Friday, February 1, 2013

Valley 2 Beta .723 "Clinical Study Of Laser Spiders" Released!

This one can't top the amazing prior release, but it's also a good one with a lot of varied cool stuff in there.  What's new:

Spell Stuff
There's a whole bunch of improvements to the physics and reliability of a number of the spells.  Mostly the pattern sort of attacks, like crosses and crescents and circles.  Also things with areas of effect like rockets.  Boy does it feel better now!

Robotic Research Facilities
Formerly Skelebot Research Facilities, these have gotten a complete overhaul, monsters-wise.  They now use a mix of both the abandoned town and future junkyard for monsters, leaving out some of the more specialized monsters (like the perimeter guards and C4 fliers) that really don't work well when you're trying to make a hasty retreat.  These should be a ton more fun (and possible) now.

Every Strategic Tile Has A Purpose
Since pretty much the start of beta, there have been some tiles that didn't have a strategic purpose, and that kept shifting as we kept retiring mechanics and adding new ones.  Now that all the core mechanics have settled down, all of the tiles have a purpose.

Clinic And Auto-Heal Changes
Clinics and healing in general have been reworked in light of the recent removal of the wound system:

The "all resistance members automatically gain 1 power at the end of each turn" rule now only happens for NPCs of the Soldier class (previously they were special by being resistant to wound-state, but that's gone now and this is their new special)

Clinics now add 1 power to all resistance members at the end of each turn (when worked, of course).  To compensate for this considerable increase in power, they now cost 100 scrap (abandoned town ones used to cost 50, and ice age ones already cost 100). Should be enough of a counterbalance between that, the "cost" of having to work them, and the overlord's ability to destroy them

Four New World Map Tile Types
Swamp Belltowers give you a useful new ability when you find them -- there are two on each map.  Abandoned Town Watchtowers can be constructed by you in order to slow the advancing troops.  Junkyard Industrial Towers can be captured when you find them and work like excellent factories -- there are three on each map. 

On the monster side, we also have some new stuff.  Gates From The Deep are new threats that you'll have to deal with as soon as you get close to them.  There are six per map.  And Stratospheric Citadels now get some special protection from Demonaica which may prove... surprising.

Fine-Tuned World Map Generation
A lot of stuff about the world map generation has been subtly improved, and in general the balance of these will now skew less based on the random number generator.  But the shapes and general discovery still varies as much as before.

Unit Testing For Slices
I've finally implemented automated unit testing for slice design validity, and Josh has been using that to hone in on all the various problem slices and fix them.  Things like ceiling clingers placed on the floor for some reason, and stationary fliers placed right up against a wall so that they remain tiny, etc. 

All in all Josh has put fixes in to 127 out of our 3015 current slices files in this release, and he reports that the unit tests are reporting 1100ish more issues that he's going to be looking at over the weekend.  When a file has something off with it there are usually multiple things off, so that 1100 issues does not represent 1100 files; and the 127 files represents at least twice that in issues, most likely.

Most of the issues that are there aren't really that severe, thankfully, but they do cause oddities like monsters walking in the air or appearing tiny against a wall or whatever, so it's stuff we're making sure to get cleaned up by 1.0.

Thirteen New Monsters
The total number of monsters in the game is now up to 78, and there are some more really good ones in this batch.  Surveillance Cameras and the Laser Spiders they spawn are perhaps my new favorite enemy in the game.  I still have another 44 monsters to go based on my current roster, though; I wound up adding 6 monsters to the spec over the course of this release, so the target currently stands at 122 rather than the previous 116 (or the original 114). 

Funny how that keeps happening, but I may wind up trimming a few monsters to get back closer to 114 as the time nears, we'll see.  My intent is to get through the remainder of the monsters this weekend if it kills me; there's not going to be time to polish them all properly if I don't get that done, but I think that it is -- barely -- doable.  I've just kept getting sidetracked with improving other things that also needed attention, so it's put me pretty behind on the monsters.  It's all been for the better, but it just makes my schedule extra insane for a bit.

As usual, there's a lot of other minor improvements in here, across the board.  Definitely check out the release notes.

More to come soon.  Enjoy!

This is a standard update that you can download through the in-game updater itself, if you already have any version of the game.  If you have the beta on Steam, it will automatically update for you.  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 the standalone game, you can download that hereIf you already own the first game, just use your existing license key to unlock the sequel for free!

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