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

 

Escalation Browser

Published on Saturday, February 11, 2017 By Brad Wardell In Ashes of the Singularity

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Want to find other players to play with in Escalation?

Download the Escalation Browser. When in your system tray, it will turn green if number of eligible players grows.  You can also chat with other players who hang out as well.

Note: Steam must be running in order to use Escalation Browser or you will get a "SteamAPI failed to init" error.

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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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.

CRUSADE DIARY 2: The Civilization Builder

Published on Thursday, February 09, 2017 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv III Dev Journals

Galactic Civilizations games have had ship building in them for almost 20 years.  And ever since, people have used it to create all kinds of amazing designs from robots to their favorite Sci-Fi ships.

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Ship designer from Galactic Civilizations II

With Galactic Civilizations III, players were able to share their designs with millions of other players via Steam Workshop.  Suddenly, players could download and play with almost any type of ship imaginable.

As much as players loved being able to design and share their ship designs, there was one thing they kept requesting over and over: the ability to assign ship designs to a Civilization and have them use it.  This way, if they wanted to create a race of giant robots, they could.  Or if they wanted to play their favorite sci-fi race (or play against it) they could.

In Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade their wish is fulfilled!

Civilization Builder

First, video. Paul Boyer and I sat down with the Civ Builder the other day. I wanted to show off the laser space sharks and aquatic race we built. Check out this exclusive video to see what we created.

Now, let's walk through the new Civilization Builder, screen by screen. From the main menu there is a new button - Civilization Builder.

 

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The Civ Builder exists outside the game.

 

Once inside, the player is greeted with a series of screens that lets them configure a completely new civilization.  With the Steam Workshop, you can download new logos, alien portraits, alien backgrounds, alien images, etc. 

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Players can put together a completely new alien race using assets shared by other users.

Once you have decided what your alien civilization looks like, you can move on to what their strengths and weaknesses are.

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The trait screen lets you assign the civilization various strengths and weaknesses. Many of these abilities give them unique gameplay features.

 

From there, you can decide what their ships will look like.

image

Ship Visual Style

There are dozens of different color combos you can play with, along with a host of different textures and materials.  You can give your ship style a gritty, beat up look or a...well, completely outrageous look.

Once you finish deciding what visual style your ships will have, you can move on to assigning ship designs to each class of ship.

 

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Here you can assign a ship design to all of the auto-generated ships which is what the AI will use as well.

Here, you control every default ship in the game.  In the above example, I have assigned my colony ship to be a giant robot fish because...of course!

But let's say you don't like the choices we provide (and yes, we're going to include giant robot fish).  You can click a button and go onto Steam and browse the tens of thousands of ship designs that have been made by players already.

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Fans have created virtually every kind of ship you can imagine. 

Picking a cool ship design, it is instantly in the game.  The GalCiv ship designer is essentially a giant set of blocks that you can use to create anything. For the past two years, players have been busy making lots of ships.

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Downloaded ship design is mixed with the color and materials chosen earlier.

This is then repeated for each of the ship categories in the game. 

Next up, players will want to give their civilization some personality.

image

Personality Editor

On the Personality screen, players can decide how the AI will use this player.  They can also set up what the AI will say in various common scenarios.  If that's not enough, the player can directly access that civilization's XML file to go crazy with how they will react in different situations.

Once you are done, you can save your Civilization and even upload it to Steam (if you use other people's designs, we ask that you get their permission).  Once uploaded to Steam, other players can download the entire civilization, ships and all, in a single click and play as that civilization or play against them.

 

image

My Fish Civilization in game. They're hungry!

 

Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade will be released in Spring of 2017 on Steam and GOG.   You can follow it on Steam by going to its Steam page.

Let us know what you think in the comments below!

MERGING the SINGULARITY

Published on Monday, February 06, 2017 By Brad Wardell In Ashes Dev Journals

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Our story so far...

Stardock loves real-time strategy games.  Our customers love real-time strategy games (Sins of a Solar Empire remains our best selling game of all time).  And we want your opinion on something important to us.

When Stardock sold off its digital distribution business to GameStop in 2011, we took that capital to help found a number of new studios including Soren Johnson's Mohawk Games, Mothership Entertainment, Stardock Towson and Oxide Games.  Our goal was to build new technology and studios that would create innovative new games.

In short, we've been pretty busy.

Ashes of the Singularity: A background

Of these new games, the first to ship was Ashes of the Singularity.  It is the first game to use the new Nitrous engine developed by Oxide Games. 

Nitrous is an amazing engine and all our new games are standardizing on it.  What makes it special is that it is core-neutral. That is, the more CPU cores you have, the more it can do.  It scales almost linearly as you can more CPU cores.  This means we can do interesting things like object space lighting, handle thousands of light sources, do all kinds of interesting things with AI,  simulations, etc.

Since Ashes of the Singularity was the first engine to use it, we were cautious as to how much we would invest into the game itself.  Nitrous is amazing but it was new. And the things we were trying to do had never been done before.  There was no DirectX 12 or Vulkan when we started working on it.  We were building it based on the theory that such a graphics platform would have to be made and got super lucky that they were made before the game shipped. 

On DirectX 11, you need a pretty powerful machine to run Ashes of the Singularity (on DirectX 12 or later Vulkan, you can run it on a potato practically, that's how much better DX12/Vulkan are).

But, like I said, there was no DirectX 12 or Vulkan back then so we designed the game to appeal to as many people as possible while still showing off what the engine could do. If all went well, the game would sell around 50,000 units in its first year.  That would be a very respectable release for a game that could only run on a fraction of the PCs available at the time.

DirectX 12

I can't even begin to tell you how much of a game-changer DirectX 12 was.  Suddenly, this game that was going to require a monster machine to run could run on much more reasonable hardware.  That's because DirectX 12 lets every CPU core talk to the graphics card at the same time.  On DirectX 11, only 1 CPU core can talk to the GPU at once.   As some may recall, people were dubious about the game's benchmark results on DirectX 12.  But as people quickly saw, it was a massive difference.

 

Who is the target market?

During the early access program, there requests, often strident, for features that we felt would alienate the mainstream gamers.  While we personally liked the features they wanted (upgradeable defenses, strategic zoom, more unit progress, etc.) we felt that this would create a learning curve that would keep us from even getting to the mere 50,000 units we hoped to sell to break even.

Ashes-5K-Boom

Ashes delivered massive-scale warfare across a planet

Release

When the game shipped, it quickly reached a user base of over a hundred thousand players not counting the hundreds of thousands of players who got the game as part of their video card purchase. 

It also became apparent that many of them wanted an RTS a lot more depth where depth meant things like strategic zoom, upgradeable defenses, more resources, lots more unit classes, etc.  But doing so, we felt, would be a bait-and-switch.  I realize that some hard-core RTS fans can't imagine not wanting to have dozens of unit types but as someone who has tried and failed to get their friends to play FAF, learning curve matters.

So we decided to create a new SCU for those players who wanted a "bigger" RTS.  Escalation.

 

Esc_SS2

Escalation caters to the more dedicated RTS fan.  Strategic Zoom, Upgradeable defenses,  Specialized units

Divergence

Last fall, Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation was released.  It's a stand-alone game with an $20 upgrade price for people who have the base game.  It got universally favorable reviews (lowest review being a 75) in the media and has a 81 Steam score. 

Meanwhile, the base game didn't fare as well . A lot a lot of passionate RTS players who had lobbied for what was in Escalation felt they were being asked to pay again for the game they wanted in the first place. Thus, the base's games Steam score went from "Mostly Positive" to something like "This game will kill  your pets" on Steam even though the game has continued to get frequent updates, new units, etc.

image

One engine: Two games.  The base game for the mainstream and Escalation for the dedicated RTS fanbase. Which game do people want us to focus our energy on?

Merging

And so here we are with the debate unresolved.  Which kind of RTS do people want us to focus on?  In the long-run, we need to focus on one RTS.

So here is the plan: Let the market decide. 

What we want to do is give everyone who bought the game in early access or earlier a copy of Escalation (provided Steam and GOG are okay with this).   Everyone who bought the upgrade from Ashes to Escalation will get a season pass to the DLC we're adding to Escalation.

Then, with user bases a bit more equal, we can see which game people prefer.  Let the players choose which game they prefer based on what they actually play. 

EscalationChart

Feature difference between the two.

 

The Long-Term plan

The game's hardware requirements today (4 core CPU, 2GB of video memory, 1920x1080 resolution min) ensure that it won't be a mass market game either way for some time.  And we are fine with that.  In the not-so-distant future, these hardware requirements will be mainstream and by that point, both games will have evolved.

The base game will evolve so that it becomes easier to pick up and play. The price will continue to get reduced.  The unit mix will continue to evolve (i.e.  we may replace units with better, more interesting ones but keep the unit count reasonable).  It'll still get new races to play, new campaigns and so on.  But the game play will focus on being intuitive.

Escalation will evolve to have more depth. Naval units, additional resources, lots more units, more tech progression. 

There is a case to be made for both.  It'll be interesting to see which one becomes dominant.

 

Esc_SS1

Escalation provides many more types of units and defenses to craft ever more sophisticated strategies

The question for you:

Which game fits you the best? The base game or Escalation? And why?

ASHES DEV UPDATE: February 2017

Published on Friday, February 03, 2017 By Brad Wardell In Ashes Dev Journals

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Greetings!

February is here and there is a ton of stuff to talk about.

[..]

## VULKAN ##

We have been working diligently on Vulkan support and I am pleased to tell you that we have it...mostly working.  We are tentatively scheduled to release Escalation v2.1 (Ashes 1.51) on February 16.   Unfortunately, Vulkan won't make it in there as it needs a little more time to bake.

## REPLAYS ##

We have this.  It's not super stable though so we're still working out the kinks.  We expect to have an opt-in build available within the next couple weeks so people can play around with it.    We've been working with General's Gentlemen on the design of this feature so that it will appeal not just to those who want to see a replay of their game but also for casters who want to cast games.

## MODDING ##

I have an Ashes modding Skype channel where we're bouncing ideas around.  There is a fine line between "modding" and "end user customization".  As someone who started out as a modder, I tend to take a bit of a dim view on modders who think they have to have commercial grade tools in order to make changes. 

Making front ends to XML and CSV files is not super high on my priority list.  I expect modders to be able to do this sort of thing.

What I don't expect modders to have to do is: Reverse engineer the .OXModel format or hack the EXE to change game rules.

So on our end these are the tools that are in development:

Mod Manager.  This will let you create your own mod in \documents\my games\ashes..\mods where you will have a file a .ashesmod file (i.e.bradsbalancemod.ashesmod).

This file is a manifest for your mod tells the game where to look for your other files.

There are FOUR files I mod all the time for personal use:

  1. WeaponMOdulesTemplates.csv
  2. UniteTeampltes.csv
  3. BuildingTemplates.csv
  4. DefaultPlayerAI.xml

You can mod those files right now and drastically change the way Ashes plays.

Anyway, you can create your own versions of these files, put them in your mod folder and then have your .ashesmod point to them.  When the game sees a duplicate Internal ID, it'll replace the one in game with yours.

If you're into modding, you can practice this now by modifying one or more of the files there locally and see what crazy things happen.

 

## LOCALIZATION ##

Ashes is coming to a lot of new languages.  This will start with the big 2.1 (1.51) update.

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## MERGING CODE BASES ##

For easier maintenance, Ashes of the Singularity and Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation are going to have their code-bases merged.

Thus, the base game will pick up a lot of the enhancements that are in Escalation (visual updates, engine update, UI update, etc.).

Escalation will have everything Ashes has plus:

  1. Strategic Zoom
  2. The New units
  3. Volcanic Maps (These will be made available as DLC for Ashes players)
  4. Crystaline maps (This will be made available as DLC for Ashes players)
  5. Escalation Campaign
  6. Upgradeable Defenses

The goal is that we want Ashes of the Singularity to be the "mainstream" game and Escalation be the hard-core game.  This frees us to continue to evolve Escalation in ways that would likely be unappealing to mainstream RTS fans (more resource types, more unit types, deeper economic features, etc.).

And just to drive home the point how serious we are on this: We plan to give everyone who was part of the early access program a free license of Escalation (that's about 100,000 free licenses).

Anyone who has upgraded to Escalation already or does so before we do this will get a lifetime pass Escalation DLC.  And those who were part of our Lifetime Ashes Founder's program will be truly getting a lifetime pass to Ashes such as sequels.

So if you were part of early access and haven't upgraded to Escalation, you'll want to do that before we do this.

As many of you know, the base game sold a lot more than we had anticipated.  Remember: RTS games are supposedly "dead" and only MOBAs have a market.  Combined with our hardware requirements, we presumed about 50,000 units in the first year.

Thus, putting Escalation and the base game on equal footing, we can see which game has more players.  Ashes or Escalation.  I know you hard-core RTS players are convinced that Escalation will win.  Don't be so sure.  I love them both but it's Ashes, not Escalation, that my friends tend to prefer for LAN parties due to the relative simplicity.

In short: If you were part of the Ashes early access program (or likely bought soon after it came out) you will soon have an Escalation key too.  Play whichever one you prefer. The market will decide which path the RTS community wants us to follow.

## JUGGERNAUTS ##

In the "not a promise" category, Episode 3 is well into development.   While Episode 3 will be DLC, Juggernauts will be a free unit added to the game.  Each side will get one and they'll appear in Episode 3. The base game, btw, will be getting Juggernauts too as they make a satisfying doomsday weapon.

Right now, I have early Spring as the release date for this.  

 

## BEYOND JUGGERNAUTS ##

Where Escalation focused on making the game...well bigger, the next major area of focus is going to be water and naval.   That doesn't mean it's the next thing on the list as we have a long list of things we want in this game first ranging from wrecks to more types of units to more single player and multiplayer replayability features (I'll be talking more about this in the near future).

The one thing that we are excited about the most and that we hope we can persuade you to be excited about is that this game is still at the start of its life.  Go look at every other RTS on the market.  Go.  I'll wait.

Are you back?

Ok, I will keep nagging about this but it is non-trivial to make a major RTS.  Even Microsoft struggles with it (Halo Wars for instance).  It is tough.  And here we are (you guys and us) with a fresh engine designed specifically for RTS games that supports DirectX 12, Vulkan and as many CPU cores as you can throw at it.  Right now, that's all really just potential.  But as any SupCom player can tell you, the tech does matter because it determines the long-term evolution of the game.

So that's all for this month. 

Cheers!

Galactic Civilizations: Ship Designer

Published on Friday, February 03, 2017 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv III Dev Journals

Ship design has been part of Galactic Civilizations games for many years.  However, with Galactic Civilizations III, the designer has reached the point where user creations are starting to rival what you would see in movies.

The ship designs we included are wholly original creations based on the lore that's been developed over the past 25 years.

The ship designer itself lets people put together thousands of parts to create whatever they want.

A new design

For the serious designer, they start from scratch.  This blank screen with a collection of parts is the starting point.

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In the beginning...

 

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As you add parts, you will see red dots where you connect other parts to it.

 

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In the hands of a clod like me, I can design something like this in minutes.  The controls in the bottom right let me resize, rotate, animate, etc.

 

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In the hands of someone with some skill, you can get something like this such as this Babylon 5 inspired Starfury like ship.  Because ships are hard surfaces, it's relatively easy for someone to create pretty much any ship.  Organic ships tend to be a lot tougher to make.   But most ships are ultimately a series of wings and cylinders.

What is part of the game?

Obviously, we don't include any of these designs, even inspired ones, with the game.  The point of the ship designer and the fans who share their ship designs is to create their own stories in their heads. 

There is a cottage industry of people who compare different ships sizes, write fan fiction regarding their favorite ships.

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Ship size comparison on deviantART.

Anyway, the point being, what people create and share with our tools is up to them.  Galactic Civilizations has always been about creating your own sandbox universe to play in.  It asks the question: What happens after we leave Earth? What is next? And leaves the answers up to the player.

If you have any questions, feel free to post in the comments.

CRUSADE DIARY 1: Introducing Galactic Civilizations III: CRUSADE

Published on Thursday, February 02, 2017 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv III Dev Journals

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Explore. Expand. Exploit. Exterminate.  This is where the term "4X" originates. 

The granddaddy of our genre is, of course, Sid Meier's Civilization. Where Sid Meier's Civilization leverages our common history from the dawn of agriculture to the moment we leave the Earth, Galactic Civilizations begins at the moment we leave our home world.

In Galactic Civilizations, players create their own histories.  Each game is a different possibility. 

When we released Galactic Civilizations III, we began taking notes on what players wanted to see in future updates or expansions to it.  Many of the features ended up in updates which culminated in the recently released 2.0.  Other features would take a great deal of time and thought to do. 

The biggest, most important features have come together in Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade.

Those features are:

  1. A Civilization Builder for creating and sharing full-fledged civilizations including ships, techs, custom diplomacy behaviors, etc.
  2. An economy based on citizenship that allowed players to macro or micro manage their civilizations based on their preferences in a way that didn't penalize either play style that eliminates sliders and dials.
  3. Espionage for spying and sabotaging your opponents.
  4. Interactive Invasions that make invading a planet a game unto itself.
  5. A better UX for managing large and small empires alike.

These aren't the only features in Crusade of course.  Far from it.  It doesn't even touch on the Crusade campaign, the new alien civilizations, the new graphics engine, the new resource system, the combat changes, the continued evolution of the AI (I am happy to say that the free update to GalCiv III in v2.0 now surpasses the AI in GalCiv II -- sorry it took so long, I'll be happy to discuss AI coding in another diary entry).

The Schedule

Each week between now and the release of Crusade, we will be posting Development Diary highlighting a major element of the expansion.  Here is a sneak preview of the first three:

 

CRUSADE DIARY 2: The Civilization Builder

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February 9, we will walk through how you can build your own civilization to play as or to play against including how to assign specific ships for different roles, share your creations, create diplomacy behavior and more.

 

CRUSADE DIARY 3: Galactic Citizens

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February 16, Take a tour of the all new citizen based economy. Gone are sliders and dials and in their place are your people.  Much strategy (and AI coding) goes around how to get the most out of your most valuable asset: Your people.

 

CRUSADE DIARY 4: Spies and Saboteurs

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February 23, The galaxy is a dangerous place.  One of the vocations your citizens can take is to be trained to be spies and sent on dangerous missions. We will walk you through how espionage works, its consequences and the importance of knowing who is doing what and when.

 

 

 

Lone Star

 

The Sabre

Civilization Builder

FAQ

Q: Will Crusade be a stand-alone expansion?

A: No.  It will be released as an add-on to Galactic Civilizations III (DLC).

Q: When will it be released?

A: Our target date is Spring.

Q: How much will it cost?

A: $19.99

Q: Will there be a public beta?

A: No.

Q: How will I be able to get it when released?

A: It'll be on Steam, GOG, direct and elsewhere as a DLC to Galactic Civilizations III.

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