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Hive Update

Lots of activity with the Hive. We were shooting to release this past week, but are now looking at this coming Tuesday. As has been discussed on the messageboard, there are now units that repair Queens and Leviathans and the like when they become damaged, resulting in a more difficult conquest. In addition, the Leviathan is being equipped with some new weapons and visual effects, and Queens will be getting capital-style omnidirectional turrets.

You can also expect some changes to our "old" visual effects, such as the warp-in/out animation for wormholes and the like. These changes will be ongoing in the background over the next few months, in an effort to try and bring some of our older visual effects more up to current "par". Users on older machines will be able to disable the new effects using the standard effects-quality settings in the Options menu.

Aside from this, there's also a lot of low-level work going on. Andy is developing an entirely new AI subsystem, using reinforcement learning, that is intended to be much more adaptive to different tactics and situations, and will hopefully provide much more interesting opponents while still leaving a wide range of bot difficulty. This will make more diverse high-level behaviour (like AI escorts defending a convoy, or AI pirates attacking a defended AI convoy, for that matter) considerably easier.

The Mission Editor is finally "working", ie, exporting actual missions. Work on the editor will be ongoing, probably forever, as new use cases crop up and we have to add things, but for now it's at least fundamentally usable, and we're looking at putting it to use in the near future, and tieing some missions in with Hive activity.

We're also looking a relatively major UI redux, using the new UI/windowing subsystem that was created for the mission editor. This will probably take a little while, but will be pretty fantastic in a number of ways. Both from ease of use for our creating new "stuff" (say, capital ship navigation panels and the like) or allowing users to create interfaces of their own.

There is also an economy redux in the works for the short term (under 2 weeks), which should help with some of the economic stagnation in-game.

More specific design and a schedule will be posted to the Wiki and linked from here when it becomes concrete/specific enough to post.