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Re: Empires of the Undergrowth
« Reply #30 on: July 09, 2019, 11:35:53 PM »
June 2019 Newsletter - Next Ants
9 JUL @ 3:50PM   - MIKE

To start with, a small distraction from the main event - Steam have recently held a summer promotion whereby leaving reviews gains you points. The recent reviews have been pushed into "overwhelmingly positive" territory - and we recognise that's directly down to you guys. Thank you so much! Now, on to the actual content of the newsletter!


Leafcutters doing their thing in this widescreen shot from Steam user Himmuguegeli

We've recently had a meeting to discuss the direction for the rest of the game. We were almost entirely sure of what the next playable ants would be, and the meeting has cemented that decision. Many other things were also decided, and they will have an impact on both the long-term and short-term development of the game.

Fire Ants

The focal species for the 4th tier of the formicarium will be fire ants. The blanket term of 'fire ant' comprises many species, but they mostly share the same notorious traits - aggression and invasiveness, and a particularly unpleasant sting. We haven't entirely decided on the exact species that will feature but it will be of the Solenopsis genus.


Read on

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Re: Empires of the Undergrowth
« Reply #31 on: August 19, 2019, 02:03:21 PM »
A Quick Mid-Month Update Post!
19 Aug @ 11:36am - Mike

Just a little interim news post in lieu of the full newsletter to let you guys know we're still working hard! We're currently in the midst of lots of deep, boring changes to the code that don't produce much in the way of visual excitement. Expect the newsletter in a few days!


A work-in-progress shot of a side mission

John has been streaming what will become a feature starting from the next big update - regular side missions! The idea here is to give you guys more regular content that doesn't have the huge scope of the main missions, whilst also giving you a way of building up formicarium resources without too much replaying. More info to come with the full newsletter, but check out the streams on YouTube.

Livestream - Side Missions! #1




Liam has been working on new path finding algorithms (remember what I said about deep boring stuff!) to speed things up a bit, and Matt has been combing through the code to find all the nooks and crannies where unneeded calculations are being done. This is all in service of allowing things like larger army sizes (those fire ant colonies have a lot of ants!) and smoother framemrates for everyone. It's an important step before we go charging headlong into the 4th tier, and as always we appreciate the infinitely patient bunch of lovely people that is our community.

Empires of the Undergrowth - Jump Point Search Pathfinding




To finish, just a reminder that if you'd like more regular updates then follow out social media! We'll be posting screenshots on Saturday, letting you know when we go live for some development streaming, and getting up to all sorts of ant-related things.

http://www.twitter.com/SlugDisco
http://www.facebook.com/SlugDisco
http://www.twitch.tv/SlugDisco



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Re: Empires of the Undergrowth
« Reply #32 on: August 22, 2019, 01:03:20 PM »
July-August 2019 Newsletter
22 Aug @ 7:42am - Mike

We are now deep into our open-engine surgery of the game which will streamline and reduce computational overheads allowing for bigger armies, faster frame rates and smarter enemies. We detailed this a fair bit last time. Whilst this is happening we've also been working on a new, hopefully regular feature that will be debuting along with the next large update - extra missions!


An ereptor colony takes on a wolf spider from appropriately-named Steam user wolf


Read on


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Re: Empires of the Undergrowth
« Reply #33 on: September 07, 2019, 12:29:26 AM »
Steam Cloud Saves Now Active

Automatic cloud saving is now enabled

All Steam users of Empires of the Undergrowth now have access to cloud saving! From now on, your games are backed up automatically to the cloud when you exit the game. This means that for people who log in on another system or those who come back to the game after changing their setup, the saved games they've made should always be ready for after launching the game from Steam.

Cloud saving is enabled by default. The only issue we foresee is people who have different saved games on multiple systems - if Steam detects a discrepancy between the local files and the cloud ones it will ask you if you wish to push your local saves to the cloud or download from the cloud, overwriting the local. In these cases you can choose which to save, or disable cloud saving for EotU on machines you do not wish to be overwritten.


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Re: Empires of the Undergrowth
« Reply #34 on: September 20, 2019, 01:30:17 PM »
August - September 2019 Newsletter
Fri, 20 September 2019

A Summary for the end of Summer, and Introducing Ecosystem
With the summer coming to a close we thought we'd publish another newsletter for you guys. This time we'll be talking about a few extra systems we've been working on (such as achievements) as well as talking about us as a company taking the intrepid steps into working with some other indie developers. So, we'll be introducing Tom and his game Ecosystem a bit further down!


A dramatic shot of leafcutters battling wood ants in freeplay from Steam user hugo27rex


Getting There - Updated Systems

Over the last few weeks progress continues to be made on the updated movement / collision system and a large round of profiling. Methods have been tightened to reduce computational overheads, new algorithms have been refined and the old has made way for the new. We're now nearing the end of our self-allotted time for this large task, and when that happens we’ll need your help testing it.




Read on


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Re: Empires of the Undergrowth
« Reply #35 on: October 25, 2019, 11:39:30 PM »
October 2019 Newsletter
Fri, 25 October 2019

Read on for details of the climbing system that will allow ants to swarm their enemies!
Autumn (or fall if you're that way inclined) has well and truly began to take a hold in our part of the world. The nights are drawing in, the temperature is dropping and there is some fun stuff being worked on for Empires of the Undergrowth. Or boring technical stuff, depending on your point of view. Either way, we shall detail it here for your perusal!


Nighttime crab hunting from Steam user Bald Hippo z

With there not being much in the way of visual newness at the moment (a large majority of the recent work has been on systems and algorithms rather than artwork) I asked each of our three developers to give me some background information about what they've been working on. John has been expanding current systems to handle the upcoming fire ants, Liam has been finishing off his overhaul of the movement code, and Matt has been working on a long-anticipated feature, the titan climbing system!

Titans of the Undergrowth - Matt


In real life, ants do not live on a flat plane with incremental steps, battling their enemies from the ground. They swarm and conquer, clambering all over their foes to get at weak spots they otherwise couldn't reach. Although we are definitely making a game rather than a simulation, and many of our game systems are reliant on the incrementally-layered flat plane, we want to introduce some more three dimensional elements when it is both fun and appropriate to do so.

Having ants swarm and climb over their foes has been in our plans for a very long time. We liked the idea of describing the larger creatures as the Titans of the Undergrowth, and they had the climbable functionality to distinguish them from smaller creatures. There are some videos from very early development, back when we were using our own custom-built engine, of this system being tested. When we made the move to Unreal Engine 4 this system fell to the wayside somewhat when the planned levels for the start of early access did not require it. Now is the time to bring it back. Matt has recently been working on doing just that.

As a test case until he has models for new creatures, he has been using the whip spider from the leafcutter levels. It's a suitably massive creature, and although he doesn't promise that it will be climbable in the game it seems quite likely.


Whip spider with skeletal "cart rails" to help ants climb it.

The system he's creating works in a similar way to how leafcutters climb plants in the current game. In the above GIF, the green lines represent "rails" along which "carts" travel. In this example, an ant will get close to the titan, choose a climbing point, and board one of these imaginary "carts". The cart travels along the length of the green path and deposits the ant at the end (the end representing a weak point on the body that ants would attack) which along with its walk cycle animation will give a very convincing representation of the ant scurrying over the titan. At the end of its allotted time, or when the titan is defeated, it will board another imaginary cart back to the ground and end up back on the normal ground plane.

The exact mechanics gameplay-wise of how this will affect the damage to the titan are yet to be entirely worked out, but the visual side of things is coming along nicely. The system is a very flexible one - although in this example Matt is using six paths, any number can be added to creatures for variety. It'll see heavy use in the fire ant levels, as the furiously aggressive fire ants overwhelm their enemies.

Movement Code - Liam


Although Liam's new movement and pathing code is up and running, there are lots of little outlier issues that were solved in the past and need to be thought about again. This is what happens when you remove a core piece of the game engine that has been built upon since 2016!

Below you can see the new overground tunnel exit. You should notice that the whole thing is now made from hexagons, so it fits snugly on the tile grid (in the real levels you won't be able to see the join). Whilst we were doing this, we took the opportunity to change the exit hole layout (they used to all face the same way). You can also see some colourful spheres and lines, if you really want to know what they are about, read on.



Movement on the over ground tile grid is very predictable: the creatures are always walking horizontally at a multiple of tile block height and for any given point on the plane X,Y, there is only one tile. Each tile contains a "node" that links to 12 surrounding nodes - these relationships are used for the fast jump pathfinding algorithm (so ants know how to get from A to B). The highlighted overground tunnel exit piece works a little differently; nodes can have heights between two tile levels (on the ramps) and there are areas that have two viable locations for a given X,Y position (down the tunnels and above the tunnels). Not only does this complicate the pathfinding system, so that X,Y locations on the overground tunnel link to arrays of pathing nodes rather than single nodes, we also need a way to “sew in” to the surrounding tiles.

The turquoise arrows show the pathing information on the exit itself – this is like a directional net (the ants can travel anywhere the arrows point to). The black hexagons indicate the edges of the exit that need to attach to surrounding tiles. The red lines represent these attachments, any tiles they connect to are aware of links to both the exit (red) and links to normal tiles (blue). The pink spheres are just to brighten Liam's day as he works.

Fire Ants and Extra Missions - John


Breaking Your Own Rules

Recently John has been working on the fire ants and trying to bring something new to the table with this fascinating species that works with them narratively. Several of their new abilities attempt something that is new to the game. One variant of them has the eggs hatch for free if the egg has been on the tile for longer than a minute leading to an attack-retreat style play to get the most value out of the colony.

A recent issue has been making multiple ants hatch from the same tile. One ant per tile has been a rule since the first demo and is ingrained in many core systems of the game. For instance, tiles are often used to work out how many ants should join a trail quickly, whether an enemy colony should attack and even saving and loading the colony. All of these are expecting to work with a single ant. Similarly the UI needed to be updated to work with the array of ants rather than a single object.

Fire ant tiles will allow 2 ants at level 3 and we are very much looking forward to how this will change your strategies when playing with this species.

Extremis

John's upcoming survival map Extremis (previously known by its working title of Holdout Extreme) now has a unique unlock system - upon defeat, you will be given points to spend on unlocking ants and abilities for your next attempt.



Extremis will be just one of what we hope will be many extra missions that are apart from the main campaign, beginning with the next large update to the game (which will focus on freeplay, as detailed in a previous newsletter).

Screenshot Central


The most fun part of writing these newsletters for me is looking through the recent uploads on our Steam community page to find the best screenshots. We're consistently blown away by just how amazing you guys are at making our game look gorgeous! If you'd like to submit something to Screenshot Central, simply upload it to Steam (F12 by default takes a screenshot, and you'll be given the option of uploading upon exiting the game) or manually sent it to me mike@slugdisco.com. F9 will take you into photo mode to get some great angles, and holding shift whilst you do that will break the camera free of any restrictions.


Jumping spiders are such cuties in this shot from Steam user germinal.ronse

https://steamcdn-a.akamaihd.net/steamcommunity/public/images/clans/28521019/0e31c9ab92582cc9cdca323cc781f03f55626cab.jpg
The stuff of nightmares - a mess of whip spiders in the battle arena from Steam user DeltaX06

https://steamcdn-a.akamaihd.net/steamcommunity/public/images/clans/28521019/4c31085b8e791259fa91cf128f5d542328517454.jpg
Where did all the trees go? Atta cephalotes colony from Steam user CaptainCarrot


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Re: Empires of the Undergrowth
« Reply #36 on: October 30, 2019, 03:02:49 PM »
The Hungry Spider Level Returns!
Tue, 29 October 2019

The Hungry Spider is back, and he wants his breakfast. Feed him!
The Hungry Spider level is now back for the spooky season! This devlishly difficult level sees you play as the aforementioned arachnid as he eats his way through a web-shaped map. Okay, enough alliteration.

Unlike other levels, you control him directly with the mouse or buttons you'd usually use for moving the camera. There's a special apparition on the main menu to let you access the level - see the YouTube video for help in finding it.




Be warned: this level is legendarily difficult and very, very few have succeeded! Those enemy spiders are a real killer. If you don't beat the level this time round, it'll also show up on full moons.


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Re: Empires of the Undergrowth
« Reply #37 on: December 02, 2019, 11:27:41 PM »
ANovember 2019 Newsletter
Mon, 2 December 2019

And so, winter came. And with it, the season of darkness and cold but also the season of goodwill and cheer. A little bit of a shorter newsletter this month, as we are still (I know, I know) working through the last of the movement code changes. Keep an eye open for the beta announcement - before putting it onto the main branch, we will run an optional beta for all Steam Windows players to help us pin down the last of the issues.


Night-time jungle from returning contributor MorPacke

There are a couple of new things to show, however - the extended time it's taken to get the rewrite done has meant that John has had the time to get ahead on some other systems whilst Liam and Matt are busy with that. We're ready to show off the creature that will feature in challenge mode for levels 3.1 The Harvest and 3.2 Front Line, so let's get right to that!

Phorid Flies


The mortal enemy of many ant species, the tiny phorid fly may look as unassuming but it harbours a deadly secret. It can quickly lay its eggs on the bodies of vulnerable ants. The eggs will hatch into maggots that burrow into the body of the ant, eating its innards and inevitably killing it.


Innocuous-looking and tiny, but deadly - the phorid fly

Read on



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Re: Empires of the Undergrowth
« Reply #38 on: December 24, 2019, 11:57:57 PM »
Leafcutter Freeplay / Christmas Level Beta NOW!
Tue, 24 December 2019

Help us test out the leafcutters in freeplay, extra missions - and play a special Christmas level!
Merry Christmas all! We've got an optional beta build for testing the freeplay leafcutters & reworked freeplay setup ready for those that would like to help us test. We also have a very festive special level for you to try!

WARNING: This is a beta build and the new movement code still needs to be perfected. Formicarium levels have been disabled until we have dealt with specific issues in these levels. If you wish to play these levels, disable the beta in steam which will opt you back out. It is available to all Steam Windows players.

The beta code is christmasants.

The main features for you to test in this beta build are:

•   Leafcutter ants are now a playable colony in freeplay
•   Under "Other Modes" there is a new menu - Extra Levels - and the first two of these, Aggrandise and Extremis, are there to be tested
•   A special Christmas level - click the gift on the main menu!



Guess who's back?

WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND BACKING UP YOUR SAVE GAME FILES before attempting to play freeplay.

Please see this thread https://steamcommunity.com/app/463530/discussions/0/1489992713700086489/ on the forums for information about where your saved games are stored so you can back them up.


How to Access the Beta

To access the beta, follow the below steps:

1) Find Empires of the Undergrowth in your Steam library, right-click on it and choose "Properties"
2) Choose the "Betas" tab
3) In the box titled "Enter beta access code to unlock private betas", enter christmasants
4) After the "Access code correct" information appears, make sure you've chosen "openbeta" from the "Select the beta you would like to opt into" drop-down menu
5) Press close - the game will now update to the beta branch.

By doing so, you are acknowledging that this is a beta and things are not in their finished state.

We are quite happy for you to post and share videos / screenshots of everything in this beta - in fact we're looking forward to seeing if anyone can beat the new Christmas level, which is just as devilishly difficult as the legendary Halloween one! In fact, you might recognise the protagonist...

To access the new Christmas level, simply click on the gift that appears on the main menu after opting into the beta.


Oh boy! I wonder what it could be?

Our aim is to expand the scope of the beta after the Christmas break, bringing the formicarium levels back in with the re-worked code and add a few extra bits and bobs, such as the challenge modes for 3.1 and 3.2. Once this is all sorted we'll activate support for achievements and release the update for everyone.


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Re: Empires of the Undergrowth
« Reply #39 on: January 11, 2020, 02:35:26 PM »
Beta Testing - V0.211 Update - New Extra Level, New Freeplay Map, Bug Fixes
Fri, 10 January 2020


An extra level and a new freeplay map for those of you who've been helping us beta test the leafcutter freeplay update!
Thanks to everyone who has taken part in the beta test that has been running since Christmas eve! We have an update to that beta, available now, that introduces a new extra level (Baby Sitting) and a new freeplay map (Embankment) set in the rainforest environment, as well as a lot of bug fixes from the extensive feedback we've received. We're also extending the Christmas Hungry Spider event until the end of January to allow more people to play it - look for the gift on the main menu!

If you haven't participated in the beta yet and would like to join in, it is still open to all Windows owners on Steam. Follow the instructions in the previous post about the beta.

New Maps

•   A new extra level has been added - Baby Sitting! Can you keep an allied colony alive whilst it makes some questionable decisions?
•   A new freeplay map added - Embankment. Setup your freeplay colony next to a stream in the rainforest.

Fixes

•   Restored minimap path drawing
•   Fixed a divide by zero crash that could occur whenever a creature jumps (the trapjaw crash)
•   Fixed an issue causing large frame rate drops when funnel webs were checking for targets
•   Fixed an issue where green food capsules would display if playing freeplay leafcutters with fog of war on
•   Fixed an issue on the monthly levels where the starting units were displaying colourless
•   Fixed an issue on Extremis where waves would stop at wave 23
•   Media and trapjaws will now properly say selected once they have been purchased in Extremis
•   Tunnellers will now head to the queen if their dig targets are tunnelled out in Extremis
•   Fixed an issue on Extremis where a wood ant upgrade purchase would display the wrong one
•   Fixed a tile exclamation mark that was mispositioned on Hold Out
•   Exclamation mark enemies should now always spawn when tunnelled out
•   Fixed an issue with Beach Tiger Beetle Larvae where they could sometimes get stuck attacking and will no longer attempt to attack a target that cannot be picked up
•   Media belonging to a Formica ereptor colony should no longer have fungus waste, minims and be able to pick up normal resources
•   Fixed an issue with Crucible where colony creatures could not get above ground
•   Fixed an issue with paint work on closed tunnel exits in the dunes and other similar issues in freeplay levels
•   Fixed an issue where mantis chirping could be heard after death
•   Exclamation mark spawning should more consistently be at the location of the mark
•   Plant shoots should no longer spawn off the visible edge of a cliff
•   Black ant workers feet pulled out of the floor
•   Fixed an issue where used fungus quantities could go negative in the top bar
•   Fixed a tick box issue with freeplay landmarks
•   Fixed an issue where food would still think it was buried if generated on a cavern (and the ants could not pick it up)
•   Fixed an issue where creatures could pick food up from long distances
•   Fixed an issue where dropped items would appear anywhere with 300 radius of the drop
•   Fixed an issues with leafcutter colony economy when loaded in freeplay (wrong storage values, and used fungus not being regenerated properly on tiles)
•   Corrected some translation errors

Changes

•   Allied creatures now show as yellow on the minimap and health bars
•   Extended the Christmas level until the end of January
•   Added in extra frame rate limits

Movement changes and fixes

•   Improved movement around ramp entrances
•   Fixed issues with creatures trying constantly to walk off some cliff edges (and being teleported back onto the cliff)
•   Fixed an issue where creatures would attempt to path through pebbles and other obstacles


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Re: Empires of the Undergrowth
« Reply #40 on: January 19, 2020, 12:24:35 AM »
Beta Testing - 0.2111 Beta Update - Bug Fixes
Sat, 18 January 2020

An update to the currently running optional beta, available to all Steam Windows owners of the game.

We've released a bug-fixing (yes, we've heard the joke before!) update for the currently running beta. All of the most recent changes are listed below. If you're not participating in the optional beta and would like to, it is still running and as long as you own the game on Steam and use Windows, you can participate. Follow the instructions in the original beta post for details of how to participate https://steamcommunity.com/games/463530/announcements/detail/1705107447279697254

Changes / Bug Fixes

•   Added an option slider for a darkened square behind resource counters for visibility
•   Fixed a problem with creatures moving on z axis when they shouldn’t
•   Fixed an issue with creature movement on thin ramps
•   Fixed movement issues with thin ramps
•   Fixed a sound issue with rove beetles and wood ants
•   Trail calculations have been updated. Should lead to more ants at the end of trails, more consistent flows and less ants waiting underground
•   Minor optimisation of markers
•   Baby Sitting map no longer says “Return to Formicarium” at the end and now returns to the main menu
•   Framerate changes will now correctly save and reload when changed
•   Fixed an issue that could cause honeydew to appear as big grey spheres on food tiles
•   Fixed an issue when a minim looks for a drop off point and re-paths at the same time (it will no longer lose the food)
•   Beach wolf spider hats (in arachnophobe mode) can now be clicked through for marker placement
•   Fixed issues with minims getting stuck in walls
•   Fixed an issue where leaf plant landmarks in freeplay would never despawn and constantly hold a landmark spot (this should lead to more leaves spawning in freeplay)
•   Fixed an issue that could cause one landmark to spawn on top of another in freeplay after a save and load
•   Optimisation added to leaves
•   Increased areas landmarks can spawn on Embankment threefold
•   Starting landmarks in Embankment increased to 16 (up from 10) and landmark spawns per day increased to 13 (up from 9)
•   Leafcutter queen death will now trigger defeat in freeplay
•   Embankment map text and image added to freeplay setup
•   Embankment minimap colour changed to rainforest colours
•   Moved some starting food on Embankment
•   Fixed various movement and pathing issues
•   Fixed an issue where creatures colliding with walls were picking bad locations to pop out to
•   Optimisations added to ant jobs
•   Fixed an issue where freeplay difficulty was set to zero at the start of playing ramp (no matter what setting you had for start difficulty)
•   Level 1 ants that are swarm creatures (such as the ones in the Battle Arena) will now display their level
•   Fixed an issue where a praying mantis could crash the game when using abilities
•   Fixed a crash that could happen if a projectile shooter (wood ant) was eaten before the projectile collided (could happen with wood ants vs. praying mantis)
•   Fixed Embankment lighting and some cosmetic issues
•   Fixed an issue where the AI of an ant could break if a marker is placed in its own nest when ants are in an enemy nest
•   Fixed an issue where a praying mantis could pick up a creature being held by another creature
•   Removed food in impenetrable rock on Baby Sitting
•   Fixed an issue where night and day were not correctly progressing on some levels
•   Camera zoom now interpolates (very rapidly)
•   Freeplay import / export boxes no longer allow clicking other things when active
•   Plant climbing speed is now based on the current ant speed, not its speed when it started climbing
•   Improved food store space reservation
•   Allied creatures now properly avoid one another
•   Fixed an issue where tile refund costs would not remain constant through a save for initial builds and upgrades
•   Optimisation on buried harvestable creatures
•   Slight smoothing of camera movement (it is improved further by setting a framerate limit)
•   Improved pathing for dig jobs
•   Fixed an issue where saving and loading a freeplay game with leafcutters would cause extra creatures objects to spawn each time (potentially leading to a lot of wasted processing)
•   Wave spawning in freeplay now takes food height into account and no longer spawns in the floor
•   Fixed a memory leak to do with leafcutter majors with the “Sharp” upgrade infinitely adding more Thorns auras to nearby creatures
•   Thorns aura now drops off as was intended when leaving the range of the leafcutter major
•   Thorns aura is now correctly positioned on affected creatures
•   Fixed an issue where certain food items would think they were under the wrong tile when buried
•   Removed the phantom log that would float through the middle of the Embankment map from time to time
•   Beach tiger beetle larvae will no longer try to attack creatures that cannot be killed and will no longer attack creatures that cannot be picked up


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Re: Empires of the Undergrowth
« Reply #41 on: January 26, 2020, 01:06:56 AM »
Beta Testing 0.2112 - Balance In All Things Freeplay
Sat, 25 January 2020



Freeplay beta is more balanced than ever before. Not quite perfectly, as all things should be, but it's getting there.

This beta patch includes several fixes, some new freeplay features and optimisations! This is an update for the currently running optional beta.

If you're not participating in the optional beta and would like to, follow the instructions in the original beta post for details of how to participate. You'll need to be running the game on Windows and through Steam.


Empires of the Undergrowth EventTue, 24 December 2019
Leafcutter Freeplay / Christmas Level Beta NOW!
Help us test out the leafcutters in freeplay, extra missions - and play a special Christmas level!


Full patch notes for beta update 0.2112 are detailed below:

General Fixes

•   Some funnel web tile surfers on Baby Sitting will now correctly spawn when your ally tunnels them out.
•   Moved all pebbles of walkable area in the original spider level
•   Fixed more pathing issues to do with ramps (some issue that arose on Baby Sitting and other areas)
•   Fixed an issue where if an enemy died on top of a tile that used to be a cavern it would be un-harvestable
•   Minor optimisation in ant eggs
•   Ice plants in Baby Sitting no longer block clicks
•   Prevented creatures from hanging out within the ant nest tunnel where they cannot be attacked or attack (both on surface and underground)
•   Shortened text on score screen of a bonus multiplier that was overlapping the score
•   Fixed an issue where if graphics setting were changed during some particle effects, then they would exist forever
•   Fixed an aesthetic issue with leafcutter minor’s attack animation loop
•   Several optimisations for pathing and location functions
•   Overground minimap will now stop flashing if tabbing to the overground
•   When trying to place a marker in an un-pathable underground zone it will try and snap to a neighbouring pathable tile, if this fails and error sound plays
•   Fixed a visual error with the wood ant projectile splash
•   Players can now place markers on ramps via the minimap
•   Minor optimisations to do with marker placement
•   Optimisation added to repathing due to tunnelled out tiles
•   Optimisation added in various areas that required a calculated path length

Freeplay

•   Fixed an issue where loaded minims would immediately drop their leaves
•   Saved plant climbers will now correctly harvest when they reach there harvest points
•   Fixed an issue where climbers could load stuck climbing a plant and in the wrong place (and unstuck and saved stuck ones)
•   Fixed an issue where creatures could exit the maps from the position they were standing (and hence could just ping out of existence)
•   Fixed an issue where sometimes right clicking the minimap would not draw the path of a marker on the surface
•   Infestation landmark now obeys disabled creature fighting
•   Fixed victory / defeat animations in Embankment
•   Moved a log outside of play area on Embankment
•   Harvestman severed legs will now save and load with a visual mesh and will no longer walk around on their own when loaded
•   Minor leaf cosmetic changes in Embankment
•   Rounded victory condition goals to nearest whole number
•   Deletion jobs for full refuse tiles are now correctly saved and loaded
•   Default difficulty is now 20%
•   The time period where the player does not get invaded in freeplay now slowly allows invasions based on a weighted dice roll (first 10 minutes no large creature invasions, next 10 minutes moving from very few, to normal amount by the end)
•   Added a “Play Difficulty” that affects multiple things including:
•   Constant difficulty max and ramp rates in difficulty
•   Extends grace periods before ubers can spawn and enemy creatures can attack
•   Wave sizes
•   Difficulty increase due to victory condition getting close
•   Score multipliers added for the above
•   Swarms of creatures should no longer hang around nest entrances of active players
•   25% increased spawn rate of landmarks when playing as leafcutters (slightly more leaves)
•   Ubers will not invade a player nest until they have existed on the map for eight minutes, then it is up to them!


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Re: Empires of the Undergrowth
« Reply #42 on: February 01, 2020, 02:50:17 PM »
Beta Testing - 0.2113 - Some Balance, Some Optimisation, Some Other Stuff
Sat, 1 February 2020


Some freeplay balance, some monthly level fixes and improvements, some optimisations, some other fixes… a bit of everything!

If you're not participating in the optional beta and would like to, follow the instructions in the original beta post for details of how to participate. You'll need to be running the game on Windows and through Steam.

https://steamcommunity.com/games/463530/announcements/detail/1705107447279697254

General and Extra Level Fixes and Balance Changes

•   Fixed an issue where a picked up creature would kill the creature picking it up and would cause it yo be locked in an attack animation permanently
•   Fixed issues where ants in another colonies nest could could freeze when the marker was removed and other situations
•   Fixed an issue that could cause flickering with moving static meshes
•   Fixed some aesthetic issues on the crucible
•   Substantially reduced the cost of rendering the Isolepis Cernua (spiky plant)
•   Movement changes preventing creatures rubber banding off one another (the vibrating woodlouse for example)
•   Added in a minimap ping and alert message on babysitting when the enemy colony is attacked, when they head out to attack some enemies and when they head out to defend the player
•   Increased the amount of time the allied colony has to gather the starting resources
•   Fixed a crash that could occur when viewing climbable plants resource quantities and it is deleted
•   Fixed an issue where vines could show as harvestable above tiles that were not accessible
•   Victory condition now works in Extremis (wave 30) and will provide a reward
•   Small optimisations with auras
•   Wood ants will no longer target allied colonies
•   Fixed a crash that could happen with loaded freeplay games (and harvestman legs)
•   Fixed an issue that could cause abilities not to trigger
•   Fixed an issue that reduced wood ant range dramatically and cased them to freeze


Optimisations

•   Nativised some costly classes
•   Some additional optimisations in creature scanning
•   Creatures scanning for other creatures has seen several optimisations (this should lead to better performance when lots of creatures are in close proximity). Please note there may be bugs with this change, if you notice any strange behaviour please let us know

Freeplay Changes and Balance

•   Small creatures now cannot invade for half the amount of time large creatures cannot invade for
•   Fixed a bug that caused the large creature invasion block to not change with difficulty setting
•   Massively reduced the chance a passive swarm will invade the player nest
•   Slightly reduced the chance an aggressive swarm will invade the players nest
•   Reduced chance aggressive swarms will spawn early on
•   Moderately reduced the chance defensive and neutral swarms will invade the players nest
•   Creature swarms are now removed when all creatures belonging to the swarm are killed
•   More than doubled the range at which enemies cannot loiter around the players nest entrance


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Re: Empires of the Undergrowth
« Reply #43 on: February 17, 2020, 01:06:03 PM »
January / February 2020 Newsletter


Detailing upcoming freeplay changes, challenge mode for 3.x, extra mission Aggrandise and movement code

Welcome to 2020! We've been running an optional beta on Steam since late December which mainly introduces a reworked freeplay mode, and more recently adds the challenge mode for the third tier formicarium levels. Since that time we've been working through the veritable mountain of issues and other feedback with it, and we're now in the home stretch for bringing this out of beta and to the main branch for everyone to play. There's still time to join the beta if you haven't already - see the instructions near the top of this link if you'd like to join in.


Leafcutters on the march from Limey21

We'll start this newsletter by talking about the changes to freeplay mode, then have a look at the mechanics of phorid flies in the campaign challenge mode. We'll also talk about the first of the new extra missions to come along with the update - Aggrandise. Lastly, we'll go over what has taken us many months to get to this point - the laborious changes to the movement and path finding code.

Freeplay Mode Changes

Leafcutters in Freeplay


The update to freeplay will include leafcutters as their own independent colony type. When you play as leafcutters many of the landmarks that appear on the surface will be patches of leaves, since the sole source of food for them is their fungus gardens fuelled by leaf cuttings. This puts them at somewhat of a disadvantage at the start of a freeplay run, since they cannot attain food from underground and must quickly venture to the surface to collect foliage. To help with this, we have extended the exclusion zone around active nest entrances which should help leafcutter colonies get a foothold. Later in the run, the majors should more than make up for the humble beginnings!


Leafcutters doing their thing in Towhead


Full newsletter here


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Re: Empires of the Undergrowth
« Reply #44 on: February 17, 2020, 01:09:35 PM »
Beta Testing - 0.2114 - Phorid Fly Challenge, Uber Balances, Fixes & Changes
StartedSun, 16 February 2020

This optional beta release re-activates the campaign and introduces challenge mode for 3.x

We're not far from concluding the beta testing for this upcoming large update - with this patch we are re-activating the campaign mode with the entirely new movement code. If any of you in the optional beta feel like starting a new campaign run, now is the time, and report back any issues to us!

It's not too late to join in the optional beta if you would like:

To access the beta, follow the below steps:

1.   Find Empires of the Undergrowth in your Steam library, right-click on it and choose "Properties"
2.   Choose the "Betas" tab
3.   In the box titled "Enter beta access code to unlock private betas", enter christmasants
4.   After the "Access code correct" information appears, make sure you've chosen "openbeta" from the "Select the beta you would like to opt into" drop-down menu
5.   Press close - the game will now update to the beta branch.

By doing so, you are acknowledging that this is a beta and things are not in their finished state.

We have renamed “Formicarium” to “Story” as we feel it points better to where a player should start. Some content and settings have been added to the story. Additionally, there are a load of fixes added, some projectile optimisations and some substantial balance changes to ubers and AOE attacks.

New Content

•   Challenge mode added for levels 3.1 and 3.2 - Phorid Flies!

o   Avoid leaf patches infested with these critters; they will inject their eggs into the heads of your ants causing 2 minutes of reduced stats followed by inevitable death
o   All ants have a chance of fighting off the flies when they are attacked, but level 3 mediae and majors have a 100% chance to fight them off. A successful defence will cause the fly to leave

•   Difficulty settings added for formicarium challenge levels 1 and 2. You can now take these on in easier difficulties… or harder if you feel you were not punished enough!

Balance Changes

•   Damage falloff implemented for some area of effect abilities doing less damage the further away from the epicentre of the attack the creature is (reaching zero at the very edge)

o   Implemented on level 3 wood ant mortar attacks
o   Implemented on all uber basic attacks
o   Implemented on some whip spider attacks

•   All Uber creatures have been rebalanced and should now be possible to take on with any colony
•   All have had their damage, health and resistances reduced

o   Hermit crab, beach tiger beetle and devil's coach horse ubers scaled down to be defeatable by a very large black ant army
o   Beach wolf spider uber rebalanced to be strong against leafcutter majors but weak to larger armies of lower powered units (no AOE damage on main attack, very strong single target damage) also given high venom resist
o   Jumping spider uber is now very dangerous to wood ants (very high venom resistance, ability that deals enough damage in an area to one-hit kill them)
o   Spiny devil uber is now strong against black ants and other low health melee
o   Whip spider uber is now strong against wood ants (high venom resist, strong, midrange attacked tuned to do well against them)
o   Praying mantis uber is now strong against majors, weak to black ants and medium to wood ants

•   Black ants now have all AOE damage dealt to them that they are not at the epicentre of reduced by 20% (new stat AOE damage resistance)

Optimisations

•   Projectiles have seen significant optimisations and are now handled differently (this should be most noticeable with rapid fire wood ants)
•   Projectiles visuals tweaked

Bug Fixes

•   Fixed an issue where the player's ants could appear red on the surface minimap with fog of war turned on
•   Fixed some visual issues in Crucible
•   Alleviated some flickering shading issues
•   Eaten creatures not part of a colony will now correctly disappear the moment they are eaten
•   Battle arena now only removes creatures that are not in combat
•   Uber whip spider now moves properly
•   Fixed an issue with projectiles that could cause the explosion to veer to the bottom right
•   Woodlouse is no longer in the floor
•   Removed an unneeded sound from various rove beetle sprays
•   Moved a food item out of the wall in Embankment
•   ixed an issue where items dropped inside another undug tile were removed (they are now repositioned onto a dug out tile)
•   Fixed an issue where a jumping spider that is killed mid jump would continue to be attacked even after its death
•   Trap jaw walking animation should now better follow its movement
•   Fixed an issue where rove beetle type B and its larvae would be switched around in tick boxes in freeplay advanced creature settings
•   Fixed an issue where marker paths could go past the marker and loop back
•   Fixed an issue where marker path arrows were pointing the wrong direction
•   Fixed an issue where dead minims refuse model was blocking mouse tile interactions
•   Photo mode is forced off when the menu opens to prevent confusion with it unpausing the game
•   Seeds will no longer land part way up the stem on poppy plants
•   Ubers will no longer ignore the nest invasion setting in freeplay setup
•   Woodworm will no longer float


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