Major update #10 - the Fortifications update is now live. This update focuses on city defenses and raiding enemies. It is now more important than ever to defend your city well, because the raiding enemies are smarter, and also smaller groups of dream plagues may attack your city without warning. To deal with these threats, I've also added new tools at your disposal (such as stone walls and turrets), and made existing tools more effective.
The goal of these changes is not to make the game harder. I want you to think more about your defenses, and plan smarter. Some of these changes can be disabled from the new game difficulty settings, and I've also created a couple of mods that cancel others, for those who prefer to play the game as it was before.
This update also introduces a lot of performance improvements, especially late-game. These improvements touched the very foundations of the game code, and introduced parallel computing, so despite rigorous testing, some new bugs may have slipped through. Please let us know if you find any bugs or issues so I can fix them ASAP.
Read on below about some of the changes in this update. You can find the full list of changes on the patch notes page.
New tribe: Terra Multa
The Terra Multa tribe (known as 'Terrans' for short) are a hard working people who can make the most out of what the environment provides. They excel at harvesting resources and are able to extract more before depleting a node.
They have a cool ability that lets them find one additional resource node per map, and that resource can be of any kind within the difficulty tier limitations. That means you can find acid shards in the desert, or crystals in the Blightlands. You don't know this in advance, however, so it's less about planning and more about enjoying a positive surprise every once in a while.
Their main drawback is that they don't use materializers, so your cities are less self-sufficient at later stages.
Wandering Dream Plagues
One of the most meaningful gameplay changes in this update is what I call "mini-raids". Every once in a while, smaller groups of dream plagues (similar in composition to those you encounter when exploring the map, but weaker in numbers) will attack your city. These attacks happen without advance warning, and if unprepared, can do considerable damage.
These attacks are not meant to challenge your defenses. They are here so that you will have to defend your city and expansions at all times - rather than only defend them during raids. Simple walls and/or a tier-matching turret at exposed areas should be enough.
Note: raiders will no longer attack harvesters, unless they're directly in their way. So while you need to better protect your city buildings, you can still build harvesters out in the wilderness and in most cases they will survive.
One of the major complaints I've been hearing is that walls were too weak. I agreed, but up until now I couldn't change it - because raiders would target all walls before moving on, making them OP. Just building a bunch of walls in the middle of nowhere without even blocking the passage would be enough to keep the dream plagues occupied while Tiny or your turrets destroyed them all.
So now, the raiders are smarter. They will move around walls if possible, and once they break through, they will move through those holes rather than destroy all wall sections before proceeding. This has its limits, if enemies spawn from the north they are not likely to walk around your entire city and attack from the south just because it is less well-guarded, however a small detour that will save them the need to destroy a wall will be preferred.
So the raiders are smarter, but your walls are now stronger! I roughly doubled the strength of every wall, and added a new wall tier (see below). So you need to make sure your walls cover the entire pass, but it takes longer to breach a layer of walls than it did before.
Stone tier walls & turrets
A new middle tier of defensive structures has been added, including Stone Walls, a Stone Gate, and a Stone Turret. These are tier 2 buildings that require carbonite and featherstone to build, and they are roughly 50% stronger than wooden walls. The metal walls have been made even stronger (roughly 2.5x as strong as they used to be).
Stone turrets are somewhat similar to the wooden turrets, but they have increased firing rate and they don't have a penalty against armored enemies (see below).
Another mechanic is that some of the dream plagues are now considered to be "Armored". These are the larger variants of tier 2 enemies and higher. What does it mean that they are armored? Simple, some weapons deal less damage against armored enemies (such as wood turrets and light crossbows), while other weapons deal extra damage against armored enemies (such as Atlas turrets and heavy crossbows/guns). You will encounter these armored enemies mainly during raids of threat level 15 and above.
This new mechanic is meant to encourage you to build the more effective higher tier defenses, while balancing the previous OP strategy of just spamming hundreds of wooden turrets.
Bottom line - when moving to higher threat levels, make sure you have more than just wooden turrets protecting your city.
Explosive Launcher & Carbonite Sand
There's a new high-tier weapon, the explosive launcher. This is similar to the heavy crossbow but it is copper-tier (like the Rapid Gun & Spread Gun). This weapon is especially effective against armored raiders.
Carbonite sand is a new resource that is produced from carbonite. It is cheaper than carbonite (a single carbonite can produce 5 carbonite sand), and is used to construct the new stone-tier defenses.
The siege beetle is a large dream plague that appears during raids later in the game. It is armored, has ranged attacks that deal high damage but at a slow attack rate. It is especially strong when attacking buildings and defensive structures, with an added damage against these.
I spent a large portion of the time allocated for this update on infrastructure and performance optimizations. I collected save files from several players on the discord server, and used these huge cities to investigate performance bottlenecks. I managed to improve performance in extreme situations by x3 and even more, and hopefully all these fixes will eliminate performance problems that make the game unplayable. We will keep improving it even further in future updates, and If you do encounter situations in which performance is really bad and you can't play the game, please grab a save file and send it to me as explained in this post.
Some of the improvements required that I touch some of the core infrastructure of the game, and I added more parallelization (multiple threads that can use multiple CPU cores at the same time). While effective, these changes are risky and could create what we programmers call "race conditions", which are bugs that don't happen all the time, and as such are much harder to find during testing and to fix.
I'd like to think that the decades of programming experience that I have, the deep familiarity with the game code, and the rigorous testing will prevent any bugs from slipping through, but that's wishful thinking so if you do encounter any new bugs, please let me know. Save files and logs (see link above) will be very helpful.
Saves from previous builds
Saves from the previous version are supported, however, city defenses that were satisfactory in the previous build may be inadequate, so if you load an existing save you may want to adjust your defenses as soon as you can.
Here's the updated roadmap as work continues towards Dream Engines 1.0.
Once again, a huge thank you to all our early access players for your patience and your help in improving the game, which was essential in testing and debugging all these infrastructure changes in real-world scenarios.
I am always listening to all feedback channels, and your feedback is very much appreciated. I invite you to hop onto our discord server and chat with us directly, leave your feedback in the Steam discussion forums, or in-game feedback form.
Let me know if you like these latest changes and any feedback you may have.
Tomer @ Suncrash