Capturing makes the game more complicated and adds new dynamics. More polished? Probably. More interesting? I think so. More fun? Couldn't say. I think it speeds up the endgame, though. I noticed you can still build trees while the enemy is in the middle of taking your core, since the stupid AIs would occasionally do my planting for me after all hope was lost. You can build on top of the hole they're going down too, although it didn't appear to stop me when an enemy did that and I wasn't looking.
This makes building defense trees as a last-ditch effort counterproductive, although you can spoil your enemy's claims by covering it with defense trees before they can get it. Sure that makes it tough to retake, but it stops them from getting many seedlings from it.
Noticed that the issue of orbiting seedlings that can never get close enough to attack is still here, although it seems to have possibly been improved a bit. Usually happens trying to destroy the trees on uninhabited asteroids, which is no longer a part of gameplay. Wait, were you guys trying to hide that little bug for IGF?
Noticed that the algorithm for making the roots follows smoother curves and is more direct. A definite improvement. Looks nicer, hasn't glitched for me (at least not yet in one play-through of all six levels), more predictable, faster. Trees look nicer, the grass is a nice touch. The graphics definitely feel more alive, although I occasionally had framerate issues. My graphics card is made of fail, though. Laptop. I can give more details if you need them.
Had an interesting time dealing with wild (gray) seedlings that stole my and other people's bases. That is definitely a positive addition. It extends the time that wild seedlings matter in the game, it leaves traces of who the destroyed base belonged to, and rare unpredictable occurrences like that always make gameplay more fun. Sometimes wild bases can cause a lot of trouble, and other times they're a golden opportunity to quickly get two or three developed trees for the price of one or even less. I'm glad that wild seedlings haven't gained tree-planting into their AIs, but it would be cool to play a level where they could, or at least could build more trees on asteroids they have already stolen. Battling an enemy that can travel freely through unclaimed territory and could strike anywhere would be interesting.
Are sending ranges longer overall? I know that my starting asteroids were definitely endowed with gigantic ranges, and although it gives more incentive to keep your starting asteroid in your own possession, I don't think they really needed to be any bigger, neither in general nor specifically for starting asteroids. It considerably altered the gameplay of level 2, and I don't think it was really an improvement. Seems like the player's movement abilities are almost as extensive as those of the AIs now. More bug-hiding for IGF?
I found that sometimes I would send a seedling and nothing would move. This was always a case of me giving the order, doing something else somewhere else, then looking back and finding an asteroid still unexplored. This was usually or perhaps always from asteroids where I had recently built something, but I don't think it's a case of forgetting that I can't explore from an asteroid until it has a tree fully rooted on it.
Another minor issue is that sometimes when scrolling or zooming quickly, I'd briefly see red lines going straight from all my seedlings to what I can only assume is their destination or goal. They'd be all over the place in battles, and a few times when shooting undefended trees I saw that they all pointed to the tree. These lines would all show up at once for a frame or two and may lead all the way to the other side of the asteroid, so it's not just them shooting.
I also think I noticed a few changes in the balance of stats and stuff. Is it just me, or are defense trees a bit more powerful? If so, that's good.
I also got the feeling that seedling stats are weighted even more towards energy than before. Since when did it take 120 powerful balanced seedlings (all stats were about 120-135 using the number for energy compared with the energy bar as a reference) to take an asteroid with five dyson trees, 150 energy (maximum), and jack squat for speed and strength? No backup at all, it ate swarms of up to 100 with no lasting damage. During the same game, I sent a group of twelve seedlings with all stats 130-135 against twelve seedlings with 146 energy, strength bar one-third full, and no speed to speak of. Neutral asteroid, I lost.
Overall I like this. I'm pretty sure it's an improvement and it definitely looks nicer. But I'm still waiting for my hotkeys.