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Zero-K v1.8.9.1 - Control Cleanup and Idle Improvement

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6 months ago

A few tweaks to help new players ballooned into several major efforts aimed at improving the new player experience. As is often the case, I couldn't add a piece of UI without making it extra smart and configurable, so the result is a cleaner and more powerful interface for everyone. Once you see the cleaner command panel you won't want to go back to the full messy version, although you may want to go into the settings to unhide your favourite advanced unit states.

In other news I (GoogleFrog, writing this) have a Patreon. It is new, since the last release, and the aim is to free up a bit more time to support Zero-K.

The map above is a new version of Twin Lakes Park by TheMooseIsLoose.

Idle Behaviour

Idle units now give up and return to their old location if they move too far while chasing enemies (previously they could be baited across the whole map). This can be disabled by setting a unit to Roam. Raiders and riots are also a bit smarter about how they react to enemies while idle.
  • Idle raiders move to stay out of range when approached by riots or most other raiders.
  • Idle riots perform similar behaviour against skirmishers and against riots with greater range.
  • Units that have been pushed back in this manner only move a short distance. When pushed too far they will turn and attack.
While some attempt was made to generate good chase and push distances, there are around 100² unit matchups so the configuration is a little rough. Expect tweaks and improvements in future patches.

Also, drones now return to their host if they stray too far away.

Command Panel

The command panel has a simple mode so as to not overwhelm new players with esoteric commands. I liked it so much that I added configuration options, to give even those that was a few more commands a nice clean panel.
  • Replaced the icons for Repeat, Movestate and Firestate.
  • Command and state position/ordering is now stable and consistent.
  • Simple mode has slightly larger state toggles, large enough to show hotkeys. The old size can be enabled under Settings/HUD Panels/Command Panel (with Simple Settings disabled).
  • Dual-toggle Hold Fire and Hold Position states replace Movestate and Firestate by default. Under the hood they toggle Hold Fire/Fire At Will and Hold Position/Maneuver. The full triple-toggle states can be enabled under Settings/Interface/Commands.
  • Added the hotkey 'H' to toggle movestate.
  • Approximately one third of the states and command are now hidden by default. The visibility of each command or state can be toggled under Settings/Interface/Commands.
  • The position and order of the commands/states cannot be configured ingame. This requires a local configuration file found here.

Camera Controls

Many games have save/recall camera hotkeys, and it is an easy enough widget to write, so there was no reason not to add it.
  • Added bindable camera save/recall position hotkeys, and more control over alerts and transition times. These can be bound under Hotkeys/Camera/Camera Position Hotkeys.
  • Added the option to remove most advanced features from Combo Overhead/Free Camera, which can be enabled and configured under Settings/Camera with Simple Settings disabled. It can now be made to ignore shift, ctrl or alt, and can be permanent set to a particular tilt.

First Game Guide

There is now an interactive ingame guide that appears in your first non-campaign game. It is enabled by default to catch those who might need it. Experienced players can simply disable it with the X, and it can be enabled via Help.

Additional Improvements

  • Added Scalpel to Fencer unit AI.
  • In the lobby, watching a game or playing singleplayer no longer removes you from matchmaking queues.
  • Command queue transparency can be configured in the main menu under Settings -> Game.
  • The main menu settings menu now informs people that most settings only take effect upon entering the next game.
  • Improved metal and energy image extended economy tooltips.
  • Area Mex now queues one Solar with ctrl held, two with alt, and four with ctrl+alt. Previously it would queue four with ctrl.
  • Missile Silo no longer repeatably fires with repeat enabled. This frees up repeat to be used to loop the build queue. An attack command may be repeated by issuing it with ctrl held.
  • Added an experimental overlay that summarises visible reclaim. It can be enabled with 'Toggle Field Summary' under Settings/Interface/Reclaim Highlight (with Simple Settings disabled).
  • Added selection hotkey settings for Swift, Thunderbird and Athena. They can be set under Hotkeys/Selection.
  • Improved a few tooltips so that they are more descriptive. Move suggests line move. Reclaim/Repair suggests area reclaim/repair.
  • Added more icons for the menu entries.


  • Fixed command tooltips defaulting to those set by the engine instead of being overridden.
  • Added startboxes for Supreme Crossing.
  • Fixed terraform height presets being unable to make walls around structures with ctrl held.
  • Terraform structure height no longer lets you try to make land-only structures underwater.
  • Fix factory plate UI on unit transfer within team.
  • Added Construction Plates to the cheat sheet unit spawner.
  • Fixed Merlin firing issues with save/load and improved walk animation.
  • Removed Misc Priority from units with shields that do not drain energy.
  • Optimised the defence range indicator.
  • Optimised the metal spot visualiser.
  • Fixed a performance issue in a piece of code that was meant to be disabled.
  • Fixed a bug with Zenith.
  • Fixed some incorrectly displayed rank icons in the extended player list.
  • Removed Dante lookahead as it seems to interact poorly with multiple weapons.
  • Dual wielding commanders now prefer to aim with their shorter ranged weapon.
  • Fixed a chicken spire error caused by there being no burrows.
  • Fixed a minor bug with AFK sharing.
  • Fixed Gauss localisation.
+23 / -0
6 months ago

+3 / -0
I'm super excited for the idle behaviour improvement and camera hotkeys. I'm not sure where I'm going to set those up, but I might just replace autogroups with them, since I only really use autogroups to manage new units (and honestly it kinda makes battles harder to control), and being able to jump the camera back to my base at a keypress will kinda obviate that.
+0 / -0

Zero-K v1.8.9.3

  • Fixed a rare error to do with idle behaviour tracking that came in overnight via automated reports.
  • Added a checkbox to make camera save/recall save the whole state (enabled by default) and applied a better way to set position with COFC.
  • Fixed 'pos_' factory custom params crashing integral menu. Fixes Zero Wars.
+1 / -0

6 months ago
The reclaim fields highlight helped me quite a bit in a few recent games, it's great for reminding me I could just pick up 500+ metal off the floor with an idle constructor. Thanks to all who worked on it!

If it's still in line for improvements, I'd quite like to make it more transparent, perhaps via a slider. A settable limit for the amount that it highlights would also be great, I think I'd set it to only draw fields for over 100 metal, probably - otherwise it highlights ferns for 10 metal and suchlike. They're small and easy to ignore, so it's only a nice to have.
+1 / -0
I agree with those ideas for configuration, and I think it was primarily developed by RUrankivand and NZrankesainane.
+0 / -0
Few notes from some games earlier --

-Units like glaives seem to be a wee aggressive when they're approached. I've had more than a few times where an enemy's ducks went up to my glaives and my glaives approached like it was no big deal and immediately died.
-Knights are missing quite a lot of shots right now, even with clear vision and against stationary units. Not sure if this started with this patch, or an artifact from the old ones.
-Some units are moving around without orders, kinda randomly. I don't have any examples to show, but I've seen random units just start walking away after a command. Mostly noticed it after a unit comes out of a factory.

Overall pretty good stuff, though!
+0 / -0

6 months ago
New idle behavior saved a minotaur of mine last night. Nice. :-)
+0 / -0

6 months ago
USrankchaplol that sounds about right. Glaives are theoretically more wary of Ducks in this version since the leashing side of the equation is mostly unchanged from the old behaviour, but there could be a bug.

If anyone spots weird behaviour such as bad leashing or units going back to old positions then they should post on the battle replay with a position and time (hold space and hover terrain to get a position).
+0 / -0

6 months ago
Thanks! I added some timing/comments in https://zero-k.info/Battles/Detail/961000
+0 / -0

6 months ago
My builders seemed to be returning to place yesterday after completing build jobs. Seems undesirable.
+0 / -0

6 months ago
Are archers good enough against Scallops that Scallops can be sinkers and attack from underwater again?
+0 / -0

6 months ago
Scallops do attack from underwater again already, although their torpedo attack is considerably weaker than it has been in the past.
+1 / -0
6 months ago

The old interface was more functional, for example a loop function, or I can't protect units with shields.
+0 / -0

6 months ago
There's a button somewhere to restore the old mode iirc.
+0 / -0
6 months ago
To make the panel look more like it did before (restoring functionality and making icons smaller), try this:

In Menu (F10)
  • Remove check mark for
    Settings → HUD Panels → Command Panel → Large State Icons
  • Check all boxes in
    Settings → Interface → Commands

It's all in the original post, just not as easy to see.

To repopulate empty space in Spectator mode, set to Always Enabled (this one doesn’t always to stick for me for some reason)
Settings → HUD Panels → Quick Selection Bar → Selection Bar Visibility
+1 / -0
6 months ago
I've had issues with units going back to where they where before, and so I have to constantly click sometimes multiple times for units to actually move to a front line! and this is really bad, One of my friends was having it too.
+0 / -0
units going back? are you issuing patrol orders or failing to hold shift key and sending units back? why would they return? do you mean rubber banding? like lag?

are orders being dropped/lost or not issued? if so thats normally network lag
+0 / -0