Happy New Year everyone! We might have been a bit silent during the holidays, but now we’re back to developing with full force. In this blog I will talk about some of the upcoming features in January - we have quite a few new toys for your sandbox.

New player experience improvements

This one was promised for December, but didn’t quite make it, so we’re deploying it in our next patch, on Wednesday the 11th. The improvements consist of a brand new tutorial assignment line, which will now feature an initial general line, which unlocks a separate combat and industrial line. We’re also improving the level 0 assignments, which are meant to provide a stepping stone until you reach level 1s, or lose your first light robot and have to fall back to an Arkhe.

Improved NPC AI

Creating a perfect AI is no easy task, so we’re constantly experimenting with it in the hope to make our NPCs smarter than a jellyfish. This latest iteration will give them the ability to manage their own accumulator properly, and also make them more aware of line-of-sight issues. In practice this will mean that they won’t deplete their energy anymore by trying to shoot players hiding behind walls, and thus become easy prey for them. They also get a much improved pathfinding algorithm, so they will be less prone to getting stuck, and it will be even harder to shake them off. The changes will mostly affect higher ranked NPCs, as the lower ones are slow anyway or didn't have accumulator management issues.

Inter-island mobile teleports

These new deployable teleports will function just like the existing ones, the difference is that they can quickly move you and your squad to a fixed teleport tower on another island. They will have of course a higher price tag, and a distance limitation too, but if you need to quickly move troops to another island, they will probably come in very handy.

Deployed proximity probe

Proximity probes

These teleports would likely be a bit overpowered if there wouldn’t be a means to counter them, so to that end we’re introducing proximity probes. These probes can be deployed from your robot’s cargo to the terrain, and function a bit like remote security sensors. They will detect anyone coming near to them, and notify you with alerts on your world map and optionally via the event messaging system too, regardless where you are.

This system somewhat ties in to our upcoming territory control and player-built settlements (PBS) system, so it will be only usable within corporations, and with a limited number of assigned users per probe. Naturally you can also destroy enemy proximity probes, although they can only be detected from a very short distance. Last but not least, these probes are basically the first deployables that are fully persistent, meaning they will stay on the terrain forever, until they are destroyed.

Deployable walls

Also as an early herald of PBS, we’ll give you the possibility to build persistent walls for passive defense of your territory. The particularly interesting part of these walls is that they are using our existing plant-growth system: they pretty much work as if you would plant a noralgis-incubator. When deployed, they first start out as small flagstones, and the included tiny nanobots will slowly build them up to high columns, so they can block the way and provide cover.

Walls growing

Walls can be only deployed on beta islands outside a 1km distance from terminals and teleports to prevent unwanted pool closages, but other than that you’re pretty much free to build anything you want with them. (Somehow I feel I will regret saying this...)

Plasma bombs

Again, a new toy needs a fitting counter-toy too. Although you can tear down walls with your guns as well, it won’t be very efficient due to their relatively high hitpoints. So we thought it’s high time we brought in some WMDs.

Once deployed and activated, plasma bombs will unleash the biggest boom you’ve ever seen so far on Nia. Their main role is to wipe an area clean of walls and plants, but they will also deal substantial damage to anyone foolish enough to stand around when they go off. In theory it’s possible to use them in battle too, but their relatively long activation time provides for ample getaway time, and it’s pretty easy to shoot them down too, so utilization there might be a bit more tricky.

We are having a lot of fun with them on the devserver, so we made a (not too realistic) video too (warning: profanity inside).

So to summarize, the new assignments and the improved NPC AI will be a part of the patch on Wednesday. The proximity probe and the new teleport will come shortly after that, followed by the walls&bombs package, likely inside a two-week timeframe from now.

Meanwhile we’re finalizing the concept of the terraforming and player-built settlements system, so a blog about that will pop up soonish, too.

Comments for this post

1 Winnetou

Cool! :)

2 Ville

I luled when i watched the video very cool guys!

3 Ville

I envision penis island when the walls are active though =P

4 Exomorph

Good good good :) I hope that this new growing walls can de destroyed with these funny plasma bombs :)
The video : so focking ROTFLMAO :)

5 Cobalt

Men you gave us what we wanted !! I hope your accumulators are full because there will be some "problems" for sure but i feel like the game will really start now!! PBS here we are! Very good job thx for giving us our "new toys" !!

6 Scyylla

Exomorph.. Please read the blog.......

New toys are good.. m'kay

7 Mark Zima

So, one bomb and a huge area (looking at the vid) is clean of walls? What's the point of walls then?

Are any of these things factory-produced? They better be.

8 Lord Alfredson

lulz

9 DEV Zoom

Mark Zima: it's a matter of good balance between the price of walls and bombs. Also the video is a bit deceiving, because plants are more fragile than a wall, and of course bombs will have an explosion falloff too.

10 MoBIoS

Sounds interesting.

11 Annihilator

Hurray,
now we can replay the "battle at Helm's Deep"!

12 Gremrod

LOL. Looks good.

13 MrCeeJ

I assume you have things in place to stop people popping 5 beacons and nuking them all with plasma bombs?

14 Joph

Thanks for the update.

15 DEV Zoom

MrCeeJ: you can't place your own probes right beside each other, so that won't happen (if I got you right).

16 MrCeeJ

I was meaning to use the Plasma bombs in a NPC farming context. Summon a number of Patrol Beacons, and then guide them all onto a bomb that is about to detonate.

Depending on the explosion size/cost it might be viable to start of 3 bombs, wait 20 secs, then activate a bunch of high level distress beacons so that the bombs go off as soon as the mechs spawn.

17 Ville

thats not even cost effcient

18 DEV Zoom

MrCeeJ: Ah, sorry. I can assure you, farming NPCs with bombs won't be profitable.

19 Syrissa

now we need walls we can walk up to and have partial cover like castel walls do... =)

20 Mara Kaid Pirate of Nia

AHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAAHAAAHAHAHAHA THAT WAS AWESOME!!!! GREAT IDEAS!!!

We bombed em with 10 termis on a hill! LONG LIVE VIETNAM!!!

Those bombs we are gonna use,

walls are awesome developers, make more stuff like that so we can form our own islands. Very nice.

21 Triglav

Very nice ideas. These changes add *oomph* to gameplay a alot. Nice (small) step forward.

22 Trap Card

Holy crap this is the most awesome thing I have ever seen.

23 Inda

The wall dont need terraforming?

24 Diamond

Will the non-passable terrain feature on the radar reflect the presence of the walls?

25 Annihilator

Quote:
"Will the non-passable terrain feature on the radar reflect the presence of the walls?"

Probably not, since plants are not shown there either

26 DEV Zoom

Plants have been deliberately left off from the passability display to not clutter it up, but yes, now it would make sense to turn it back on.

Inda: nope.

27 Alexadar

????? ?????

28 Alexadar

you have broken cyrilic ^^
Anyway, my comment is:

1. I don't support any type of mobile teleports. Player-driven teleports should be PBS. Can we expect something like it?

2. I don't support self-building wall. Can we expect something like involving bots with special modules in construction process? Like, sort of, rivelers with hammer-modules increasing construction speed.

29 N1nhurs4g

Looks great guys! Still waiting for the patch where we can harvest the new plants laying around :D

30 Hollywood

\0/ Nice stuff!

31 Batou Hanzo

Great Video.

Keep up the good work, Perpetuum.

32 Brick Moses

This is the best macro-miner control ever.

33 Obi Wan Kenobi

Devs im really looking forward to these awesome goodies! :)

All i can say to yas is: Keep up this line of development! Giving the tools to the players so they can build the sand box will make for a truly fantastic game :D

Question.... Will the item used to build these walls be player made or NPC seeded item?
player made would be good :P

34 Alexadar

Тест, тест, я томат

35 Trap Card

When are the wall going to be here?

Wall is singular. There will be only one wall. It will encompass the entire known nia.

36 Jack Jombardo

Cool, let's buy some bombs and place them around IC Alpha :). Should be funny to kick some Noob asses.

37 Jack Jombardo

Oh or more fun as more stuff will be destroyed. Let's place them next to Alpha Mining Squads. Maybe we can find this 11 Agent Multiboxer and kick his fleet with one Bomb :D:D

Should be funny *g*

38 OnOff

Jack.If Im right no one ll be able to use the plasma bombs at alfa islands

39 Obi Wan Kenobi

OMG i wish they could be used on alpha ... so much fun :P

Will be interesting to see how much bombs cost.

40 Annihilator

Any news about the bombs and walls?
i know, the server got attacked by evil DDoS and probes had some major balancing issues -
two weeks are gone and we would like to know what you planning now.

41 Obi Wan Kenobi

1 2nd what Anni said.... walls & bombs i wanted to see way more than probes :p

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