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Which of these is your favorite RTS of all time?
Starcraft
10%
Supreme Commander
48%
Total Annihilation
16%
Company of Heroes
4%
Command & Conquer
23%
200 Total Votes

ASHES DEV JOURNAL: July 2017

Posted on Tuesday, July 18, 2017 By GeneralsGentlemen

Hey guys!

Lots to talk about here. Last month I was at Stardock headquarters in Michigan, USA all the way from Australia. I had an incredible time, and while I was there we crafted up a roadmap for the rest of 2017. Here's a dorky photo of Brad (Draginol) & I.





##Upcoming 2.4 Update##

Check out the video below to hear all about the update! If you crave more detail, keep reading. 

[[..]]
There won't be an update in July, partially due to Stardock being closed last week for the 4th of July celebrations, and partially due to having so much we want to get packed into the 2.4 update coming August. Here's what you can expect for 2.4, and I'll expand upon some of them.

  • New Tutorial/s
  • Better DX12 stability
  • Improvements to modding capabilities
  • Campaign and scenario updates
  • Bug fixes
  • Improvements to menus and UI
  • Various Quality of Life changes
  • Minor balance changes

 

New Tutorial

I've been working on a new tutorial to retire our old one, and packing it with more useful information in a more concise manner. The plan is to have several Tutorial missions broken up into parts as a Campaign screen. It won't be too long, but it'll be more digestible in parts and then players can jump into some Skirmish action for a bit before learning more. This is what I have in mind for the parts:

  • Basic Tutorial
  • Advanced Tutorial
  • Substrate (To explain how playing Substrate is different to PHC, the default faction for the earlier tutorials)
  • Unit and Ability Guide (To explain the role and function of each unit and Orbital Ability)
  • Multiplayer Guide (Though this may just be better as a link to a YouTube video)

 It's possible that not all of them will be ready for in time for 2.4.  So if the last ones aren't ready in time they will be shipped later.


Modding

2.4 includes a few extra features and improvements to modding capability. These are:

  • The ability to modify game Physics, unit Movement and Unit Formations. 
  • The cheat menu in the modding Steam beta now allows swapping between every player instead of just toggling between player 1 and 2.
  • Configuration files in mod directories now add to the base configuration instead of replace. This means modders won't have to go back and update their mod as we continue to update the base game. 

Campaign & Scenario Updates

There's some minor tweaks to all 3 campaigns and the scenarios, mainly bug fixes or to make them better balanced and updated for the various changes to the game since they came out, such as gunships being much stronger and Smarties no longer targeting air. 

 

 

 

##2017 Road Map##

There's a lot of new content and improvements that we'll be working the remainder of 2017.  Here's what you can expect to see over the next few months. 

  • Improved modding support
  • Air Transports
  • Quality of Life improvements
  • Improved polish and cosmetics
  • Rebindable hotkeys
  • More Dreadnoughts & Juggernauts
  • Co-op Scenarios

 

Modding

Modding will continue to be a priority for us and we are working on improving the capabilities and functionality for modding every major update. We also will be creating more and better documentation to explain the modding process to anyone who is interested, as well as make changes to make the process more intuitive. 

Air Transports

We are keen to equip both factions with air transports in order to add more depth to the game by creating additional strategies and room for harassment. Air Transports (and equipping the AI with the ability to use them) will open up a lot of options for more unconventional map design, which some of our modders have already been experimenting with. The plan is to have two Air Transports for each faction, a light and heavy transport with different carrying capacity. 

With air transports, we can re-examine the role of Orbital Unit Summons 


Improved Cosmetics

We want to improve the visual polish and presentation. This will involve destroyed units leaving wrecks, and the edges of maps having a nice Skybox. We also have some updates to our engine which will overall improve fidelity. 

Rebindable hotkeys

A commonly requested feature. We will have the ability to rebind any hotkey in the game. This release would also coincide with some additional Quality of Life buttons such as "Select all units." or "Select Factory"

More Dreadnoughts & Juggernauts

We have more Dreadnoughts and more Juggernauts on the way! We don't have dates for these yet but stay tuned.

Co-op Scenarios

We think our sophisticated multi-core AI is the best on the market and one of the strengths of the game. We want to tap into this by releasing some co-op Scenarios. Team up with your friends against a super powerful AI or combine defences to hold off against wave after wave of enemy attackers. Sounds fun right? Some of our existing Scenarios would convert well to co-op, such as "Against All Odds", so down the line we'll be converting some of the single player scenarios and creating additional ones for co-op play.


So that's it for now! I'm proud of what we have done so far in 2017 and looking forward to seeing where Ashes will be by the end of the year.

Cheers,
Callum.


Ashes Dev Journal: June 2017

Posted on Friday, June 09, 2017 By Frogboy

sensorPost

Managing Designer, Callum McCole of the Generals Gentlemen, is here in Plymouth all the way from Perth Australia where we're working out the roadmap for Ashes of the Singularity.

Version 2.3 just arrived which includes Juggernauts and Episode 3 (yes, all for free).  It's an exciting time so let's talk about what's happening...

[[..]]

Steam Reviews

As I write this, the recent Steam review score is 96%! Thank you! We love you too!  The overall, however, is 78 which is 2 points below the threshold to be featured in the upcoming Steam summer sale.  If you haven't reviewed Escalation yet, we'd appreciate it if you would: http://store.steampowered.com/app/507490/Ashes_of_the_Singularity_Escalation/  It would take only a tiny percentage of our active player base to review the game (assuming positive reviews) to get the game to 80 which in turn would get it featured which would bring in new players.

(Update: We have since hit "Very Positive" on Steam. Thank you so much everyone!)

More Juggernauts

Episode 4 will bring forward two more Juggernauts and 2 more Dreadnoughts.  We don't have an ETA on that as that is obviously tied to budget.  Like Episode 3, we plan to release Episode 4 for free.

Ascendancy Wars vs. Campaigns

So we've decided to split things up a bit.  The campaigns will tell you the Post-Singularity story.  Ascendancy Wars will begin the infinite single player challenge.

image

Ascendancy Wars

Ashes of the Singularity: Ascendancy will work something like this:

You create a character, choose a faction (and you will find out how many other players have chosen a given faction -- note that a race is NOT a faction).  You will then be shown a map of the Orion sector (that's where we humans live btw) and battle it out.  Different planets will give you differing amounts of points (which is tied to victory).  As you go up in points, you will gain access to new equipment and units which will let you tackle more powerful planets. 

Planets will have a procedurally generated scenario (i.e., this isn't some endless series of skirmishes).  Now, this is a single player thing so you're not directly playing other people online but rather your faction is collectively competing against other factions which are trying to take over the Orion sector.

How much will Ashes of the Singularity: Ascendancy cost? $0.

Why are we doing this? Because we are convinced that as we keep making the base game better, we will increase the player base and it will be through sales of the game itself that we will be able fund this development.

Modding Modding Modding

Lots of important progress has been made on this front.  We have modders working on tracked units, spider units and more. 

The goal will be that you'll be able to just press a button and submit your unit via Steamworks and others will be able to download it and play with it (in SP anyway and custom MP where modded units are allowed -- host option).

This Summer, we expect to release the Scenario editor and a way to upload (and download) player made scenarios.   The Map editor continues to be a bit of a sore point for all of us.  It takes a lot of memory to make these maps and the editor is not graceful and we haven't had any free engineers to give it love.

 

 

Ashes Nitrous 1.5

We have been working on the underlying engine for some months.  None of this has made it into the game yet but we hope to start rolling this out soon.  This will result in fairly dramatic visual improvements (and stability).  Our most important goal is stability right now but along the way, we make improvements to the visual fidelity. 

Summer vacation

There will be a bit of a lull in July as many of us go on vacation.  But don't worry, Callum won't be on vacation, it's Winter in Australia! ;)

Cheers!


ASHES DEV JOURNAL: May 2017

Posted on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 By GeneralsGentlemen

G'day! 

May has been a big month for us at Stardock with the launch of Galciv 3: Crusade, and the upcoming release of the expansion for Offworld Trading Company, Jupiter's Forge. Despite that, we have been hard at work on Episode 3 to get it ready for launch in June. Aside from the big set of balance changes in the 2.25 Update to pave the way for Juggernauts, there's not much more to reveal after what's already been talked about in the previous Dev Diaries. Regardless, I'll go through some things here again to keep everyone in the loop.

## What is Episode 3? ##

Episode 3 is the third installment of the story-driven single player campaign which adds in two Juggernauts, a new class of units beyond Dreadnoughts. Episode 3 will be released for free to all owners of Escalation. It will also include other changes such as some bug fixes and map updates.


## New Campaign ##

The new fully voiced campaign, Genesis, will be our most challenging yet; I've put a great deal of effort to make sure "Much Harder" is no walk in the park, even despite having access to the two new Juggernauts.

[[..]]
## Juggernauts ##

The Substrate Nest of the Queen and PHC Leonidas bring destruction to a whole new level. Juggernauts will be many times more powerful than Dreadnoughts and will be the ultimate late game weapon. Don't expect to see Juggernauts in your average match as their cost is substantial, but when a Juggernaut is fielded, serious firepower is needed to stop them in their tracks.

## Modding ##

Lately, modding has been a big focus of our attention. While modding support has only recently been added, Ashes was built from the ground up to be very mod friendly under the hood. There's lots of modding stuff we've been working on which we're hoping to get included with the June patch, but at this stage it's a bit too early to confirm if that they will be ready.

## Draginol on Modding ## 

"We're working to make Ashes a universal RTS engine for modders. We are continuing to add content to the base game but we are doing it in a way that modders will eventually be able to make a SupCom version and a TA version and a CoH version. Think of Ashes as both an RTS and a platform. As a practical reality, the RTS market isn't large enough to support lots of RTS's.

Therefore, our goal is to continue to improve Ashes of the Singularity (the game) but also turn it into an RTS platform. So imagine if GPG had been able to make SupCom a RTS platform back in 2008 where we might be today (though it was a single threaded game so there still would have been issues).

Let me give you an example to consider: Imagine if we are able to add Python support to the Ashes engine. Now, traditionally, scripting slows down the game a lot. However, because Ashes is core-neutral, who really cares if scripts are slower when people in just a few years will have 16 CPU cores?"

## Vulkan ##

We were hoping to get Vulkan support included with the June patch for episode 3, but unfortunately it's being delayed to a later date. Draginol: "The NVIDIA dev team has been at the office all week helping us optimize Vulkan support for Ashes. We'll likely have to time our release on the Vulkan version with when NVIDIA and AMD have their driver updates that support the parts of Vulkan we're using."

## Post Episode 3 ##

 We still have lots planned for Ashes and will be continuing to release updates, new content, new features and improvements for years to come. Our next major project will be the Naval expansion called Tides of War, but that's still a ways off so don't expect anything on that front for 2017. Other then that, I won't repeat what's already been explained so if you want more info on what to expect moving forward, take a look at our April Dev Diaries from Draginol and from me.


We're very excited to bring you the new campaign and the new tier of units which we're quite proud of. Stay tuned for episode 3 in June!

Cheers,
-Callum

 

 


ASHES DEV JOURNAL: April 2017

Posted on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 By GeneralsGentlemen

Hey guys, Draginol posted a Dev Diary last night and there's a few things I'd like to add!

The massive 2.2 update, one of our biggest to date, launched a week ago and this sets the precedent for the momentum we want to maintain moving forward in 2017 and beyond. Unlike Draginol before me, I'm not a CEO and head of multiple projects, so with me at the helm of balance and the design direction for Ashes we'll be getting more done in a shorter amount of time and with more community interaction.

 

##REPLAYS##

While replays are now fully functional, we aren't done working on them and down the line we want to give players more tools to extract important information out of the match. This would involve being able to open up different panels to compare different values such as the upgrade disparity or what is currently being produced by each player. We have made a new section on the forums for people to share their replays

As an example, here's a mock image I made up in Photoshop to demonstrate what I'm hoping we can get with the Production tab.

 

##2.21 Patch##

We have a small patch coming out next week to fix some issues which were causing crashes. The Gunships are also receiving a cost increase as they are over performing in 2.2 

 

##Gameplay Intentions For Next Major Update## 

With 2.2 launched, we'll begin gathering feedback and getting to work on continuing to improve the game in next patch. As 2.2 was the first major update I had been a part of, the primary concern for the gameplay changes was to address the urgent and unfair balance problems while making the game more intuitive and welcoming for new players. With those out of the way, we can focus on some more fundamental reworks to really shake things up for the better. On top of general balance changes, these are we have our eyes on for the next major update.

  • 5 new maps to be included for free in 2.3 thanks to community member Luxlupus. Maybe we'll have even more ready by then!
  • More map improvementsSo far we've got improvements to Frosthaven, Kralon, Thuban, Espana and Regulus, with more maps likely to be touched up.
  • Counter system revamp: We are reworking and standardising the health to armor ratios of most Cruisers and Dreadnoughts so that the counter system is more robust and allows for emphasis on managing your unit composition instead of just massing Maulers and Athenas with little consideration,
  • Cost ratios adjustments: The current cost ratios of Metals to Radioactives limits strategic diversity. For example, Air units are not as much a deliberate strategic decision as they are an eventuality due to needing a way to spend all of the excess Radioactives. We are looking into the cost ratios of Cruisers, Dreadnoughts, Air Units and buildings and seeing how they can be adjusted to create more strategic depth.
  • Dreadnought rebalance: Ontop of the health/armor rework for Dreadnoughts, we have lots of other changes to Dreadnoughts and some of the their abilities to better balance them and refine each Dreadnought into their intended role.
  • Base defense survivability: Base defenses were far too strong against armies, but then were very easy to clear with artillery units. We want to mitigate this discrepancy by removing armor so big enough armies can force their way through base defenses much easier while increasing health on low tier defenses so it takes a bit longer for artillery units to clear.
  • Substrate energy rework: We want to make energy consumption less crucial for Reapers while more of a consideration for other units types while so Capacitors have a more consistent role to play amongst different unit compositions.
 
##New Features and QoL##
 
A few weeks back I made a thread about which features and QoL would the community like to see implemented. With the launch of 2.2, we can get started on some of them. Most of them will take a while to get implemented as the team already has their hands full working on other things such as Juggernauts and Modding, but we should be able to get a couple of QoL changes implemented in 2.3 and work on ticking off more of them as we move forward. We've already got one heavily requested QoL change completed and on the way!
  

##UPCOMING DLC##

 

Co-Op Map Pack:

This DLC adds 8 new maps specifically designed for playing cooperatively, whether it's against AI or against players. Players spawn right next to their team mates and many of the maps have shared pathways to allow for combined attacks and strategies. 

 
##Tournaments/events##
 
The sweeping changes in 2.2 have helped put Ashes in a great spot. Because of this new balance patch and replays support, I plan on running some tournaments with small prizes on the line to showcase high level matches. I'll start off with very small events such pro player showmatches and scale them upwards over time depending on success. Tournaments can also be a very valuable tool for assessing balance. 


##New, Better Tutorial##
 
The current tutorial is long, boring and doesn't even teach the player much useful information. I would like to change this by creating a new, better tutorial as a good tutorial is crucial when introducing new players to the game. This will most likely take a while in between everything else that we'll be working on.

So that's it for now, there's lots on the horizon to look forward to!

Cheers
-Callum
 

 


SINGULARITY DIARY: April 2017

Posted on Saturday, April 15, 2017 By Frogboy

Martyr_hp

 

Greetings! Spring is here and there's lots to talk about. So let's do this!

[[..]]

## Multiplayer population ##

While Ashes of the Singularity is primarily a single player game, we are concerned about the multiplayer population.  While people at the lower ranks are having no problems finding people, it gets harder (meaning longer) to find a match the higher up you go.  This is a real problem.

What we are doing:

  1. Use the Escalation browser: https://1drv.ms/u/s!AuBwidOf1nOuh-Z_qrrsc7nNm43uOA (note, it's not digitally signed so Windows will give you a scary message, you can ignore that).  It will let you chat with others and will inform you if there are games available that you can join.
  2. We are going to start connecting the top players into our Stardock.net system so that we can better host tournaments and contests. 
  3. Multiplayer Scenario support.  The way this will work is that we will have a set of scenarios that players can opt into or out, press a button and it will find players to play with (with 1 on 1 still being one of the pathways).

 

## Stability ##

The recent Windows updates have made DirectX 12 a little unstable in Ashes.  And in fact, overall, we've been seeing an increase in instability.  We have some theories on why this is happening (it's not like the underlying code has changed) but the bottom line is that we are making stability improvements our primary focus for version 2.3.

 

## Modding ##

We now have an "easy bake" app that lets modders take their FBX files and turn them into Oxmodels.  This will pave the way for matters to truly create their own units.

The goal is to do whatever is necessary on the engine side to allow modders to create almost any RTS game with the engine.  I personally would like to see a Total Annihilation mod for instance.

 

## Juggernauts ##

The art on these is basically done.  What we are currently lacking is engineering time to implement them as we are focusing on Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade right now.  Once that ships, we'll have some more bandwidth for that.

 

## Season Pass Policy ##

The complicated formula for who gets a season pass of Escalation DLC made the Inception DLC a bit bumpy to get out there.  I think it's mostly cleared up now.

So that we're clear: IF you bought the upgrade from the base game to Escalation you get a season pass.

 

## Vulkan ##

The Vulkan work is largely completed.  However, it won't be until June before it's released as there is a ton of compatibility and optimization work to be done given the game's popularity as a benchmarking tool for high end graphics.

Now, Vulkan doesn't mean Linux.  It just means that the door is open to Linux.  The challenge with Linux is that the user base has to be sufficient to justify it.  Right now, the biggest challenge for Ashes remains the hardware requirements.  Most PC gamers cannot run the game.  This was always known which is why we have always viewed the game as a very long-term endeavor (hence the roadmap we've posted).

Thus, if I have say 3 engineers working on the game we have to carefully consider what gets what priority.

For me, the priorities are as follows:

#1 Improve compatibility (which translates as game stability)

#2 Support the modding community

#3 Get more units into the game (Juggernauts)

#4 Add more depth to the gameplay (more units, more resources, etc.)

#5 Improve performance, lower hardware requirements

Thus, in my view, getting the above things done trump getting a Linux version out. That doesn't mean no Linux version, it means it's not yet on the radar.

 

## What's next? ##

Right now, the team is focusing on improving stability (more accurately described as compatibility) while they await reinforcements from the GalCiv team to arrive.

We are play testing Episode 3 which includes 2 dreadnoughts (which work ok for the campaign but will need AI work for skirmish, multiplayer).

I am also hoping to have Steam Workshop support for mods, maps, scenarios in for 2.3 but it's a bigger challenge than it might seem given the sheer size of the maps (hundreds of megabytes each). We have solutions for these challenges but they will take engineering time.

 

That's all for now, as always, you guys are awesome! Cheers!

-brad

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