AI War 2: The Refinement of Fleets

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Contents

Known Issues

  • Multiplayer is temporarily disabled while we focus on tightening up the single-player loop.
  • There are a variety of ships/units that don't have final graphics at the moment, though they all have their icons.
  • We're in progress with refining things with fleets more to remove things that are annoying or tedious about them. More info on that is here.

What's this phase all about?

The fleets work of the prior phase turned out to be a much larger undertaking than initially expected, but we also refined a whole bunch of other areas of the game at the same time. Finally implementing the new lobby and how a lot of that works, for instance. So a whole bunch of great things happened.

The downside was that there were still some things that were decidedly annoying that we know we want to tackle, and that's what this phase is about. Making sure that nobody's playstyles are removed or invalid, and that everything feels balanced, and that there's enough to capture and think about, and that there's no substantial "netflix time" where you're just waiting around (unlike the first game). A lot of the initial discussions about all this were here, but other discussions were on discord and other places.

We're also continuing to just fix other bugs and annoyances, and in general working on refining everything now that we're out of beta for the new fleets-based paradigm.

Version 0.877

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

Balance Tweaks

  • Siege Frigate range 12,000 -> 10,100.
  • Tractor Guardian Hull/Shields 57,500/5,000 -> 10,000/52,500.
    • So Fusion Bombers work on them, since they were given a higher albedo for the purpose of fighting Tractor units long ago...and Puffin kept forgetting to do this.
  • Orbital Mass Driver durability increased 150%.
    • Makes player captured ones last longer, since unlike Ion Cannons these do not have Marks with which to gain health.
  • Ion Cannon and Orbital Mass Driver hacks now take only 15 seconds, and now only cause a tiny completion response.
    • Since it's a bit odd for the thing you are hacking to be easily capable of crippling the Flagship you need to do said hack. Ion Cannon is included for consistency.
    • Response is greatly reduced, since it feels pretty bad for the shiny toy you just stole to spawn a bunch of ships, which could destroy said toy quickly unless you sat a bunch of units right next to it every time.

Version 0.876 Counterattacks Ate My Waves

(Released July 16th, 2019)

  • Allow friendly minor factions that take planets to scout for you.
    • Thanks to Exlium for the bug report
  • Player units will no longer automatically target Ion Cannons and Mass Drivers.
    • Thanks to NRSirLimbo for reporting.

Counterattack Refinements

  • counterattack_min_strength is now properly respected, so you won't get a counterattack if you lose a single fleetship somewhere.
    • Thanks to Puffin and Exlium for reporting.
  • Counterattacks now build strength based on the base strength of the destroyed ships, before multipliers. This drastically reduces the AI's unintended advantage when you raise the multipliers.
    • It also is based on the mark 1 strength of your ships, because otherwise it was penalizing you for using better ships in essence. We'll see how that part feels over time.
    • Thanks to everyone who reported!

Neutering Returns

  • Regular and reconquest AI command stations now no longer enable counterattacks. This was preventing "neutering" planets, which is a really important part of the game that we overlooked when thinking about this.
    • Instead, just guard posts themselves, and the AI king command stations are what cause counterattacks. This makes it so that essentially you still have the same counterattack mechanics, but the ability to neuter planets like before. The command stations are super weak in general anyway, and are simply what causes you to get AIP; so it doesn't make sense for them to be something you're required to kill, since they are so trivial compared to the guard posts anyhow. The AI king command station is of course the exception, so hence it remaining on the list.
    • This is why we love having players constantly commenting and evaluating what we're doing; neutering is an absolutely essential part of the game and always has been, and it was an accident that we made that impossible. And thankfully a really simple fix once it was brought up!
    • Thanks to CowForceSeven, Izaon, and themouthofsauron for reporting and suggesting this fix.

Bugfixes

  • Put some defensive coding in GetCountOfPlayerFleetsAtPlanetWithCenterpiece() due to a null reference
    • Thanks to trillioneyes for reporting
  • Fixed GCA hack always being hidden.
    • Thanks to Badger for reporting.
  • Added a new "is_combatant_despite_no_weapons" xml tag, which, when set to true, causes the ship to be selectable with other military units even if it has no weapons on it.
    • This in turn lets us remove the weapons from transport flagships, which should cause them to start working properly when in pursuit mode.
    • This is untested for the moment, so let us know if it doesn't work!
    • We also have applied this to combat factories for the time being, since selecting them and having them come seems useful; but it could be taken back off those if that doesn't feel desirable.
    • Thanks to AnnoyingOrange and RocketAssistedPuffin for the reports.
  • Fixed things up so that if you remove a weapon from an existing ship type, and it was the only system on that ship, then the older savegames will still load just fine.
    • Thanks to Puffin for reporting.
  • Really major refactor of how waves are generated, since it needs to know what is in the wave before it can decide what to do with it... and it also needs to know where the wave would be coming from now before it knows how strong it is and what is in it... so basically a lot of things had to be reorganized in order to make it so that it can tell which end is up.
    • The overall logic should be the same, but it's just more accurate now in terms of actually using real numbers for strength calculations rather than trying to use estimates or approximations. The waves can vary a lot more than we can accurately estimate now, so that was definitely needed.
    • The two major downsides of this revision are firstly that this does a lot more calculations on a background core of your CPU, but frankly it still should be pretty trivial; and secondly that there's a good chance we introduced some major new bugs with waves in all this.
    • We have tested this and basic waves function as well as apparently reconquest waves, but we haven't checked hacking waves, waves in response to alarm posts, etc. Knock on wood that those should work. This is at least a step up over last version, where it was sending no waves at all because the approximation code got moved around without a full refactor (oops).
    • Thanks to Badger and HeartHunter7 for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug in the strength counting code where it could try to look out more hops than exist on certain planets.
    • This may be indicative of orphaned planets of some sort on certain map types (it's happening on Swirl maps), and so that may just lead to yet more errors, but at least this one is fixed. And we can presumably find the mapgen error, if there is one.
    • Or it's possible that it simply is a very small map somehow, with very few hops on that size of map, and thus it's not a matter of being orphaned, but simply not having that depth of neighbors (a valid case, then).
    • Thanks to UFO for reporting with a line number.
  • AI guard posts or guardians with drones will no longer put "DumpFleetContentsIntoFactionLoose" debugging messages into the debug log when they are destroyed. This is a perfectly valid thing to happen and doesn't need to be reported.
    • Thanks to WeaponMaster for reporting.

Version 0.875 Counterattacks You Can Taste

(Released July 12th, 2019)

Waves Thematization

  • Individual planets now store specific AI ship groups for the waves that will come out of them, same as the planet factions do for reinforcements and whatnot.
    • This isn't actually applied to waves yet, but it is applied to counterattacks and make them thematically sensible things that you can deal with rather than just a mishmash of everything.
  • When you load existing savegames (or quick starts), it now is able to do some AI "defense placer" logic to assign any data that might be missing.
    • At the moment this is useful for assigning the wave types to each AI planet in old savegames.
  • When waves are created, they now have a specific planet that they use from which to launch their wave.
    • That can be overridden or changed depending on context, but regardless a planet is chosen eventually.
    • Since each planet has ships that are valid for waves defined in it now (same as they have ships valid for reinforcements), this now determines what sort of ships are able to be in that wave.
  • The "Wave Composition" lobby option has been removed (it was Homogeneous/Varied as an option), since now waves are based on planets and are instead tight groups of ship types rather than what they were before.
  • For wormhole invasions, it picks a planet completely at random in order to use it for the waves that will be sent. This keeps you on your toes with those, for sure.
    • Additionally, for anti-minor-faction waves it does the same, for the same reason.
  • The purpose of all these changes with waves is to make it so that they are more varied in different parts of the galaxy, BUT so that they are more predictable at specific planets, and thus something you can plan for.
    • In general it also keeps them more consistent and not just "a big blob of a whole bunch of different things."
    • This needs a lot of testing to see how it feels, as we may need further tuning, but it should hopefully give players a greater sense of agency and ability to plan, without it making the entire galaxy feel stale and repetitive.
    • For a while we had an idea about Wave Mainframes and some other things to accomplish similar stuff, but that would have added more complexity for players and would have been less-contextual in terms of the parts of the galaxy feeling different. This approach as-implemented should get at the same goal, unless there are bugs or oversights, but it should do so in a manner that doesn't require extra thought on the player side (chasing around yet one more thing on the galaxy map), and without the problem of so darn much stagnation around the whole map in terms of what waves are like.
    • It's entirely possible that we may need to do yet more in order to make waves something that are the correct balance of predictable (so you can plan) and varied-across-the-map (so that different parts of the map feel different and the entire game isn't repetitive), but this should be a good start at the very least (bugs notwithstanding).
    • Thanks to RocketAssistedPuffin and MaxAstro for outlining the problems that the old style of wave composition were causing in the way that players are able to anticipate them and plan for them.

Counterattacks From the AI Replace Reprisal Waves

No More Salvage

  • The general concept of salvage has been removed.
    • For AIs, we're introducing a new style of counterattacks instead of reprisal waves.
    • For players, we've already got plenty of ways for them to gather metal, and salvage was quite confusing as well as just cluttering the ui.
    • In some ways for players, the EXP stuff takes the mental place of salvage while being different from just generating metal, anyway.
  • The Scrapper Combat Factory has been renamed to just being another Combat Factory, since it no longer gathers salvage (given that's not a thing anymore).

Reprisal Waves Removed

  • The prior style of Reprisal Waves has also been completely removed.
    • A new Counterattacks mechanic is instead added, and doesn't use the wave framework -- it works pretty differently in general.
    • AIs still gain "counterattack budget" in the same way that salvage was previously gained. However, there are some new multipliers that give more or less of this based on the AI difficulty level.
    • As the AIs on a planet destroy player ships, it now turns those into counterattack forces that it will actually send against you.
    • Each AI difficulty has a minimum strength amount that is required for them to build up before they even start showing the counterattack stuff.
    • There is also a minimum AIP that you have to hit before the counterattacks start becoming a thing, too.

Counterattacks Added

  • The new counterattack mechanic works a lot like the old reprisals one, but it is per-planet rather than global for an AI, among some other differences.
    • Basically as you lose ships against a planet, it will build up an increasingly-strong force that it will want to send against you in a counterattack. If it doesn't reach the minimum threshold of scariness for the difficulty of that AI, then it won't even tell you about it.
    • If it reaches the minimum threshold for scariness, and it outnumbers you at least 5:1 with what it would send versus what you have on that planet, then it will start a 2 minute countdown and then do a marauder-style spawn on that planet off to the side somewhere and start wrecking you badly.
    • Note that the cost for the ships that the AI has to spend is independent of the mark level of the planet, so the strength will rise much faster if you attack a planet that is far outclassing yourself. If you attack a mark 4 planet in the very early game and don't quickly destroy the command station and guard posts, you could be seeing a game-ending counterattack.
      • Then again, now that you can see the strength of the counterattack rising as you fight, and see that it's stalled out by your presence early on in, this gives you a chance to disengage and fight off the counterattack versus just being absolutely swarmed with a reprisal wave that is game-endingly strong like used to happen. It still can happen, but now it's your fault rather than something out of the blue. ;)
    • The cool thing is that if you can kill the command station and all the guard posts while the counterattack is either stalled or hasn't reached zero on the countdown timer, then the counterattack completely evaporates forever and the AI just loses those theoretical ships it would have had. So you have a brief and interesting window of opportunity.
    • Most of this stuff is explained in the in-game tooltips for the warning on a counterattack that is forming.
    • This is very different from reprisal waves in its role in the game until now; the old reprisal waves were inevitable and AI-empire-wide, and we may do something along those lines again in the future in a revised way. But the new counterattacks are more local and are a... basically a new risk or disincentive to attack targets you're not strong enough to take, at least when it comes to trying to wear them down via attrition. You can still do it, absolutely, but you just need to go for the throat a bit faster.
    • And finally, bear in mind that this is brand new and may not be balanced ideally yet. It may need to be toned down in some fashion, or made more dangerous in certain circumstances, but in the limited testing we've done thus far it does make sense what it has generated.
  • There is a new counts_as_part_of_player_strength_at_planet_for_counterattack_blocking that determines if factions are able to contribute to how much strength the player supposedly has at a given planet for purposes of blocking the AI.
    • Basically this lets the human resistance fighters, and also enemy-to-ai zombified ships, and also mercenaries, help block counterattack waves.
  • Added a new "Write Counterattack Info In Planet Tooltips" option in the debug section of the settings menu.
    • This gives you info on what is going on behind the scenes with the counterattack calculations, which is useful for debugging purposes especially in these early days when we're balancing things with this new feature.

New Hacks

  • Adds two hacks for capturing Orbital Mass Drivers and Ion Cannons, respectively.
    • Captures all Ion Cannons on this planet for your own faction, permanently -- until and unless enemies destroy them, of course.
    • Captures all Orbital Mass Drivers on this planet for your own faction, permanently -- until and unless enemies destroy them, of course.
    • These currently only cost 10 hacking points which is on the low side, but it seems like we needed some cheap hacking stuff that is of... questionable use depending on the situation. Sometimes it will be really useful, but other times this is kind of a "candy hack," so making it cheap and attractive is interesting.
    • It's also interesting because in the first game you could get these units just by taking over the planet, but in this game you don't -- but now you can still capture them, but have them on your side for DURING planet capture, if you want. There are several interesting pros and cons, strategically, to the new approach.
    • Big thanks to Quinn for thinking of these as well as adding them.
  • Hacking OMDs or Ion Cannons now only works for planets of mark 6 or lower, and also costs a base of 5 Hacking Points that increases by 5 for every mark level of the planet. So this is a little more balanced hacking-points-wise, while still being very cheap in the main. Exploits using this against the AI homeworlds are also no longer possible with these changes.
  • These hacks use Hacking_TakeOverWeapon as a base. This means that if you want to be able to take over a new weapon or entity in the same fashion as you can with these, just copy it over and change unit_tag_target to the tag of the unit you are after. Currently, unit_tag_target only supports a single tag, however.
  • Adds a hack to explore all planets that have a coprocessor. Currently costs 5 points per unexplored coprocessor.
    • This hack is another fancy generic one, like Hacking_TakeOverWeapon. Simply copy the XML over, change the values of the tags, and it will work the same way. It also features support for different pricing based on planet mark levels

Interface Improvements

  • Add a setting to always show planets in the galaxy map
    • Requested by Baleur, James and ZeroTheHero on Steam. Possibly others as well.

Fleet Management and Tooltips

  • The fleet management screen now allows you to change the keybind that fleets are bound to, and also allows you to bind more than one fleet to a single keybind. This has been planned since the very start of even having fleets, but it's really nice to finally have this added!
  • The fleet sidebar tooltip now shows if the centerpiece of the fleet is crippled or missing.
    • It also says if the construction status is paused because of it being crippled or because of it being manually turned off.
  • The fleet sidebar tooltip also now says how many factories are in range of the fleet, since that's a big deal on whether or not construction happens with them.
  • The fleet management sidebar popup now shows all of the same info about a fleet that hovering over the fleet would show (in terms of the members of the fleet and their statuses), but now also includes tooltips for each line item.
    • So you can quickly get a bunch of status information for any of your fleets' specific ship types just by opening this window from any planet.
    • For the battlestation fleets and the command station fleets, that's pretty much the end of the functionality for the fleets management screen, at least until something else gets pointed out. Mobile offensive fleets are another matter.
  • For mobile fleets, in the fleet management screen there are now buttons by all of the non-centerpiece unit types that allow you to pause construction or let it resume as normal.
    • In the tooltips for fleets, you can also now directly see if a line item is paused.
    • There's also another button, "Swap," which has a "coming soon" message, but will let you do some other cool stuff soon.
    • But already, at this point this lets you customize what is actually being constructed in your fleets, which is a pretty big deal.
      • The goal of the past builds has been to make it so that 90% of the time, if not even more, you always just want to have everything building at all times. We probably are in that ballpark now. But the ability to turn off certain things from building is definitely a must-have, no matter what. Thanks for your patience while we didn't have that -- the general utility of things like low-mark ships is probably higher now because of us skipping that for a while.
    • Thanks to BadgerBadger, Alreadyded, Nameless Terror, and tons of others for requesting this feature.

Techs and Related

  • The techs tab of the sidebar now shows any techs that would benefit ships that you have NOT captured yet, but which you have discovered and which are capturable by you. This includes ships in fleets you could capture.
    • For each tech, the tooltip shows you if you have any ships that would benefit from it, and how many ships you COULD capture that would benefit from this, too.
  • Uncaptured fleets now calculate out values that are for the local ui only, which basically show what the strength and ship caps and whatnot of those fleets WOULD be if you captured them.
    • Since different players in multiplayer can have very different versions based on what techs they have upgraded, this is purely non-sim visual-only data.
  • You can now directly see what the ACTUAL strength would be of a fleet you would capture, and all its ships in it and what their caps and mark levels would really be, rather than the basic mark-1 defaults that it was showing before.
    • Thanks to Yog-Sothoth for suggesting.

Bugfixes

  • Fixed GCA and IGC hack costs. They should now cost 120 and 90 respectively when owned by the AI (or if command station of the AI was destroyed by something other than the player), and 30 when owned by player (or presumably if the player has destroyed the AI command station but not captured the unit itself).
  • Fix for a nullref exception in Inner_CheckForCollisionOrMakeEntityMove that probably was just happening when checking against a ship that is being disassembled.
    • This shouldn't actually have been causing any problems in the gameplay, other than the annoying popup, but the popup is probably now fixed. In general if entities were being torn down on one thread (after dying), then there was a rare chance of them having this issue in the decollision checking, but now it just accepts the incongruity and moves on.
    • Thanks to AnnoyingOrange and arsdor for reporting.
  • Added a new only_show_once_per_planet_with_multiple_entities_granting_this xml tag that sets a bool OnlyShowOncePerPlanetWithMultipleEntitiesGrantingThis on hacks.
    • On GameEntityTypeData, it precalculates HasAHackThatOnlyShowsOncePerPlanetWithMultipleEntitiesGrantingThis automatically based on if the entity has any hacks with this new flag on it. This will let us pre-sort these really easily.
    • Added a new HasAHackThatOnlyShowsOncePerPlanetWithMultipleEntitiesGrantingThis EntityRollupType, which in turn checks the value on GameEntityType. Now our hacks code for the UI can check the small number of units on a planet for which this is relevant really easily.
    • That said, actually a solution far simpler was just adding hackingTypesAddedThatAreSingleOnly on the hacking sidebar and making sure that hacks of the same type only get added once. Easy peasy. But the other lookups were left just in case we need to iterate those entities efficiently for whatever reason.
    • Thanks to Quinn for inspiring this addition. It works with the mass drivers and ion cannon hacks now, so that if there are more than one on a planet there's only one thing on the planet still (and it captures all of the ones on a planet).
  • Fixed several potential cross-threading bugs that could lead to (relatively harmless) nullref exceptions in fleet code as ships died on another thread.
    • Thanks to trillioneyes for reporting.
  • Transport Flagship weapon disabled, weapon range increased to sniper levels.
    • It's still there, so it still counts as a Combatant for the purposes of selecting all Military units, but will no longer try to charge into combat or anything like that if set to Pursuit mode.
    • Thanks to Annoying Orange for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug where the start fleet transport flagships had multipliers of 1.3 for their frigate and strikecraft counts. This was giving you more than advertised or intended when you actually got into the game.
    • Thanks to WeaponMaster for reporting.
  • Fixed an oversight where unclaimed flagships would make the fleet count increment while you were on their planet trying to capture them.
    • Thanks to trillioneyes for reporting.
  • Put in error catching for an exception that could happen in StrengthCounting under certain circumstances. This doesn't fix the error, but it will tell us where the error actually is and should also prevent the "endless further errors" problem that was otherwise happening after that.
    • If anyone can duplicate this error in the new version once that is out, and then send us the new error message that it generates, we can fix the actual problem. It seems to be happening on swirl maps for whatever reason.
    • Thanks to UFO for reporting.
  • Fixed a bug where if you had captured a GCA that was granting a ship type cap of some amount, and you had hacked a different GCA to get ship cap added for that same type, it would start infinitely counting up your ship count added.
    • We were using RefPair as if it was a value type (AddRange), when it fact it was a reference type (it's right in the name of the class, sigh, and we made it ourselves). Perils of coding while tired?
    • Thanks to zeusalmighty for reporting, and WeaponMaster for figuring this out.
  • Fixed-position forcefield generators should no longer be pushed around by flagships. This hasn't been fully tested, so if you see it more, or other variants, please let us know!
    • Thanks to AnnoyingOrange and WeaponMaster for reporting and investigating it.
  • Logic in waves has been changed so that if there are any guardians in the normally-strikecraft section of the code, then it will just ignore them in terms of the "max guardians with a wave" logic goes.
    • This lets the Royal Guardians spawn en masse as expected for the Royal AI type, instead of randomly sending 0 strength waves followed by apocalyptic ones later on.
    • This is untested, but should in theory work.
    • Thanks to WeaponMaster for reporting and diagnosing.
  • Upgraded the hacking code framework a bit, so that it's now possible for it to not just say "I can or can't be hacked," but also "show me or don't show me in the list if I can't be hacked."
    • A lot of things that no longer make any sense contextually, like trying to hack something that you control now, should just be hidden and now are.
    • Other things like "did I already hack that dark spire thing?" should show a reminder of "yes, you already did, so you can't again," since that's relevant info.
    • And of course this doesn't get into things like "you can't afford to hack it right now" or whatever other problems like a missing hacker of the moment. Those things always show, but just redded-out, still.
    • Note that this isn't tested yet, so if there are problems please let us know.
  • Combat Sentry Frigates, which get sent out with support fleets, should no longer die to remains. That's very much at odds with how they are actually used, and was actually really confusing.
    • Thanks to WeaponMaster for reporting.

Balance Tweaks

  • Plasma Turret damage 1,500 -> 3,500, reload time 9s -> 2s, no longer has area of effect. Also reduced count given by Command Augmenters.
    • Really unsure about these things. In player hands they don't really have a job.
    • Regardless, they now do almost as much DPS as their optimal performance beforehand, but at all times and even against single targets, so hopefully they're better?

Version 0.874 Basic Fleet Management

(Released July 9th, 2019)

New Hacks

  • Adds the hack for Global Command Augmenters (GCAs -- those newthings that give you more turrets or other defenses at all your command stations if you capture and hold them). It costs 120 hacking points if someone else took the planet, but you didn't get any AIP for it (Or if the AI still owns it), but only 30 otherwise. Both values are XML configurable.
    • Values probably need some balancing done, but I'm not good with that, so Help Wanted there.
    • Added an XML value for when you want a secondary hacking cost. If not defined, defaults to 0. This has only been defined for the GCA and IGC hacks, and has no effect elsewhere at this time.
  • Adds the hack for Intra-Galactic Coordinators (IGCs -- those things that add a multiplier to your ship caps for strikecraft or turrets if you capture and hold them). It costs 90 hacking points if someone else took the planet, but you didn't get any AIP for it (Or if the AI still owns it), but only 30 otherwise. Both values are XML configurable.
    • Values probably need some balancing done.
    • Thanks to Quinn for adding these!

New Permadeath Options

  • The old "reverts_to_neutral_on_death" bool xml setting for ships has been replaced with a new reverts_to_neutral_on_death_if_permadeath_setting_is_true option that allows for the same functionality but tied to whether or not a galaxy setting is enabled or not.
    • Basically we can now control whether permadeath is on or not for certain units based on galaxy settings, and all of this is fully moddable, too.
    • Added new settings for specific categories, shown below.
    • Decided not to make the AIP gains altered by these settings, to keep things more consistent for people even when permadeath is on for some unit category.
    • Please note this is mostly untested, but seems to be okay from a quick look at things. If anyone wants to do a stress test on these that is appreciated.
    • Big thanks to Ecthelon for pointing out how stressful the permadeath can be for some people.
  • Metal Harvesters - Permadeath (default off)
    • Metal Harvesters are one of your most major sources of metal, and normally can be rebuilt if you lose them. Turning on permadeath for them (not the default!) makes the game vastly harder.
  • Zenith Generators - Permadeath (default on)
    • Zenith Power Generators and Matter Converters are rare-but-huge sources of power or metal, respectively. Normally they disappear forever once killed, but if you'd prefer them to die to remains to make for less pressure on protecting them, you can enable the no-permadeath option here.
  • Intra Galactic Coordinators - Permadeath (default on)
    • Intra Galactic Coordinators (IGCs) are rare structures that increase the ship caps of large number of your unit types while you have them captured and held. Normally they disappear forever once killed, but if you'd prefer them to die to remains to make for less pressure on protecting them, you can enable the no-permadeath option here.
    • Bear in mind that these can also be hacked in order to give you the bonus without you having to hold them, so normally that's supposed to be the workaround if you just feel you can't (or don't want to) protect them on the planet you find them on for whatever reason.
  • Global Command Augmenters - Permadeath (default on)
    • Global Command Augmenters (GCAs) are fairly common structures that give you more turrets and other defenses at all your command stations while you have them captured and held. Normally they disappear forever once killed, but if you'd prefer them to die to remains to make for less pressure on protecting them, you can enable the no-permadeath option here.
    • Bear in mind that these can also be hacked in order to give you the bonus without you having to hold them, so normally that's supposed to be the workaround if you just feel you can't (or don't want to) protect them on the planet you find them on for whatever reason.

Updated Tips and Strategies

  • Game tip improvements and corrections based on recent changes to the game:
    • Improved the tip for "Military Command Stations Matter!" in order to mention the bonuses they get even with GCAs.
  • New tip in the Defensive Strategies Section: Capture or Hack Global Command Augmenters (GCAs)
    • Feeling like your command stations don't have many defensive options? It's time to go get the rewards from some Global Command Augmenters (GCAs) in some fashion.
    • The simplest approach is just to go over to that planet and hack it to get the benefit at no AI Progress (AIP cost), and with no risk of ever losing the benfit. This gives you a bunch of new turret types and/or minefields and other defensive options at ALL your command stations. But it costs a heck of a lot of hacking points, so you're going to be limited in what other options you can do with hacking.
    • The hacking-point-free approach is to go over and capture and hold the planet. If you do that, then you get all the same benefits from the GCA, but you've increased AIP instead of spending hacking points. So... that's definitely a tradeoff. But you also got whatever else was on the planet, including new metal harvester points, so that's good.... right?
    • However, depending on your permadeath settings in the lobby options, by default if you are holding a GCA and it gets destroyed, then you lose its benefits forever. This can be a major blow! Once you've captured the planet, or at least paid the AIP for kicking the AI off, you're able to hack it for a fraction of the normal hacking point cost.
    • All of those options have pros and cons, but one thing is certain: GCAs in general are absolutely key for your ability to defend yourself.
  • New tip in the Returning Players section: Global Command Augmenters (GCAs) Are Critical For Defending
    • In the first game, you had per-planet caps of turrets and other defenses. You got more by unlocking new ship lines.
    • In this sequel, you really get very little for defending yourself at the start of the game. You can use battlestations, but there are very few of them in the galaxy.
    • Instead, what you want to do is either capture or hack (both have pros and cons -- see the defensive strategies section) Global Command Augmenters (GCAs), and it will give you some additional turrets, minefields, or other defenses at ALL your command stations.
    • This is basically the same sort of per-planet cap system as before, but it's driven by capturing or hacking GCAs rather than spending science. More than on GCA might give you to a specific turret type, which in turn would just additively give you a larger cap for that type.
    • Even beyond this, however, the type of command station you use gives you a bonus to the turret types you get from this. Logistical get the default amount. Military get 2x the default amount. Economic get half the normal amount.
  • The older "Battlestations and Citadels" tip has been rewritten completely:
    • Battlestations and Citadels can be important, but are rare. You can capture these to get a mobile force of turrets, forcefields, minefields, and whatever else to use on your planets or enemy planets.
    • These can be great for beachheads on enemy planets or to help defend chokepoints on your planets.
  • Added a new quick tip: Global Command Augmenters (GCAs)
    • Global Command Augmenters (GCAs) are super important, as they grant more turrets and other defensive options to ALL your command stations. You absolutely need to capture some of these if you want to defend more than a few planets.

Balance Tweaks

  • Some nerfs to reprisal waves; make them more expensive for the AI and less powerful when they arrive.
    • These aren't huge nerfs, but hopefully they'll tone things down a bit. Prompted by learning that Zeus was debug-murdering giant reprisal waves (s)he found "unfair"
  • Golems, Arks and Spire Frigates now cost 20 AIP to claim.
  • Golems and Arks now have larger Fleets in general.
  • Increased starting Metal from 540k to 2 million.
    • Building the units for the starting Fleet would starve you in every case, then trying to build any defenses, or a Command Station would just prolong this. It was a pretty unnecessary delay.
    • Thanks to ptarth for suggesting.
  • The Home Forcefield Generators were previously completely un-upgradeable, as they were markless. They now are upgradeable by fleet EXP, but only up to mark 3 maximum.
    • They are already wicked powerful to begin with.
    • Thanks to trillioneyes for suggesting.

New Starting Fleet Option

  • New Starting Fleet: Consumer Fleet
    • Mostly focused on eating enemy ships and structures, but also has a healthy complement of bombers for smashing things, and a large sniper starship for adding fire support from afar.
    • 40x vicious metabolizing gangsaws, 40x absorbers, 30x fusion bombers, and 1x tritium sniper frigate.
    • Thanks to zeusalmighty and Puffin for suggesting.

UI Improvements And Additions

  • Added a new piece to our UI toolbox, which is a modal textbox popup where we can have players able to type whatever and then have it commit the changes if they hit save.
    • This might seem like an extra step compared to just directly using a textbox, but it solves a couple of problems:
      • Firstly, when a textbox is active we need to generally make the other hotkeys not work, and this makes it really obvious when that's the case.
      • Secondly, when a textbox is being edited and we don't have an explicit "save now" button, we want to sync these changes over the network only when the player is done editing that textbox. That's easier to handle via this mechanism in some cases, such as for fleet names for instance.
  • Added another new piece to our UI toolbox, in the form of a new Window_ModalSelfUpdatingTextWindow.
    • This works like the tall modal popup for the most part, except that it's able to self-update its own text on a periodic interval.
    • We're able to thus use this for things like the metal flows popup, and have that look the same but be updated in realtime rather than being static until you close and reopen it.
  • The metal flows window that you can get by clicking the metal resource label at the top of your main window now updates itself ever half second, so that you can see things in realtime.
    • There is also some colorization in them to now help you more easily read what is happening as it updates.
  • Also adjusted the metal flows window to show more human-readable text for the "purpose" of what each ship is spending metal on.
  • A bunch of the sidebar text will now scale down if it gets too long to where it would wrap.
    • This applies to things like fleet names, ship names, etc. There are still cases where we'll want to use the sidebar display name to have a larger brief text display for a ship, but for fleets we don't really have that option most of the time.
    • Anyway, this prevents things from wrapping inappropriately, and lets custom names up to 30 characters in length for fleets still be quite legible.

Very Basics Of The Fleet Management Screen

  • Left-clicking the fleets in the sidebar now opens a new next-to-sidebar popout for the fleet management screen.
  • For the mobile and battlestation fleet types, you can now edit their name using the new "textbox popup" window from the fleet management screen.
    • Note that for planet type fleets, it doesn't let you rename them because it's the name of the planet that is shown instead. It shows that you can't do that in there, too.
  • The fleet tooltips on the sidebar now show you what the maximum total fleet strength is, and what the current total strength out of that maximum is.
  • The fleet tooltips on the sidebar now show you what the current EXP boost or penalty is, based on how many fleets are at their planet.
    • Note that this is only SORT OF accurate, because it's based on the centerpiece, and if there are ships from that same fleet on other planets from the centerpiece then they might see different numbers.
    • Normally if you look at the target you would be destroying, it shows what the EXP boost or penalty is based on the fleets at THAT planet, which is most accurate.
    • But assuming that you keep your centerpiece on the same planet as your fleet most of the time, the new display at least gives you a pretty good idea.
  • The fleet management screen now includes lines for the same things that are in the fleet tooltips, but with tooltips for individual line items to explain their mechanics more.
    • There are some notes on mechanics relating to fleets that are explained in here that aren't really elsewhere in the game, and which should help make some things way more obvious just by seeing the screen, even.
  • The fleet management screen now has a toggle that allows you to turn on or off all construction for that fleet from any factories.
    • Previously you could only do this by keeping them away from factories, or turning off all the factories. So glad to finally have this!

Bugfixes

  • Fixed Global Command Augmentors being able to add 20 Sentry Frigates...sheesh.
    • Thanks to minetime43 on Steam for reporting.
  • Fixed up the multipliers for ship types in a fleet based on their centerpieces so that those happen AFTER any added ship type cap additions from outside sources (GCAs, etc).
  • Fixed up the multipliers from Ingra-Galactic Controllers (that give extra ship caps for turrets or whatever) so that those happen after the GCAs as well.
  • Fixed a bug where GCAs were granting 1 too few turrets or whatever else if the turret wasn't a native type for the command station in play.
    • Thanks to WeaponMaster for reporting as well as finding the issue.
  • Fixed a bug that was letting small ships sit inside large ones. Mainly affecting things like Golems and Arks having other ships sitting inside them.
    • We noticed this quite a while ago, but thanks to WeaponMaster for finding the fix. The current fix is untested but should probably work.
  • Fixed a display bug where if a ship was not upgradeable because it was markless, but it was set to be upgradeable via fleet EXP, then it was saying both that it could not be upgraded and that it could be upgraded by fleet EXP. Now it just says that it can't be upgraded.
    • Thanks to trillioneyes for reporting.
  • In all aspect ratios, the tall modal popup window now fits fully on the screen rather than hanging off the bottom slightly.
    • Ditto for the in-game escape menu.
    • Thanks to Dominus Arbitrationis and others for reporting.
  • The game now passes in some extra debugging info to some of the deserialization methods so that when we get the "rowNamesByOldIndex null" error or similar we can tell why.
    • Thanks to trillioneyes for inspiring this change.
  • There was a nullref exception that was harmless in the prior build of the game, but definitely annoying. It happened when loading a savegame, but then the second time trying to load the savegame would not throw the error. The error didn't actually hurt anything.
    • This is now fixed for future versions of the game, where it would have started hurting stuff. It won't fix the errors from that one version of the game, but will keep them from happening from versions saved in new builds.
    • Thanks to trillioneyes for reporting.
  • The DoForFleets() logic now includes a FleetStatus parameter that can restrict it from including un-owned planets. Have not tested this, but it should solve issues like the count of turrets benefiting from a technology being wildly too high.
    • Thanks to ptarth, WeaponMaster, and Badger for figuring this one out.
  • Put in a fix to the focused gravity generator to fit into a single line on the sidebar.
    • Note that the xml winds up looking like this:
      • Already there: display_name="Focused Gravity Generator"
      • Add this: display_name_for_sidebar="Gravity Generator"
    • This sort of thing lets us have longer names for ships, but some form of abbreviation specifically in the sidebar where we don't want things to wrap.
    • Thanks to Dominus Arbitrationis for reporting.
  • Fixed a mostly-invisible bug where a warning was thrown about the escape menu having two references to the same control on starting up the game each time. You'd have had to look in the log to even see it.
  • Also fixed a bug in the metal flows window that was causing some duplicate info to be shown in some cases.
    • And another bug that was causing some empty metal flows to show up periodically.

Version 0.873 Battlestation Overhaul

(Released July 5th, 2019)

New Critical Target: Major Data Centers

  • New Capturable: Major Data Centers
    • Currently, it is a neutral object on planets that can be claimed for -80 AIP (AIP goes down by 80 when you claim it), but raises AIP by 80 when it dies. This change does affect the AIP floor, however. It is automatically targeted by the AI as "IrreplaceableResourceGeneration", but not bothered by human units. Once it dies, it is gone forever, it does NOT revert to unclaimed or anything like that.
    • Thanks to both RocketAssistedPuffin for pointing out the lack of things that can die permanently, and AnnoyingOrange for pointing out the lack of things that reduce AIP, thus making the AIP floor not all that useful. And thanks to Dominus Arbitrationis for implementing it!

AIP-Reducer Improvements In General

  • There is a new Destroyables section of the lobby options that is used for letting you configure some things that we were previously hardcoding into AI difficulties.
    • Normal Data Centers (0-6, default 6)
      • Data Centers are scattered around the galaxy and are something you can use to lower the AI Progress (AIP) if you raid and destroy them. The number of these used to vary by AI difficulty, but that wasn't entirely fair because you need AIP reduction equally at all difficulty levels. The default is now the new maximum (6), but if you want a harder game you can reduce the number of data centers as far as zero if you really so desire.
        • Note that in prior versions it would give you 8 on difficulty 1, and 6 by difficulty 3, but by difficulty 7 and up it was always 4 or fewer. People definitely were wanting to have more AIP reduction opportunities, which is more inline with the first game.
      • Major Data Centers
        • Major Data Centers are scattered around the galaxy, and come with a lot more of a risk/reward dynamic. If you capture and hold them, the AI Progress (AIP) drops by a massive amount. But the AI will start targeting them, and if they are ever destroyed after you capture them, the AIP goes UP by that huge amount that it was previously reduced.
        • More of these being seeded can give you more chances to seriously reduce the AIP, but can also put you in the position of having to capture them when you don't really want to. The default of 2 is a good balance against this.
        • Technically these are more of a capturable than a destroyable, but they are destroyable by the AI and in the same spirit of most of the other destroyables, so for the sake of organization this seemed good.
  • The tooltips in the intel tab for the coprocessors and data centers are now a lot more informative and actually explain how much they reduce the AIP by.
    • There are now intel tab tooltips for major data centers, explaining how those work without you having to go and find them in the galaxy by hand.

New VIP Capturable: Global Command Augmenter

  • Major new capturable: Global Command Augmenter
    • Capturing this structure lets ALL of your command stations build more defensive structures (as listed below). Different command station types get more or fewer based on their 'Global Command Augmentation Mulitplier.' Aka military command stations get a lot more, economic get fewer, etc.
    • These are only seeded in new savegames, but these are now the primary way to get more turrets and other defenses for yourself.
    • Battlestations are still a thing and are cool, as are citadels,
  • There is a new commandstation_addedtocommandstation_multiplier xml tag that defines a multiplier for how many turrets and other defenses are added to the command stations of each type.
    • Home command stations get 2x, economic get 0.5x, logistical get 1x, and military get 2x.
  • Thanks to AnnoyingOrange for inspiring these changes and additions.

Vast Reductions To Battlestation Counts

  • The game now only seeds one battlestation or citadel per planet, period. The galaxy map settings for seeding more than one per planet have been removed.
    • In general we are moving away from having remotely so many of these things, as they were way too annoying to use.
  • The game now seeds Global Command Augmenters in the galaxy on planets in roughly the same pattern it used to seed regular Battlestations.
  • The game now seeds only roughly about 1/3 as many basic battlestations on the galaxy map as it used to, and doesn't seed one near your starting location at all (though of course you do have the starting battlestation nowadays, anyway).
  • The game now seeds only roughly half as many citadels on the galaxy map as it used to, and doesn't seed one near your starting location at all.

New Ways To Get Science And Hacking Points

  • There is now an intel generator that explains how to get more hacking points, and from where, for planets where you have hacking points left that you can gather.
  • Distribution nodes were all but useless, previously, since they granted you some metal in a lump sum, but at a steep AIP cost (well, 1 AIP, which is still a bad deal).
    • These now grant you 1000 science and 20 hacking points, which is waaaay more attractive.
  • The astro trains that you destroy also now grant you 200 science each, in addition to the 50k metal they granted already.
  • There are now objectives that tell you about structures that you can destroy in order to get science, hacking points, or both.
    • Now you can actually discover, for example, that destroying AI superfortresses is a great way to get an extra 2k of science!
  • Distribution Nodes used to be seeded a rate of 1 for every 6 planets in a galaxy, but now it just seeds 6 in general (now that they are so much more useful!). However, you can increase this to 10 in the Destroyables section of the galaxy map settings, or reduce it all the way to 0 if you prefer.

Balance Tweaks

Tesla

  • Doubled the reload time and targets hit per shot of Tesla Guardians, Dire Tesla Guardians, Dire Tesla Guard Posts and Dark Spire Eidolons.
  • Doubled the reload time, damage, targets hit and health of Tesla Corvettes and Turrets, as well as doubling their cost for the AI, and halving the amount the player gets.
    • Essentially, these are twice as strong, but there are only half as many, and they also fire at half the rate for roughly the same DPS.
    • This means there are far less Tesla visual effects on the battlefield, coupled with the above change.
  • Tesla weapons now have a Stack Damage bonus of 4x.

Grenade Launchers

  • Doubled damage and reload time of all Grenade Launcher units.
    • Similar to the Tesla, this vastly reduces the amount of visual effects on the field, while keeping their damage roughly the same.
    • Grenade Launcher Corvette, Turret and Guardian explosion radius increased 20%.
    • Since there is so fewer effects on the field, the size of each one can be increased a little, while still having a huge net decrease. This helps the issue where these units were rarely hitting as many targets as they should.
  • Molotovs now cause a rather weak engine slow and weapon reload debuff effects.
    • It's not super noticeable, but it's something for them other than being purely a faster and weaker version.

AI Guardians

  • The guardian purchase budget has been vastly reduced in general. It's still using some internal multipliers in the code, which is less than ideal, but we'll deal with that later. For now the code should be resulting in many fewer guardians on all planets, but in particular not the insane numbers on mark 6 and 7 planets that you saw before.
    • Thanks to WeaponMaster, DEMOCRACY_DEMOCRACY, BadgerBadger, and Dominus Arbitrationis for reporting.

AI Turrets

  • There is a new range_multiplier_to_all_weapons xml tag that can be applied to ships to easily modify their weapon/system ranges to be higher or lower when creating a variant type.
    • We're now using this to make AI versions of all the turrets, with lower ranges on all of them.
    • This won't affect existing turrets in existing savegames, but in new and existing savegames, any new turrets that the AI spawns will have half the range of the old ones. Sniper turrets (which are rare) as the exception.
    • For the player Ensnarer turret types, which are really rare (and even more rare now), those ALSO now have half the range, in exchange for all their tractor beams being on there.
    • Overall this is something to make the battlefields feel a bit more segmented, and so that you aren't being shot by all the turrets all at once on enemy planets.
      • This can be combined with that recent hack we added for weakening turrets at a planet to make their range truly pathetic, which is great. But the player-side turrets are not any weaker.
    • Thanks to AnnoyingOrange for pointing out how... well, annoying this was!
    • Please note this is not well tested, so we'd love feedback on it.
  • On average, now only every 6th reinforcement point will be able to have turrets and non-turret defenses on AI planets, although it's not quite that simple.
    • It's going off of primary keys, and those are just sequential numbers assigned to all ships. It's using modulus 6 to make it so that it's every 6th entry at MOST... but it could be that quite a few guard posts are moulus 6 on one planet, and next to none are on another planet, so expect uneven results (in a good and interesting way) rather than it being uniform on every planet.
    • This helps to make the AI planets a little bit less of a pain to deal with in terms of static defenses, and makes it so that you can focus instead on the guard posts and the ships in them, which are more specialized. Puffin recently made some changes to make types of turrets at each location more consistent (and thus something you can plan against), and so paired with that we should be in particularly good shape. Knock on wood.
    • Please note this is not well tested, so we'd love feedback on it.

Irreplaceable Human Stuff

  • Puffin and others have pointed out that there's a real inability to lose things permanently in this game, which can be kind of... anticlimactic? It definitely makes a lot of things less tense.
    • At any rate, now the three types of intra-galactic coordinators, the Zenith Matter Generator, and the Zenith Power Generator all die permanently when they get killed (versus just going back to being neutral).
  • Don't like the idea of permanent losses? You're not alone, and we'd like your feedback. This is explored in a lot of depth here: https://steamcommunity.com/app/573410/discussions/0/1639789306573972841/#c1639789306574022294
    • The TLDR is that we'd like to see if we can balance it so that most people see this as an exciting fun default thing, or if we need to make it opt-in.
    • In the short term we're opting everyone in so that we can balance it out and see how many people really hate it, but the ability to turn it off selectively (or turn it on selectively if it goes that direction) is pretty much inevitable.

Strikecraft Buff In General, Plus Lobby Balance Sliders

  • Balancing this game is kind of a tricky proposition, because everything is relative, and different people have different ideas on what kinds of balance they'd like to see between GROUPS of ship types.
    • We've been focusing on things like balancing strikecraft against one another, for example, and will continue to do so: that's a relatively insular problem.
    • But sometimes people with that there was more of an emphasis on ALL strikecraft being more useful and the backbone of all the fleets, with frigates and guardians still being strong but no longer causing strikecraft to evaporate.
      • This is where we get into "what is the ideal balance between frigates and strikecraft as a whole," and that's something that we're happy to set a sensible default for, but recognize that some players may have preferences that are different from our defaults no matter what we choose.
    • In the first game, we had combat speeds, which were things like Normal, Epic, Rush, etc, and that basically adjusted the ratio of firepower of ships in general compared to the hulls of ships in general. Sometimes people really wanted to have a game that was slower (more hulls and shields relative to the attack power of ships) so that they could manage ships and they didn't evaporate as quickly. Others wanted a more fast-paced experience. Until now we haven't had anything like that in this game.
    • Now we've added a new Balance section to the options tab of the galaxy map settings, and it lets you adjust the following six things independently of one another, all ranging from 0.5x to 5x.
      • Strikecraft Hull and Shield Strength (new default is 3x what it has been until now, to make these more of a focus like in the first game and keep them from evaporating so fast)
      • Strikecraft Attack Power (new default is 2x what it has been until now, to make these more of a focus like in the first game)
      • Turret/Guard Post Hull and Shield Strength (default is 1x what it has been until now)
      • Turret/Guard Post Attack Power (default is 1x what it has been until now)
      • Frigate/Guardian Hull and Shield Strength (default is 1x what it has been until now)
      • Frigate/Guardian Attack Power (default is 1x what it has been until now)
    • We'd definitely be interested in feedback on what a sensible default for these things should be, and if we should add any more categories beyond these. Note that in order to keep things balanced between the humans and the AIs, we've kept the multipliers for frigates and guardians tied together, and turrets and guard posts tied together.
    • This WILL immediately affect existing savegames, giving them the new defaults. Though at the moment there is no way to change these values once you have started a game, because that would lead to all sorts of exploits where you can manipulate the situation in funky ways as you are playing.
    • Hopefully these controls help to let everyone get the sort of experience they're looking for, while letting us continue to balance each category's items against the other items in that same category (strikecraft, frigates/guardians, etc).

Golems And Arks Are Now Rare

  • The game now seeds far fewer officer fleets, and only seeds them super far away from you.
  • The game now seeds a bit more in the way of regular fleets to compensate.
  • The lone wolf fleets all seed super far away from you now.
  • None of the starting fleets contain Arks or Golems anymore -- so the emphasis returns to the actual small ships that they contain.
    • Getting golems or Arks is now exclusively a mid-to-late-game activity, as they are far along on the map and not something you can start with.
  • Arks and Golems and Spire will now be able to be made much stronger, since they are more rare, and the starting state of the game won't be all unbalanced based on that.

Bugfixes and Interface Improvements

  • New XML flag: "does_not_die_with_command_stations_if_not_yet_claimed". This flag functions exactly like "automatically_dies_with_command_station" except the ship will NOT die if it is unclaimed (Neutral faction).
  • Put in a potential fix for your fleet centerpieces getting bumped around as units spawn out of them. If there are any other cases where fleet centerpieces are moving when they really should not be moving, then please let us know; we haven't tested this one yet, but it has a high chance of working (and certainly shouldn't make anything worse).
    • Thanks to AnnoyingOrange for reporting, and ptarth for finding the likely culprit.
  • The dropdowns for hunter type and warden type in the lobby now actually explain what they do! They have full tooltips now that explain each type. Even Chris hadn't been sure what all the types were.
    • Additionally, the Base Oriented type for the warden is now first in the list for the warden since that is the default.
    • The Normal type for Hunter fleets was a pretty bland name, so it has been renamed to "Intelligent Predator" to make it a lot clearer how that works.
    • The No Bases type for Warden fleets was also kind of unclear, so it has been renamed to Anticipatory.
    • Thanks to tutee for reporting the oversight, and Puffin for actually explaining them!
  • The tooltips for ships now also explicitly note which ships do NOT get upgraded by fleet EXP gains, not just those that do. This should ease some areas of confusion that some players have run into.
    • Thanks to Ecthelon for reporting.
  • Another nullref exception in the waves notifications that could happen right after game load is now fixed.
  • Any turrets or other things granted via GCAs (new above) are now shared between all players in multiplayer.
    • Additionally, for the existing Intra-Galactic Coordinators, those are also now shared as a bonus between all players in multiplayer in terms of the ship cap increase that they grant.
  • The objectives on the sidebar that show capturing fleets or battlestations now show the general type of the fleet (officer, support, whatever) in their basic name. Now you can actually see what is going on better!

Version 0.872 Supply and Control

(Released July 3rd, 2019)

  • Add a setting for FRD mode available via GalaxySettings; if you disable it then your ships will spread out a bit more in FRD. It's a pretty subtle difference.

"Supply" Requirement Removed

  • The concept of supply has been removed. This is something that was super annoying to the point of making some folks not even want to play the game just because of this feature.
    • There are some things that, because of the removal of supply as a requirement for ships, will cause players to want things like old-style control groups and whatnot. However, rather than going back down that road (which is a lot of micro for you as a player), we have a whole other slate of tools planned that should make you very happy and able to do a lot of things you want: https://bugtracker.arcengames.com/view.php?id=21310
    • That said, those things are not in place at all yet, but we're removing the supply concept in advance of those additions because it was just so darn annoying.
    • Thanks to RocketAssistedPuffin for suggesting.

Tractor Changes

  • The AI will now have tractor ships actively try to kidnap your ships and drag them off planet. This includes AI Black Widow Golems, Tractor Guardians, Etherjet Tractors and their variants.
    • Feedback on how intelligent this behaviour is would be appreciated (ideally with a save game)
    • Thanks to ptarth for suggesting
  • Tractor Systems can now be configured to tractor more things at higher mark levels. I'm not sure what mischief Puffin is going to use this for, but I look forward to finding out
    • Requested by Puffin
  • Ships caught in a tractor beam are always allowed to shoot at the tractor source that has caught them. Also they will be more likely to shoot at said tractor source
    • Requested by Puffin

Bugfixes

  • Remove some duplicated logic in the GameEntity HoverText. No functional change
  • AI Drones will now fight to the death instead of retreating from the planet; they would just attrition to death anyway once they left the planet
    • Thanks to WeaponMaster for the bug report
  • Make Clusters: Small and Clusters: Medium map types work
    • Thanks to UFO for the bug report
  • Mobile Combat Factories (and Gyrn) are no longer allowed to build ships while crippled.
  • Fix a bug where reprisal waves were double-sized. Also the notification now shows the "time till wave is sent" in the icon itself. The hovertext for the notification also explains that the waves are 1.5x normal wave size.
    • Thanks to WeaponMaster for the report
  • Fix a null reference exception in the EntityHover code
  • Fix a bug where ships deployed from guard posts against minor factions (in particular, the Dyson Sphere) would just go after the player
    • Thanks to Puffin for the report and TechSY730 for some additional saves. Possibly other people reported it as well?
  • The "Debug: Kill Enemies" button now kills all units hostile to the player on a planet, not just AI units
    • Thanks to Oval for requesting
  • Fix (or at least significantly improve) a bug where your units would stutter as they moved toward enemies to fight. This has the pleasant side effect of making autobombs and the like suck slightly less.
    • Reported by a lot of people, including Puffin and Ecthelon
  • Make Autobombs and other melee units no longer fire shots sequentially; this improves the delay before Autobombs go off. It's still not great, but it's an improvement.
  • Hopefully fix a rare null reference in the Decollision code
  • Improve the Incoming Damage Detection code to take multishot ships into account. This should (hopefully) make your units better able avoid overkilling targets.
  • Ships dragged through a wormhole via tractors will now pop out a short distance from the tractoring unit, instead of stacked right on top of the tractor
    • Thanks to ptarth for the bug report
  • Fix a bug where a hostile-to-player only or hostile-to-AI only devourer golem would no longer try to kill the zenith trader
    • Thanks to Ovalcircle for reporting
  • Fix a bug where ships could go through wormholes while the game was paused
    • Thanks to hawk for reporting
  • Scrapping units on planets with Dark Spire Vengeance Generators now correctly generates energy for the VG
    • Thanks to Ovalcircle for reporting

Balance Tweaks

  • Greatly increased many of the Instigator Base effects.
    • Strengthen Waves and Strengthen Hunter Fleet are quadrupled.
    • Strengthen CPA and Strengthen Wormhole Invasion are doubled.
    • Strengthen Warden Fleet is tripled.
    • Unit Spawner now spawns every 90s instead of 20, but spawns significantly more each time. This means it is a much more consolidated force, rather than a trickle.
      • Thanks to Badger for reporting these aren't something to be bothered with at all.
  • Pike unit high hull health bonus reduced from 4x to 2x.
    • Unlike MLRS, which operate on low health and thus effectively had a cap on how much the effect could do, Pikes could often one shot units entirely with this bonus. Coupled with the fact they already have another damage bonus, this was a bit much in practice.
    • The bonus is still cool, so it's preferred to keep it. Want to keep an eye on it though, since that's a nasty result of it that was only just spotted and may have contributed to the feel of Strikecraft being mere chaft.
  • A minor nerf to reprisal waves
  • Military Command Station damage boost 50% -> 25%, increase per mark 50% -> 25%.
    • This was likely far too much beforehand, but with Experience allowing these to rank up, it needs to come down.
  • Military Command Station metal production 60 -> 20.
  • Added a bunch of mono-type AI Ship Groups for Guard Posts and Turrets.
    • So now a bunch of AI planets will have only one type of Post, and one type of Turret. There is still the possibility of having an utter mishmash, but far less.
    • Thanks to ptarth and Annoying Orange for bringing the point up separately that this mess forces generalist compositions and the old conundrum of "anti-bomber Post under a Forcefield" from Classic, in a way.
  • Tractor Arrays, Ensnarer Battlestation, Black Widow Golem Ark, Tractor Guardians and Ensnarer Turrets now all gain some tractor count per Mark.
  • Cloaking and Tachyon Systems now increase their Points by 50% of their base value each time they Mark up.
    • Now upgrading Tachyon Arrays and Sentry Frigates actually does something beyond health, and this lets sneaky units last longer around lower tier detectors.

Multi-AI income increase

  • Previously each AI's strength was "Strength of a single AI" / "Total number of AIs in galaxy". Now the logic is as follows
    • For difficulty < 5, keep the old logic
    • For 2 or 3 AIs, each AI is 75% as strong as a single AI (this is up from 50% as strong and 33% as strong)
    • For 4 or more AIs, each AI is 50% as strong as a single AI (this is up from < 25%)
      • This will be a sudden jump in AI difficulty

Strikecraft

  • Space Plane and Mirages now only take 1% damage from enemies beyond their range, down from 50% and 25% respectively.
    • This is more like their Classic incarnation, with the change of they can be hurt by the thing they're targeting, as there is no way to bypass radar dampening here.
  • Mirages now have the same health as Space Planes, damage 65 -> 40, bypasses personal shields completely, and has a damage bonus against anything with healthy hulls.
    • Essentially, it's now terrible at actually killing something outright, but amazing at weakening it for something else to clean up.
    • Thanks to StarKelp for developing this idea!
  • Etherjet Cloak re-enabled, damage and reload time quadrupled on all variants, albedo 0.3 -> 0.7, speed 1,200 -> 1,600.
    • For some reason, they were able to Tractor while Cloaked for some time now, so that system is re-enabled, and the weapon is adjusted to slow the rate they drain their own Cloaking Points.
    • Coupled with the new AI behaviour with Tractor units, these should hopefully behave more like their Classic incarnations.
  • Adjusted numerous Strikecraft strength values, and also their ai_cost_to_purchase values to better fit how powerful they actually are.
    • A lot of these were overpriced for the AI, so now there'll be quite a few more of them when found.
  • Vanguard health increased 30%.
  • Vanguard Hydra Head damage 60 -> 140, speed 400 -> 600, now spawns in groups of 5 and are invulnerable for 8 seconds after being spawned.
    • Some poking showed these to not really work as originally intended. The normal Vanguard is pure tanking, so to help diffentiate Hydras, their Heads are now much more offensive orientated.
    • Spawning more Heads also helps to emphasise that particular trait (and adds more offense), and the invulnerability guarantees they get some damage done instead of being picked off due to such low health.
  • Ablative Gatling/Troll health increased 30%.
  • Agravic Pod damage 80 -> 100.
  • Concussion Corvette damage 70 -> 96.
  • Porcupine damage 50 -> 80.
  • Grenade Launcher Corvette/Molotov health increased 30%.
  • Dagger health increased 50%.
  • Eyebot health increased 25%.
  • Zapper shields 2,000 -> 3,000.
  • Parasite/Persuader health increased 50%.

Frigates

  • Brawlers lose all shields, gain it in hull. Their missiles now cause knockback, some engine stun, and also have a damage multiplier against anything slower than its base speed. Damage 300 -> 200, reload time 3s -> 2s.
    • It's now kind of like the Translocator Starship? Shove little guys around and slow them down with some damage as a bonus.
    • Also thanks to StarKelp for developing this idea! It's a little different, but the spirit is there I think.
  • Forcefield Frigate shield size increased, size of the ship itself decreased, shields 200k -> 250k.
    • So it covers more, and isn't taking up as much of that space itself. Also lasts a bit longer, since it'll probably be hit more often.
  • Siphoner shields 120k -> 160k, damage 2,000 -> 250, reload time 4s -> 1s, now does 5x the damage to a target if it has more than 50% personal shields left. Vampirism gain changed from 5HP per 1 damage to 7HP per 1 damage.
    • Lasts a bit longer for the same reason, shoots faster so it's a more constant regeneration, and better suited to breaking down things like Guard Posts and...well, siphoning the shields off stuff.

Flagships

  • Armored Golem damage 2,000 -> 1,000, Sabot damage 3,000 -> 2,000.
    • This thing by far dominates its Fleet, and was really pushing the smaller units out of the game, since things had to be balanced for the player having these.
    • It was actually pretty absurd, being the toughest and best damage dealer of the bunch so...no surprise people felt it was dominating.
  • Cursed Golem damage 1,250 -> 700, Sabot damage 2,000 -> 1,500.
    • A similar case. This thing is much longer ranged than the Armored, and has paralysis to boot (including the very rare ability to paralyse bigger targets), and so also dominated the Fleet.
  • Botnet Golem damage 500 -> 450.
    • Really minor, but just brings it in a tad more.
  • Black Widow Golem damage 500 -> 200, tractor count 350 -> 250.
    • Same deal with the above ones. This thing has a lot more shots than normal for the purpose of engine stun, so the damage is definitely low per shot.
    • Tractor count is lowered since it now gains some with Mark.

Guard Posts

  • Stealth Guard Post albedo 0.4 -> 0.7.
    • Missed it long ago.
  • Pike Guard Post damage 1,200 -> 600.
    • This thing had far too high a generalist damage. Coupled with the high hull health bonus, it was capable of slaughtering things it really shouldn't have been.
  • Moved half of Guard Post hull into shields.
    • In a previous update, Guard Post durability was doubled. This unfortunately really hurt Fusion Bombers, coupled with the fact you generally have less of these specifically than you used to early on.
    • By shifting the hull over, they retain their overall durability, but are weaker to Fusion Bombers, letting them be the experts of Post demolition again.
  • Moved two thirds of Dire Guard Post hull into shields.
    • They now follow the same hull/shield ratio as the normal Posts.

New Hacks!

  • Bunches of new features for our hacking system.
    • only_for_ai_planets allows us to make hacks against planets that are AI-only.
    • added_cost_in_hacking_points_per_mark_level_of_planet allows us to add increased costs based on the mark level of the target planet.
    • max_mark_level_of_ai_planets allows us to make hacks only work against planets of a certain mark level or below. Aka not working against homeworlds or other mark 7 worlds, as one big use case.
  • Added a new hack, which is tested and does work: Weaken AI Turrets
    • Hacking into the local AI network will reduce the range of AI turrets to 25% of their normal values, and their damage output to 50% of normal. Only works on planets of mark 6 or lower.
    • Costs 1 hacking point at mark level 1, plus 5 for each mark level of the planet above that.
  • Added a new hack, which is tested and does work: Weaken AI Guard Posts
    • Hacking into the local AI network will reduce the range of AI guard posts to 50% of their normal values, and their damage output to 75% of normal. Only works on planets of mark 6 or lower.
    • Costs 5 hacking points at mark level 1, plus 10 for each mark level of the planet above that.

Prior Release Notes

AI War 2: The Arrival of Fleets