Saturday, August 18, 2012

AI War Beta 5.064-5.066 "Abilities Unlocked" Released!

This one adds two more bonus ship types for the Ancient Shadows expansion: the Neinzul Scapegoat and the Spire Railcluster. The Scapegoat has a one-shot version of the Regenerator Golem's ability (only works on fleet ships) and I expect to hear tales of absurd exploits and thus have to nerf it, but have fun figuring them out ;) The Railcluster isn't as unique as the Scapegoat or the others added thus far for AS (the medic frigate and the tackle drone launcher) but in another way it is unique: it's the first "Spire fleet ship" that's purely oriented towards straight-up combat. It shreds little stuff particularly.

If you play versus the new "Heroic" AI Type, expect to see some now-familiar toys getting thrown back in your face. The AI's champions are much simpler than human ones (no nebula travel, XP gain, etc) but they come with nasty modules (from a randomly picked template, for variety) and should spice things up a bit.

Speaking of champions, I'd meant to have another scenario ready for this release but other champion-related issues took priority. Specifically:

The interface for managing the modules has been pretty schizophrenic with both the normal build-queue method and the specialized "ship design window" method because the champion's situation is so unique. So now it just directs you to the ship-design-window method for champions, with a settings toggle for getting the old build-queue method back if you really want it. Feedback on this would be quite welcome.

Further, the interface for spending unlock points was... unwieldy. So now the ship design tab doesn't try to do any of that, and that function is now performed by the "Champion Unlocks" tab of the same window. Personally I think it looks pretty nice, but it is still a user interface designed by an engineer, so your mileage may vary ;)

Finally, another tab has been added to the normal HUD you see when you have a champion selected: in addition to the "MODS" tab (which used to hold the build queue stuff and now is just a shortcut to ship-design) you now have an "ABILITY" tab. You'll only see one ability there right now (a neinzul champion gets a different one) but the idea is that they spend a newly-added champion resource: Shadow charge. It was part of the original design but I'd gone back and forth on whether it really made sense to have directly-triggered abilities in this game. Since then player feedback has made it clear that it really would help make the champions feel more interesting to use, so here we go.

Oh, and there's several bugfixes and balance changes, but you probably already guessed that from previous releases :)

Update: 5.065 hotfix is out to fix a bug where Shadow Charge was accumulating without cap, and a few nasty UI bugs with the ship-design tab. Also revised the bomber-drone balance change.

Update: 5.066 hotfix is out to fix a UI bug when trying to open another player's champion in ship-design. Would generally only come up in singleplyer games with multiple champions, but it's pretty annoying in that case.

Update: 5.067 hotfix is out to fix a bug where nebulae past the third or fourth were not generating scenarios, and a few other bugfix/balance changes.


This is a standard update that you can download through the in-game updater itself, if you already have 4.000 or later. When you launch the game, you'll see the notice of the update having been found if you're connected to the Internet at the time. If you don't have 4.000 or later, you can download that here.

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