Populous: Enhanced Edition – V1.5.3812- Patch Summary

While some of the development team were busy camping outside to get RTX 3090s, the rest of the team were hard at work! June’s patch sees a number of fixes coming into the fore, with very few new features being added to the mix but a wealth of fixes coming in to rectify a lot of the issues that the more veteran multiplayer community had been reporting. These fixes highlight the importance of reporting bugs, as once they’re reported, a dutiful dev team can recreate the issue and then fix it!

A direct download for this version is available here.

Remember to report any bugs you find via the Bug Tracker or via #Support in the official Populous: Reincarnated Discord.

Summary of this Version:

Additions;

  • Mini-map toggle, Normal Colours, Team Colours.

Changes;

  • Mouse Input is now a saved data item
  • Better support for higher screen resolutions, specifically 1600 x 1200
  • Tweaks to Land Bridge
  • Tweaks to the view parameters on wider screen resolutions
  • Optimizations for the AI
  • Old Pathfinding removed entirely
  • Amendments to the wood search ‘cost’ algorithm

Fixes;

  • Fixed Land Bridge behaving weirdly when cast on the sides of hills and on spiky terrain
  • Fixed Braves randomly dismantling buildings
  • Fixed object brightness
  • Fixed Shaman changing angle when casting spells while praying at a vault of knowledge
  • Fixed being able to load a quick save in multiplayer (which caused crashes)
  • Fix to balloons not making that satisfying (and sometimes terrifying) POP sound.
  • Fixed being able to see allied hut plans in Fog of War
  • Fixed AI not having the correct range for Land Bridge when cast from the Low Ground
  • Fixed AI not being able to find wood in the Fog of War
  • Fixed AI forcing their preachers in combat
  • Fixed AI using 0 marker in GUARD_AT_MARKER command.
  • Fix to AI Shaman casting spells at Vaults of Knowledge
  • Fix a crash related to unmasking things that weren’t spies.

 

The Breakdown:

So! As you can probably see, this month has nothing on the last patch we had to break down which was an absolute monster. In terms of elements that will effect multiplayer gameplay, there really isn’t terribly much. The team have been hard at work looking at the funky AI behaviours, and a lot more of the visual/quality of life elements. So I will start by calling out a funky feature, it isn’t in the list above, but it is something that not many players are aware of, as they do not utilise the dreaded Fog of War;

Did You Know?

The Fog of War in the Enhanced Edition has needed to have quite some work on it,  at first it was incredibly resource intensive to redraw the fog constantly, then placing plans in the fog would cause crashes. While that’s all been fixed there is one little, nifty feature that often goes unsung when it comes to the Enhanced Edition’s Fog of War. Did you know that the Fog of War can automatically reveal tribes below 10 population, to stop them wasting time by hiding around the map? The feature activates as soon as the tribe hits 10 population, and will deactivate should they recover and get their population up again, but if you think you’re chasing down an opponent, and they aren’t yet dead and you can’t see them? They may just be stronger than you expect!

Mini-map Toggle:

The more veteran real-time strategy players among you may be aware of the concept of team colours, this feature was especially prevalent in StarCraft II. The idea is that your tribe will be one colour, regardless of the slot you are in, your allies all another colour and then lastly your enemies all one colour. That colour remains the same, and consistent from game to game. While that’s very difficult to implement on the tribe and units themselves, that is exactly what this new Mini-map version is capable of doing. There’s a little button where the encyclopaedia used to be that when clicked, will toggle between Team Mini-map, and Normal Mini-map. Where in team you will always show as Blue, your allies as Green and all enemies as Red, regardless of their actual tribe.

AI Optimisations:

Whilst we at The Beginning still recommend the Multiverse Launcher for all definitive Single-Player experiences, the Enhanced Edition does host, a multi-player co-op versus AI experience. As such a number of AI optimisations have come into play to tackle some of the issues they were having, when trying to script for 1.5s AI, and some of the unusual behaviour that it had been captured doing. Now, unless you yourself are a modder (if that is the case I recommend you head on over to the Discord to ask more specific questions) then you don’t need to know the ins and outs of exactly what was changed. Suffice it to say the AI has become a little bit smarter and most certainly less cheaty. What do I mean by that? Well, you may have seen AI preachers become indestructible fiends of interruption as their conjure all their inner shinobi to avoid combat and shove all of your working preachers, they should no longer be able to ascend to godhood and do this, trap an enemy preacher in combat and he should be stuck there. Not only that, but the AI is now capable of finding wood within the fog of war, meaning that on some levels where the AI would randomly not build, they will now construct the base they are meant to, as they are now aware of the existence of trees. Enemy Shamans used to mess up low ground Land Bridges, which has also been addressed, and the last AI optimisation I want to highlight is that they will no longer throw spells at Vaults of Knowledge, thinking these buildings to be hostile. All in all this should greatly enhance the player’s experience when they have to deal with that pesky AI.

Land Bridge:

A subject of controversy this past month, and one that has already earned itself a hotfix, is the changes to Land Bridge. The reason these changes came into place was an attempt to fix the lesser-known glitch of combining Land Bridge and Flatten to create devastating hills at maximum height which could rip bases apart. As a result of that fix, Land Bridge behaved weirdly around hills and on spiky terrain, additionally saving yourself from drowning could also create Land Bridge hills at odd heights. In a desperate attempt to restore some sanity to one of our most-cast spells, additional changes have come in, casting Land Bridge from the sides of hills should no longer create mountainous spikes of impassable terrain, and additionally casting Land Bridge on spiky terrain should create a bridge to the correct height and not whatever the game feels like at the time, which could be absolutely anything. Again I’d like to call out these issues could not have been found and fixed without your support and so continue to get involved, and report any more issues you may find with this iconic spell.

Crashes:

There were two ways to crash the game identified in the latest bout of testing, one was attempting to load a quick save, and the other was attempting to unmask a random object that wasn’t a spy. Both of these issues could just cause the game to fail over entirely, much like in the days of old when warriors could try to fight spell effects. Never-the-less, these issues have now been fixed, two more causes for crashes are in the bin and the Enhanced Edition has become just that little bit more stable.

Wood Search:

Not a complex change and certainly not one that needs a thorough and detailed breakdown, more an explanation of how this works. The game assigns a ‘cost’ value to all pieces of wood, this value is affected by a number of factors, such as whether the wood is far away or nearby, whether the wood requires travelling up a hill or not, whether the wood is a wood pile or a tree and whether the wood exists within the range of an enemy guard tower, or not. All of these factors set an invisible value to each pile of wood, and then the brave opts to travel to the lowest value, deeming it the best piece of wood to get. These values have been re-tweaked and readjusted to hopefully stop braves going on marathon-long hikes across the map for random pieces of wood, which is an issue that has been occurring less, but still occurring.

Old Pathfinding:

This takes me on to the next option, the removal of the old pathfinding. Now I said in the last set of notes that changes were made to make spell-walking more like the original, now since this has been a success, and the wood search algorithm is designed with the new pathfinding in mind, it meant that turning on old pathfinding would often break the game far more than it would help it. With that in mind, and a lot of the efficiencies of the pathfinding now being addressed, Old Pathfinding was a superfluous option, and has been removed to tidy up the menu, just that little bit.

Braves Randomly Dismantling Buildings:

Originally believed to be our Craig going a little bit mad in one of his 8-Player Sess games, it turns out that braves randomly dismantling buildings is a real thing, and one that happens quite often. We were able to identify ways to recreate this bug, and MrKosjaK has been hard at work trying to fix it. Several rounds of testing later, and buildings seem to have stopped dismantling themselves. Now we thought this before, so it’s worth keeping an eye on the next time you go to a game.

Other Minor Bug Fixes:

Lastly, and I’m grouping these together for neatness as there’s not much that can be said about any of them. Higher resolutions should now scale correctly, there was an issue reported by Prime where the game was far more zoomed in for higher resolutions than it should be, the zoom of the game should now better replicate original 1.03 behaviour, and all the ugliness that comes with it. Additionally, there was an issue where the brightness of objects was too high, as if the gamma had been altered, but players would find their slider sat in the middle where it should be, this too has been fixed, and addressed. Lastly Balloons will now make their correct sounds, when blowing up, instead of dying a silent death.

The Enhanced Edition relies on the feedback of its members to continuously splat bugs and improve itself. If your game crashes while you use it, click the send report button to send us the results of your crash. If you encounter a bug, Shift + R or Shift+F1 are both ways that you can easily report bugs as you go. Doing so this way sends a save of your game to the developers, so they can launch right on in and experience the crash first hand! As always if you find yourself needing to ask questions, you can always engage with myself or any of the actual development team via the Populous ReIncarnated Discord, or the Matchmaker itself

Once again I have been Lovenji, and I have once again been delighted to work on these patch notes for you all, here’s hoping the next patch will be less of an essay.

I look forward to seeing you out there in the Solar System.