Not all that odd. If every great new system or feature is being put in (or vetoed) by the same guy writing AI… :)
Clever! Good point.
Yeah, just strikes me as odd larger development teams couldn’t find there was thru to working out a development process that would land them at the same end point.
No matter how big the team, most game developers just don’t have anyone that’s very good at coding AI. And it’s often the thing that gets the short end of the stick as far as resources delegated to the project. It’s just very fortunate that the DE devs seem to be very experienced and good in the AI arena. It makes me wonder about their background. There is zero info out there about them or their company.
Larger teams have business people that control the budget and the conventional wisdom seems to be that AI development isn’t worth the money. If it’s the developer’s baby, though, it’s different.
I suspect that one can be “good” at coding AI and still release a game in which the AI “sucks.”
Strategy game AI is a terrifying example of the kind of heavily internally interconnected system that is also heavily dependent on upstream data that has to be an absolute nightmare to deal with.
Even if your company is good and disciplined and your team respects a feature lock well in advance of a beta, for example, what happens when playtesting reveals that your game is more prone to city spam than you thought, and so the designer cranks up some coefficient that puts a drag on expansion? Oh shit, now the AI is over-expanding at the cost of military development or tall infrastructure or whatever. So you lower the weight on expansion activities in the AI’s decision table, okay. Wait, what the fuck, why is it spamming scouts now? Etc, etc.
I have a lot of empathy for anyone trying to wrestle with strategy game AI.
Is there any impetus to actually use any of these endgame global spells? I sort of feel like you’re way better off spending your meditation on summon spamming and buffing.
Take the Ice one for example. Endless Winter or whatever. So it turns squares to tundras. It’s useful to one race. That’s silly. There is no impetus whatsoever to take that spell if you aren’t playing that specific race. Yea, you might have access to one or two more summons with tundra walking, but you’ll also have access to adult Dragons, so haha, who cares.
Dominions has probably at least 20 examples of horrifying global spells you need to disrupt. Even MoM had some pretty nasty ones. But these ones seem kind of piddly.
Yes. There are actually a few pretty powerful ones.
One that I’m using right now is the death spell, ‘Living Dead World’. Combined with the ‘Living Dead’ battle spell it can be pretty ugly for opponents. What happens is that any time you kill an enemy unit, it rises as a random undead unit and fights for you the rest of the battle. After the battle, you get to permanently keep as many of those surviving undead units as will fit in your army. So if you keep 4 spaces empty in your unit stack, you essentially get 4 free undead units every battle. Talk about force multipliers. If any AI has that up, it’s a priority dispel for me.
Another one is the arcane spell, ‘Time Warp Bubble’. You cast it on a tile and then it has 2 effects. First, there’s 0 movement cost in the hex. Second, and more importantly, the deity owning the spell can cast 2 battle spells per turn rather than one. That second effect is very powerful and I’ve seen some people on the Steam forums bitterly complaining about the AI being able to cast twice per turn, not realizing it has this world spell in effect.
You may wonder what good it is if it only affects one hex. Well, if you cast it on your best city’s main hex, it makes defending the city from attacks a whole lot easier. You can also cast it multiple times (it cost 5 mana per turn to maintain for each iteration) so if you have tons of mana you could actually make a zero movement cost road with this spell.
There’s also the ‘Slow Time Bubble’ spell which is similar but reduces other deities ability to cast in combat to every other round. I wonder if you could stack the two? It would be pretty devastating.
Heads up, they just pushed an update on the beta build of this one…
I saw it…updating now!!!
No way! Woohoo.
Yeah, haven’t checked out what changed, was checking out Planetfall.
Wow, it’s a big update with a lot of very interesting changes.
Beta Build 1.1.56
We’ve released a new beta build (finally!). The changes in this update are too many and too diverse to highlight anything in particular, so here are the full update notes:
• Added “road_wall_or_army_prevents_lair_spawn_distance” to game_settings.txt, to change the distance at which lairs are prevented from respawning near roads, walls or armies.
• All Lizardmen fighting units can now choose Water Travel as a level up choice at level 5, allowing travel over water on the world map (at the cost of a level up choice!).
• Tooltips will now appear over units in the Units list panel and the Active Army panel, showing various info about the unit under the mouse.
• World spell casting will now default to the last recurring spell clicked on. Recurring spells are: Increase Meditation, Increase Battle Mana, (ie Increase Mana Pool), Consume Souls, Increase Magic Research, Expand Item Vault.
• Added units Leviathan, Electric Sea Snakes.
• The Lizardmen Kraken can now choose Shocking Strike at level 10, and can evolve to a Leviathan at level 15.
• Added spell Spawn Electric Sea Snakes.
• Added attacks Water Spout, Leviathan Lash, Small Bite. Water Spout shoots in a straight line through targets, gives water spheres to targets it hits, and replenishes ammo each turn the unit is in water.
• Added abilities Water Regeneration.
• Fixed a bug with Ice Shield not working correctly in some cases, and changed the behaviour to “Place a protective shield of ice around a friendly unit. The shield absorbs up to 2 physical damage per attack, and absorbs up to 50% of cold damage taken. Once 20 (plus 5% per magic level) damage has been absorbed, the shield is depleted. The physical absorb amount increases by 1 per 10 magic levels of the caster.”.
• Fixed the mana cost of healing spells cast on the world map. Their mana cost is now increased by the same amount as other (non-healing) spells when cast on the world map.
• Fixed display of mana cost in the battle panel in the top-right of the screen during battle.
• Tweaked spells Disintegration (now higher spell level, slightly less damage) and Meteor Strike (now lower spell level, slightly more damage).
• Fixed bug with potions disappearing when wearing items that increase potion storage.
• Pain Spikes spell can no longer be resisted.
• Item enchantments may now grant abilities, or spells that have a chance to cast either “on-hit”, “when-hit” or “end-of-turn”. Old item enchantments will migrate to one of the new ability or spell procs.
• Fixed bug with Water Walking items not working correctly.
• Items destroyed may now yield magic gems, mithril or adamantium.
• Item enchantments which the player doesn’t currently have the resources to create will be greyed out in the Create Item window.
• Interacting with the Armies List window should mimic the Units List window UI interactions.
• Added game option to limit the display size of units on the battlefield.
• Items can be now sorted by item attributes.
• The item list window will now appear once you are done creating an item (provided it was initiated from the item list window).
• Dungeons now have a set number of levels. The loot on the last dungeon level has been increased in quality, and at least 1 item will be on the last level. The max level can be changed via game_settings.txt.
• Units that counter-fire will now gain xp if they land the killing blow.
• World-Map/Overland walls outside of city range will now remain controlled by the last deity to travel over them. Overland walls outside of a cities range will not block neutral armies when the setup option “Traversing walls requires war” is selected.
• AI deities should no longer roll the Egotistical personality at game start if they have no material unit.
• Walls on the worldmap within range of a city will no longer slow the movement of the city owners armies, even when an enemy army is on the wall.
• Added option to pin Notes to the world map. This can be accessed by right-clicking on a tile (or hitting F2 when the mouse is over a tile). When a note is set, a pin appears on the world map where you set a note. At the moment notes are shared between all players in a multiplayer game
• Added a graphic alternative to the blinking army/unit. This can be changed in the game options.
• The AI will now traverse down dungeon levels. This can be toggled on/off in the game options.
• You can now have up to 1000 units per army by editing the keys max_ai_stack_size000 and max_human_stack_size000 in game_settings.txt. You cannot set these in the setup options, and trying to change them in the setup options will cap the stack size to 18. While setting the limit above 18 should work fine, we will not be offering support (in particular we will not be addressing performance issues, or doing AI tweaks/changes to facilitate larger army sizes!).
• Cities will now lose buildings proportional to the population lost when they are conquered.
• Fixed a bug that could occur causing a lockup if you use the “toggle_ai_control” cheat during a game where you have setup the AI max army size different than the human max army size.
• Fixed a bug that could cause a game lockup if you modded a unit to have the tranport ability, but didn’t give it the boat ability.
• Fixed a bug with the Level Up screen appearing for units when no level-up options exist for the unit (specific to units with the Supply Unit ability).
• Created items are now etherealized for at most 2 turns.
• You can now destroy buildings in a city you control. To do so open the building tree and right click on a building. Then click on the Destroy Building button. All buildings beyond it in the tree will also be destroyed.
• Added spells Illuminate, Magic Torch, which add 1 to a units spotting in dungeons.
• The behaviour of the Reveal spell has changed. The new description reads “Enemy units that are in the affected tiles when the spell is cast gain the revealed buff for the duration of the spell, even when they leave the affected tiles. In addition, enemy units that move into or remain in affected tiles will become visible. Lastly, the spell allows friendly units to see the affected tiles in dungeons, even when out of spotting range.”
• Increased the spell level of Reveal from 6 to 11.
• Added game options to allow choosing from different preset color/font UI schemes.
• Fixed a display bug which showed that units could equip items that require an ability when they could not.
• Added increase_meditation_is_constant to game_settings.txt. Set this to 1 and the spell “Increase Meditation Skill” will no longer increase in cost as meditation skill increases.
• Fixed AI/automated workers/prospectors not building roads/improvements on the same turn that they move.
• Added spell Enthrall Creature. All deity units have this spell inherently. When cast on a friendly battle summoned creature (that would not normally persist after battle), this spell makes the creature join the caster’s army permanently. Note that etherealized deities cannot cast this spell.
• Added key starting_item_vault_size to game_settings.txt.
• The spell Expand Item Vault can now be cast instantly by materialized deities, bypassing meditation but requiring much more mana pool.
• The experience stars of battle summons are now drawn smaller and darker on the battle map, making it easier to tell which units are battle summons.
• Added abilities Deity Mana Channeler 2/3/5, which allow a unit to increase its Deities meditation while the unit is alive. These abilities have been added to a number of units as an available level-up option.
• A message will now appear when the last defender on a dungeon level is killed (unless you have selected the game option to obscure enemies remaining).
• Added spells Corporeal Exchange and Swap Places, allowing two friendly units to change places during battle.
• The Lizard Queen Ssassrah has been added as a unit. This is the deity unit for the Lizardman race.
• Multiplayer games should no longer end when the first human player is defeated.
Also, I really like the new item vault.
Ok, have to check that out, the old one felt clunky to me the way it worked.
edit: yeah, that is nice, descriptions with picture of the unit.
P.S. can someone talk the dev into incorporating wabbit’s batch of graphic enhancement mods into the game because I honestly could not go back to playing it w/o them.
Yes that’s WAY better than before.
I see there is now a “sentry” option for armies in cities that pops up when you select the army.
Speaking of selecting, I quite like the new effect when you do that.
Wow, lots of good stuff here, and not the sorts of things I ever expected to see in this game. Some of this looks like polish!
Anyone know for sure whether it breaks saved games? I have a particularly fun game going that I wouldn’t want to ditch.
Thank you so so much.
This is going to affect me. I had been abusing this in the early going. Level up important units by letting enemies attack with spearmen in the back row. But I always thought this was an abusive exploit.
The implication is that all dungeons have the same number of levels. I wish that were somewhat randomized. But not a big deal.
Another big thank you.
I like that!
Probably the most important change to me, in terms of gameplay. A very big deal if considering keeping my deity materialized beyond the very first turns of the game.
Dungeons having set levels is the one thing I was really hoping they’d do design wise, and was worried they were married to the infinite depth. Awesome!
Now I hope they take the next step and make different dungeons have different depths. Like it would feel really good to have the ability to fully clear whatever on the map be milestones in the progression of a game, rather than hitting one huge inflection point where now you are gunning for all the dungeons.
I didn’t know Counter Fire didn’t give XP before, that’s a good change.
Now the one I really want to see is battlefield summons should give XP to the mage that summoned them (so I’m not talking about the ones your deity summons). They “steal” a lot of XP and makes me not want to use them.
I don’t think it does. I was able to load and run mine fine and they haven’t broken compatibility with past updates.
No, I don’t think they do. I think it is indeed variable. There are two settings in the file affecting this:
max_dungeon_level = 65
max_dungeon_level_skew = 3
From that I assume it’s now a random number of levels with an upper limit of 65. You can tweak both to make it more variable or limit the deepest possible level. I think we can test this out pretty quickly to see.
There are also a few others that folks here in the thread asked for:
Added a graphic alternative to the blinking army/unit. This can be changed in the game options.
Someone here had complained about the blinking.
Added spells Corporeal Exchange and Swap Places, allowing two friendly units to change places during battle.
Someone here had asked for this. @Galdred Maybe?
Added game option to limit the display size of units on the battlefield.
Someone here had complained about it being hard to click on big units.
Also, I really like that they added the ability to sort items in the vault. All in all, a lot of QOL improvements and some nice enhancements.
I hope everyone will try out my new color/font theme they added to the game settings (down toward the very bottom). They added 2, mine and one from a Steam forum player.
I don’t think they can. I think they would if they could because they certainly have added other fan provided mods into the game. I believe the issue is that wabbit scavenged the images from somewhere and they don’t personally own them. It’s okay to use them in a mod but the devs would have to acquire permission to use, or rights to the images from the owner(s) before they could incorporate them officially into the game. At least that’s what I think is the situation.
The devs are not artists and contracted for the current game art based on what they could afford. Hopefully someday a great artist somewhere will love the game so much that they will create a graphics mod that can actually be legally incorporated (hah, right).
Agreed. I just made the argument for adding this over on the Steam forums. We’ll see what happens.