the local account, if any.
  • Found and fixed that pathfinder issue! It turns out it would only happen after you had saved and loaded a few times, or better yet had generated a couple of different maps. It was a pooling issue.
    • Thanks to whimsee and Vinco for reporting.
  • Fixed a rather subtle bug that had to do with singleton cleanup on external faction data in general. Essentially, it was not being cleaned up when going back into a pool, but only on coming back out.
    • The notes in the code make it more clear why I now handle factions and squads in an opposite manner from one another, but at any rate factions have been adjusted so that there are no longer lingering effects of absent factions after you remove a faction.
    • The most visible of these was nomad planets, where if you added that faction and then removed it, you would see nomad planets in all your maps until you restarted the entire game program. The nomad faction was indeed gone, but its singleton was still there and so it was kind of half-alive.
      • There would have bene other factions (fallen spire, etc) that also had this sort of characteristic, but they no longer do.
    • Thanks to whimsee for reporting.
  • Reworked the lobby faction tab so that it no longer has any chance of doing funky stuff when factions are removed or the faction you are viewing is changed. Previously it could throw exceptions in some very rare and unlucky cases. I don't think the factions window in-game (after starting a campaign) can do this, but if we see it then I'll make similar changes there.
    • Thanks to whimsee for reporting.
  • Fixed an exception that could happen in nanocaust logic because I had switched one of their data structures from an ArcenSparseLookup to a Dictionary. Rather than trying to recode all that logic (bad idea), I just returned it to being an ArcenSparseLookup. This should solve the issue.
    • Thanks to nas1m for reporting.
  • Fixed a post-refactor exception that could happen in QueueChatMessageOrCommand based on null being passed in for SFXItemInternalName instead of empty string.
    • The reason this was only happening post-refactor is that there used to be different message signatures for passing in a Context object, and the method call in the DZ thought it was passing null context, not null SFXItemInternalName. But since the change to no longer pass context, it wound up effectively passing null SFXItemInternalName.
    • I have just made it properly handle null SFXItemInternalName, so any other cases of that are now fine.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Fix a DZ bug where the PerUnit data was not clearing all of its fields.
    • Thanks to Badger for fixing, and HarryT for reporting.
  • Hardened all of the methods in AllegianceHelper against errors during game quit. There were a number of places where they were vulnerable to cross-threading exceptions during game teardown.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • The game is now a lot better about killing threads when it wants to go back to the main menu, or exit the game in general. Before it was possible that they could linger for a moment and throw errors.
    • This is one of those "how did that ever work without errors all the time on exit?" sort of situations. Nevertheless, it was still rare even now.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Okay, took a much more aggressive approach with on-quit errors. The fact is, we simply have too many threads with too much error-handling to guarantee that none will error a we pull down the walls around them. And there's no guarantee that a mod will properly handle ThreadAbortExceptions, let alone anything else more specific. So let's handle this centrally!
    • When you quit the game or quit to the main menu, after it has done anything that we might care about (like saving an ironman save or something like that), it now gives a 3-second moratorium where it ignores any and all exceptions that are thrown. Those are all assumed to be spurious (because they are), and that means we don't have to worry about the fact that we can't halt a Parallel thread easily (that was one of many problems), or that certain code might not be set up properly for the abort codes.
    • This has no net negative effect on the game, because essentially this is just stuff that was running that did not need to be, and it's not going to hurt any data.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • The default planet naming style is now set to Standard.
  • When you hit Reset To Defaults, previously it was not setting the planet naming style to the default, but now it does. Same with the planet count needing to be set to 80, and also with the map type needing to be set to the default (which is Realistic). Previously it was just randomizing the map type.
    • Thanks to Zweihand for reporting.

Simulation Performance Improvements

  • Improved the efficiency of the strengthcounting background thread when it comes to looking at incoming waves and adding their strength to your totals.
  • In general, improved the efficiency of strengthcounting by making it use a ton more background threads. This is one of those areas of the game that can be a real sim-speed limiter, it turns out.
    • In particular, with higher numbers of planets, this can peg even really new, high-speed high-core CPUs. I have it spreading out amongst CPU cores better now with more threads, but I still see it using too much, so I am going to make some further improvements.
    • This and metal flows planning are two areas where I should be able to make the simulation run a lot better for everyone, particularly in giant games, now that I can see that they are spiking up as problem points pretty frequently even on my Ryzen 7 4800H.
  • MAJOR refactor of the strength counting logic to time-slice its work over the span of 10 frames (1 second).
    • As part of this, also discovered that too much Parallel looping over planets was a major performance problem inside this thread.
    • Even on an 8-core machine, this was spending more work getting those threads up and down than it was getting benefit out of the threads themselves.
    • Also, as part of this, I've discovered that the strength counting itself is one of those things that has a MAJOR impact on the game the more planets there are. I had wondered where all our performance was going with high numbers of planets in the past, and... well, here's the answer. This is one of the most longstanding mysteries of the game, solved.
      • Even now, with the awesome new time-slicing, the difference between me running this on 80 planets and 110 planets is "always buttery smooth" and "kind of choppy at times, but not so bad as before." This was with two AI factions and the fallen spire.
      • When I stick with 80 planets but add 10 AI factions and one each of most every other faction available in all 3 DLCs, plus two of a few of those factions, then the performance of this -- from second one onwards -- is abysmally low. I go from having something that takes about 26ms on average (that's lower than 100ms by a lot, so that's good), to something that takes 300ms on average (that makes for instant incredibly high sim lag) with spikes to 600ms. This is AFTER all my existing optimizations.
    • I think that what I'm going to do is actually spread this out even further, to time-slice this over 3 seconds rather than 1 second. My scenario with such an insane count of factions is not a reasonable one to play, but I have a very high-end CPU, and I would like for the base case to have a lot of extra wiggle room where it's not even coming close to performing poorly.
  • More strength counting performance improvements:
    • The final step of copying the strength aggregation data from the working location to the final data spots that are used has been moved to the same background thread as the rest of the strength counting.
    • In my prior version, I had the planet strength counting split over two time slices. That is now split over 5.
    • In my prior version, I had the aggregation strength counting split over four time slices. That is now split over 20.
    • With this setup, I now get vastly better performance in my unreasonably huge test bed, and notably better performance in my regular use cases. However, there are some major downsides, so I'm going to redo this yet again from another angle.
      • Firstly, in the huge testbed case there are still some outlier spikes, which get worse as time goes on. So an initial sim speed that was better deteriorates over half a minute or so. I'm not entirely sure why that is, but I have some guesses.
      • Secondly, the human-facing data is only being updated every 3 seconds now, which really does not feel right. When I explore the map via a cheat, it taking 3 realtime seconds to appear feels very off-putting.
    • Don't worry, I have a plan. :)
  • Okay! A whole new approach has been implemented for the strength counting thread. The short answer is that performance is through the roof.
    • Before, I was trying to time-slice at manual spots that I was personally selecting. That just wasn't working out very well, for a variety of reasons. We would have some slices that ran well over 100ms, and thus slowed down the sim, and others that were still a lot higher than I wanted, while others were almost no time at all. But... even worse, which parts are the most expensive is something that depends on the specific savegame (how many units, how full specific planets are, and many other things). So there's literally no way to make a generalized solution to this in a hand-designed fashion. It will always fail somewhere, making it completely impossible to solve that way. So...
    • The new solution that I implemented is ADAPTIVE time-slicing. Here's how it works: essentially, at certain juncture points it decides if it has been running too long, and if so then it terminates. Wherever it is, it doesn't matter. The next time it is run, it resumes right where it left off. To a non-programmer this might sound easy and obvious, but when you're talking about a linear function it is really not a common pattern to do something like this.
    • The metric that I wound up using was 40ms. If the current iteration is taking more than 40ms, then it stops for now. I want the remainder of that 100ms to be used for the rest of the sim. And honestly, since I can only check but so frequently how long it has been it will sometimes hit 60-70ms per slice like this, anyway. In a suitably rough location in a suitably huge save, it can get a bit over 100ms, but rarely. I've iteratively optimized that down so it doesn't happen much.
    • Overall this now means that the strength-counting data is slightly out of sync on clients and hosts, and it means that it is not up-to-the-frame accurate anymore (well, not always). In small savegames, if it can run all in one frame, it still will, of course. But for really huge savegames, it will take a bit longer.
    • I had a couple of test cases, and both of them improved dramatically.
      • One was a basic game with two AIs and the fallen spire. Under the hood, this meant 23 factions. I was testing on 110 planets, which earlier today was feeling a bit choppy even though it was close to being perfect sim speed. Now it's running without the chop, at full sim speed. It takes about 300ms (76ms of calculation-time, which is 40% of realtime) for the data to be updated now, versus forcing it to be updated within the initial 100ms span. Previously, this had meant that there was only 24ms of time to do ALL the rest of each sim step, but now there's lots more, so it runs well.
      • The second test case was a truly insane one, with 80 planets and 10 AIs and one of every faction along with two of a couple. Under the hood, this makes for 111 factions. Prior to this specific update, I was getting about 40% sim speed on my very nice CPU, and it was so choppy it was almost like a slideshow. Now I get well over 60fps, and almost perfect sim speed (95% or more), and it takes about 1.5 seconds for the strength counting data to be updated (670ms of calculation time, which is 40% of realtime).
    • This is... an incredibly dramatic improvement. A ton of game scenarios that were never possible before are now potentially playable, based on this early data. And since the code is adaptive, it should handle many cases such as super high unit counts or super high planet counts or whatever else. I'm going to test the latter of those next, just to see what it's like.

Options For Larger Maps

  • The planet count max for all map types has been increased to 300 from a prior range of 120-160.
    • With 300 planets, just starting the game used to give very poor sim speed, but now that problem is solved. Framerate still takes a big hit even when you aren't looking at anything in particular, but it is north of 40fps for me on my dev rig, so it seems like an option worth having (with warnings in the lobby of likely performance issues if you don't have a very very nice machine).
      • I am reminded of the Supreme Commander maps that were at the largest possible scale, where they ran poorly on basically any machine that existed when the game released, but now they run fine. This is kind of like that, although it is playable on current machines if you don't have too many factions.
    • I tried with up to 500 planets, and it took 15 seconds to generate the map and then I was getting literally 20fps even though the sim speed was about 80%. That is still a titanic improvement from the past, where it would have been sub-10%. Nevertheless, 500 planets just feels way too laggy and likely always will given how the game is structured. I'm not quite sure where the new bottleneck is in the code, but the game just wasn't designed for that sort of planet count, anyway.
    • Planet counts higher than 170 and 220 now give you different warnings about possible performance issues if your machine is not very good. So you have the option for these mega maps, but hopefully also know what you're getting into.

Beta 3.703 Smooth Sim

(Released September 29th, 2021)

Improved Simulation Handling And Speed

  • Making some changes to the threading model for AI War 2 to make things a bit more clear:
    • ProcessSimStep is now called ProcessArbitraryFrameOnMainThread, because that is FAR more clear and accurate. Even I was confused by the old name.
    • DoActualSimStep is, similarly, now called ProcessCoreLogicForArbitraryFrameOnMainThread.
    • Fixed a bit of logic that was running twice on the host and in single-player, eating up some extra processing time. Not much, but nice to clear that out (this happened as part of The Great Refactor).
      • Actually, this might have caused flickery lines, not sure.
    • OnClient_SecondsStoredUpForNextFrame is now OnClientOrHost_TimeStartedLastFrame.
    • All of the short-term sim context work is now handled on the main sim thread, rather than on a secondary worker thread managed by that.
    • These short-term threads are also now executed on the main sim thread via a Parallel call, which makes it so that they are able to happen much more efficiently in terms of how they get started and finish.
      • This is a MAJOR adjustment to the game, and likely to improve performance quite a lot, potentially on older machines the most (but really for anyone).
    • A whole bunch of other logic that I've hated for a long time relating to how the simulation kicks off threads and checks for gamecommands and so forth is a lot simpler now.
      • The idea is that we want to make sure there is minimal input lag in multiplayer, and that we're seeing as close to zero lag between "finished one thing" and "started another" as possible.
      • Previously, if you had a choppy main thread framerate for whatever reason (low powered graphics card and giant battle?), it could make for your sim speed being affected since that was being time-sliced over frames. That sort of time-slicing is no longer done, which leads to more stable simulation kickoffs.
    • This whole thing actually simplifies several areas that were really complicated before, and which were impossible to profile well, because they had noise from cross-frame data in them that made it impossible to know what was just general frame time, and what was actual processing time on these themselves.
      • This simplification should lead to some performance benefits in intense savegames in general, and in multiplayer basically all the time. Not that multiplayer is ready to go again yet since The Great Refactor, but this will be a big benefit for it once it is back up.
  • In the thread timings details window (right-click the timer in the bottom left window), you can now see the last sim time in milliseconds, and the average sim times of the last 20 sim frames (2 seconds' worth).
    • If this is above 100ms, then you will have a slow sim because of the sim itself. If it's below 100ms, then if your sim is seeming slow, it's because of factors outside of the sim itself. That could be frame timings or other factors, but this is giving you the details on JUST the sim itself, which is useful for isolating what the problem is. In multiplayer, "sim speed" can be low because of network issues, for example, and this lets you see that.
    • Interestingly, I was seeing some performance ratios hitting down into the 80% range when looking at the traditional view of things, but I can at the same time see that the slowest actual sim frame time was 36ms. That is faster is actually needed in order to have a perfect 100% sim speed. So either the calculation is off, or something else is causing sim speed to stutter.
    • Until today's refactor of the central sim timings, I would have had no way to tell which. Now I can actually investigate it.
  • Fixed an issue (that has been incredibly longstanding -- years and years) where after the lobby, your game would be acting like the sim steps were extra slow.
    • Also fixed a much more recent issue where after the lobby it would say there were a bunch of faction threads that had been inactive for a long while.
    • This sort of thing is trivial, but at the same time could be alarming to new players and is not the sort of thing we want people seeing right as they start a new game.
  • When mousing over the clock in the bottom left and seeing the simulation speed tooltip, it could have a pretty wicked flicker. Fixed.
    • Additionally, when mousing over this or clicking into it, it now also shows you the framerate that we have calculated you are getting. Previously we only showed that on the main menu for whatever reason.
  • The way that I have been calculating the simulation speed (for visual display) over the last years has been... cough... truly asinine.
    • It was some strange logic where it was kind of half calculating itself based on the time that it was called in the UI when the frame number had changed, rather than just doing a proper calculation from "frame number counts up to next time frame number counts up."
    • This has been corrected, and the timings are now vastly more accurate.
  • Because of the combination of changes in this release, I now can see that I am often tripping the sim to start slightly slower than I should (about 95% instead of 100%), even while running at 120fps and with a sim load that is 30% of what is available, which is leading to some slight choppiness as well, probably because of how I am handling this between frame-timings.
  • Well now! Here's another REALLY nice improvement, which will have a positive impact on multiplayer and single-player.
    • Essentially, I smoothed out the sim-steps by sampling what recent frame-times were (the most recent 30 only, no matter the framerate), and then taking the average of them. If the next sim step is not yet ready to start based on our target of "every 100ms," but 55% of our average recent frame time WOULD push us past the sim step start time... then I run the frame on this sim step anyhow.
    • This essentially works out so that we get between 99-102% sim speed on average, with a slight bias towards being a tiny bit fast (that's why 55% instead of 50%), whereas before it was averaging only 95% pretty much all the time.
      • Why the bias towards being fast? Well, ship movement gets slightly choppy when the sim is running slow. The UI layer is expecting things to be running at exactly 10fps on the sim, and is basing its linear interpolations on that being correct. Being slightly behind on a lerp will still look smooth, but being even a bit slow (well, more than 1% slow anyhow) introduces micro-stutters.
    • It has been quite noticeable when you watch ships move around, how they have micro-stutters in past versions, and it has always bugged me. That micro-stutter is now gone.
    • This also has positive effects for multiplayer, and really single-player also, in making the clock move at a consistent speed rather than slightly too slowly, or at slightly different rates on computers with different framerates. I believe that in the past the drop in sim speed, and the micro stutters, were worse on lower framerates. When the frame times are larger (more coarse), it's harder to get exactly to the 100ms interval I'm seeking.
      • At 30fps, every frame is 33.3ms long, for instance, so previously the sim steps would be off by a range of 1-33ms. In the new system, by splitting the difference the way I am, the divergence can only ever be 1-16ms at 30fps. This is still large, but it's now 16% of the total runtime instead of the (huge) 30% of the runtime of a sim step.
      • At 100fps, we get 10ms per frame, and before it ranged from 1-10ms off. Now it just ranges from 1-5ms off, which is much better.
    • TLDR: gameplay in general is now smoother visually, on all hardware and all framerates, and multiplayer will diverge less between machines of different power levels.

Bugfixes

  • Quieted the error "Entity in CenterPlanetViewOnEntity null!", which could happen in some circumstances when clicking through wormholes. It's not an error that is actually worth talking about; we should just ignore it.
  • Fixed an exception that would happen whenever you moused over wave notifications. This was another case of my efficiency-improvement code hitting a legacy case which errors on purpose to let us know. It was supposed to give us compiler-level errors, but unfortunately that didn't work as hoped, so now we have to find them in the runtime.
    • Thanks to CRCGamer for reporting.
  • Fixed an oversight in the great refactor, where I forgot to actually clear the AIP info between loads of the game! So that meant that starting a new game after having been in a game with AIP would leave you with extra AIP and a strange AIP history. Loading saves was fine.
    • Thanks to Arctic for reporting.
  • Fixed the bug (starting from just before the great refactor) where every time you load a savegame it would give you another 10 AIP. Yikes!
    • Thanks to Lord Of Nothing, Badger, Strategic Sage, Arctic, and HTL9000 for reporting.
  • Fixed a pre-refactor bug that was introduced when I redid the notifications system. The spire debris notification always showed zero, and would trigger errors when clicked.
    • Thanks to Vinco for reporting.

Youtube Threading & Multiplayer Modding/Programming Guide

Coding With Chris: AI War 2's Threading & Multiplayer Part 1: Challenges

Coding With Chris: AI War 2's Threading & Multiplayer Part 2: Data Flow For Unusual Solutions

Modders: Do you need to watch all of the above?

1. Not one bit if you're not coding anything. If you're making xml mods, you can completely ignore the above.

2. If you already think you understand how RTS networking works, then just read the below images and then skip to about the 30-minute mark in the second video.

New Diagram For Modders/Programmers: AI War 2 Threading Model

AI War 2 Threading Model.png

New Diagram For Modders/Programmers: Multiplayer Data Transmission Model

AI War 2 Multiplayer Data Transmission Model.png

Beta 3.702 Bugfixes And Mod Conversion

(Released September 28th, 2021)

Bugfixes

  • Fixed a bug with all hacks where if the Fallen Spire was not enabled or installed, you'd get endless errors instead of the hacking screen.
    • Thanks to Arctic and UncleYar for reporting.
  • The Zenith Architrave now does a lot more verbose logging of its externaldata in case anything is wrong with it.
    • From analyzing a specific savegame, it looked like there was something wrong with it, but now that does not seem to be the case.
  • Fixed a minor nanocaust deserialization issue that would cause multiplayer clients to drop their constants and reload them every second or so. This was found during code review while looking for something else. Not a biggie, but could have been annoying.
  • Fixed two deserialization errors that meant that any savegames with nanocaust in them could not be loaded.
    • Thanks to Magiik for reporting.
  • Fixed a serialization issue in the dyson sphere faction that would throw warning errors, but not actually cause any problems.
    • Fixed a similar one in Nanocaust.
    • Thanks to Magiik for reporting.
  • The scourge as a faction were throwing errors and shutting down in Stage2 if they were included in your save in certain circumstances.
    • The scourge have had their Stage2 instrumented more to give us more informative feedback when that happens.
    • It appears that some Scourge Spawners could sometimes be missing their externaldata. This is now fixed.
    • Thanks to Magiik for reporting.
  • Okay, when I reorganized the entire savegame file, one of the things that I changed was how galaxy info was deserialized relative to the entities in it. Normally entities are units -- ships, structures, etc. But sometimes they are wormholes.
    • Long story short, I had an oversight where I was calculating which wormholes are linked to which other planets BEFORE we had loaded any wormholes out of the savegame, meaning that each planet thought it had no links to any others. That meant that your movement commands between planets would fail after you loaded a save, but not after you started a fresh game.
    • Fixed, and this also fixes existing saves if that matters.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert and Andriy Mykhaylyk for reporting.

Mod Updates

  • Civilian Industries has been converted over to work in the new framework, although it has not yet been tested. There is a four and a half hour youtube video showing the entire process, with commentary and advice on a variety of coding things.
  • The following mods have been hidden for now, since they are nonfunctional for the moment.
    • AMU (SirLimbo is actively working on this. You can follow him on the modding discord channel. This may be quite a while coming.
    • Devourer Chrysalis (Again, NR SirLimbo is working on this. It's more than 100 hours of work, so it may take a month or two).
    • Kaizer's Marauders (Same notes as the above two, SirLimbo is still working on it).
    • Macrophage Histiocytes (and spire integration) (These are by StarKelp, and I may have time to fix them someday, or he might get around to it, it's hard to be sure yet).
    • The Reprocessors (this is a CRZgatecrusher mod that needs updating, and I haven't heard from him yet).
    • AI Shield Generators (this is a cml mod, and this one is going to be retired, with the author's permission, as its functions are going to be built into the base game with consultation with the mod author).
    • This should solve any confusion about which mods do and do not work. All of the other mods that you see are working so far as we know, although of course with Civilian Industries that has not been tested at all yet, but I have done the conversion as part of this build.

Beta 3.701 Natural Object Order

(Released September 23rd, 2021)

  • Made it so that saves from 3.700 are no longer valid to load, because they are SO broken there is nothing new we can learn from them now.

Bugfixes

  • Apparently we had never really used bool toggles on factions prior to now, because there were some errors lingering in there from way on back. During TGR, I converted the "debug mode" options for various factions to all use those, and that then led to errors in the faction screens for them. Fallen Spire "Super Easy Mode" is one example of those.
    • This all works now!
    • Thanks to Vinco and Magiik for reporting.
  • Adjusted things so that the "Skipped an extra mapgen call that was substantially the same as one that was run X seconds ago" won't be hit if there are changes in the number of factions compared to now versus then. Just in case. I am not positive this was a problem before, but it might have been, and now it can't be.
  • The warning for things like "Roaming Enclave Migrant is 23 characters long, and needs a display_name_for_sidebar variant that is 18 characters are less." is now an outright error, rather than a quiet thing in the log. Since we are making sure that mods are updated and such anyhow, this is a good time to make sure that we don't have things like this sneaking through.
    • Fixed the two instances of this sort of thing that were previously in the codebase in DLC3.
  • Fixed an issue where NaturalObject (no owner) faction was not always set to faction index 0 anymore. This was something I was already aware of, but wasn't sure if it would be a problem.
    • It turns out that this was a major problem, and would cause various ailments such as units not reacting to aggro and releasing units, to all sorts of other potentially unknown stuff. This will not fix existing 3.700 saves that had this problem, but any new saves will not have the problem.
    • Additionally, this was causing units to not respond to move commands properly between planets. This again isn't fixed in existing 3.700 saves, but any new saves no longer exhibit the problem.
    • Thanks to Vinco and Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Fixed some general issues with GetControllingPlanetFaction() and similar methods where they could now return null at some points, rather than returning naturalobject when nobody owns a world.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Fixed an exception where if you tried to change the main AI color in the lobby, it would error.
    • Thanks to Magiik for reporting.
  • Fixed a rather egregious and VERY longstanding bug where if an unclaimed unit (a capturable unit) was placed into a LazyLoadSquadWrapper, it would return null from that squad wrapper.
    • This was potentially never a real problem before, but we now use lazy load squad wrappers on fleet centerpieces, which meant that this bug now showed itself by deleting all capturable golems, arks, transports, and so on.
    • This bug is at least 3 years old, and who knows what it was affecting (maybe nothing, honestly), but it just had now found new expression. Glad to have that fixed.
    • Thanks to Vinco for reporting.
  • Fixed exceptions that could happen in a number of places if you tried to get the wave info, because it was using the old ToString() method rather than the new efficient method that writes to a buffer without causing a lot of garbage collection.
  • Fixed an exception that would happen in the AIP history window, because it was using the old ToString() method rather than the new efficient method that writes to a buffer without causing a lot of garbage collection.
    • Thanks to Daniexpert for reporting.
  • Fixed a typo in the MarauderOutpostRaiderPerUnitBaseInfo that had it linked to the outguard class instead, which then led to errors. This will still be broken in old savegames, but is fixed in any new ones.
    • Thanks to StarKelp for reporting.

Youtube Deep Modding/Programming Guide

Okay, here's the modding guide for AI War 2 now: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLc2dK5ROW0WCjIHUBRJPp5oiJkTIMZupL

Modders: Do you need to watch all of the above? No, absolutely not. The timestamps do point out some interesting things that you may want to listen to, though, if a topic strikes your fancy. Even the regular code developers, like Badger, may find some of those sub topics rather edifying. You can click the timestamps in the video description, and it takes you right to where I am examining and discussing some particular piece of code. This jumps all over the place for different examples as appropriate, and does some work on AMU but not remotely the whole thing. It also shows some simple and complex faction data from the base game, and discusses both the theory behind these designs, as well as the practical uses of it. I feel like a professor trying to impart an entire textbook in a 3 hour lecture, but such is life. I will be available for questions and consultations. I want people to have a good experience with their transition to the better format, and also understand the sheer power and performance gained by doing the transition.

Beta 3.700 Bulk Of The Great Refactor

(Released September 22nd, 2021)

Known Issues

  • This is a brand new version of the game in a whole lot of senses, so it is expect there are going to be a bunch of random errors that are not known. Please don't stress about it. If you just report them, most should be very quick to fix. With that said, here's the list of things we do know are not working at the moment:
  • Tutorials are temporarily broken.
  • Beacons for factions are temporarily removed. They will be re-implemented in a more efficient manner soon.
  • Most mods are probably broken completely or partially.
  • The kills and deaths data that you could get is no longer present. It was limited and stupid and boring, and I'm going to give you cool data, with graphs, instead.
  • Random Factions are broken.
  • All savegames prior to this version will no longer load in this new version, which is by design: we have completely reworked the savegame format to be more efficient.
    • I should warn you that I am going to break even NEW saves several more times prior to 4.0. This will be in pursuit of making the Fallen Spire and Necromancer factions feel better to play with, and to add ship loadouts (the AI War 2 version of modules) with minimal CPU overhead during gameplay, and a few other reasons like that. I will let you know when I'm done breaking saves, but until that point please consider any save as potentially invalidated by the next version coming out.

Random Features And Fixes

  • Added a new is_immune_to_reconquest_waves="true", that can be used to make it so that a given faction won't have reconquest waves launched against them (other waves are fine).
    • This is also newly applied to both flavors of dyson sphere, which is new. This should let them get a lot less hassled.
    • Thanks to easytarget for inspiring this addition, and Badger for the notes on how to quickly add it.
  • The "A Tale Of Two Stars" quickstart has been removed, because with the Dyson Sphere changes coming in this build, that scenario will no longer work. Likely there will be even more changes to Dyson Spheres over time, so it would probably just get a bit more busted with time.
    • Thanks to Puffin for reporting.
  • For purposes of damages/penalties to damage output of weapons when under a friendly bubble forcefield, weapons now also consider themselves to be under a bubble forcefield if their parent unit is the one emitting said bubble forcefield.
    • For example, a Riot Cruiser that has a bubble forcefield and 10 guns on itself, if its bubble forcefields are up at all, its guns will work better unless it has the usual things that let it not cause that. Previously, it would only get the "under bubble forcefield" status on its weapons if some OTHER unit was providing said bubble shield.
    • Thanks to CRCGamer for reporting.
  • Moved the mark level scaling data for Fleet Officers from being ZO only to also being applied to the base game to simplify balancing.
    • Additional revised offensive scaling of Fleet Officers to cap at 6x base damage instead of x7. This actually does cut a few of the more outrageously upgraded options by 50-70K DPS.
  • Adjusted Combat Factory internal drone metal rate up from fixed 1000 to 1500 plus 250 per mark level.
    • Combat Factories have been pretty slow at replacing their drones for a while and unlike most of the support factories they have a much larger number they maintain.
  • Adjusted Scrapper Factory internal drone metal rate to gain 250 per mark level.
    • Since this factory type essentially keeps a stock of knock-off autobombs as drones it just made sense to let it make replacements faster with higher mark levels.
  • Adjusted Shieldwall Battlestation to be a much more compelling option overall.
    • It no longer gives units under its bubble shield a damage penalty.
    • Said shield also no longer shrinks when taking damage.
    • As it uses classic scaling and thus defenses only improve by up to 4x base value by Mark 7 it has been given an additional 25% base shield value.
    • A new mechanic where as long as its shield is up it takes reduced damage to said shield has been applied. Base 10% damage reduction with an additional 4% per mark level. This effectively means that at Mark 7 it has 34% damage reduction to shields.
  • Adjusted Grenade Corvette strength bonus modifier slightly upwards to account for higher damage reliability with shot compression.
  • Bumped up Harasser variant of MLRS Corvette base damage from 18 to 20. (Note that these ships can fire 8 shots of that damage per salvo)
  • Previous adjustment downwards on target cap for Electric Bomber wasn't quite sufficient alone after shot compression made reliability higher. Further adjustment of base damage down from 900 to 750.

Quick Starts Data Overhaul

  • Added a new ultra-micro format for "last lobby settings" and for quickstarts.
    • This isn't really so much for performance purposes as it is for forward-compatibility purposes.
    • I'm about to absolutely revamp the entire savegame format and how a lot of data is stored for basically every faction that exists, and I want quick starts to persist past something even that drastic.
    • Why the huge revamp of data? Primarily multiplayer, but honestly this is something that will likely yield performance benefits and added correctness in single-player, too.
    • We basically never do such huge revamps of data, because we absolutely loathe breaking savegame formats, but at the moment the time for half-measures is past. So we'll do it once, and make it really count.
  • Starting to recreate all of the quickstarts. The first one recreated is now Helping Hands, which is identical in form and function to what it used to be, but now part of the micro-save format so that it will survive the upcoming purge night.
  • All of the quickstarts from the base game have been updated to the new micro-save format that will be the only thing future-compatible after this build.
  • Fixed a bug with Helping Hands 2 from The Spire Rises, where it was not working if you didn't also have DLC2 and DLC3 installed.
    • It is expected that there were other similar errors in some of the other quickstarts in DLC, but I am just fixing them all as I move them to the micro-save format, so I can't say for sure.
  • All of the The Spire Rises quickstarts are now safely in the new micro-save format.
  • All of the DLC2 quick starts are now fully recreated in the micro-save format.

Make Your Own Quickstarts!

  • makequickstart, [folder name], [quickstart name]
    • Causes a new quickstart to be saved to the quickstarts folder in the new ultra-brief quickstarts format.
    • This quickstart format is required if you want to have future-proof data that does not break with future versions of the game.
    • Example usage:
      • cmd:makequickstart,1-Basic,Helping Hands
        • This would make a replacement for the basic helping hands quickstart.
    • Please note that you need to still add a .tooltip file next to any quickstart. You'll have to do that in your filesystem on your own, but it's just an ASCII text file with narrative information inside it about what the quickstart is about. Otherwise that tooltip will come up blank.
    • When you do this process, it also gives you a note telling you which dlc and mods are going to be required for someone to play that quick start. We had lots of cases in the past of accidentally requiring more than we meant to.

Bugfixes

  • Improved the handling of DoForPlanetsParallel() so that it can't spam errors when you're exiting the game, or exiting to the main menu.
  • Put in some extra debugging in DefinePlanetFactionDefenseTypesIfNeeded(), as it could throw exceptions in some cases.
  • Fixed things up better so that any DLC can use features from any other DLC without incident, despite mods being required to have the parent DLC installed.
  • Fixed what looked to be a bug in recent versions with outguard not actually spawning. This was based on code analysis, not testing, so let us know if something is off.
  • Fixed a number of potential cross-threading issues with nomad planets using the main thread context on a background thread.
    • And some with wormhole borers, though fewer of those.
  • Discovered and marked a bug where MP clients cannot cancel hacks in progress, but have not fixed it yet.
  • Been meaning to do this for a while: multiplier_to_all_fleet_caps has been removed from the game.
    • It was previously on all turrets, set to 0.2. It was only there for historical savegame purposes, and messed with the unit cap math badly.
    • There are other modifiers in place about weapons strength or hull or shield health, and those are used in a variety of cases and we're leaving those intact and in place.
    • The ship cap one being removed means that if you have a mod that is seeding turrets, you'll want to remove this multiplier and then probably divide your number of seeded turrets by 5.
    • This should solve a number of longstanding but rare bugs that we keep seeing with the TSS and other turret-granters, but we'll see. It certainly won't hurt.
  • Fixed typo in "ADVICE: Next Steps".
    • Thanks to Ben Parrish for reporting.
  • Fixed a few grammatical errors in EncirclingSpider and IrefulMLRSCorvette descriptions.
    • Thanks to Fenrakk101 for reporting.

Rip And Tear For ExternalData

  • All savegames and quickstarts older than 3.700 are now broken in the latest beta branch, and there is now a popup message explaining that any older saves you have should be finished on the older versions.
    • This is something that was not done lightly, and we're going to keep breaking beta-branch saves for at least the rest of this week as we refactor things to run in a high-performance, MP-friendly, modder-friendly, non-error-prone way. No more half measures.
  • The StatisticsSet class, which was mostly unused except for some small bits of data that were stored in a way that was hard to get at, has been removed.
    • The actual data about offline achievements has not been in here for years, for example. As has the info about achievements won during a given specific save.
  • Our ArcenExternalDataLookup class, ArcenExternalData class, ArcenExternalDataPatternTable class, ArcenExternalSubManagedData interface, and ArcenExternalSubSubUnmanagedData interface have all been removed. ArcenExternalDataPatternImplementationBase is also gone, and all the related stuff, really.
    • The generic "let's talk about external data attached anonymously to an object" concept that has plagued this game since our earliest versions is now going away.
    • For those who have coded factions or mods, please don't stress -- the vast bulk of your content will still work once I'm done rebuilding this in a more productive and direct way.
    • The problems with the old approach (of connecting the Core and External data parts together) were many, and reflect that it was originally kind of a prototype concept that never got refactored significantly enough because we didn't want to break savegames. I've spent the last year and a half trying half-measures to work with this stuff, but now it's time to go all the way.
      • Among problems with the old method: memory leaks, bad performance, inefficient data storage and transmission, no deliniation of data that we really consider central versus data that is just needed for host-only execution, and more.
      • There were also shifting and evolving standards in use over the years, leading to better and better code over the years, but still pulling along old bad code. Everything is getting a facelift out of this.
    • Last year and earlier this year you can see a number of cases of me trying to bring this to heel in a better fashion, but it's just crossing a line now where it's way too wild.
    • My one rule is generally "don't break legacy savegames," so you know this is serious business at this point. Time to get a lot done all at once to make this worth it.
  • Old concept being removed: you can have "externaldata" which has any amount of sub-data on it, attached to various objects.
    • The precise nature of how that connection is forged is actually something that exactly zero people fully understood, and at any rate it was a very ineffective method for gathering this data. There were three levels of pooled wrappers in there, it was nasty.
    • The types of objects that could have externaldata were World, Planet, PlayerAccount (never needed that, though), Unit (this was used all the time, but then much less over time), and Faction (this is the really meaty one that tends to matter, but even this is problematic in the extreme for older factions in particular).
    • Please note that PlayerAccount is permanently losing an kind of external-data analogue, since that was never actually needed. The new network-enabled personal settings actually are much closer to what we had once thought we might do with these, and those are highly organized data that works really well.
  • A LOT of code that was dedicated to maintaining old savegame compatibility has been removed.
    • This was thousands of lines of code that made the codebase that much harder to work with.
    • This alone is going to help performance for network transfers and savegame loads, given just how many versions there have been.
  • Stripped out some of the excess of paranoid canaries that I had placed in game units a number of versions back. There are still some in there, but it's more efficient having fewer, and the reduced count will be sufficient for our purposes at this point.
  • Previously, game units could only have a maximum of 15 systems, per their savegame format. This was very very sensible in a time before loadouts, but now this is being expanded to 63 instead.
    • This allows for us to have a great number of optional systems on a unit for loadouts. We still think 63 is an absurd number, but that's the sort of buffer zone we want to be in, really.
  • Removed DoomData, which hasn't been used ever but was kept as an example bit of code for a long time.
  • In our external code, right now we have some temporary classes as bases for things that will later be split off into other files and have their data style changed around.
    • Right now the goal is just getting things compiling, but having the external factions be braindead. The places where many things will change from the root up are marked with EXTERNALDATA_TODO for now.
    • It's going to be several days at minimum before we have a truly functional build again.
    • It's worth noting that a lot of giant gaps are there right now, like faction allegiances even being off once you load. This is because the config data doesn't have a pathway to the external data at the moment.
    • At the moment, however, you CAN load up the lobby and everything there is 100% functional. It doesn't actually kick off factions after the lobby is left, but that's not the point -- the point is nicely-siloed data that we understand the boundaries of.
    • At this point, after you load a quick start or click start from the lobby, it runs part of mapgen, but most of it is disabled. You then instantly win the game, and errors spam the world.
      • Here again, this is kind of the point... it's impossible for us to reliably have known prior to now what a client would or would not have on it in MP, and everything was very messy. These errors likely were the same ones that were going to show up on a client after getting a map from the host in the recent betas, but we would not have known until testing.
      • My work tomorrow is going to be centered around building in stable and clear data bridges between Core and External: this will have to be well-organized, easy to understand at glance, not prone to memory leakage, and equally as powerful as the tools that they are replacing.
      • The idea from that point on is to start getting the most-core data linked up, that stuff which is used by every faction, or by the human or AI factions in particular. And the idea will be to separate out that which is present for everyone, and that which only the host has, and that which the host automatically shares with the client as it is dirtied.
        • After that is done, and we have the basic factions running again, then it's a matter of going faction-by-faction and converting them to this new format. How much work that will be remains to be seen, but I anticipate being done with most of that this week.
        • To be clear, this should then have covered essentially all of the major things that multiplayer is currently lacking in data transmissions, and also have improved the performance of getting to said data in a single-player context as well.
  • The old ShipStats information had data on how many ships of each sort you had killed and lost, by mark level. This was actually stored on every faction.
    • This is not very interesting data, and is very very hard to show. We're going to track and show much more interesting data, in a completely different way. So this is being removed.
    • This was the data that was "experimental" when you right-clicked the metal view. For the moment that's blank, but soon I'm going to have actual graphs.
  • Adjusted all of the ExternalData serialization to no longer have the old data for deserialization logic. This was less to remove in the main game, but still several hundred lines of code.
    • The idea is making this cleaner and easier to read since we're in the process of breaking saves anyway, and it also makes it easier for me to move forward with splitting and cutting up the data.
  • Removed some ultra old rally point code that hasn't been used since fleets were added.
  • (Almost) all of our older code and folders and such which used to say "Mercenary" or "Merc" or similar have been updated to say Outguard instead.
    • This simply makes things more clear, particularly since we've been calling them both things in code for a few years now.
    • There are still a few references to mercenaries in a few files and filenames, but it's WAY lesser now, which is nice for avoiding confusion in the future in particular.
  • Removed old features that had been retained only for really really old savegames:
    • ship_cap_multiplier_strikecraft, ship_cap_multiplier_turret, ship_cap_multiplier_frigate. These were all tied to the IGC in older versions.
      • There was a LOT of related code for this, which is all removed now, hooray.
    • The deprecated custom-flagships xml.
    • FCE xml and a bit of related code.
    • supercharges_strikecraft_ship_cap_of_rest_of_player_fleet and related code.
  • Old logic for removing AI frigates has been removed. We no longer need to deal with those savegames.
  • Removed the HostOnlyAggregatePlanning background thread, which I added a week or so ago but never wound up needing.
  • Removed some FleetFormation logic and xml that had never been used and never been tested. It was an old prototype just clogging things up minorly.

Reconstructing ExternalData Links

  • FactionCenterColor and FactionTrimColor have been removed as direct variables from the Faction class. So has FactionType Type and and SpecialFactionData SpecialFactionData.
    • In place of these, ConfigurationForFaction Config is now always permanently on the faction, and it has a direct link to this data.
    • Previously it was frustratingly common to have two copies of various pieces of configuration data, or even three, and we want to avoid that. Trying to keep that in sync serves no good purpose, versus having one place where each piece of data can be queried is very useful.
    • However, it's nice to have nice wrappers around all of these so that the same code will work as always have, so this is what we've done.
    • This may also fix a bug we've had for a while with the "subsequent faction colors not being set on factions of the same type" for some subfactions, but if not it at least makes that easier to fix in the future.
  • The "MissingFaction" is set as the default entry for the factions table so that it will automatically be chosen in cases where a faction is, well, missing. Removes the need for some code.
  • Added in some more wrapper methods for looking up custom field data for factions in a direct sense, rather than potentially getting stale data from one of the secondary places it is stored. We never want it to be the case that the UI is lying to you while having a secret separate value behind it, so this is part of that. We had accidental cases of that above-mentioned problem before.
  • ArcenSimContextBase now has an abstract AmIAHostOnlySubContext on itself, and a ShouldThisMethodBeSkippedBecauseThisMachineIsClient() direct method.
    • This lays the groundwork for us removing some of the RNG divergences that were happening in multiplayer prior to now. This also serves as a guide for how we're going to be splitting our External dlls. Honestly it's making me review all the methods and make it really clear what can do what, which is pretty darn useful to have to do right in advance of that other surgery.
    • Added a new ArcenClientOrHostSimContextCore, and ArcenSimContext and ArcenSimContextBase are getting a TON of additions and changes. Way too many to note the details of in this format.
    • Added a new ArcenHostOnlySimContext that is for the host-only sections of the game.
    • QueueLogJournalEntryToSidebar and QueueChatMessageOrCommand no longer require contexts to be passed to them (they were not using it anyhow).
    • Lots of methods now either require a ArcenHostOnlySimContext, or a ArcenClientOrHostSimContextCore.
      • It is very rare to now require a root ArcenSimContext on a primary logic method, and this is part of how we're now controlling what methods run on the client or host (which we were already doing, but more haphazardly), AND controlling which random generator is used (this is the bit that is new, which will help stop that "units go over here and then zip back over on the MP client" bug).
      • That said, ArcenSimContext is absolutely still used on all the various worker methods that are called from a variety of contexts. Aka some code that might be used in any and all shared circumstances.
      • To make things even more clear, and prevent un-examined code from upgrading into this without examination, ArcenSimContext is now called ArcenSimContextAnyStatus to denote we really mean that.
    • ILongRangePlanningContext is now ILongRangePlanningHostContext.
    • ArcenSimPlanningContext is now ArcenSimPlanningCommonCoreContext_DoNotReferenceDirectly. It should never be used directly anymore, as it's ambiguous as to whether it's on the client or the host.
      • There are now intermediate ArcenHostOnlySimPlanningContext and ArcenClientOrHostSimPlanningContext classes that inherit from it. Mostly this is a formality, but it does add clarity and keeps consistency with the rest of the code.
    • A metric ton of code has been adjusted for all of this, in some cases removing things that were passing around some form of Context that had no business doing that. These are meant to stay in some reasonable sync, and sometimes even some UI choices could cause problems.
    • Because of the way inheritance works from classes in C# (single inheritance only, interfaces aside), there are a few methods that are duplicated across a couple of central classes.
    • THAT said, this leads to less duplicated code elsewhere in end-implementation classes, AND the inheritance tree of the "context" types makes it so that people literally can't call methods from improper spots.
      • If you're a modder and you find yourself trying to work around a method call that doesn't have a compatible context type, then either you just need to call yourCurrentContext.GetHostOnlyContext() and try that, or else give up and do something else because this would be a MP sync issue or other data invalidation issues would be caused. Or let me know, and I can always look into making something more permissive. But honestly other than people forgetting they need to call .GetHostOnlyContext(), I don't expect any troubles.
    • So what's up with calling .GetHostOnlyContext()? Isn't that kind of a waste of end-coder time? Actually... no! It's super important. The host-only context is used for parts of the code that only run on the host, and it has its own separate RNG that the shared clientAndHost context does not have. This means that all of what runs on the client and host has the same number of RNG calls, yielding a deterministic result. But peppered in there are some host-only calls, which previously were breaking sync but now just require a call to .GetHostOnlyContext() and sync is preserved while still keeping the same code structure you're used to.
      • This is round one of several rounds of fixes that could also be described as idiot-proofing (where all of us are equally idiots, and not meaning that in a pejorative way). The code is now demonstrably clear about when it cares what sort of caller is around, which is a big step forward for the next round of this, which will involve splitting things between dlls in order to separate out a new client-accessible layer of data from lots of host-only code that runs against it.
        • Put another way, this is getting around the problem of having to replace tooltip appenders with calls to the host, or doing all of the notification calculation on the host and then transmitting lots of complicated data. We're instead handling this in a much more tri-layered fashion, based in general on the MCV (Model-View-Controller) design pattern.
  • DoOnSelfBuildingCompleteLogic has been moved from the scenario to the faction class, so that it's able to properly do its job. Before, this would have been a mighty big annoyance for any modders who made a new faction.
    • Same deal with DoOnInternalConstructionCompleteLogic, although nothing actually uses this one yet.
  • The "ExternalCode" project, which is the main open-source AI meat of AI War 2, has been split into two parts.
    • One part remains in the existing dll, which is the most "permissive" part.
      • Anything in this dll is stuff that we're intending the client in multiplayer to have access to. (That is a statement of design intent, but I have a lot of work to do before that part is actually fulfilled.
      • Also, anything in this part can be freely examined by the UI, on the host or the client. I mean, thread safety aside, the UI is allowed to know about these things, and these things exist on every computer in multiplayer (again, talking about design intent, not current status).
    • The new part is called "AIWarExternalDeepProcessingCode," and is meant to be only things that the host has access to. Also, the UI cannot directly query these things.
      • Right now we have moved the faction processing logic, "on death effect" code, the main mapgen code, the "hacking is happening" code, and the "long term planning" code in general.
      • Please do bear in mind! Right now there's data mixed up in many of the files that were moved, along with the logic that was moved. Some of this data is meant to be host-only, but a lot of it is not. The next job will be splitting up all of these files and restructuring how the data is found, and that goes hand in hand with also re-teaching the Core code from AI War 2 how to reach these new split-up forms of data and code.
    • Please note that all mods will be required to follow this same double-dll format, which we will be enforcing by a quick scan of your mod code as it is first loaded. More on this will be available when this conversion process is complete.
      • The goal with this structure is to make things multiplayer-safe, and separate the data from the code a bit better, and separate the host-only code a bit better from "everybody runs it" code.
  • Updated our build scripts so that when we build an external project from within visual studio, it will now properly set them into ReliableDLLStorage. Prior to this point, any compile-breaking changes needed to first be copied there by running the entire command-line build script.
  • My external code loading framework is being put to new use in terms of helping ensure data-correctness.
    • For classes that will go into deep processing or the client-safe data processing, they will all inherit from either IExternalDataAndSimCode or IExternalDeepProccessingCode.
    • The game now checks to make sure two of these same things are never in the same dll, and additionally, that no dlls that have deep processing code are referenced by any classes with DataAndSimCode in them.
    • This is really important for preventing errors that would affect multiplayer clients, among a few other maluses, and so by doing this very quick check on startup we can make sure that all of our own code, as well as any mods, all conform to the standard that prevents the most common MP-only issues from happening.
    • Put another way: if you've just coded a mod, and it works for single player, you want to be pretty darn sure that it "just works" in multiplayer without having to go test it there. It's the same with any changes we make to the core game, or in DLC. All of this code restructuring, along with these checks, are how I ensure that is the case at a very low level. If MP has a problem that is unique to it, I want that to be something that's my central problem to solve, not something that faction designers or modders are chasing on their own stuff.

Restructuring The Upwards Link From Core To External, Part 1

  • Previously, we had a thing called "ExternalDataPattern," and some of the DLC content had to be included in the base game or else beacon factions would mess up the ability to load quickstarts. And last-settings would get messed up if you disabled a DLC and went back into the lobby, too.
    • Thankfully, now we don't have this problem at all because of the new "micro save" format that is now used for those two purposes as of this build. Therefore, the new equivalents of this old sort of data are now able to be stored in each DLC properly (this has the same implications for mods, so this is a good thing for mods being usable for sure).
  • Added the following two sets of data/code pairs:
    • ExternalDataAndSimCode, which is for clients to know about and the ui to be able to see and use.
    • ExternalDeepProccessingCode, which is only for hosts and single-player, and contains all of the deeper logic and working variables and whatever else. We don't want this to accidentally get sent to a client at any time.
    • It is worth noting that the above things can have 1:1 pairs (faction data in the sim code that the ui can also see, and then deep processing for said faction), but in many other cases we don't need a faction to be involved at all, or have several sub-parts to a faction (unit data, etc), or whatever other designs we want.
    • As part of the two above sets of data/code pairs, added the following three categories:
      • World. This is something attached to the world, and it can run whatever logic you want to, kind of like a faction would have a chance to but without the faction.
        • Internally, some of the logic that we have very confusingly on "Human" right now -- there can be many human factions, and we generally want to run this stuff once for all of them -- will move here. This is also for the things that are human-faction-type agnostic.
        • Externally in mods, we expect to see the FakeExecutorFaction from AMU move into this. We should never need to have a fake faction again, as there is now a clean and fully supported method for doing that same sort of thing here.
      • Faction. This is where the meat of the game logic lives for anything that isn't just the autonomic style of unit AI.
        • Internally and externally there will be some swapping back and forth of what is loaded where, and the SpecialFactionLogic class in general will be subsumed into this.
      • Squad. This is data that goes on an actual individual ship/structure for whatever reason. Some factions are designed where this is needed, others are not.
        • Having deep processing available for individual ships is now possible, although that would be a little bit on the strange side. We have a way of handling it with efficiency, but it's an oddity for sure if you structure it that way.
    • ExternalDataPattern used to be loaded very early on in the load process, and these new ones are loaded only slightly later. Other xml will be referring to these.
    • So far, each of these is just blank slates, but they'll all have unique methods on them, and be the vessel through which most communication happens between Core and External and ExternalDeepProcessing.
      • It is worth noting that these all implement time-based pools that are incredibly direct and also centrally handled, so we can avoid the memory weak worry that was everpresent with MP clients in the past.
    • Oh, another thing to note: all of these are individual object data holders that can also contain code. None of them are singletons.
      • So for instance, if a faction defines a FactionDataA class that goes with itself, then if there are 3 instances of that faction TYPE, there will also be three instances of this faction data. This is very useful, because you can therefore store faction-specific working data in the deep processing in particular, or use static variables if you want to share across factions. This is very similar to the ethos behind ISpecialFactionImplementation, which will be leaving us before too long.
  • Experimented with a new method of serializing data for objects. The data is really really sparse, though, because of "all the things that can be on a ship," for example, usually only one or two actually are. It's much the same for faction and even world.
    • I spent a goodly while coming up with wrapper classes to manage arrays based on the length of how many external linkages there are of any given type (which is based on how many DLC and/or mods you have installed), and was going to have some sort of very high limit (so that if you run with 100 mods on, someday when there actually are 100 mods), you don't have a problem.
      • However, that has many many drawbacks, because we wind up iterating a ton of arrays that are almost universally empty, or have a single item or two in there. And there is a finite limit on the number of mods you could have, even if it is very high.
      • The other big drawback is just how long it will take to iterate all of that, and for squads we have issues of how timely we can get those data updates from the host to a client after there's some change. Also, we have some order of operations questions with things like fast blast data potentially arriving before the external data, or vice-versa. Either way, it's not a good model.
    • The solution will to take this "vertical" approach and make it horizontal, and instead serialize on-the-fly in a more centralized fashion. This keeps our amount of iteration very very low. The downside is that I then have to make it very fast to link back and forth between the data and the thing it is attached to, but that's not the worst problem in the world. I was already potentially going to have to find a row index and then index into an array and then cast to the proper type. Instead we're likely looking at a concurrent dictionary lookup, which is at least a single operation rather than multiple (admittedly cheaper) ones.
    • Well. At any rate, my code for the old vertical method is not complete and does not compile (I was in the middle of it when I had this realization). I'm checking it in in case it is ever needed in the future, though. Next step will be to convert it to the horizontal format.
  • Some rather mind-bending code for horizontally serializing and deserializing all of the external data for any world data, faction data, and squad data, all at the central faction level, has now been put in place.
    • This differs from a lot of our serialization code in that it's very... reactive... to what it finds. Essentially what happens is it iterates over every possible piece of data that can be sent (hey, macrophage ships can sometimes have data attached -- are there any in this game? If so, send those that are there). It's clearing out stale data as it goes, and as-before it gives the details of the serialization itself to the actual External code classes.
    • One of the chief differences this time around is that we don't have to serialize any table or row names -- we are using central indices that are synced from the client to the host -- and we're also using smaller ranges of integers for the PKIDs for factions and squads based on the differential between the largest and smallest ID in the particular list at any given time.
    • This will require testing once we can run the game again, to make sure that I didn't make any typos, but it uses a lot of generics and type inheritance in order to minimize code, so whatever problems are there should be of the "fix once, don't think about it again" variety.
    • At the moment, what is in the codebase is kind of impressive, but also kind of baffling. Here we have six identical tables and classes, all serialized using some very complicated code that is very centralized... but there's nothing different about any of these classes or tables. They're all super identical.
    • Where the magic really is going to come from is the fact that we can have all manner of different methods on each of those distinct six classes, and so we can set, retrieve, and manipulate data without having to do any type casting at all.
    • This a much more elegant solution than the old solution we had, but it strays slightly close to "clever code" (the sort of thing that is showing off for no reason, and thus is super hard to maintain and nobody else can read it).
      • That said, the reasons for this solutions design are pretty clear: keeping the guard rails on, not mis-identifying data (often happened before during load issues), minimal steps to get from Core to External, the ability to have lots and lots of very direct methods that we can can directly call, and pooling that is NOT in the hands of the External programmers, but instead is controlled by Core. There's also a goal for having substantially less code, and substantially clearer code, on the External side. That will start becoming evident tomorrow as I start wiring this up to them. On the Core side it takes some extra complexity in order to create more simplicity on the External side.
    • That's the idea, anyhow. I have long considered myself a code architect in terms of programming sub-specialties, and I've done a few dozen refactors of major programs, ranging between languages and business software and games. This one has so far been, to my surprise, the most complicated one I've had to do. There's a lot of pleasure in that, but at the same time: wow complex.
    • The main good news from today is that there is really a small amount of code (all things considered) where I could have made mistakes. So once I start this up, after connecting to the External code where I CAN start this up, any errors should make themselves apparent immediately and then be gone forever.
      • The old way of doing things was something I was never able to wrap my brain completely around because it had three layers of indirection that also required bidirectional communication and reading of the code. In other words, to understand that code, you had to read the entire path of it from Universal, through Core, all the way to External, and then follow a further chain back down the other direction. That was... code that worked, but was very very hard to be sure was not secretly broken. It had some arrays of objects in the middle, hitting the GC in a way I didn't like, and it was particularly hard to tell what it was doing o =n MP clients.
      • But the new code? It flows one direction, you can follow it clearly, there's no GC hits in the middle, and despite the code being a little bit odd syntactically (generics really can look odd), it's fairly straightforward to follow.
    • Tomorrow will be the real test, where I start wiring up the various pieces of External code to these new pieces, get them compiling again, and then eventually transform it all into the simplest possible version of itself that will be as error-free as possible in MP and SP as we want. It won't all happen in one go, likely, and I expect several more major refactoring passes next week to clear up various perennial bugbears like linked factions, the strange combined fleets/cities of the fallen spire, the odd (and not architecturally wise) way we have "faction common data" and similar structural oddities that make some of the externaldata have a larger learning curve than we'd prefer. Hopefully we have a working SP game this weekend, and hopefully we have a refactor-complete game by next weekend. We'll see how quickly things move tomorrow.

Restructuring The Upwards Link From Core To External, Part 2

  • Okay, all that "clever" code yesterday? I said in my release notes that it was pushing the edge of being too clever for its own good (when programmers of a certain experience start talking about how "clever" code is, it's not a compliment -- if a professor tells you your code is clever, that's a compliment, but if a colleague does, they are worried about ever having to maintain it. Smart and cool and elegant are always compliments.).
    • The code was indeed the simplest possible implementation with the least amount of code for doing the sort of many-to-many relationships that I was assuming some of our data might have. But thankfully, no actual data is structured that way.
    • The old code that we used to have was allowing for many-to-many relationships between many kinds of objects and data, but thankfully everyone was sensible in both internal and mod code, and instead what we wound up with was a lot of one-to-one code. THIS ship has THAT data and no other, etc.
    • So! After talking to the folks who have been working on the bigger mods and the external factions and verifying that my sudden suspicion was correct, that means it was time to strip out pretty much most of the work I did yesterday (sigh, but it was a good intellectual exercise I suppose) and implement something new.
    • This new approach treats all of the World data as being singletons (aka only one copy of that external object, ever, period), and it even queries them "hey, you want in on this?" to which they can contextually say yes or no.
      • This is super duper useful, because you could actually have some sort of helper code turn itself on for a while to manage some process in the game, and then relieve itself of duty and stop using any bandwidth or CPU cycles. Or it could start out as off, but turn itself on once some situation happens, etc. Handy!
      • In general, one of the larger problems with external data assignments like this is "when do they get attached, and how do we know to do it?" In the past, a lot of that was "when ships are created in externaldata, we'll assign it contextually then, and hope we miss no cases. If found we did, then backfill." We may keep to that, but will also try to formalize it a bit. But for the world, simply asking the objects "you want in, or you good sitting out for the moment?" is feasible as well as most performant in this instance.
    • Factions and squads are still pooled, and so a lot of what was done yesterday (the easy parts) still apply for these.
  • Map generation code is now flagged as deep processing, so it will be disallowed from being in any dll with the base data and sim code.
  • ISpecialFactionImplementation, which has for so many years been the absolute centerpiece of faction and AI code, has been removed from the game.
    • It's functions are now being split between base-data-and-sim faction code, and deep-processing faction code objects, which has been one of the chief aims from the start of this rework.
    • There is no longer an "Implementation" object on the faction at all. Instead, there is now a "BaseInfo" and a "DeepInfo."
      • These objects serialize data to disk (like externaldata used to), as well as contain whatever logic we want them to. That's not quite an MVC philosophy, but it's following a similar and useful OOP design.
        • It's worth noting that the deep info ONLY ever serializes to disk, and never across the network to MP clients. It's also worth noting that the UI should not be trying to get any data out of the deep data unless it's purely for literal debugging purposes.
  • For the first time, squads themselves now also have a BaseInfo and a DeepInfo, which mirrors what you're used to with the factions.
    • This doesn't replace anything on the "big logic processor side," but will probably fold in things like "description appenders" later. However, this replaces the notion of ExternalData that used to exist.
    • It's worth noting that this external data is no longer a collection of things, unlike before. There's only a single item attached to each squad, or zero items attached to it (if it's not some special faction other than humans or the AI, it's probably zero items).
    • Before we had a many-to-many relationship, but that was hyper inefficient and something you are better off handling with data at the faction or even world. There are no known cases of any internal or mod code actually needing that, though.
  • Added ParallelDoForAllActiveEntries() onto TimeBasedPool, which gives us a comparably-quick way of doing some action VERY completely against all live objects in that pool.
    • Quick is a relative term in this one, but it is multithreaded, at least. This shouldn't be used in most cases for during-game things, but rather is for times like "when we reload all the xml" or things like that.
    • We also added a ParallelDoForAllEntriesEverEvenInactive, since that actually seemed kind of warranted for the xml case.
  • GameProgramIsAboutToReloadExternalXmlAndSimilar() is now a thing that exists on all the external objects, rather than being limited to the faction data.
    • This is mainly as a courtesy to mods that may have different structures from our code. We don't actually use it, but it's useful as a thing that can be called for those that do.
  • ExternalDataExports is now functional again, and lets us dump out all of the new-style external data.
  • Everything that was called "ExternalXDataAndSimCode" is now called "ExternalXBaseInfo"
    • This is a lot easier to type, and is way easier to read at a glance.
  • Everything that was called "ExternalXDeepProccessingCode" is now called "ExternalXDeepInfo"
    • Again easier to type and read.
  • There was also kind of an awkward convention between the tables and rows describing the external data, and the external data itself.
    • That has now been clarified into the tables and rows being called "InfoSources", while the actual things themselves are "Info." Logical and straightforward at a glance.
  • Faction xml (aka from the SpecialFaction folder) no longer wants or accepts a dll_name and type_name.
    • Instead, it now requires a base_info_source (referring to an entry from ExternalFactionBaseInfoSourceTable).
    • And then also a deep_info_source (that refers to ExternalFactionDeepInfoSourceTable).
  • Squad xml now has the OPTION of specifying base_info_source or deep_info_source as a way of automatically attaching these types of external data to all entities of the type in question.
    • This is actually a really clean way to handle things, and then the data can be populated later by the external code as desired. Nobody HAS to use this, but it can be a nice thing.
    • Do note that this IS inherited via copy_from, so if you are copying a ship that happens to have base_info_source set, then on any that are being copied for use without that, you need to set base_info_source="None" on any direct children to blank that back out.
  • Actually, it looks like the DescriptionAppenders and the AlternativeMoveOrderHandlers, and the EntitySpecialPerSecondLogic all can just stay as they are.
    • They are being flagged as IExternalBaseInfo so that they have to go into that dll rather than the deep dll (otherwise these would all break on MP clients), but that's about it.
    • These are a great example of something that can just stay flexible (no need for a rigid structure here), but now have a proper place to live that also guarantees what data access they have access to. Previously, these things would maybe work or maybe not work on MP clients, depending on the status of things. But generally trending towards not working. Now they can be verified to function just by testing them in single player, since they're in the dll where clients also get access to all the info.
  • At this point, the Core dll has had all of the changes made to it that are required in order to handle the upwards-facing communications that the Core dll has with External code.
    • This means that the work of actually translating over the External dlls can now begin, and some things can be redone in passes, but not all things have to be.

Restructuring External Base Info, Part 1

  • Started the process of transitioning some data from the Deep dll into the Base dll, with the idea being to separate out the running of things from the actual viewing of data related to those things.
    • Also, of course, wanting to isolate the sort of background and working data off in Deep away from the UI and any temptation to try to show that data, which would be explosive on the MP client and just a bad idea on single player or the host.
    • Moving over HunterFleetBudgetType and its related stuff is straightforward enough, and matches with the sort of thing I have in mind. That's just a copy-paste job, and hey I'll make new files for these for easier location of them in the future.
    • Then I turned my attention to HunterFleetType, and immediately hit a hard stop: it has something on it called IHunterFleetTypeImplementation Implementation, which defines both data (Base type) and logic (Deep type).
      • This is a bit of a conundrum, but not a crisis. Ultimately this mirrors the same sort of setup that I have going on in Core, and I'll need to split these things out in some fashion.
      • Right now my brain is feeling quite tired, so maybe I'll wait a bit on that problem, but essentially this is where we get to the "dream within a dream" level of inception, and this is actually more important than it might look on the surface.
        • First of all, modders and general faction designers need to be able to create new data tables in a subordinate fashion like this, and there needs to be a really central way of handling it. I can't idiot-proof it like I can with things coming out of Core, specifically because as the "dreamer" of the first dream, the modder/faction-coder has full control over how they structure their inner dream within a dream. That's both neccessary, and something I don't want to take away.
        • This actually does get at the generalized need to formalize that as much as I can, however. I can't make it idiot-proof, but I can give the proper tools to standardize dreams within dreams (going with that metaphor), AND also to make sure that they serialize in a way that does not cause a memory leak on MP clients. It's this last part that is the most challenging, and if I could make that one part idiot-proof, that would make me very happy. That's the one bit of power (accidental memory leaks) I'd like to take away from the dreamers in the top level dream.
        • Further compounding this is that I might actually need to support more depth, aka dreams within dreams within dreams -- three levels, or even four, or some arbitrary recursive number. I sure hope no-one has structured their data like that, but I guess we'll be finding out. First, though, I'm going to take a break and focus on some other compiler issues that need to get sorted out anyway.
    • Overall when it comes to looking at this, I have factions and squads which presently have a very similar -- but slightly different way of serializing. The faction MUST always have both Base and Deep info, and it serializes with that in mind. The squad may or may not have Base or Deep in any combination or none at all, and it serializes with THAT in mind.
      • The world, meanwhile, can have a great many base and deep infos attached to itself, but they are all singletons and are also all loosely, voluntarily attached.
      • The question will mainly be if I can formalize these relationships in a generic and encapsulated format that can be attached to arbitrary objects. The huntertype seems to be a singleton processor-type class, and the other classes that I've run into are similar.
  • Added a new ArcenLongTermIntermittentPlanningContextBase in the BaseInfo dll.
    • This is going to be used in some of our "dream within a dream" data management cases.
  • Fireteams have been partially moved into the BaseInfo dll, but parts of their code is clearly DeepInfo code.
    • That has been commented-out for now, and will be grafted back on in the DeepInfo dll once we can compile BaseInfo again.
    • Additionally, FireteamUtility has been split into one part that is FireteamBaseUtility that can run anywhere, and then the other part that stays behind in DeepInfo.
  • In Universal, split up the interfaces that contribute to the external BaseInfo and DeepInfo so that we can have ones that are singletons and ones that are multiples properly denoted.
  • All thirty-seven "Decription appenders" have been moved from their files in the DeepInfo dll into their own individual files inside the BaseInfo dll.
    • There were two old description appenders (hacker and science) that were not used and thus have been removed.
  • All of the IAlternativeMoveOrderHandlers have been moved from their files in the DeepInfo dll into their own individual files inside the BaseInfo dll. There was only one.
    • In recent versions of multiplayer, clients were not going to be able to order spire relics around. Nice that we're doing this overhaul, as that was not on my radar and would have been a huge pain...
  • FrenzyFleets from the nanocaust have been removed, as fireteams have far far replaced those.
  • FactionUtilityMethods has been partially moved into the BaseInfo dll, and it is now a singleton rather than a static class.
    • Thanks to it being a singleton, this means that we can also add extension methods in the DeepInfo dll and not have to worry about having two classes with similar names that we wonder which item is on which.
  • The "SpecialForces" faction has been fully renamed to Warden in the code. It was old legacy naming from 2018 or prior, and getting rid of that makes things a lot more readable.
  • EntitySimLogic has been split into EntitySimLogicBaseInfo and EntitySimLogicDeepInfo.
  • Moved over the bulk of the data that should be in BaseInfo rather than in DeepInfo.
    • There's still more that needs to come over, but it's part of larger classes that will need to be split.
    • At the moment, I've still got a lot of things commented out or using fake connections to mimic the old style. It's not functional, but it's hitting the point where I can compile again and thus move towards getting it working.
  • A variety of new methods have been added to FactionUtilityMethods to make checking for faction types easier and more reliable.
  • Current status: lots of things are moved around to be in a better spot, but a lot more work needs to be done.
    • There's still a lot of temporary code linking to the old style of doing things so that we can compile the main ExternalData dll (the base info one). That actually does compile now! But it's not linked up yet, and won't function yet.
    • The new deep info dll doesn't compile yet, and will require a lot more splitting of data into multiple classes before it does.
    • There are still some things that need to move one direction or the other, and then other things that need to be moved around or restructured so that data is grouped properly and can be accessed properly.
    • This is... quite a bit more tangled-up than I had expected, to be honest. But this is a really super good thing to be doing, and if this past week is any guide, it should be less than a week of work left to get this functional again.

Reconnecting External BaseInfo to Core, Part 1

  • There was a "does nothing, but helps things compile" set of code that we had in the ExternalData (BaseInfo) dll since making the intial rip and tear changes to ExternalData as a whole.
    • This code has now been removed, which creates hundreds of errors but allows us to start replacing those hooks with new ones. Doing a massive code shift like this is an iterative process, and sometimes you just need "somewhere to plug things in for a bit so you can work on another part," if you think of it like working on a physical piece of machinery.
  • The base and deep infos on factions are automatically created just like those ISpecialFactionImplemenations used to be, so that's not something that you ever have to worry about creating as an end programmer/modder in this game.
    • Similarly, the ones for the world are created as singletons and are never really attached to the world. The world just asks your code "hey, you can see what's up, do you want to run?" And if you say yes, then the world will run your code and serialize it, etc.
    • On the other hand, squads are a bit different. Historically we have added things to them as we went, as we wanted to, but that doesn't mean we can't centralize some of it. There are two modes of operation for the squad, therefore:
      • If you specify the xml for it, then it will automatically add them when the squad is created. This is not a bad idea! But this does assume that every unit of that type EVER will have this external data, and there are potentially cases where that is not true.
      • For those sorts of conditional cases, you can instead manually call CreateExternalBaseInfo() or CreateExternalDeepInfo() on a squad, and pass in the type of data you want it to initialize for you.
        • If this is already initialized to something else, then it will throw an error, since that is in fact an error and you need to take a look at what's going on.
        • If, however, this is already initialized to the same type you just asked for, then it just returns the existing item it has. Basically if there are cases where we might accidentally call the same method here more than once with the same code on it, then this doesn't hurt anything with the extra calls.
  • Okay, here's a description of the pattern for changing things over from the old format to the new. This is mainly for modders to know, but also anyone working on the codebase it's useful to see.
    • We previously stored Wormhole Invasion Data (which goes on a squad) like this:
      • WormholeInvasionDataExternal was the outer wrapper that inherited from ArcenExternalDataPatternImplementationBase_Squad.
        • Structurally, this was clunky code, and very rarely had actual data of its own in there (in terms of general ExternalData for whatever function). There's no real analogue for this anymore in the new system.
        • IF you were doing the extremely old-school thing (for our codebase) of storing multiple sub-objects in here, you will have to choose one to become your new primary BaseInfo, and all the others will be sub-objects of that. Easy-peasy.
      • ExtensionMethodsFor_WormholeInvasionDataExternal was an optional (but always-used) convention that made it easier to get the wormhole invasion data sub-ojects from externaldata.
        • Structurally this was also a bit of a pain, even though it wasn't much code. A small typo, and dealing with the annoying patternindex (which no longer exists) could really foul things up. We can safely remove this, also.
        • If you really want some extension methods for THAT easy of access to BaseInfo or DeepInfo in the new system... then honestly instead maybe think about just how frequently you're calling such methods, and instead call it fewer times and pass the result around. Player CPUs will thank you.
      • Finally we come to the actual meat, which in this case was WormholeInvasionData, which inherited from ArcenExternalSubManagedData (which no longer exists). This is what will become BaseInfo.
        • The reason that this is BaseInfo instead of DeepInfo is that this is information that both the client and the host might like to see, in terms of it affecting the UI for both of them. In the event that there are some parts that are truly host-only, and never get shown on the ui except for maybe debugging purposes, then consider moving it to DeepInfo in a separate class IF it's substantial enough data to actually care about (why tell the client about things it never cares about?).
        • This class is now going to inherit from ExternalSquadBaseInfo, since this is what it is (base info, squad-attached). Let's talk about what THAT means separately, in a moment.
    • In terms of translating things over, for this type of data this is all you need to know from a bird's view.
  • So now let's talk about details of what it means to handle this ExternalSquadBaseInfo, starting with WormholeInvasionData -- which let's rename to WormholeInvasionBaseInfo.
    • Trust me, it's worth it to rename this just to save yourself confusion later. Remember to do a global search and replace from old name to new name in both the BaseInfo and DeepInfo dlls (the DeepInfo almost always acts on BaseInfo).
    • Now that we have this class inheriting from ExternalSquadBaseInfo instead of ArcenExternalSubManagedData, there are some immediate things to change. (This will be identical for DeepInfo, and for faction and world data.)
      • DeserializeIntoSelf and SerializeTo both no longer are passed a SerializationCommandType SerializationType, so you can just remove those and those methods will then be happy. You can probably just run a global replace in your BaseInfo dll for ", SerializationCommandType SerializationType" and replace it with nothing and it will save you time (we had 226 instances that were replaced in our own innternal BaseInfo code).
      • We need to implement the base method Cleanup, which gets called whenever an object is being pulled back out of the pool.
        • This may or may not be important to actually fill, depending on your class. If you were previously setting some values in the constructor, and your code always expects that to be the starting state, then you should probably move that initialization code to Cleanup and have your constructor also call Cleanup(). You'll note that this is what we've done with WormholeInvasionBaseInfo.
    • At this point we have translated things over such that they CAN connect up, but there isn't an actual linkage being created yet. It's time to address that.
  • Since we did a global search and replace in both projects, we can search for WormholeInvasionBaseInfo in both the BaseInfo and DeepInfo dlls.
    • In our case, there are no other references to this in BaseInfo -- that's just where the data is stored. (This is temporary and wrong, actually! We're going to move the notifiers over to BaseInfo to save processing and data, so later that will actually be there).
    • At any rate, there are two ways we might want to use this data now. We might want to get a reference to it, to change it or just write about it.
      • Previously that would have been done with the GetWormholeInvasionBaseInfo() extension method, or something similar.
      • Now this is done by calling GetExternalBaseInfoAs<WormholeInvasionBaseInfo>() on the squad, which will give you back a WormholeInvasionBaseInfo that already exists or give you an error. For DeepInfo, you can call GetExternalDeepInfoAs<YourTypeHere>(), and it works the same.
      • It is worth noting that if the base or deep info here is null, then these will just return null, so your end code should be prepared to handle that if you think that might be a possibility. In the past, most of the time our code just returned a new instance of the data type, which... well, that could have hid a LOT of code errors. We have no way of knowing. If someone calls these things on the wrong kinds of unit/squad/structure, we actually do want this to error, because that is almost certainly a logic error that then would lead to strange behavior. It's possible we will find some "new" bugs that are actually existing ones that had been hiding, in the coming weeks. This in turn would likely fix a lot of other rare bugs that were downstream from this problem, if that's actually something that happens.
    • In the old code, after changing some data, you'd MAYBE have to call SetWormholeInvasionBaseInfo(). There is no longer any such analogue.
      • Technically in the old code, this was not required for this particular class. But if you were using certain kinds of data, in certain situations, it was VERY much required. So end-coders wound up just calling it uselessly after making any changes in general, and thankfully now that's not a thing anymore.
    • Lastly (though technically firstly), there's the creation of this data. This would, presumably, happen when the squad itself is actually created, and in practice that is what the code does.
      • This can be handled two ways.
        • Option 1: You can set it up so that all of the units with the "ExogalacticWormhole" tag have this data linked via the new xml tabs, since that's apparently the criteria we're using.
          • Pros: the xml will be nice and clear about what is linked, and there's no code path where you might accidentally forget to add it.
          • Cons: properly transferring the existing code to hit all the proper entities is slightly tedious, and also introduces the possiblity, of errors.
        • Option 2: You can take what was a call to GetWormholeInvasionBaseInfo( ExternalDataRetrieval.CreateIfNotFound ) and turn that into a call to CreateExternalBaseInfo<WormholeInvasionBaseInfo>( "WormholeInvasionBaseInfo" ).
          • Pros: this keeps the same structure we had before, so there's fewer errors of short term errors in conversion. Requires no xml work. Can be used to add BaseInfo data onto units in a conditional manner -- for instance, usually just when they belong to a specific faction.
          • Cons: in general, if you forget to do this on all possible code paths that are expected to lead to the result you want, then the game is going to have new errors popping up where it used to not have that. In the vast majority of internal cases, there's only one central method that creates these things in the first place, so that's usually less of a risk, but sometimes a consideration.
      • Before anyone asks: yes, you CAN handle it "both ways." It won't complain if it already has the type you're asking to create. It will just return the type that is already there.
      • Also worth a thought: there isn't any sort of initialization callback on these right now, so if there's linkages you need to make on setup, you're going to need to at the very least call the GetExternalBaseInfoAs<WormholeInvasionBaseInfo>() method and then assign some stuff. So this again creates as situation where you must be sure to always catch every possible code path that could generate this sort of entity, though we may work on solving that in a couple of ways in the very near future. Probably before this build is out.
    • Okay, now that the process is outlined, it's time for me to repeat this another few hundred times on the main game code.
  • Previously, there was some information stored on every faction. To get at this data, you would have to call GetCommonExternal() on the faction object.
    • This data has moved onto the BaseInfo object for factions in general, in Core.
    • There is a new IPlanetPathfinder in Core, which lets us handle a lot of this centrally now.
  • Made some updates to methods in FactionUtilityMethods to use a more efficient way of finding the highest AI difficulty in various situations.
    • Also got rid of some duplicative methods of this from MapGen_Base.
  • SpecialFaction_Human had a lot of random stuff on it that is moving elsewhere:
    • The audio cue suppression stuff, which was complex but is only really used for the king unit being damaged, has been moved to nonsim in the base game.
      • This is local data for a client or a host, and we don't use this in such a way that it warrants nearly the intensity it is generating.
      • Similarly, the data from HostOnlyAudioTracking has moved onto the planet itself and is no longer host-only (that was an error on my part a week or two ago).
      • The function is identical to before, but it's now far less code.
    • GetMaxPossibleStrengthOfAllHumanFlagships() has moved to a new StrengthHelper class in Core.
    • GetPathingModeForLocalPlayer() has moved to a new PathingHelper in External (BaseInfo).
      • Similarly, a bunch of stuff like InnerFindPath_Raw(), InnerFindPath_RawSinglePathfinder(), FindPathFreshOrFromCache(), and FindPathFreshOrFromCache_ShortTermPlanningOnly() moved to that PathingHelper out of BaseFaction.
  • Also previously, there used to be a ExternalData_MinorFactionCommon.Primitives, which you could get from most factions via calling Ex_MinorFactionCommon_GetPrimitives().
    • This is now gone as well, with SOME of its data wrapped into the BaseInfo root just like what we did with the CommonExternal stuff.
    • The rest of this data is currently sitting (as of this writing) in a Temp.Historical class, and will have to be properly distributed to various classes that actually need this information. Right now there's a lot of junk in there that is not used at all, and a bunch of stuff that is faction-specific in a way that doesn't need to be central (the H