Post news RSS They Are Billions - Development Update v.0.8.2

We are working now in two fronts, the Old Fortresses and the Trains system. As we said before we want to keep on trying to enrich the content of the Survival mode with elements from the campaign. Therefore we are also considering including the Trains in the Survival mode, but just as a new environmental element.

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Just a quick update on the game development.

Campaign Development

We are working now in two fronts, the Old Fortresses, where the tactic missions will be played, and the Trains system. In the next update, we’ll talk more about them and we’ll publish new screenshots with new content.

Trains on Survival Mode?

As we said before we want to keep on trying to enrich the content of the Survival mode with elements from the campaign. Therefore we are also considering including the Trains in the Survival mode, but just as a new environmental element. There will be a railway line that will cross the map and, periodically, there will be trains passing through the map. It will not only be a nice touch for the maps, but also an important strategic element. Obviously, you won’t be able to build over the railways so you’ll have to defend that parts in a different way (without walls). On the other hand, the trains will destroy all those unlucky infected who happen to be on its way. That’ll certainly be something worth watching!

New Version 0.8.2
These are the new features of the 0.8.2 version, which is available now:

New Army Buttons

Many times in the game, you want to select all the units of the same type, for example, “Select all snipers to defend the North wall….”. There is a new button on the left part of the screen for every type of unit (Ranger, Sniper…) that also shows the total amount of each of them. Click them and all the units of that type will be selected.

You can combine the mouse clicks with the Shift key to add the units to the current selection.

Press F2 to select all the Army

You can use the shortcut F2 to select all units available in your army.

Power Plant Changes

Now the Power Plant uses 10 wood units instead of 5 wood and 5 stone. Before, building sawmills in the late stages of the game was something superfluous and by contrast, if you built several power plants you could easily run out of stone which is so necessary as the game progresses. We think that works much better now, as it improves the resources balancing especially in the second half of the game.

Stakes and Blades Traps

Judging by the screenshots and gameplay videos from players, it seems that the traps are underused. We think they are currently very useful, as they not only harm the infected but also slow them down. Another advantage is that they can be placed on the floor without restrictions and don’t block the movement of your army (as the walls do).

Also they would make more sense in real life, where a fortress would have one or two rows of walls with a gate protected by a series of traps. Building lots of walls randomly just to block the infected looks quite weird 🙂

So for all these reasons we have improved the traps:

Stakes Trap: +20% Life. + 25% damage.
Blades Trap: +30% Life. + 25% damage.

Pathfinding for Swarms: Improved Performance

There is a good reason why They Are Billions is clearly one of the games that manages more units in real time, units that are truly independent, every unit has their own AI and behaves always on their own. That’s the reason why the infected swarms in They Are Billions looks so natural and organic.

The game engine is ultra optimized in every aspect, especially the pathfinding, which is one of the most costly operations.

In many other games with big armies, the paths are computed for a full group of units and generally those paths don’t change with time as the environment is static and fixed. By contrast, on TAB every unit computes its own paths to reach its targets. This path is recomputed every few seconds to react to the changes in the environment (walls destroyed, structures built…). Thanks to that, the swarms can split into several paths or single units can leave the swarm if they have seen or heard something, as it would happen in real life.

Although the game system is already quite optimized, we have gone further. Previously, all paths were recomputed if anything on the map changed, which could lead to some frame drops when there are big swarms running to the colony. Now, only if something that can affect the current paths is changed the path is recomputed. For example, the infected don’t care about walls; they ignore them unless they are blocking their movement in which case they will try to destroy them. So now, if a wall in their path is destroyed or built the path won’t be recomputed.

What all of this stuff means to the player? We expect the game to run smoother, especially when big swarms are approaching the colony.

Survival Challenge: Score Factor fixed
It was an issue when computing the final score of the Survival Challenge. The Score Factor relative to the map type was not incorporated into the equation, so all score factors of the Survival Mode were 100% regardless the map type. Now that bug is fixed so your score will reflect better the real difficulty of the map.

And that’s all for now. Thanks for your support and see you soon!

Coal-Chip-Cookie - - 198 comments

I like trains.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
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