Long awaited Alpha Release 4 is here and it is the complete game
. We're calling this release "Let Slip the Dogs of War", because that is exactly what we will be doing. The first full multi-player Alpha games will be very very soon and will be played on this release.
So whats new? First and most importantly: COMBAT. The combat engine has been built and the Visual Combat Recording (VCR) viewer is live. In addition to combat, every single host function of the game has been added, with the exception of the diplomacy functions, alliances and player to player communications. Those will be added shortly as we start our first alpha games. So, in theory, every function has been built, however, there are certain to be many bugs throughout that we need to find. We are going to need a little help for that.
Start playing the new Scenario "Surrounded"
We have created a new scenario called "Surrounded!!". This is the first combat intensive scenario. There is a little luck involved here and a lot of challenge, but its a very fun scenario where you start with 50 ships and a home world and are surrounded by enemy home worlds and fleets. Your mission? Destroy them all...
You could help us out tremendously, by attempting to test all the various functions of the game especially, mine laying, ion storm effects, and all the special race advantages and features specific to each race. When testing, have a look to see that you get the correct messages in your message queue and that they read correctly. As stated above, we believe we have included every feature except diplomacy, so if you see something missing please report it, we probably just forgot.
Some notes on performance and browsers
We have some good news and some bad news for IE7 users. We've been able to get the game to run on IE7, including VCRs. However, the performance is pretty bad particularly for the battles unless you have an amazing computer. For best results we recommend that players upgrade to Google Chrome browser on Windows or the latest Safari version on an Apple computer. We will be making many many improvements to performance over the coming weeks/months. We have a lot of easy ways to make improvements that we've been holding off on to make development and testing easier.
The game runs on IE7+, Firefox 3+, Chrome and Safari.
Over the next week we'd like to fix as many bugs as possible in AR4, so please post anything you find. Meanwhile, we are starting work on the host scheduling service which will allow us to run the host program at the scheduled time and notify players of their new turns. This will be the Nu version of AutoTroll. Once we have that in place we will be inviting players to fill the first alpha test games which will be fast running games (probably one turn/day) so we can get even more of the bugs out. After that, we'll make the move to upgrade our release status to "Beta" and start more games.
One last note: We have once again deleted all the training games you have created (over 600!). We will now be moving into a production scenario and don't plan to delete them anymore. So if you are finished with a training game please be sure to delete it. We've got to keep our house tidy.
Thanks to everyone who's been sending their feedback and bug reports. Keep it coming... this project is well on its way to success thanks to your support!