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I'm loving Freeplay mode, but it's far too easy. Ramp difficulty seems to increase too slowly (or maybe sometimes it is bugged and doesn't increase?) and I find that I max out my underground space long before I have any difficulty with enemies. I guess I have a couple of notes about that:

Uber enemies give so much food that it's worth hunting them down rather than hoping that they don't show up. They aren't scary at all, they're a precious resource. One small hermit crab gives 2x-3x more food than a whole giant fish does. I was thinking it should be more like 300 food, not 3000. They aren't THAT hard to beat by the time they appear.

Really, there is a lack of difficulty that's due to the enemy types present in freeplay. It makes no sense for more than a half-dozen spiders to be in an area, which you can easily avoid. Post a few hundred soldiers at your front door, and you can pick up all the insects that come by and you'll end up making more food just from defending your nest.

Aphid farms: where you can farm ladybugs for food much more quickly than you can farm the aphids. The system of ladybugs constantly flying in doesn't work very well- it would make more sense for 1 beetle to eat multiple (many) aphids before it leaves and for them to appear much less often. The farms would still be worth holding on to, but then at least they'd actually be farms and not ladybug traps.

The poppy flowers drop too many seeds. They're a better source of food than aphid farms because they require less hastle. It's also really frustrating when they (and the aphid farms) disappear- they shouldn't unless they are wiped out. Maybe make the poppy flower plants disappear if some insect eats/destroys them and make aphid farms disappear when all the aphids are eaten? That and by lowering the number of seeds and increasing the number of plants that drop seeds will make players need to tell their workers where to go to pick up the various seeds around the map, rather than just making a control group with a few workers and telling them to pick the flower and then forget about it for an hour.

Speaking of, worker ants are sorta completely useless. I build a few to help keep the nest running smoothly so that if a spider invades early-ish on they don't all die, leaving me without any larva. After that, I fill in empty spaces with a few and mix  them into my armies but really that's a waste of space. I understand that workers are supposed to be cheaper to build and especially to respawn, but food wise it is still smarter to build soldiers because the workers WILL die and have no chance at winning against hostile insects- whereas soldiers are more expensive to replace, they will win with way less losses and that will save food. I wouldn't build worker ants past the numbers I need to keep the hive running even if they only cost 1 food to replace. It wouldn't be worth it in freeplay. I think that should change.

Getting to my main point: Freeplay mode is too easy. Random events like a mass of Uber creatures attacking would help the problem, but the mode will still be easy. What the game needs is some sort of rival nest to fight against- like the beach mission with 2 hives attacking, but let us invade the AI nests too. If made well, then the AI hives could grow in strength based on how much territory/food they bring in- and then have some factor to scale with the player's strength. This would also pair nicely with any future additions, like letting the slave-driver ants be playable (capture enemy larva) or leafcutter ants (go for a different food source, so you aren't competing for the same stuff). Unless there is another enemy who can be as strong/stronger than you, I don't see Freeplay being all that replayable.

I have seen the YouTube channel for the game and AI nest development. If this is a planned feature then I apologize, but also included a few other points for balance I think are relevant.

 It's still a great game!

  • Mike

  • Colony
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Rival colonies are in the works - we're working on their AI right now. The video I've embedded here shows their AI routine working out how it's going to dig out its underground nest.

We've identified some glitches with difficulty increase and these will be corrected. It's all a balancing game.

Worker ants are a cheap way of collecting far-off food - there's a trade-off between getting your defenses up early and having a really cheap, reliable source of income - and how many workers you have is how you decide that trade-off.

Also, remember, this is very much the barebones of Freeplay and there's lots more to add. Right now we're mainly interested in getting the current build glitch-free and balanced.


Thanks for the Reply!

I'm glad they're in development. It's really necessary.

As to workers, I suppose I'll look at it again once AI nests are in. Right now there is no reason to build them, but if you're in a rush against another colony then I think they'll be more useful eary-mid game.