Populous: Enhanced Edition – V1.5.3930- Patch Summary

After a month’s break I’m back with a nice long list of patch notes for you to keep you all informed of what’s happening! However before we get into our usual list of Features, Fixes and Changes we can start with the biggest change of them all; Populous: The Beginning’s Enhanced Edition is no longer in Beta! Those of you from deep within the Populous community will know that this build has been called Beta for many moons, well that is no longer the case. “Beta” as we know has now been given a stable build, known as 1.5. Additionally, a new testing branch of the code has been added which will assume the guise of beta from hereon out, appropriately this new branch is titled 1.5b as it is the new ‘beta’ build. Changes in 1.5b will be available for 3 weeks of testing before the changes will be merged into the 1.5 Enhanced Edition Branch, so if you want to help people test features before they go live, be sure to play a game or two on 1.5b.

With this biggest change now out of the way, the rest of the patch addresses a number of fixes and amendments to help the capable modders among you, an interesting way to crash the game has also been removed from the game, so without further ado, let’s tackle this monster and I’ll do my best once again to make it all make sense for you. Once again remember I might not address every single item in the list, just the ones that I think are most relevant and or in need of explanation. For the real astute among you, I have merged two patches into this one update, as a hotfix did take place, but everything covered here is live in the current version of the 1.5 build.

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;

  • New constants for spell sizes [Modding]
  • New LUA hook ‘OnSwampDrown’ [Modding]
  • New option to display FPS on screen [Troubleshooting]
  • New encyclopaedia page for viewing current version changelog [Troubleshooting]
  • New “Deselect Single” Hotkey [Multiplayer]
  • New “Deselect Multiple” Hotkey [Multiplayer]

Changes;

  • Fog of war will be set ON if level header has had it enabled in multiplayer [Modding]
  • Game will show “Connected” message upon successful lobby connection [Multiplayer]
  • AI now pulls priests into towers only in tutorial level [Single-player]
  • Build Near Ally is now an actual feature [Multiplayer]
  • Adjust fights on slopes to be faster [Multiplayer]
  • Increase pathfinding slope penalties. [Multiplayer]
  • Adjust pathfinding near coasts. [Multiplayer]
  • Increase fog uncover radius for reincarnation site [Modding]
  • Game will now show who un-paused game in multiplayer [Multiplayer]
  • Hot keys are now separate files for each version (beta/develop/release) [Multiplayer]

Fixes;

  • Fixed exploit with casting spells from prison via hotkeys [Modding]
  • Fixed building plan removal if you would shift right click it with selected people [Bug]
  • Fixed a crash when you tried to bind “HASH” key [Bug]
  • Fixed the  version text not being displayed in restrictions/features/levels menus [Bug]
  • Fixed units not becoming visible with certain conditions [Bug]
  • Fixed performance issues with pathfinding [Bug]
  • Fixed weird plateau LBs [Multiplayer]
  • Fixed shamans walking inside Armageddon arena [Bug]
  • Fixed blast shot initial position [Multiplayer]
  • Fixed ESC key not unpausing game when level is complete in single player [Single-player]
  • Fixed order of menu items [Bug]
  • Fixed sharp fog textures at south/west sides [Bug]

 

The Breakdown;

As can you see, the month of August has brought us quite a nice long list of changes which touch all aspects of Populous in various ways, from single-player to support for modding to multiplayer adjustments and of course, Bug Fixing. So with that in mind we’ll try to tackle those by element of gameplay affected today, so that you can easily filter by what element is relevant to how you enjoy Populous: The Beginning. If you find that I’ve missed something out that you really want to know more about, again the official Populous: Reincarnated Discord is the best place to go and ask questions about this build, as that’s where the great developers reside.

Modding:

New Constants for Spell Sizes:

As it says on the tin, really. Constants are values that allow you to change the cost of spells, as well as their behaviours, the act of modifying spell constants is not new, but what is new is that the constants have been expanded so you can now modify the effective size of spells as they’re cast. Map-wide Swamp anyone?!

New LUA Hook ‘OnSwampDrown’:

Wasn’t going to explain this one initially, but a LUA hook can be thought of as something happening in the game that can be easily hooked into. If we use this example, it was very difficult if not impossible for basic scripting to identify whether a Shaman has died by swamp, and then apply special conditions to that specific kind of death. This new LUA hook makes that possible and easy, you can essentially say “if a shaman dies by swamp, I want her to come back faster or something similar”

Fog of War set to ON if Level Header has it enabled:

Particularly pertinent to the Co-Op Campaign, but something to be aware of for any of you map makers out there, the Fog of War can now be set correctly, so when you’re streaming a level, you won’t have the creator jump into your chat and say “This level is supposed to have fog!!!!!!” every time you play the level! This new default should cater for that.

Increase Fog Radius for Reincarnation Site:

This is as basic as it seems, I put it in the Modding Subcategory because it should really encourage modders and level designers to utilise Fog of War a lot more, with the increased radius just making it a bit easier to start the game of Populous.

Fixed casting spells from a Prison:

Turns out that having hotkeys had some unintended side effects, such as being able to quickly select and cast spells before the game could stop and interrupt you. This has now been fixed, so the imprisoned Shaman is once again as useless as she should be.

Take that, Matak! Hope you didn’t need that Large Hut.

Single-Player:

Neither of the Single-Player changes are big enough to warrant their own category and sub-headings, so I’ll just cover them both in this singular Paragraph. The Tutorial is an element of the game that has long since fallen by the wayside, with Populous being 23 years old and its community thriving on long-standing veterans means that people don’t often think of the Tutorial. Well, someone on the Dev team has! The behaviour of the AI now does what it should in the Tutorial, so it should now be just as you remember it. The Escape Key will also now behave appropriately within the Game Stats message of the Level Complete screen. So you should be able to use that as you would expect as well.

 

Troubleshooting & Bug Fixes:

New Option to Display FPS on Screen:

This option is an improvement on the as-is procedure. It’s always been possible to open a console window that would show your FPS (Frames Per Second) however this option has now been made infinitely easier to access for people to monitor their PC’s performance. This makes it easier to report bugs and performance issues tied to the frame-rate.

Page on the Encyclopaedia for current patch notes:

Now personally I know you all love these updates, and you’re basically chomping at the bit to get them, but what about when you’re in the middle of your Populous match? Do you pause to come and refresh yourself on the patch notes? Well, you might, but the short-hand patch notes are now included within the encyclopaedia itself, so there is no need to tab out and get your fix of patch note-y goodness.

Fixed a crash when you try to bind something to #:

My Pride and Joy this one, previously the game did not know what # actually was, which meant an attempt to bind your key to it would just cause a total and absolute crash of the game. As fun as it was to quickly bind something to # and pretend you lagged out or the game unfortunately crashed, that has now been rectified, the game will at least handle it.

Fixed a bugs with units not being visible in certain conditions:

The invisibility spell is something relatively new to the Enhanced Edition of Populous, The Beginning. Suffice it to say that it’s not a popular spell, but as it has slowly been reintroduced there has been a few situations in which units won’t appear.

Fixed Performance issues with Pathfinding:

The new pathfinding is one of the best features of our beloved Enhanced Edition, it allows units to accurately navigate their way around the land once all the terraforming has begun, that said, it was just a wee bit inefficient, and causing some FPS based lag for a few individuals as it hit the processor really hard, that’s been tidied up now, so now you should be well on your way to a lag-free build!

 

Multiplayer:

They say save the best for last, well, in this case we saved multiplayer for last, think of that what you will.

New Hotkeys:

New hotkeys, inspired by our very own multiverse launcher, you can now bind hotkeys to deselect one or multiple of the unit you have selecting, giving way to quicker trooping, faster building and just giving the average Populous Player more ways to play in line with how we expect a Real-Time Strategy game to play like, using our keyboard! They are separate bindings, so you can have them as entirely separate binds OR if you wish, you can have it behave similar to the other hotkeys – Shift + your binding deselects multiple, for example. It’s on you guys, gals and other pals to figure out what hotkey works best for you, I personally use B, but that’s because I still play on the right hand side of the keyboard.

Build Near Ally as a Feature:

Players were up to all sorts of Shenanigans when it came to this particular feature, and some people hated the feature entirely, as such, building near your allies is both off by default and set up as a feature, you can add or remove it to your games, at your leisure. I personally make it a ritual to turn it, Swarm Ignores Allies and Minimap on as a default in my games, but you will be able to find whatever best works for you.

Pathfinding Algorithm Adjustments:

Although the Shaman was taking the quickest available path to locations, it was however not often the way people expect, and often placed the shaman in unnecessary danger as she would climb steep hills or skirt along coastlines. The weighting of hills and coastlines has been significantly increased so you’re less likely to find the shaman running around those danger zones unless it is significantly faster. To that end, fights would elongate themselves if units were fighting on hills as they struggle to ascend to the battle, that has also been rectified.

Name and Shame “He Who Unpauses”:

Not an issue that we often run into in the world of Populous, but quite often the game gets paused and a trust system is in place not to un-pause as a matter of courtesy, to help enforce this courtesy, the game will now name and shame whoever un-pauses, so you can tell whether people are being honest or not. It should be noted the message doesn’t last for very long, and looks like the player disconnecting message, so get ready for a pause to ask who dropped out the game!

Fixed Plateau Landbridges:

Last and truly the best for last, the Landbridge changes that everybody was divided over are still slowly being worked through, whilst Landbridge’s impact on certain maps like Craters is still being investigated, randomly appearing hills should now have been rectified. Meaning we’re one step closer to a working Landbridge!

Lastly:

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.