Developer Newsletter #2 – Friends, Romans, Countrymen

28/03/2018

Greetings commanders, and welcome to our second developer newsletter. In this issue, we’re going to talk about some of the upcoming player-led changes in a bit more depth. These changes are all expected to arrive in the next major patch.

Higher Camera:

The details of this have been worked out, and it’s being implemented as a toggleable box in the options menu. We found that the camera doesn’t offer a significant overall advantage, as there are pros and cons. For example, archer players were able to see further and try to avoid being hit from behind, but would more easily walk into stakes, caltrops etc as they weren’t checking the ground directly in front of them enough. Different unit types have better awareness at different camera heights, so bear that in mind before toggling it on!
higher_camera

Friendly Fire:


This is something we’ve spoken about for a while, and with our next major update, we’re hoping to address it. One part of the upcoming friendly fire changes affects ranged units and how their projectiles act. We have heard your feedback that it’s frustrating to accidentally fire upon your allies and to feel like you had little control over the situation, so we set out to find a way to increase your control over situations where friendly units are engaged in combat.

The first change here is an increase to accuracy for all units. Projectiles will scatter slightly less, and therefore will hit your allies less frequently while they’re engaged in combat. Be warned, you will still hit your allies, and this is far from the best way to deal solid damage to your enemies, but we wanted to make it easier for high-skill players to be able to avoid friendly fire as much as possible and make sure you can more accurately predict what your click will do.

This comes with a slight decrease to missile damage (which results in a net 0 power increase), and a decreased cooldown for focus fire abilities, so that you’ll be able to pick your specific targets more often and feel more relevant even in the messiest of combats.

These changes are a part of the overall FF update, there are other improvements to stakes, spear phalanx, caltrops, artillery, and various other FF sources.


Optimisation:

There have been several posts about lag over the last few weeks, and we’ve been paying close attention to how we can improve our graphics processing to reduce this. Some big improvements have been found, especially on low end machines, and we’re seeing the below increases in frame rate:
RESULTSFrame Rate Improvement 3.0 to 3.1
i5-4690K/GTX 1070 x216.7%
i7-7500U/HD 620(@Low)36.6%
i7-7500U/HD 620(@Med)73.6%
TR1950X/GTX 1080 Ti4.9%
A6-7470K/R5 Graphics20.6%
i5-3570K/RX 470 x24.6%

These improvements have been achieved by:

  • Improving GPU performance of the highlight or silhouette shaders.
  • Improving GPU performance by minimizing the amount of resource copies.
  • Improving Intel GPU performance when rendering vegetation (especially when “Tree Quality” is medium or higher).
  • Improving CPU performance by vectorizing the fog-of-war update.

Unit identifier numbers:

On a slightly lighter note, we’ve added those unit numbers you asked for! See the picture below (along with a nice new option to highlight selected units).
numbers

Elephant Balance:

This is a bit tougher to talk about because as of now it’s still in a heavy state of flux. Currently, we’re trialling changes where we reduce the armour of elephants by roughly 24%, and we’ve added a charge to all elephants from Tier 6-9. This brings them closer to our designs of having them be slightly more mobile and still tanky, but not too much so.

Global Play:

Global play is currently in the testing phase, and hopefully will be rolled out soon for custom battles and parties. It was under ‘medium/long term’ category last newsletter, but we’ve made some really good progress on it, so we’re semi-confidently saying ‘soon’.

We also heard you wanted more map variety…


We’ll have more to say about this soon.

We hope you enjoyed this look into some of the upcoming changes led by you. Some changes and features require more work and thought than others, but we are always listening and reacting.

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Developer Newsletter 5: Roadmap update
Developer Newsletter #4 - Our new approach to patching
Update 3.1.1 is here!
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