Finally after countless hours of work and testing, we’re presenting you BA version 10. We used to have a somewhat weekly release with much fewer changes, but due to the scope of this release that wasn’t possible without breaking changes and uncompleted work. We aimed it to be ready much sooner, with fewer changes overall, our apologies for the long wait.
The main goal of this release was graphical improvements, because this was going to take a lot of work and time, we thought it was a good moment to do some mechanics/balance testing in the meantime.
Since our last release, a new Spring engine has been released. BA 10 supports Spring engine 103 and 104.0.1-104 (104 maintenance engine that has fixes applied to 104). Because Mac users can’t run 104, we still support 103. (it’s due to Apple not having support for the used OpenGL version, 105 is aiming to use a compatible GL version again)
Download the 104.0.1-104 engine here: https://springrts.com/dl/buildbot/default/maintenance/104.0.1-104-g2135e2e
- Old time BA players can adjust their interface to match the one they are used to (i.e. hide unit costs on uniticons) in options menu.
- Renamed widget folder to Widgets_BA (if you want custom widgets, (re)name your widget folder) This is so you can have custom widgets for BA specifically.
Summary of the changes
We stripped the death particle effects defined by all unit scripts and replaced them with CEG particle effects that offer much more customization. By doing so we encountered a ton of unit script animations being broken so this took quite the extra development time. The new particle effects also increase the overall particle count. There is still room for optimization and we have to see how much this effect in games with big unit counts (over 3000). If explosions fail to show… increase “Max particles” via options window.
We’ve added deferred lighting, this means explosion and projectile lights have been added that actually lights the ground and unit models around it. Because of this I’ve made the groundflash ‘light’ less bright compared to the old situation. So if you don’t have ‘Light Effects’ enabled (via Options window) you will experience less bright explosion flashes than before. The lifetime and amount of it is customizable too.
Unit distance/radar icons
Are reworked to have more detail and quality. Finding objects of interest like LRPMs etc. was made easier. When it looks more blurry then it’s probably because you have no Anti-Aliasing enabled, the old icons were more forgiving in that regard.
Spring engine 104 brings us raw unit movement, and we’ve also greatly reduced units getting stuck on cliffs.
Vehicles with tracks can turn-in-place. The angle limit depends on the unit’s turnrate (equal to the turn that can be performed in one second). Wheeled vehicles cannot do this (Jeffy/Samson). Tachyons, artillery and banishers can move in reverse at 60% max speed.
Have been reprocessed to have a higher bit-depth, resulting in less grainy/noisy and cleaner look.
- We’ve removed and combined the widgets for Resource bars, Energy Conversion, Wind Display, Com Counter, Rejoin progress was merged into the new ‘Top Bar’ widget.
- The energy conversion slider is now integrated into the energy resource bar.
- The console/chat has been split in 2 console widgets/areas, one for chat, and one for system messages. If you prefer the old console situation then this is toggleable via options window.
- The buildmenu unit icons have added meta/energy cost, which can be disabled via the options window. Via the options window you can also add shortcuts for the buildmenu.
- On a general level: tooltips pop up next to the mouse cursor when they are available.
- The buildspacing shortcuts are changed to ALT+Z and ALT+X like they were in the old days.
- Reasoning is that you don’t have to stretch while queuing holding down SHIFT.
- Area mex button has been added for constructors, click and drag an area and metal extractors will be built on the available metal spots.
- A lot of units (buildings) have their useless repeat/stop/wait buttons removed.
- The options window has a lot of added options which includes a dropdown with graphical presets.
- Commander blast has changed. The radius is the same, but the range that it’s lethal to other commanders has been reduced. This is to counter easy combombing enemy coms.
- The minimal build-range of all constructor units has been increased.
- Wrecks reclaim speed has been overall reduced -10%
- Rarely used units are made more attractive like: Vanguard, Decoy commander, Tremor, Marauder and mobile t2 artillery.
Has been updated and integrated into BA. This way it’s possible to switch to chicken defence, also maintaining its code is easier this way. Just add an chicken AI bot and make sure you have startboxes set. (“!autobalance off” to manually get everyone on the same team)
We have improved vehicle movement so it becomes the best choice for flat areas again. The improvements lay in the fact that slowdown penalty are less of a thing when turning. Also the new raw-move functionality of the engine helps in by not having to heavily turn units along their path and as a result slowing them down on every turn.
AA missile range has been increased a bit. Bombers do more damage. Air movement has been made more reactive, having a faster acceleration, brakerate, turnrate in order to get a better control over planes: lower landing distance, lower takeoff time and more freedom with its enhanced mobility.
We’ve added some optional (experimental) modoptions:
- map_waterlevel will flood or dry up any map (-1 = Dry, 0 = Unchanged, 1-100 = WaterHeight in % of maxheight.)
- map_tidal applies tidal strength (low = 13, medium = 18, high = 23)
- mo_unba will gradually level up commanders with weapon upgrades when they gain xp.
- mm_diminish_factor will reduce metalmaker efficiency.
- reclaimunitefficiency set how much metal a reclaimed unit should give back.
- smallfeaturenoblock lets small 2×2 wreckage not block movement
After testing the Offshore Metal Extractor, we came to agree that the objective in terms of game balance and mechanics was sane but the implementation of a surface metal extractor that we had tested was off. For this reason, we haven’t changed the current metal extractor (underwater metal extractor) yet. We only postponed this change since it felt very necessary to us, devs, and to some of you, players, to have means to harass sea metal extractors without necessarily relying on submarines or destroyers or even sea at all.
The lack of any Tidal alternative in low tidal maps made me develop a modoption to force a tidal strength setting. This option is called “map_tidal” and can be set to low, medium, high. Respectively 13,18,23. This gives access to tidals on any map. Comes in pair with map_waterlevel which will be described further.
Again, since all t1 sea energy incomes actually come from regular tidals, an alternative consisting of Underwater Geothermal has been made. Depending on the results, it is possible that in the later versions, this gets moved to the surface of the sea.
The rest of the economy hasn’t been altered by this time, and i don’t think there is a necessity to change anything to the metal makers, storages, or the costs of tidals.
The floating dragon teeth costs are decreased and this might come with some hp and build time tweaks.
The gun platform is a defense tower with 430 range and approx 110 dps. Its accuracy isn’t perfect but it deals the maximum amount of damages any time it hits (unlike the llts which deals reduced damages over distance). It’s main purpose is a cheap/easy to make scout defense, and also, with a lower efficiency, against corvettes. Some might say it’s a water LLT. I would argue with this, since it’s less effective and cannot deal with underwater units (such as commanders… which is very important).
The torpedo launcher has been made overall lighter, and embarks a small range sonar (half of its total range). It won’t be able to outrange submarines, and will even be outranged if they don’t have a proper sonar coverage by scouts, support ships, or static Radar/Sonar Tower (see below). It is kept in commander build menu as its only mean to defend itself in a commpush. It doesn’t provide a very effective firepower against ships, but has a greater range than the gun platform.
The FHLT: This one only had its cost reduced a bit since it was very expensive to start with.
Nano platform = Basically a nano turret, with higher m cost and lower e cost to fit the sea economy more.
Radar and sonar MERGED: This means no need for a dedicated sonar, so no reason to “forget” it, but also less cheap (since you are forced to spend m for both the sonar and radar) and also targeted by surface units, not only uw weapons. Overall it allows a better sonar coverage, but also spotted more easily, and destroyable by scouts, air, hovers…
T1 Sea Constructor: Builder dedicated to sea, which brings the possibility of teching. Build power was reduced to 125 (vs 250), and it gained the ability to build Nano Platforms and land factories.
T1.5 Hovercraft Constructor: Non dedicated constructor that does not bring any teching possibility, but allows both sea and land t1 engineering.
Scout : It has been made lighter and the AA has been nerfed. It now embarks a small sonar. It’s main purpose is early detection and harassment.
Corvettes: Their DPS is huge and grows bigger the closer they get to their target. They are -almost- melee raiders. Their speed allows them to dodge plasma shots and destroyer depth charge. They have a very light armor and therefore are very weak when idling. They are the most efficient when shooting on the sides (circling around an enemy and taking advantage of their speed). Their dps is halved when facing or running from an enemy.
Plasma Frigates: They are a balanced unit that can take on both corvettes and destroyers. The arm one has two cannons but the front one can only target front and on the sides. The core one has only one cannon that can shoot 360°. They are relatively armored ship.
Support Frigates: They are relatively armored AA and depth charge units. They can be used to counter submarines with a very high cost effectiveness, but also to target commanders and other UW units. They are helpless against any surface unit (ships/hovers).
Submarines: Glass cannons. They are weak to anything that can target them but have deadly torpedoes. They can move backwards on small distances (this was meant to allow some more subs micro, especially against comms)
Destroyers: Although it is inaccurate, slow. It also packs a depth charge launcher which will kill t1 submarines with 2 shots, and 3 shots for sub killers/t2 construction subs. They will gain accuracy over experience gains, as well as a lot of hp so they are worth microing. Don’t try rushing them on their own and sending them alone. Since they are very slow and inaccurate they will end up dead, killed by corvettes cost for cost. They are mainly good at taking down slower units, porc, and harrassing coasts.
Rezz sub: They now have reduced workertime/resurrect speed. Since they can now be spotted by scouts and support frigates in addition to submarines and destroyers, which makes them less likely to just pop units out of nowhere.
- Ships TurnInPlace to avoid “random” speed losses on small turns (just like vehicles on land) and allow more micro and less “luck” or unpredictable factors in the sea battles.
- Movement speeds reduced (a lot) to make the game globally slower and give (again) more space to micro management of units.
- Factory cost increased, unit costs decreased: Allow slightly more units to be built overtime while reducing the efficiency of rushes to force longer struggles for sea (instead of quick battles that decide the outcome of the game too fast).
Thanks to all contributors:
- Floris – Graphics, interface and all but sea balancing
- Doo – Sea rebalancing, unit animations and general assisting
- Triton – Testing and T1 balance
- PtaQ – Maintaining and filling the website, unit radar icons and descriptions
- Forboding Angel – For setting the stage for the graphical changes and assisting, updating BA core Lua, resampling unit textures, building the website
- All others who occasionally contributed (Tzaeru, BasiC, …)