Today we're going to discuss with you the immediate future plans the team is working on for the mod and where we hope to go in 2016.
AI Performance Issues
But first of all, we need to publicly address an issue. We're fully aware that the AI has had some performance problems this past release and that on many of our custom maps the AI can either start out as a dud or flutter out after attempting to build a titan. The issue here is two-fold:
The team at Ironclad have begun working on new patches to the game (Sins of a Solar Empire) and because of our titan-slowdown problem they were able to hunt down a bug in the game's engine that caused the AI go wonky while building a titan. It's less marked in the base game, but our particular pace, balance, and playstyle exacerbates the issue. You should see that bug patched when SoaSE:R updates to 1.83. (A big thanks to Lavo for being able to reproduce this bug in the vanilla game which allowed Ironclad to find it!)
In the meantime, thanks to research and testing by Dawn of the Reaper's own Lord_Set, we've got a slight change in the research tree that has helped alleviate the bug through code-wonkiness of epic proportions. Testers are reporting that the AI performance issues are mostly gone. We're also working our way through custom maps and adjusting them to help the AI grow better.
We are currently discussing whether or not we want to release another build before SoaSE:R updates to 1.83 or wait it out and work on more upcoming content.
We've already publicized the new model for the DOS-class Supercruiser for the Covenant, the addition of the Epoch-class Heavy Carrier and the swapout of the Phoenix for the Noryang in the UNSC roster. The next leg of our work includes the retexture of the Punic-class Supercarrier based on techniques learned by Malcontent while working on the Epoch and Noryang, followed by the Strident-class Heavy Frigate (model has been updated since last seen).
During the process of writing this article Spartan Games and 343 released information about a UNSC ship class they've named the Orion-class Assault Carrier. As our roster is full, we have no plans currently to include the ship, however we are going to rename our own battlecruiser of the same name to respect their unfortunate decision. We're leaning towards calling it the Artemis-class. For the uninitiated, in Greek mythology Artemis is Orion's companion and goddess of the hunt.
Prior to announcements made last year by 343/Spartan Games there hadn't been much said about Covenant defense of held territory outside the fact that defense fleets existed for High Charity. Now we know that a new ship called the ADP-class Escort fulfills a primary role in patrolling Covenant territory and we plan to make great use of this information.
We're going to introduce more Covenant defensive infrastructure, to include the addition of a few more ships dedicated for that role. The Covenant Defense Fleet, as we're calling it, will feature the ADP-class Escort, a ship designed for Halo: Fleet Battles specifically for colony defense. Alongside it we'll see support Liches and a few other ships as time goes on. These ships will be called in (automatically) via an ability on an orbital structure, they'll cost no supply, but be unable to jump between planets. They'll respond to threats inside the gravity well, then leave after an allotted time. Size of fleets will be dictated by research and the number of tactical structures you've built.
Obviously, as time goes on we hope to fill out the Covenant orbital structures and replace various placeholder models until both the Covenant and UNSC are feature and asset complete.
VO work continues, example of the Autumn voicework straight from Sancho's studio below!
We've also created a Facebook group for fans talk about the mod: