I'm in the process of finalizing some of the last feautres for the update and also testing the game. My overall observation thus far is that the first half of the campaign will be easier than before, and the second half will be more difficult.
To my knowledge, this is a bit reverse to how it is in the current version and should mean the game follows a more natural progression of being more forgiving in the beginning while emphasizing the need for good planning towards the end of the game.
The endless mode, however, is where the most noticable change in difficulty will come in. First of all, the give 'em hell and prime example achievements will be more separated. In the current version, you usually unlock both at roughly the same time. Now, give 'em hell will unlock later due to the change in the yield structure of the game's endless mode.
Obviously, the central change of the upcoming update is the introduction of special abilities for each turret. Unlocked when maxing out a specific stat, each turret gets a special attack that charges over time and either deals massive damage, or adds protective buffs to your turrets. This will push strategic thinking and also make it more important than ever to protect specific turrets.
The game also features a completely redone balancing. Many of the linear structures, like credit yields and upgrade costs, have been redone, as well as spawn rates and spawn counts.
The current status of the update is:
- Features and balancing
- General changes
Difficulty ramp on campaign changed. Earlier levels are now a bit easier, later levels slightly trickier.
Powerup costs will increase per use. For example, the cost of placing mines starts at 600, and by 50 placed the price will have doubled.
Turrets now have a special attack that unlocks when you match a specific stat. The special ability requires a 120s charge time.
Turret upgrade cost offset. Each upgrade costs more than the previous one for the same stat. In the campaign this generally means the special abilities cannot be unlocked on the early levels and pushes players to build in more locations instead of maxing turrets early on.
Turret recoupable credits from sales the same as before, meaning less of investment on upgrades can be recouped from sales.
All enemy and turret stats rebalanced. To allow for more finetuning, DMG and HP has been doubled and then tuned further. This means the repair speed has been changed to accommodate higher HP values for turrets. It also means fully repairing turrets is now more expensive than before.
- Endless mode
Continuous mode leveling system overhauled. Instead of all stats leveling up each 5-8 spawn cycles, either of DMG, HP or yield is randomly picked to level up each 2-3 spawn cycles. This should make each game more different and changes the difficulty ramp a bit.
Insect generals added to the continuous mode. Every fifth cycle, the last enemy spawned from one point will be a general – is three levels ahead of the wave level for DMG and HP and 5 levels for yield stats. Works as an extra challenge and a way to boost credits. Marked with a red vortex particle underneath.
Wave pause time changed from linear random to normal distribution.
Pause time between enemy spawns in wave changed from linear random between -0.1 and 0.2 to normal distribution between -0.1 and 0.4.
Spawn amount per wave in endless mode changed from random between starting value and starting value to cycle, to normally distributed with starting value as mean. This mean shifts up by value one per 5 wave cycles meaning each 5 cycles will increase the number of enemies spawned.
Yields changed from linear to log normal curve, meaning faster in the beginning and slower later on in the endless mode.
- Graphical changes
Some turrets have had some animations and more particles added.
Shadow system has been optimized and settings for it tweaked.
FXAA removed in favor of TSAA. This means that the aliasing has been minimized even on low resolution scaling. TSAA is more performance heavy than FXAA, but the added performance cost is offset by allowing lower resolution scales to get the same or better graphical fidelity.
Explosion effects overhauled.
Mac version added.
The game has been translated into Russian, Swedish, Romanian and French.
Some adjustments in large scenes to lower the number of objects and their FPS impact.
Button press sound moved, to avoid “false” click sounds.
Level 14 deathbox fix. Enemies would sometimes miss the deathbox causing the level to not finish.
Loading times between levels lowered.
Bug where raycasting would bug out when not using SSAA fixed.
Optimized UI code.
- To do
* Further testing.
* In game scoreboards when you finish a continuous level.
* Hexagon level added.
I estimate to finish the update next week, and release it after some further testing the week after around March 23rd.
// Dispersing Minds