Crack the nut! v2.0
November 8, 2017
posted by andy



We find ourselves at the intersection of emerging games and technologies. AUTOMAKHAN has always felt like some unwieldy chimera perched atop this intersection, waiting in the wings for its chance to shoot both fire and ice upwards into the sky as a kind of celebratory gesture.


Building a game engine from scratch is difficult. Synchronizing a complex multiplayer simulation is a Hellish experience that I would not wish upon the most evilest chimera. Running a 3d game at 60fps in the browser is a worthless challenge and someday any of its merits will be lost in the sands of time.


Most indie games are never completed, and few attain commercial success because the market is saturated. It is tough to attract attention when so many competitors and internet trolls abound.


Despite the many challenges, I believed that someday we would crack the nut. As the obstacles towered high, our chimera took flight, simultaneously scorching and freezing the technical challenges below with the skill and finesse that one would expect from a legendary bird/reptile hybrid.


And it is with this that I bring news of a game update. Play it now at https://automakhan.com!


New race - elven guild


Improvements

  • Stable 60fps with minimal GC hiccups
  • Integrated public chat and games lobby makes it easier to start and find games
  • Faster delivery of game assets via CDN
  • More accurate bounding boxes and hit detection
  • Cliffs and ramps add realism and strategic depth to the game
  • Line-of-sight raycasting enables hiding behind terrain features

Gameplay changes

  • The available races are now Lizardmen Tribe, Undead Horde and Elven Guild, each with a diverse set of units with new abilities such as flying
  • The only available map is now Football, a 3v3 match-up that runs horizontally from left to right
  • Each team starts with a number of blue gems used to deploy buildings and which can only be acquired by destroying opponents’ buildings
  • Buildings with worker units supply red, green and/or black gems used in the deployment of other more specialized buildings

Though our job is far from over, this is the first build to have truly cracked the nut. As one critic has mentioned, this new style of RTS is inarguably the future, despite its owing so much to the classics. And as long as you are running the game in Chrome (or Firefox [on a relatively decent machine]), I think you will agree.


Many thanks to Aleks, Nik and Tomas for gameplay improvements and suggestions, which are brilliant as always!



Replays and ranks v1.2
May 1, 2017
posted by andy



Several codes and arts later, AUTOMAKHAN is back with a bevy of fixes and enhancements for you and your crew to enjoy. This version introduces game replays with an auto-camera feature to watch recent games leisurely and share the URL with friends. Players participating in public games are now ranked based on their performance using a chess rating system. The game is faster, more fun, and more competitive then ever, with special thanks to Caerus for improving the balance with analytic insight.

New tunderbeast model

New features
  • Replays are now recorded for all public games, available via URL upon completion of a game
  • Ladder ranks for public matches using the ELO rating system
  • Observer mode can be selected for players in the main menu
  • Automatic camera toggled on by default in replay and observer mode
  • Mouse-over the chatbox to view old chats
Quality and performance
  • Eminent race redesigned from the ground up
  • Old Ones textures and models are more detailed and refined
  • 2x more granular pathfinding
  • Improved performance and load time
  • Faster multiplayer network message execution
  • More detailed HUD tooltips
  • General art touch-up, optimizations and bug fixes
Gameplay balance
  • Resources and gems are acquired faster
  • Buildings have more max health, especially towers
  • Added more hero skills to support more unique builds
  • Changed some unit skillsets to encourage more combos and synergies
  • General fine-tuning of unit attributes and spell effects


Sfx by Caerus v1.1
March 13, 2017
posted by andy



We are proud to present the latest version of AUTOMAKHAN featuring a host of game and performance improvements and introducing sound effects from producer Nick Ingvoldstad AKA Caerus. The new upgrade mechanics allow for endless customization which provides a more sophisticated and exciting late-game. It is faster and easier than ever to create a game and share the URL with friends.

New pregame lobby

Performance and quality
  • New stereo sound effect system featuring sound effects created by Caerus
  • Reduced load time by preloading some assets
  • Improved pregame lobby UX and stability
  • Faster and more detailed shadows and lighting effects
  • Animation blending for smoother transitions between animations
  • Replaced some textures with shaders for greatly reduced memory usage
  • Effects are now rendered within the scene rather than overlaid on top
  • Available team upgrades now shown in the build panel
  • Right-click build and upgrade icons to view more details in-game
Gameplay changes
  • Deploy buildings at anytime, instead of just the build phase
  • Any allied heroes can deploy team buildings and upgrades, instead of just the captain
  • Worker units now gather joules when collecting resources so that more buildings can be deployed late-game
  • Gems are now dropped as in-game items collectable by heroes
  • New skill Augment: use gems to apply new skills to any unit class
  • Buildings with upgrades or augments applied drop an equivalent number of gems upon death
  • New units: Windmill, Corral, Sprite, Navigator, Deer, Beast
Balance tweaks
  • Heroes level up faster and more linearly
  • Heroes have improved pathfinding
  • Melee units are tougher and stronger
Along with many other small fixes. We will continue to improve performance and as always eager to hear your feedback in the chat or via email. Until next time, thank you for playing, good luck and have fun!


Perpetual beta / stable v1.0
October 22, 2016
posted by andy



We are proud to present the latest incarnation of AUTOMAKHAN, RTS // devolved. Featuring performance improvements, simplified gameplay, fine-tuned multiplayer pacing, immersive controls, refined hero builds, and more. Sara has created a quickstart video that outlines the updated ruleset, available here:

Quickstart gameplay intro: Meteorologist

The new ruleset is so satisfying that we have decided to name this build our first official beta version. Further updates will not significantly change the game mechanics. However, we will continue to provide performance improvements, tuning and balance, and additional content with the help of trusted collaborators. Be on the lookout for the as-of-yet-untitled campaign 1, a co-op multiplayer story that colors the world of AUTOMAKHAN.

New features
  • The hero has become the center of focus
  • Players on the same team defend the same crystal
  • Players designate a team captain who can solely deploy buildings
  • You may now only build during the first 2 minutes of a match
  • Races can no longer be customized in standard multiplayer games
  • Hold SHIFT to control nearby friendly units
Balance adjustments
  • Melee heroes have better survivability
  • Hero abilities provide more versatility and synergy
  • Units in general are faster


Open the gates! v0.31
September 5, 2016
posted by andy



It now takes but a single click to play a game of Automakhan. Guests can play with any of the default heroes or races without having to signup for an account. Start a game and share it with your friends instantly.

This update also includes a number of performance, balance and aesthetic improvements.





Release notes v0.3
July 25, 2016
posted by andy



Automakhan, the real-time strategy game built for the browser, continues to innovate with a host of new features and bug fixes. This latest release v0.3 improves the quality, fun and balance of the multiplayer experience. If you have any questions or issues, please drop us a line at info@automakhan.com. Thank you for playing and have fun!



New features:
  • Heroes can press CTRL to toggle nearby friendly units to follow
  • Press TAB to toggle camera lock on hero
  • Queue up units for production faster with the quickbuild menu
  • Global chat accessible from topbar in-game
  • Edit race and change colors from the pregame lobby
Improvements:
  • Faster player setup: new accounts come with prebuilt heroes/races
  • Performance optimizations, faster rendering
  • Particle system for more realistic effects
  • Animations more in sync with actions
  • Minimap more visually appealing and informative
  • Tooltips show precise skill stats and upgrade info
Balance changes:
  • Complete hero skill overhaul, way too many changes to detail here
  • More nuanced hero controls and more skill synergies
  • Meteorologist now specializes in elemental magic
  • New skills: Blizzard, FlameTrail, IceShot, Illusion and more
Bug fixes:
  • Abilities that target points are more precise
  • Invisible units are no longer detected without TrueSight


Let's Play by RobJNova
June 29, 2016
posted by andy



Indie game critic RobJNova created a 14-minute Let's Play video spotlighting Automakhan. The video serves as a great introduction for new players as it walks through customizing a race and playing through a full match against the AI. He provides some constructive feedback related to gameplay balance and art refinement which we are working to address in coming updates.



Check out his YouTube channel for more quality indie game reviews.


Cinematic trailer 1
June 19, 2016
posted by andy



A new cinematic/gameplay teaser has been uploaded featuring scenes from the upcoming campaign 1 project. Check it out at @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-RYyB26-lw




Quickstart gameplay tutorial - Humans video
May 31, 2016
posted by andy



Sara of Your Infamous Harp put together this 3-minute gameplay tutorial using the Human starter deck. The video walks through the bare-bones requirements of setting up your base, gathering resources and rushing the enemy AI with supertanks.

Quickstart gameplay tutorial - Humans video

Be on the lookout for more videos to come!


WebGL, WebRTC and refined gameplay
May 11, 2016
posted by andy



Several months ago, Sara and I arrived home from a long-awaited vacation in Iceland, whose extreme geodesic features inspired us to refashion the game in 3d. Isometric 2d games will always hold a special place in our heart, especially because they first defined the RTS genre. We were unsure of the performance implications, so our primary design goal was to maintain a solid framerate even if that meant a lower visual quality relative to AAA games. The worst that could happen was give the game an N64 look, which seemed quite awesome.



Another priority has been reducing the barrier to entry for players. Hosting our own multiplayer servers has some distinct advantages, such as persistence and the prevention of cheating. We would prefer this game retain value many years into the future by cutting unnecessary costs and middle-men. Our solution was to offer peer-to-peer networking in the browser which has quite recently matured.

Most excitedly, we have integrated gameplay feedback after countless test matches. Thank you so much to our friends and family for sitting through many hours of lag and debugging:


This release greatly reduces the complexity of the gameplay without sacrificing too much customization. We've introduced powerful heroes responsible for constructing buildings and casting powerful spells. So far in our tests they provide a good focal point for the player's attention. Their ability to dominate the battlefield relaxes the need to min-max and micro the rest of your team, which is in-line with our quest is to define the AI vs AI genre.

Your race can now be customized with any units in the game. By creating a team, you can customize your race by dragging-and-dropping 60 credits worth of blueprints into your team's inventory. Unlike previous versions of Automakhan, individual blueprints cannot be customized. Instead, we plan to release additional types of blueprints periodically.

During a game, your worker units will accrue colored gems which can be used to upgrade your team. The types of gems accrued depend on the resource that was gathered (red for ore, green for wood, yellow for wheat, black for meat, white for water). A gem can be used to upgrade skills provided by units that have the Upgrade skill. Upgraded skills are applied to all units on the team that have that skill.



We hope you enjoy the latest release of Automakhan. Despite the hard work and late nights, Sara and I have enjoyed creating this in our off-time over the past few years. We will continue to refine and improve, and as always appreciate your feedback. Best of luck, and have fun!


Release notes v0.1
August 17, 2015
posted by andy



Bug fixes and improvements

  • greatly improved rendering performance
  • improved custom team colors
  • eminent graphics overhaul
  • more detailed and navigable glossary (also accessible from within the game)
  • gem/skill level-up function graphs available through the glossary
  • improved Bunker gem UI/controls
  • more balanced Build/Produce durations
  • lots of small bug fixes

New eminent graphics

New eminent graphics

Gem/skill graphs

The calculations used by skills and the effects of upgrading skills can seem impossibly complex to wrap ones head around. In order for players to make easier and more informed decisions, we are exposing the formulas used for each skill as they relate to level (and any other variables). You can now find relevant formulas and visualizations for each gem in the glossary.

Gem/skill level graphs




Video tutorial - Part 1: Basic Gameplay
August 8, 2015
posted by andy



Sara has put together the first of several gameplay tutorials to shine some light on this very complex game. This first episode covers the basic considerations needed to win, whereas future videos will highlight more advanced strategies, gem combos and AI customization. Check it out at the following URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPu1VtYrCq8



Until next time, good luck and have fun!


Introducing Aphexii
July 31, 2015
posted by andy



The 2d focus stone is an interesting way of prioritizing skill gems in a blueprint, made possible through the constraint of only having 4 skill branches. Four is a pretty arbitrary limit, but it's reminiscent of classic games and game controllers. With this limitation guiding our design, its resulted in a surprisedly solid foundation for the pacing of the gameplay. On the other hand, it does not have the most expressive power, which limits the viability of some strategies. Skill gems can seem like a black box and there are many scenarios where simple prioritization won't do.

Enter the aphexii task-runner, a subset of our propietary AI scripting tool. Using the tool allows you to configure the behavior of skill gems. The player can write arithmetic expressions that define when and how a skill is to be used. For example, the default behavior of the Heal gem is to heal the closest injured friendly unit, but using an aphexii allows the player to specify which units are prioritized, which are ignored, and under what conditions the skill can be used.

To access the new features, open up the inventory of your favorite team, select a unit to customize, and open up the blueprint properties dialogue. From there you can create a new aphexii and access the documentation available in the tool to learn how it all works. Note that this is a powerful new feature for advanced users and will seriously confuse casual players. If you come across any bugs or have questions, feel free to drop by the chat or email-- we will be routinely updating the documentation, adding more API support and fixing bugs.

We are really looking forward to seeing what kinds of unstoppable strategies players come up! Best of luck, and have fun.


Public alpha / Automakhan Friday event
May 1, 2015
posted by andy



Public alpha released

Tomorrow morning we will be opening account registration to our friends and supporters. For a limited amount of time, new users will be given 10 multiplayer tokens right off the bat. Please send me any bugs or issues you may come across and I'll try to fix/address them as soon as possible.

Automakhan Friday

Sara and myself, along with our close friends, will be playing and hosting games Friday nights from 8-10pm EST. Please stop by the chat to say hello. Goodluck and have fun!


Release v833
February 20, 2015
posted by andy



Hello all,

Congratulations to Aleks for winning the 2014 winter holiday tournament! Thanks to all that participated in this first public demonstration of our game. We've already implemented a lot of great feedback from participants, such as:
  • interactive tutorial to help onboard new players
  • practice mode to quickly test out build orders and inventory loadouts
  • ranked 2v2, 3v3 and 4v4 modes for players to team up with one another
  • tons of UI improvements and gameplay tweaks

As we begin to gradually unveil the game to a wider audience, we'll be working around the clock to integrate feedback and bug fixes. You may experience intermittent downtime and strange bugs due to maintenance or experimentation. Our priorities over the coming months are as follows:

  • improve HUD, tutorial and info/help systems
  • improve collision detection, pathfinding and AI designer
  • stabilize and scale up multiplayer matchmaking
  • balance game mechanics and fix bugs

We welcome and greatly appreciate any feedback, questions and bug reports. Please email us at info@automakhan.com. I hope you enjoy the current version and wish you the best of luck in your battles!

Sincerely,

Andy AKA Kept Blue