Age of Empires II: HD Edition

Age of Empires II: HD Edition

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MS Ryz0n Nov 27, 2013 @ 2:22pm
Dev Blog - Upcoming Patch 3.1
Coming soon: Patch 3.1

Over the last few weeks the team here has been digging into reported issues, tracking bugs, and looking to make changes to continue improving AOE II HD. I’ll have more detailed patch notes early next week, but for now wanted to cover a few of the top line items to give you an idea of some of the things around the corner. If you’re just picking up the game now during the autumn sale, welcome!

Discussions of this thread can be found Here


Expansion
Campaigns

The new campaigns in the expansion have been receiving a lot of tuning and tweaks from all of the teams involved. You’ll see some of the team members around the forms, and they’ve been listening to your feedback. Hopefully you’re enjoying some of the content, but this should help iron off some of the rough edges. Because there are dozens of changes, they won’t all be listed here but the general gist is to ensure that campaigns and edge case scenarios don’t affect the ability to complete the game.

Base + Expansion changes
Sync Changes
Moving over to changes that will affect everyone, regardless of expansion status. There are two line items I’d like to talk about today. The first is a change in how we’re handling some multiplayer games to reduce the potential for sync issues. The term “out of sync” is unfortunately pretty general, and there is no one single cause. An OOS can be attributed to connectivity issues between players, game bugs, file variants, and a whole slew of other things. Even knowing when a game goes out of sync doesn’t necessarily provide much information as to exactly why.

Since the launch of AOE II HD, we have been working to mitigate situations where games are going out of sync when we have control over it. Patch 3.1 will be introducing another system designed to improve multiplayer experience. Currently if players modify the data files in their game, it will result in sync issues unless all players are running the same data filesets. Games potentially can successfully start, but if the host builds a unit that’s modified, other players in the game will see that as an error in the datasets and fall out of sync. With 3.1, all data files will have checksums and the game will ensure that all checksums match before starting. Think of a checksum as a small string of numbers that represents a tiny digital fingerprint of a file. If one player’s file is modified or corrupt, the checksum will be a different value – and the game will notify players that the data files don’t match.

AI & Pathing
Lastly I want to talk briefly about AI and Pathing. With the last patch we made some changes to how the AI makes pathing decisions in an effort to reduce some of the ridiculous routes they take to reach an objective. Based on how ensemble designed the AI, there are various thresholds for how frequently an AI will attempt to repath and how logical or direct the paths can be. Villagers are the biggest offenders, they tend to be a bit problematic when clustered in groups.

Our changes were designed to adjust how quickly the AI is attempting to find and retry paths, as well as how they handle some of the indirect routes or determine that they should give up. The correct balance is an ongoing process and requires some tuning to get right. In the last update, the general feedback we’re seeing is that villagers especially can appear to get stuck or give up too easily when attempting to path.
With 3.1 we are going to continue tune some of those various methods. It’s clear that we don’t want the villagers to appear like they’re giving up long before they should. But we also don’t want to necessarily give units the go ahead to take the scenic route too often.

ETA
3.1 is an important patch with quite a few changes so we’re currently finalizing and running through several test passes with the FE team and our test teams. I’m tentatively saying we’re looking at about 1 week before we’re in a position to push this patch out to the main build, but will definitely provide some additional updates before then.
Last edited by MS Ryz0n; Nov 27, 2013 @ 2:26pm