Early Access Game Update #9

Early Access Game Update #9

February 16, 2018

We were not expecting to offer a new pre-release update this week. The plan was to push through most of the remaining outstanding bugs and feature revisions in preparation for a February official release. Then more of those frustrating memory crash reports popped up. This inspired us to set aside all immediate goals and take one more serious crack at reducing a problem that has plagued the game throughout the Early Access period. It was clear The Second World War would not be ready for final release without finding someway to make these crashes a rarity.

The team had already implemented numerous optimizations across the game engine and art in order to minimize the memory spikes that triggered the crashes. These solutions often reduced the frequency. But as we continued making improvements to the game, we eventually overwhelmed any savings previously gained. And while reducing the number of models definitely helped, it was an unsatisfactory trade-off. 

This memory issue is associated with the application not the machine. So no matter how great your PC is, the game could still run out of memory and crash. Fortunately, our lead engineer had one final idea that he’d estimated might give us some relief - more head room so to speak. As it turns out, the solution was rather easy to implement, especially in comparison to the other things we were considering. None of which could have delivered more than a fraction of savings we ended up with. 

Essentially the game is no longer rendering every unit in the game on every frame. The camera now defines the viewport and only renders objects within view. This has a huge impact on game memory. So much that we feel these type of memory crashes should no longer occur during a normal game. 

It may sound like an obvious modification, and of course I wish we’d done this a year ago. The team inherited this engine and it has taken some time for us to tear through it and make changes. There could have been a good reason for setting the camera up as it was but ultimately, it did not work for the Second World War.

There are many other new fixes and additions with pre-release #9, but this memory solution is just such a big deal, I felt I needed to focus my update on that. Much of the work we’ve done beside optimization has been targeted at finishing the task list and responding to user requests and bug reports. 

While the production schedule was slowed down last week, a massive hurdle appears to have been overcome. Like any application, it could still crash but it will unlikely be a game memory crash. We are interested in hearing about issues players may have. It’s always possible we missed something.

The next update will likely be the final one before the official release. We are a little behind schedule.

Notes for Early Access Update #9

AI Changes:
- Air missions no longer suspended for hard-coded number of turns when Fuel is low
- Reworked air patrol and bombing planning for splitting off groups for missions
- AI will now stop repairing ships if there are no ships to repair
- Production AI focuses on reducing overall demand rather than meeting specific demands
- Improved Production AI to be smarter about key production inputs like Steel. 
- Increased DesiredBomberPower to encourage larger bomber stacks
- Increased the desired power for AI Sea Invasions
- AI no longer has turn restrictions for limiting nuke targets

Game System Changes:
- MPU growth rate is now based on Population rather than MPUs
- Fixed MPU growth rate calculation error
- Re-balanced MPU growth modifier after change to population based growth
- MPU Recruitment now uses random region culling
- Apply HP reduction penalty to Anti-Air fire
- Bombardment hit generation of cities now more closely matches naval combat
- Shore bombardment of units and coastal defenses now using consistent algorithm 
- Upgrading units maintain same health fraction after upgrading
- Fixed projected revenue being less than 0 in the UI
- Ship breakdown now spreads itself across shipyards

Memory Optimization:
- No longer render off-screen unit models (major memory savings)
- Reworked model culling for smooth transitions over x = 0
- Set lower y FOV offset to avoid near camera clipping
- Load models in before showing them when zooming in
- Fixed bug where units located at some air bases would not be shown

UI Changes:
- Fixed Graphic distortion in French Flag
- Added now Strafe Icon to Encyclopedia entries 
- Altered string for Health Infrastructure bonus from MPU to Pop. to reflect actual value
- Relabeled "MPU Growth Bonus" to "Pop. Growth Bonus" 
- Moved Panama City to correct side of Isthmus
- New Terrain modifier tooltips and Icons
- Updated terrain modifier icons for engagement tooltips
- Added terrain modifiers to the encyclopedia
- Defender resistances tooltip now uses defense bonus from terrain modifiers
- Revised trade and supply access mapviews
- Fixed Supply (battery) icon on group selection panel for air, army, and artillery units
- Added some Treaty background images 

Content Changes:
- Lowered Research bonus of Research Buildings
- Reduced requirements for Research to speed up
- Added new D-Day trigger & revised others
- Increased Possible Research Points Per Turn from 4 to 5
- New American Deployment Events
- Revised Altitude values for Aircraft
- Modified (Lowered) Research requirements for some projects
- Fixed misspelling of Gulf of Tonkin
- Turned on Major nations full infantry set for Full Model Set

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