Ashes of the Singularity

Ashes of the Singularity

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Draginol  [developer] Jan 4 @ 12:00pm
ASHES DEV UPDATE: January 2017
Happy new year!

Here's what we're working on. :)

## Version 1.5 series ##

Last month version 1.5 was released but that isn't the end of the 1.5 updates.

In particular, these features/enhancements/bug fixes are scheduled to get added in 1.51/1.52/1.53.

1. Update UI.

We're bringing the Escalation UI over to the base game. The larger fonts and general layout are easier on the eyes.

2. Replays.

This is something that has been a lot harder to do than we had expected. Our lead developer has been ill which has slowed down work. She hopes to be back in the next week or so. Stardock's overall lead dev has been working on this feature in her absence.

3. Updated visuals.

From the lighting to the general look of materials and maps, we have what amounts to a visual p♥♥♥♥♥across the game in progress.

4. Safe mode.

Starting in 1.51, when you launch the game you will be given a choice between launching the game normally or going into "safe mode". This way, if someone has set up something wrong, it won't cause them to crash the game.


## User Reviews ##

Last Fall we had a "Mostly Positive" rating. Now it's "Mixed" with recent being very low. Why did this happen and what can Stardock learn from it?

Obviously, the game today is even better than it was last Fall. What changed was the release of Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation.

Traditionally, Stardock (and other RTSs) have released their expansion packs as stand-alone. We were trying to follow the model set by Supreme Commander who released Forged Alliance about the same time after the original release as Escalation was.

Stardock did this with GalCiv II with Dark Avatar and with Fallen Enchantress (Legendary Heroes), Sins of a Solar Empire (Rebellion) and so on.

So it didn't really occur to us that there'd be a backlash for doing the same thing with Escalation, especially given the sheer volume of updates the base game was continuously receiving.

Now, clearly, times have changed. And we're applying this feedback to Offworld Trading Company and Galactic Civilizations III whose upcoming major expansions will be released as DLC instead of a stand-alone has originally planned.

But what is done is done. Now, the question remains, what to do about the base game. Will our continuing work on the base game and the price differentiation help?

## Multiplayer integration ##

One unexpected challenge is that you presently cannot use Steamworks to have a game with one AppID to talk to a game with a different AppID. We are still looking into this but presuming we can do something about that, we expect to find a way to unify the MP player bases.

That said, we will probably get very aggressive in rewarding Steam keys to active MP participants in Ashes to Escalation to help give users more options.


More to come!

-brad

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Showing 1-15 of 17 comments
Thanks
looks good! can't wait for all the stuff you guys mentioned plus modding, workshop, etc. ESPECIALLY the new juggernauts!. Hope those are still running ahead of shedule, take your time: I prefer quality over quickness. good luck in 2017!
ASAD Jan 4 @ 9:50pm 
good to see you guys are moving some Escalation into the base game.
Draginol  [developer] Jan 5 @ 12:26pm 
I wonder how people would feel if we gave a free copy of Escalation to everyone who bought Ashes early on and gave everyone who bought the upgrade a free copy of Star Control.

edit: I don't really know if this can be done so don't get your hopes up.
Last edited by Draginol; Jan 5 @ 1:34pm
That might be interesting. Inform me of star control plz. Ex: a link or something. Just wanna know since I own escalation
Draginol  [developer] Jan 5 @ 12:31pm 
it's a game we're working on for next year. www.starcontrol.com.
As a founder of ashes and galactic civilization 3 I approve of a free copy of star control. I also approve of a place for a early pre order of Sins 2. IE take my money!
I would love a free copy of star control! And what's this deal about sins 2? Is it happening?
Omg I want star control too😍
svfn Jan 6 @ 12:51am 
are these bugged achievements fixed yet for this version of Ashes?

http://steamcommunity.com/app/507490/discussions/0/152390014800584638/
Last edited by svfn; Jan 6 @ 12:52am
Originally posted by Draginol:
I wonder how people would feel if we gave a free copy of Escalation to everyone who bought Ashes early on and gave everyone who bought the upgrade a free copy of Star Control.

edit: I don't really know if this can be done so don't get your hopes up.
Heh, I bought this and Servo, but I already became a founder for Star Control too. Guess you'll just have to keep my money :P
Sunbeam Jan 6 @ 5:12pm 
Originally posted by Draginol:
I wonder how people would feel if we gave a free copy of Escalation to everyone who bought Ashes early on and gave everyone who bought the upgrade a free copy of Star Control.

edit: I don't really know if this can be done so don't get your hopes up.
I'm up for anything that going to merge multiplayer community back together.
However in that case it might be better to just merge games completely, with Escalation single player locked for those who don't have it. Unless you want to turn base Ashes into cheap light version as "demo" or even F2P, but you still can do that even if games get merged into one.

As for Star Control I think Escalation players would prefer some Ashes content over it. After all that what they wanted to pay for. Personally I'm not interested in Star Control at all.
Last edited by Sunbeam; Jan 6 @ 5:15pm
Originally posted by Sunbeam:
Originally posted by Draginol:
I wonder how people would feel if we gave a free copy of Escalation to everyone who bought Ashes early on and gave everyone who bought the upgrade a free copy of Star Control.

edit: I don't really know if this can be done so don't get your hopes up.
I'm up for anything that going to merge multiplayer community back together.
However in that case it might be better to just merge games completely, with Escalation single player locked for those who don't have it. Unless you want to turn base Ashes into cheap light version as "demo" or even F2P, but you still can do that even if games get merged into one.

As for Star Control I think Escalation players would prefer some Ashes content over it. After all that what they wanted to pay for. Personally I'm not interested in Star Control at all.
Thais is a good point. I originally said I woudl love star control, and I still would, bot more Ashes content may also be a good idea, at least enough to get our money back.
Originally posted by Draginol:
Happy new year!


Now, clearly, times have changed. And we're applying this feedback to Offworld Trading Company and Galactic Civilizations III whose upcoming major expansions will be released as DLC instead of a stand-alone has originally planned.

But what is done is done. Now, the question remains, what to do about the base game. Will our continuing work on the base game and the price differentiation help?

More to come!

-brad

Happy new year as well! I'll take the time to tell you my feelings without changing my initial review to a "Thumbs down". First of all Ashes doesn't seem to be more than an impressive DX12-Techdemo and Benchmark for many. As I was done with Windows 10 after a year and now back to Windows 7 a couple of months until January 2020 it does not matter that much to me. However, that Ashes actually is game that runs well on DX11 and not only Windows 10 is overlooked somehow.

Second Ashes seems like it is being built on competitive PvP-League play, something I'm personally not very interested in. I like to take my time, building large armies instead of rushing everything within a couple of minutes. I of course enjoyed the Multiplayer with friends, unfortunately they did not so much and so I'm stuck alone with this and you know how the Singleplayer-Campaign is (or was in the first place). So you might as well know that many of those Updates you are proud of I was expecting in the first place. That might sound cocky but I then bought all DLCs for Ashes to support you guys without actually ever playing them. Or can you play Ashes base and only Escalation together?

And then "Escalation" came around and I thought the WTH? Now they are fragmenting their tiny userbase again? Now they charge for basically the same again? Wasn't splitting GOG- and Steam-Users already "suboptimal" enough? Why not keep everything in one place? Where is the point not to simply built on extending the base game if you don't radically change things. Well, if you did you at least failed to communicate it but it seems it weren't many listening anyway. So from the outside it looks like what some people call a "cash-grab" I guess. Personally I think which of both I'm gonna play now? What's the real hard difference it needs to be sold and patched as a different game? Even from a Devs side I simply don't get it why one thinks it might be good idea to split development branches while the base game still has so much unused potential with that powerful engine you build.

But as you said: Things went south anyway already and looking at the player numbers saddens me (given they tell the truth).

http://steamcharts.com/app/228880
http://steamcharts.com/app/507490

Seems like some enjoy "Escalation" for - to me - unknown reasons. But then look at how Supreme Commancer - Forged Alliances compares to Ashes, or Total Annihilation:

http://steamcharts.com/app/9420
http://steamcharts.com/app/298030

Uh, that really hurts. Supreme Commander (1!) was originally released Feb 2007. Forged Alliance came in November the same year and featured increased performance (which was badly needed), a new faction and more but weaker Experimentals added but basically it was a needed patch of the original game which soon got forgotten because it was basically broken multiplayer-wise. I don't see that with Ashes and that is a good thing.

I considered that not as a great move either by the way at the time and we all know that commerically this wasn't too successful commerically as well, so a ten times higher userbase given by hundreds of sales in almost ten years is not suprising. So of course, TA and SC as well as Ashes is a niche inside the RTS-Niche with the Taylor-Games still being way more actively played.

I also understand that you need to earn a living and can't throw away Ashes in Humble-Bundles for a dollar. But splitting the community via digital distribution channels and two different base games is obviously not paying off. You're not even clarifying that people can't play to together:

http://steamcommunity.com/app/507490/discussions/0/352792037310716464/

So what did hurt the Ashes-Reputation?

1. It is/was basically but widely popular for tech-geeks as a DX12-Techdemo and Benchmark

2. In Germany, the split Community via GoG and Steam not supporting Crossplay-Multiplayer wasn't well received but judged without even reviewing the game

3. At least in Germany, the Reviews were very fairly mediocre and the game was mainly judged by the poor Campaign at release and I'm personally surprised it wasn't received worse

4. Reviews mostly ignored the Multiplayer-Aspects of Ashes entirely, especially its great performance, stability and if it fails the fallback-mechanisms (Rotating MP-Autosaves), a thing that MAKES ME never want to play Forged Alliance again.

5. Escalation "Standalone-Expansion"...WTH ;)


So what would I do?

1. Integrate "Escalation" into the Ashes Basegame (as a paid Addon-DLC). Stop splitting the Community and your Development-Branches until you really start working on "Ashes2"

2. Remove Ashes and Escalation from GoG OR after integration make it work cross-plattform. If you can't, don't do it.

3. Learn from the experience and show it (don't just say it and then change nothing like UBIsoft or EA or Microsoft "We learned our lesson! (but we will continue the same way as before)"! until you're too big to fail.

TLDR: What was done wrong can be fixed, just do it! Your "what is done is done" does not mean nothing can be changed until YOU think so. For me it is not about "pricing", I don't even want Escalation for free in the current form. I want to see the base-game extended and if that's gonna cost it is OK. I don't wanna sit here thinking "Oh, which Ashes released within twelve months I'm gonna play today, the one nobody has or the one that is abandoned"...and then playing something else.
Draginol  [developer] Jan 9 @ 5:31pm 
Thanks for the excellent feedback!

I don't think it's really possible to integrate the two together any more than it's possible to integrate Supreme Commander and Supreme Commander: FA together at this point.

One thing regarding SupCom is to remember that the developer of that is gone. So any lessons we apply can't use SupCom as a guide. SupCom has a bigger user base today because it's a good game that is sold for $12 full price.

Getting a massive user base is easy if you're willing to pay for it. :)

The challenge is to find that perfect balance between keeping customers happy that doesn't result in a financial loss.

Ashes really wasn't designed as a competitive MP game. The base game was designed as a large scale RTS that used today's tech to get a lot more units in the world without bringing the machine to a halt.

The base game has already sold more than twice the number of units we expected it would sell in its first year. Escalation was created because it became clear people wanted a bigger, more complex RTS and because of the sales of the base game, there was budget to do that.

Now, the challenge is to find a way to reward our early adopters for their loyalty.
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