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Topics - Mike

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1
General Discussion / Freeplay Beta Patch 0.121 Released
« on: April 26, 2018, 11:03:43 AM »
    We’ve just released our first feature-adding, bug-fixing and balance-altering update to the Freeplay beta build! We’re currently in the testing phase for Freeplay (sandbox) mode and it’s open to all owners of the game on Steam - if anyone would like to participate who currently isn’t doing so please see
our most recent newsletter for details on how to join in (please note - the beta is Windows-only). Now, let’s get to the fun stuff.
 
New Features

  • Freeplay mode now has the option for Attack Waves. These are sent at the player periodically (every eight minutes) and comprise of random creatures of increasing power. They will give you no food when killed and will not be attacked by other creatures. They offer a real challenge for those looking for something truly hard in Freeplay. Every 5 levels there are special creatures added to the pool to make the fight extra hard. Be prepared if you make it to wave 15!
  • Battle Arena now provides some basic stats for score and survivors that can be reset. Additionally, the battle arena panels can now be hidden (and are hidden in photo mode).
Bug Fixes

  • Fixed an issue where attack and gather buttons were resetting or setting erroneously
  • Funnel Web detection area and slow is now correctly removed when the landmark disappears in Freeplay
  • Landmark spawn locations have been moved slightly further from the map edge on The Dunes
  • Fixed an issue meaning creatures that spawned at map edges could get stuck (mostly an issue with ladybirds)
  • Fixed an issue where “scale with colony” Freeplay difficulty only worked if you were in a specific underground starting location
  • Fixed an issue that cantered markers on closed tunnel exits when trying to place one on them
  • Fixed multiple issues with victory and defeat animations on various campaign levels including issues with fading in and out. Please let us know if there are any more of these.
  • Slow resistance is considered when slowing creatures on a funnel web; larger creatures should slow down less
  • Fixed an issue where rapid-fire wood ant purchases were activating the wrong abilities
  • Fixed an issue where green glow effect (and others) could be applied after death
  • When looking for food or enemies, line of sight is now only blocked by tiles. This should solve issues of food being stuck on ramps.
  • Removed Freeplay restart button
  • Fixed an issue causing colonies on 2_2 to no longer be allied
  • 2_2 nest entrances now have the correct colours
  • Fixed a graphical issue with the surface painting on 2_1 and 2_2
  • Nest group will no longer count food and speed tiles
  • Fixed the camera focus on Freeplay defeats
  • Fixed an issue preventing queen abilities announcing they have been activated
  • Fixed an issue where ants did not always die on tile deletion
  • Fixed an issue where creatures that did not contain food could spawn a corpse
  • Fixed an issue that would sometimes cause spiders to not walk to the end in Battle Arena
  • Fixed an issue where after queen abilities activate the queen would stop animating
  • Fixed an issue where hats were causing collision and nav mesh changes
Balance changes / improvements
 
  • Freeplay ramp rate doubled (should get harder twice as fast in ramp game difficulties)
  • "Scale with colony" difficulty in Freeplay now takes upgrades into account as well as colony size
  • Enemy pack sizes in Freeplay are now affected by difficulty (should be smaller below 100% and larger above it)
  • Food harvested in Freeplay will now spoil after 3 minutes and disappear. Should stop the map being covered in small amounts of food.
  • On transition to night or day if nocturnal / diurnal is selected several creatures will spawn based on the current difficulty (this is to make up for the ones leaving due to nocturnal / diurnal)
  • Main menu music will play over loading screen and will fade out as the level begins
  • Slight optimisation added to minimap rendering
  • Surface minimap will now fade in when tunnelling to the surface
  • Minor performance improvements
Known Issues / Request for help
 
We need help replicating these issues. If you manage to figure out how to achieve these issues we would really appreciate a step-by-step of what caused them. Additionally, any information about what was happening at the time the issue occurred will help.

  • Ants getting stuck underground / appearing to want to walk into walls
  • Creatures disappearing when attacking the queen (specifically the large Beach Tiger Beetle)

2
We have activated the beta for Freeplay and are opening it up to all owners on Steam! If you'd like to participate and are familiar with joining beta branches on Steam, here is your access code:

betatestants

If you're not, please follow the instructions in this post on our Steam forums:

https://steamcommunity.com/app/463530/discussions/0/3211505894108961652/

That post also has a detailed changelog; there have been many fundamental changes to the game that this update introduces.

Note that the beta is Windows only. We're likely to release it for Mac and Linux a short while before the end of the beta period to ensure things are working properly.

As an added bonus, we're also adding in the Battle Arena at the same time! This mode allows you to test creature army compositions against each other to see how they work. Find it in the "Other Modes" main menu option along with Freeplay.

We're interested on hearing your feedback with regards to balance, glitches and crashes. Note that the beta version does not have saving, but the final release of this update will - so for now if you'd like to have a good long session, free up your afternoon!


3
News and Announcements / Beta Testing - Freeplay Mode
« on: April 11, 2018, 11:12:35 AM »
Hi guys.

We're approaching a point where we can get Freeplay mode out, without the saving functionality. After some internal discussion we feel our closed beta testing group isn't going to be big enough for feedback for this one, since it's a complete unknown and such a hugely randomised game mode that balancing it is going to be really tricky.

So, we're going to open up a beta branch on Steam to owners who don't mind testing. There are some important caveats, please read:

  • THERE IS NO SAVING YET. This is the most important one - Freeplay mode will eventually be save-able since we intend games to last several hours, but for the purposes of the beta, this functionality is not yet available. If you'd like to play a long game, please clear some time for it!
  • There will be crashes and glitches. Our usual approach has been to really polish things before making them publicly available but in a beta things are different.
  • Some deep fundamental changes to the way the game works means that other things may be broken - including the current campaign levels and formicarium mode. We would appreciate testing on these too.
  • Whilst you are welcome to post ideas and suggestions, we are mainly interested in balance and bug fixing at this point. So please do not think your ideas are being ignored (we always read everything, even if we can't reply to everything) but for the sake of beta we are looking to fix the build, not expand upon it.
  • This is not technically an "open" beta, but a beta that is available to all current Steam owners of the game. You will need to own a copy of the game activated on Steam to participate.

This will happen in the next few days. A code will be given out on our Steam forums (and here) that people can activate to access the beta branch - instructions for those unsure how to do that will be included in the post.

4
General Discussion / Progress Post: AI Nest Excavation
« on: March 27, 2018, 11:29:00 PM »
We thought we'd show you something Liam has been working on recently. In this video, you can see an AI routine deciding how to dig out an underground nest!

The AI ant colony that Liam has been coding (which will be used in future campaign levels, and quite possibly in an as-yet unconfirmed Skirmish mode) can now make decisions about how it goes about building its nest. The flashing colors represent it searching for areas where it can dig out hexagon-shaped rooms whilst also searching for places to build paths. It tries to keep the paths separate from the rooms for ant traffic efficiency.

In the current campaign level 2.2 "Queen of the Hill", the player faces off against 2 rival colonies. These have only extremely basic AI that is based on scripting, but we loved the idea of confronting a computer-controlled opponent that can come to decisions intelligently and genuinely try to beat you!

The way it's been set up, it's highly unlikely that the AI will come to the same nest design on any two given play-throughs - so each time you play a level, the computer will dig out its nest differently!


5
General Discussion / February 2018 Newsletter
« on: March 12, 2018, 03:51:58 PM »
Our February 2018 Empires of the Undergrowth newsletter is up! We go into a little more detail about the upcoming leaf cutter ants and include some juicy screenshots from freeplay mode - and we've included a "road map" for the rest of 2018!

http://slugdisco.com/february-2018-newsletter/

6
In Freeplay mode, desiccated poppy heads will drop seeds when a heavy gust of wind hits them. These provide a long-lasting food source for your ants... but free food won't go unnoticed!


7
General Discussion / Screen Shot Saturday - Poppyseed Production (Freeplay)
« on: February 17, 2018, 10:45:23 AM »
In the upcoming Freeplay mode, there will be things called "landmarks". These are points in the map that will, at the start of the game, take a randomly selected form. One of these forms is a seed-producing poppy head.

These desiccated poppy heads will drop seeds, providing a regular food source for ants (you can see them on the sand).

We asked our artist Matt to make us a model for this - we weren't expecting him to also do a beautiful in-bloom poppy flower!


8
General Discussion / January 2018 Newsletter
« on: February 08, 2018, 05:59:48 PM »
Good morning, evening and variations thereupon everyone - we've compiled and posted our January newsletter for 2018! The newsletter focuses mainly on the upcoming Freeplay mode (which we hope to have out to you in its basic form in a few weeks).

You can see the full thing on our website. We go into quite fine detail of what is currently being worked on for Freeplay - a potentially endless game mode where you can build your colony at your own pace, save it, and come back to it as and when you want. Some other games call this sort of feature "sandbox" or similar.

http://slugdisco.com/january-2018-newsletter/

9
General Discussion / Progress Post: The Freeplay Launch Screen
« on: January 28, 2018, 03:48:21 PM »
We haven't done a Progress Post for a while since we've been working away at the new stuff, but there's some interesting bits we can show you now.

Here's a preview of the launch screen for the upcoming Freeplay Mode! As you can see, there will be lots of starting options for this mode so you can play the game how you like.

Want a challenge? Have regular spawnings of aggressive enemies. Want a relaxed, endless sandbox-like experience? Disable nest invasion and your colony will never die! Or how about some occasional mega-tough single enemies? Enabling Uber creatures is for you!

We expect the basic form of Freeplay Mode to be out in February, and it will continue to be expanded on over time.


10
General Discussion / December 2017 Newsletter - A New Year!
« on: January 11, 2018, 12:39:38 PM »
Hi all,

We've just published our monthly newsletter. This month, we talk about how the amazing support from you guys has secured the future of the project, as well as the quality of life changes we've made to the game in the weeks since it's been released.

We also reveal the exact species that will be next to be added to the game (Atta cephalotes), a leaf cutter ant that collects leaf cuttings to grow fungus from. Head on over to our website to have a look!

Also, Redmoth27 - we included a screenshot by you :)

http://slugdisco.com/december-2017-newsletter-a-new-year/

11
General Discussion / Forum rules - Spelling / Grammar
« on: January 09, 2018, 06:02:54 AM »
It is not acceptable to criticise forum users for their spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure or otherwise.

You do not know the backstory of any individual - they may not have English as a first language, may be forced to use a translation service, or may have difficulties such as dyslexia which makes things difficult for them.

It does not create the welcoming atmosphere we want to build around our community, and it is frankly embarrassing to have to read and address.

Consider this an official warning.

12
General Discussion / Happy Christmas from the Slug Disco colony!
« on: December 25, 2017, 09:27:39 PM »
Let's acknowledge the most important thing at this time of year - family. More specifically, colony. As we all move forward into the future in pursuit of new feeding grounds, we'd like to extend that good will out to all our burgeoning colonies out there. May your nests be merry and bright, and may none of your victories be slight!

Happy Christmas, from the Slug Disco colony x


13
General Discussion / Screen Shot Saturday - Screenshot Mode Thread!
« on: December 17, 2017, 01:09:47 AM »
Now that John's got the screenshot mode in, post some of your best here! Press F9 (by default) to activate it. The controls for it can be re-bound in the key bindings menu.

Here's a quick one I did, but I imagine much more interesting stuff can be done!


14
The November newsletter is ready! Read through the full thing on our website, here:

http://slugdisco.com/november-newsletter-the-launch-edition/

I'll copy and paste what I imagine are the most important paragraphs for you guys - what we're planning on doing next, and a rough idea of when the next content ready by.

Quote
Freeplay Mode

The first thing that we will be getting out now, after many requests and also ourselves getting antsy to work on it, is freeplay mode. Freeplay will be a much slower-paced, longer-form game mode where your colony will grow slower, taking on increasing threats in a saveable environment similar to the formicarium but separate from it.

It'll have a surface, a variety of starting options (including which species of ant you wish to play as, or if you want to import the properties of your formicarium colonies) and over time it'll be added to with new creatures, artwork, level options and balance changes. The nature of this mode means that it can receive updates much more frequently than the formicarium story mode.

It's John's baby, and he's really keen to get working on it as soon as he can (for now we're still dealing with bug reports and fallout from the early access launch). He hopes that it'll be much more of a community project than the formicarium mode, and he'll be doing live streams that you can join in, watch him do some development, and suggest things / ask questions. These may well be irregular at first, but in the new year it's likely these could well become scheduled and regular.

As far as time scale goes - we really want to get this fast-evolving game mode out into the wild sooner rather than later, and we'll be getting our closed beta testers on it as soon as we can. In a basic form, we may be able to get to that stage within a few weeks. After some closed testing (but highly unlikely to be as long as the early access beta period was), we'll get it out to all of you guys. The thought of watching your colonies grow over a longer time period delights us.

New Levels

In the next stage of formicarium mode (3.1, 3.2 and Formicarium Challenge 3), we want to introduce some new ants. In real life, leaf cutter ants form long trails to gather cuttings from the surrounding foliage, which they take to underground chambers. Here, a fungus grows from the decaying plant matter which is very nutritious and provides the colony with much of its sustenance. We have some ideas for introducing this mechanic to the game and some great community suggestions. The mechanics tend to evolve as we develop them, so we can't realistically talk about their final form just yet. But you know where we're headed!

Time scales are more difficult for this - there's a lot that needs to be prepared for a full-fledged level (as well as the design, there's a ton of custom scripting, artwork, music, and voice acting that needs to be written and recorded). Whilst John does regular updates for freeplay mode, you can realistically expect the next set of levels to be a few months into the new year. Again, as we all know from past experience, to put exact dates on things like this is fatal - issues crop up, have to be overcome, and things change. I think practically every developer working on an ambitious project has experienced this, and we've had plenty of these issues already!

15
General Discussion / YouTuber Highlight: KatherineOfSky
« on: December 09, 2017, 06:33:13 PM »
Every so often we'll be highlighting YouTubers or streamers that we think deserve some extra attention. This week, it's KatherineOfSky.

KatherineOfSky plays her games in a logical, well-thought-out manner and keeps the viewer informed of the reasons behind her decision making process. In this respect her videos work very well as a tutorial guide for people new to EotU. Outside of that, she's simply so entertaining to listen to that it's entirely no wonder that she's quickly become a dev favourite.

The whole of Formicarium on medium difficulty is now covered in her early access coverage, and she's now returned to try hard mode! With her methodical approach to finding solutions, no doubt she'll crack it.


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