Ashes of the Singularity

Ashes of the Singularity

Zobrazit statistiky:
Draginol  [vývojář] 3. lis. 2016 v 12.07
Ashes: NOVEMBER 2016 DEV update!
Greetings!

Sorry I haven't been as active lately. It's been Ashes of the Singularity 24/7 here at Stardock.

So let's do this:

## Escalation ##

We had to push the release date of Escalation from November 3 to November 10. This is my fault as I just wasn't comfortable with the balance in the campaign. It was a bit too hard on the default setting and we needed to adjust it.

Obviously, you can change the difficulty level (side note: In hindsight, it's pretty insane that the original game shipped without a campaign difficulty slider) but the default does matter a lot.

Escalation also has added more units to the mix to the point that our review guide is a bit out of date.

For example, the Charon cruiser is awesome. Any army it is apart of is able to teleport reinforcements to it instantly. But it will probably have a lot of threads about it because there's a unit that is very tough to balance. On a huge map with 20 factories going, a Charon is a roving nightmare unless you kill it quickly. So it has to be handled very carefully.

Back when I was a Total Annihilation nut playing in the PGL, I used all kinds of cheese tactics like com napping, jamming a flash into other people's factories (the destroyed hulk would block units from leaving the factory), giving metal generators (consume energy to give metal) and then gifting them to my opponent so that I could assassinate my opponent's commander without worrying about his Dgun. I'm not proud.

I bring up the above because as I play and balance Escalation, it's an endless challenge to find that right balance between what is fun and what is exploitable. Escalation includes a number of really interesting new units that are likely to create some new ways of playing the game that we can't imagine yet. So we'll have to pay very close attention to that.

## Flocking ##

Some of the negative Steam reviews talk about path finding problems in Ashes. But the problem they are experiencing isn't path finding, it's flocking. The units know how to get where they're going just fine. The challenge is what to do when you have hundreds of them trying to get past each other in the most efficient way possible. That requires a really sophisticated flocking algorithm and it's something we've been spending a lot of time on these past couple of months as it is a non-trivial programmatic challenge.

We think we have a suitable solution that should be ready to be made public next week. There are opt-ins that are starting to get pushed out that will test this and hopefully will make positioning armies much more enjoyable.

## Tournament Edition ##

Early next year we are going to create a Tournament Edition of the game. This version will initially be only available to Ashes players to share with 4 friends for free. Ashes of the Singularity: Tournament will be a multiplayer only version of the game to help encourage a bigger multiplayer community.

We still expect 90% of the player base to play the game exclusively single player but we do want to make sure there is a really strong multiplayer community as well.

## Vulkan ##

We have this most of the way completed and have test apps of it ready. The remaining issue is HLSL to Vulkan. One of our partners is working on an HLSL shader converter. Once we have that, we should be able to release a Vulkan version soon after.

Once there's a Vulkan version, we can take a look at SteamOS (Linux) support.

## Roadmap for Escalation vs. Ashes ##

It is important to remember that for us, there is ONLY Ashes of the Singularity. Escalation is an expansion to Ashes of the Singularity. When we are working on Escalation, we are also working on Ashes.

Going forward, we will be differentiating Ashes and Escalation more distinctly and some of that means that certain elements of Escalation will come into the base game or be made available as DLC.

For example, here are some DLCs we are thinking of making available to Ashes players in the future that come with Escalation:

1. Crystaline worlds
2. Volcanic worlds
3. Maps with more players on them

There are also features that are probably going to back into Ashes (for free) that will debut in Escalation such as:
1. The UI update
2. The Substrate economy change
3. Upgrading the Smarty to a Barrager
4. Upgrading a Annihilator to a Deadly Annihilator
5. Adding a low level anti-air defense for the PHC and Substrate that upgrades to a better one.

But over time, you will see the distinction between the two grow.

## Philosphy on RTS game design ##

As some of our Founders can tell you, the design for Ashes of the Singularity was NOT to be like Supreme Commander. I once even posted on our forums that if you were hoping that Ashes would replace SupCom that you would be very disappointed.

So for example, I opposed, in Ashes, to have things like strategic zoom or more than 15 units per faction or lots of defensive buildings. I still am not sure having upgradeable buildings in the base game is a good idea but I feel like I've promised that to the community.

But why? The answer is that Ashes of the Singularity, at its heart, is supposed to be a next-generation RTS to introduce people to the RTS genre.

I read people saying that people should just buy "Supreme Commander: FA" or some other classic RTS. I'm obviously a big fan of Total Annihilation, SupCom, FAF, etc. but are you sure that's the game you really want to use to introduce someone to the genre?

The fact is, a lot of these great games do not work well (or at all) on modern hardware. The mouse cursor might not work or they crash if you're running at too high a resolution or they are no longer compatible with certain video cards and so on.

## Where Ashes will go and where Escalation will go ##
At a recent LAN party for core PC gamers who were NOT RTS players, I had to pick a game to introduce the RTS to them and that game was Company of Heroes. Not CoH 2 (or Ashes) but the original Company of Heroes (this is why marketing hates when I post, I'm recommending Company of Heroes as the best intro RTS game on the market <g>).

The only reason I didn't push Ashes was the hardware requirements. The 2GB video memory requirement was too much for a couple of them. If we could fix memory requirement that then Ashes would be a no-brainer. Alternatively, we can just wait until 2GB video cards are the norm.

If you take a fresh look at Ashes of the Singularity, not as a veteran RTS player but as someone looking to recommend an RTS to someone interested in the genre you'll (hopefully) note these things:

1. It's pretty bullet proof. You install it on a new gaming PC and it just works.

2. The game mechanics are straight forward. You capture regions and get their resources. You can then build up those regions and get more resources which lets you build more stuff.

3. There is some action in the first few minutes (In TA or SupCom, it can be several minutes before you even get to see any boom boom boom).

4. It's visually gorgeous (on a modern PC anyway).

5. Losing isn't particularly frustrating. Losing due to a Turnium build up is not generally anger producing. Having someone finally beat you back to your base can actually be fun. By contrast, losing because someone nuked your commander or did a Reaper rush into your base or put barbed wire all over the map or having your entire army melt because you couldn't find your little unit with the right counter to activate its special EMP power and select the enemy unit that would be casting the melt army spell can be extremely frustrating to a new player.

That isn't to say Ashes is perfect. We should have had a mobile orbital nullifier unit in the game when it shipped. We didn't think of it at the time. But we will add that. But overall, Ashes is a really really good introduction to the genre.

By contrast...

Escalation is designed with RTS veterans in mind. We listened to the feedback and realized that Ashes couldn't be a one-size-fits all game.

I spend a lot of time reading RTS communities and the Ashes one is the best i've been apart of. You guys are amazing and your feedback has been extremely helpful. But we couldn't put those ideas and features into Ashes, the base game, even as DLC at any price because at that point, it's not Ashes of the Singularity anymore, it's a hard-core RTS game.

That's where Escalation came in. With Escalation, I am comfortable having strategic zoom (and in fact, it's layered strategic zoom like we did in Sins of a Solar Empire). I'm okay with having a lot more units and defenses.

That doesn't mean Ashes, the base game, won't eventually get naval units and more factions of course. None of our plans have changed with regards to the base game. We just want to be able to have a game that targets ALL PC gamers (Ashes) and a game that focuses on veteran RTS players (Escalation).

## How did Escalation get so much stuff so fast? ##

As the Founders know, our sales projection for Ashes of the Singularity were modest. As I posted in our Founders forum last year, our objective was to sell 50,000 units of Ashes of the Singularity before the end of 2016 (not counting OEM sales).

It's not that we didn't have confidence in our game. It's that the demographics are the demographics. 4 core CPUs + 2GB video memory as a base requirement cuts out most PC gamers. It's just that simple. Not many people can play Ashes of the Singularity.

When it became clear Ashes of the Singularity was going to more than double the projections, we beefed up the team. A lot.

Ashes of the Singularity = Oxide Games
Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation = Oxide Games + Stardock

So once we had a design down for Escalation we had a lot more people available to do stuff.

Anyway, I have more to say but can save it until later. This is already really long. Let me know if you have any questions.

-brad
< >
Zobrazeno 115 z 24 komentářů
Thanks for sharing! :)
I have one question, are Juggernauts still in the pipeline for ashes?
Naposledy upravil Bernhardvd22; 3. lis. 2016 v 12.26
Draginol  [vývojář] 3. lis. 2016 v 12.30 
bernhardvdijk původně napsal:
Thanks for sharing! :)
I have one question, are Juggernauts still in the pipeline for ashes?

Yes. Having an uber unit is, imo, a good design for any RTS game (see the Titans in Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion <g>).
Draginol původně napsal:
bernhardvdijk původně napsal:
Thanks for sharing! :)
I have one question, are Juggernauts still in the pipeline for ashes?

Yes. Having an uber unit is, imo, a good design for any RTS game (see the Titans in Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion <g>).

Cant wait for those units!! I hope you guys will make them more than awesome! You are litterly the best devs ever! thums up!
so many great news

take your time until you think YOUR product is ready

we saw alot of examples what happens if this isnt the case *cough* mafia 3 *cough*

ps. any news on the DX12 panning bug, could this be solved using vulcan when released?
(sorry for beeing annoying ^^)
Draginol původně napsal:
bernhardvdijk původně napsal:
Thanks for sharing! :)
I have one question, are Juggernauts still in the pipeline for ashes?

Yes. Having an uber unit is, imo, a good design for any RTS game (see the Titans in Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion <g>).
you made my day sir

ashes escalation is going to be the RTS i have been waiting for many yeras
Naposledy upravil RAZORLIGHT; 3. lis. 2016 v 13.42
if there is gonna be a uber unit make sure the substrate get a big flying ship (air) that is slow, but really powerfull, cause why most the big things always be on the ground :) (you know make them special in comparison to each other)
Naposledy upravil Creature of Existense; 3. lis. 2016 v 12.50
also i am worried about the substrate in escalation, due to 3 facts refineries dosent have a limit to stacking, harvester will have a lot of problems stealing something big from players where the resources are and third is the teleporter the phc will have.

I am pretty sure these 3 things also aoe gonna be on of the topics once escalation comes out.

one last things is drones for the substrate, my question will be, will they become invalid if the aa becomes to powerfull, to the point they become obselete.
Naposledy upravil Creature of Existense; 3. lis. 2016 v 13.03
Creature of Existense původně napsal:
if there is gonna be a uber unit make sure the substrate get a big flying ship (air) that is slow, but really powerfull, cause why most the big things always be on the ground :) (you know make them special in comparison to each other)


How about a big flying ship that drops units and provides air support?
bernhardvdijk původně napsal:
Thanks for sharing! :)
I have one question, are Juggernauts still in the pipeline for ashes?

Would you mind filling me in, providing some info about those units you mentioned? what they are and what purposes they serve? Much appreciated I've never played the game with juggernauts so not sure what they are or do. TIA
Moza původně napsal:
bernhardvdijk původně napsal:
Thanks for sharing! :)
I have one question, are Juggernauts still in the pipeline for ashes?

Would you mind filling me in, providing some info about those units you mentioned? what they are and what purposes they serve? Much appreciated I've never played the game with juggernauts so not sure what they are or do. TIA
I think they're supposed to be end game units but not ships unless the plan for them has changed.
bbc6rgf 57 ytty5 y xy w5gt původně napsal:
Moza původně napsal:

Would you mind filling me in, providing some info about those units you mentioned? what they are and what purposes they serve? Much appreciated I've never played the game with juggernauts so not sure what they are or do. TIA
I think they're supposed to be end game units but not ships unless the plan for them has changed.


bbc6rgf 57 ytty5 y xy w5gt původně napsal:
Moza původně napsal:

Would you mind filling me in, providing some info about those units you mentioned? what they are and what purposes they serve? Much appreciated I've never played the game with juggernauts so not sure what they are or do. TIA
I think they're supposed to be end game units but not ships unless the plan for them has changed.

Ah, thanks.

Should be interesting to see how that works. What might be interesting is a wild card feature where users could pick an endgame unit or weapon which throws an element of unpredictability into the mix. Just a thought I just had but thought I'd throw it out there since it's fresh in my mind.
Draginol  [vývojář] 3. lis. 2016 v 16.55 
RAZORLIGHT původně napsal:
so many great news

take your time until you think YOUR product is ready

we saw alot of examples what happens if this isnt the case *cough* mafia 3 *cough*

ps. any news on the DX12 panning bug, could this be solved using vulcan when released?
(sorry for beeing annoying ^^)
Draginol původně napsal:

Yes. Having an uber unit is, imo, a good design for any RTS game (see the Titans in Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion <g>).
you made my day sir

ashes escalation is going to be the RTS i have been waiting for many yeras


I have NO good news on the panning issue on DX12. It's not a bug btw. It's just that there is a lag between player input from Windows and the DX12 app. Apparently Battlefield 1 on DX12 has the same issue.

It is not widespread but it does happen to me too and it's pretty severe on my machine (as in, so severe that I play on DX11 and made DX11 the default for Escalation).

We are talking to Microsoft about it as it is not in the Ashes code. There is literally, a slight latency between the time of the user input (keyboard, mouse) and the app knowing about it when DirectX 12 is active for a very small (as in, you and I are the only ones I know of who have it) number of users.

I have tried a couple different video cards (not exhaustively) and get the same issue. It's resolution independent too. Even with the lowest graphics settings I get it.

I've even made special builds that lock down the number of CPU cores (I have a 10 core CPU) to see if it has something to do with having a lot of CPUs.
Draginol  [vývojář] 3. lis. 2016 v 16.56 
Creature of Existense původně napsal:
also i am worried about the substrate in escalation, due to 3 facts refineries dosent have a limit to stacking, harvester will have a lot of problems stealing something big from players where the resources are and third is the teleporter the phc will have.

I am pretty sure these 3 things also aoe gonna be on of the topics once escalation comes out.

one last things is drones for the substrate, my question will be, will they become invalid if the aa becomes to powerfull, to the point they become obselete.

Most of the new AA are single target only. The flak cannon remains the most powerful PHC area anti-air.

The Substrate Harvester has no limit on stacking either.
Draginol původně napsal:
The Substrate Harvester has no limit on stacking either.
Does the Harvester seem viable in 1v1? At first glance and from watching the Escalation stream this week, it seems too easy to counter. Just build a turret. It needs to be able to sneak behind the lines and then leach resources. I know it's super early, but I feel like it needs a cloak ability that lasts as long as it has energy or else have a decent move speed. Or it needs to be able to leach from anywhere in the sector. Or at least long range enough to outrange a single turret at the extractors.
Naposledy upravil Ekko Tek; 3. lis. 2016 v 18.03
i kind of agree with ekko here, it woulde been nice with a way for the harvester to avoid fire. like siphon the resources from a nearby region (works in kind of the same way as culture spreads in sins) (the idea is) the longer it siphons on a node the further the reach will spread.

(from node to node, also that it is bit diffecult to find the main source of the siphon and where it is coming from directly, unless you have vison over that place.)

that way they can avoide fire. but at the same time they are still fragile to air attacks and aa.
also that way they can build up the income over time.

Added: it is possible the harvester will balance things once we get to use them in escalation and see how things will turn out.
Naposledy upravil Creature of Existense; 4. lis. 2016 v 20.16
I also wonder if the simplest Harvester counter of all is just a single air unit vs them. Regardless of Harvester, I hope cloaking dynamic comes to Escalation in some iteration down the road.
< >
Zobrazeno 115 z 24 komentářů
Na stránku: 15 30 50