Monday, March 19, 2012

AVWW Beta 0.909 "A Perfectly Anachronistic Escape" Released!

This one is another biggie.  This time literally in terms of filesize, as well as in terms of what it changes. 

Visually this is a giant release because it really improves the character art (making it look painterly) and does the same for the monsters that aren't particle-effect-based.  There are also a few minor other changes here and there, such as really improving the quality of the effect of warp gates, and there's a goodly number of new monsters in here, too -- some actually implemented in code already, others awaiting implementation over the next few days.

Fixes And Balance Galore
Lots of bugfixes that people have been really wanting, and balance improvements to the upper difficulties, and a wide array of physics improvements.  Seafaring with lots of continents is now a lot more straightforward thanks to guide markers, and so on.

Three Updated Missions
The battlefield missions are night and day different.  People wanted more control, so now there are command flares that you can use.  They wanted more balance and more interesting choices, and so now there are two new kinds of minion robots that  work in a much more interesting fashion (and are a lot less weak).  You also don't get the usual healing orbs anymore here, but you can retreat to your base for healing at 10 health per second.  Lots of cool changes there, to really give them a more tactical feel.

Lava Escape and Journey To Perfection, on the other hand, have been tweaked in more subtle ways: their difficulty was about right, and was part of what made them fun.  However, the penalty for failure with these was absolutely insane and not in keeping with the rest of the game.  So after much discussion on the forums, we finally figured out a way to make these not have such unusually stiff penalties while at the same time retaining their hardcore challenge.  This actually makes it possible to practice these missions and get better at them, rather than just assuming you're good with them to start with (which is always a bad assumption with anything a player has never seen before, eh?).

New Mission: Fix The Anachronisms
There are two variants of these, and the core idea here was thought up by player Penumbra.  It's a really cool idea that basically combines some puzzle elements with combat elements: there's an anachronism with monsters from the wrong time period inside a building or a cave, and you've got to kill them and only them. Killing any of the monsters from the time period you are in loses the mission.

There are elements of memory-match here, to a small degree, but there are also elements of deduction because you can see how many monsters are remaining that are anachronistic, and use that to figure out which ones don't belong (okay, everybody sing the Sesame Street song with me now).  The twist is that even if you know the monsters by heart and which ones belong where, you still can't kill the wrong kind and so that means they're harassing you constantly while you search for the monsters you can kill.  That's really different from the rest of the game, and has a really cool feel in practice.

Other Cool Stuff
There's now a second type of overlord, so all the overlords aren't Skelebot Overlords now.  Now you've got the Draconite Overlord.  You'll be seeing the smaller draconites very soon, as in the next couple of days, for they feature in yet another player-suggested mission type that we've got half-implemented internally.

There's also a new kind of interior procedural room generation logic used by the new mission type, and a new kind of underground procedural cavern generation logic used by the new mission type and now the journey to perfection underground variant as well.  I've really been trying to make sure that all these missions don't just feel like different activities in the same old places, but rather feel like different activities in different places, which is a lot more time consuming to do but pays off in much more unique-feeling missions, I think.

More to come soon -- 1.0 is coming up next week (though we still don't have an exact day yet).  Enjoy!

This is a standard update that you can download through the in-game updater itself, if you already have 0.500 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 0.500 or later, you can download that here.

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