Update news for 2014-09-17 - Gamma revamp
Revamp of Gamma island mechanics
This rather large update brings a lot of changes and new features related to the parts of Perpetuum where you can terraform and build your own bases, or what you all know as Gamma islands. The two main issues that made us temporarily close down Gammas and go back to the drawing board were unlimited terraforming and practically unlimited building spam, both of which are of course addressed in this patch, along with other changes and new additions.
Note that although this patch includes all Gamma-related changes, the teleports leading to Gamma islands are intentionally disabled for now. Due to the complexity of this update we're taking a bit of precaution and look for any game breaking bugs outside of gammas before we open them.
New Gamma islands and map layout changes
We are starting off with 6 gamma islands - 3 old, and 3 brand new ones. For the new islands we tried to make things interesting instead of following the “big chunk of land”-style, so we have some split landmasses and archipelago-style zones too. Additional islands will be introduced when we see that the demand arises, and we’ll also try to keep them varied and interesting. And although the teleport network for these 6 islands seems fairly symmetrical for now, this won’t be the case as we expand with additional ones, so don’t build any long-lasting strategies around the current connections.
All colony buildings consume various amounts of network bandwidth now, while terminals provide a fixed amount of bandwidth for all the buildings connected to its network. This effectively limits the number of buildings you can connect to a single terminal.
Energy management changes
Reactors are not generating energy on their own anymore. We’re introducing a new underground resource, which is not so much a mineral, but actually an energy field (that’s what we’re on Nia for, after all). These fields cannot be exploited by regular means; you need to place energy wells on them (a new building type), which will send the (passively exploited) raw energy over your network into the reactors, which in turn will convert it to energy usable by all the buildings. Note however that reactors can still be powered by regular means too, by dropping any commodity with energy content or energy storage cells into the reactor chamber. Energy wells do not need any external energy to run, they feed on the energy they exploit. Energy wells will stop exploiting energy if all the reactors in the network are full, in order to not waste it.
Like normal minerals, energy fields also deplete and respawn at random places all the time, so colony managers will need to check on them every few days and look for new energy sources to keep the colony powered.
We have also removed the energy charging threshold setting that tried to keep a specific charge level for a building. All buildings have now an "activation energy limit" and they will only start working after their accumulator level reaches this threshold. This is called a "warmup period", the building's accumulator bar will flash to indicate this or there is a flashing icon when zoomed out. After this, they will keep working even if the charge level falls under the activation threshold. However, when the charge level falls down close to 0, they will stop working and a new warmup period begins. Once their accumulator level is able to reach the activation limit again, they will start working again. (Of course this only happens if the network can't provide enough energy to keep them active.) The activation limits are also shown on the colony management UI by a red marker on the accumulator bar.
Terraforming has now a limit of how steep you can make the terrain. This limit is set between the slope capability of assault and mech class robots, which means that you can’t ever terraform anything where a light or assault bot wouldn’t be able to pass. Unfortunately we had to say goodbye to beacon-terraforming, because we simply couldn’t make it work together with the slope limit (for now at least). So instead we made module terraforming more user friendly, by making terrain tile locking instant, and merging all the different types of terraforming charges into one charge, where you select the type of terraforming method from the new terraforming panel. There is also a new tile height overlay display for the terrain, which should help you with the terraforming of precise structures (turn it on from the top right terrain windows dropdown).
Furthermore, terraformed landscape will now slowly degrade to the original terrain with time, but this only affects areas that are outside of a certain radius of buildings.
This has been requested for quite a long time now, and now they are here: buildable highway nodes, which will create a strip of speed boosting effect between them. A specific trait of highway nodes is that they can transmit the energy required for them on their own, so they don't need extra energy connections other than the initial intake at the first node.
Shootable plants and walls
All plants and deployable walls can now be locked and shot by normal weapons. In relation to this change we have also increased their HP/resistances, and they will also distribute the incoming damage to neighboring tiles.
These gates can placed between wall tiles or any natural obstacles, and can be opened and closed with a simple click (if you have access, of course). Since this is not part of the gamma colony system, but a simple deployable field device, you're also able to use these on Beta islands. Corporation members with the necessary roles can also remotely open and close the gates on the world map, and set up a relation-based access for them too.
A lot of plants have been reduced in size to combat the perceived feeling of small robots. We have also changed the way they are growing, so they will now more likely gather in colonies and form forests. If you experience reduced client performance because of this, try to reduce the "draw distance" slider in the options.
- New: Orange (passive) NPCs will now aggress anyone in their vicinity who activates remote support modules on someone who has aggro from those NPCs. This means remote armor repairers, remote sensor amplifiers, and remote energy transferers.
- Change: Ground tile locking happens now instantly.
- New: Unlocking targets will now also work without the need to select them beforehand, so you can quickly empty your targeting computer this way.
- Change: Noralgis can be planted everywhere now, not just specific "fertile" tiles.
- Fix: Some plant incubators could not be deployed on alpha islands.
- Fix: Some decorational building effects were interfering with clickthrough/tile selection (e.g. the lightning bolts of highways), this has been fixed now.
- Change: Activating plasma bombs will now grant you a PvP flag. (Previously you only got it if the bomb did any PvP damage when it exploded.)
- New: Proximity probes can be destroyed remotely from their properties window (if you have access to it).
- New: All proximity probes now include the owner corporation's CEO and deputy CEOs as users by default (shown in the list in grey). This is not counted towards the user limit, which is now also displayed.
Robots and modules
- Change: All robots received a flat +36km/h increase to their base speed.
- Change: Increased the signal masking of industrial robots.
- Change: Increased the signal detection of transport robots.
- Change: Reduced the signal detection modification of signal detector modules, and also added a negative signal masking modification to them. (Meaning if you activate your signal detector, you'll be more visible to others as well.)
- Change: Increased the flight speed of magnetic weapon and firearm projectiles.
- Change: The ratio of a robot's surface hit size and the equipped shield's radius can not reduce the accumulator usage of incoming damage below 100% anymore, only increase it when the surface hit size is bigger that the equipped shield.
- Change: Reduced the bonus of the Signal detection and Signal masking extensions from 2% to 1% per level.
Modular Private Colonies
- Change: Removed the initial 3-day invulnerablity effect for newly placed terminals. Normal emergency phases still remain of course, but keep in mind that those only work for fully constructed terminals!
- Change: Due to the new island building restrictions mining outposts don't need energy connections, but instead have now their own small reactor chamber and you need you manually load energy storage cells or commodities with energy content into them to make them work, just like in the case of reactors. Note that you still need to connect them to your network via command relays at least.
- Change: Gamma islands now have a limit of maximum 3 deployable terminals. (This rule might be removed in the future.)
- New: All gamma islands have now large areas where you are not allowed to terraform or deploy colony buildings. These areas are shown as red on the world map's passable slope mode, and as red striped tiles while using the last mode of the slope display on the terrain. Exceptions for this rule: mining outposts, energy wells, and accelerator strips.
- New: A terminal can't be placed within 3km of another terminal.
- New: Buildings can only be placed within the network construction range of terminals (1-1.5 km depending on tier). Also, you are not allowed to connect any abandoned building to your network that is outside of this range. The exceptions from both of these rules are: mining outposts, energy wells, accelerator strips, and command relays.
- Change: Gamma wall deployment rules: can't be deployed on protected red tiles, can't be closer than 5 tiles to any colony building, can't be further than 1500m from a terminal or command relay that you own.
- New: Buildings disconnected from the network will now go offline.
- Change: All buildings have emergency shields now. (This is new for turrets and command relays.)
- Change: Turrets, repair nodes, and booster nodes will go offline while in emergency mode. They will automatically go online again when the emergency phase ends.
- Change: Increased the optimal range, signal detection, and sensor strength of turrets.
- Change: Increased the EW strength and the amount of neutralized energy for the EW turret.
- Change: Increased the number of maximum locked targets for all turrets to 100.
- Change: Reduced the accumulator consumption of turret weapons, but turrets now have a small accumulator consumption even when not firing.
- Change: EM-turret: slightly reduced damage, increased hit dispersion, increased firing rate.
- Change: Missile turret: reduced rate of fire.
- Change: Laser turret: slightly reduced damage.
- New: Improved turret AI.
- New: If you attack a friendly colony, all turrets will now aggress you, not just the one you attacked.
- Change: Increased the energy output of energy transmitters and backbones.
- Change: Significantly increased the accumulator capacity of most buildings.
- Change: Aura emitters now consume energy based on the number of affected Agents instead of a flat rate.
- Change: Construction status is not shown anymore in the colony management info panel when a building is fully constructed.
- New: Terminal and network area visibility can now be set separately as hidden, corporation members only, or public.
- New: Reactor information panels now show the amount of raw energy received from energy wells in the last cycle, and a charging status (either "idle", "stable", or an estimate of how long it takes to deplete).
- New: Building information panels now show the end of a vulnerable phase (that comes after an emergency phase).
- New: Added an online/offline status display and a toggle button to building information panels.
- New: Building icons will be dimmed when they are offline, and yellow colored when they are disconnected from a network.
- New: Energy output priority windows now show the calculated energy output for that connection based on the priority setting.
- Fix: Fixed some update issues when renaming a terminal.
- Fix: Large burst damage can still "bleed" below the 50% armor value where emergency shields kick in for buildings, but now it is impossible for them to get destroyed while in emergency, even if their armor goes down to zero.
- Fix: Plasma bomb damage on turrets will now properly give you aggro.
- New: Concrete and walls that are in the vicinity of colony buildings will not degrade anymore.
- New: Buildings that emit an effect (auras, maskers, etc.) received a separate "Effect emission radius" parameter, instead of using their connection radius for this purpose.
- Fix: Fixed a number of visibility and update issues related to remote terminals and storages.
- Fix: Deleted all old terraforming projects and colony plans.
Reimbursements related to Gamma changes:
- All old module terraforming charge types have been converted to the new universal terraforming charge.
- Reimbursed 1 000 000 NIC per piece for all existing terraformer beacons.
- Reimbursed 225 000 NIC per piece for all existing terraformer beacon charger modules.
- Reimbursed 3 000 NIC per piece for all existing terraformer beacon charges.
(Depending on the item location, the NIC went to either personal accounts, or corporation accounts.)
- Fix: Fixed objective ranges in "Siren - III".
- Fix: Fixed wrong objective order in "Xerxes X" and "Passat X".
- Change: Island names on the world map have been moved outside of the zone square so they are more visible when zoomed out.
- Change: Increased the signal masking of field and loot containers.
- Fix: Robots can't be unpacked in SynSec containers anymore.