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Zero-K: Ladder rework

Ladder ratings have been modified to be more intuitive. Now your ladder rating will always increase when you win a game and decrease when a game is lost. The rank brackets are now global and equal for all users. Once you reach a 20% threshold in the next bracket, you will rank up. Once you go more than 20% below your current bracket, you will rank down. Ratings will change less between games.

The way this is implemented is with two major changes. Firstly, ladder rating is only updated playing a game. So there will be no rating changes when you’re not playing and it will never go opposite to whether you won/lost. Additionally, the rating changes use a moving average to smooth out changes. Secondly, the target rating for the ladder rating is now a monthly average. This means that instead of just looking at your most recent rating, your rating over the whole past month will be averaged, weighted by the number of games played each day. This should make for more stable monthly ladders.
There’s also been a fix for people who haven’t played within the last 30 days still being displayed on the ladders. This means that there will be less rated players, and thus less purple ranks (top 1%).


Zero-K: Zero-K v1.7.9.0 A Bunch of Fixes

Policing a list of banned exploits sucks for any competitive game as it is a task rife with ambiguity. Two exploits were revealed quite recently, and while the community has been good enough to avoid breaking the game, it is best to fix them as soon as possible. Hence this update.

Zero-K would not be Zero-K without creative use of physics weapons so only the most broken aspects of the mechanics were patched. The real feature of this release is that players are again free to experiment without constraint. At this point, every trick or tactic that is possible within the game mechanics is allowed. Have fun!

(Note that using mechanics to troll is neither a ‘trick’ or ‘tactic’.)

Large Fixes

Lobstervators and Placestations can no longer be built arbitrarily high in the sky. This is achieved essentially by making Lobster and Placeholder gradually lose impulse power at an altitude of around 600 to 1000 elmos, preventing unbounded expeditions into the sky.

Krow can no longer be made to oscillate to arbitrarily fast speeds.

Claws have been fixed, resulting in a DPS buff for Badger of at least 25%.

  • Fix the 5th Claw missile not appearing. This is effectively a 25% damage buff.
  • Fixed Claw not spawning on direct hits.
  • Claw no longer randomly delays its shot upon spawning.
  • Fixed Claw failing to 1-shot a 200 health target.
  • Fixed some other cases where Claw would randomly fail to spawn.
  • Claws no longer bait enemy fire in the short gap between firing and death.

Chicken have received fixes for sea maps.

  • Chickens now have sonar and can see underwater
  • Removed chicken speed penalties on the sea.
  • Melee chickens now move on the oceanfloor.
  • Chicken projecties can shoot underwater.

Medium-Sized Fixes

  • Flamethrowers no longer occasionally penetrate shields.
  • Fixed Starlight aiming. It can now snipe a Gnat at max range.
  • Fixed Widow occasionally missing.
  • Fixed structures failing to block anything (so they could be stacked) when placed on particular sharp cliffs.
  • Jugglenaut is now able to target Archer.
  • Fixed issuing a duplicate construction order with Shift+Right Click not canceling the order.
  • Unit states are no longer reset to their default upon loading a game.

Small Fixes

  • On/Off state can now be toggled on units that are under construction.
  • Disintegrators now lead moving targets correctly.
  • Fixed units eventually failing to follow patrol orders.
  • Damaged units no longer emit smoke while cloaked.
  • Jumpjets now work on non-amphbious units flying over the sea.
  • Metal spot circles now update with changes to nearby terrain.
  • Glint is invulnerable while its parent Starlight lives.
  • Removed some of the sharp speed and frequency limits that determine whether a Lobster can launch a unit. The limits now consist of a gradual loss of impulse power.
  • Another attempt at metalhead Gauss.
  • Improved hitboxes for Athena and Scorpion.
  • Improved hitboxes for the deathclones of Athena, Scorpion, Phoenix, Wasp, Moderator, Raptor, Owl, Tarantula, Venom, Recluse, Ravager, and Dominatrix.
  • Added a deathclone for Sparrow.
  • Fixed the disruptor bomb sound for Commanders and Disco Rave Party. Toned down the high frequencies.
  • Fixed Zenith with the Fire Once modifier (Ctrl + Force Fire).
  • Zenith is able to damage itself.
  • Removed pulsating teamcolour.

Zero-K: Zero-K v1.7.8.2 – Superweapon Balance and Gunship Buffs

In this version we take a closer look at superweapon balance and buff some gunships. As is the way with superweapons, they ended up more expensive but also more awesome. The gunship buffs are more experimental and aimed at producing more variety in air play.

The new save/load system has been fixed and re-enabled. This system saves many more details about the game, so report any new issues you find. Some other notable other changes are the performance improvement for Tremor, fancier unit textures, friendly fire fixes, and Ravens that are better at bombing on tall cliffs.


  • Added Frosty Cove, Crubick Plains, Frostburn, Shimmershore.
  • Removed Into Battle, Onyx Cauldron, Shifting Sands, Izki Channel.


Some of the gunships have been left behind by the evolving nature of balance and meta. Some (Revenant) were never that good. With these changes we may see more than Nimbus, Trident, and Krow.


  • Cost 260 -> 240
  • Health 600 -> 850
  • Speed 3.1 -> 3.2


  • Health 350 -> 420
  • Damage 600 -> 700
  • Range 180 -> 160


  • Turret arc 160 degrees -> 180 degrees
  • Buffed DPS by 4%


  • Speed 3.65 -> 3.8


  • Cost 900 -> 850
  • Health 3400 -> 3600
  • Manoeuvrability buffed by 11%
  • Range 300 -> 270

Many players noticed last month’s Zenith buff so we have taken a closer look at the balance between superweapons. Disco Rave Party, at 36k cost, is now the cheapest, which is appropriate for its relatively low range and DPS. Starlight is no longer countered by terraform and has a healthy range advantage over Zenith, so it is a bit more expensive.

Disco Rave Party:

  • Reload time (for each weapon type) 6.1s -> 6s


  • Cost 32k -> 40k
  • Damage 2000 -> 1600
  • Stockpile rate 1.2s -> 1s
  • Fixed a bug that caused it to be unable to fire at max range, resulting in a range buff of 8800 -> 9000


  • Cost 40k -> 45k
  • ‘Aiming’ Laser DPS 5400 -> 4500
  • Main Laser damage 5400 -> 18k
  • The Main Laser is now extremely good at cutting through terrain.
  • Range 9000 -> 10500. The build UI shows 10000 range to account for the effect of shooting a laser from high in the sky.

Light Particle Beam Commander weapon:

  • DPS 180 -> 210
  • Range 310 -> 300

Made Light Particle Beam and Heavy Particle Beam consistent with the -25% DPS of Disruptor Ammo.

The line of sight of land units launched into the sky is now larger. In terms of a 3D shape, line of sight is now an elongated sphere whereas previously it was an inverted cone.


  • Increased the highlight of small wrecks.
  • Added a shader that automatically infers normals for units and features that lack them. It makes the units look more detailed when viewed close up.
  • Increased the minimum shield transparency as they would be near-invisible at very low values.
  • Improved the effect of the Starlight main laser.
  • Fixed broken unit information entries (space + click) of Disco Rave Party, Zenith, and Starlight.
  • Added a state toggle to Lobster to make it ignore attack commands.


  • Fixed and applied the improved save game system.
  • Reduced the CPU load (due to terraform) of Tremor by around 50% and allocation load by around 99.5%.
  • Increased the amount Raven can climb against targets on cliffs. It is now much better at hitting units on tall terraform hills (up to around 1000 elmos).
  • Blocking the the Starlight beam from the ground station to the satellite now interrupts the beam from the satellite.
  • Maps with completely impassible areas now have those areas applied.
  • Fixed some dual-weapon friendly fire. This fixes Detriment, Envoy, Ogre, Hermit, and Siren.
  • Fixed a case in tactical AI behaviour that caused Scorcher to jink out of its own range.
  • Fixed cautious riot units (Mace, Ripper, Ogre) backing out of range of explosive structures.

Zero-K: Zero-K v1.7.7.0 – Performance and Shading

This version is primarily aimed at large team games. The big exception is the Sparrow nerf which should address concerns about scouting being a bit too easy in 1v1. The large game changes focus on performance, interesting energy choices, and curtailing Berthas. Additionally, some of the poorer Commander weapons received buffs.

On the technical side, many bugs were fixed and the shader rewrite is ongoing. Report any issues that you experience as we were unable to test across all potential hardware setups.


Sparrow was being built too early. By making it much more expensive we hope that it will mostly appear in the midgame, and it may even be worth countering with a small amount of AA.

  • Cost 135 -> 235
  • Radar morph build power 5 -> 7.5 (20s -> 24s)
  • Buffed maneuverability, tightened turn circle.

Wind Generators are now much worse at high altitudes. This addresses the trivially good choice of Wind Generation on maps with large base plateaus. Singularity Reactors are now always more efficient.

  • The best wind range is now 1.0 – 2.5.
  • The minimum increases at 0.25 energy per 100 height on most maps.
  • The rate of increase is scaled down on maps with height difference that exceed 600.
  • The minimum wind height is now based partially on height of the lowest metal extractor.

Singularity Reactor is now more scoutable, snipable, and leave Fusion with the unique strength of underwater construction.

  • No longer able to be built underwater.

Big Bertha was a bit oppressive on maps of a particular size. Lower range forces a choice between a safe Bertha or a Bertha that can reach into your opponents base.

  • Range 6200 -> 5600
  • Aims 20% slower


Light Particle Beam:

  • DPS 165 -> 180

Riot Cannon:

  • Range 275 -> 300
  • Reload 2s -> 1.63s

Heavy Rocket:

  • AoE 75 -> 96

Riot Cannon with Napalm Warhead:

  • DPS 86 -> 100
  • AoE 144 -> 170

Heavy Rocket with Napalm Warhead:

  • DPS 180 -> 135
  • AoE 128 -> 144
  • Leaves craters

Disruptor Ammo:

  • Increased Heavy Machine Gun and Shotgun normal damage DPS by 50%.

Napalm Warhead and Disruptor Ammo now consistently reduces direct damage by 25% when applied.


  • Reworked the unit shading system. This allows for fancy things like emissivity and fallbacks for older hardware. Report any issues.
  • Disabled the click-and-hold terraform UIs by default.
  • The space+click unit information window now shows how much damage a status effect deals to shields, and even shows the breakdown in the case of mixed normal and status effect weapons.
  • All main objectives in the campaign complete when ‘Victory’ is declared. Note that you can still fail protection objectives if you die in the victory lap.
  • Zenith tooltip says that it controls 300 meteors, the correct amount.
  • Very low value wrecks are now less highlighted by wreck highlight.
  • Shields become more transparent at very low charge.


  • Added a modoption to disable AI resign.
  • Added a modoption to disable Overwhelming Advantage.
  • Fixed factory rebuilding on Planet Bavhakya.
  • Updated the benchmarks.


  • Fixed the performance regression of last week thanks to player benchmarking and updates by the engine devs.
  • Raven now predicts height changes when targeting units on spires or cliffs, and dives appropriately.
  • Terraform construction points are no longer revealed upon Overwhelming Advantage.
  • Added some leeway to possibly fix Widow missing (along with other melee and almost-melee units).
  • Fixed the Commander and factory selection bar being empty upon loading saved games.
  • Increased the priority of the Set Target command over Attack commands.
  • Significantly reduced the number of projectiles tracked by Lua, improving performance.
  • Fixed metalhead Gauss turret.
  • Applied some useless optimisation to the wind gadget and animation.
  • Fixed a FacBar error.
  • Fixed a ‘spotter’ unit ground halos error.

Zero-K: Zero-K v1.7.6.0 – Maps, Balance, and Performance

This is a fairly large update with some balance changes, fixes, and performance improvements. We have also featured 78 maps to add to the variety in the teamgame autohosts. Some maps are new and some are old classics.

The main balance changes relate to frustrations in Tank vs. Rover. Capture has been reworked to make Dominatrix less uniformly good and some other units have received minor changes. Other notable changes are some Funnelweb refinements and tankier Commanders.

The notable fixes and performance improvements are a pathfinding fix for a recently introduced bug and a significantly faster outline shader. We are also working on performance improvements for the UI framework which can be enabled Settings -> Graphics -> Experimental Interface Renderer in the lobby menu. We would appreciate testing and feedback.


Commanders start with around 800 more health, and lose the bonus at higher levels. This is intended as an indirect nerf for Scythe and Raven. The power of early commander pushes will need to be watched closely.

  • Strike 3200/3200/3800/4600/5500/6400 -> 4200/4200/4600/5200/5800/6400
  • Guardian 3600/3600/4400/5500/6600/7600 -> 4400/4400/5000/5700/6600/7600
  • Support 2800/2800/3400/3800/4500/5000 -> 3800/3800/4000/4300/4600/5000
  • Recon 2400/2400/2800/3200/3600/4000 -> 3250/3250/3400/3600/3800/4000

Funnelweb is a bit cheaper and charges faster. To compensate, it has its shields lowered such that a single silo of Eos and Shockley can bypass it.

  • Maximum shield charge 28000 -> 23000
  • Shield regeneration 200 -> 300 per second.
  • Health 6000 -> 6500
  • Cost 3500 -> 3000
  • Turn rate 240 -> 520

Capture damage has been reworked to make Dominatrix much worse against low-to-mid cost assault units. This is to give the Tank Foundry some counterplay in the form of Minotaur. Dominatrix is mostly unchanged against units with average cost and health. It is a little better against mid-to-high cost glass cannons such as Lance and Emissary.

  • Capture progress is now based on the health of its target instead of its cost. The Capture Health of a unit is now its current health + 500.
  • Capture damage is no longer multiplied by (3 – 2*(currentHealth/maxHealth)).
  • Dominatrix now deals 333 DPS instead of 78. This reflects the average HP/cost of a Zero-K unit of around 3.5, as well as the 500 bonus health.
  • As with EMP and Disarm, accrued capture damage is scaled when a unit receives ordinary damage (or healing) such that the proportion of capture damage is unchanged.
  • Capture damage is now affected by armour.

All the large land-based builders now have small footprints to resolves much of the frustration that can come from navigating bases. Quill, Weaver, Welder, Mason:

  • Footprint 3×3 -> 2×2.


  • Reload time reduced by 2.5%.


  • Damage 440 -> 420
  • Range 340 -> 320
  • Cost 520 -> 500


  • Re-added the small fire delay that appeared to do nothing in testing, but seems relevant in practise.


  • Added a manualfire command that fires once. This essentially acts as a more accessible hotkey for singlefire.
  • Buffed turn rate by 80%.


  • Increased weapon velocity by 36%. Still half the speed of Flail.


  • Cost 120 -> 135 (morph time unchanged)
  • Health 400 -> 350
  • Speed reduced by 7%


Added a singlefire modifier for Force Fire commands. Issue a non-area Force Fire command with Ctrl held to fire once at the target and move on. This can be used with the Repeat command to make a unit alternate between a list of targets.

Other changes:

  • Static shields, jammers, and basic radar towers now have a move command that can be used to rally their mobile counterparts when they morph.
  • Added more options to control when reclaim is highlighted.
  • Sparrow and Owl now have tactical AI (activated with Attack Move and Patrol) that tells them to avoid flying over enemies, keeping them out of most AA range.
  • Added Morph to the ingame keybind menu.
  • The spectator resource display now displays teams on the side matching their side of the map (when applicable).
  • Added Turkish and Chiense translations. Updated Polish translations.
  • Reload bars no longer disappear a split second before completion.
  • Added mouse-directed focus to depth of field.
  • Line formations now trigger unit replies.


The UI framework is being updated to draw faster, but it has some rough edges. Without wider testing it is not clear that it will work, or be an improvement, on all hardware. It is disabled by default and can be enabled through the lobby menu under Settings -> Graphics -> Experimental Interface Renderer. Test it out and tell us if it works and if you see an improvement.

Here are some other performance improvements:

  • Updated shaders. This will change how a few things look and make it easier to improve performance in the future. For now, the main performance improvement is the replacement of the old CPU based outline widget with a much cheaper shader-based version.
  • Saved quite a bit of memory by cutting down on duplicate font creation.
  • Optimised various parts of the command menu. Replaced the, fairly expensive, unit outlines widget with a much cheaper shader-based version.


  • AIs build antinukes earlier.
  • Made planet Walchice (the Stinger and Stardust mission) a bit easier on Easy and Normal.


  • Fixed Funnelweb shield on low graphics settings.
  • Fixed ballistic weapons not shooting when told to Set Target the ground beyond their flat-ground range.
  • Fixed units sometimes getting stuck in the back of Cloaky, Shield, and Hovercraft factories.
  • Fixed campaign and tutorial marker text lagging behind camera movement.
  • Fixed cursor locking (grab input) not re-enabling itself when returning the focus to Zero-K.
  • Fixed some pathfinding issues caused by fixing a rare bug that caused other pathfinding issues.
  • Fixed Fender not quite dealing 40 damage per shot.

Zero-K: 1v1 Tournament this Sunday with divisions and cash prizes

USrankUltraGodzilla has decided to host a tournament this Sunday with a small cash prize to the top 2 finalists in the tournament. These tournaments will be best 2 out of 3 Single Elimination Format. There is no losers bracket. The two divisons are

  • Brown Dwarf To SubGiant,
  • SubGiant to SuperGiant,

so newer players are most definitely welcome. Sign up here:

The tournament is scheduled for 2019-06-02 14:00:00 UTC. See this timer:


Zero-K: Engine update to Spring 104.0.1-1239

It is time for another engine update. We have recently experienced trouble updating, but, after running some multiplayer tests, this update has a decent chance at success. Due to the time between updates there are more notable changes than usual.

  • Saved games now compress the entire game state, instead of saving only a few key attributes. This vastly improves the accuracy of saved games. Old saves should still work.
  • The bug which caused commands to sometimes disappear in long FFA games has been resolved.
  • A pathfinding bug relating to skipping waypoints was fixed. This improves the pathing of groups of units around corners.
  • A desync related to the game mysteriously misplacing files may be resolved.
  • Various graphics related crashes have been resolved.