We continue working to improve the game and, our number one priority, to fix all the bugs and issues. Since the release They Are Billions has between 15,000 and 20,000 simultaneous players, and has been played for more than 2 million hours in the last week. Amazing! A billion thanks to all players!
Something pending to include for future versions is the counter for the total number of zombies killed by all TAB players, updated in real time on the game's menu screen. That could be very, very interesting :)
Now, let us run you through everything you can find in the new version, of course, we’ll continue listening to all your feedback:
Issues when saving or reloading Games
We have detected that Steam Cloud was interfering with the game recording and the user's progress, so we have disabled it. As the game state is huge, They Are Billions uses file compression and it seems that Steam Cloud can affect the recording process when it synchronizes.
All the TAB user data (saves, settings, custom levels, screenshots ...) can be found in My Documents\My Games\They Are Billions, in case you need to move them to another computer.
New Option to Save a backup of the Campaign
From the game menu within the Dashboard of the campaign you’ll find a new option to record the current state of the campaign in a new slot. You can continue when you want using the Continue option in the main menu. (This is not available inside a mission, just in the campaign dashboard).
We have implemented it for two reasons: First and foremost, we do not want anyone to lose the progress of the campaign. In such a long game losing the advances due to an error or a disk problem can be a disaster.
This will also allow you to perform tests with the technology tree or try different levels of difficulty... in short, experimenting a bit more with the game.
In addition this new option will work very well together with the following new feature…
Replay Completed Missions
Now you can play missions that you have already completed, as many times as you want in the difficulty level you want. This functionality is just for fun, it will not affect any aspect of your campaign, nor the victory points or the defeats counter.
Bonus Objects on Tactical Missions
It seems that this mechanism is the one that has caused the most concern to the players and after analyzing the issue among the team we think we already know why.
This mechanic was designed to encourage exploration and reward progress little by little. We love when the hero opens a door, react to the situation, kills the enemies and then explore the room’s content, finding useful objects or research points, it is a good way to constantly reward the progress of the mission.
The testers knew that these bonuses are optional, so they explored the fortress, met the objectives and finished the mission, usually with 70-90% of the points earned. That's why the campaign was balanced to get that number of points on average. Those players that were more into exploring and observing could get extra points, and that’s phenomenal.
However, we realized that most players take it as if it was mandatory and in no case want to pass on any of the available points. So, when they achieve the mission objectives, they feel compelled to look everywhere for remaining objects, instead of leaving the mission and continue the Campaign. That of course is a boring and tedious job. It was a mistake to include in the interface the total available points in the mission because players will not finish the mission until they got them all. We didn’t take into account that most players want to complete and get everything that is available, and this mechanics would bother them too much.
To improve this mechanic, we have activated the flash for objects in all difficulties and increased their visibility. Now finding all the objects should not be a problem. The campaign has been balanced for an average get of 70% of the objects, so nothing happens if you have left any behind. In any case, we take good note for future campaigns!
Improvements in the Technology Tree
Now the technologies that you have unlocked since the last mission can be modified if you fail in the new mission. That is, if you have chosen one or two technologies that have not worked well in a mission and you have lost, you can pick up others and play the mission again with the new technologies.
Once a mission is completed, the unlocked technologies become permanent as before.
We have also added the costs of unlocked units and structures in the help messages of the technologies, and solved the problem of the Veterans Snipers that did not receive the attack improvements of the normal Snipers.
Changes in Difficulty
It turns out that we missed a parameter in the Storm Cape mission swarm and the veteran community of TAB claimed that we were nerfing the game!?! Please calm down guys, wait until you hear the official voice of Numantian before drawing conclusions. TAB is an old-school and hardcore RTS, that's our hallmark and it will always be!
In recent patches we have improved the difficulty curve of the campaign to make it more accessible in the first missions of the game as they are where new players without previous experience learn the mechanics of the game. That is why we have added new tutorial messages to improve learning. The rest of the missions of the campaign (80%) remain the same as they were originally designed.
In addition, following the feedback of the most veteran players, we have increased the level of challenge of the modes Brutal and Nightmare between 20% and 50%. And, in case you think this is not enough,... please keep reading :)
New Game Mode: Apocalypse!?!
Was Nightmare mode not enough for you? So get ready... the evil TAB developers have created a new way in which the infected are hungrier, more nervous and more billions than ever. We assigned one of our testers to try the Apocalypse Mode during the weekend and, when we returned to the office, we found him huddling in a corner crying and sobbing. Burbling again and again: "Why…? Why did we do it... ? " Guys, it was very disturbing...
More changes in version 1.0.8
We have re-enabled the feature that allows that the new version changes can be consulted from the main menu. We had taken it away because translation to so many languages could take many days, something we can’t afford when they are so urgent. So we have implemented a self-translation system using Google Translator to translate them from English. Apologies if the translation is not very good or results in something totally crazy!
We have fixed the anti over-kill feature that made sometimes the units to waste shots when targeting enemies.
Mine traps works now as expected according to the delay time set by the player.
Also, dwelling without colonists (waiting the train arrival) no longer spam zombies when they have been infected.
The list of all changes can be also found here on Steam forums.
And this is all for now... we’ll keep on working on improving the game while you continue to reconquer the World after the zombie apocalypse. Good luck and see you soon!