The Goal: Create the biggest, best real-time strategy game ever!
## Performance tuning ##
We haven't set up a specific version number for the next set of updates. Internally we're calling it the 1.5 series. But there's development and then there's marketing.
Right now, we're putting a lot of effort on performance tuning. Ashes is a big game and it's a new engine.
We would really like to get the base game of Ashes of the Singularity down to working on 1GB video cards as well as making sure it runs really well on 4K resolutions.
While most of you reading this know your hardware, it's important to remember that most people have no idea other than insisting that their 3 year old PC is state of the art still and no amount of posting will persuade them that there 3 year old machine isn't a mega machine just because it plays GTA V just fine.
## The New Units ##
Both The PHC and the Substrate are going to get a mobile quantum jammer. It'll be a very expensive, very late game unit. It's not something players will be spamming out with all their armies. Instead, think of it as a T3-level costing unit that will be very hard to kill.
The problem we run into late game on the bigger maps is that you can nuke enemy armies to death as they cross.
After the expansion is released, we want to bring over the Barrager upgradeable defense and the Heavy Annihlator so that there is a bit more turtling available to players.
## Escalation is coming!!! ##
Speaking of the expansion, Escalation is coming. This is the first expansion that adds:
- 9 new units
- 12 new defensive structures
- Volcanic planets
- Crystaline planets
- Strategic zoom
- A prequel single player campaign
- Updated version of the Imminent crisis campaign
- Escalation single player campaign
- Doubles the number of players from 8 to 16
- Doubles the maximum map size
- Updated soundtrack
- Changes to the Substrate economy system
- Visual and UI update
- Upgradable defenses
- New orbital abilities
- Substrate gains a Harvester unit that can steal resources from regions
- New game setup options
It's $19.99 for Ashes players and $39.99 for new players.
It's being released as a stand-alone expansion. Now, with the benefit of hindsight, we would have made this a DLC instead of stand-alone given some of the anger that we've seen regarding releasing the expansion as a stand-alone.
Somewhere between our release of Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion, Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes and now expandalones have gone out of favor.
We prefer explandalones for a variety of reasons. Mainly, it lets us have a new install directory. I wish I had a better reason than that but it didn't occur to us that anyone would care one way or the other since all the other RTS games do their expansions that way (StarCraft: Legacy of the Void, Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance, The various Dawn of War 2 expansions, the various CoH expansions, etc.
Anyway, lesson learned, people prefer their expansions released as DLC. We'll keep that in mind in the future.
We're really excited about Escalation. We've listened to player feedback since release and created this in response.
It'll be released in November.
You can pre-order it here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/507490/
## Steam Reviews ##
I'm going to rant about Steam reviews for a second. I won't get into whether reviews are "fair" or not. They are what they are.
Games with review scores less than 70% become "mixed" and that kills sales. Ashes is at 70%. You can read the reviews and decide if they're legitimate or not.
What I can say is that the market is the market. Our ability to keep working on Ashes is dependent on sales. If people don't like Ashes, then it won't sell and that'll be the end of it.
RTS's are expensive to develop. We want to continue to develop Ashes for years to come. But we can only do that if enough people want us to. While sales of the game remain quite strong, there is a very strong correlation between Steam reviews and sales.
The recent review score is based on 99 people's reviews. That's a tiny number of people. The game has only been reviewed by 1300 people. That's less than 1% of the player base.
## Increasing Replayability ##
One of the major projects for after version 1.6 (Fall) is to implement features that will further increase replayability.
The sandbox game is something we think is very strong. But Ashes isn't a 4X game which are the kings of strategy replayability. And while we love multiplayer, only a small percentage of people play Ashes multiplayer. We are adding more features for MP (such as replays) to help on that end. But we want people to want to play Ashes daily for years to come.
We'd like to hear your thoughts on that.
That's all for now!
Originally posted by Brad on the Steam forums.