Show me the games!

Cliffski, erstwhile Bat’leth-wielding UK indie games entrepreneur, has blogged about an experiment we’ve been conducting called ShowMeTheGames.com. Well, I say “we”, really it’s all Cliff, and we’re just throwing a bit of money at it and participating. So far it seems reasonably successful. Go and take a look at the other games – there are some real gems in there. In fact they’re all good – there’s bound to be something that floats your boat, and every one of those indie game developers in there is to some degree or another as skint as we are or not far from it. Buy a game for someone else this Christmas, if not for yourself!

In other news, we’ve released Revenge of the Titans v1.63, which you can get directly here:
Windows
Mac OS X
Linux (sorry, still not done package thingy yet – next release!)

Bugs Fixed

  • Fixed: Survival level selector allowed you to select one more world than you had actually completed

New Features and Enhancements

  • Medals are now worth bonus $$$!
  • Ranks are now worth $(points/10)
  • New bashing and building destroyed noises
  • Lasers now fire through wraiths
  • Gidlets and wraiths can no longer penetrate nanomesh
  • Slightly larger maps

Balance

  • Laser, rocket, and disruptor turrets now only $3000 each
  • Decoy now only $1500
  • Silos now rather less amazing at stretching resources further (10, 12, 16, and 25% for 1-4 silos)…
  • …but silos now cost a flat rate of $250

Internal

  • Back to using the tiered server compiler for Windows to claw back a bit more performance
  • Perform a full GC between levels
  • Wired up more shortcut keys on medals screen
  • Displays monetary bonus for a particular medal underneath points value
  • Crystal spawn noise occurs at the end of the res-in effect now
  • Attenuated colours updated only half as frequently
  • Gidrahs brains now only half as fast at calculating routes
  • Titan boss now has a disruptor, with variable range depending on difficulty
  • New animation command to cause a gidrah to fire its weapon
  • Fixed various bugs to do with completing the game causing crashes
  • Fixed crash where if you restarted a level after dying you immediately died when the aliens started spawning
  • Tweaked tactical brain so it targets the base as well as turrets
  • Fiddling with the speech for the General and so on – sounds rubbish so far 🙁

Yes, the speech for the General and ZX-bot sound just awful but we’ve not managed to finish it or get it even half-right yet.

Some Notes About The Balance Changes

You might be interested to hear about the reasoning for the changes to silos: I noticed that upon researching silos (and knowing exactly how they work so I’m pretty good at using them in the most efficient way possible), my refinery takings for the level shot up. This is all well and good, because it means a canny player who knows this will research silos as soon as possible and then be able to progress through the levels at a reasonable level of difficulty thanks to the big cash infusion. However – anyone who doesn’t know this trick was going to be at a major disadvantage, and having a pretty crap time progressing really slowly. The reason is that silos unbalance the game too much in their previous form.

So now, silos are a simple flat-rate upgrade, and have a much more modest effect on the efficiency of crystal refining. With four silos, you’ll manage to eke out just 25% more from a factory (rather than the 100% it was before!). However the outlay is now just $1000 for the four silos instead of $2500. You can still be cunning in your silo placement – putting them next to factories that have access to the most crystal – but the effect is a bit less dramatic unless you get a really lucky configuration. But every penny counts, so it’s always worth doing – especially as your silos are recycled if they’re not damaged and you’ll get $400 of that $1000 back at the end of the level.

Just for your information, there are three sizes of crystal in the game, containing $600, $1200, and $1800 respectively. You can work out the maths yourself 🙂

Also you’ll notice a bit of cheapening of the heavy weapons and the decoy. Seemed a shame to spend all that money researching them and then not ever have quite enough cash to justify splashing out on a few eh?

Also take special notice that nanomesh is now gidlet and wraithproof. Very useful. There are nearly enough to surround your base! Nearly.

I’ve just noticed that the bug where factories don’t start up again in survival mode when a crystal appears next to them has come back – doh. I’m also aware of the (very rare) occasion that a gidrah seems to get stuck sometimes and you have to drop something on his head to kill him. If this happens to you, save your game and send the save file to me!

The Next Release

The next release is 1.64, the final beta release, which will include the long awaited Titan levels. After that there will be a strange quiet period, where we sit and listen intently for bugs and last minute pleas for absolution or clemency, and then we’ll release the finished game. Phew.

31 thoughts on 'Show me the games!'

  1. Hey, can you explain to us how armour piercing and shields work?

    I understand that armour piercing gives 1 more damage, but does it “reduce the titan’s armour by 1”, or “does 1 damage even if the titan’s armour rating is larger than damage rating”?

    However, for the shields, I’m noticing that wraiths will do damage to building even if I place several shields on. They do two damage without shield, and 2 damage with 2 shields… so how do shields work? An energy pool that requires recharge? They protect against my own rockets well enough (back in patch 1.60).

    On the last playthrough in 1.62, I didn’t see any flying creatures except for the Saturn boss.

    1. Same here with the lack of flying creatures on Saturn except for the boss. It also crashed on me whenever I researched rockets

      Plus Ive been able to play the titan levels on the mac version of 1.62. I can send you the save and screens if you want cas. Im not posting the screens just in case you want to keep the titan gidrahs and art style under your hat for a bit.

    2. I think shields add a fixed amount of health to a turret because it disappears after a while and doesn’t come back though I’ve not really been paying attention to them. I think armour piercing reduces the armour of the titan but all weapons have a small chance of damaging the titan even if it has high defence. I find the best way to deal with super tough enemies is to drop a refinery on it XD

        1. Shields protect against melee damage… except boss attacks. Gidlets only do 2 points of damage so just 2 shield generators renders your turrets immune to them. Gidrah bullets are quite dangerous – 2 points for a hit! And 4 for tank shells. You’ll be needing shields on Titan 🙂

  2. 1.63 crashes whenever I try to play a campaign mission, including when I create a new user account This is the end of err.log, apart from the various resource not found for titan gidrahs.

    Sat Nov 20 17:34:00 EST 2010 Set exception to java.lang.NullPointerException : null Stack trace follows:
    java.lang.NullPointerException
    at worm.features.CharacterFeature.getSound(CharacterFeature.java:107)
    at worm.features.ActorFeature$ActorInstance.doTick(ActorFeature.java:526)
    at net.puppygames.applet.effects.Effect.tick(Effect.java:236)
    at net.puppygames.applet.Screen.tickEverything(Screen.java:674)
    at net.puppygames.applet.Screen.tick(Screen.java:616)
    at net.puppygames.applet.Screen.tickAllScreens(Screen.java:1088)
    at net.puppygames.applet.Game.tick(Game.java:2098)
    at net.puppygames.applet.Game.run(Game.java:1719)
    at net.puppygames.applet.Game.init(Game.java:726)
    at net.puppygames.applet.Launcher.main(Launcher.java:66)

  3. Is it just me or is this version slightly harder? It seems that titans (even more so the bosses) move much faster.

    There is still the bug in survival where refineries don’t start-up again and harvest crystals after they shut-down the first time.

    Another refinery bug, when they shut down sometimes their bar is full and they say collect, however, clicking on them give you no money.

    Other than that and some slightly too loud new sound effects, this is a great update.

    1. I think that bug was mentioned above. Also refineries always say collect when they run out of crystal and they only ever give money in 10s so they probably had less than 10 money in them.

      Really if a refinery wont give you any money it should just shut off without the collect icon showing.

  4. Sadface..
    Aw crashes to desktop when i click on basingstoke. Running in windowed maskes nor difference 🙁
    Maybe a Java issue? Java is pretty unstable on my PC for some reason.

  5. Though it has been said already, I would like to reiterate: this version seems much more difficult. Even on level 8 with three Heavy Blasters, five Blasters, two Scanners, and Concrete walls the last wave of gids left me with one Heavy Blaster, one Blaster, and two damage to my base. Did you increase health of the second type of titans, because even with Xenobiology it takes 5+ hits from a Blaster to kill them? In general, it seems significantly more difficult. Also, however, the new award system makes the first few levels easily give $7000+ because of $500 for Pristine. While I like the award system, I’m wondering if this will become an unbalancing force. It’s OK for now, but I’m keeping an eye out. Also, the new sound effects are cacophonous if you use barricades or sell multiple buildings; should consider changing them back (or to less annoying sound bites). Other than that, cost/benefit for most of the research/building stuff feels really good now and the game flows really well. Nice job guys!

    1. I reckon that if you converted one of those heavy blasters to 2 cooling towers/1 blaster, you’ll probably do a lot better. 🙂 My setup (1.63, that is,) at level 7 was 2 heavies, 4 blasters, 2 cooling towers, 2 scanners, ~5 barricades along the road.

      (Yes, I counted every penny.)

    2. I found that the titan speed-up in this particular sub-version means that – to make the most money between levels 4 and 8 – I *have* to place turrets to intercept gidrahs quickly. If I placed defenses at my base and wait/turtle, they will all come rushing at at the end of the timer, too much to handle cost effectively.

  6. No change to difficulty for several versions now except to make the game easier by giving the player more money – no change to gidrah hitpoints or movement speed for a long time now. Seems I might need to tweak it to be even more easy!

    Agreed about the bashing noises being too loud – I’ll turn the gain down on them a bit. Not sure where the flying gidrahs have gone either – I’ll fix all that tomorrow and upload a patched version. Hopefully fix the refinery issues too.

    @Tom – I uploaded a busted version last night – try again now.

    How Shields Work
    Each shield (up to 4 max) is basically like 1 point of armour. A gidrah attack strength is shown in its bio in the story – so 4 points of shields will totally absorb any attacks of strength 4 or less. Each health dit on a building corresponds to 4 hitpoints – so a weedy alien will bash a turret in in 3 hits normally.

    1. Wait, I think it’s the titan running speed – they’re accelerating quite a lot faster after the spawn timer finishes, so the gidrah rush became much, much more powerful. I’m looking at level ten now and the speed triples by the time they get to my base – this happens every level. This hasn’t happened in the previous patches. Did you put that in the Survival mode – a change which accidentally filtered into campaign mode?

      The general gidrah movement and hitpoints are fine, I don’t believe they need to be tweaked anymore. I’d need those $500 from pristine, though.

      As for the sounds, I think barricades and building recycling, at least, shouldn’t sound like a they’re made of aluminium cans. Puts a lot of confidence in their protective value… 😛 The HQ? Sure, since it eats $250 every level and does nothing except to imitate a psi-emitter.

      1. Quick question, how many ranks can you get because I’ve been a Brigadier for quite a few levels now.

        Also, will you be making it so we can see, at the end of a level, how much money we get from achievements and promotions?

    2. There’s also a fairly nasty drawback I’ve noticed – barricade (and probably mine,) power-ups. Speaking for the first 15 levels or so… I mean, I reckon if I needed to spend $750 on 50 standard +25 powerup barricades, I could’ve spent some of that money on an extra turret or battery, which would be more effective.

      They don’t give you money or immediately useful abilities like other powerups do. The $250 and $500 pickups are godsends in these first levels — the game balance can be fairly fragile depending on the luck of drops. Unless these powerups comes with free placement (only for the additional units,) the use of the powerup is actually a monetary cost, otherwise used for core research.

      (Basically, as many ppl now know a steady research progress makes or breaks the game – more often than not you’ll find yourself just a little short trying to get the next one and have enough to defend, many of which are needed IMO by level 10.)

      However, these powerups are admittedly good at diluting the number of good ones later in the game when you end up stocking them especially for bosses (e.g. Saturn boss requires you to have several freeze/beserk combinations ready since you can’t possibly take down his health bar in time. Earlier bosses are…. meh, I just wish Mars boss would appear more often and constantly spawn gidlets).

  7. I have a suggestion for Reactors.

    Can you make it so they also affect upgrades, like cooling towers by giving them a +1 larger range of the blasters they affect. They could also do the same thing for Silos or, more importantly, forcefields! You would be able to have say 4 silos that can reach 10+ refineries instead of 6 or 7, or 3 forcefields that reach all of your blasters.

    Is there any other way to kill ghosts other than the electricity shooting building because I have been putting blasters in front of their paths for lack of any other way to kill them?

    1. Hm that’s quite a fundamentally awkward thing to do with the way the code is at the moment… a bit late in the day to add it without introducing tons of fiddly bugs just before release :/ It’s a good idea though, and would make reactors really rather awesome. And unfortunately therefore probably a whole lot more expensive.

      The only way to kill ghosts is capacitors. Just when you thought you’d automated everything, you’ve still got to deal with them manually. Fortunately they’re relatively rare.

  8. I think the driods still aren’t good enough to stop the gidlets that spawn from the big aliens. The gidlets need to either move slower or the droids need to be able to react faster to stop them.

    Also the targeting priority on the turrets aren’t working properly. I watched as my heavy blaster switched from shooting at an armoured alien to shooting at a smaller alien next to it, wasting its shots and letting the armoured alien trample on through.

    1. Looking at the target priority code now I can completely see why they do this 🙂 It’s not as easy a problem to solve as I first thought! The guns unfortunately target the alien which they will do the most damage to – which is fine for weedy guns, as they will switch from hard targets to easy ones – but useless for powerful guns, which will of course always deal more damage to unarmoured targets! Hm.

      I may buff droids a tiny bit. Just a tiny bit. They’re working out well for me. I suspect you just need to put two droid factories down, or a reactor or two, or deal with the odd gidlet manually with a capacitor or clustermines.

      1. Yes, mines and capacitors do the trick but I was just wondering about the effectiveness of the droids on their own. I had 1 driod factory and 4 reactors around it placed near my HQ and 1 or 2 gidlets in each pack kept breaking through. It might be better if you could drop flags for the droids to gather around but that’s probably not going to happen.

        For the targeting priority you could do a list of aliens for each turret in the order they should target them. Or keep it as it is and have a special case set up for rockets and heavy blasters that target the largest alien first (most HP or most armour)

      2. droid factory and 4 reactors are a couple 1000 quid so really they shouldn’t be less effective than mines and capacitors which are a couple hundred quid. Maybe if a droid colliding with a gidlet causes mutual destruction. I’d go for that. I can imagine a robot wrestling with an alien XD

  9. I just bought Revenge of the Titans and it’s sooo much fun. Last night I played up to level 100 of Endless mode. My hand hurts now. lol

    Anyways, I rather like the way the Linux version is .jnlp. Could you please keep it that way?

    1. Glad you like it 🙂 We’ll always maintain the .jnlp distribution (because it’s easy to do so), but we’re also going to make a .deb installation too. I say “going to”, I just have, but for some reason it requires command line wiizardry to actually install it – I was hoping for a simple double-click 🙁 I will upload it and someone clever can tell me why it won’t install with a double-click.

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