Seasons Greetings Commanders,
As we enter the holiday season we bring you a little present in the form of not one, but two(!) Public Test Environment (PTE) builds. That’s right, the choice is yours. But before we get ahead of ourselves, a little reminder that PTE builds are opt-in and an opportunity for you to try out new features before we move them to stable. They may be a little unstable, a little rough around the edges, but they’re the cutting edge of Planetary Annihilation. Check this guide on how to opt-in to PTE.
Work on Planetary Annihilation started back in 2012, and it was built using the latest and greatest tooling at the time. But like the Progenitors, things have moved on and tooling has improved. This PTE comes in both legacy and modern build flavours, using either the build tools PA has been using since release, or the modern 2018 goodness. Newer tools allow us to lower RAM usage and boost performance, among other benefits. Of course this also means it’s less well tested and therefore possibly less stable at this time.
The PTE will be running its own servers, separate from the stable servers, and all of them running the modern build. This is the place to come for cutting edge performance. Bring your friends!
It’s not just about tech though, there’s a host of goodness packed into this update. In particular, the AI has once again undergone brain surgery to improve the way it evaluates battles, making it smarter about when to fight and when to ru… execute a tactical withdrawal.
Modders should make sure to hop onto this PTE to take advantage of the new audio modding capabilities and get their sweet audio goodness ready to launch alongside this update when it hits stable.
We also nipped in the bud most of the major crash sources we’ve identified. You can help us find more by running the modern build. We salute your sacrifice, Commander.
- two clients available (stable legacy-pte and cutting-edge modern-pte for testing)
- official PTE servers using modern toolchain builds
- 1v1 ranked maps expanded with four community maps from WPMarshall and GrandHomie for a total of 15 maps
- 1v1 ranked lobby is now anonymous showing Player 1 and Player 2
- 1v1 ranked lobby leave option has been removed
- AI improvements with reworked and retrained neural networks
- AI commander selection (as promised)
- Server crash fixes
- NEW audio modding
- Pelican cost increased to 160 and health decreased to 150
- Locust cost increased to 260
- Spinner range increased to 120
Next year we will be moving to PAnet, which will replace the legacy UberNet infrastructure with modern server environments. Eventually all the legacy Windows servers will be replaced with faster modern Linux servers.
Software development toolchain: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toolchain
- Visual Studio 2012 / Windows 8 SDK
- Xcode 5.0.1 / macOS Mountain Lion for macOS Lion 10.7+
- Legacy steam linux runtime / GCC 4.8.4
- Visual Studio 2017 latest / Windows 10 SDK latest
- Xcode 10.1 / macOS 10.14.1 latest for macOS Mavericks 10.9+
- Modern steam linux runtime / GCC 5.4.1 (currently limited by steam linux runtime)
- Faster modern toolchain build
- Completely reworked the AI’s neural network fitness function to improve how the AI evaluates the outcome of a battle
- Instead of being based on the difference between each and every input before and after the encounter, the fitness function now primarily looks at which side lost more metal value. Not every encounter results in a metal loss, so the fitness function also compares unit count losses as well as health losses, but they don’t count nearly as much as metal losses
- AI commander selection in new game lobby
- Fix for crash if the AI was trying to teleport a fabber or commander to a planet as the planet was destroyed
- Fix for multiple cases where a unit could be removed from a platoon (dropping the reference) before being added to a new platoon, causing a crash later on in the game
- Fix for crash if the commander did not have an Uber cannon spec
- Fix for build arms not ticking in multi-threading enabled servers causing fabbers/commanders to not face their build targets
- Fix for crash if a fabber/commander was assisting in the construction of a projectile that died
- Fix for a crash if a projectile target died and was cleaned up by the sim
- Improved fix for players disconnecting from new game lobby not being removed from game
- Reorganised start menu is now scrollable with more space for menu items
- Improved commander and colour selection in new game lobby
- Fix for ESC key locking up the start menu if no video was playing
- Fix for community videos not showing if community mods not enabled
- NEW audio modding:
- api.sound.playSoundFromFileAtLocation(path, x, y, z)
- api.sound.registerCueMod(cue, path)
- NEW build.txt with original build number (will differ from version.txt for legacy clients)
- NEW gBuild global with original build number from build.txt accessible in all scenes
- NEW –version command line option to override version.txt for targeting a different server build