Destiny's Embers: Part 1

Published on Tuesday, February 14, 2017 By Brad Wardell In Elemental Dev Journals

ElementalPoster

Overview

Years ago, Random House asked me to write a book around the Elemental universe.  As a first time author, I was assigned an editor, Dave Stern, who soon became a good friend of mine.

Over the course of writing the book, now sold on Amazon, Dave and I would go back and forth on the story along with Random House's requests to ensure that the book was commercially successful.  I will be the first to admit that my vision of the story may not have been as commercial viable as theirs.  After all, the editorial team assigned to me was the same team managing the Game of Thrones series who, fortunately for me, had a lot of extra time to spend with me due to a Dance with Dragons being late.

The end result, however, is that what is on store shelves is dramatically different from the original story I wrote.

Thus, for the first time, I will share with you the original draft of the book with you. 

I hope you enjoy it.

Continue Reading...

The Merging is near

Published on Monday, February 13, 2017 By Brad Wardell In Ashes of the Singularity

If all goes according to plan, most, if not all, Ashes players will have Escalation in the next few days.

Why are we expanding the criteria?

Simply put: While people like Ashes of the Singularity, the overwhelming message is that the community needs to be merged together.

We originally planned to allow players to play MP against each other but as time has gone on, it has become increasingly apparent that this would have both technical and fairness issues (i.e. do Ashes players get strategic zoom in MP vs. Escalation players? How much work is it to let players of SCU 1 play the players of SCU 2?).

And even if we meet those challenges, what about multiples forums on Steam and GOG that split the community? What about modding?

Since we are in this for the long-run, the best way is to just merge all players bases together into a single player base with Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation for everyone and then we can create a "simpler" in-game game mode.

We will have more information soon on this.  I want to thank everyone for sharing their ideas and feedback on the various options that have been presented.  I realize that some people will be pleasantly surprised to see their suggestions actually utilized by a game company, but sometimes the best ideas come from without.

 

Ashes balance suggestions

Published on Saturday, February 11, 2017 By Brad Wardell In Ashes Bugs and Ideas

Callum recommended changes implemented:

  1. Hermes sight increased from 600 to 750
  2. Hermes Radar range increased from 1000 to 1200
  3. Archer Logistics cost increased from 1 to 2
  4. Medic Heal rate lowered to 66% of its current value
  5. Medic Logistics cost Increase from 1 to 3
  6. Martyr Shields increased from 60 to 105
  7. Martyr Logistics cost reduced from 4 to 2
  8. Capacitor Energy per second regeneration increased from 1 to 4
  9. Capacitor Shields reduced from 500 to 400
  10. Masochist Logistics cost increased from 2 to 5
  11. Athena Main gun damage reduced by 10%
  12. Athena Radioactives cost increased from 30 to 60
  13. Athena Secondary weapons damage halved
  14. Mauler Logistics cost increased from 4 to 7
  15. Mauler Radioactives cost lowered from 80 to 60
  16. Mauler Metal cost reduced from 380 to 350
  17. Mauler Armour Penetration removed
  18. Destructor Main weapon damage increased by 30%
  19. Caregiver Logistics cost reduced from 30 to 10
  20. Caregiver Heal rate increased by 400%
  21. Apollo Anti-Air damage increased by 33%
  22. Apollo Logistics cost increased from 3 to 5
  23. Overmind Metals cost increased from 2000 to 3000 (2400 after global reduction)
  24. Overmind Radioactives cost reduced from 5000 to 3000 (2400 after global reduction)
  25. Overmind Secondary weapon damage doubled
  26. Overmind Now spawns 5 Drone Swarms instead of 3.
  27. Retributor Primary weapon damage increased by 150%
  28. Retributor Primary weapon minimum range removed
  29. Retributor Secondary weapon damage Quadrupled
  30. Prometheus main weapon penetrates all armor
  31. Substrate Dominator requires Orbital Archive [REQUIRES AI UPDATE FOR THIS TO WORK]
  32. Substrate Punisher Requires Gateway [REQUIRES AI UPDATE FOR THIS TO WORK]
  33. Furies and Dominator now have 15% armour Penetration
  34. Hades Metal cost decreased from 270 to 250
  35. Hades Radioactives cost decreased from 330 to 300
  36. Strategic Bomber Armour lowered from 16 to 14 (80% damage reduction to 70%)
  37. Strategic Bomber Health increased from 4800 to 6600 (This is still a nerf because of armour)
  38. Strategic Bomber Logististics cost lowered from 100 to 80 (Same as Harbinger)
  39. PHC Pan (scout air) health increased
  40. Instigator Health tripled
  41. Instigator Metal cost lowered from 800 to 500
  42. Instigator Logistics cost lowered from 20 to 1
  43. Searcher Shields increased from 300 to 1400
  44. Air Marauder Damage increased by 50%
  45. Air Marauder Logistics cost increased from 4 to 15
  46. Rampager Damage increased by 50%
  47. Rampager Health and shields doubled
  48. Rampager Logistics cost reduced from 30 to 15
  49. Rampager Rainmaker range increased from 400 to 800 (to match other weapon)
  50. Advanced Sky Factory only requires Air Factory Now only requires Air Factory [REQUIRES AI UPDATE]
  51. Aviary Now only requires Assembly and Quantum Relay [REQUIRES AI UPDATE]
  52. Sensor post radius default increased from 1800 to 2500
  53. Sensor post Radioactives cost increased from 20 to 80
  54. Sensor post health reduced
  55. Listening post health reduced
  56. PHX Nexus armor reduced to 18 (90% damage mitigation)
  57. Smarties health and damage increased
  58. Barrager Armor reduced, weapon damage increased
  59. Artillery Post projecile speed greatly lowered
  60. Artillery Post accuracy reduced
  61. Artillery Post Range lowered from 3500 to 3000
  62. Artillery Post Damaged lowered from 300 to 250
  63. Drone Bay Metal cost increased from 240 to 350
  64. Repair Bay Metal cost increased from 140 to 300
  65. Annihilator Damage reduced by 33%
  66. Annihilator Metal cost increased from 180 to 200
  67. Heavy Annihlator Damage reduced by 33%
  68. HA Metal cost increased from 240 to 300
  69. Disruptor Health Reduced from 4000 to 3000
  70. Sky Ender Damage increased by 600%
  71. Sky Ender Now has 20% armour piercing
  72. Sky Ender Ranged increased from 1500 to 1800
  73. Sky Ender AOE reduced from 150 to 120
  74. Star Burst Damage reduced from 200 to 50
  75. Constable Health increased from 900 to 1200
  76. Falcon Flak Gun Health increased from 900 to 2700
  77. Falcon Flak Gun Armour increased to give 50% damage reduction
  78. Falcon Flak Gun Damage output increased to 240%
  79. Falcon Flak Gun Rate of fire increased to 133%
  80. Falcon Flak Gun Cost increased from 150/30 to 470/80
  81. Air Eliminator Armour reduced from 20 to 12 (95% to 60% damage reduction)
  82. Air Eliminator Health increased from 1500 to 4000
  83. Sentinel Health reduced from 4500 to 3500
  84. Oblivion Gun Armour reduced from 20 to 12 (95% to 60% damage reduction)
  85. Oblivion Gun Health increased from 3000 to 4000
  86. Substrate Pulverizer gun Shields reduced from 4000 to 2500
  87. Exterminator Turret Health reduced from 6000 to 3000
  88. Regenerator Tech requirements moved from Subspace Streamer to Energy Modular [REQUIRES AI CHANGE TO WORK]
  89. Call Engineer Quanta cost increased from 30 to 50
  90. EMP Quanta cost increased from 100 to 150
  91. EMP Shield damage reduced from 10000 to 2000

 

DEV DIARY ESCALATION #1: The great map rebalance!

Published on Saturday, February 11, 2017 By Brad Wardell In Ashes Dev Journals

Greetings!

I’d like to introduce you to Callum McCole.  You’ll be hearing about him a lot in the coming months as I have asked him to take an ever great role in helping me on design elements of Ashes of the Singularity.  He runs the popular RTS YouTube channel, General’s Gentlemen.

As an RTS player of many years, I have often lamented when game developers fail to make the most use of the RTS community when it comes to design and balance that can be helpful both for the expert players as well as newcomers.  I have seen people make this wish so often that I suspect many of you will be surprised that we have fulfilled that wish.

The upcoming version 2.1 of Escalation will be the first to have the beginnings of his efforts starting with the great map rebalance.

In his own words:

 

Fixed Maps:

 

Canopus

Canopus is a 3 player map which is currently in the 1v1 map pool. It features incredibly narrow choke points with only a single path into the player's base and a small centre area with a mountain making the centre impassable. This is bad for gameplay since there’s no room for flanking or aggressive maneuvers, the game rapidly because stagnant and just about spamming defenses. The tight narrow chokepoints create problems for pathfinding and the balance is ruined by the unflankable PHC Artillery Turret.

Canopus also has a disproportionately high amount of Radioactives compared to Metal.

Changes Applied:

  • Create additional routes between each peninsula to allow for more strategic diversity and flanking routes
  • Reduced the size of the impassable terrain in the middle
  • Added a metal relay in the middle of the outer pathways

Old: New:

clip_image002

Ceres

Ceres is a great map as it is, but it suffered from not having a second set of Metal deposits near the base. Adding in additional Metal deposits makes map control more strategic, which is important for a map that is so small.

Changes Applied:

  • Added two metal deposits to one of the nearby empty relays

Old: New:

clip_image004

Deneb

Deneb is the most asymmetric map in the 1v1 map pool; while an asymetric map looks pretty and is interesting if done right, the current implementation of Deneb is imbalanced in favour of the left side due to the following issues.

  1. The left side has an additional Metal relay
  2. Southwards expansion on the right side is hindered by Turinium Generators.
  3. The Central mountain has two attack paths onto the right side, but only one for the left.

Balance aside, Deneb has a disproportionately low amount of Radioactives compared to Metal. This limits strategic diversity and generally favours PHC who are less radioactives intensive than Substrate.

Changes Applied:

  • Reworked the terrain layout in order to be more symmetrical
  • Symmetrized the resource layout to be fair and balanced for both sides
  • Replaced the side Turinium Generators with Radioactives
  • Centralised Turinium generators to make Turinium acquisition more viable

Old: New:

clip_image006

Knife Fight

Knight Fight is an extremely linear map, with only a single pathway through the centre of the map from which all points are connected. This results in little strategic diversity and no room for flanking and tactical manoeuvres. Knife Fight should have additional pathways opened up along the sides with the points being connected to allow for more tactics and attack paths. The south spawn also suffers from the first two relays being further away from the Nexus than the North spawn.

Changes Applied:

  • Equalised the travel time from starting locations to first two resource points
  • Opened up an additional pathway on the sides of the map
  • Opened up an additional pathway on the top and bottom of the map
  • Connected the resources points on the sides of the map

Old: New:

clip_image008

Monaco

Monaco only has two pathways across the map with Starting Locations situated incredibly close to each other. This makes the map easy too easy to lock down with static defenses, while the close proximity of spawns allows for Artillery Posts to directly siege the opponent's Nexus from the safety of their own. Lastly, having two “safe” Turinium generators on each side of the middle prevents Turinium from being accumulated. 

Changes Applied:

  • Moved player starting locations to map corners
  • Reshuffled some of the resource layout to replicate a more standard starting location
  • Created a wide Pathway in the centre of the map
  • Centralised all the Turinium Generators to make acquiring Turinium more viable

Old: New:

clip_image010

Regulus

Having only a single attack route onto the other half of the map means static defenses easily lock down and prevent any aggression, creating a long, slow  grind to break through the enemy defenses with no potential for flanking. This inherently favours PHC, who have access to the Artillery post. Regulus needs additional pathways across the map to allow for more maneuvering.

Changes Applied:

  • Created a pathway at the top and bottom of the map with an empty relay
  • Moved the starting locations to map corners to account for additional pathways

Old: New:

clip_image012

Ulrich

Without any central Path, players can only fight each other via the sides of the map, when combined with how Ulrich is a very large map for 1v1 given its medium size, this makes the map feel very slow. Having only two attack paths on opposite ends of the map can can result in players attacking each other on opposite sides and having their armies completely avoid this other, creating a base trade situation. This is not a very fun dynamic, players should have more opportunity to move their forces around the map and be able to better respond to attacks.

Secondly, having two easily defensible Generators on each side of the map results in Turinium rarely being generated for a player.

Changes Applied:

  • Created a pathway between the centre of the map
  • The middle now only has a single centered Turinium Generator
  • Added Metal Deposits onto one of the empty relays near the starting locations

Old: New:

clip_image014

 

Adjusted Turinium Requirements

 

The Turinium Requirements in Ashes are not only vastly inconsistent, they are also too high. Almost all games will come down to annihilation of the enemy, with Turinium levels being ignored and neglected. Turinium Generators are still actively contested due to the additional resources they provide, but Turinium as a victory condition is not providing any strategic diversity and consideration from players.

I have standardised the Turinium levels on the current and future ranked maps, lowering the Turinium requirements where it is too high and making it more consistent. I used 500/750/1000 as the basis for Tiny/Small/Medium maps, but varied it slightly depending on how difficult Turinium acquisition is on those maps.

Maps:

Players

Size

Old Turinium

New Turinium

Bis

4

Tiny

600

600

Frosthaven

2

Tiny

500

500

Knife Fight

2

Tiny

750

500

Kralon

2

Tiny

2000

500

Monaco

2

Tiny

1000

750

Proxima

4

Tiny

2000

600

Spica

3

Tiny

1500

600

Thuban

4

Tiny

750

600

Ceres

2

Tiny

750

500

Canopus

3

Small

1000

750

Cygnus

2

Small

1500

750

Deneb

2

Small

1500

750

Maurn

2

Small

1500

750

Pyn

2

Small

1500

600

Regulus

2

Small

1000

750

Turtuga

4

Small

1500

750

Vega

2

Small

2500

600

Rus

2

Small

1000

750

Pulaski

4

Medium

2000

1000

Ulrich

2

Medium

1000

750

Italia

2

Medium

1500

1000

Espana

2

Medium

2500

1000

New Ranked Map Pool

The following maps are suggested for the next ranked map pool, assuming that these maps are updated with the above adjustments. While this map pool has small and medium maps, it is mainly skewed towards tiny. Some players don’t like the faster pace of tiny maps, preferring the more forgiving pace of medium, but those players are more likely to be playing more casual team games instead of 1v1’s, so it wouldn’t make sense to tailor the map pool around those types of players. If Ashes had a map veto system, that would give more flexibility to add more maps of different types.

Map

Size

Turinium Requirements

Bis

Tiny

600

Ceres

Tiny

500

Frosthaven

Tiny

500

Knife Fight

Tiny

500

Proxima

Tiny

600

Spica

Tiny

600

Deneb

Small

750

Cygnus

Small

750

Pyn

Small

600

Rus

Small

750

Italia

Medium

1000

Espana

Medium

1000

 

You are welcome to comment on these changes. We hope to release v2.1 quite soon.

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