our next release Unknown Horizons 2011.3 is coming this week! Before we unleash the downloads for you (and fixed all the last minute bugs) we'd like to give you an overview of the upcoming new features and improvements for this release.
Complete settlement AI & Combat and diplomacy system
These were the Summer of Code proposals of gscai and mihaibivol, respectively. Check gscai 's posting and our Summer-of-Code wrap-up for a huge bunch of information and praise!
Another Summer of Code result is the outcome of kozmo's proposal to improve FIFE rendering. Check their release notes at fifengine.net for details. Small spoiler: This is what you probably will love most about our new release! Make sure to thank the core devs of FIFE for their work if you are impressed: prock, vtchill, helios2k, and kozmo :)
Support for internationalized voices
This feature initially was not planned to be worked on, but mtfk joined us, highly motivated to implement such a system, and sent out a pull request after discussing his code structure in detail. We already had German and English voice files in our repository, to be played at map creation time, and now seblabel and his wife contributed some French ones, too. The files you will hear depend on your language settings (as e.g. our scenarios do, too).
Should you be interested in donating your voice for more in-game events in more languages, please contact us! We can also clear recordings to a certain degree, so you won't need 100% professional (and expensive) equipment ;-)
New buildings, new ship
We worked hard on finishing settler increment for this release and are almost there. Thanks again, wentam and orakeldel, for your great work on these! New stuff includes storage hut, cannon tower, frigate, salt ponds, tobacco field & tobacconist, butchery with cattle run & pigsty as well as a new gravel path!
The only building left to implement for now is a kind of doctor, which requires us to give it a meaning in first place. Do you have ideas for catastrophes that do not upset players too much or feel plain unfair? There can be various, please share your ideas in our forums!
Usability and interface improvements
Let's give a bit of background information here: Usually, devs just put together some placeholder interface to check if some new feature works, then perhaps ask a GUI artist to create fancy buttons and in the end, nobody at all checked if the result is something our players have fun using.
It mostly isn't. :)
So the awesome news is that totycro grabbed the chance of doing real research into this direction. He ended up working on a usability test with several test players and his team delivered a huge list of serious problems and annoying behavior afterwards. During this summer, we improved many of these, but there still is a lot to do and we plan to keep working on this field towards our next release. Changed game-play and interface elements include:
- new minimap, now displaying whole map and disabling buttons when their action is invalid (also, more game speed modes)
- new in-game pause menu offering quick and clear access to all important player actions
- reworked main square overview, now shows important information bits for each increment; also has 'allow inhabitants to upgrade' toggle
- taxing happens on per-increment basis instead of globally now
- ships automatically unload all resources when a new settlement gets founded; ships display branch office building costs
- allow environment to become translucent (hotkey T)
... but there is a lot more to discover. We hope that those changesets help you enjoy Unknown Horizons and really appreciate any opinions on this topic. Our forums are open for all kinds of feedback -- please use them!
New stats widgets & Random map parameters & New maps
Multiplayer mode has now long been implemented, but it felt strangely unrewarding to just play side-by-side and get almost no feedback about how you're doing. We thus added a widget where you can compare your score in-game (current key: F2) and also lists of settlements and ships (F3, F4). Have fun!
Our singleplayer mode of course had to get some improvements after this as well, so we implemented several parameters to our random maps at game start. Choose your desired island size (max, mean, standard deviation), map size, water ratio, resource density as well as the number of AI players, and whether or not you'd like to play with the free trader and our pirate.
Beta Tester Mailinglist
Can't wait for the next release? Subscribe to our beta mailing-list and be informed about new development releases right away! Currently Unknown Horizons 2011.3 Release Candidate 6 is being launched.
We hope you are as excited as we are about the upcoming release!
Your team of Unknown Horizons