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Author Topic: Released: Alpha 6 - "Hacking a Dream"  (Read 4157 times)

Kyzrati

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Released: Alpha 6 - "Hacking a Dream"
« on: January 18, 2016, 07:39:51 PM »

Since the last release Cogmind has made a number of those Top Games of 2015/2016 lists that pop up around the turn of the year, keeping sales rolling along at a minimal pace, just enough to support perpetual development for now ;D.

Once again, my thanks goes out to everyone for your support, since you're all an important factor in making Cogmind the best it can be.

And with that I bring you ALPHA 6!

Overall, if you haven't played for a while this is a good opportunity to jump in for a bit and check out the progress. (On a related note, I can also say that for a number of reasons the next release will take longer than usual to get to you--we'll be at Alpha 6 for maybe eight weeks as opposed to the usual four to six weeks between major releases.)

As usual, I recently posted a collection of preview gifs to provide a visual summary of some of the new features, though this time around there wasn't as much that could be visualized (without spoilers, anyway :P).

The full changelog is further below, but first let's cover some of the major features.

Extension branch complete!

Two new maps have been added, both a part of the Extension branch begun in Alpha 5.

You can now reach the end of that branch, which is quite long, but the rewards are worth it if you can manage. In Hub_04(d) you can essentially inflict permanent damage on the interactive machine network of the entire Complex 0b10 :o. Good luck escaping the Hub alive after pulling that stunt!

There's also the potential for some more plot to unfold out that way...

In the upper areas of the main complex, Factory and especially Research floors, you might notice that interactive machines (most notably, terminals) are more common. The map generation parameters for those floors have always tended to lack sufficient room for the desired number of machines, so now I'm simply having it embed them into walls if it can't find any suitable open areas. (Yes, you'll still see a portion of rooms which are completely empty--this is intended.) It looks good, and you might just have an easier time finding a system to hack, which will be important due to changes in the hacking system this time around.

Hacking

As discussed a few weeks ago, the hacking system has finally undergone a significant overhaul. Such an overhaul was planned from the start (hacking was not fully balanced with the rest of the game during pre-alpha), but it took time to collect enough information about player habits and preferences that could serve as a foundation to define appropriate rules.

The combination of changes in Alpha 6 is intended to make hacking a more viable long-term strategy. No more inventory fiddling to swap in hackware just to hack a machine, fewer hackware components, and no more trace resets or system familiarity mechanics mean a more tightly focused hacking experience without the tedium.

There's still more to do on the hacking development front. I couldn't fit it all into a single release, so expect new hacking features in the future, along with more changes, albeit specific ones rather than anything like the far-ranging adjustments seen in Alpha 6.

Although not a change in Alpha 6, I should also mention here that the manual was unclear on one point: It said that indirect hacking hacking incurs a -15% penalty--technically this is a -15% penalty per security level. So the penalty at a level 2 terminal is actually -30%, and so on! (Remember that those high-level terminals give you direct access to a wider range of hacks, anyway, and there is also now a huge of variety of methods to improve your hacking success rate.)

(Note that because some parts were removed in this release (hackware not converted over to the new system), a handful of you have been randomly reassigned new unclaimed art, if you had that reward and it was previously associated with hackware.)

Related to the hacking changes, all processors and hackware are now destroyed on removal (the reasoning is also discussed in that same thread). This and the fact that they are all much less likely to be hit (lower coverage) means you will often want to stick with some of your attachment-decisions a little longer, but they'll also be more reliable for it, allowing you to accumulate greater targeting and other bonuses without as big a fear of suddenly losing them all. In other words, it will be easier to stick with a unique play style supported by specific processors.

Propulsion

Some of you will already be familiar with the propulsion system changes, as they were released as an experimental build over the holidays. Reception was good, the math checks out, and my own test runs tell me that the whole experience is better overall.

In short, you'll generally be moving faster now, even as a heavy, and speeds are more predictable without any of the occasional quirks from the original slightly more complicated system. Wheels also no longer totally suck! (Remember: They were always intended to be sub-par, and even now still suffer from low integrity, but otherwise they will serve as a more reliable backup.)

The full Alpha 6 (0.10.160119) changelog:

* NEW: Branch map "Archives"
* NEW: Branch map "Hub_04(d)"
* NEW: 1 major plot event
* NEW: 1 more story-related NPC encounter
* NEW: 3 new NPCs (unique robot classes)
* NEW: 1 new prototype robot
* NEW: 2 new weapons
* NEW: 2 new terminal records
* NEW: New Trojan hack (secret)
* NEW: Various additional sound effects (total now at 711)
* NEW: Fourth way to enable access to final lift to surface
* NEW: Removal/replacement of attached processors and hackware destroys them, with unique UI animation/sfx
* NEW: Destroy-on-removal parts marked with a dark colon in parts list
* NEW: Drag-dropping a destroy-on-removal part from the attached parts list shows in red rather than white, to indicate it will be destroyed
* NEW: Disarmed combat robots shown at half brightness
* NEW: All Field Recycling Units vastly improved with new behavior, acting as "vacuums" that convert salvage to matter over time
* NEW: HUD matter readout displays Field Recycling Unit scrap storage and distribution rate when applicable
* NEW: Interactive machines may be embedded in walls
* NEW: Firing weapons in non-reinforced environments may cause cave-ins, where the chance depends on the class of weapon
* NEW: Mouse players can left-click on a wall to enter fire mode (so that force-attacking can be achieved without the keyboard at all)
* NEW: Manual entry of hacking commands is case-insensitive (including both the command itself and any optional arguments)
* NEW: Schematics and analyses already obtained are grayed out when hacking terminals
* NEW: Flying Cogminds can force-attack (Ctrl-Shift) adjacent robots to ram them when unarmed, rather than flying overhead
* NEW: New font size, 8, enabling 640x480p UI (purely for fun, was easy to add)
* MOD: Many propulsion stat values reworked!
* MOD: Simplified propulsion mechanics and all known calculation oddities at very high speeds and overweight situations ironed out
* MOD: Ground-based propulsion (wheels/legs/treads) no longer slows with each additional module
* MOD: Airborne propulsion (hover/flight) no longer has a per-part limit on max speed (is type-based)
* MOD: As a side effect of propulsion changes, most hostiles slightly slower
* MOD: Wheels have an advantage now, but still suffer from low integrity
* MOD: Backup Propulsion I/III/VII nerfed
* MOD: Tread recoil dampening effect reduced to 1 per active tread slot
* MOD: Hunter-class Slayer/Assassin/Terminator variants' firepower reduced
* MOD: Reactive armors reduced in size; mass significantly increased to compensate
* MOD: Removed Fabricators from Materials floors
* MOD: Interactive machine placement weights use unique values for each machine, causing some to be more likely, or only, found in rooms
* MOD: Complex 0b10 rooms are slightly less likely to be empty
* MOD: Complex 0b10 contains more interactive machines, especially terminals, in Factory and Research floors
* MOD: Non-combat robots no longer allowed to spawn in hidden corridors used by combat robots
* MOD: Cave-ins caused by explosions are postponed for one or more turns after the explosion occurs, and are also more common
* MOD: Explosions, especially more powerful ones, are more likely to cause cave-ins
* MOD: "Go naked" command (Shift-Alt-q) switched to Shift-Alt-p, to avoid conflicts with non-Windows OS commands
* MOD: Removed item "durability" stat; all slots have equivalent coverage for purposes of determining impact damage location
* MOD: Removed system familiarity mechanic for both machine and robot hacking
* MOD: Removed Footprint Analyzers and System Mapper hackware
* MOD: Spectral Analyzer energy upkeep dropped to 0
* MOD: All processor mass dropped to 0 (44 parts including all interpreters, analyzers, targeting computers, etc.)
* MOD: All processor and hackware coverage dropped by 88%
* MOD: Better hackware is available earlier, and also more consistently from Operators
* MOD: Merged both offensive hackware types (strength/tunneling) into a single type, where base type = Hacking Suite
* MOD: Merged all three defensive hackware types (stealth/evasion/defense) into a single type (base type = System Shield)
* MOD: Condensed 20 hackware parts into a new set of 12
* MOD: Removed terminal trace reset mechanic, and terminals no longer immediately test detection/tracing on reconnect (only after hacking)
* MOD: Active terminal info shows trace progress instead of countdown
* MOD: Manual updated to reflect all changes to propulsion, hacking, hackware, processors
* MOD: Processors and hackware immune to rejection due to system corruption
* MOD: Repair Stations can no longer repair processors or hackware if already attached
* MOD: Manual hacking buffer removes earlier matching entries when a new command is entered (previously only removed consecutive entries)
* MOD: Removed upkeep for malfunction blockers (e.g. Error Protection Suite), instead having it consume 20 matter on effect (if available)
* MOD: Running via keyboard stops on stairs rather than ascending (regardless of auto-ascend setting)
* MOD: Line-of-fire color no longer considers friend/foe relationship, just pure obstruction
* MOD: Datajacks and Stasis Projectors no longer display projectile/hit data in info window (no meaning since based on special effects)
* MOD: Field Recycling Units reduced to 1 slot, are heavier, and have both active heat and energy requirements
* MOD: Particle Gun (G-47 Trooper armament) stats adjusted: shorter range, lower energy cost, higher heat, greater damage range
* MOD: Removed Hcp. Storage Units, and mass of Lrg. units increase to 16 (+2)
* MOD: Further improved effect of Launcher Guidance Computers
* MOD: Hostile Grunt, Sentry, Specialist, and Programmer variants have better heat management
* FIX: Crash when an assimilated Spotter explored to the edge of the known map [zill]
* FIX: Crash on simultaneously destroying an entire array of ambush traps [Decker]
* FIX: Signal Interpreter secondary effect description did not clearly indicate adjacency requirement for identifying exits [Sherlockkat]
* FIX: Repair Station failure to repair an attached part which was broken in the process was not reflected in parts list [MJWkr]
* FIX: Broken power sources continued contributing to energy storage capacity [greymedicine]
* FIX: Alert(Check)-reported security level suffix was always 'Z', not A~Z as intended (to reflect progression towards next alert status)
* FIX: Art for Imp. Fusion Compressor contained a few miscolored glyphs
* FIX: Multi-tile doors played opening sound for every move along/through them, if move commands entered slowly

(As usual, if you haven't already, remember to use the form linked in your original download email to provide the name you want to use in game. Attribution/names are added with each major release.)


News: While unrelated to Alpha 6, I should take this opportunity to again point out there is ongoing discussion of my analysis and proposal to enable slightly larger fonts on small screens. Anyone with an opinion one way or another is encouraged to check it out and provide feedback (relevant forum thread, though note that discussion is spread across many locations and no one happens to have posted on the forum thread yet). The responses and further discussion will determine whether any action is taken in the future!
« Last Edit: May 08, 2017, 03:06:51 AM by Kyzrati »
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