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Messages - John

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Bugs / Troubleshooting / Re: The Outlines are WAY too Thick
« on: July 10, 2018, 02:18:21 PM »
You mean the outlines of food and enemies underground? Does this happen every-time you play or just on and off? Are you playing on windows and if so could you let us know your graphics card?

Bugs / Troubleshooting / Re: First Formicarium Challenge Glitch
« on: July 10, 2018, 02:12:47 PM »
I have not been able to replicate exactly what you said however I have fixed something that could have been causing this. Around the nest entrance lips there is meant to be an invisible wall to prevent ants getting too close to the edge. This was not working due to a different change we had made. It was possible for creatures to get stuck where this wall should be and if an enemy got stuck there potentially your ants may have not been able to reach them.

The fix will be pushed with the next update. When I have done that I would appreciate knowing if the issue has gone. Will let you know!

Bugs / Troubleshooting / Re: Lagging/Freezing
« on: July 10, 2018, 02:09:28 PM »
This could indeed be a memory leak. Will keep it in mind when we do further testing. Glad to hear closing and re-opening sorted the issue!

Bugs / Troubleshooting / Re: Ghost Food
« on: July 10, 2018, 02:06:55 PM »
Right I think I have found and fixed the issue. What was happening was in fact the ants targeting the wrong thing and hence thinking they have arrived at the food storage when in fact they have only just picked up the food (so they drop it on the floor). As this food is  registered to the food store all other ants ignore it until it is eventually spent and deleted. Will be fixed in the next update. Thanks for the report!

Bugs / Troubleshooting / Re: Ghost Food
« on: July 10, 2018, 10:04:22 AM »
Could this possibly be food being ignored?
In freeplay food will despawn after 3 minutes so an ignored food item would seemingly disappear. I have managed to replicate a food item being ignored.

Bugs / Troubleshooting / Re: Ghost Food
« on: July 10, 2018, 10:00:25 AM »
Hi Rayalot,

I have tried to replicate this and do not seem able to. There was a bug with a phantom seed appearing on dead creatures which was just something that was not set to invisible (think the bug is still in the current build but has been fixed on development build).

Have you noticed it with any particular types of food? How often does it occur? Any more info you can give us would be helpful!


We introduced a mode in the settings called Realistic mode that hides all this sort of thing. Make sure that is not on as it will prevent you seeing where food and creatures are underground.

Just check the menu settings for this option.

General Discussion / Re: Freeplay Beta Patch 0.122 Released
« on: July 02, 2018, 11:01:05 AM »
Hunger was something I was considering with freeplay and I came up with a few ideas for it, however I think it would be tricky to implement at the moment. Might revisit the idea later. What are your thoughts on how that could work?

General Discussion / Freeplay Beta Patch 0.122 Released
« on: July 01, 2018, 08:47:11 PM »
There have been many changes since the last beta update. This will hopefully be the final version for freeplay release. Many of the changes have focused around having a better game experience, making the end game more difficult and improving performance. Along with this many bug fixes have been added.

  • Population upkeep cost added to Freeplay. This feature has been added in order to make the end game more challenging whilst also keeping performance high. The end game is now more difficult with fewer creatures.
    • This is a soft population cap and will increase the cost of ants beyond a specific population
    • Workers have a seperate population
    • Cost increase is exponential (starts small and increases rapidly with each ant)
    • This can be disabled in setup, however doing so will reduce score by 60%
  • Added in notifications for a few things in freeplay
  • Fog added to minimap when Fog  of war is on

Bug Fixes
  • Fixed an issue where moving the marker between the surface and underground could cause ants to walk to the edge of the map
  • Fixed an issue where ants could get stuck facing walls underground, especially when there were a lot of ants about
  • Fixed an issue where resource score was lost when a game was loaded in Freeplay
  • Fixed an issue where hovering chamber info could be seen in the death animation
  • Fixed an issue where dead creatures would disappear if brought underground with Fog Of War on in Freeplay
  • Fixed an issue where stored corpses despawned on game load in Freeplay
  • Time now restores correctly for scoreboard on loaded Freeplay games
  • You can no longer save Freeplay if your queen is dead
  • Fixed text overlapping in Freeplay setup
  • Fixed the levels displaying incorrectly on chamber hover information
  • Slightly altered queen start position on The Dunes Freeplay map
  • Fixed an issue preventing ladybirds spawning at the the correct rate for the difficulty in Freeplay
  • Fixed an issue where ants when loaded from a save would immediately go home from a trail end
  • Fixed an issue allowing nest group ghost marker placement on surface tunnels
  • Fixed an issue where ants would spin on the spot when walking or picking up food at the bottom of ramps
  • Fixed an issue where wood ant projectiles could hit a lip on the tunnel exit
  • Fixed an issue where ants were moved towards the queen on load if they were nearby (still exists but not as bad)
  • Fixed an issue where saved fish would have their food restored on load and could duplicate
  • Right clicking a notification now unpauses the game
  • Word cost removed from build tooltips
  • Fixed right clicking on harvestable resource placing marker correctly
  • Prevented photo mode when in a cutscene
  • Fixed an issue where ants would be very slow to register to a marker with no ants assigned
  • Funnel Web spiders will no longer attack wave creatures in freeplay
  • Minimap damage notification will no work no matter where your starting location

Changes / Improvements
  • Loading throbber returned to the loading screen
  • Tunnel exit tagged for excavation restores when loaded
  • Changed the information on chamber hover to be more relevant to each chamber
  • Reduced ant reaction time (wood ants should no longer reach targets before starting to fire)

  • Ant fog of war vision radius has been increased (nearly double)
  • At higher difficulties creatures will now drop less food (starting from 50% difficulty) and be much more likely to attack the player in Freeplay
  • Later waves will now produce higher level ants
  • Wave power significantly increased
  • Wave timer has been reduced to 5 minutes and a 12 minute setup time has been added.
  • Every 5th level wave creatures changed
  • Added a warning to the player if they do not tunnel to the surface when waves are queing up to spawn
  • Ubers can now spawn in all waves after wave 15
  • Wave number is constantly displayed once they start spawning
  • Added wave number to Freeplay score screen
  • Chance of Ubers spawning increases with difficulty
  • 14 landmarks will always spawn at the beginning
  • Landmarks types are now evenly distributed
  • A new landmark spawns every 150s down from 180s
  • Uber creatures stats reworked, should attack slower but be more deadly and deal AOE damage
  • Prevented smaller creatures spawning in waves later on (tiny spiders and devils coach horse larvae)
  • More creatures spawn at lower difficulties
  • Added a reload button on defeat in Freeplay

Performance Improvements
  • Refined collisions for substantial performance improvements
  • Performance improvements with certain animations
  • Performance improvements with skeletal mesh updates
  • Small optimisations added in for Freeplay
  • Blueprint Nativisation in use for substantial performance gains
  • Major optimisations in nurseries
  • Creature decision making moved into C++ for major performance boost
  • Job management speed improved
  • Minor array access improvements
  • Minor creature AI speed improvements
  • Multiple minor optimisations

I have been investigating wood ant firing. Bare in mind this patch did not change how this works but I will explain how it is set up. Currently the ants "think" every 0.4 to 0.6 seconds, and when they think they can target an enemy. Now in an open area this is fine as the wood ant only moves a short distance in the time between thinking so it is still far away when it starts to shoot, in fact this gives a bracket where the ant could stop allowing a space for more ants to squeeze in the back.

In the case of thin corridors like we see here in the woodlouse case the tiles stop vision until the ant is fairly close. By the time it is within line of sight the half second movement may cause the ant to be on top of its target by the time it starts shooting.

I have shortened the time between thinking  (to 0.2 to 0.4s). Will continue to monitor this in case it causes FPS to worsen

Bugs / Troubleshooting / Re: [Beta] Royal decree broken
« on: June 15, 2018, 02:06:37 PM »
This was fixed with the latest patch, thanks for the report

Thanks for this I will note it down.

Thanks for the report. You really put freeplay through its paces there so well done.

I have watched most of this video today and it has helped solve a couple of things so thanks for that.

The number of creatures you end up with is huge, something I am taking away from this is in the later game they need to attack you as they spawn as having huge numbers of creatures about doing nothing is going to tank the FPS for no reason.

Matt is taking a look at some optimisations, some of which are pretty large changes to how the game works. This could take some time to experiment with and we are going to have to make some decisions as to weather we need to optimise now or if we should hold out on it until after we have more content. This is an internal discussion we are going to have to have.

The Marker that would not go away was a separate but, I found the point in your video where it appears and it looks like you can place nest group markers if done on top of the tunnel. I have fixed this bug.

I am going to have a think about the wood ants. I do know what you mean they seem to keep walking when they should be firing. Could be a bug or could just be a quirk of the setup the ability has. Will look into it. Also they should not hit the lip of the tunnel like it appears they do.

Attack waves tanking the FPS makes sense as it is a load more creatures on top of the ones already on the map. I will be putting some thought into this also. I could have it that later on it favours fewer more powerful creatures, or spawns higher level ants.

Regarding the trails and the ants doing nothing at the start of the game. I will explain how they work and why this is happening.

Firstly always half of the ants assigned to a trail will remain at the trails end, the other half will form the trail to and from the start point. If your marker is underground the start point is the queen and if overground it is the surface where your tunnel comes out.

Underground the ants waiting to join the trail will wait by the queen and will be sent to the end point at a rate that should cause a constant flow of ants to and from the end which is based on the distance the marker is from the queen. Overground it will do the same only the ants will wait by the tunnel underground and the distance is based on the distance from the surface tunnel to the marker.

This system has worked well in the formicarium levels where we dictate the distance to the surface tunnel, however giving players the freedom to have a long run around underground in freeplay is leading to some ant behaviour that is not intuitive to the observing player.

We may need to revisit this in light of freeplay. Anyway thanks for the comprehensive test it has given me a lot to work with.

General Discussion / Freeplay Beta Patch 0.1213 Released
« on: June 12, 2018, 01:02:46 PM »
With this update to the Freeplay beta comes saving! Due to the complexity of this there are likely to be bugs here and there and we would very much appreciate reports of them. As this will affect saves we strongly recommend you backup your saves before trying this update.

We’re close to the end of the beta period for Freeplay and it will soon be made available for all players, but if you aren’t yet participating and would like to please follow the instructions here:

  • Find Empires of the Undergrowth in your games library
  • Right-click and select “Properties”
  • Find the "Betas" tab
  • Enter the code "betatestants" (without quote marks) and press "Check code"
  • Make sure you've chosen the beta from the dropdown menu
  • The game will now update to the beta branch version

As always, thanks for your help with this. We will soon be ready to test on Mac and Linux then finally release Freeplay officially.

New Features

  • Freeplay games can be saved
    • WARNING: Whilst we are testing this we STRONGLY recommend backing up your game before trying the new update
    • At present Freeplay games do not save backups themselves; we will be introducing this in the future
    • You will notice the Freeplay colonies you have already made available to load when you open Freeplay – These saves will be incompatible, please delete them as loading them may cause a crash (they do not have level data saved with them)
  • Fog of War added to Freeplay
    • This hides all enemies on the surface unless you have an ant close to them
    • Due to the difficulty this adds, it dramatically increases your score
  • Some Freeplay setup options now add a multiplier to your score
    • Nest invasions increases score by 50%
    • Uber creatures increases score by 10%
    • Attack waves increases score by 10%
    • Fog of war increases score by 150%
  • Placing a marker will draw the path the ants are likely to take to reach it
  • All ants have an icon on them which roughly describes their role (worker, melee, ranged, tank)
  • Hovering over a chamber will now give information about the room (ants, eggs, tile levels, storage)
  • The nest group can now be selected and can have aggression and gathering turned on and off
  • Realistic mode added in general options (hides tile surfer outlines, food outlines, path arrows on markers and marker icon overlays)
  • Request to dig to surface can now be cancelled
  • Minimap darkens as the day darkens
  • Game will now pause when notifications are open (can be toggled on and off via notification button or option)
  • Some tech tree icons have been updated
  • Some furniture added to main menu screen

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed an issue that could cause all creatures other that colony ID 0's health to be halved in Freeplay
  • Fixed Royal Decree (thanks to Rayalot72 for reporting this)
  • Potentially fixed issue with some hardware causing large black shadows to appear in 1_1 and 1_2
  • Fixed a crash that could happen in levels with no surface
  • Fixed a bug with the last chance worker in Freeplay
  • Fixed an issue with the spawn point of waves in Freeplay
  • Fixed some text capitalisation inconsistencies
  • Changed title of Other Modes
  • Fixed the "Reload last save" button in Freeplay

Balance changes / improvements

  • Uber creature corpses can now be harvested by 8 ants at a time
  • Stunned swirl updated
  • Performance improvement added for rendering the upgrade overlay
  • Several minor optimisations added

Suggestions & Feedback / Re: Uber Creature balance [Freeplay]
« on: April 26, 2018, 10:38:18 PM »
Some very good points. What do you think about Ubers being allied with all other creatures on the map? This way only the player will do damage to them.

Alternatively they could regenerate health when out of combat. I will put some more thought into this but interested to hear what you think.

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