I woke up on one beautiful morning recently and found out that ALL MY MISSIONS HAD BEEN DESTROYED
Well, I exaggerate slightly. By ALL I mean AT LEAST ONE. But it was THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE.
We're about to release. I mean, it could happen soon, really ****ing soon. So at this stage our missions are supposed to be pretty much cool, y'know? Pretty much golden. Not suddenly and bizarrely impossible.
Allow me to clarify.
The opening stages of this mission - which is, I think inarguably, our best - involve some bombers attacking a friendly ship. These bombers are pretty clever. They come in from multiple angles, with fighter escort, using Maxims to get in some damage before they close to bomb range. But if you're quick and smart you have the tools to handle them and save your ship.
Or at least that's what I thought.
I woke up this fine morning and played my beautiful mission and suddenly WHAT THE DEAR JESUS THE SKY IS FULL OF WARHEADS
I screamed. I screamed. Six Artemis bombers should not be able to fire forty-eight Cyclops warheads in the span of a few seconds. FORTY-EIGHT.
Look, you don't understand how awful this was. These bombers were supposed to cruise in putting out warheads at a realistic rate: a dual launch every few seconds, just like a human player switching banks and re-locking.
Instead they had become cigar-chomping, tough-talking bomb-launching MACHINES. They fired bombs and didn't afraid of anything! Their secondary banks were full of little men tossing those warheads out into space. These bombers were giving birth faster than an all-Catholic fertility clinic!
As I was screaming my good friend Nighteyes popped onto IRC and said: 'yo my domestic skillets, who put swarm torpedoes on the Tev bombers?' (or something to that effect)
So I knew it wasn't just me. The madness was everywhere. These bombers were on a rampage.
You have never seen hell like these bombers produced. Nighteyes has done new bomb trail and detonation art. Additionally, Wanderer implemented a gorgeous new scripting effect that creates a full-screen flash when a Cyclops (or other warhead) goes off - a flash that fades into a pretty orange fireball like a dying sun. Finally these bombs feel like thermonuclear weapons.
And now there were dozens, perhaps hundreds of them cruising in towards this ship. Point defense guns picked them off by the basketful, and hideous nuclear fire swelled across my vision - but through the clouds of flame flocked dozens more, their drive trails braiding together like the queue of an ancient warrior! Unstoppable! Unyielding! MERCILESS!
At first I thought it might be the fact that we'd just switched to a new build. Sushi's AI changes had caused bomb-fire issues in the past. But The_E, our stalwart friend in code, said that nothing in the AI sections had been changed.
Bemused, I began reverting my own FRED commits, certain that I had somehow, somewhen done something mad to this mission. I'd just gotten through a round of rebalancing - perhaps that was the problem?
But no. Reverting to a build of the mission that had previously been self-playing, I now saw cackling GTVA bombers swooping through space, unloading Cyclops from bellies pregnant with thermonuclear destruction. Hapless UEF gunships firing eight banks of the most volcanic firepower in the Federation arsenal were powerless to stop this blizzard of death. These ships danced the Dance of the Seven Veils, except the veils were made of bombs.
I went to SVN and checked the logs on our highly custom, extremely awesome AI profiles and table (which all mods from this day forward should steal!). Indeed, there had been a recent change; Fury had made some tweaks.
To the Blue Planet 1 AI profile.
Which this mission didn't use.
I wept. Mysterious forces beyond my ken had reached into my beautiful mission and energized its pilots with inhuman bomb-firing abilities. I could only imagine the GTVA warriors giving a mighty KIAAIIIIIII shout as they worked their triggers, their biceps bulging with sinew after years of Ivan Drago-esque steroid therapy and weight training.
Meanwhile The_E calmly suggested that I revert Fury's recent changes, just in case.
So I did. And through my tears I saw, miracle of miracles, that sanity had been restored. Although Fury's AI changes had not even touched the BP2 AI profile, somehow they were responsible. With them reverted, the bombers were once more merely mortal. Balance had been restored.
Eventually the mighty Wanderer deduced that the problem was the use of the #nocreate flag in the tables. We still don't know why, or how (there's a Mantis issue open), but somehow the mere presence of #nocreate drove the AI into a murderous fury.
So, gentlemen: be wary out there. The AI may seem biddable and complacent. It may do what you wish, FREDDers; it may crumble before your weapons, brave pilots. But deep in the convoluted logic of its code, it possesses abilities that many would deem...unnatural.
Do not tempt its rage.