Some observations about the new version 9, which can be distilled down to the following opinion with two caveats:
"It is a step backward, with many of the improvements being counterproductive."
I play multiplayer 99% of the time. So these comments are about multiplayer. The enhancements to the solo campaign look very nice.
My computer is good, but not awesome, perhaps these issues are less annoying on awesome computers.
The penalties for large ships
were unnecessary for balance in the first place
were very invasive, forcing you to either need to spend a lot of time redesigning your ships (or just give up playing)
were counterproductive for the (presumed) purpose of making the game run smoother. In fact the game chokes more often and sooner, as the "spontaneous chain reaction fire/explosion whatever" effect kicks in much earlier if players have not redesigned their big ships. I regularly see the game crash after the first salvo as a un-redesigned big ship spontaneously combusts. In the old days I could just play a game against them. Now I have to reboot the program.
Boarders remain the ultimate weapon, slightly offset by the fact that pressing B with a large number of boarders chokes and/or crashes the game (to a greater degree than it did before), resulting in a de facto draw. I really don't see why you couldnt just have the boarders activate one squad at a time.
Ramming remains close to useless. Ramming should do more damage, at least at the cell of impact. I know you said you spent a lot of time on the physics,but that doesnt mean thousand ton ships should bounce off each other. Its particularly annoying watching a large ship fall from a great height onto a smaller ship and bounce off. Also, it should be easier for two ships to disengage / slide off each other, friction is to strong (or small impediments should simply snap off).
While I am at it, torpedoes have been weakened to the point where they are a net negative. In conjunction with the malfunction rules they are now more likely to damage your own ship than the enemy.
Incidentally, why can't landships employ lift to reduce their weight? This is a regular practice in the southern provinces.
Lastly, after a lot of hours on the game, I am still not clear on the circumstances where my ship will decide to use a combination of orthogonal movement and when it will decide to use a simple diagonal glide.
Thanks for the feedback. Could you send me the log.txt file for your game? (It's in %APPDATA%\AirshipsGame.) This will help me diagnose some of the issues.
Also, a bunch of questions:
Are you using any mods for multiplayer?
What are your computer's specs? CPU, RAM, and graphics card.
What size of combats do you usually play in MP?
When you say "crash", does the game exit to desktop or freeze?
"I was not amused to discover my workers had downed weapons because my ship was 1 cell too long." - Can you describe in detail what happened here? How long was the ship? What did downing tools mean exactly?
And some notes:
Hi, will send requested info later, for conversation's sake though:
Computer is something like a 2011 desktop AMD Phenom 2 955, 8g ram, 2 gig nvidia card, not the latest, but by no means obsolete, win 7, using a good internet connection by Australian standards (downloads about 300-400 kbs).
By crash/choke I generally mean a visual screen freeze / extremely low framerate) however in the past, the game generally continued operating, you could alt-tab out and return, and it would often return to normal speed after the ships/crews had blasted each other to manageable size. Since the new version the game does not recover and you have to kill the process and restart the program.
Regarding crew freeze example : when I made a landship about 80 cells long (its a train - its supposed to be long) the crew did not appear to move, but the weapon reload bars kept cycling and ammunition stocks declined (as if the weapons were being reloaded) but the weapons did not actually fire (most unfortunate) until the ammo ran out and the enemy blew me up.
This phenomenon ceased when I shortened the train by removing a carriage, dropping it to about 70 cells.
I generally prefer 5,000 and 10,000 pt games (though I would like an in-between category though) with ships ranging from 1000-10,000 pts against enemies of all shapes and sizes.
In my experience (and i have 400 hours:-)
Even 10k generally plays OK unless one side has a huge quantity of small weapons, small ships or boarders. I have heard the largeness (ie surface area/) of a ship can also be a factor, but never really experienced it.
However the likelihood of a successful game declines sharply over 10,000 pts. I have never really seen a larger than 14,000pt match succeed (I often see 100,000 games up in the lobby though, those guys must be using Crays).
These days however I often see the game freeze at the 5,000 level when someone hits B.
PS: Regarding torpedius aeralis, I am sure the frequency of misfires has increased in the new version. Can't be my imagination - I have an eight tube dreadnought, it was never very effective but these days it blows itself up from a misfire more often than not!
PPS: I think the player skill required for attacking is ramming (high) gunnery (medium) boarding (low) and the deadliness should be correspondingly rewarding.
PPS: Maybe ramming diagonal, movement orthogonal? Maybe ramming the captain could make last minute course corrections to try to actually hit with the ram?
Gripes aside, great game...
Thanks for the info! More questions:
Your CPU might be giving you some issues.
I've easily got 2k in hours total; about 500-750 last year. And I have to say; Straker put it down. I play Straker online - him and Fatpiglet have me sweating.
X2 1TB SSD
2.7 (OC 3.0) Quad Processor
2GB 900 Series Nvidia
16GB Ram (1600)
Qualcomm Atheros a/n Router - Always Top Speed (unless behind a Satellite at home 99% of the time, so 1-5mb intermittent)
I play FPS multiplayer. I can play DOTA on this computer on a good day, with complaints of the team.
I'm hesitant about even releasing mods due to various adjustments; although I play all forms of the game. Here are some of my supplementary to back on Strakers foundations;
For instance; the Saw was far more simple than my entire building collection - which is larger than ever now - and this ties directly into the long-term value of my missions - which await full functionality now that mission numbers are verified. That's awesome and I want that for-sure.
I dislike the idea of publishing and my prices breaking a month later. All my missions are fair && difficult. :D
Sailors are buggy; but generally speaking are my favorite part. Sailors are lifeblood; understanding their movements is key - but maybe they should work more like powerlines; with less restrictions, or better defined restrictions; if this suspendium chambers sailor dies, it will cease to function for-real. Not just pretend. cough Where's the coal? cough
While I thought it was clever you took the Guards and Sailors ability to capture away (for the most part - no cockpit=auto capture); I've found other ways to abuse them. I believe a troops abilities should really be fleshed out and defined now that they are coming in larger varieties. I think before MP minor fixes; a Troop overhaul needs to be done. Either they function proper; or they get uber-nerfed. Are they the strategy element everyone dreamed of; or is it time?
They are a huge element to latency issues.
Also this is a root somewhere for the troops freezes; which are real. You don't see them most of the time in MP because it's moving so fast - but they do. They hang out, drink some tea, then they are given a chance to recalculate after, say, you lose a chunk of your ship. Although you can just as easily cheat sailors out of their positions if you understand some flaws in game logic. cough Where's the Coal? cough
But yes; the sudden noob-splosions crash the game and the rebuilding does take hours. Also; might need to make more objects that provide integrity, yo. Keels can't be it, that bomber was pretty hard to piece together proper - it's a resource now.
Which brings me to this fantabulous point; as a Multiplayer-Driven individual I'd like to see a "WAITING FOR CLIENT" screen on DeSyncs. I believe games can recover if it slows down or the game pauses. From what I can tell, it's always ticking forward and, when it suffers a large desync, usually always crashes the game entirely. I've read rumors that's coming B10, folks, all the MP stuff in B10.
Ramming is still hott. ;)
edit What I mean to say is ramming is so cool now you can throw people off the map with it.
edit Sorry for butting in but Straker has a lot of valid points from a MP perspective; some of which correlate with SP. Most/All of it is real, I have different preferences is all.
*What I mean by "is it time?" is troops are... same-same. Make what's there more exclusive in favor of latency, including the very necessary nerfing of spiders; or potentially consider adding more to what's there without further destabilization.
Speed Improvements: Removal of variable troop speed; Removal of various module side effects on a troops death (if a troops death triggers such a condition); Allowance of only entry & exit from the hatch; Removal of navigation of destroyed elements; reduction of troop numbers; restrictions to troop max at 64 per vehicle.
Counter Balance: Less Damage; No Damage; adjust health as necessary; adjust the spiders speed & price in increments until odds are fair. Maybe they should be 800 region.
Experience Improvements: Vertical Position Movement; Ground Enemy Collision; Reduced or Optimized Navigation, and Jetpacks for Point Movement. Oh; and the ability to shoot at them with rifles (hohoho). Moral is a popular one.
While working on missions I see the word "group" a lot. Potentially squad them on a per-craft basis after deployment; the selection of one would be of all from the craft.
While Spiders do clear, they do not patrol; and they are still too powerful imo. It only takes 8-12 to clear a building with 6 guard posts manufactured well (1.5k-3k). 8 + any set of Troop have an 80% chance -- and the building is supposed to be better secured. Lawnmowers.
Chances exist; I've run scenarios multiple times and seen them fail.
For those of us not saavy with Structures; you can't put Keels on them, so 3k is your general Max. And Spiders will ALWAYS topple it; and most craft to 5k. They run out of juice when they separate.
edit list update
Coolio. More comments to come of course, but for now, a bonus easy aesthetic suggestion: during battles, when a weapon has no targets, just draw the weapon arc, don't write "no target available", it gets very messy with lots of overlapping "no target available messages" splattered over your ship.
Spiders can also enter patrol via exit-entry. But generally speaking; no patrol and no capture.
They can clear it on the cheap; you can repopulate on the cheap. Before capture patch; spiders & guards = devastating.
While we are at it, I might add I think the murkier colours of this version are a step backwards as well, particularly the darker crew uniforms, which make it even harder to watch them.
Also, you really need the ability to step backward through the chat, as its very easy to miss chat during battle, or after you alt-tab out to do something while waiting 10 minutes during a stalemate for the other guy to surrender (in fact I am writing this post while waiting for the very thing).
Also, the looping repetition of the collision sound when a ship rubs against another is annoying, and probably damaging to the speakers as well.
Too much effort on adding a tenth kind of arachnid to the game, not enough focus on basics!!!
Yea, maybe keep the big window the entire game; toggle.
Arachnids Of The Tenth Kind were actually pretty handy from a large-mod producer standpoint; most of what they introduced isn't tapped in new modules.
I'd like to add "Removal Of Nighttime" to my gripes for multiplayer.
Myself; and others; just keep restarting matches until it's visually attractive. Rain is acceptable; but nighttime is too much. I'd argue rain is too much, because in virtually every match I'm the one struck by lightning repeated times; it's hilarious but w/e.
**A definite thing; the large 10k capture is laggy. It's laggy over a LAN.
I was trying to play a new player. He was "inspired" by my bomber and created this high flying shooter - lots of struts; steel armor; looks good. I fight him 3 times in a row; the game crashes each time. I begin to think it's because he's a bad host - bad connection through Switzerland, bad connection to me; somethings wrong - I'm monitoring my network, it's pushing data proper. I try to host - crash again.
Then I ask him if he was trying to capture me. I put together why this bomber flies so high; why it has so few guns; it's filled with troops! Not that I saw them; apparently crashing the game on his command.
I turned around did tests on my LAN. A 10k Capture device; over a LAN; can lag. Quad vs Dual Quad. But maybe for some high bandwidth connections - it functions... ok.
And when I think of the lesser computer; my old dual core - and how it had issues with large captures in single player... it's a simple math issue; the numbers need a cap - I was being pushed to my gripey end trying to figure out why I couldn't play this kid; getting so bitter. :|
I WILL FIND TIME TO RECORD THIS and PROPER DISPLAY IT.
I understand that not providing evidence is lame.
Wired vs Wireless
Wireless vs Wireless
Wired vs Wired
Total War has a unit cap. Just saying. This wont be hard to prove. Network Analysis level. A delay in the test will be QUAD vs QUAD; I don't want to skew our stats. 3ghz vs 3ghz computers on a LAN network trying to work troops; how much data it needs; how often; is it FPS related; and where is the leak. Thanks for tuning into GRIPES.
Figured out why Straker hates RAMs. His FPS is totally negating his damage. I believe that to be the case; either in extremes or minorities. I'll get around to recording that; although difficult because it takes the lower-end system to even capture. (queue Mother; the Dual Core 256mb Radeon Bootcamp Mac)