Monday, May 12, 2014

TLF Version 1.017 Released (Back From A Long Quest)

Version 1.017 is out at long last!  Sorry for the delay with this one, but it's packed full of goodies.  There were a number of things that just needed more testing time internally, or to all be completed together, before we publicly released them.

So what's new?

- Well, there's a whole host of smaller bugfixes and improvements.  Several dozen things that players suggested, a lot of them balance or usability related.

- There's a new player-suggested dispatch mission type, where you get to provide tactical support for ground invasions in progress.  Beats just waiting around for the ground troops to do their thing on their own; now you can help speed them along if you have nothing else you'd rather be working on!

- The "betrayal from within federation" mechanic is now better balanced as well as vastly more clear what is going on and when.  The "grumbling" about you when you are low influence with a race is now something that you can recover from if you get them to like you, which is a pretty critical new thing.

- There are a number of improvements to the general mechanics of quests to make them more clear, and in a couple of cases more balanced.

- Six new quests have been added!  There are two main groups that they are in.  One group is just four different versions for the various RCI values.  Very powerful, though.  The other group is for these cool "joint missions" where you can have one or more races gang up on another for either a sneak attack of ground combat or bombing, making use of (and depleting) the emergency reserves from their planets.  It's a great way to build attitude between the collaborating races, while driving someone else into the ground.

- Auto-Resolve has seen a metric ton of updates, and now seems to give the sorts of results I would expect in all the test cases I have.  If you find any issues with it at this point, of course do let me know!

- The way that attitude and influence changes are both projected in "this is what will happen if you take this deal/action/quest" screens, and the after-action screens, is now vastly better.  This took me forever to get right, but it's a lot more condensed and clear now.  If you prefer the old way, though, which is more verbose (but too much so, in my opinion), then there are settings options that let you turn on the old way.

What took so long with this build?  Well, mainly it was a combination of the auto-resolve stuff (which mainly took a lot of testing and iteration), the attitude/influence stuff (same sort of deal with experimentation and testing, plus I kept making and fixing math errors), and some of the quest framework stuff that I had to add for the new quests in general (each time I add that sort of framework stuff, it makes future quests faster, but for now it still takes a while for each quest).

Anyway, I was the bottleneck with that one, and meanwhile Keith was working away on a whole host of things that make up that long list of other refinements.  My expectation is that we should be able to return to the more-or-less daily updates during weekdays after this one, but occasionally we'll have a particular set of features that will take some extra time (in this case, three workdays).

In an effort to keep my own sanity on the weekends, I'm going to also try to limit the main nightly releases to just Monday through Thursday, and then do a maintenance patch on Friday before midday if there is something that needs quick patching.  That way I'm not tied to the computer all weekend, which is something that (as you might expect) has a pretty negative impact on family time.  Anyhow, it's not like we'll be taking Fridays off, it will just make the Monday updates disproportionately large.

--------------- 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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