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 Post subject: November 27 2013 - Beta v4.57 - Test branch
PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 4:32 am 
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Hello everyone,

We are excited to bring you a first view of what we have been working on since the initial Beta version 2 months ago.

We always planned to have full race customization in Horizon but we are also going a little further by providing you the option to play as one of seven other unique races in the game for a total of 8 playable races.

Much of it is already functional but we won't be patching it live yet, as we continue to work on it and test it thoroughly.

Instead we have once more created a test branch for those who want to try out this version and/or provide feedback.
You can simply opt-in to try this more advanced version of Horizon and you can always opt-out to revert back to the live stable version with a few clicks.

Here are the steps to opt-in (opt-out is similar):
- From your Steam app. games library list
- Right-click on Horizon and select properties
- Select the Beta tab and choose 'Beta - Test Branch' from the drop down

---

Test version Changelog:

New major Features:
* Ability to fully customize your race with race templates
* Don't want to play as Humans? Select one of seven additional races for a different experience (includes 84 new ship models and other assets)

Additional features:

* You can now design your starbase before building it

Fixes:
* Fixed colony list wheel scroll issue on certain screens
* Fixed AI issue where it would not clear previous targets and continue attacking even after an alliance treaty
* Fixed lag when loading video files
* Fixed troop pods not displaying the correct amount of troops in ship design
* Fixed an issue where ambient music kept playing during a video animation with it's own audio stream
* Fixed a bug where after an Invasion the losing race would not account for the loss of the colony resulting in unexpected AI behaviour

Other changes and improvements:
* Planetary building benefits are now affected by the structure condition
* Artifact worlds with ancient cities will now have proper starting resource levels
* Monetary Aid / Supplies Aid pacts duration changed from 5 to 10 turns (unlimited if alliance)
* Intelligence sharing has been added (available when friendly, automatic with alliance). Shares info about other races.
* Turn notification that all stars have been explored will only be displayed once per game session

* Mercury and Venus planetary resources changed from poor to abundant
* Planetary special bonuses changed for Gold/Gem Deposits, Vistas and Monuments, tooltips added to show bonuses
* Launch fighter button now checks if fighters are available and toggles to indicate if fighters have been launched
* Cargo Holds renamed to Supply Bays
* ETA of ships in movement now account for JumpDrives

* Supply range calculation improved on galaxy map
* Default display option changed from full-screen exclusive to Borderless Window mode
* Having reached civilian buildings cap will no longer display for orbitals/defense structures
* Planetary building benefits will now scale more appropriately. Also fixed an issue where farming without buildings did not function on terran planets
* Homeworld backgrounds updated, some videos updated

* Text alignment improved on certain screens and other updated visuals
* Added colony view buttons for survey info and colony List
* Added Stations to the design screen
* Adjusted shield effect when hit by weapons
* Eremai device no longer discoverable via research

* Each weapon now has a unique SFX
* Repulsive race diplomatic options have been limited until friendly relations are established
* Options has been added to the main menu, currently only Audio tab is accessible, mute and master volume controls have been added
* Galaxy map star name labels improved. Zoom scroll "steps" doubled for more control
* Terraforming base mechanic has been changed but not yet complete, more changes to come

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 Post subject: Re: November 27 2013 - Beta v4.57 - Test branch
PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 9:16 am 
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Zaimat wrote:
* You can now design your starbase before building it


Looking forward to trying that out and one up on MOO2 where you couldn't design your starbases.


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 Post subject: Re: November 27 2013 - Beta v4.57 - Test branch
PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 1:10 pm 
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Good choice adding more races as I think that will help sales.

Is zooming out in the battle map on the radar? An option to show Firing arcs on the battle maps would also save lots of time too.Battles need to flow faster.


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 Post subject: Re: November 27 2013 - Beta v4.57 - Test branch
PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 2:32 pm 
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Is there a beta test code to enter? I don't have an opt in option.


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 Post subject: Re: November 27 2013 - Beta v4.57 - Test branch
PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 4:03 pm 
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No code to enter. You might need to restart your Steam application to see it if you haven't in the past 24 hours.

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 Post subject: Re: November 27 2013 - Beta v4.57 - Test branch
PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 4:49 pm 
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Ashbery76 wrote:
Is zooming out in the battle map on the radar? An option to show Firing arcs on the battle maps would also save lots of time too.Battles need to flow faster.
Definitely something we want to see added as well. There are some technical hurdles with the zoom out so I can't say for a fact at this time it will get done or when but we will certainly make an effort to add them.

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 Post subject: Re: November 27 2013 - Beta v4.57 - Test branch
PostPosted: Fri Nov 29, 2013 9:50 am 
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Bug report: Selecting to play a disabled race causes crash to desktop.


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 Post subject: Re: November 27 2013 - Beta v4.57 - Test branch
PostPosted: Fri Nov 29, 2013 12:31 pm 
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Nice catch! I have fixed it for the next patch. Thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: November 27 2013 - Beta v4.57 - Test branch
PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:40 am 
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Some feedback:

Fighters don't launch from my star base on auto combat, I have to manually launch. Would be nice if they did. Any plans to allow design of fighters?

Would help on the star map if different ship types and fleets had different symbols rather than all using the same, especially colony ships which I often mix up with scouts and send off exploring.

Late game tends to bog down and it's hard to keep track of who you are at war and peace with. Would help if different sectors were colour coded e.g. Friendly, Neutral, Hostile, Empty, Mixed (not sure what it means, scanning range perhaps, but can get sectors temporarily shown in green or blue, something like that but fixed would be great).

Also it would help if ships avoided traversing hostile sectors unless ordered to enter them or at least stop before entering so that I can reroute them. I tend to get a lot of combats with single ships crossing hostile sectors on route elsewhere during the late game.

Races out of communication range declare war early on as I can't set up trade routes etc. to improve relations. So I have to switch to war from exploration and colonisation. However, if I avoid getting the translation technology then the AI races can't talk to me and declare war so I have a peaceful game and can colonise planets at will until late game when I eventually get the tech despite my efforts to avoid it. By then I have a big empire and can crush the AI's who have been at war with each other as they couldn't with me. It's an exploit but no translations means no decrease in relations as far as I can see. Whether I can communicate or not they should go to war.

I still don't have much use for bombs, I can just use my heavy beams to wipe out AI colonies. Would be nice to see some more utility. Possibly increase the damage for consumable based weapons such as bombs (i.e. frontload) or remove the use limit and give variants e.g. anti-personal, anti-structure, balanced. It would be nice if bombers were a real planet threat and high priority target for defence systems.

Similarly, I don't use boarding or encounter the AI using it. I don't bother with troop landings either. The benefit of capturing planets does not seem worth it considering the need to build and manage troops/transports especially late game when you can just buy rebuild when your awash with credits, assuming the planet suits your race which it often doesn't. Maybe if it granted a chance to capture new techs from the race or genocide had negative consequences with other races uniting them against you.

AI keeps sending fleets against my planets that have no chance of taking them. My missile defences and star bases take them out on auto every time. No need to leave any defending ships.

Can't help but feel there should be some limit to the number of colonies you can have based on some administration/control factor that you can increase during the game.

Similarly, a limit on the range of ships outside of your supply range (supplemented by cargo space) would permit a more controlled expansion.

Would like to see the space on scouts increased by 10 so that you had the choice of weapons or a single cargo hold to extend range.

On the planet list it would be great if the planet names were colour coded or greyed out for quality or ability to colonise. When playing different races with different optimal planet types this would be very helpful.

Please disable map zoom with mouse wheel when pointer is over ship list but no scroll bar is present. Currently only works when scroll bar is there.

I would like the option so see a grid option on the battle map. Positioning mother ship fleets around planets to bombard can be a pain.


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 Post subject: Re: November 27 2013 - Beta v4.57 - Test branch
PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 2:37 am 
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For me, invading planets seems to bring more annoyance, then fun, currently, my race of choice is the Tantik and i make them out to be like the Star Trek Borg, you know, parasite trait helps with assimulation of populations and all that and their planet of choice is Metalic (my choice), but when i conquer a planet that isn't metalic, i can't terraform it to metalic, because of the population, despite assimulating them into my empire.

I first thought that, hey, they are not like you, so they have different needs, they need food, specific climate and so on, yet, if my race doesn't need food, they don't either, but their climates differ, its likely a bug with the 'not needing food' traits.

I think it would be very cool if you had the parasite trait when customizing your race, that when you conquer another planet that is not of your own preferred type, when you assimulate them fully into your empire, they become your race, so you can then terraform the planet as if it was full of your own species.

It would just be so cool to have that feature really, it would give me a reason to invade instead of just bombing them into dust and colonizing the planet seperately, you could also make this conversion like a bio-attack to the other races, talk about a good feature with a cool bad side to it also.


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 Post subject: Re: November 27 2013 - Beta v4.57 - Test branch
PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 10:27 am 
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Actually that would make a great idea as a new trait!

At the moment the assimilation just means politically and culturally, biologically they are still the same. This makes sense for none "assimilating" (a la Borg style) races. Parasitic races are more like the G'auld from SG. In such cases the host stays the same, so their biological needs don't change. So even if they assimilate a world, the host stays the same physically. So original Tantiks are just primary hosts from their first worlds.

Personally, I would like to keep the G'auld like races in the game and not change them and the Parasitic trait either. However, adding in an "assimilating" trait for races that are more like the Borg would be cool, reminds me of the Grey Order from Armada 2526. New features, options, and traits are always welcomed.


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 Post subject: Re: November 27 2013 - Beta v4.57 - Test branch
PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 2:31 pm 
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Star bases currently come with a default of 5 beams in each weapon slot. I immediately change that to 9 in my design and replace all the supply bays (what are they for on a star base?) with fighter bays and later add a shield to buff them. Cost for building and time remains the same. Now that is a bargain, but perhaps all those additions should cost me more.


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 Post subject: Re: November 27 2013 - Beta v4.57 - Test branch
PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 9:20 pm 
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Well, i liked the Gray Order for that very reason, but if the parasite trait remains as it is, i suggest they change what it does exactly, it could make it far easier to win invasions, by taking govenment officials over secretly and getting them to agree to surrendering or something like that.

When it comes to the Starbases and why they have supply bays, i believe that speeds up the rate at which your ships get resupplied, i mean, if you remove all your supply bays from your starbases, but only use them on your ships, i wonder where the supplies come from?? magic?

When it comes to the Assimulating trait thingy, i think it should be counted as a biological attack, which means, other races will not like it being used and the tech that increases resistance to bio-attacks would also make them get resistance to this conversion virus.


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 Post subject: Re: November 27 2013 - Beta v4.57 - Test branch
PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 11:11 am 
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I was thinking about this, the whole thing with Starbases and supply bays and all, and I think I came up with an idea (thanks to Lithari's suggestion actually). :)

Perhaps having two separate modules, the ones that ships can use (supply bays or cargo holds) that act like they do today. These can not be equipped on Starbases obviously since they are in supply in orbit around a planet. Then you have a sort of supply module or logistic modules, which can only be equipped on Starbases. In a fashion your colonies will count as having 1 supply/logistic modules each with Starbases being a way to have more.

So what does this all mean in gameplay, logistic modules will act as the life line to supply your ships. So one such module will feed a certain number of supply. The system to could be kept simple like one module can feed 1 Mothership or 2 (whatever is the better balance), and obviously the proportional amount of smaller ships based on how much supply each take in contrast. So naturally 1 logistic module can supply more ships if they are smaller.

This suddenly makes Starbases very important to the infrastructure, and the decision of how much of a battle Starbase you want versus how much of a supply Starbase you will want to make. It also acts a sort of soft fleet cap, but with correct player decisions, you can still have a small empire (few planets), still have a respectable cap because of more supply centric Starbases. The reason I saw soft is because you can produce ships past the optimal supply feed.

When that happens, you can either have a system where the excess supply is charged as additional maintenance (so fielding large fleets past supply will be very expensive), or it can generate delay in the supply system thus reducing your range. So for example you only can supply a value 12 but have a navy that is value 18, you will be overextended by 150%. So you ships range will be reduced to 3/4. So a range 8 now becomes 6. Naturally for the second to work the penalty for being out of supply should be steeper than it is now, and for the financial penalty the economy needs to be a little more tight.

This means, you won't be to just produce a bunch of ships without making sure you have the 'military infrastructure' to support it, which the Starbases will now serve as primary function for. Building Starbases over outposts suddenly also becomes an important choice.

Obviously, I am certain how much of a good idea this is. It might not work in the model Horizon is using, but it is still worth a thought at least. That said, not sure if this can be implement or how it would be code this into the game since it does seem to be a major change in how the game works (but I could be wrong). Still I always been a fan of logistical limitations: though only the ones that are a soft cap (so you can go over with a penalty), and one that a small empire can still overcome (so that not only large empires can get the advantage).

Possible variation, only the Capitol offers a free logistic supply (or more specifically, several logistic modules worth of supply) and normal colonies don't (they just act as supply points from which the supply range is determined). Additional logistics is given only be Starbases with the corresponding module.

Naturally this sort of data will need to be clear for the player, like he knows just how much each ship is worth, how much he starts with (how much each colony gives if it does give any), and how much each module on a Starbase is worth when one is installed. Also be able to know at a glance how much he has now and what is his current navy consuming. This is obviously tied the level of supply a certain ship class consumes.

The only concern I have with this is how likely the AI can gimp itself because of it, since a player will usually be more adept to maximising his supply network (leaving the AI will smaller fleets and the like).


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 Post subject: Re: November 27 2013 - Beta v4.57 - Test branch
PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 9:25 pm 
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Hmm, my idea was more clearer to me, but then i have a simpler mind then most.


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 Post subject: Re: November 27 2013 - Beta v4.57 - Test branch
PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 10:01 pm 
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The idea was just elaborated upon, explaining the mechanics, balance concerns, and variations; and the why of it all. Sort of what is under the hood as it were.

From the gameplay and players perspective the system will obviously be more refined and straight forward, even simple.

Basically, you add Logistic Modules (special 'supply bays' specific for Starbases only) to Starbases so that you can have more ships in your fleets. Sort of like the command point system you saw in some older 4X games. If you don't have enough you would either reduce the optimal range of your ships as the supply cycle is 'slowed down', or alternatively, you paid off the balance from your economy (like an additional maintenance fee). Obviously the UI will have the information you need and you will know how much each ship class is worth.

Still I suspect this will require a lot of changes to the game's engine so I doubt it can be easily implemented, or might not fit with the direction Horizon is aiming for. It was just an idea I had because of this discussion.


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