The Tower/Power-UPdate


You might have noticed that I switched gears a bit with my update frequency. This does not mean that I am slowing down - quite the opposite: I want to release bigger and more impactful updates.

This is the first of those larger gameplay updates, delivering a rework of the towers and power-ups. 

Tower Rework

Play-testing revealed that people were not really reading the strengths and weaknesses towers quite right. My idea was always that they would have to be more vulnerable to attacks from multiple sides. They already were, but the reason for that was subtle: When attacking from multiple sides it was statistically more likely that the tower would make a bad targeting choice - which was very random and hard to decipher for players.

The reworked tower makes the idea more explicit. It can only attack rapidly in one direction. It needs to rotate to attack units coming from another direction. It's showing that with a cone of light:


The other mechanic that I intended as a way to deal with towers is the phase power-up. Before, it was hard to learn when exactly to use the power-up, so that it protected against the tower. Its duration is quite short. Now, the tower shows when it's charging up after an enemy comes into range - which is the ideal moment to phase your units.


The phase power-up is now also more readable, so it is much easier to tell when units are phased.

Power-up Rework

The game has had six different power-ups for a while, but even disregarding their actual effect, the way they were applied was wildly different. Four power-ups had to be used explicitly; out of them, one was global while the others had to be targeted. Two other power-ups were applied implicitly by capturing them. This made the mechanic somewhat muddy.

To streamline the mechanic, all power-ups now behave the same: They have to be used explicitly and have to be targeted. For example, the spawn-boost power-up now targets a single spawn-circle:


The units power-up can now be targeted as well. As a new interesting mechanic, this allows you to capture objectives at remote parts of the map without moving your units there.


Upgraded units will barely survive a bombardment strike, even when not on a light-field. Therefore, you can now use the upgrade power-up as a last second option to save your units. Although the phase power-up is probably still preferable.

Split-move

Positioning was always meant to be a key element of the game. Unfortunately, the move commands did not help with that; every move reduced whichever shape your units had to a roughly circular shape. 

The new innovative split-move modifier allows you  to move your units to multiple locations. The group is automatically split into evenly sized subgroups. This can be used to target different objectives quickly:


It can also be used to bring your units into a formation:


Training Missions

A lot of work has gone into improving the tutorial missions, which have now been renamed to training missions. Some have been redesigned completely, some have been re-enabled from earlier test versions, and some are new. In total, this almost doubles the number of available missions from just 6 to 11. But what's most important: they are doing a much better job at teaching the game. The switcher wheel had been in the game for a couple of months, but only now do the missions make an effort to tell you about it:

Although I feel like I'm improving a lot in building these missions, there is still a lot to learn for me. I'm curious for all feedback!

Additional Changes

  • Units now emit light on their model which makes them more visible in shadowed regions and also makes them more readable in general
  • Fixed a timing issue that caused jitter in multiplayer games
  • Added a background to the ability bar to make the mode and power-up icons stand out more
  • Added particle effects to spawn-circles
  • Improved and more readable light-field buff particle effect
  • Improved berserk and phase buff particle effect
  • Added sound effects to most in-game events

Files

Abstractanks (Mac OS X) 56 MB
Version 0.36.0 Nov 09, 2018
Abstractanks (Linux) 60 MB
Version 0.36.0 Nov 09, 2018
Abstractanks (Windows) 51 MB
Version 0.36.0 Nov 09, 2018

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Comments

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Seems I actually released a rather severe bug here that prevented the game from starting. It's fixed in 0.36.1!