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 Post subject: September 20 2013 - Beta version 4.48
PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:13 pm 
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Changelog:

20 September 2013 - Beta version 4.48

Quick Summary of new changes:
-------------------------------

AI Improvements
* A more aggressive and challenging AI that will make battle plans and execute them
* Better planet and resource management by the AI races so they are more effective
* An improved combat AI which includes better pathfinding and smarter target selection

Economy and Colony Management
* A more balanced and challenging economy
* More decision making when building colony structures/types
* Different representation/animations for each level of buildings
* Display pertinent information like maintenance and basic info on each structure

Ship Design
* Adding more ship graphic choices to pick for your designs
* Displaying weapon arcs in the design process

Diplomacy Relations
* A new Report Screen for each race accessible from Relations view, that tracks major events and their history
* Make diplomatic relations less accommodating with regards to making alliances and certain other pacts

Graphics
* Improved UI panels and windows
* Improved and updated in-game animation Videos (not all videos, more to coming during beta)

Quests
* Added 4 new story related missions for a total of 8 missions with multiple paths and rewards


Details of changes:
-------------------

AI:
- Added Conqueror AI mastermind and racial advisors
- Added military tacticians and fleet coordinator
- Improved the AI logic for offering or accepting Alliances. It is now based on racial affinity, their and your current situation, common enemies and more factors
- AI patrol fleets now take a break from patrols to check for ship upgrades
- AI ships will no longer ignore missiles and will target them
- Improved logic for AI budget and sub-budgets handling and distribution to match priorities
- AI ships pathfinding improved, will look for another path if blocked by a ship in front of it
- AI will now build ships on planets without shipyards
- AI will now build ships and shipywards on all colonies (instead of just their Homeworld)

Galaxy:
- Qty of stars available for gameplay increased to the next level (Fair sized) - 90-108 star systems
- Scenario mode will now set appropriate race levels instead of equal as in classic, be warned of making enemies of legendary races at the beginning

Task force management (reduce micro-management):
- Task forces now automatically orbit and dock in home systems with starbase/shipyards, when they need repairs or upgrades
- Ships with colonizer pods or fighter bays will automatically dock in home systems with starbase/shipyards to get refit
- Ships with ground troop pods will automatically dock in home systems with barracks to refill
- Task forces will now be considered in orbit if at least one ship is in orbit and ships are in the same system

Tutorial:
- Added a basic colony tutorial to explain how to manage a colony and minor improvements to existing tutorial

Colony Management:
- Government buildings now dictate the amount of civilian structures a colony can support, requiring you to make some careful decisions
- Research buildings now generate an increased amount of projects, this should make research viable for low populated colonies
- Increased the amount of research required to progress a tech to the next level, this is more noticeable as you get higher levels in a tech
- Buildings costs/maintenance/build times re-balanced
- Agriculture and Industry production re-balanced
- Population growth rates lowered
- Reduced the amount of troops Barracks produce every turn for planetary defense

Graphics and UI:
- overall UI visuals improvements
- Auto-selection of task forces added when selecting a sector with task forces
- UI improvements with task force panel and scrolling, and changed behaviour of panels overlap
- Added scroll bars to several windows
- Fixed planet scale to be consistent at very high or very low resolutions
- Windows desktop font size setting will no longer affect in-game font size
- Tooltips added to planetview and other screens
- Planet building animations updated and each building has it's own unique animation now
- Updated all invasion unit animations
- Engage Sector label now hides when move vector is active
- Taskforce order list will now hide unavailable options
- Taskforce panel size reduced
- Fleet/Colony/Journal buttons now shift to the other side when intersected by sector panel (for low resolutions)
- Moved fleet/colony/journal to F9, F10, F11 hotkeys
- Added 12 new Human ships
- Updated colonization, intro, galaxy news (ISN) and research lab videos
- Game setup screen updated
- Selected Task forces can now be ordered to move with a right-click on the galaxyMap. Holding down the button before depressing will display additional information about the target sector
- Galaxy map panels and windows are now only brought to front on click (instead of hover)
- Critical messages will force the last turn events window open

Tactical Combat:
- Rally Point system added. You can now select a move position beyond a ship's current range. Ships with rally points will move automatically on hitting enter or clicking done. Holding the Ctrl key while setting a rally point will set it for the whole task force
- Right clicking or ctrl+right clicking on a sector grid map will also set rally point
- Miss message will now be displayed when a weapon misses the target
- Missiles that miss no longer display the impact explosion effect
- During bombardment, the amount of population and soldiers that can be killed significantly reduced while defense platforms are active
- Orbital stations will now get initiative before planets
- Reduced the base critical strike chance for all weapons to a flat 5% except for the Laser Cannon special ability
- Recall fighters order improved - squadrons no longer controllable after the order is given until they return and land on carrier
- Added additional combat message logs
- Planetary Missile bases will no longer run out of ammo
- Kuntari cruisers will no longer be equipped by default with shields

Invasion View:
- Invader Fleet ships will now appear above the planet during the invasion
- Fixed performance issue with Invasion animations
- Players ordering an invasion will automatically coordinate with ally troops so they land simultaneously (if within orbit range)

Bug fixes:
- Fixed a crash bug when running the game at tiny resolutions
- Fixed bug with starbase being hidden when hovering over a cloaked ship
- Fixed an issue with Galaxy Scan map not updating properly in certain circumstances
- Fixed a bug with missile platforms not being reset after destroying a colony and re-colonizing it
- Fixed a bug with Transient/Har'kan ship jump ability causing it to lock-up the game in some rare circumstances
- Fixed a bug with collision detection between fighters and other ships
- Fixed barbeck quest clues not displaying at times
- Fixed ship visibility loss when a fighter was directly on top and was destroyed
- Fixed a display bug with tech breakthrough tooltip
- Fixed a bug with morale where it could go above the normal limit
- Fixed one of the Barbeck quest items not giving a reward
- Fixed issues with quest clues and journal entries when planet names were renamed by player
- Fixed a crash with Stargate/hyperspace travel
- Fixed an issue with planet cycling using arrow keys if the planet occupied the last spot in galaxy
- Fixed ship power/move meter not displaying below 10%
- Fixed starbases not getting upgrades
- Fixed planet defense platform hit points not showing in some circumstances
- Fixed in certain circumstances the camera not showing attacks on player ships
- Fixed display units for population on stats screen / news stats screen
- Fixed legend panel from getting stuck inside the turn button

Sound:
- Normalized S/FX file volume levels to be consistent

Diplomacy:
- Relations view is now an option when viewing race relations
- Armistice pact duration changed to 10 turns before it expires, giving the two races a chance to improve relations
- a number of smaller fixes with how messages/pacts are displayed

Techview:
- Tech boosts from artifacts and quests will now display the progress immediately in techview

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 Post subject: Re: September 20 2013 - Beta version 4.48
PostPosted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 9:48 am 
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The A.I empires are far too keen giving you information about other empires whereabouts taking away the exploration aspect.


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 Post subject: Re: September 20 2013 - Beta version 4.48
PostPosted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 2:15 pm 
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We were going for the more realistic approach since that's what would normally happen if they are aware, they would likely share this info. But maybe we can find a happy medium and they wouldn't reveal it too quickly or could be based on relations being at least friendly. I'm open to suggestions if you have a good idea.

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 Post subject: Re: September 20 2013 - Beta version 4.48
PostPosted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 4:06 pm 
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I would class that as Intel sharing so its suits that treaty or alliance.

I would also recommend having some sort of relations factor list like you get in Civ,Totalwar.Example "+2 for enemy of my enemy",ect showing why the race feels the way it does.I think it is vital for clarity and taking away frustration that older 4x games gave.


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 Post subject: Re: September 20 2013 - Beta version 4.48
PostPosted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 9:33 pm 
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I really like this update, the new missions are awesome and way points are great.

Econ however feels like its giving way to much money and everything is about buy out instead of building it. From the very start of the game Im buying everything out and have an ok fleet right of the start with tons of scouts out finding me tech. It was fun though I got into a fight with the Varaians at year 2237 and had a blast fighting them for a while but the ship spam was a bit much and mid way through the war I had started to bleed them out as they sent ship after ship to my planet on their boarder and I was able to easily able to beat them. The would also come with a good group once and a while but never enough I also had 20 or so ships vs their groups of 5 or so. Their hit points where crazy and regen but I was able to beat them down. With out much help I took away a few of their worlds and after over 100 years of war on the year 2342 we made peace after I crushed most of their forces around many worlds. I asked for peace allot but they liked getting their face smashed in.

The major problem pops up around mid war through the way. I can build so much and have so many ships its just way to much. I don't want to control so many ships and the computer cant handle a build up of force like I had. My suggestion is to increase price of ships, and buy out by allot. Upkeep also needs to go up as tech goes up and econ should be controlled by how many ships you want out on the field. I would much rather play the actual battles if I only had a few ships to play with in the battle. Also the more planets i get the more ships I need to protect them so as my colonies grow I can start to afford to protect them. Currently its nearly impossible to become spread thin by mid game. Once I get to 20+ ships its just way to much, 5 to 10 is not bad in a battle. Also to make battles more fun, system targeting along with more weapon effects. Its ok to have some weapons a bit better then the other but effect should be very important and set each weapon apart. Like a weapon that slows, throws off targeting for a turn, drain power, making weapon choice more tactical. Tractor beams, special shield piercing torp all these could really add to the tactical combat. Currently its all just hit auto and watch a little light show. Put tons of beams on it that does a ton of forward damage and your good no need to think. Just isnt that much fun and when I have 200 ships in a fight that all do the same thing I have little reason not to skip the fight either way I win and I just lose a ton of time.

Currently end game has way too many ships and way to much money to throw around on everything but very little to actually buy. I bought everything on every world, took industry off every world since it was never used and just kept build ships with buy out. If I didn't buy ships I would have nothing to spend my massive income on which leads to major build up in end game which makes the game allot less fun. Its mostly a hit turn button game with very little though as to whats going on in end game. Not only did I have insane amount of ships but after I was given shields for nothing my ships with bio regen armor where almost impossible to kill. So now I never lose ships and I just keep killing. Shields and bio regen armor are very overpowered. Shields more then the armor since systems don't get damaged with shields. Once you get shields you can win most battles with out a scratch.

I really do like the idea of it taking forever to calculate out a good shot and fighting over huge distances taking only one shot every few weeks. Makes me think of epic longrange battle. But battles that last a a few years that are just kick attack hit enter attack enter attack enter attack enter is just not fun after turn 3 not to mention turn 400 of combat.

Even with econ giving way too much green I still very much enjoyed the game. Had allot of fun with missions and hope to see alot more of these as well as the ability to mod in our own missions down the line.

Currently Im getting into what I now feels is end game but seems like it came way to soon. I can beat up on almost anyone now and most are my friends or allies. I am about to win the game if I wanted but much of it feels like it came way to fast and I have way to many ships and worlds. Things should very costly both for building worlds and keeping a standing army. With out many tactics for the tactical combat end game is not very fun as all the choice is taken out of the game for each turn and each combat instead of opening it up.

I think end game would be allot more fun if I had only 40 ships instead of 200 and my weapon choice and armor and engines where all about options and each choice giving me something special that I can easily understand and see the effects.


AI was fun to play with though in diplo and felt the power of missions and exploration. Exploration is also very overpowered currently with scouts being able to get you nearly everything you could ever want. Only a few areas in mid game and end game do you need to bring a fleet to fight something. But was still allot of fun going around exploring the galaxy digging up riches getting into fights and doing missions on the side. War doesn't stop exploration. Also that crystal mission you add this update is just beyond epic. I really like the ending I got but I wont spoil it for the rest of you. Im sure Zaimat knows what I mean. I would also like to suggest you restrict survey to cruisers and motherships its way to easy with scouts doing surveying. Or at least restrict digging to bigger ships or even a fleet for some specials like missions.

I also didn't expand very much and was still kicking butt I have terriforming but since im so OP once I got it I don't really colonize any more since I don't need to or want to if I did I would just be to powerful. I like the restriction of builds but it should be more varried depending on tech level and world type not just 12 for homeworld and 9 for everything else. I also couldnt take over very many worlds with invasion since I seemed to bomb them to death if they have ground defences. More protect of pop with defenses would be good so they out last the defenses. Would also be nice to get tech and different population stats bonuses for taking over a population and adding it to your own. I also don't like how little you see of allied movement and of the galaxy ship movements itself with sensors even around endgame. I have very little clue whats going on in the galaxy and it feels very deed with nothing going on some times. Really want to be able to see whats going on and watch more then I see currently.

Really wanted to say how addictive it is though and how much fun I have been having an insane amount of fun with the game. I really cant wait to see what kinda modding tools will be for the game as well. Im probably going to spend another 12 hours playing it on a new game. Going to try playing a bit differently see if I can find a way not to break the econ and keep ship numbers down while still being able to compete with the other races with the current patch. First play through was a blast though.

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 Post subject: Re: September 20 2013 - Beta version 4.48
PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 7:38 am 
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I have to report some bugs:
- Around mid game cut scenes for new worlds colonized, technology break throughs and news reports don't work. I hear the music but the screen just goes black
- One time upon clicking "new game" the whole thing crashed

Other things:
My allies keep settling toxic planets and then giving me the colonies! Why would they do this? they only have one or two planets as it is.

The computer players have way too many ships, one battle was like 120 enemy ships vs. my 40 ships. They kept winning until a bit later when I got better targeting computers and improved particle beams. Now my 30 ships massacred their fleet of 80. Even still this takes WAY TOO LONG. Battles last 20 minutes or something. Would be great if you had a similar system to MOO2, specifically ships start combat not too far from each other.

Quite frankly the distances involved are another thing, takes my fleet 5 turns just to get into battle.

Ships with fighters available never launch them automatically. I have to control them the first few turns and order the "Launch fighters" command otherwise they just sit there.

It's a bit annoying that you can terraform a planet but it looks exactly the same as before. It should be something you have to build over a number of turns ( and not buy it!) and then you get the bonus. Also Ice worlds should become ocean worlds, desert worlds become arid, arid and ocean worlds become terran. Something like that, so we can see the planet changing over time, e.g. the picture of the planet changes too.

Would be nice to have ship specials like:
-inertial dampners which allow your ships to turn faster. My capital ships need a whole turn just to turn the right way!!
-battle computer which increases accuracy by +20 or +30 something like that
-second shield generator
-pulse weapon which sends out a wave of damage e.g. area of effect weapon but it damages friendly craft if they are too close
-special ECC module which improves anti missle defense

Trade and economy lacks depth

Espionage is totally missing

Colony overview is not so great


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 Post subject: Re: September 20 2013 - Beta version 4.48
PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 5:08 pm 
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Rather than just allies and enemies why not have detailed third party relations.I would like to know who is trading or sharing intel with my enemies.


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 Post subject: Re: September 20 2013 - Beta version 4.48
PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 10:02 pm 
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Ok, here's wot I think about this version.

Great work with expanding quests (still I wish Harkans left me their planets).
I love changes in the task force management.
New galaxy size - ok.
Videos for alien home planets - magnificient!
Overall game feels more polished, it is a real time-sink (oh, how much had I planned on this weekend).

Sadly, now it's time for questions and frustrations (keep in mind that the game is really fine).

I don't really get why Barsigs, Barbecks, Lesgoon and Tantik lose over 80% of their population in first 50 years. Ok, Lesgoon have got their plague, but other races?
Adding allies and enemies (and the relationship log with a race) is great. However, I don't quite understand, why don't Kortahz and Varaians hate each other's guts from the very beginning?

I didn't feel any difference in the alliance mechanism. In one game, I allianced everyone the same way as in alpha, everyone except Tantiks. They kept me in a friendzone for ages until I decided to wipe them out.
Ok, I asked the whole galaxy to attack one of their colonies. All nine races. Not a single ship was sent. So much for the alliance.
I finally wiped out the Tantiks, but had no congratulatory video - right after I destroyed their last colony, I got <CREDITS PLACEHOLDER>. Well, I don't mind, I've seen that video already many times. I'm more interested in credits, actually, but that may be a bug.

I don't understand, why do the aliens keep giving me their planets.
What are they trying to achieve, if we're already in an alliance?

Research still isn't changed.
Glacial at start, lightning fast at the end, tons of unneeded tech - well, as it always was.

Ships...
Well, even motherships are too small. Shields, autorepair bots, a pair of cargo holds leave not much place for firepower.
I've tried building support ships, packed with cargo holds only - but managing them in the battle is a pain.
While I'm talking about the pain - turning motherships in the combat is a hell. They do 360 in about 8 turns, I think.
Task forces management from the galaxy map works erratically, if the task force is already engaged.

Old combat troubles such as "no zoom out" and "order of ships to command is seemingly random" are still there.
Weapons are still made of paper and are damaged at the first opportunity, rendering ship crippled.

I've tried other tactics, but scouts are useless, transports are good only for colonizing, cruisers are even more useless.
I've ended up building suicide bombers gangs - three-four motherships packed with neutron bombs (all slots with 9 bombs x 1 ammo). All of them get damaged during their run, but still get to the enemy planet and bomb it into oblivion. Then I press "auto" and scrap the fleet on the next turn. I don't have to worry about orbital defences, fleet - they all will die eventually without the colony. Convenient.

By the way, Eremei device, what's it for?
It takes all the place in a mothership, but seemingly does nothing.

Well, I couldn't have thrown away these gigantic, majestic warbea^WHP cans, if I hadn't an indecent amount of money.

Speaking of which, I feel conflicted about the changes in economy.
I still get too much money. I still can buy my way through everything.
But at least I have something to do - I can reprofile my planets (usually towards research) due to the limit on buildings. And higher-tier buildings cost appropriately.

However, I don't like that the limit is set once and forever (12 for the home planet, 9 for colony).
It can be tied to population. To planet size. To technology (like in Orion Commander). But having it set is frustrating.
I've colonized a home planet left by Harkans, by the way, and got 12/9 buildings there.

Still waiting for music/SFX volume slider in the options.


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 Post subject: Re: September 20 2013 - Beta version 4.48
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 6:22 am 
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Agreed about buying stuff being too easy.I always thought that mechanic in 4X's being a desperate measure and not the norm.

The economy is pretty basic.I would like food to be used like in MOO with specialised farm colonies supplying the empire with shipping routes.Blockading shipping and trade routes could be a fun element.The economy just seems to be about pressing upgrade buttons with little else involved from my limited time playing so far.


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 Post subject: Re: September 20 2013 - Beta version 4.48
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 6:36 am 
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Soldaris wrote:
I have to report some bugs:
- Around mid game cut scenes for new worlds colonized, technology break throughs and news reports don't work. I hear the music but the screen just goes black
- One time upon clicking "new game" the whole thing crashed


I can confirm this bug but happens earlier for me.

Also it wasn't clear that I could not build new structures because of lack of government. The option is highlighted green as if I could buy a new structure but does not respond. An explanation on screen or greying these options out would help.


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 Post subject: Re: September 20 2013 - Beta version 4.48
PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:13 am 
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Cumberlow wrote:
Soldaris wrote:
I have to report some bugs:
- Around mid game cut scenes for new worlds colonized, technology break throughs and news reports don't work. I hear the music but the screen just goes black
- One time upon clicking "new game" the whole thing crashed
I can confirm this bug but happens earlier for me.


I moved this issue to the support section. Please let me know how it fares with the changes.

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