0.5 release

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Vezzra
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0.5 release

#1 Post by Vezzra »

At the last online voice chat meeting plans on how to get 0.5 ready for release has been one of the topics. 0.4.10 had been released in July 2020, with a maintenance release following up in September 2020. Which means that the last major release happened already 10 months ago, and we've still a long way to go to get 0.5 ready. Which also means that we need to start to think about how to get 0.5 ready for release at some point in the not too far future. ;)

Therefore I propose to start focusing on getting the features/thing we currently work on into a (at least somewhat) release-ready state, and put a hold on adding/introducing new features/mechanics. Especially considering that we've introduced major new features and mechanics this release cycle which will take a lot of time and effort to sufficiently balance and polish.

So, the first step will be to get an overall view on what we need to work on to get 0.5 ready for release. The major things/items we talked about at our last online voice chat meeting are the new Influence and Government/Polices mechanics and everything connected/related to these.

Judging by the ongoing discussions on the relevant forums and threads, things there are still in a very unfinished/unbalanced state. Content is lacking, the numbers are wrong, the dynamics don't really work, etc. More policies are needed, the existing ones need a lot of tweaking, more ways to manipulate/influence stability are needed, and so on.

Another big issue is the AI. In the past few years, development on the AI already couldn't keep up with the addition of new features and mechanics, and the changes to existing ones. The addition of major new mechanics like Influence and Government/Policies finally broke it. If I understand correctly, currently the AI isn't really able to play anymore. So, the concern here is to get the AI to be able to run their empires well enough as not to completely break down. At least as much as that's possible within a reasonable time frame.

Getting all that ready for release is going to be a quite massive task, which is why it's all the more important to really focus on that and not introduce new stuff. Unless of course that new stuff is necessary to achieve release-readiness... ;) We will have to do a LOT of the playtesting - balancing/polishing cycle for that. As the regular multiplayer games can provide a lot of invaluable feedback here, it would be much appreciated if you multiplayer guys would continue to play multiplayer games with current master instead of 0.4.10. :D

Another work in progress (as far as I'm aware) are the changes/additions to the combat system (combat targetting, fighters, etc.) and the changes to to UI to reflect all these changes (e.g. in the tooltip window detailing fleet/ship combat values).

I'm probably missing a lot of other minor projects/side projects currently going on which also should be included into 0.5 and need to get ready for release, so please post anything I forgot or overlooked here. This will help to get a at least somewhat complete overview of all the things we need to get ready for 0.5.

Another important thing is to assign all issues and PRs on Github which need to be finished/merged/resolved to the 0.5 milestone. Please, everyone, all of you know what things you're working on, which bugs etc. you've reported - go to Github and set the 0.5 milestone for everything that needs to get addressed for 0.5. If you don't have the access rights to set milestones, post respective requests in the comment sections of the issues/PRs in question.

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LienRag
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Re: 0.5 release

#2 Post by LienRag »

I really would like to have Situational Stealth included in the test versions that are produced from now on.

Especially, the Variable Pressure Nano-Coating part is imho mature enough (extensively tested in single player though not yet in multiplayer), brings something to the game, and doesn't disrupt anything major.

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Re: 0.5 release

#3 Post by LienRag »

Vezzra wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 10:17 am
Another work in progress (as far as I'm aware) are the changes/additions to the combat system (combat targetting, fighters, etc.) and the changes to to UI to reflect all these changes (e.g. in the tooltip window detailing fleet/ship combat values).
I didn't want to talk about it since I have nothing to show after nearly two years of preparing it (on and off, obviously) but I'm working on a mock-up for a completely new combat system (a development of what I proposed there).
That's why I'm working on Godot these days (very slowly, but making some progress nonetheless) and if everything goes fine I may have something to present at the timescale to which you want to release.

I sincerely believe that it would be a great addition to the game and is the best compromise between the constraints that have been recognized (no player interaction during combat, so that multi-player games do not take days for a single turn) and the initial goal (tactical combat).


It has one caveat, though : it scales very well for number of ships involved, but not for number of players.
With more than two or three participants in the same combat, my system would work very differently that we have now, in ways that will have to be decided (I have four options in mind : successive deathmatches, forced coalitions, random pairing, splitting of fleets).

If I understand correctly, migration to Godot is not guaranteed before release; but what I mean is that it may not be necessary to spend a lot of work modifying the combat system since it works now and I genuinely believe that my proposal will render everything else obsolete.

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Re: 0.5 release

#4 Post by Ophiuchus »

LienRag wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 8:17 pm if everything goes fine I may have something to present at the timescale to which you want to release.
not commenting on the combat system itself but regarding the topic of this thread: substituting the combat system for 0.5 is totally off the table.
Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.

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Re: 0.5 release

#5 Post by Ophiuchus »

Vezzra wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 10:17 am Another work in progress (as far as I'm aware) are the changes/additions to the combat system (combat targetting, fighters, etc.) and the changes to to UI to reflect all these changes (e.g. in the tooltip window detailing fleet/ship combat values).
Thats my main topic, yes - SOTA is better than what we have now. And I am positive that it will be well-polished at the end of summer latest.

Another important thing neglected (besides AI) is stealth. I think current content makes it nearly impossible to use stealth in a defensive way against players (because high detection is so easy to achieve). Should I/we go for it to make it usable again or do we accept that it is not really viable and put it on the 0.6 list?
Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.

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Re: 0.5 release

#6 Post by Oberlus »

Ophiuchus wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 7:03 am Another important thing neglected (besides AI) is stealth. I think current content makes it nearly impossible to use stealth in a defensive way against players (because high detection is so easy to achieve). Should I/we go for it to make it usable again or do we accept that it is not really viable and put it on the 0.6 list?
I think we can make it for 0.5.

My list includes many balance items: influence sources and sinks and the costs of policies, stability levels and requirements, research and production outputs, stealth vs detection levels, all together with polishing policies effects and descriptions.
Stealth seems easier than balancing the whole influence&stability mess (if only to make it as usable as it was before influence):
- Add an early policy to increase planetary stealth, to counter Active Scanning (Subterranean Something or No Surface Activity: +stealth and some or all of -supply, -infrastructure and -population).
- Add an early policy for ships' stealth (Silent Running: -speed, +stealth), and maybe add to that same policy -supply and +stockpile or leave that for Isolation policy.
- Add an early part for situational stealth (the hide-in-GG part based on LienRag's idea, with some changes that he doesn't like) to help with early game hidden expansion and hidden skirmishers.
- Optionally, detach planetary stealth from detection techs and adjust costs, so that it is not always cheaper to detect than to hide.

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Re: 0.5 release

#7 Post by Ophiuchus »

Oberlus wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 7:45 am
Ophiuchus wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 7:03 am Another important thing neglected (besides AI) is stealth. I think current content makes it nearly impossible to use stealth in a defensive way against players (because high detection is so easy to achieve). Should I/we go for it to make it usable again or do we accept that it is not really viable and put it on the 0.6 list?
I think we can make it for 0.5.

My list includes many balance items: influence sources and sinks and the costs of policies, stability levels and requirements, research and production outputs, stealth vs detection levels, all together with polishing policies effects and descriptions.
Stealth seems easier than balancing the whole influence&stability mess (if only to make it as usable as it was before influence):
- Add an early policy to increase planetary stealth, to counter Active Scanning (Subterranean Something or No Surface Activity: +stealth and some or all of -supply, -infrastructure and -population).
- Add an early policy for ships' stealth (Silent Running: -speed, +stealth), and maybe add to that same policy -supply and +stockpile or leave that for Isolation policy.
- Add an early part for situational stealth (the hide-in-GG part based on LienRag's idea, with some changes that he doesn't like) to help with early game hidden expansion and hidden skirmishers.
- Optionally, detach planetary stealth from detection techs and adjust costs, so that it is not always cheaper to detect than to hide.
I would add
- ship stealth malus in the turn after battle
- maybe extra stealth for isolation policy? (and maybe half or two-thirds of the distance)
- nerf lighthouse as planetary stealth breaker in some way (not sure besides

also what needs to have a closer look: as we now have gradual stealth - what happens if detection equals stealth (we could make that clearer if e.g. detection is always uneven and stealth is always even).

optional extra content:
- stealthed natives
- maybe extra challenges with higher detection (e.g. spawning obstructive guardians as soon as being detected)

from all those suggestion only some address the defensive stealth issue: the planetary stealth policy, the tech tree change, extra planetary stealth via isolation, lighthouse nerf
so if you are motivated, probably we should open a working thread for that?
Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.

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Oberlus
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Re: 0.5 release

#8 Post by Oberlus »

Ophiuchus wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 9:55 am so if you are motivated, probably we should open a working thread for that?
Yes and yes.
I'm swamped for the following 10 days, but I'll find time to make a relatively complete proposal when creating (or answering to) a dedicated thread.

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Re: 0.5 release

#9 Post by LienRag »

Ophiuchus wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 6:54 am
LienRag wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 8:17 pm if everything goes fine I may have something to present at the timescale to which you want to release.
not commenting on the combat system itself but regarding the topic of this thread: substituting the combat system for 0.5 is totally off the table.
Do you mean for 0.5.0 (to which I agree entirely) or for 0.5.x too (which surprises me a little bit, but since I've coded nothing in two years, it's easy to understand that you'd be skeptical of my future productivity) ?

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Re: 0.5 release

#10 Post by LienRag »

Also, since it's a very minor tweak : is it possible to have the Molecular Cloud in 5.0 revert to their initial (and much more interesting) effect of entirely nullifying shields rather than just reducing them a little bit ?

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Re: 0.5 release

#11 Post by wobbly »

LienRag wrote: Fri Jun 11, 2021 8:31 pm Also, since it's a very minor tweak : is it possible to have the Molecular Cloud in 5.0 revert to their initial (and much more interesting) effect of entirely nullifying shields rather than just reducing them a little bit ?
Shields are weaker then armour in terms of protection/PP on anything but the biggest ship. I don't see whats interesting about making them worse.

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Re: 0.5 release

#12 Post by LienRag »

There is no interest in making them worse, of course.
But making the Molecular Cloud negates them entirely makes for very different battles in and out Molecular Clouds, and that is certainly interesting strategically.
Notably, it offers the possibility to confront a superior fleet (blackshields or the like) and defeat it if one chooses the location of combat right, which is basically the definition of strategy.

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Vezzra
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Re: 0.5 release

#13 Post by Vezzra »

Ophiuchus wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 7:03 amAnother important thing neglected (besides AI) is stealth. I think current content makes it nearly impossible to use stealth in a defensive way against players (because high detection is so easy to achieve). Should I/we go for it to make it usable again or do we accept that it is not really viable and put it on the 0.6 list?
Depends. If it can be done just by re-balancing things (as Oberlus suggets) it should go into 0.5. If that would require a major rework of the mechanic, then it needed to be postponed after 0.5 (which, btw, would be 0.5.x, not 0.6 ;)).

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Vezzra
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Re: 0.5 release

#14 Post by Vezzra »

LienRag wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 3:44 pmDo you mean for 0.5.0 (to which I agree entirely) or for 0.5.x too (which surprises me a little bit, but since I've coded nothing in two years, it's easy to understand that you'd be skeptical of my future productivity) ?
Only for the upcoming 0.5.0 release. We don't plan further ahead than that... ;)

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Re: 0.5 release

#15 Post by Grummel7 »

I haven't followed all the design discussion of late, but one thing that definitely needs to be done for the release is a pedia page telling how to get policy slots. So far I always search the script files, but that should not be the official way, I guess :?

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