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Distant Worlds 2: Major Update - v.

Published on May 31, 2022

We are glad to announce the new Major Update for Distant Worlds 2, this update will feature many gameplay fixes and improvements to Fleet and Ship Behavior (including Fuel Tankers and Starfighters), the Private Economy and Resource distribution, Intelligence MIssions, Colonization and Migration, Tourism, Character skills.  Also, some significant performance improvements, especially for the late game.

We hope you like it, enjoy and let us know what do you think about it.

Changes in

This update includes many improvements in fleet coordination and fleet and ship behavior. Some of the issues addresses were due to bugs in the game, but others were due to confusion caused by unclear labeling or explanation on our part, which the below documentation and changes should resolve. Please read through the explanations below as well as the change list to fully understand how fleet and ship tactical settings are meant to function.

Fleet Engagement Range vs. Engagement Range

There is now Fleet Engagement Range (re-named) at the fleet level and Engagement Range at the ship level.
When a ship is in a fleet, the Fleet Engagement Range will override the ship's Engagement Range.  The ship will only use its own Engagement Range when it is not in a Fleet.
The Fleet Engagement Range determines at a strategic level what missions/targets the fleet is in range of taking on.  Previously, there was a gap at the system level where fleet and ship engagement ranges could conflict or override each other, which would result in the most restrictive of the two being used. That has been resolved. Now, if there is a target in the system and there is a fleet in the system with Fleet Engagement Range that would allow attacking within that system, the fleet will go attack that target as a fleet even if the individual ship settings would not allow individual ships to respond.

Manual Fleets and Military Attack Policies

It's important to note that a Manual fleet will not automatically respond outside of its own system. DW2 assumes that a Manual fleet is fully under manual orders for anything out of system. If you would like a fleet to automatically respond outside of its own system, it needs to be set to one of the Automatic fleet roles (for example, Attack or Defend) and its Fleet Engagement Range must allow it.
Also, if you have your Military Attacks Policy in the Military section of your policies set to Manual, then no fleets of any kind will respond or attack outside their own systems without being manually ordered to do so.
In order to have fleets fully responding outside their systems, you need to have:

1. Fleet Engagement Ranges set to allow it
2. Each Fleet needs to be set to one of the Automatic roles
3. The Military Attacks policy cannot be set to Manual

By default, all these things are true, but if you have changed these settings please be aware of their intended interactions and results.

Fleet Attack Stance

This was no longer performing any necessary function given the other settings and their capabilities. It was however adding confusion for players, so it was removed.

Fleet Retreat Strategy

There was an issue preventing this working as intended, which should now be resolved.  It should also be noted that this has a different function than the Retreat When setting at the ship level. It was therefore renamed to Fleet Retreat Strategy to avoid confusion.
Fleet Retreat Strategy affects when the entire fleet will consider changing orders to escape a location based on overall strength comparison at that location. Individual ships will still follow their Retreat When setting in terms of responding to damage caused to that ship.
Note that Manual fleets will not at this time retreat as a fleet unless ordered to do so by the player. This is working as intended, as we generally lean towards manual meaning that the player has full control and gets to decide when the fleet retreats. All automated fleets will respect the Fleet Retreat Strategy.

Position within Fleet

We realized that the previous UI terminology used "Role" in two different instances. Role now refers only to the general type of ship (i.e. Frigate, Destroyer, Cruiser).
The position of a ship in a fleet within the fleet formation is now more intuitively called "Position within Fleet" in the ship's tactical settings. The previous "Attack" has been renamed to "Core" to make it more clear that this position is in the center of the fleet, whereas "Close Escort" is the inner ring and "Picket" is the outer ring of the formation. In most cases, we recommend placing your point defense-oriented ships in the Picket or Close Escort positions and keeping your most valuable Capital ships and long-range standoff ships in the Core.

Ship Tactical Setting Apply Buttons

We recognized that the importance of the tactical settings at the ship level was not matched by the UI in terms of the ease of adjusting them post-construction. There are now three new buttons available for any ship in a fleet:

- Apply these tactical settings to all ships of this design in the fleet
- Apply these tactical settings to all ships of this role in the fleet
- Apply these tactical settings to all ships of this position in the fleet
- Apply these tactical settings to all ships in the fleet

This only affects the ship level tactical setting. You can see these by selecting a ship that is in a fleet and looking at its tactical settings.
We also plan to add the ability to mass apply tactical setting changes whenever multiple ships are selected through any method in the future.

- improved general performance, especially in very large late-game galaxies
- fixed rare bug that was sometimes slowing general game performance
- improved performance when calculating construction yard wait times, especially for large games

- fixed Prepare and Attack fleet missions to properly evaluate need to refuel
- fleets now more permissive when evaluating Prepare and Attack missions. If sufficient fleet ships in target system and can handle attack against target then less inclined to first refuel or gather. In other words, now more likely to attack targets in same system directly without first refuelling or gathering, even when some fleet ships are dispersed or need refuelling
- fleets now wait for all fighters to board carriers before hyperjumping
- when preparing to hyperjump, carriers now move more slowly while waiting for all fighters to board, thus making it easier for fighters to catch up with carrier
- fighters boarding carriers now move at maximum speed when returning to carrier from far away
- fixed fighters sometimes incorrectly boarding carriers and then immediately relaunching
- fleets now more careful to have enough available ships when auto-assigning attacks against targets
- fleets more careful about completing attack missions (e.g. raid) when all fleet ships have completed the mission type
- ensure disable action buttons when select fleet of another empire
- fixed some additional situations where fleets would not engage threats properly
- broadened Guard mission so that fleets/ships will engage threats at same location, even when threat is not currently attacking guard target
- fixed bug where fleet engagement range was sometimes not properly overriding ship engagement range
- ensure fleets properly use fleet engagement range when evaluating whether to attack targets (i.e. do not downgrade to use each ship's engagement range)
- manually assigning refuel/repair/retrofit missions to automated fleets no longer immediately changes their role to Manual. All other mission types remain the same and will automatically change their role to Manual if currently automated (Attack, Defend, Raid, Invade)
- fixed bug where fleets would sometimes not engage threats, even when within engagement range
- ensure that automated fleets do not get caught in attack/retreat loop
- fixed manually assigning Guard missions to fleets sometimes not being assigned to individual fleet ships
- when investigating dangerous locations fleets are now more careful to ensure have adequate strength to handle expected threats
- ship missions that require docking at a colony (e.g. load/unload troops, load/unload colonists, etc) now more flexible about ship position, does not necessarily need to move to new position if already close to planet. This change helps these mission types complete faster
- troops reserved for pickup by troop transport now immediately unreserved when transport destroyed (previously took a few seconds)

- removed unused Fleet Stance tactical setting
- in Tactical Settings dialog, the orange warning highlight for Fleet Engagement Range when the Military Attack policy is manually-controlled (thus disabling auto fleet engagement) is now used even when selected fleet is automated
- updated Galactopedia topic for Tactical Settings to reflect updated ship and fleet tactical terminology and functionality
- added comprehensive tooltips explaining each item in the Tactical Settings screen
- ensure Tactical Settings dialog closes when select ship or fleet of another empire
- clarified wording of explanations for Fleet Engagement Range in Galactopedia and Tactical Dialog tooltips (manual fleets auto-engaging within current system)
- added tooltip to explain that Fleet Retreat tactical setting is not used by manually-controlled fleets
- added tooltip to Fleet Engagement Range to explain when this is used by fleets
- changed labeling for some fleet tactical settings for extra clarity
- ensure Tactical Settings dialog not displayed when open Ship Design screen
- to reduce confusion role in ship tactical settings has been replaced with position within fleet
- added extra 'Apply Settings' buttons to Tactical Settings dialog when displaying tactics for ship that is part of a fleet: allow applying settings to all fleet ships with same role, design, position in fleet.

- automated Fuel Tankers in a fleet are no longer set to manual control when you set their fleet to Manual or when manually assign a fleet mission. This allows Fuel Tankers to remain automated and auto-delivering fuel to the fleet ships while the rest of the fleet is under manual control. Note that you can still set fleet Fuel Tankers to manual control when individually selecting them
- ensure properly exclude fuel tankers when generating action button for fleet retrofit (fleet fuel tankers operate independently and retrofit on their own schedule)
- automated Fuel Tankers now retrofit and repair as needed even when assigned to a fleet
- additional tweaks to Fuel Tanker evaluation of when to refuel various ship roles, e.g. exploration ships now not refueled until lower fuel level, thus spending less time waiting for fuel tankers
- Fuel Tankers now periodically check whether target ship still needs refueling, cancelling mission if needed
- Fuel Tankers no longer refuel other Fuel Tankers unless they are completely out of fuel (including no fuel in cargo)
- Fuel Tankers more careful to avoid locations that have damaging storm effects that they cannot handle
- Fuel Tankers now more careful to avoid attempting to refuel ships that will soon enter hyperspace, instead prefer idle ships or ships that have already reached mission destination
- Fuel Tankers now more careful to avoid traveling to hostile locations when attempting to join up with fleet. Will instead move to nearby location free of threats
- ensure Fuel Tankers can refuel ships even when in deep space far from any normal location

- improved selection of queued colonization targets by existing colony ships that already have population loaded. Will now also unload population if necessary so that can load more suitable population from existing colonies
- added new mission type to unload passengers for colony ships with colonists onboard. Access by selecting colony ship and right-clicking on one of your empire's colonies for pop-up mission list
- altered auto-assigned migration missions to prefer higher suitability destination colonies
- now exclude Colony Ships as available to colonize new colony while loading colonists (assign mission button in New Colonies list)
- when colonization range limits are enforced (game startup settings) now use straight-line distance to evaluate whether potential colony is in range of existing colonies (instead of path time, which caused issues when potential colonies were in nebulae)
- fixed bug where colony ships would sometimes load wrong race as colonists
- further improved race selection for new colonies, even for independent colonies, i.e. attempt to use most suitable race
- further improved automated selection of colonizing race for Colony Ships based on queued and non-queued colonization targets (i.e. attempt to select most suitable race for new colonies). This applies even when you have custom population policies at your colonies that would otherwise prioritize other races for pickup (e.g. Resettle)
- now prevent unloading colonists at colonies that cannot accept them due to either blocking population policy (e.g. Do Not Accept) or colony already being at maximum population
- disabled ships (cannot move) no longer count as threats and thus do not show up on threats list or block colonization or construction at the location
- tourism missions now properly ignore colony population policy settings (tourism to destinations with policy of Do Not Accept, etc)
- ensure tourism destinations are selected more evenly by passenger ships (resort bases + scenic colonies)

- colony corruption and support costs now scale similarly to colony revenue beyond 50% maximum population. This means that net colony revenue no longer decreases as population increases, though it will increase much more slowly.
- reduced luxury resource consumption rate at colonies by 33% to improve resource logistics across a variety of galaxy map settings and resource prevalences
- reduced default stock level for fuel storage at mining stations
- ensured spaceports not at colonies have more storage space and higher stock levels for fuel and construction resources
- freighters transporting resources to locations now allow some over-delivery of amounts beyond cargo capacity for each resource. This especially improves efficiency for locations that are space-constrained and thus have stock levels the same as the cargo capacity (e.g. mining stations, research stations)
- ensure resource ordering for colonies and bases requests excess amount above stock levels to reduce frequency of reordering and thus reduce freighter demand
- fixed bug where destinations were sometimes failing to receive resources via freighter
- added warnings to New Colonies list and Selection Panel indicating when a planet has low suitability for colonization and the economic consequences
- new resources are now properly discovered and used when you acquire a ship or base with the previously unknown resource in its cargo (e.g. abandoned base, story event, etc)
- fixed bases built at independent colonies (e.g. research stations) incorrectly using cargo, stock levels and cargo capacities of parent colony (should only do so when parent colony is own empire)
- ensured Resources and Stock Levels dialog does not incorrectly indicate that some resource amounts on hand are below the stock level
- Resources and Stock Levels dialog now includes explanatory note about foreign sources in tooltip for Mined and Known Locations
- colonies now always attempt to stock super luxury resources when available (Korabbian Spice, Loros Fruit, Zentabia Fluid), even when they can meet their target development level through other, more accessible luxury resources
- ensure automated construction does not build too many ships at once (minimize big swings in cash on hand, etc)

- all maintenance savings bonuses now applied by dividing by (1 + bonus amount) instead of multiplying by bonus amount (ship maintenance, troop maintenance, planetary facility maintenance). This means that maintenance savings can never be greater than full maintenance costs (no negative maintenance)
- fixed some bonus types being applied incorrectly (TroopRecoveryRate, ShipEnergyUsage)
- ensure that empire-wide bonuses from research are properly integrated into overall empire bonuses (e.g. Troop Maintenance Savings from Improved Logistics project, etc)

- character skills at a location are now applied with diminishing values. Thus the best character for a skill applies 100% of their skill level, but all subsequent characters only apply a steadily diminishing proportion of their skill for that area (thus 100%, 50%, 25%, etc). This means that is is often better to spread characters across multiple locations instead of concentrating them at a single location, e.g. admirals and generals in multiple fleets, scientists in multiple research stations, etc.
- updated Galactopedia topic Characters to explain diminishing character skills for a location
- slowed growth of character skill levels

- decreased success chance for intelligence missions. Diminishing value begins at 75% instead of previous 90%. Thus spies must have much higher skill levels to reach high success chance

- tweaked default design templates for colony ships and troop transports to maximize chance of sufficient reactor energy output to power hyperdrives at full speed and thus extend travel range
- further improved auto-design for troop transports to maximize fuel range by ensuring hyperdrives have full reactor energy supply
- fixed faulty weapon damage graph for tractor beams in Ship Design screen

- fixed exploration ships sometimes pausing exploration of home system when have not yet found fuel source
- fixed black hole vortex range so that exploration ships can properly complete mission

- suppress incorrect initial mouse-up when enter research screen from main view header (would sometimes incorrectly queue the hovered research project)
- fixed text display bug for colony events reported as Galaxy News (Patriotic Wave, Predictive History, etc)
- limit maximum number of items displayed in Summary View (bottom-middle of screen) at galaxy level (colonies, spaceports, fleets) to ensure that on lower resolution displays this does not become overwhelming in the late game
- altered Ghost Fleet Base story event to always be generated at location with fuel source
- ensure raid countdown processed for bases

- fixed various issues in the art bundles with incorrect texture sizes as well as uncompressed or unstreamed texture settings
- substantially reduced texture memory usage for creatures, nebulae and effects

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