Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Dev Diary #48: The Ankylosaurus Update

Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Dev Diary #48: The Ankylosaurus Update

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LennartGS

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Hi there and welcome to this new Planetfall Development Diary. Can’t believe it has been a month since release! Part of the team has been able to enjoy some vacation in the meantime, myself included, but work hasn’t stopped and we’re happy to announce the feature and fix packed Ankylosaurus Update is officially live on PC (Steam, Paradox, GoG) today. Console updates will follow as quickly as we can make it happen.

We chose this wooden clog wearing dino because one of the (smaller) features includes the ability to kick people from Multiplayer games. Clogs are of course the traditional Dutch Shoes most folks at Triumph still wear in the office. They are rendered in a Delftware Blue, befitting to the town we’re based in.

PatchNote_Dinosaurs_Ankylosaurus.jpg


There’s a ton of Patch Notes and we’d like to thank the community for your continued feedback allowing us to make Planetfal even better than it is. Here are a couple of more impactful changes:

  • Escalating Colonizer Costs We've changed colonizer cost, lowering the base cost and having an increasing cost for each additional colonizer you build. This change was made to address colony spam as discussed in the Planetfall community:
  1. An early game land grab rush shouldn't be the only valid strategy, and

  2. Having a large number of colonies resulted in too much micromanagement.
We will continue to investigate people's experiences with colony expansion.​

  • Improved random commander selection when setting up a game to increase the variety of commanders encountered.

  • Multiplayer: Kick Player Function People could frustrate multiplayer games by not processing their turn. We have now added a kick function that works in all States of the Multiplayer Notes

  • The last used scenario settings are now saved. These are saved separately for singleplayer and multiplayer.

  • World settings can now be saved into templates in Advanced Setup. Up to 3 templates per Scenario type.

  • For all you Dvar out there: Added a prospect sector particle effect on sectors that can still be prospected, when you have a stack selected that have a Prospector unit.

  • For all your Assembly out there: sorry your augmented hordes were just a bit too OP, so some balancing has been done.

  • The “share all” food sharing option will now sell any excess food for energy if other colonies are not taking all of the shared food. This allows you to stop the city from growing and managing city happiness better.

  • Technically not really part of this update, but The Paradox DevOps team has fixed the Mod Upload issue, so people can update their Mods on Steam again!
Other changes include AI Fixes, diplomacy fixes, Campaign fixes and more. See the full list of changes here.

PDXCON 2019

In other news, we are working on exciting new stuff for Planetfall, we will reveal this at PDXCON 2019, October 18-20 in Berlin.
The team will be present! Here is our mega cringe-tastic video:

Some tickets are still available at https://pdxcon.paradoxplaza.com/
 
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Entangle Strike

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Was the last used scenario influenced by Direfrost Lair's video? :D

Thank you for the prospector visuals, now its easier to keep track.

I could understand the vorpal and other ranged unit nerfs, but I think assimilate is now undesirable. Shouldn't be so low. This faction was supposed to utilize melee frequent with ranged. Now it seems like they re undead Vanguard, meaning, we re gonna use less melee and more ranged units. But yeah, lets first test it in a couple of games.

I am glad to hear about the reduced stutter.

"The AI now no longer interacts with Settlements during the first 8 turns of the game to ensure the player has enough time to be the first to obtain a second colony."

Not sure why are you making the game easier? After all they can't buy out all the settlements in the first turns.

Anyway, glad to see patches for this game and I hope you guys keep doing updates until the game has a perfect balance.
 

Jordi Engel

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"The AI now no longer interacts with Settlements during the first 8 turns of the game to ensure the player has enough time to be the first to obtain a second colony."

Not sure why are you making the game easier? After all they can't buy out all the settlements in the first turns.
This is more intended to give players a reasonable chance at getting The Builder as pioneer, as opposed to making the game easier. Of course as a result AI is more limited so changes like these are always monitored and tweaked as necessary.
 

Elgareth

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Glad I land rushed in the final campaign Mission just yesterday evening :D
I'd imagine the game does become a bit harder now against AI, as they won't care too much about the increasing cost of colonizers with their ressource cheating :D
 

beckermt

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Re: Food sharing: Can it be toggled? I liked the idea of being able to have all my colonies set to share and the one I wanted to grow set to "take." When I was done pumping that colony, swapping back to "share all" and since there are no takers, each colony just keeps it own food and grows further (unless I check the newly implemented "Sell Excess" button)

It seems like a neat mechanic that would be improved by more granularity in its set up.
 

The Founder

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  • For all your Assembly out there: sorry your augmented hordes were just a bit too OP, so some balancing has been done.
I see a debuff of the Scanvegers Melee/Assimilation, while having it's ranged attack and that of the Executioner buffed.
I had quite some issues using Scavengers before as they basically relied on their melee healing (wich does not work against all targets), so those changes will be very usefull for me.

The “share all” food sharing option will now sell any excess food for energy if other colonies are not taking all of the shared food. This allows you to stop the city from growing and managing city happiness better.
Any chance you could keep/re-add "share all but do not sell"?
Sometimes I just want double the sharing. Sometimes I actually want to stop growth.
 

Elgareth

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I see a debuff of the Scanvegers Melee/Assimilation, while having it's ranged attack and that of the Executioner buffed.
I had quite some issues using Scavengers before as they basically relied on their melee healing (wich does not work against all targets), so those changes will be very usefull for me.


Any chance you could keep/re-add "share all but do not sell"?
Sometimes I just want double the sharing. Sometimes I actually want to stop growth.
When you do share all and have a taking city, it will still be shared. But your city won't continue growing once you turn off the taking as it did before.
But yeah, seems easy to forget, a "full share when needed without selling if not" would be good.
 

Fluksen

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Cool patch and the Video is cringe-tastic indeed! - Great work Thanks :D
 

MrButtermancer

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I suspect the colonizer change is going to be terrible. A defining aspect of Age of Wonders has been limitless expansion. I strongly suspect that the game is too far into development to appropriately accept a change of this magnitude. Expansion is now going to be expressed to a much greater extent by direct conquest, which will be an enormous swing in power. I expect games will be considerably defined by the first player to completely conquer an opponent.

Rushing, frequently an all-or-nothing strategy, is better. Cosmite nodes are much more important, therefore so is rushing to secure cosmite nodes. And I suspect the computer advantage in resource production will make playing against CPUs more bizarrely different than playing against humans when those resources now matter much more. Fewer cities means further distance to travel between strategic points (compared to the initial balance environment) means weird strategic movement tesuji.

Colonization will be exactly as important, it will just be much more painful, but that's not the worst thing.

The worst thing is there is now a huge new essential cosmite sink. Mods, the thing that defined Planetfall, now represent an increasing burden to your economic power. Failing to pay an increasing cosmite tax will represent falling behind. As a consequence, it's going to feel terrible to spend large amounts of cosmite on fun mods. Furthermore, being pressured by someone who did pay the tax may prompt someone to spend cosmite better earmarked for expansion on emergency upgrades to remain in the game - falling further behind. Mods are going to feel worse. I believe it will become obvious that one single point should have axed this idea.

Given we were already seeing low-tech modless spam at high levels of play, I think this is going to contribute to a near modless meta - incredibly effective, but... not fun, and not defining. This is making the two features that define Planetfall compared with similar games (open expansion and the mod system) mean much less.

I suspect this is something the community only thinks they want. I've been with Triumph since Age of Wonders TWO and I just commented on the development forums for the first time to say this. This might be a painful lesson for everybody.
 
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The Founder

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I suspect the colonizer change is going to be terrible. A defining aspect of Age of Wonders has been limitless expansion. I strongly suspect that the game is too far into development to appropriately accept a change of this magnitude. Expansion is now going to be expressed to a much greater extent by direct conquest, which will be an enormous swing in power. I expect games will be considerably defined by the first player to completely conquer an opponent.
The first colonizer is 10 Cosmite and a lot of production cheaper.
2nd costs the same
3rd and following cost a bit more cosmite.
So if anything, it makes early expasion easier.
And if you secure any Cosmite deposits with those cities (wich I usually do), then you can afford even more cities.
You should propably play the Beta, before you go out of you way imagining problems :)
 

MrButtermancer

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The first colonizer is 10 Cosmite and a lot of production cheaper.
2nd costs the same
3rd and following cost a bit more cosmite.
So if anything, it makes early expasion easier.
And if you secure any Cosmite deposits with those cities (wich I usually do), then you can afford even more cities.
You should propably play the Beta, before you go out of you way imagining problems :)
  • Colonizers now have scaling costs. The first colonizer costs 50 energy, 20 cosmite and 100 production. For each colonizer you build the cost will increase by 100 energy and 10 cosmite.
First, no, the first is 20 cosmite - marginally cheaper. The second is the same, and everything after that represents an exponentially increasing investment. That inescapably represents an opportunity cost in opposition to modding your units, which was supposed to be a primary fun factor for the game.

Second, cosmite was already very important, so now it's totally game-changing. Small but game-changing components add "swing," making a game is likelier to go one way or the other very quickly as opposed to curves which can be influenced by gameplay over many turns. Losing a cosmite sector was previously losing a rook. Now between the income and colonizer investment it's losing your queen.

Third, the interplay between fewer colonies and the increased importance of cosmite is likely to drag your fewer colonizations towards cosmite nodes, meaning the decision of where to settle becomes more automatic and predetermined - and less interesting.

Fourth, aren't you on probation? I would think that represents speaking before you think.
 
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The Founder

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First, no, the first is marginally cheaper, the second is the same, and everything after that represents an exponentially increasing investment.
+10 per Colonizer is a Linear increase, not a exponential one.
 

Hunnuli

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+10 per Colonizer is a Linear increase, not a exponential one.
I think you missed his point. A linear increase can have non-linear impact on something else. He is talking about the economic cost not the build cost of the colonizer. I don't think the jump occurs on the one directly after, but there is a point where the cost to your economy to produce the colonizer is going to jump even though the build cost only increased its standard linear amount. This would be more notable if the production was also increasing, but thank goodness that doesn't appear to be the case if I read it right.

This change definitely pushes for a more war like game. Because now expanding peacefully isn't an option past a certain point. Once that point is hit you need to take cities, not found them. Also this really hurts the Raze game. Before razing and settling your own city(maybe you wanted it to move 1 sector or something) was an option. Now it is a far more expensive option. Though to be fair Razing just seemed like a bad idea in general even before this change. So it doesn't really change much there I guess.


That said I haven't played with these yet and the ease up on the early game expansion is definitely helpful. I just think the point at which it exceeds the standard cost from before needs to be set on map size. Basically how many cities are you expected to found should be used to determine scaling.
 

MrButtermancer

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+10 per Colonizer is a Linear increase, not a exponential one.
I committed the math sin of using a defined term in a vernacular sense, but if you want to be pedantic about it, what I'm talking about is technically not an exponential function. Nor is it a linear one. It's a polynomial function with cubic growth. As the growth is 10 cosmite a level, we can represent the term for rate of change as 10(x) where x is the number of cities you have (linear). But I'm talking about the total cosmite investment in your cities, which is related to the integral of the increase term.

That's 5x^2+5x-10, accounting for the starting conditions. As a polynomial with 5x^2 accounting for the largest term, that's a cubic growth rate.

And if you're really a nerd, you can run it in R:
> cosmite = function(x){
+ 5*(x^2)+(5*x)-10
+ }
> cities=seq(1,10)
> cosmite(cities)
[1] 0 20 50 90 140 200 270 350 440 540
#total cosmite cost of your cities from 1-10 cities.
 
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CountAccountant

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I suspect the colonizer change is going to be terrible. A defining aspect of Age of Wonders has been limitless expansion. I strongly suspect that the game is too far into development to appropriately accept a change of this magnitude. Expansion is now going to be expressed to a much greater extent by direct conquest, which will be an enormous swing in power. I expect games will be considerably defined by the first player to completely conquer an opponent.

Rushing, frequently an all-or-nothing strategy, is better. Cosmite nodes are much more important, therefore so is rushing to secure cosmite nodes. And I suspect the computer advantage in resource production will make playing against CPUs more bizarrely different than playing against humans when those resources now matter much more. Fewer cities means further distance to travel between strategic points (compared to the initial balance environment) means weird strategic movement tesuji.

Colonization will be exactly as important, it will just be much more painful, but that's not the worst thing.

The worst thing is there is now a huge new essential cosmite sink. Mods, the thing that defined Planetfall, now represent an increasing burden to your economic power. Failing to pay an increasing cosmite tax will represent falling behind. As a consequence, it's going to feel terrible to spend large amounts of cosmite on fun mods. Furthermore, being pressured by someone who did pay the tax may prompt someone to spend cosmite better earmarked for expansion on emergency upgrades to remain in the game - falling further behind. Mods are going to feel worse. I believe it will become obvious that one single point should have axed this idea.

Given we were already seeing low-tech modless spam at high levels of play, I think this is going to contribute to a near modless meta - incredibly effective, but... not fun, and not defining. This is making the two features that define Planetfall compared with similar games (open expansion and the mod system) mean much less.

I suspect this is something the community only thinks they want. I've been with Triumph since Age of Wonders TWO and I just commented on the development forums for the first time to say this. This might be a painful lesson for everybody.
I can tell this is something you feel strongly about. It's reasonable to feel upset when a rules change alters a substantial aspect of a game that you enjoy.

Right now you are making very strong statements about what you expect the impact to be. The colonization cost change has been part of the beta for a while. Regardless of whether the change is good or bad, you hurt your persuasiveness when you forecast an apocalyptic impact on the game that has not materialized in the beta. This makes it harder for your audience to take you seriously even if your points are valid.

This isn't intended to be critical to you, but to be helpful. I am all too familiar with the frustration of having valid points that are lost in the way I deliver my message.

I encourage you to to play a couple of games under the new system, document your experience, and then make a post that uses concrete experience instead of the impact you imagine will take place. You might also consider alternatives that are a middle ground between the old system and the new one that still accomplish the dev's objectives that were noted in the dev diary.

Personally, I have been playing the beta version and I've enjoyed the change to colonization cost. It's forced me to think more strategically about my early expansion. I don't think that it's been as limiting as it might have appeared at first glance. That doesn't mean you don't have valid points, that the system can't be improved, or that there aren't still specific flaws that need to be addressed. I think if you reduce the hyperbole and are able to speak from experience with the new system, you will have a better chance of influencing the game in a direction that is more to your liking. Or at least of making your voice heard and seriously considered.
 
Last edited:

MaitreBouh

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I suspect the colonizer change is going to be terrible. A defining aspect of Age of Wonders has been limitless expansion. I strongly suspect that the game is too far into development to appropriately accept a change of this magnitude. Expansion is now going to be expressed to a much greater extent by direct conquest, which will be an enormous swing in power. I expect games will be considerably defined by the first player to completely conquer an opponent.

Rushing, frequently an all-or-nothing strategy, is better. Cosmite nodes are much more important, therefore so is rushing to secure cosmite nodes. And I suspect the computer advantage in resource production will make playing against CPUs more bizarrely different than playing against humans when those resources now matter much more. Fewer cities means further distance to travel between strategic points (compared to the initial balance environment) means weird strategic movement tesuji.

Colonization will be exactly as important, it will just be much more painful, but that's not the worst thing.

The worst thing is there is now a huge new essential cosmite sink. Mods, the thing that defined Planetfall, now represent an increasing burden to your economic power. Failing to pay an increasing cosmite tax will represent falling behind. As a consequence, it's going to feel terrible to spend large amounts of cosmite on fun mods. Furthermore, being pressured by someone who did pay the tax may prompt someone to spend cosmite better earmarked for expansion on emergency upgrades to remain in the game - falling further behind. Mods are going to feel worse. I believe it will become obvious that one single point should have axed this idea.

Given we were already seeing low-tech modless spam at high levels of play, I think this is going to contribute to a near modless meta - incredibly effective, but... not fun, and not defining. This is making the two features that define Planetfall compared with similar games (open expansion and the mod system) mean much less.

I suspect this is something the community only thinks they want. I've been with Triumph since Age of Wonders TWO and I just commented on the development forums for the first time to say this. This might be a painful lesson for everybody.
The hypothesis you make is that quantity is always better than quality in AoWPF. That no amount or quality of mod will be worth a new colony. This a very strong hypothesis.

I also feel like independant settlements are ignored from your reasoning. They make for a substantial amount of colonies.

Finally, you seem to imply that there is not diminishing return with the number of colonies you have, that the advantage of a new colony would always be more important than the previous one. This is again a very strong hypothesis. Because your management time will increase exponentially with the number of colonies and armies you have, so in live MP you'll quickly reach the time limit. Hence you must speak about pbem. And there, at one point, spending 100 cosmite and several turns for a new colony would have translated into a whole army fully moded for a benefit the next turn. And the benefit of this army will also snowball, as it will suffer less casualties, which means less energy and less turns spent replacing the casualties. In direct confrontation, your moded units will also be able to take on more enemies.

So your statement feel a bit overstated. What's interesting with the change is that it will allow to directly answer what is the value of a new colony compared to moded units.
 

BloodyBattleBrain

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A defining aspect of Age of Wonders has been limitless expansion
Oh come now, that's just completely untrue.

The original game didn't even let you settle or expand your cities.

You had what was on the map and nothing else.

PF is the first where you, by default, have to use a settler or settlers.