Alpha 21 time!

Here’s our twenty-first alpha release. Read on for what’s new…

Armour changes!

We redesigned human armour to bridge the gap between the Light Armour and the Light Armour & Helmet combination. While wearing just the body piece gave you some basic protection from acid gas and the occasional leg bite, it seemed like a waste of credits when getting one-hitted by an experienced Dragoon player. The Light Armour now covers the entire body and gives you moderate head protection. The price has increased but it is available earlier than the helmet was, allowing you to counter those dragoons when you can afford it. Instead of the helmet, you can now also purchase the Medium Armour, which is intended as a tradeoff between the Light Armour and the Battlesuit. However, your armour class now has an impact on stamina and everything heavier than the light armour will reduce your ability to sprint or bunny hop for a long time.

Light armour costs 200 credits, medium armour costs 300, and radar costs 100.

The new armour, though not necessarily in its finished form

For those who prefer bindings for buying and selling items: larmour is still there, helmet is gone, and we now have marmour and radar.

Human bots know about medium armour and radar and can now actually use radar.

Building changes!

Humans no longer need a power source near a drill, though one may be needed anyway if there are other buildings nearby.

For aliens, the Overmind and eggs now provide creep while being built, so no more exploding buildings just because you decided to move that lone supporting egg a few millimetres to the left.

Builders now see a set of icons indicating, if they can’t build somewhere, why not. Sometimes it’s an image of a building, showing what’s needed, e.g. a drill or a leech if you need build points; sometimes, a glyph – ‘⧉’ if there’s no room there, ‘∡’ if the surface is too steep, and ‘×’ for no-build zones.

Unlocking changes!

We’ve played with the unlock thresholds somewhat. For example, armour is not immediately available to humans, and aliens need to do some damage before they can evolve into dragoons.

You’ll see, below the confidence momentum bar, some boxes containing various buildings, upgrades and/or weapons. Those items shown brightly (and all which aren’t shown at all) are unlocked; from left to right, each marker on the momentum bar has its corresponding box. (They’re not lined up. We tried, and got a lot of overlap.)

We hit a problem with advanced granger being shown in the spawn menu but also being locked; so now dead players are told about items being locked or unlocked, and (for aliens) both granger forms are listed.

Other gameplay changes

When running low on stamina, you will no longer black out after your view has been bobbing significantly and your walk speed has asymptotically approached zero. As in many other games, sprinting will stop automatically when you run out of stamina and it will be regenerated slowly even if you keep the sprint button pressed until the threshold is reached that allows you to start another one. In future, we want to introduce different kinds of coughing to indicate whether Unvguy is sprinting or recovering from exhaustion.

You will also notice subtle changes to damage knockback and credit rewards. We rewrote them in order to improve code maintainability and achieve a more coherent effect – knockback strength is now based on the same mass that is used to calculate weight and crush damage and rewards for killing aliens are calculated with the same formula as those for killing humans: you’ll get a base value of 200 plus half the price the opponent paid for equipment/evolution. Finally, evos and credits obey the same ruleset and we can consider them for balance decisions: a class that costs four evos should match armour and weapons for a total of 400 credits etc.

Other things

We’ve fixed reporting of kills by firebomb.

Shadows and lighting have seen some small improvements, mainly regarding culling. This should provide some accuracy and rendering speed improvements.

There should be less of a problem with misrendered weapons when switching between players as a spectator.

There are some fixes for input-related bugs which sneaked in as a result of porting to SDL2.

And, of course, other miscellaneous fixes and adjustments.

(Incidentally, the three longest paragraphs in this article were written by Viech.)