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Author Topic: Released: Alpha 13 - "Rise of Zion"  (Read 2269 times)

Kyzrati

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Released: Alpha 13 - "Rise of Zion"
« on: January 16, 2017, 06:02:37 PM »

Our first major release of 2017!

And a major release it is, with a changelog to rival even Alpha 12 and, even better, early-game content updates so that everyone can experience lots of new stuff rather than just those players exploring the late game. Alpha 13 brings with it a "new narrative," yet more UI features, mechanics... basically a ton of improvements to simply make Cogmind even more engaging.

Scroll down for the full changelog, or read on for the release notes.

For a visual sampling of some of what comes with Alpha 13, you can browse this couple dozen feature images I put together.


Friendly (and Deadly) Encounters

Alpha 13 reverses a year-long development trend of new content reaching closer and closer to the end of the game, by circling back around to the early parts for some new fun stuff.

The Mines, which have always been fairly bare bones but are the first optional branches new players meet, as well as notoriously punishing for new and old players alike, have gotten a makeover. They are not nearly as deadly as they once were, and there is more content to discover within, in some cases content that will improve survival rates among new players who happen to wander that way. And even experienced players may choose to dive into the Mines fairly often now. So if you're a regular player, stop avoiding Mines like the plague and check them out!

A little new content was also added to the Caves, and, most importantly, survivability of both Caves and Mines will be somewhat increased with the addition of Scrap piles. Just walk over them to search and they'll burst into little piles of  components (usually a little damaged) along with some amount of matter.

But the most significant new chunk of content comes with that new narrative I mentioned. Visit Zion and you'll see what I mean. (Oh, and there are new ways to reach Zion!) You'll get access to a new piece of the game that got a little bigger than originally planned--it was too good an opportunity to pass up! Otherwise Alpha 13 would've been the last of the story releases and marked the end of the road to 1.0 content completion. (Instead we're going to get an Alpha 14 that will wrap up a pair of loose ends in the plot.)

On an unrelated note, you may meet a particular unique NPC with some named components, which is just a sample representing one of several really exciting potential directions for the future of Cogmind development I've been thinking about (post-1.0!).

Stealth

Alpha 13 includes a number of new stealth-related features sneaky Cogminds might consider adding to their repertoire.

The Triangulator is a very valuable new part for anyone looking to stay out of sight. It might even be OP, but that's okay we'll see what players do with it first ;). It pulls double duty by not only constantly letting you know how many units are tracking you from anywhere on the map (indicated with a sound effect and number in your parts list), but also shows how much closer you can get to hostiles in sight before they might spot you.

Cloaking Devices were also revamped to actually provide a more obviously stealth-like ability. Whereas before they gave a boost to evasion, they now reduce the range at which hostiles can spot you--get even closer when trying to slip by patrols in large open areas! (No, Hunters do not carry these--their original "Cloaking Devices" are now called Phase Shifters, and retain the same behavior they've always had.)

We'll also be able to better measure just how stealthy a given player was during their run with two new score sheet entries. "Peak Tracking Count" records the greatest number of hostiles tracking Cogmind at once, and "Times Spotted" tallies the total number of times spotted throughout an entire run.

Build Your Way To Glory

Fabricators have already gotten fairly useful, but they keep getting better. Not only did hacking the Build command get easier across the board (+20%), Fabricators are both more likely to have preloaded item schematics and those schematics are going to be better than what you normally find in the area, in some cases up to two ratings higher!

From a design standpoint, even without any schematics to draw on, preloaded Fabricators are essentially potential piles of loot that you have to exchange some extra amount of time to acquire, so they can afford to be a little better. And of course that provides the player with more options and is therefore more fun :D

You certainly don't want to pass these things up anymore! (even if you're not a hacker or have no schematics)

Hacking Rebalance

As discussed a good bit on the chat and forums, late-game strategies revolving around stacking hackware are definitely OP. NERF INCOMING IN 3... 2... 1...

Several changes were made to balance it out:
  • Adv. Remote Datajack and hackware ratings +1. This will raise the depth at which they can be fabricated, which is where most of the Ultimate Haxor's hackware comes from in the first place.
  • Hackware stat progression dropped from +10/15/20/25/30/35 to +10/12/14/16/20/25. The main issue with late-game hackers is that they have not only more slots to allocate but also much better hackware, resulting in massive hacking bonuses--upwards of +200%, which can overcome... anything. In this case it's better to force even more of those slots to be used to get similar capabilities, which turns into a much more serious sacrifice. Let's see just how far these hackers are willing to go!
  • Higher difficulty tiers for robot hacking defenses. The original set was designed before all the new prototype robots even existed (and back when I considered that they'd likely all simply be unhackable anyway).
Together these should resolve a majority of the issues, and note that these changes are not aimed at nor do they have any effect on low-level hackers, just the high-level stuff where players were essentially taking over the entire complex...

To compensate at the higher end, one benefit of the additional robot tiers is that almost every robot is now hackable (even ARCs and Behemoths!). Also, Programmers are less likely to succeed at hacking your regular allies, and are completely unable to hack your best ones (but they'll sure try :P).

QoL!

Wouldn't be a Cogmind release without proper attention to everything QoL :)
  • Item Label Coloring: On-map item labels now have another mode which colors them based on their integrity using the normal scheme (green > yellow > orange > red). This mode also remembers the last-known integrity of items outside FOV (which are also colored with a darker shade). It does have a couple small drawbacks compared to the original gray scheme, namely the main reason I hadn't used a color-based scheme to begin with: individual pop-up autolabels may not always be immediately distinguishable from some robot labels by color alone. There is also no way aside from name to differentiate common item labels from those for prototypes and artifacts (which normally standout quite clearly). I was going to wait and see, but yesterday after a couple of pre-release test runs I decided it's just too awesome and needs to be the default. So it's the default. The old mode is still available in the options menu (and also has a new feature: darkening labels for items at < 75% integrity), though it turns out that in practice the robot-item confusion is not a serious consideration, and in the next release I'll address the prototype/artifact differentiation issue, although even now the item icon coloring and/or shape itself is of course different. Overall a Good Feature!
  • Current Item Data: Because Alpha 12 added a modal drop system for keyboard players triggered by 'd', they/we lost the ability to single-key identify the item at the current location (it required using examine mode: x, d). I've assigned that command to Numpad 0 (Ins) so it's still available and convenient at least for Numpad users.
  • Options Shuffle: A number of little-used options were removed from the menu to make room for better new ones, though all old ones are still accessible in the config file, as listed in the changelog. (Later I'm going to put together a full descriptive list of the special config-only options, but I'm waiting for it to reach a final 1.0 state.)
  • Targeting Overhaul: The examine and targeting UI behavior underwent a major overhaul, most of which only matters for keyboard players.
    • Of relevance to both categories of players, guided weapon waypoints are remembered for subsequent firings, so that you don't have to re-enter them when firing along the same path, a fairly common need.
    • There is now only one targeting priority system. There used to be a bunch of them, relics from the 7DRL nearly five years ago when I went on a UI options spree and implemented all kinds of different ways to cycle. It was unnecessarily confusing for most players, and the new always-prioritize-by-distance approach is more effective. There is also the added benefit that it will only cycle through armed hostiles if any are visible, otherwise only then does it switch over to cycling through unarmed non-allied robots. (Examine mode still cycles through all robots, however, and the fact that you can switch directly from examine to targeting mode while keeping the same target is a trick to allow you to cycle to an unarmed robot even when armed robots are present.)
    • Three different pairs of keys are all valid for cycling forwards and backwards through the target list: Tab/Shift-Tab, -/=, and Numpad -/+.
    • Targeting always prioritizes the last target if still valid, regardless of current distance, and now "last target" can even include non-robot solid targets and empty spaces! Blow through those walls faster than ever!
    • Backspace and Numpad Enter can be used to recenter the cursor on your position, a new shortcut in case the targeting puts your cursor on another/previous object but you'd like to fire at something nearby like a wall or blocking non-combat robot.

Difficulty

Every release the difficulty changes somewhat, and Alpha 13 is no exception, though this one's a little harder to gauge in absolute terms. Overall 12 was way too easy in the long run, a combination of too many alert level variables being adjusted at once without any long-run testing prior to release. 13 scales that back a bit, though not yet to the degree of 11, which was a bit too tough.

That is only with regard to alert level, however, and there have been a number of changes that make certain areas and routes through the world less punishing.
  • Mines got their own big update mentioned earlier, much of which is friendly.
  • Scrap found in Mines and Caves alleviates some of the pressure experienced in those areas.
  • The lone Garrison Access was removed from both -10/Materials and -9/Materials, where it made the already sometimes congested tight corridors of those maps all that much more dangerous to low-integrity Cogminds, especially new players. Getting caught by one or more patrols that were then reinforced by a nearby garrison is a tough experience, especially for new players. There's really no need to make the first couple floors quite that deadly, especially when deadly or not experienced players can get out pretty easily. Might as well still be challenging yet fun for the new players. Allowing entry into garrisons that early is also just another new player trap, as they're generally too dangerous and not worth it at such early depths, anyway.
  • Secret adjustments :)
  • One of the major new additions, which alone took literally two weeks of development but I haven't mentioned a single word about, is potentially big enough to lead to new play styles, some of which could be easier, or at least help tackle the more difficult challenges...

Remember to migrate from an earlier release by simply copying over your /user/ directory to the new game directory.


The full Alpha 13 (0.10.170117) changelog:

* NEW: Branch map "Zion" expanded
* NEW: 1 major plot event with potentially far-reaching effects
* NEW: 1 major new NPC (unique robot class)
* NEW: 1 new common robot w/unique behavior, "Thief"
* NEW: 5 new special robots (3 unique classes, 10 variants in all)
* NEW: 32 new items (total = 800)
* NEW: Trap items have a unique sprite
* NEW: New special item type in caves: Scrap (moving onto it automatically searches)
* NEW: Wide-ranging set of ally-sourced hacking abilities to discover, available as part of a new system
* NEW: More reasons to visit Mines (what those are I'll leave you to discover)
* NEW: Several new cave encounters
* NEW: 87 more score sheet entries (total = 579)
* NEW: 3 new low/mid-tier Fabricators and Recycling Units
* NEW: Ninth damage type (secret)
* NEW: Triangulation mechanics/utility
* NEW: True cloaking mechanic (via new Cloaking Devices)
* NEW: Recycling Unit Retrieve(Components) hack output explicitly states number of components retrieved, since may not equal full contents
* NEW: Repair Stations, Recycling Units, and Scanalyzers color listed items by current integrity
* NEW: Repair Station repairable item list marks those which are broken to avoid requiring opening info window to confirm
* NEW: Explosion falloff stat context help explicitly mentions visual representation in the form of AOE color's brightness relative to the origin
* NEW: Encounter-based optional world map shortcuts
* NEW: "Alert Popups" option that displays flashing on-map warnings and alerts for low integrity/energy/matter
* NEW: "Part Auto-sorting" option that enables automatic sorting parts after changes (occurs once moving again)
* NEW: "Show Non-FOV Color" option to show areas outside with darker colors rather than the green overlay (toggle at any time with Ctrl-`)
* NEW: "Click Walls to Target" option that allows that feature to be toggled (now off by default)
* NEW: "Color Item Labels" option to use integrity-based color scheme for item labels, both manual and automatic
* NEW: Standard item labeling method uses slightly darker shade to indicate items at less than 75% integrity
* NEW: Option to allow right-clicks on walls to enter targeting mode (cogmind.cfg only: see rmbWallsToTarget)
* NEW: Manual explicitly states that fliers must switch to another form of propulsion in order to bump-rewire disabled targets
* NEW: Any encounter action in which an NPC drops an item is accompanied by the proper material-based drop sfx
* NEW: Manual and context help clarify specific stat effects of propulsion overloading
* NEW: Confirmation required for suicide/quit game menu options (including a required 1-second delay)
* NEW: Armor auto-replacement breaks ties using each armor's respective rating
* NEW: Added "Multiple Projectiles" section to manual (under Weapons) to explain how they work
* NEW: Sealing a garrison after installing a trap on the entrance itself gives explicit log message referring to the trap's destruction
* NEW: In-game manual's keyboard navigation supports Numpad as well
* NEW: Attached processor to be dropped/removed/swapped flashes until confirmed (or window expires)
* NEW: Numpad 0 equivalent to 'd' key for opening object info; in keyboard mode also identifies item at current location without examine mode
* NEW: Explicit context tutorial message about the drawback of attempting to aim through an obstacle at a target behind it
* NEW: Overhauled autotargeting and target selection system (see new manual section "Targeting Priority" under Advanced UI)
* NEW: Targeting and examine modes both support -/= and Numpad -/+ for cycling through objects
* NEW: Firing at an empty space or other non-robot target is remembered for subsequent shots, automatically targeted again if still visible
* NEW: Repeatedly firing a guided weapon will remember and automatically reload all of previous attack's waypoints, if still visible
* NEW: Shift modifier w/Numpad cursor movement in examine/targeting modes jumps four spaces (customize via cfg: cursorJumpDistance)
* NEW: In targeting mode, Backspace or Numpad Enter centers cursor on self (keyboard mode)
* NEW: Added explicit Notes section to manual
* NEW: All supporter names registered since Alpha 12 added to in-game list (see Credits menu)
* NEW: All item-attribution names registered since Alpha 12 added to the item collection gallery
* MOD: All former optional target cycling methods unified, is now always distance-based (near to far)
* MOD: Target cycling includes only armed hostiles if any, otherwise all non-allied targets
* MOD: Item cycling order in examine mode switched from row-based to distance-based, near to far; also accessible by Ctrl-Numpad -/+
* MOD: Entering targeting mode via 'f' with only a melee weapon active will limit target cycling to adjacent targets
* MOD: Diametric Drive now a prototype
* MOD: Upped melee sneak attack base hit chance to 120%
* MOD: Derelict Log ASCII art recolored, rather than matching Data Core
* MOD: Non-hostile Derelicts use much brighter shade of gray
* MOD: Trap Extractors somewhat more commonly found among regular stockpiles
* MOD: Gui. Remote Datajack now a prototype, improved to rating 9
* MOD: Trap items changed from light gray to red (in ASCII mode)
* MOD: Reduced number of sound channels for environment destruction, to lower volume of large-scale collateral damage to machines
* MOD: AI (enemies and allies) spot targets one space further away than previously, more in line with their actual sight range
* MOD: Z-Series renamed to Q-Series
* MOD: Minseweeper variants renamed: Extractor -> Sweeper, Miner -> Extractor
* MOD: Particle Charger integrity increased (+10, all variants)
* MOD: Original set of Cloaking Devices renamed to Phase Shifters
* MOD: Utility Shielding no longer protects Armor parts
* MOD: Allies are tier-prioritized when passing to new map, better ones appearing closer (any lost in transition will naturally be weaker)
* MOD: Drones show their class name in info page instead of "Special"
* MOD: Controllable allied drones appear in blue instead of fuchsia
* MOD: Assimilated prototype robots always appear blue
* MOD: Scanalyzer-listed non-scanalyzable items appear blue instead of yellow
* MOD: Mines infestation less common, and sometimes accompanied by a new encounter
* MOD: Imp. Signal Interpreter displays non-combat classes in a different color
* MOD: LRCs are now their own class
* MOD: Inventory sorting accompanied by sound effect (became silent in Alpha 11 due to removal of interface message w/typing sfx)
* MOD: Removed "Auto-sort Inventory" from options menu (still available in cogmind.cfg as autoSortInventory)
* MOD: Removed "Distance-based Volume" from options menu (still available in cogmind.cfg as soundIgnoresDistance)
* MOD: Removed "Center Cursor on Move" from options menu (still available in cogmind.cfg as centerCursorOnMove)
* MOD: Removed "Animated Volley Range" from options menu (still available in cogmind.cfg as animateVolleyRange)
* MOD: Removed "Target Preference" from options menu (now obsolete)
* MOD: Major NPCs no longer susceptible to core disruption
* MOD: Allies/AIs no longer attack dormant bots (until awoken)
* MOD: Item rating value context help clarifies its importance in simplifying the comparison process
* MOD: Added mechanics details including machine-caused LOS reduction to the manual's "Spotting" section (under Combat)
* MOD: All EM cannon energy costs increased approximately 40%
* MOD: Recycling Unit tunneling more likely to discover areas closer to current depth than further away
* MOD: Log message reporting a world location learned via derelict log etc. is different if location was previously known
* MOD: World map will not show additional discovered but unvisited Factory areas at the same depth (may have been learned by tunneling through chutes)
* MOD: Score sheet "Alien Tech Recovered" renamed to "Alien Tech Used" (behavior unchanged)
* MOD: Confusion due to corruption no longer tries to move into walls, take exits, or otherwise attempt an involved action (rewiring, machine interaction)
* MOD: Recall() hacks no longer appear on Command terminals, nor do they have an effect there
* MOD: Svarog and Perun core integrity +33%
* MOD: Zionites have a new sprite
* MOD: Gaining new intel no longer automatically opens intel window (can reactivate feature via cogmind.cfg: autoOpenNewIntel)
* MOD: Melee attacks never miss walls/doors/machines
* MOD: Mechanics, Protectors, and disarmed combat bots no longer considered a "threat" for movement purposes (requires "Stop on Threats Only" option on)
* MOD: Part rejection side effect of corruption no longer occurs outside combat situations
* MOD: Thermal Generator effect description changed to avoid implying it prevents thermal damage
* MOD: No Garrison Access below -8
* MOD: Assaults and Intercepts no longer dispatch simultaneous with Exterminations
* MOD: Increased effect on alert level from disabling machines and having allies in tow during combat
* MOD: +1 rating to all hackware at the Improved tier and above
* MOD: Adv. Remote Datajack rating +1
* MOD: Hackware stat progression rate reduced significantly
* MOD: Two additional higher robot hacking difficulty tiers
* MOD: Previously hackable prototype robot systems now much more difficult
* MOD: ARCs/Z-Series/Behemoths and many more now fully hackable (difficult but not impossible)
* MOD: Reduced by ~20% the chance of hostile Programmers successfully assimilating allies with average/high hacking defenses (e.g. Grunts/Hunters)
* MOD: Build command at all Fabricators easier
* MOD: Preloaded item schematics at Fabricators now better than usual, even out of depth
* MOD: More Fabricators will tend to have preloaded schematics
* MOD: Slightly reduced mass support for all flight propulsion at and above rating 4
* MOD: World map no longer accessible during examine/targeting modes
* FIX: Getting a Repair Station refit or being repaired by a Mechanic ignored extra slots of multislot items, attaching more parts than necessary [Vectis]
* FIX: Advanced key command listing for evasion info still showed '/' despite having been switched to '\' [zxc]
* FIX: A particular late-game encounter involved a robot that could still take a hostile action even if assimilated before acting [zxc]
* FIX: Under rare circumstances a valid path between cave entrance and exits may be blocked off by a wall [Sherlockkat]
* FIX: Vi-key running via 'r' modifier wasn't working in all cases [Dracunos]
* FIX: Part mass visualization should show relative values for unidentified non-propulsion parts [Dracunos]
* FIX: Removal of BUILD order in Alpha 12 shifted tallies for other ally orders in score sheet [Widmo]
* FIX: Backup parts which became "Unknown" due to data loss remained unknown even after attachment during Mechanic repairs or Repair Station refit [Widmo]
* FIX: Mechanics headed to resupply at a Repair Station which is then disabled may still resupply if interactive section not completely destroyed [Widmo]
* FIX: Recyclers headed to insert at a Recycling Unit which is then disabled may still use it if interactive section not completely destroyed [Widmo]
* FIX: Recycling Unit's Refit function only available manually rather than via button (until reconnect) if repaired an attached part [Widmo]
* FIX: While flying was possible to swap with a non-flying ally on the other side of a hostile (will now clear them, too) [Widmo]
* FIX: Unable to cycle through World Map in keyboard mode if current or previous locations in Waste or Garrison [Widmo]
* FIX: Inconsistent new map autosave behavior depending on Show Map Intro option setting (now always saves as soon as possible) [Widmo]
* FIX: Manual terminal hacks seeking analyses for robots that have no schematics would always indicate unavailable at current depth [Widmo]
* FIX: Extracting resources from a container by waiting on top of it did not update the scan window if displaying that container [Widmo]
* FIX: While flying, was possible to hack a machine directly on the other side of a blocking hostile [Widmo]
* FIX: Typo in W-25 Informer and B-99 Colossus analysis texts [Widmo]
* FIX: Reclamation Units could reclaim themselves on destruction [Amphouse]
* FIX: Derelict Surgeon variants overheated simply from upkeep costs due to an imbalanced loadout [Happylisk]
* FIX: Allied MAIN.C classes/variants transferred to a new map would be renamed [elite277]
* FIX: Clicking on the evolution UI where the Confirm button will appear, even before assigning slots, advances to next map without new slots [piedol]
* FIX: Allies were causing almost no additional increase to the alert level in combat
* FIX: Traveling through Recycling didn't increment evolution count by the proper amount in score sheet
* FIX: Confusion due to corruption was warning when a move would ram a robot or step on a known hostile target, making negative consequences avoidable
* FIX: Weapon toggling hotkey (') behavior didn't work properly when autoReadyLauncher option activated in cogmind.cfg
* FIX: In rare cases a horizontal line may appear after a log message and get stuck there until the message was redrawn due to scrolling
* FIX: NPCs that speak on sight were not supposed to flash the green '!' to indicate dialogue, since a bump is not required to trigger
* FIX: "Traps Extracted" score sheet entry was including non-player tallies as well
* FIX: Chute traps never spawned on Factory depths visited on a previous run in the same session
* FIX: One or more prop-sourced ambient sounds could disappear early when overlapping with others during movement
* FIX: Rebooting, dormant, or otherwise inactive programmers were still capable of protecting nearby allies from hacking attempts
* FIX: Crash in message log system if attacking a wall with a base accuracy of exactly 110%
* FIX: One character (147) in ASCII art contained a few extra pixels when using 14x14 font

(As usual, if you haven't already, Prime Tier supporters and above 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.)

Shout out to new player Widmo, who provided a majority of the bug reports for the previous release (finding some really obscure stuff!). He's co-developer of PRIME, also a sci-fi roguelike--check it out.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2017, 03:08:00 AM by Kyzrati »
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