Populous: Enhanced Edition – V1.5.4120 – Patch Summary

Looks like our 1.5 Development Team have been hard at work lately, as once again we’ve seen an update from them that will have some impact for our players. So once again here I am to give you the low down on all that is new and wonderful in the world of Populous 1.5, from bug fixes, new features and changes, your pal Lovenji has it all. So sit tight, and once again let me guide you through the ever-evolving world of Populous: The Beginning!

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

Version Summary;

Additions;

  • Added new methods, functions, and modules to the LUA engine [Modding]
  • Tribe Control for individual levels [Modding]
  • New Spring Seasons Pack using the 1.5 Mod Engine [Modding + Single player]

Changes;

  • Moved Game Difficulty to the Mod System [Modding]
  • Lightning will only uncover fog for its owner (and their allies) [Bug Fix]
  • Braves now enter huts from the centred entrance [Bug Fix]
  • Added preview for placing objects in the map editor [Modding]
  • AI will now consider bloodlust as a defensive spell [Single player]
  • Some new hot keys for the map editor [Modding]
  • AIs improved random decision making [Single player]

Fixes;

  • Flattening land near the shore [Bug Fix]
  • Crash related to issuing commands [Bug Fix]
  • Crash with an uninitialised Shaman being used [Bug Fix]
  • OnCreateThing hook in LUA deleting spells if cast out of range [Bug Fix]
  • Cycling units cycling through dead units [Bug Fix]
  • Wrong Sprite being used for “one time use” buildings. [Bug Fix]
  • Landbridge being awful [Bug Fix]
  • AI casting spells within a prison [Single player]
  • AI constantly sending braves to training buildings before the training completes [Single player]
  • AI forcing units with ATTACK_PERSON [Single player]
  • AI not processing/repairing damaged buildings [Single player]
  • AI Shamans ignoring Firewarriors [Single player]
  • AI not functioning after being in a prison [Single player]
  • Floating Discovery Icons disappearing [Bug Fix]
  • Incorrect Object Textures for the new tribes. [Bug Fix]
  • Save Game Menu drawing the Title Wrong. [Bug Fix]
  • Magical Shield having the wrong sound effect [Bug Fix]
  • Ambient Sounds being too loud [Bug Fix]
  • Looped Sounds looping forever [Bug Fix]
  • Removes fog of war while in the map editor [Bug Fix]
  • GIVE_PLAYER_SPELL and REMOVE_PLAYER_THING not working correctly [Bug Fix]
  • CTRL/ALT causing the mouse to freeze in place, or move out of the window [Bug Fix]

The Breakdown;

So as always my categories are a completely arbitrary way for me to compose my thoughts and musings in a logical way. There may be more than one application to every one of the above list, but I’ve applied the one that makes the most sense. So, with that all said and done let us get this underway and start working our way through the list. I may not cover every single item, remember you can always ask more direct questions by finding me through the matchmaker (Lovenji_OP) or in The Beginning’s official Discord (Lovenji). I am always happy to help.

Single Player:

So this time Single Player gets to be the feature we start with, a myriad of developments in AI and a new campaign designed specifically for 1.5 means that there’s been a lot of exciting changes here, including one I just know Craig is going to love, so let’s get this started, shall we?

AI improvements across the board;

So you probably noticed in the list the amount of changes that happened for the AI in this patch, and they are way more exciting than they seem. The first I want to call out is that we fixed forcing units with ATTACK_PERSON, what does that mean? Well, this command was being used to make its units ignore all sorts of things, Swarms, Firestorms and Preachers. All of this has been fixed, so there should no longer be any cheating AI units causing you limitless frustration as they push the boundaries of what we would consider “fair”. Preachers forcing infinitely? Consider it Gone. On top of what is the biggest and best change for the AI, a whole bunch of logic was fixed to make the AI all in all appear more intelligent, it will train units appropriately and be able to repair its buildings. During attacks it will acquire threats better and be more likely to push in for its own damage. The AI has been made smarter, and also had its random decision making slightly enhanced, this should enhance the Single Player experience you get in 1.5, so play the Co-Op campaign once again and see if you can spot the changes! One last point, “The AI considers bloodlust a defensive spell” is a bit of a misnomer, what it is actually doing is that when the AI groups for its attack at the tower or CoR it may use invisibility or magical shield, this change means now it may also use bloodlust if it has access to it, further adding to the threat!

New Experimental Spring Pack;

I would not normally add a Single Player Pack as part of these notes are they are often version agnostic and much better enjoyed within the Multiverse Launcher, however a new pack has come out specifically with the purpose of testing features within the 1.5 build, all these additional LUA hooks I constantly chatter on about are put to work, as well as being heavily experimental with changing up the dynamics of what it means to be a single player campaign. The Campaign was made by MrKosjaK, Divinity and Impboy, who are three titans in the modding scene. It was play-tested by Yours Truly and is well worth the experience if you’re looking to try and get something really different out of your Populous Experience. The full details and changelog can be found here, but just take a look at this:

Come now, tell me you aren’t impressed by this? Cutscenes!

I say this wholeheartedly when I say that this pack gets the blood pumping and the excitement levels high when it comes to the potential of Single Player, it also uses the previously discussed difficulty system so it is suited to players of all skill levels to enjoy as well.

Modding:

Modding is probably the biggest part of what really keeps Populous alive, 1.5 itself is a modded branch of alpha code, the multiverse launcher is packed full of mods and I know full well most of you love to dip your toes into those (sometimes unruly) modded packs, so I always have a soft spot when I have to write the modding segment. Modding is a hobby of passion, and passion is why we’re still all here for Populous, right? Anyway, enough emotion, let’s get into the nitty gritty.

Difficulty System:

The difficulty system was just part of the menus when launching 1.5 Single Player, but the problem is a majority of campaigns don’t actually use it. So to avoid it causing confusion, looking messy and the like, it has been moved to an attribute of the built-in modding engine, meaning it will only show up when you’re launching a campaign that will make use of it! Pretty cool, right?

Map Making:

So, those of you who have done any modding before know the most common tool is ALACN’s map maker, which is a very capable tool, if not a little antiquated looking. What you can actually do in 1.5 is launch it in “Map Editor” mode, allowing you to build a map within the game itself, the tool is experimental but is getting more and more user friendly as time passes, the inclusion of new hotkeys make it easier than ever to interact with the editor and watching the land shape exactly as it will be in game before your eyes cuts out a large amount of the tedious land-shaping process. The new previews will also let you see what you’re placing before you put it down, pretty important if you ask me!

Bug Fixes:

It always seems like this is the biggest section, which I suppose if you think about it, that is actually a good thing, it shows once again that the team of people behind this version of Populous are always hard at work fixes and patching out various crashes, identifying points of failure, reading your bug reports and generally just staying hard at work making the Enhanced Edition even better! The majority of these bug patches are aesthetics or crash fixes, which are pretty well explained in their headers alone, I’ve identified 4 interesting ones to talk about below.

Fog of War:

Fog of War isn’t a gameplay element we see a lot of, to that end it can sometimes be really weird in how it functions. We’ve found that Lightning could reveal the fog and thus changed it so that it only reveals the fog for the correct people! Additionally the Fog of War was so overpowered it was even working in Map Editor view, restricting the mapmaker from seeing their own map… wild!

Sounds:

The sound engine is one of controversy, whilst it was undoubtedly a necessary change due to the sheer quantity of crashes related to sounds, there are noticeable bugs that have made the sound feel a little funky and out of place. Some sounds wouldn’t stop looping, this has been targeted and believed to be patched out, in addition the ambient sounds have been toned way down, so there’ll be a lot less screaming in your ears (one would hope). There’s way more to do on the sound engine, so please do keep reporting bugs as you find them, doing so in the midst of a game sends the relevant data to the team to enable fast replication, which is very helpful in the bug-splatting process.

Land Bridge:

This spell is a beautiful one, and you could argue one of the most iconic, while it doesn’t cause silly screams or the sky to turn red in a hellish blaze, Land Bridge was one of the first spells you encounter and really defined the terraforming that would become an integral part of Populous: The Beginning’s gameplay. However it also had some unusual bugs associated with it. In an attempt to rectify these bugs, the developers of the 1.5 Land Bridge in advertently broke it more, this has now been corrected, bringing it much closer in line with that land bridge you would expect from your traditional 1.01 play.

Flatten:

I want to end on a positive note, so here we are, the Flatten Spell. If you’ve ever played a game of Populous Multi-player you may have very likely seen the map referred to colloquially as “Sess”, it’s the map in the screenshot below and features some very frustrating mechanics that can bring joy and tears in equal measure. One of the core elements of this map is the expanding and reconnecting through the use of Flatten, which would behave very weirdly on minimum-height land. This has now been worked on for a long time, and hopefully corrected. It should feel a lot more reliable as a spell, making land when you expect it to make land, and make water when you want it to make water. If you don’t know too much about flatten, if the tile is undulating (moving up and down) it’s a water tile, and if the pixels are stationary it is land, this should help you get the most out of your flattens.

The ever terrifying guess as to whether flatten will make land or water has become a lot less terrifying. (This made land by the way)

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, may the modders among you feel empowered to create your best work out there!

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