AI War - 1.007 Release
-A true Directsound-based streaming approach is now used for music. This makes music load much faster, and saves between 70 and 140 MB of RAM compared to previous versions of the game. This in turn makes the saved games load faster, as well.
-The game's suggested paths between planets on the galaxy map are now much better, preferring to stay with neutral/allied planets before venturing into enemy territory. This will therefore suggest paths that are longer, but that don't go through enemy planets, when possible. This makes players have to less frequently provide their own manual interplanetary travel paths.
-The AI (at all levels) has learned some new tricks. Guards will now temporarily leave their posts to help with the defense of certain large structures (currently command stations and superfortresses) on the same planet as them. They will also leave their posts for a bit to join in the attack on a command station if they are guarding something on a human planet.
-Harvester ExoShields are now a bit cheaper to build, and no longer have a build cap. However, they now also use -1/s of both metal and crystal, making them essentially reduce the net benefit from the harvester they are protecting. They also now cost 1,000 energy, which increases your energy needs rather dramatically if overused. These changes will make this ship more useful for general play, but also increases the cost of its use so as to not make it suddenly overpowerful.
-The AI scores are now trended over time as part of the Score, Ships Killed, Ships Lost, and Planets Held graphs, letting players compare their performance against the AIs in these ways. There is also now an "Include AIs In Extra Graphs" option in the graph window that allows for the Total Ships, Ships by level, and ships built graphs to also include the AIs (although these comparisons are usually apples to oranges and of little relevance).
-The Graphs screen now includes new graphs for Scouted Planets and AI Progress, which just shows those single metrics over time (these are not per-player).
-When the game's zoom gets too large for the window clipping area, it no longer jumps back and forth. It also now has a larger clipping area, to allow for overzoom.
-There is now a settings option called "Allow Overzoom." When paired with the "Allow Far Zoom" option, this allows players to zoom and pan beyond the edge of the planetary map, which is helpful for seeing absolutely the entire planet at once, or for easing zooming in on ships at the edge of the galaxy map from far zoom.
-Drawing hundreds or thousands of simultaneous ship ranges now not only looks better, but it also will perform vastly better, especially on older graphics cards.
-It is now possible to select multiple constructors of the same type (docks, factories, etc) and issue build queue orders to them all at once. If their build queues differ, a Reset button will be shown in place of the actual queue icon. The queues can still be managed in these cases, but you won't be able to see your changes without clicking to an individual constructor. You can use the Reset button to clear all the queues, and then any commands that are issued will cause the queues to be in sync and thus shown as if only one constructor was selected. Lack of resources, ships hitting their ship caps, or engineers being unevenly distributed could cause the the queues to later get out of sync again. These changes are meant as a first pass for the players who wanted them, but we may add some more improvements in this area once we have more playtest data.
-Constructors with queues are now shown as grayed out when paused, same as how it works for manufactories that are paused.
-It is now possible to give most commands to ships that are still being built. You can basically set everything up at docks and other queue-based constructors, you can give attack targets, assistance targets, wormhole commands, or movement targets. The main thing you can't do is issue build commands from placement-mode ships (command stations, mobile builders, etc), and you can't research technologies until a science lab is completed building. The in-progress ships still won't act on any of the above until they are finished building, but you can set them up in advance.
-The AI will now build counter-sniper turrets and sniper turrets in place of whatever turrets it would normally build during reinforcements when there are enemy sniper-type ships in its presence.
-Special Forces Command Posts now allow for AI reinforcements to be made against their host planet.
-The game now supports downright tiny galaxy maps: 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 planets.
-The game now scales downward better for maps smaller than 80 planets. The difficulty should now be more on par with what the 80-planet maps provide. More appropriate numbers of data centers, special forces command posts, and advanced research stations are seeded into these maps.
-There is a new setting (configured through two dropdowns) in the lobby that can really change the pacing of games. Auto AI Progress lets you choose an interval (in minutes, ranging from as few as 5 to as many as 240) and an amount of AI Progress to increase by (from 1 to 250). When this feature is enabled (it can be turned off by setting either the interval or the increase amount to 0), it automatically increases the AI Progress on the interval of your choosing. The new default is that the AI Progress will go up by 1 every 30 minutes, which is a very, very mild amount of increase on the recently-increased AI Progress scale. Preexisting savegames will also now use this default. This new setting should be particularly valuable for shorter games on smaller maps, where you might want to have a more vicious and fast-paced arms race with the AI.
-On tiny maps with larger numbers of players, it was previously sometimes possible to hang the game when starting from the lobby. This was simply an artifact of the game not originally being designed for really small maps. Fixed.
-The Colony Ship icon in far zoom has now been updated to match the actual look of the colony ship itself, making it much easier to find from far zoom.
-Transport Ships are now an unlockable ship in the DEF tab of command stations. Each of these have significant armor and are immune to things like tractor beams, ion cannons, minefields, etc. Each one can carry 100 ships from Space Docks or Advanced Factories inside it. If the transport is destroyed while carrying other ships, all of the ships inside it will be destroyed.
-In the Scout quick-button at the bottom of the screen, scouts now show their end destination planet if they have movement orders.
-When multiple constructors are selected, there are now buttons for each one. Each button shows the percent complete of the current item, the total number of items in the queue, and a mouseover tip with details on the full queue. Clicking these queue buttons selects just the constructor whose button was click, or in the case of a left-click, it deselects just that constructor.
-There is now a "Mobile Military" option in the Find list, which allows players to search for all mobile military ships of a certain type (e.g., bombers or fighters) regardless of ship level. This has the same functionality as the normal find, insofar as allowing the ships to be routed, etc.
-There is now a notes button in the galaxy map which allows players to set some text at each planet. Planets with notes show their notes in the Intel Summary, and they also show a little yellow/orange flashing star next to the planet in the galaxy map.
-There were previously some issues with the very large and active games (80,000+ ships) causing some lag issues on the host after a time. This was because the AI message queue was getting clogged up, causing a degradation in performance. This would also cause the AI to get really unresponsive in these situations. It is now fixed so that even with these vast numbers of ships, the performance is fine and the AI stays as responsive as usual.
-In games with more than 60,000 ships, the AI will now swap out pairs of its lower-level ships on non-contested planets for singles of higher-level ships. This keeps the unit counts to around 60,000 when at all possible, without giving the AI any advantage (the trades are roughly equivalent, if anything a little bit unfavorable to the AI). This, in turn, keeps the game huge but not overwhelming for lower-end CPUs with lots of players or really long games in large galaxies.
-There used to be a slight delay in clearing the tachyon beam and munitions booster objects when the host craft switched planets. This could sometimes cause some long and incorrect lines across the new planet's map, usually for under a second or two. Fixed.
-Ships in attack-move or free-roaming defender mode will no longer "dance" between their focal point and their current attack target as their attack targets die and thus change. The ships will now only go to their focal point when they search for a target and don't find one, rather than going there as soon as they are finished with their current target.
-Previously, electric shuttles did not choose targets while in attack-move mode or free roaming defender mode. Fixed.
-Zooming in while holding spacebar is no longer jumpy, but rather just focuses straight down in on the selected units (or the center of the screen if nothing is selected).
-Previously, when TBS-Friendly pause was enabled, it could cause desyncs in multiplayer when the game was actually paused. Fixed.
-Fixed a couple of minor typos in the tutorials text. Also fixed the tooltip text for the number of planets dropdown to make that more up to date.
-Previously it was possible to detect cloaked enemy ships with mouseover. Fixed.
-Previously, in TBS-Friendly Pause mode, any existing shots were not being paused. Fixed.
-Previously, trial-mode players could not play with retail players (this is like pretty much all other RTS games). Now they can play together for the duration of the trial time limit (1 hour), with whatever features the host enables. This is intended to make it easier for players to cooperatively try a game together, when a subset of them have already purchased the game. Games that have an expired time limit can be saved and resumed with retail copies of the game.
-The Paused text no longer shows underneath text messages from other players, or that are part of the tutorial text.
-The darker player colors are now significantly easier to read when used in in-game text.
-In recent prereleases of 1.007, ships were not always returning to their free-roaming target. Fixed.
-The S hotkey was not properly selecting Science Lab IIs or Advanced Research Stations. Fixed.
-The way that waypoints (on a single planet) work has been recoded to a heavy degree. The waypoints now work slightly more gracefully in certain cases, and now are not lost when ships are in attack-move mode and choose a new target. This now lets you send attack-moving ships on a queued path through a planet, and they will stop and chase ships on the way as needed.
-There are now multiple map styles that can be selected in the lobby. The single prior style is now called Realistic, and there are now Simple, Simple Hubs, and Realistic Hubs in addition. The new default is Simple, since that should be less intimidating for new players.
-The game now always pauses the music when minimized. Previously it only did it on the title screen.
-The AI priorities have been made a little bit more deep for ships like bombers in particular, but also for one of the code branches for all ships. This should make the AI less distracted by metal harvesters, and better at precision-striking valued targets.
-It is now possible to set gather points in other planets for constructors. This done by simply giving them a wormhole-travel order like any other ships, and then any ships that come out of the constructor will follow that same path.
-The tooltips over dropdown controls in the lobby now work a little bit more gracefully. Before, they sometimes would cause a lot of blipping and blinking if the conditions were just wrong.
-The main menu now includes helpful tooltips, same as the lobby always has.
-A new Mobile Military option (Shift+Comma) has been added to the Galaxy Map Filter options. This new option allows for just mobile military ships (and starships) to be shown in the My Ships, Allied Ships, and My and Allied Ships filters (Q, A, and E). This is useful because it doesn't include things like turrets, mines, or economic structures, so it lets you find your actual fleet ships at a glance.
-Fighters have been rebalanced so that they are more useful.
Thanks to Quitch for suggesting the ability to compare the AIs' numbers with the players' numbers in a few key graphs, for suggesting that constructors have editable queues and such during construction, for suggesting the improvement to how AIs deal with snipers on their planets, for suggesting the Auto AI Progress feature, for suggesting the Mobile Military addition to the find, for reporting the issue with the shots in TBS-Friendly Pause, for reporting the issue with free-roaming defender targets, for reporting the issue with the S key, for suggesting the target selection improvements.
Thanks to netWilk and Lars Bull for suggesting the overzoom feature.
Thanks to Zulgaines for suggesting the improvement to the attack range drawing, for suggesting the even smaller maps, for pointing out the updates needed to the planet count selection dropdown.
Thanks to netWilk for suggesting the improvements to allow management of multiple constructor queues at once.
Thanks to Bridger for suggesting transports.
Thanks to Larry Parker for pointing out the minor typos in the tutorials, for pointing out the issues with the Paused text appearing under the tutorial text, for suggesting that the game always pause the music when minimized.
Thanks to Hyfrydle for suggesting the ability for trial and regular players to play together.
Thanks to Black for suggesting the better readability for darker player color text, and for inspiring the multiple map styles.
Thanks to Zulgaines and Quitch for suggesting the ability to have notes at planets.
Thanks to Admiral and Hyfrydle for suggesting the cross-planet gather points for constructors.