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Alpha 5; You know the drill!

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Level 14 Extraplanar Programmer
Alignment: Chaotic good
Location: Toronto
Posted on October 23, 2010 at 2:57 am

Get the latest alpha here! A lot of bug fixes went into this one, and the Archidamian Campaign is also ready for some more heavy-duty testing, so let us know what you find!

Check back later for the full release notes.

Level 8 Human Gem hunter
Alignment: Lawful evil
Location: Beleriand
Posted on October 23, 2010 at 3:07 am

I'll get right on it! Now that midterms are officially over for me, I can get back to what's really important: bug hunting!

Level 8 Human Gem hunter
Alignment: Lawful evil
Location: Beleriand
Posted on October 23, 2010 at 4:23 am

Ok, first quick glance at alpha 5 the Archidamian Campaign, in list form.

1) The only actual bug I found: when you form an alliance with a faction, and that faction is besieging your city, the troops that are besieging your city will continue to attack after they become your allied troops (under your control). You can see this relatively easily by allying with the Aetolian League (the two cities right next to Naupactus), as they attack Naupactus.

The rest of these are suggestions on improvements:

2) The Archidamian Campaign just kind of throws you into it, I started a casual game, and within a minute I was being attacked in about 5 different places by three separate factions. I didn't even notice what was going on up near Potida until I got the message that two of my hoplite brigades had been routed. This is a bit more intense than how the Philip campaign started off, but maybe that was intentional, since Athens was in the middle of a war it makes sense to have the player thrown into it. I might suggest introducing the campaign somehow by explaining just what is going on, who you're fighting, why the map is suddenly mostly Spartan allied. I know it's in the details when you start the campaign, but It would help to have the visual map to go with it.

3) I think the Athenian mines need to be filled, at least some of them. It takes valuable beginning recruits to make a worker group at the start of a new game, since you don't start out with any slave gangs. I would much rather put those recruits into making troops. I might suggest filling half of them, or half full or something, just so it doesn't make the Athenians overpowered from simply having half the worlds money. (right away) Athens was supposed to be a huge, wealthy, and well established empire by the time this war with the Spartans rolls around, so why are her mines empty?

4) I also think that there should be more troops already garrisoned within the cities, at least the major ones. Maybe just a spearman brigade or two in the major cities outside of Athens. I feel like an important city like Byzantium would have some kind of garrison to start with.

5) When you ally with a faction, they disappear from the diplomacy page. does this mean that you can't cancel an alliance now? Also, I've noticed a few factions that Athens is allied with when I select a city that we haven't seen in Philip or the sandbox. the snickering 13 year old in me wants to play as the Lesbian faction.

Ok, now that that's over, I really like the improvements to the diplomacy page. It's very clear what is going on there with the intimidation and hostility Before you weren't sure how these numbers were being pulled from, or if you would be paying or gaining this money. Now it's crystal clear, and may be my new part of the game. I would much rather intimidate a faction and make them join me than conquer every one of their cities.

I also like the new bars for intimidation and recruits when you hover over a city. It makes knowing how many recruits you have in a city at a glance much easier.

So far I like Alpha 5 in general, and think it's improved greatly over 4, but the Archidamian Campaign can use some tweaking.

Good work guys, one step closer to final release!

P.S. I also was wondering if you guys had nailed down the ghost unit bug yet?

Level 8 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on October 23, 2010 at 6:25 am

I continued alfa-4 save and enemy atacked from every side, its unable to continue, I am begining new game.
As I see faction are more aggresive now, its good ..

Level 17 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on October 23, 2010 at 8:41 am

A note on some of the changes:

There are definitely a lot of details remaining in the diplomacy system like improving how fast the enemy responds to a truce and additional transparency and organization for the diplomacy window. The fact an alliance disappears is a unintentional new bug I'll try to get updated asap. The idea was to hide enemy factions who are allied with each other not your own alliances.

Regarding the ghost units, I attempted a fix in alpha 4 and haven't heard anything since. Are they still occurring?

Thanks for the balance comments about the Archidamian War, we had discussed some of those issues internally and we're definitely interested in how you guys feel it plays.

Other changes in alpha 5 include:

- Fixes for units resizing themselves in tight terrain after exiting cities or buildings.
- Fixes for units getting stuck on ox-carts and slowing down to much when they get out of formation.
- A recruits and native faction column in the asset list
- A recruits and city intimidation bar in the city rollover
- A new city intimidation stat to help make intimidation more transparent
- A complete rework of diplomacy costs and intimidation calculations
- Truces and alliances can now make money if intimidation exceeds hostility
- Truce violations and diplomatic demand messages now properly cancel relations when their time runs out (some of the click behaviours still aren't working yet)
- A lot of objective bug fixes
- Fixes for stalled AI

Level 8 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on October 23, 2010 at 9:36 am


Regarding the ghost units, I attempted a fix in alpha 4 and haven't heard anything since. Are they still occurring?

I haven't tested A5 yet but in A4 there were no problems with ghost units at all, though there were fewer enemy invasions and fewer instances where I was besieged. But I'm pretty sure if the bug was still there I'd see it

Level 8 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on October 23, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Installing Alpha 5 as we speak, but I to did not experience any ghost units in the many hours I had accumulated in Alpha 4. However, I will point out that the invasions were truly lacking almost the entire game (As I had very few), so it probably wasn't a good test to see if the ghost unit is truly gone. Now that it seems Alpha 5 fixed that issue, I think I'll be able to see for sure it's gone.

On a side note, I do hope the invasions are not as agressive as Alpha 3, As i am really hoping for a ideal in between here from Alpha 3 to Alpha 4, but I guess we'll see how it is for alpha 5.

Also, now that's I've had a good chunk of playtime in the game, any idea about some of my older suggestions ? Like reducing the pop limits on horses? (Thessalian Cav requires 40 which is a bit to much I think), but wondering never the less.

Very curious to try out the new diplomacy options, should hopefully be able to take advantage of that now and not feel like I gotta truly conquer the whole world.. hehe

Level 8 Human Gem hunter
Alignment: Lawful evil
Location: Beleriand
Posted on October 23, 2010 at 1:12 pm

I also noticed that in the city info it now doesn't show the amount of money gotten from taxes. Is there anyway to show that again? Maybe in another icon up with the diplomacy and assets icons. It could detail all your expenses and income, giving you a net in or out, so you know exactly how much money you have to spend, or how much money you need to get so that you're in the black again.

Level 8 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on October 23, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Ohh yea... invasions are back in full swing again, lol, so it looks to me it's back to the way it was in alpha 3.

Once again, not sure how many other players feel about this, but I do seriously feel they need to be tone down just a tad bit, but I will continue to play and expand out a bit to see how it gets, as I also have a feeling it's because the area around Lower Macedonia, that is controlled by Athens, is still not completely secure, hence why it can be a bit difficult in the beginning.

I do also like the new diplomacy descriptions, it does totally help understand it a bit better, and most importantly, I'm already starting to see some lower prices, as very early I could made piece with the Western Oynsarian Kingdom for 25 gold, which is nice! :) (Naturally, there's no way I'm making peace with them till I get back my territories they own, lol)

Anyhow, feedback will continue to come as I continue to play over the weekend. I'll also try to play the Athens scenario sometime this weekend too if I can pry myself away from the Phillip scenario, as it's tough for me to do that because there's always something rewarding about the Phillip scenario, on how I'm building an empire from scratch and basically with the new Gold Features it really makes the Phillip Scenario almost a new scenario in a way too.

Level 9 Human gamer
Alignment: Chaotic good
Location: In my own little world.
Posted on October 23, 2010 at 6:50 pm

Is it just me or is the AI focused on the human player during Sandbox and The Archidamian War? It seems that every time I start a sandbox scenario I'm attacked right away. Or is the AI programmed to attack if it deems your defense low enough? I just can't tell really.

Level 8 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on October 23, 2010 at 6:57 pm

Another feedback post..

Again, gotta stress how much better diplomacy is now, I can actually use it in my game, and it's a neat little feature that I can actually gain money out of it too if I continue to do well, which to me is at it should be.

Now I do have a curious question though, since the hidden stats on hostility and intimidation are now visible, why does the hostility price of a certain factions go up even when it's at 100?

For example, the Illyians had a 100 hostility towards me, so it was +325, but then I as I continued to expand, I noticed it has now became +350 instead. Is that something tied with how large you faction eventually becomes or how much money you make? I must say, since diplomacy is actually usable now in the game, and at a reasonable price as far as I can tell, I kind of don't mind the invasions now, though I do wish they were slowed down just a "tad" bit.

Also I noticed a minor UI problem and that's when I'm allied with a faction, that when I try to recruit new units, it still says "Recruit Mercenary Spearmen, etc.." now, when they are actually recruiting, it clearly states Allied Spearmen, etc, however, if possible I would suggest to fix that for just clean-up sakes.

Also, in terms of the allied units, I understand why mercenaries are double the price in recruitment.... Edit: It turns out it's just an interface bug, as I just tested this on tribal cavalry and they turned out to be much cheaper then mercenaries, thus nevermind this comment about the pricing on allied units being the same mercenaries.

That's all for now, I'll continue the feedback as I play, but overall I think the Gold expansion is finally coming into great shape :)

Level 8 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on October 23, 2010 at 10:54 pm

A few minor bugs I noticed in Alpha 5:

1) The interface bug with allied units showing as mercenaries that I already mentioned, turns out to be a bit more serious, then I thought. Even though, after I click the button, the cost deducted is correct and they do start training as allied units. However, since the interface still says it costs "100 gold" to recruit Tribal Mercenary Calvary for example, if I do not have 100 gold to spare in my expenses, then the option to recruit the unit is grayed out, so I can't recruit the unit, even though I have the money to do so.

2) Also, after you get an alliance, it seems the units already recruited by the AI, stay which is awesome, however, I noticed that all those units have 1/1/1/1/1 in all their stats. However, the moment you disband the unit, then re-recruit it again the proper stats will show up for the unit.

3) Not sure if this is a bug, or intended, but in the diplomacy options, I noticed I have enough money to make an alliance with Thessalian League (already have truce with them), however the option for me to do is grayed out for some reason. Edit: Upon further examination it seems to happen only if the alliance option offers you tribute, instead of an expense. As the interface is registering that tribute in red, thus the option for an alliance is grayed out. Keep in mind this only seems to happen with the alliance option (in the phillip scenario at least) as the truce tribute works like a charm. Edit 2: Hmm, it seems now it works, it may had to do with the fact that their intimidation needed to be above a 50 or something, as I was able to click the button to receive a tribute instead for the alliance with them once I past 50 intimidation with them.

I will send the save file to you Rob if it helps shortly that showcases issue #1 and #3.

Level 8 Human Gem hunter
Alignment: Lawful evil
Location: Beleriand
Posted on October 24, 2010 at 3:15 am

More bugs that I have found:

1) when a city of yours is taken when there's a general in it, not attached to any brigade, the enemy gets to keep that general. His stats also get reduced to 1/1/1/1.

2) You cannot change more than one units home city at a time. What happens when I tried this is it grouped the units together and grayed them out, along with everything else in the city. All the units are still there, their portraits are just grayed out. You have to take whatever units you tried to change their home city outside of the city they are in, and then change their home cities one by one.

3) I've noticed that a city no longer loses any tax income when walls are built. Is this just a bug, or was it simply removed?

4) I've been unable to propose an alliance a couple times, even if I gain income from it, the option is grayed out and it says insufficient income. I got around it by making a truce, and then an alliance, so I'm not sure what's going on there. I'll try and send along a savegame if I get it happening again.

That's all I have for now, currently I'm playing through the Philip campaign again, it seems more true to history now that I can use diplomacy rather conquering every city I can.

I'd also like to make a late mention on how much I enjoy siegeing a city now. The reduction of the power of infantry in the whole process really makes it more of a challenge. Before catapults were just something to make it go a bit faster, now they're essential to a good conquest. I much prefer it this way.

Level 8 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on October 24, 2010 at 3:53 am


4) I've been unable to propose an alliance a couple times, even if I gain income from it, the option is grayed out and it says insufficient income. I got around it by making a truce, and then an alliance, so I'm not sure what's going on there. I'll try and send along a savegame if I get it happening again.


I've notice this too with the Thesselian League, where I would have received an income for it if I went the alliance route, but the option was grayed out. However, I noticed, once I hit over 50 intimidation, the option became selectable, so not sure if this is intended or a bug, so the question I have to you, is the faction you want to do it with, that you would receive an income instead of an expense, have under 50 intimidation?

Also, speaking of group suggestions, is there anyway you guys can also make it possible to merge a group stack block into an already existing group unit block via the drag and drop function? Just to clarify, you know how you can drag a single unit to another unit's block, (E.G. Put your Peltast unit behind your Infantry unit), now make that possible for one group stack to merge with an already existing group stack. (E.G. Have 2 Peltast grouped together, to merge behind the battleline of my infantry). It would limit the micromanaging of positioning my units around the way I want. However, I'm not sure how much coding for something like that to happen, but just a thought.

Level 8 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on October 24, 2010 at 6:23 am

I allied with Tressalians and it cauesed Northwest Trassely Objective completion(Capture Tricca).
I think its BUG.

One little BUG: camping Princess cause crash, You have to disable camping options ..

Level 9 Human gamer
Alignment: Chaotic good
Location: In my own little world.
Posted on October 24, 2010 at 8:17 am

I allied with Tressalians and it cauesed Northwest Trassely Objective completion(Capture Tricca).
I think its BUG.

One little BUG: camping Princess cause crash, You have to disable camping options ..


#1 is not a bug. It's intended for you to complete objectives that way.

#2 I wonder why you were camping your princess. They don't consume supply and they can't get any weaker than they are, and just because one unit that's not supposed to camp is bugged doesn't mean the whole system is flawed :P

Level 8 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on October 24, 2010 at 8:39 am

I dont think its correct to Complete Capture objectives such way. Capture is when taken by force...

I meen to disable camping for Princess and Philosopher only.

Level 17 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on October 24, 2010 at 10:23 am

Also, now that's I've had a good chunk of playtime in the game, any idea about some of my older suggestions ? Like reducing the pop limits on horses? (Thessalian Cav requires 40 which is a bit to much I think), but wondering never the less.

I was planning on reducing the recruits for the cavalry but delayed after some discussion in the office. Is it still a popular opinion that they feel unbalanced?

On a side note, I do hope the invasions are not as agressive as Alpha 3, As i am really hoping for a ideal in between here from Alpha 3 to Alpha 4, but I guess we'll see how it is for alpha 5.

The AI will probably be roughly the same as Alpha 3 as the only change I've done was to fix a bug that was causing the ai to hang up in Alpha 4. With things back to "normal" I can look into making further adjustments to the difficulty/balance.

I also noticed that in the city info it now doesn't show the amount of money gotten from taxes. Is there anyway to show that again? Maybe in another icon up with the diplomacy and assets icons. It could detail all your expenses and income, giving you a net in or out, so you know exactly how much money you have to spend, or how much money you need to get so that you're in the black again.

I had to pull something to make room for the intimidation stat and since the city income is static I figured it was the safest thing to remove. In the short term I can add an income/expense column to the asset list but a budget window has been discussed for a long time. Due to space constraints I'd probably tie it to clicking the gold meter in the top-right.

Is it just me or is the AI focused on the human player during Sandbox and The Archidamian War? It seems that every time I start a sandbox scenario I'm attacked right away. Or is the AI programmed to attack if it deems your defense low enough? I just can't tell really.

As was always the case in Philip, the AI is not out to take over the world, even in the sandbox, so it is largely focused on you. The AI has targets of interest (things that used be theirs or things along their borders) which is does examine for weaknesses before making an attack.

Now I do have a curious question though, since the hidden stats on hostility and intimidation are now visible, why does the hostility price of a certain factions go up even when it's at 100?

Admittedly it's not explained in the manual yet as I just wrote the code on friday, but when they AI demands payment for a truce (when hostility > intimidation) the amount is based on your income, so it will increase over time. On the flip side, when you demand money for a truce (intimidation > hostility) then the amount is based on the enemy's income. I think this makes some logical sense and it was the best way I could see to keep things balanced over the course of the game while still giving you a mechanism to adjust the costs (by increasing intimidation).

Also I noticed a minor UI problem and that's when I'm allied with a faction ...

Thanks for the bug reports on allies, as people hadn't been using this feature much before it appears there are a number of problems. Let me know what you find and I'll try to get on them as soon as possible.

You cannot change more than one units home city at a time ...

Yes, all of the commands that affect units inside a city can only be done on one unit at a time. I agree it would be handy to be able to do it to multiple units at once (change home, disband, load/unload, etc) but at present it's a matter of validating the commands for each unit and trying to give appropriate error messages. I'll keep this on the wish list.

I'd also like to make a late mention on how much I enjoy siegeing a city now. The reduction of the power of infantry in the whole process really makes it more of a challenge. Before catapults were just something to make it go a bit faster, now they're essential to a good conquest. I much prefer it this way.

I'm glad to hear it. This came from our work trying to better model the Peloponnesian War when sieges were far more difficult and uncommon than in Philip's time, in part due to the inferior catapult technology at that time.

Also, speaking of group suggestions, is there anyway you guys can also make it possible to merge a group stack block into an already existing group unit block via the drag and drop function?

This was part of the original design but it quickly became impractical because of all of the various possible combinations between two different groups. It might be possible if I put a few limits on it so I'll keep it on the wish list but it would be a significant amount of work so I have to weigh how many other things I could improve in the same time.

camping Princess cause crash ...

I'll check that out. You shouldn't be able to do that as there isn't any reason to.

I allied with Tressalians and it cauesed Northwest Trassely Objective completion(Capture Tricca).
I think its BUG.


I was originally planning on disabling alliances in Philip because it causes complications with all of the capture quests that weren't designed for it. I gather there are some mixed opinions on this and we'll keep looking into options on how to integrate the two features.

Level 8 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on October 24, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Ohh please keep the alliances for the Phillip scenario only because I find it so much better in terms of actually using units that are not always mercenaries, as was the case with Phillip during the time. It really brings a whole new dynamic to the campaign if you allow alliances. Plus, after I do a massive campaign, and wipe out all their cities, to be able to just go right to an alliance with them, after their conquered, makes it very worthwhile. (Since the units are much better to use)

Worse comes to worse, if its causing any problems (which at the moment I don't see any major problems at all, just the UI glitches with the alliances), then perhaps if possible, script the scenario in a way, that when you conquer all the factions territory, they will automatically ally with you, and none of their provinces will rebel, and most importantly, you still get to train Allied units. At least this way fearing that being able to make alliances will screw something up is lessen to a large extent.

Also, no matter what, truces defiantly need to be there, only because I find that as my life saver now since diplomacy is actually usable to really calm down some fronts that through constant invasions/raids towards me now, even though, I know you probably plan to look into that overall.

As for the Horse pop decrease recommendations, well I've been kind of the only mentioning that, and surprised no one else has said anything about it, but hopefully they agree with me too on that.

Level 17 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on October 24, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Truces will definitely still be in Philip as they were originally part of the design but had to get dropped towards the end because we ran out of time. The plan also called that certain objectives would affect hostility like marrying princesses would reduce it and killing kings would increase it.

My concern with alliances is that it could make a large number of objectives trivial and also that it wouldn't fit with the text of the objectives. I'm also a little concerned about potential surprises it might cause as there are over 100 objectives and testing them all takes a lot of time. However, I do appreciate having a variety of methods to complete the objectives so we can potentially leave it in and see how it goes.

Alternatively or possibly together, when cities are set not to rebel after completing certain objectives I could let those cities build allied units to at lease have some available in the Philip campaign.

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