Beta 3.0 is very likely the last major update before the Final Release of the game, which is now scheduled Q1 (preferably February) of 2015, and the stack of tasks remaining grows thinner and thinner by the day. The already completed Campaign content (much more than what's available to the public) is being extensively tested both for bugs and balance or playability issues. Along with this, core gameplay problems and features also get fixed and enhanced, all making USC a really complete, more and more polished game. I again thank you for your support and patience, and look very, very much forward to finally present you the complete game with all its challenges and thrills!
About new content
This one is a truly major update: USC is getting infused by fully re-recorded, astounding sound effects, created and mastered by sound designer Eugene Black from Centralia, USA. All interface, general effect, weapon, alien and footstep sounds have been replaced and expanded by his wonderful, real studio quality works, providing a much better immersion and variety. Prepare for the Horde, they've never been more fearful! ;-) All the new sounds are available in Beta 3.0. It was worth the waiting, I can assure you! And be sure to check out his other works at:
The Campaign is also getting new audio content! Composer Dmitri Arktor (from Cotton Mather Estates, Alphane Moon) is in charge of the new, all-around original soundtrack for the story of U.S.C. Wraith and her crew. He is also working on some terrifying ambient effects and tracks, making a deep, personal atmosphere for the whole Campaign. Once released, it will feature 16 original music tracks and a lot more ambient themes. Most of these are already complete (!), but you'll have to wait for the Final Release for the experience, as the Campaign is still under development, and no more of it will be available as Beta content. Well, except for one „bonus" track that is now added to the Beta Campaign content-so be sure to check it out! As well as all his other magnificent music at:
What to expect in the Campaign?
With the Final Release getting closer, I can now give you an update on what is really coming. The Campaign will feature about 30-40 missions, out of which 15-20 are delicately "hand crafted" (yet still random to some extent) and another 15-20 are "random" (yet still designed to accurately comply with difficulty & story elements). There will be also an "alien ambush" system: if you fail to complete or even attempt missions for a longer time (i.e. later in the Campaign you can choose to "wait an hour" any time to let your squads recover and your research progress go), the aliens will come and try to kill you off, adding more potential missions. Not often, but on important situations you'll also have to make a (non-tactical) choice while on a mission, which further effects the story and the fate of your crew. The end of the Campaign is also going to be something special compared to all the various missions played before.
Research mostly plays a role in the story progression, not in acquiring new weapons or items (apart from the 6 weapon mods, as you can already see in the Beta). And by that I mean: researching or not researching a particular thing will indeed have an effect on the outcome of your whole endeavor. It's your choice. New weapons, ammo and items are acquired through salvaging manufacturing blueprints on missions. The full crafting and prototype-weapon system known from Single Missions is also present in the Campaign. Your men gain XP over time (from killing and completing tasks like hacking systems, closing maintenance tunnels, etc.) and you can assign new skill points. They also gain skill by completing other kinds of tasks (healing someone, etc.).
All of the above are already working and being tested. A couple of the missions and some cut-scenes, a bit of game lore, and finishing touches remain to be done, along with some graphical tasks and an extensive testing to ensure the Campaign is not only bug-free, but meets the expectations regarding difficulty and gameplay.
About difficulty. The Campaign will be quite challenging. Based on your skills in turn-based tactics/strategy games (strategy as allocating and distributing your resources, building your squads is also part of the game), you might find the few starting missions only moderately hard, but this feeling will not last long. There is an "Easy" setting on Campaign creation for those who might find the game overwhelmingly difficult, but I always wanted to create a "hardcore" experience. There's room for some casualties or sloppiness, but not much, and even less if you seek to achieve the best possible ending. The A.I. plays fair, constrained by the very same rules as your forces, but resources are scarce, some of your units are not that well-trained (like in a Single Mission), and the missions themselves are designed to be quite hard. The save system remains as it already was: the game saves automatically between missions, and you can choose to overwrite your only save when on a mission any time; that one you can load back as many times as you want, but you can't have multiple saved situations. So use it wisely!
What else is in Beta 3?
A metric ton of fixes, minor rule changes and enhancements, what else? :-) Seriously, the list of things changed and fixed is longer than the list of changes since Beta 1 to 2.1 altogether! (See the Beta 3.0 Change Log announcement for the complete list). But let me summarize the most important gameplay changes here:
- many beloved low-end weapons have been tweaked, mostly to increase usefulness, but in some cases to counter being overpowered;
- the effects of environmental elements, such as fires, bio- and radioactive pools have been carefully re-balanced to be more consistent and also more useful/a bit less irritating;
- new interface functions: enemy health bars, extended inventory toolbar usability, improved auto-reloading, improved scanner mechanism, in-game volume and accessibility options.
The seven difficulty levels have been renamed, and now are called Beginner, Novice, Easy, Normal, Hard, Extreme and Ultimate. This is to give players a better hint on where's their skill level currently at compared to what is considered "normal" or "hard" by us. The default Single Mission difficulty is now the new Normal (4/7). We expect good players to be able to complete Hard without additional crafted gear, Extreme after 20-30 missions of collecting, and Ultimate only beatable by "hardcore" USC players. The Campaign also has a difficulty choice at the beginning, Easy, Normal or Hard. On Normal, the "inner" (combat) difficulty of missions will be on Normal to Extreme, based on story and squad progression. Choose Easy here if you have problems winning Single Missions on Normal, as this will set the mission difficulty in the Campaign between Novice and Normal. Apart from naming and some minor changes to certain combat effects, the difficulties are identical to those in previous versions.
USC is now officially in its final stage of development. It's been semi-public since Alpha 10, but now that the v1.0 release is near, I'd like to once again kindly ask for your help in identifying and catching the bugs that might still lurk in the dark corners of the code. If you already have a copy of USC, and would like to try out a few practice missions before the real action begins in a few months, or even dare to try the Campaign demo (5 missions total), your feedback on any bugs, glitches, inconveniences, or even on just recommendations and ideas (with certain limits J) are more than welcome! I'd like the game to be as enjoyable and ironed out as possible when it's finally released, and you can be a really big help! Thank you!
*** CHANGE LOG ***
USC Beta 3.0 (0.9.5.0)
This update works with any previous version of USC, but should be used as a new, clean install. Copy over your old "data_user" folder to retain all your progress.
This update is fully backwards compatible. Single Mission / Defend the Base! modes are known to be fully stable and bug-free. This, of course, may not be the case; any cy-bug report is more than welcome at email@example.com or on any USC forum (Steam, IndieDB, Desura).
The Beta/Demo Campaign missions may contain bugs and Campaign saves are not guaranteed to remain compatible with future builds.
Note that only changes from Beta 2.1 and those with effect to public content are listed here!
See "Beta2_Update1_INFO.txt" for all the previous changes.
0.9.5.0 -- b0295(b) -- 11.12.14
ADDED FULLY RE-RECORDED AND REMASTERED INTERFACE, GENERAL FX, WEAPON, ALIEN AND FOOTSTEP SOUNDS!
ADDED volume control to in-game settings (both music & sounds).
ADDED enemy health bar indicator for injured enemies (default, but optional).
ADDED improved loading sequence (additional info + graphical fade-in).
ADDED more detail to some item descriptions.
ADDED a feature to disable edge scrolling (useful for windowed mode or touchpad control).
ADDED auto-reloading a weapon will now find and use a new stack of compatible subtype (in inventory order) if previous subtype has been depleted.
ADDED "+100 Score" floating message for blue crates pickup in Single Missions.
ADDED small graphical treats for 1920x1080 in-game interface.
ADDED you can now find small amounts of crystals embedded in mine walls, 6-18 total based on mission difficulty, starting from Easy. These also increase wall DT by 20.
ADDED full reload/force reload functionality to ammo icons on the inventory toolbar.
ADDED a new 'Accessibility options' group in the In-game Settings with the option to disable full-screen flashes.
ADDED ATAC will now exclude/ignore inactive (module only) attack modes when browsing through attack modes.
ADDED instead of Critical Threshold AND Critical Chance (these are essentially the same), ATAC will now display CC% and Critical Damage Factor (=damage multiplier).
ADDED game will now give a floating warning message if there's not enough Morale for movement.
ADDED game will no longer show obsolete info for closed sewer doors, instead it will properly give info about the item placed on it (if any).
ADDED using a selected (left-clicked) item will now deselect that item (prevents unintentional item placement in some cases when the player is understandably not aware of this).
ADDED scanner screen flash (can be disabled) and scanned unit markers (latter to help players recognize new threats even in darkness if they used the scanner).
ADDED spray kerosene functionality to inventory toolbar. Clicking the kerosene icon will no longer reload the chainsaw or flamer, but you can always press R, SPACE, or reload by mouse.
ADDED DTB: additions built should now have much more lights placed.
ADDED CMP: demo music from the upcoming OST by Arktor.
RULES moving objects onto radpools and chaos fires will now clear those effects.
RULES USC crates now worth 200 points if picked up and not destroyed in Collect missions.
RULES turrets are now somewhat stronger when deployed without the proper skill. Now also have a distinctive number in their callsign.
RULES the Flame thrower will now ignore 2/3 of the target's armor on direct attack.
RULES the Flame thrower now always hits. (Scorpions still immune to all fire damage!)
RULES range upgrade is now not applicable to the Flame thrower (it is the intended behaviour).
RULES doubled the damage from walking into fire and burning.
RULES doubled the damage that walking into kerosene while burning does; the explosion will now also ignore armor.
RULES damage range of the smart mine is now 150-240 (was 150-200).
RULES Sniper rifle's Pinpoint Strike will no longer knock back first target in the line, preventing extreme damage stacking. Knockback to second target and non-knockback momentum effects (AP loss) still apply, though.
RULES all crafting materials collected will now be shared between allies in Single Missions, undivided.
RULES Energy rifle's ranged mode has been tweaked to do about 1,5x more damage on average. Philosophy: this is intended to be a low-price end-game weapon, should do the "trick".
RULES Minigun's "Focused fire" now costs only 5 APs (was 6). Philosophy: already constrained to one target, there's no reason why it would need more time. Makes the minigun a bit more competent.
RULES Flak cannon's "Missile" mode now costs only 10 APs (was 12). Philosophy: this is already a lot of Action Points, more would make this attack mode slightly useless in high-stake situations.
RULES Flame thrower's area damage decay has been decreased, now does almost full damage on all targeted grids. Philosophy: area of attack is already constrained in many cases, and there's no rational cause not to allow this.
RULES Laser scorcher received small bonuses to some of its attacks damage or Armor Penetration. Philosophy: was a bit underperforming for its price and "genuine value".
RULES Novochuk bio pools now do double damage and also ignore target's armor. Philosophy: for an end-game weapon, they were way too weak.
RULES crystals DT is now only 25 (was 50). They are still hard to farm, but not (nearly) impossible, making way for better crafted equipment earlier in a squad's development.
RULES doubled valuable crafting materials yield of databanks in base missions (no mines, no outdoors) and average tools yield in outdoors missions as an effective alternative to 'crystal farming forever' in the mines.
RULES Katana: increased both Slash and Thrust random damage to about 2x to be better in line with the Combat Rifle melee mode.
RULES Assault Rifle: decreased Single fire and Short burst APs by 1, as they weren't a really viable choice compared to other low-end rifle fire modes.
RULES Shotgun: Single fire damage range increased to 6-20, Double barrel to 8-32, and Double express to 16-48. Double barrel and express also gained +10 impact force (now 35/50).
RULES Sniper Rifle: lowered Pinpoint strike's damage range to 50-80 (from 50-100), as it was a bit too powerful already.
RULES Minigun: both modes gained +5 Armor Penetration (now 12/35). It is now truly a fast and reliable solution against armored targets and/or smaller groups for its price.
RULES Flak cannon: increased Missile random damage by 20 (now does 70-120), and area effect damage to 75% (was 50%). Philosophy: for a mod-only fire mode for a fairly expensive weapon it feels adequate now.
RULES reduced normal scanner radius to an overall 5 grids (d=9) and booster radius to +3 (d+=6) grids (these may be stacked!). Philosophy: after in-depth testing, it feels appropriate. Still a very useful tool!
RULES alien damage against walls/objects should be more consistent now, and in average a bit higher on lower difficulties up to Normal, and a bit lower on Hard and Extreme.
RULES the exact health status information about a target when attacking is now available if it has been scanned prior in the same turn, not only if a targeting computer is being used.
RULES using hand or crystal grenades no longer requires any Morale (was 10, unintended!).
RULES crystal grenades should now do greater damage more consistently (now work with "125% proficiency").
RULES Electrotechnics specialization now also reduces APs needed to reset a doorlock to 1 (=much more possible attempts to manually override a doorlock).
RULES Collect/Acquire data/Reach point scoring will now take the number of turns into account with much more weight; a major point of these missions is to complete the non-combat objective as fast as you can.
RULES DTB: permanent Credit bonus for completing Wave #6 is now 200/400/800/1600 based on difficulty (was 100-400).
RULES CMP: special item blueprints will now only drop from Act V and forward.
RULES CMP: doubled XP from combat and kills. Now also properly applies to bio-rifle attacks.
RULES CMP: kerosene is now a common ammo after Act I, finding its blueprint not needed.
FIXED a glitch where hidden enemy units would remain graphically visible at the beginning of a new turn if their position was known before.
FIXED Defend the Base! music will now only be loaded on demand to conserve memory & hasten loading more.
FIXED object (crate) shadow cast under outdoors rock tiles.
FIXED a bug where the game would hang when an item was passed to a unit with no space left on the Campaign roster.
FIXED localization of dogtags.
FIXED a minor glitch regarding hybrid weapons ammo information tooltip.
FIXED a few typos in item descriptions.
FIXED stimulants APs display for Biochemisty specialization.
FIXED phasing devices picked up during a mission will now have full charges.
FIXED the APs display for using a soda vendor when there are not enough APs to actually use it.
FIXED a serious bug where light sources (lamps) in mines would cause graphical corruption and CTD on reload when destroyed.
FIXED a bug where re-deployed turrets would never replenish their Action Points.
FIXED a bug where newly laid eggs would occassionally come into existence already traced.
FIXED a bug where the "+x AP" floating message would be visible if an unseen monster landed a critical hit with AP rebound.
FIXED a glitch where using a stimulant would give the "Not enough Morale" floating message regardless of no Morale being required.
FIXED a graphical issue where defense mode markers would not be visible under the AI turn in Single Missions/DTB.
FIXED a very rare and minuscule glitch where floating messages would display "--###" (HPs) for some walls on being damaged.
FIXED targeting info will no longer overlap map info bar while targeting at bottom of screen.
FIXED minor graphic glitches with interface borders.
FIXED stimulant shortcut highlights getting stuck if opening/closing an ATAC panel while selected.
FIXED some warbred aliens very occassionally doing special damage to themselves when moving into map hazards (fire, bio).
FIXED the 'Targets remaining' display in Seek & Destroy temporarily showing an invalid value in very rare cases.
FIXED to-hit rate calculations will no longer 'flicker' if light level does, and will always use the brightest value available.
FIXED movement info will not give a warning anymore if only the usable target of the movement (e.g. a crate to be picked up) is under hazard (that will not apply to unit).
FIXED high level prototype plans being able to drop on lower difficulty levels.
FIXED a hidden glitch in the Reaper Mother egg laying mechanism.
FIXED a small graphical glitch in the mines.
FIXED items not being visible on closed sewer blast doors.
FIXED info bar displaying 'Reinforced wall' for mine and rocks depth walls.
FIXED debriefing screen reporting false number of cracked doorlocks in some cases.
FIXED a glitch in scanning mechanism that would unintentionally give away the position of cloaked units where FoW is present, in an indirect way (PvP only).
FIXED doorlock operations consuming the invalid amount of APs in some cases.
FIXED route APs display not showing the correct values for different doorlock operations.
FIXED a minor circuit cracker display glitch in full HD (1920x1080) resolution.
FIXED weapon icons overlapping unit portraits.
FIXED first aid kits will now give +10 MP (as stated in description).
FIXED Multiplayer: if a team falls back, still alive units "lost" this way will no longer count as casualties, preventing secondary condition failure.
FIXED DTB: CTD in some cases when trying to unlock a damaged, but repaired door's lock.
FIXED DTB: active turrets will now be redeployed on their last position if applicable (they will still be lost if position gets overridden by an object/wall). They are now also visible in 'Inspect' mode.
FIXED CMP: bugs with dead units' inventory on Campaign roster.
FIXED CMP: current map state for minimap view will now be saved for all completed missions for reference.
FIXED CMP: completed projects will be now disabled on the project list for selection.
FIXED CMP: time display for missions without a deadline will be properly centered vertically now.
FIXED CMP: current project will be now properly selected when reloading a save or after finishing a mission.
FIXED CMP: a bug that prevented the CC screen from automatically closing when a unit gained a level from cracking the circuit.
FIXED CMP: a minor interface graphics glitch when the AI had no (more) units (text bleed-through).
FIXED CMP: squad unit number now refreshes properly, preventing selection of dead squads for mission.
FIXED CMP: already processed events from mission scripts won't re-run on mission replay anymore.
FIXED CMP: a bit of mess with persisent unit and script data between mission attempts.
FIXED CMP: no missions will now be selected on Campaign reload (when between missions).
FIXED CMP: a serious bug that would cause some mission data to mix up on the mission selection screen, resulting in inplayability/crash.
FIXED CMP: a bug where map objects or walls would (still) earn combat XP, shown in the combat log.
FIXED CMP: a glitch with an unneeded inventory warning message on the Campaign roster.
FIXED CMP: fixed prototypes not being disassembled.
FIXED CMP: campaign screen floating message problems.
FIXED CMP: squad selectors enabled if mission is not available yet.
FIXED CMP: unintended entity placement by script over particular objects (sewer doors).
FIXED CMP: no project initially active when Act I starts.
FIXED CMP: mission "A distress not too far" available if player hasn't completed the basement sub-mission (0_4).
FIXED CMP: a critical bug where pressing ESC in the Campaign screen before Act 2 would invoke the 'Wait an hour' dialog erratically, resulting in complete lockup and a corrupted progress.
FIXED CMP: some minor mission randomization parameters (in tutorial mission, mostly).
FIXED CMP: interface crash if tutorial dialogs are closed with Enter in rapid succession before starting a mission.
Fixed CMP: CTD when accidentally passing the current weapon to another unit (it should have not been possible at all).
Fixed CMP: collected items/blueprints will now be properly added to the global resources after falling back from a mission.
OTHER renamed all difficulty levels. "Normal" is now the middle setting, which is fairly hard, but solveable without any special (crafted) equipment as intended.
OTHER the new "Normal" (4/7) difficulty level is now default for Single Missions.
OTHER disabled the "Map from layout" option in the Single Mission generator for now (will be re-enabled when the custom layout system is fixed, and there are some pre-made layouts, as there's no editor yet. A Scenario system is more probable though.)