_wb_ has posted an entry into the DragonBox Coding Competition:

For the 2012-2013 DragonBox coding compo, I'm going to participate with an improved version of Microbes. In this thread I'll document the new stuff as I'm adding it. The version on the repo is 0.8, but the latest release before the compo was 1.0rc2, which is available here: http://boards.openpa...140#entry189906

Compared to the 0.8 repo version, the 1.0rc2 didn't have that much really new stuff, it had mainly some bugfixes and minor improvements like better level previews in the main menu.

So what will be new in the compo version?

  • Highscores! (local ones, no global highscores because it's impossible to prevent cheating and I don't want to make the game need an internet connection and set up a server and all that). For each level, you can get 1 to 5 stars, depending on the difficulty setting (5 stars for insane, 1 star for easy, no stars for very easy and trivial). If you don't use the "show paths" and "build while paused" options, it's called "advanced mode" and you get golden stars. Otherwise it's called "simple mode" and you get silver stars. You only get the stars if you complete the level (duh), but even if you don't complete it, you can get a highscore based on how many epidemics (waves) you survived. The highscore also records how many lives and how much energy you have left at the end, so even if you already have the gold stars, you can still try to improve your highscore. There is a new screen (in the "Information" submenu) to view your highscores, and the silver/gold stars are also shown in the main menu (in the level previews).

  • Cool down time between epidemics: Previously the epidemics (waves) would keep coming one after another, so it felt like one long wave. Now there is some time between waves, depending on the difficulty setting. In "insane" nothing changes (no break between waves), in the other difficulties there is a waiting time (the harder, the less time), and in "trivial" and "very easy", the next wave only starts when all microbes from the current wave are killed. This makes "trivial" and "very easy" much easier, so to compensate these difficulty settings are made slightly harder than before (in terms of microbe HP/damage/speed scaling factors)

  • Help screens: This is still work in progress, but some improvements have already been made. The help screen used to be just a list of the enemy microbes with their stats, and a very compact representation of the units tech tree (without any info, just the icons). Now the help screen will consist of several panels: one for the microbes, one for your own units (a scrollable list, showing detailed stats), and one to explain the game controls (Christoph.Krn has offered to help me with that one).

  • "Mutated" microbes: There are 3 new microbes, which are "mutated" versions of existing microbes. Besides having better stats (more hp/dmg/speed), they are also "smarter": instead of taking simply the shortest path to the destination, they take a path that tries to avoid taking damage from your units. So they might take a significant detour if that means they get no or less damage. They also avoid poisoned terrain if they can. The mutated microbes are implement, but it's currently work in progress to make some new levels in which they occur.

  • Replays: This is still work in progress. The idea is that at the end of a game (whether you lose or win) you can save a recording of the game. You can then replay the recording, with fast-forward and pause. The replay files are small files, stored in appdata so you can relatively easily share them with others.

That's it for now. Of course I'm open to further suggestions and feedback. Thanks to everyone for all the suggestions so far! Most of the stuff mentioned above was based on forum suggestions, I really appreciate that!