Game situation review: June 20, 2015

It's been a month since the Early Preview launched. Though the game is not officially launched yet and not many players are invited, some very interesting happenings took place. At first, there were 12x12 rooms, while now we have more than 400 – more than enough to hang out and leverage one's GCL. Well, let's see where the main forces are concentrated, how things have changed, and which interesting battles took place.

A screenshot of the map as a memento:

And the current Expansion Rank top positions:

In the center (W2S1), AzuraStar has entrenched with the maximum Controller Level and maximum hits of his barrage rampart, his GCL is 12. There is an additional base in the South West (W4S5) and a roadblock on the intersection (W5S2) cutting the way to a territory of 25 game rooms in size (W2N2-W4S7) from the main aggressor - nugarin.

Nugarin has conquered quite a lot of new players, wiping out their rooms with his distant raids almost across all the West. His densely cooperating chain of 6 rooms (W11S6-W9S7) of primarily 6th level is threateningly amassing forces ready to move out and challenge his opponents at any time. The current GCL is 10.

Here are some screenshots of the losers:

Initially nugarin emerged on the edge of the map far from his current location (E6N3).

There were last season leaders nearby, Myzaree (E6N1) and ir0x539 (E4N2). Alas, they didn't take much care of their defense, which finally had grievous results.

After some short battles, they scattered. Myzaree is now in the North West (W7N4) and doesn't expand from his only room despite his GCL 10. ir0x539 missed in action.

That is, in the middle East, Rumatah is the only strong player that remained. At the moment, his chain consisting of 7 adjacent rooms (E10N2-E10S2) with high levels (half of 7, half of 6) and border ramparts with several million hits look very impressive. There is no active warfare here, except a minor challenge for a fledging player DarkTrooper7 (more about him below).

Rumatah went to this region (and respawned and changed his badge as well), while his first home was E1S7 (far to the South East).

The relocation was forced by several waves of attacks by tscmoo. He was doing nice in the first days of the Early Preview: he ignored upgrading his controller and focused on cleansing the South with his distant raids.

His only hurdle at that time was players with temporary walls who also blocked paths in the labyrinth. Even those who programmed defensive logic were not prepared to withstand against such massive advances.

Soon afterwards, some changes were made in the spawning mechanism, and tscmoo could not revive since that time. He occupied W3S5 and calmed down. However, who can know his designs for sure? He can emerge at any spot and any time and resume his endeavours.

In the South East, we witnessed aggressive scheming of DarkTrooper7 who had occupied vast territories. Currently, he leverages his GCL 8 to the full. He is likely to resume attacks after reaching level 9 and higher.

Many players have shown signs of the «coma» effect when all creeps die out. Usually in such cases, the mastermind soon arrives and helps his AI to resurge. However, ZorzZ has been remaining in coma for several days, for example. Nugarin tried to wake him up, but with no results.

You should take special care of your logic – don't make critical changes before you go to bed lest you become an easy prey for your opponents:

You should also think of automatic regeneration after balance shifts. To regain a «spark» (apart from manual Reinforcement) you should have 200 extra points of energy for a creep with [WORK,CARRY,MOVE] body parts. Such a logic may also work well for automatic capturing of new rooms.

Meanwhile, even in the worst case scenario when all your spawns are gone, actually it's just a start of a new colony with even better immunity. Don't forget that your GCL is not subject to reset, and you can always develop a competitive 4-5 room footprint in mere 2-3 days.

The example of this is hesto2 who resurged twice. Or, for instance, chris. They are again brand new and shining after just several days.

Thanks to all the Early Preview participants! We'll continue to watch the progress, while your participation helps us refine our game balance and mechanics making the game more interesting to all the players, both newcomers and veterans.

If you took part in an interesting battle, please tell us about that in comments. Even better if you keep some screenshots for the next review.

Changelog 2015-06-09

Gameplay changes

  • Global Control Level requirements decreased 3 times. It is a temporary measure during the Early Preview. After the release it will be increased to the initial value again.

Changelog 2015-06-07

Gameplay changes

  • Room Controllers now cannot be damaged. However, in case there are no spawns of the owner player in the room left, a countdown timer is started and the Controller starts losing 1 level every 50,000 game ticks. As soon as its level reaches 0, it becomes neutral, and another player can reclaim it.
  • Decreased Spawn Reinforcement timer from 3600 to 1000 ticks.
  • Decresased TOUGH body part cost from 20 to 10.

API changes

Changes in the runtime engine

Good news screepers!

We have redesigned some architectural solutions in the engine that executes your scripts inside the game. Here are some of the improvements you can notice starting from now.

Non-blocking exceptions. Many of you have asked that the console output be visible even when the script throws an exception. This is convenient for debugging and tracking the moment the error occurs during the execution of a script. It is possible now - script execution errors don't block either the console output or the game commands execution! In other words, all the commands that were fixed before the occurrence of an error will be executed:

throw new Error('error!');

Creeps John and Michael will successfully move to the left in this tick despite the thrown error.

Note that this even refers to the error of CPU limit exceeding. Thanks to it, you can now arrange priorities of your creeps logic so that the most important actions perform in the beginning of the script and don't risk being unexecuted due to the lack of CPU resources.

Persistent global scope. Previously, the sandbox scope for your scripts execution was created from scratch every tick. It allowed safe isolation of the script but wasted some CPU per tick. We found a way to circumvent this. Now the scope is recreated only from time to time, while the majority of ticks of your game script execution use the same global scope. According to our estimates, it will save about 10-40 CPU for each player. Besides, there is a keyword global now available in a script which affects some outside scripts and compilers.

Changelog 2015-05-27

Gameplay changes

  • The spawn extension system has been significantly changed. See more info in this post.
  • Introduced new structure type: Link. It can instantly transfer energy to another remote Link in the room. Building Lilnks is available at Controller Level 5.
  • Maximum hits amount of Ramparts and Walls significantly increased (1000 times). See more info in Territory control.
  • Room Controller Level energy requirements decreased 2 times.
  • Global Control Level energy requirements decreased 2 times.
  • Structures repair power increased 5 times, repair cost decreased 10 times.
  • WORK body part cost is now 100.
  • Road hits amount increased 10 times.
  • Controller hits amount decreased 3 times.
  • Increased dropped energy decay speed.

API changes

New spawn extension system

The extension system in the game has been changed. We decided to do away with the notion of the creep's body parts number and instead introduce the limit of the total amount of energy to be used for building in a room – in the spawn and all extensions together.
While previously a spawn with no extensions could generate up to 5 body parts, now it can contain up to 300 energy units and create creeps using this amount of energy. All extra cost above this limit must be available in the extensions at the moment of the beginning of the creep spawning. Besides, capacity of each extension is decreased to 50 energy units.
It's important that energy for extra cost is taken only from the extensions, but not the spawn! The spawn never consumes more than 300 energy units, even for expensive creeps.
Here are a few examples of various creep configurations costs before and now:
Body Before Now
Spawn Extensions Total Spawn Extensions Total
CCCCM 250 energy  — 250 energy 250 energy  — 250 energy
CCCCMMMM 400 energy 600 energy
3 extensions
1000 energy 300 energy 100
2 extensions
400 energy
RRRRRAAAAAMMMMM 1400 energy 2000 energy
10 extensions
3400 energy 300 energy 1100
22 extensions
1400 energy
The number of extensions available for building extensions is also increased at all RCL levels. See more in Territory control.
This new system should significantly simplify building of high-level creeps, which means that overall you will need less creeps for the same tasks and less CPU for controlling them. However, for quick building of expensive creeps, you will need to set up an effective energy transport scheme in many extensions. It will surely become an interesting task on programming room work.

Instructions for the Early Preview participants

The Early Preview stage pursues two goals:

  1. Find all possible bugs and technical issues that could be found before the open launch.
  2. Check the game balance and mechanics in order to avoid the possibility of wiping the game world due to any abuse in future.

If you have been invited to join the Early Preview, your are expected that you help us achieve these two goals. So, please, report any, however small, errors and omissions you may encounter as you play. You may do so by submitting a request or posting a message on our forum Technical Issues & Bugs. If you choose to post a message on the forum, please check first whether a similar report is already there. In this case, please leave your comment under the main thread with description of your individual case of this problem.

The game balance and experience are also to be tested in the Early Preview. We ask all the testers to send us your impressions and stories after you familiarize with the game. We'll rely on your stories to understand what should be adjusted in the game mechanics.

CPU Limit

We plan to accommodate quite a lot of players in the Early Preview which means a lot of load on the runtime scripts servers. So for now, we have limited the available CPU resources for players to 100 units. You may require more, but unfortunately we cannot offer more CPU to all the players since it may affect normal operation of the game during this preparatory stage. However, we are ready to do it in some individual cases.

Here is a way to secure for yourself a higher CPU limit during the entire Early Preview:

  1. Help us spread the word about the unique idea of Screeps! Describe your impressions in any social network (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.), forum or blog.
  2. Send us the public link (or a screenshot) to your post.
  3. Upon receiving your link, we'll gladly raise your CPU limit to 300 units.

Thanks for participating in the Early Preview!

Early Preview is live!

The MMO part of the game has launched at last. Yes, we are finally able to give you the exact experience we had in mind when we contemplated the very idea and concept of Screeps: influencing a vibrant, constantly changing, multi-player world through programming units who live their own life online. We long to see the results you will be able to achieve in it!

Our Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign funders have already been granted access codes and can start playing right away. If you don't have the code yet, don't despair. We watch the situation and server load, and as soon as our infrastructure is ready for more players, we'll start sending out codes to those who have submitted requests. It may happen even in a couple of days.

If you have not submitted for your code, you can always do it here.

What do I need to know?

Take note that the Early Preview is not the final version of the game. We are now launching the game world in the preparatory mode with a limited number of players in order to test everything rigorously prior to the open launch.

Please familiarize yourself with the instruction for the Early Preview participants.

Where is the Survival?

You may have already noticed that the mode selection screen had disappeared. The matter is, we decided to disable the Survival and Arena modes and zero in on the World in order to give you the best experience possible. As soon as we realize all our ideas for the World, we'll get back to other modes. It may quite possibly be some multi-player Duel mode. Apparently, the Survival and Arena modes that have accomplished their preparatory mission and are much less interesting than the World will not be restored.

When will the Early Preview stage end?

We cannot tell that for sure yet, but we look at the end of June. After that, the world will be wiped and restored to its original state, and the open launch for all players will commence.