Tuesday, June 2, 2009

AI War 1.004 Released (Free DLC & Several Fixes)

Arcen Games is pleased to announce the release of AI War: Fleet Command version 1.004. You can download a trial version of the game, as well as purchase a license key to unlock the full version. If you already have the game or demo installed, just hit "Check For Updates" inside the game to get the latest patch.

More Free DLC: Two new ships are now out in the galaxy for you to encounter.  Both of these ships are quite challenging to deal with, so only show up on the advanced difficulty levels.  Next week's DLC will have ships for everyone, never fear -- but other major features for everyone in this week's DLC include a variety of control enhancements, and a new "No Enemy Waves" AI Modifier.

There are also a couple of bugfixes: if you were having trouble loading savegames in the trial version of the game, or if you had a larger screen resolution and game fonts looked chunky or fuzzy, this version fixes those issues.

The first new unit, shown right, is PermaMines.  These mines work like regular mines, except that they cannot be destroyed by being shot or by being collided-with (though they will kill that which collides with them).  These mines also don't have cloaking, and you will only occasionally run into these on the higher difficulties on AI planets.  These mines create some interesting strategic challenges , as you can only get past them with EMPs, luck (sometimes ships don't set off mines they pass -- the smaller and faster the ship, the more likely it is to slip past), ships with Mine Avoidance (builders, engineers, raiders, etc), or by going around the PermaMined wormhole.

The second new ship is the Core Starship, a terrifying haunt of some core and home AI planets on the "HARDER" AI styles (so, regardless of what AI difficulty you play on, AIs like Technologist Homeworlders and Backdoor Hackers will have a chance of having Core Starships.  These starships have a lot more health than any other starships, and a powerful primary attack.  The best strategy with them is perhaps avoidance -- you can set up decoys and distractions to keep them busy while you complete your real objectives.  Of course, you could opt for a full-on assault against them, too, but just be prepared for a long and difficult battle unless you bring along something like Mobile Force Field Generators to protect your units.  There are other strategies that work, too -- experiment and see what fits for you!

There are three key control/interface enhancements included in this week's release, all suggested by canny player Maxim Kuschpel.  They are: group move, free-roaming defender mode, and the ability to press the L key and divide your selected forces in half (by numbers of selected ship types).  You can read more on these new features in the controls document -- press escape and then hit View Controls from the in-game menu while you are playing.

In a nutshell, Group Move lets you move a batch of selected ships which may have differing speeds all at the same speed (the slowest speed).  This is great for having fighters, bombers, and cruisers all reach an attack target at once, or for having faster ships guard a smaller, weaker, ship such as a Science Lab or Colony Ship that is on the move. To put ships into this mode, either hold the G key while giving them movement orders, or use the new button at the bottom of the HUD (Lone vs Group movement style toggle).  They will show up with a turquoise border in far zoom while in this mode.

Free-Roaming Defender Mode lets you easily defend your planets.  In past versions, if a couple of small ships got past your wormhole defenses, you'd have no choice but to hunt those down manually, which required more micromanagement than was always pleasant (that really emphasized wormhole defense, but perfection is not always possible).  By holding V and right-clicking anywhere, you can put your ships into the new Free-Roaming Defender mode, which gives them a pink border in far zoom, and makes them chase and attack any enemy ships on the current planet.  Setting some of your ships in this mode is great for letting them take care of any stragglers that slip through your defenses, without you having to manage it.

More free DLC will be heading your way next week. Enjoy!

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