Sunday, October 10, 2010

AI War Beta 3.707, "The Sledge Hammer," Released

We normally aren't in the habit of naming our beta releases -- they come too frequently, and generally have too little individually to warrant such a thing.  However, this particular release is an exception.  We basically took a sledge hammer to a goodly number of parts of the game (kitchen, dining room, you know), and have been remodeling those parts.

The result is something which has better performance in general, and which has new "Performance Profiles" to meet the demands of a wider variety of machines.  This was the chief goal of this release.  The default profile is High, which mirrors what the older versions of AI War used (Average was what the last few releases, and some players were feeling this was too choppy). But also, this release includes:
  • New internal handling for the economy in general, fixing a number of bugs.
  • Repair costs are now based off a fraction of the ship's actual construction costs, rather than being mysterious per-second numbers.
  • A good number of units have been rebalanced, some pretty heavily.
  • The AI no longer uses turrets at all, preferring mobile ships instead.  
    • There will be some upcoming new "Guardians" in the next couple of releases that will take the place of tractor beams and tachyon beams and such in the hands of the AI, but right now those are lacking -- makes it easier to scout and such in this release than usual, but that will be temporary.
  • Speaking of turrets, the ship caps for turrets with the human players have been reduced by 5x, while the costs and health, firepower, and other positive attributes have been increased 5x.  We noticed that players were typically only building turrets in groups of 5, anyway, so we just collapsed them into smaller units to make them easier to manage and to boost performance.  Plus, a single mark III tractor beam turret can hold 240 enemy units, which is just really cool.
  • There is now a Unit Cap Scale that allows players to choose from Low, Medium, and High.  The old default is High, but the new default is Medium, which has lower caps for many ships but with them being higher-powered.  This is a huge performance boost, but also gives players with beefy machines the options for the higher if they prefer.
  • Speaking of unit caps, while overall those are lower, the mark III, IV, and V unit caps are a lot higher compared to what they were.  So you can have a higher percentage of higher-mark ships, which is great.
Known issues with this one (from the new stuff):
  • The movement speed of ships isn't yet scaling properly in the performance profiles other than Average or High.
  • The animations for explosions, etc, are only correct in the High performance profile at the moment.
  • When you're zoomed very far in, but not quite all the way, the health bars will shoot way off the side of the screen.
  • The new counterparts for replacing the functionality of some turrets (particularly tachyon and tractor) aren't yet in place, so that makes things temporarily a bit easier for you.  Hooray!
This is a standard update that you can download through the in-game updater itself, if you already have 3.701 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 3.701 or later, you can download that here.

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