Tuesday, May 13, 2014

TLF Version 1.018 Released (Treasure Trove)

Version 1.018 is out, and I hardly know where to begin, this one is so large.

- The way that races are born, mature, and die has been tuned quite a bit, and is more interesting and better balanced.  A lot of folks won't notice much effect from this directly, but it's a subtle thing that does have a big impact on the overall flow of the game when an organic population is trying to rebound from attacks for instance.

- There are a number of new political deals, including a way to finally stop the Andors from attacking someone, and options for Lauding or Denouncing other races to the friends of the race doing the speaking.  Very cool tools to have in terms of manipulating attitudes.

- The way that ground invasions and resistance fighters work has been heavily (heavily heavily) updated to bring all of that stuff together more.  It's still very similar to how ground invasions have worked recently, but killing armadas no longer kills ground troops that they landed, among other things.  Personnel transport production and other numbers have been tuned in light of the new changes, and there is now a home field advantage in ground combat when defending a planet of your own (which makes good sense).

- There are a whole slew of screens that now let you get at a bunch more detail info on just where a given multiplier came from.  Why the heck is the science rating of the Burlusts 41.37, for instance?  Hover over it and see.

- The way that armadas are constructed and improved has seen a huge adjustment as well.  Previously this was working like I wanted in terms of the general result, but there were odd edge cases where a race would basically build nothing for extreme amounts of time.  This was to do with the range of the math multipliers in use, and so this has been rebalanced completely in order to try to get something near the previous effect, but without the edge cases.

- Science and Manufacturing stuff had a ton of bugs, turns out.  A couple were obvious in the prior version, but others were more subtle and never were found before now.  Why?  The opaqueness of the multipliers.  The numbers were close enough to be plausible, even though they weren't correct.  Now that we all can see the breakdown of how those numbers are arrived-at, I was noticing a number of glitches that I fixed.  A couple of those glitches were things that had bubbled up to the attention of players in seemingly-isolated bugs, but really it was a symptom of one of those larger issues that are now resolved.

- There are two new buildings added to the game, which only show up right at the start on random planets, and which are destroyed if the planets get taken: The Ark and The Mire.  These basically give a boost to one race and a penalty to one other race.  This layers on top of all the other procedural circumstantial randomization, of course, but it's one way of helping to make sure that there is extra uniqueness from game to game, versus stronger races tending to dominate weaker ones unless they just happen to get a very unlucky planet.  Now there are more variables in play with these, and thus more variance.

I've done dozens and dozens of tests of this stuff, and it's feeling pretty darn good.  It's definitely a huge amount of stuff for one day, so there are likely some issues somewhere.  Apologies in advance, but I'm not pushing this into a beta branch because I do feel like this is an across-the-board better version than the prior one, and that's a big part of my criteria.

Some interesting notes: the Burlusts and the Thoraxians have reclaimed their rightful place as the most fearsome races in the solar system (the majority of the time).  Additionally, with the way that things build up now, there are fewer armadas, but they tend to be tougher.  This actually gives you more power to affect things through your missions, since taking out an armada or two means a bit more.  And with the shifts to birth/death rates, maturation rates, ground combat rates and mechanisms, science and manufacturing rates, armada construction and improvement rates, and personnel transport construction rates... well, the overall length of time with the games is feeling about the same as it was before, when I run it in observer mode.

Anyhow, I'm really pleased with how this turned out, if you can't tell.  Hopefully there aren't any major things you find overnight before I wake up, but anyway I'm off for the night.  I've been paying close attention to mantis, but if you've been putting responses in the forum on the last thread, I'm afraid I missed those today as (as you can tell) I was running about a mile a minute to try to get all this done.  If there's something important I missed, it was not intentional -- just shoot me a response on today's main forum post, and I'll do my best to actually read that thread this time around. ;)

--------------- Ongoing Updates All This Month ---------------
The support of the community, and the growth of it, remain amazing to me.  I've been promising daily new features, but since launch it has became clear that there are other things more on your mind.  Things like added interfaces, new AI behaviors and options, and things like that.  So, you know what?  I'm just going to go with that -- those count as features, really, in that they help to make the game more interesting and easier to understand and play.

So what else is going on?  Well, we're going to be working at this pace on the game for at least another month, which means that you're going to be seeing lots of good things coming.  If you've liked what you've seen in the last few weeks, you can imagine what another month of that will be like.  We do have two other things in the works as well, but we're not quite ready to reveal either one of them (although I am betting that most long-time Arcen fans can guess what both of them are).  Suffice it to say, neither one of these two other things are going to impact the general updates, improvements, and free additions to TLF that are coming over this month.

More to come tomorrow.  Enjoy!

This is a standard update that you can download through the in-game updater, or if you have Steam it will automatically update it for you.  To force Steam to download it faster, just restart Steam and it will do so.

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