The main change in this version is Aquanim's sea rework. Sonar ranges are less arbitrary than previously - all sea units have sonar equivalent to their vision radius. Many ships have been changed significantly. Serpent has been removed entirely but there is a new surface ship with a sonic gun and Impaler-like missile (Siren). Amphibious and Hovercraft haven't been changed besides sonar, but the new ships interact with those factories quite differently so you will still need to rethink your strategies.
In short: all sea units and Urchin can see underwater units, underwater units are not detectable by radar and long-range sonar sources do not exist. Being underwater functions like radar jamming does on land, except you can't be seen by economy structures or land units.
In principle, being underwater is a lot like radar jamming, except that you are also invisible to non-Urchin structures, non-Vulture planes, and amphibious-pathing units from land factories. Here are the details:
* All units produced by the Ship, Amphibious and Hovercraft factories, and the ship Striders, have sonar equal to their sight range. * Urchin has sonar equal to its sight range. * Commanders have sonar equal to their sight range. * Vulture has sonar range equal to its jamming range (700). * Other units and structures do not have sonar. Notably this includes Gauss, Aspis, Eraser, Ultimatum and Detriment. * Sonar Station has been removed.
We've investigated some preexisting sonar interactions and cleaned up some weirdness. One thing of note is that cloak and jamming on fully submerged units is penetrated by sonar (perhaps a recent engine change). To make this interaction more obvious we've made fully submerged units unable to cloak. This change barely affects game mechanics aide from saving energy and removing the underwater radar dot.
We also noticed that sufficiently deep units do not have any surface vision. This is an engine change and not part of the current design. However, it probably works so we'll not put effort in to work around it for the time being.
Ship Factory has been substantially reworked. We've also taken the opportunity to remove a lot of conflicts with TA unit names (though some renames are just for consistency with reroles or for some theme). Overkill prevention and Unit AI has been implemented, but you may find bugs and foibles. Report these so they can be fixed please :)
Constructor - Mariner is a little more expensive and has sonar, but mostly unchanged.
Scout (Disarming) - Skeeter is renamed to Cutter and has increased range to be able to destroy any land mex reachable by Mariner. Be aware that the Scout Boat's overkill prevention defaults to disabled, because it also tries not to hit disarmed targets. Under some circumstances you may wish to enable it.
Raider (Torpedo-Boat) - Hunter is now a torpedo-boat raider; it is much cheaper, smaller and faster, but is individually weaker in combat and no longer has a large area-of-effect.
Skirmisher Frigate (Missile) - Enforcer is renamed to Mistral and completely reworked. It is much cheaper and functions like a mobile Slasher. It fires weak guided missiles from long range (in particular it outranges Urchin, Scalpel, Defender and Stinger).
Riot/Raider Corvette (Shotgun) - Typhoon is renamed to Corsair; it is a little cheaper and faster, and armed with shotguns instead of machineguns. The shotguns make it effective against large targets at short range, however, its toughness has been reduced.
Riot/Assault Destroyer (Sonic Gun) - Siren (a new unit based on the old Daimyo model) has a sonic gun with some area-of-effect which is effective against lighter-weight surface and underwater targets. It also has a mini-Impaler missile for attacking statics. It is quite slow.
Artillery Cruiser - Crusader is renamed to Ronin; it is more expensive, more resilient, has slightly improved range and has more area-of-effect. It no longer has a depth charge sidearm.
Submarine Raider - Snake is renamed to Seawolf; it fills the same role as before, with a few numbers tweaks. The changes to how sonar works have affected its best use somewhat.
Anti-Air - Shredder is renamed to Zephyr and now has sonar but is otherwise unchanged.
Transport - Surfboard is unchanged, besides new sonar. Some bugs with transporting cloakers and jammers have been fixed.
Submarine Artillery - Serpent has been removed.
The large ships have recieved some changes. Reef has some role issues which require improved drone control to fix.
Battleship - Renamed to Shogun and has a little more range and sonar. Otherwise unchanged for now; this needs some teams game testing but its overall role seems okay.
Carrier - Instead of its previous cruise missile, the Carrier stockpiles tactical missiles in 60s at 10 m/s, and fires them like a D-gun. This change is largely to avoid the current overload of weapon and drone controls. The Carrier currently retains the name Reef but this may be subject to change, as are the other properties of the unit. If and when the drone controls are improved there is some potential for adding a light carrier to the Ship factory. Something interesting and large (think Crabe or Grizzly) should go in the remaining build slot for the Shipyard and that could possibly be a miniature carrier.
Tactical Missile Sub - Renamed to Scylla. Now stockpiles in 30s at 20 m/s, twice its old rate. Similarly to the Carrier, this unit could potentially see further changes but needs more data from teamgames (and FFA).
Other Sea Units
Amphibious and hovercraft units are unchanged except that they all have sonar range equal to their sight range. Sea has changed around these units though so reevaluate their new place in sea. The sea interactions of these factories is open to change in the future, especially Duck torpedo range as well as everything about Scallop, Archer and Claymore.
After some testing we think that more amphibious units are viable than before. Buoy and Archer seem to be decent units to fight the reduced weight Hunter and Scallop is a bit less powerful. Hovercrafts are mostly unchanged except that Dagger is worse against the new raiders. Penetrator and Halberd are still powerful, unique units and Claymore has its uses.
Sea is not designed for Hovercrafts and Amphs to be 1v1 viable start factories. It seems that they might be viable on small maps, such as 8x8. However, we've found it useful to switch to these factories and teamgames should see many different factories ploped. This makes sea distinct from land in that there is one main factory and four support factories. We're not too worried about this as the ship factory has a lot of complexity with its dual domain and 3 or 4 raiders. Sea 1v1s feel harder than land 1v1s which is probably a good spot for it.
Urchin range has been reduced a little and has slightly more health.
Ultimatum and Detriment no longer have sonar.
Sonar Station no longer exists.
* Improved Penetrator, Pillager and Impaler AI. They are now less prone to wiggling at max range to match the exact wiggling of their opponent. * Scorchers now hug most unarmed or undodgable enemies instead of runing around them in tight circles. * Many things now keep their distance from death explosions. Only appies to Fight command.
* Morph no longer purges slow damage upon completion. * Status effects (EMP, disarm, slow) now affect resource drain. * Commanders can now morph on Surfboards. They need to disembark to complete the morph in case they are no longer transportable. * Non-commander morph is now cancelled if the unit is loaded into a transport.
* New UI chat is wider, backlog automatically toggles when entering chat. * Area reclaim is now back to reclaiming trees by default. Holding Ctrl while issuing an area reclaim order now ignores trees. The recent new behaviour can be enabled through Game/Unit Behaviour.
* Chicken and player timeout windows no longer persist through different games with Chobby. * Fixed initial queue structure visualization on some maps.