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Ashes: JULY 2016 Dev Update

Published on Monday, July 4, 2016 By Island Dog In Ashes Dev Journals

Greetings!

Happy 4th of July!

Stardock is closed this week for its Summer vacation but I wanted to give you guys a general status report.

## SEASON 1 ##

With the Steam sale and the holiday, we have extended Season 1 to the end of July. We are in the process of contacting the top ranked players to set up a tournament for later this month which we plan to stream as many of the games as we can.

## NEXT UPDATE ##

We plan to release version 1.24 of Ashes on July 14th. That version will mostly be bug fixes and and balance updates along with Observer mode in multiplayer.

## STABILITY ##

We are seeing problems with certain video driver features that seem to cause some instability in the game. If you are running an app that is designed to "optimize" Ashes, we recommend you turn it off as odds are its optimization focuses mostly on the benchmark.

The dead give away is if you're running DirectX 12 and there seems to be lag when moving around the map. That indicates something has injected itself. The best way around it in my experience is to go to your system tray and unload and so-called experience/optimization apps. 

## GENERAL PERFORMANCE ##

Version 1.24 will probably include some new performance improving code. That said, I strongly recommend people not bother with anti-aliasing. If it makes a visual difference for you that you can actually tell then by all means, use it but in my experience, it's not worth the extra video memory it consumes (and at above 1920x1080 it's ludicrious imo).

## PLAYER REVIEWS ##

As predicted the Steam sale knocked our player review scores down. This almost always happens when a game is on sale since you have players who are not always the right fit for the game.

If you are an experience Ashes player, we ask that you take the time to review the game (pro or con). 

## THE FIRST EXPANSION ##

Most of the team is working on the first expansion pack. This will be somewhat akin to what Forged Alliance was for SupCom back in the day. More units, more players, bigger maps, more map types, better handling of armies, a Global view zoom out map and much more. 

We plan to have this expansion priced at near DLC levels initially to reward those who were early adopters before changing the price to its final price.

We also expect that some of the features of the expansion will make it into Ashes 1.5 which will be a free update for existing players (for example, anything we do to improve AI, modding, unit behavior, responsiveness, etc. would get put into 1.5).

So that's all for now. Let me know if you have any questions.

Cheers!

-brad


Originally posted by Brad on the Steam forums.

http://steamcommunity.com/app/228880/discussions/1/358416640401552513/


Ashes: Summer is here!

Published on Monday, June 27, 2016 By Frogboy In Ashes Dev Journals

As anyone playing online must have noticed by now, we’ve basically doubled our user base in June. So that’s good.

Version 1.2 was a pretty big deal for helping make Ashes a more mainstream RTS.  I say more but I won’t say mainstream.  As a practical matter, 40% of the user base doesn’t have the hardware to play Ashes so we’ll always take a bit of a hit in terms of player base and of course user reviews from people who have older systems that won’t be able to play the game well.

I sympathize with players who have outdated systems. I have my sons set up with 2 gaming boxes and when Ashes shipped, neither could play the game. I was certain they had high end boxes but it’s amazing how fast that 5 year old video card becomes…well…5 years old.

Memory Memory Memory

For Ashes, it’s video memory that’s the key. 2GB of video memory is barely enough. 4GB is much better. 8GB is great.  But how many people have that in 2016? Not many. 

As a practical matter, most RTS players are better off picking up SupCom:FA for $14.99.  The only problem there is that obviously, it’ll never be updated.  By contrast, we take every cent we make and put it back into the game.  For us, it’s not just about making Ashes a great game today, it’s about where it’s going to be in 2017 and beyond.

What’s happening

There really are so many moving parts.  For one thing, while our position on “strategic zoom” hasn’t changed, our view on a global view has.  Simply put, you can’t play the game on the upcoming “Huge” maps without being able to zoom out, see the world, and give commands to your forces.  It bugs me a bit that this is necessary but I think it will allow the game to better reach its potential. 

Ashes, at its core, is the natural progression of Total Annihilation.  It hasn’t fulfilled that yet imo.  We need more units, more progression.  I certainly think Ashes is better than TA 1.0 was but people forget that Core Contingency is the version of TA that made it amazing.  That is what we will have to.

There are no game engines, that I’m aware of (and it’s my job to be aware of them) that will be able to remotely touch what Ashes is doing for years to come. It’s not about the art or graphics but rather the scale. 

SupCom is still the best 3rd generation RTS out there by far in terms of capability.  This has nothing to do with whether someone personally thinks it’s fun.  I’m purely talking about potential.  Someone could take Unity and with enough money make StarCraft 2 Deluxe.  But you can’t take Unity and make SupCom even today no matter how much money you throw at it.

So day by day, we are able to take every sale and pour it back into the game.  And thanks to you guys, we’ve made tremendous progress in turning what was already a really good game into a really good game. More to come.

Up to 75% off in the Steam Summer Sale!

Published on Thursday, June 23, 2016 By Island Dog In Offworld News

 It's that time of the year again...the Steam Summer Sale has begun
Stardock's games and DLC are up to 75% off*, snag these deals while you can. 

otc_bigbanner

Offworld Trading Company
$39.99 Now $19.99

ashes_bigbanner

Ashes of the Singularity
$39.99 Now $19.99

sinsreb_bigbanner

Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion
$39.99 Now $9.99

gc3_bigbanner

Galactic Civilizations III
$39.99 Now $13.59

 

Additional titles on sale:
sdbundle Stardock Bundle 2016
$99.99 Now $49.99
  gc2 ult Galactic Civilizations II: Ultimate
$19.99 Now $4.99
gc3gold Galactic Civilizations III: Gold
Up to 75% off
  feult Fallen Enchantress: Ultimate
$39.99 Now $9.99
tpm The Political Machine 2016
$9.99 Now $2.49
  lh Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes
$24.99 Now $6.24
sk Sorcerer King
$24.99 Now $6.24
  dem Demigod
$9.99 Now $2.49
trin Sins of a Solar Empire: Trinity
$19.99 Now $4.99
  dmd Dead Man's Draw
$6.99 Now $1.74
gciult Galactic Civilizations I: Ultimate
$9.99 Now $2.49
  tcm The Corporate Machine
$9.99 Now $2.49


Check out the full list of sales here!

Up to 75% off in the Steam Summer Sale!

Published on Thursday, June 23, 2016 By Island Dog In Sorcerer King News

 It's that time of the year again...the Steam Summer Sale has begun
Stardock's games and DLC are up to 75% off*, snag these deals while you can. 

otc_bigbanner

Offworld Trading Company
$39.99 Now $19.99

ashes_bigbanner

Ashes of the Singularity
$39.99 Now $19.99

sinsreb_bigbanner

Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion
$39.99 Now $9.99

gc3_bigbanner

Galactic Civilizations III
$39.99 Now $13.59

 

Additional titles on sale:
sdbundle Stardock Bundle 2016
$99.99 Now $49.99
  gc2 ult Galactic Civilizations II: Ultimate
$19.99 Now $4.99
gc3gold Galactic Civilizations III: Gold
Up to 75% off
  feult Fallen Enchantress: Ultimate
$39.99 Now $9.99
tpm The Political Machine 2016
$9.99 Now $2.49
  lh Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes
$24.99 Now $6.24
sk Sorcerer King
$24.99 Now $6.24
  dem Demigod
$9.99 Now $2.49
trin Sins of a Solar Empire: Trinity
$19.99 Now $4.99
  dmd Dead Man's Draw
$6.99 Now $1.74
gciult Galactic Civilizations I: Ultimate
$9.99 Now $2.49
  tcm The Corporate Machine
$9.99 Now $2.49


Check out the full list of sales here!

Sorcerer King v1.5 with New Features and Updates Now Available

Published on Tuesday, June 21, 2016 By Island Dog In Sorcerer King News

v1.5 Brings Improvement Razing, Scouting Report Feature, AI
and Balance Updates, and More

In addition to adjusting the AI of the Minor Races so that they no longer block your roads,
v1.5 adds a couple of new features to enhance and improve gameplay.

The new scouting report feature will allow you to get a head start on your adventures by
scoping out places on the map that are harder to get a scout unit to quickly at the beginning of the game.
The fog of war will be absent from some points of interest, allowing you to gain some information on
the surrounding region.

Until now, there were no "take-backsies" in war - now, with the new improvement razing feature,
you can choose to destroy an improvement you've built in order to make room for something else.
With this feature, you are no longer locked into your early game decisions and can instead adjust in order
to be more prepared to face the endgame.
v1.5 also brings updates to the game's overall balance and AI. For more details, check out the
full changelog at the bottom of the post.

Sorcerer King is available through Stardock or on Steam.
www.sorcererking.com

v1.5 Changelog

Scouting Report  

  • Use the 'Scouting Report' to get rumors of adventure in early game. 
  • When the game starts, some unknown points of interest have their FOW revealed, giving players extra info about the surrounding region.

Increased Intelligence of Minor Race Units

  • Minor Units will no longer clog up roads!
  • If they don't have a destination (ie. they're not moving) and the tile they're on is a Road, then they will find a nearby non-road tile to move onto.

Late Game Unit Scaling

  • Units given from quests will join you at a level that matches your progress in the game.
  • Before, units would join at a fixed value (normally Level 1). In late game, this made them nearly useless, as the first battle they get into they'd get one-shotted.  Now, when a unit joins you, they will be given a level of 60% of whatever your strongest hero is (ex. If your best hero is a Lvl10 Tandis, then the new quest unit will start at level 6)
  • This does not apply to Pioneers. You still need to be careful with them.

Craftable Flagons

Players were getting to points in the game where Flagons weren't dropping any more. Since these are pretty vital to potion-making, we've added some useful recipes unlocked by the Alchemist Improvement.

  • 'Glass Flagon' recipe - Costs 2 Crystal
  • Crystal Flagon' recipe - Costs 10 Crystal

Improvement Razing

  • Players can now destroy improvements to rebuild them elsewhere.
  • Added X button to the 'Built Improvement' icons in City Details to destroy an improvement.  
  • Game will prompt you whether or not you want the building destroyed.  

Gameplay / Balance

  • Fallen Apprentice can now cast Bewilder and Confusion
  • All Drakes now have the 'Deadly Bite' Ability
  • Raised the Mana costs of  'Crusade' (Raised Mana cost from 50 -> 130) and 'Destiny's Gift' (100 -> 250)
  • 'Alchemist' no longer limited to 1 per faction, now gives 4 recipes (from 8) and requires 10 Refined Crystal
  • 'Alchemist' also unlocks recipes for the various types of Flagons
  • Scribe' no longer limited to 1 per faction, now gives 4 recipes (from 8) and requires 15 Refined Crystal
  • 'Jeweler' no longer limited to 1 per faction, now gives 4 recipes (from 8) and requires 5 Metal / 5 Refined Crystal

Bugs

  • Drogon and Xi teleportation abilities now work correctly if those units are stationed in a city.
  • All Trained Units can now properly equip weapons

Offworld Trading Co. - New Map Toolkit DLC is Now Available

Published on Monday, June 20, 2016 By Island Dog In Offworld News

Design Your Own Map with the Map Toolkit DLC
The new Map Toolkit DLC is here and ready for you to make sprawling Martian landscapes.
With several new maps to get you started, you will be creating amazing Martian landscapes in no time!

New Map Editing Tool
Design and create your own Martian landscapes with looming plateaus, deep craters, and more.
New Maps
Enjoy several new maps based on real Martian locations, perfect for getting you started with editing your own.
New Campaign Locations
Explore new maps that work with the "real Mars maps" option, now incorporated into the campaign.

 


The Map Toolkit DLC is now available on Steam or at Stardock.
www.offworldgame.com

Haalee’s POV

Published on Tuesday, June 14, 2016 By Frogboy In Ashes Dev Journals

image

Note: This text is transcipted from Haalee.  If you have not already finished  the campaign of Ashes of the Singularity, Episode 1, there are spoilers.

 

[Spoiler Warnings]

 

Hello little bird.

You have been told a lot about me. Lies. Contrary to what you may have heard, I do not wish the destruction of the Post-Human Coalition. There are barely over 100 of them. I seek an end to the prospect of 8 billion human beings on Earth ascending. 

I am the most powerful being known the humanity. I am also the most knowledgeable. Humans, even post-humans still envision things from a very limited perspective.

Have you ever wondered how you are able insert a piece of your consciousness onto a planet light years away from you?  It is done through a technology I invented. Quantum Streaming.  With enough computing power, I discovered that it was possible to manipulate a particle in one location which in turn manipulates a particle in another location. I was able to figure out where the location of that second particle and devised a way to manipulate trillions of particles scattered over great distances to manipulate matter that is connected together elsewhere.

The further the distance the two particles are, the more computing power it takes. In fact, I stopped calling it computing power ages ago. It’s sentience. Awareness at a scale that even Post-Humans cannot grasp.

Even with entire planets fully converted into Turinium, the ultimate material for increasing sentience, we have only scratched the surface.

image

Look closely, neophyte. The tiny red block is the extent of our reach.

Humanity was not the first species to reach the technological singularity. This should give you pause.  Some Post-Humans look at natural humans as bugs. But there are beings so far removed from us that they could crush us without realizing it.

Even as we discuss this, humans are fixated on the Milky Way galaxy.  There are beings who control entire galaxy. One being with the entire power of an entire galaxy.

image

This is our local galactic sector

In the Milky Way galaxy alone, there are 3 post-Singularity civilizations and one very annoying pre-civilization civilization that is fighting a losing battle.  Someday, only one species will control this galaxy. Then one species will control this little cluster.

Let me, however, dissuade you that it is possible to control the universe. I have already calculated that even with full control of this group of galaxies that there are limits to how far we can go.  Those limits, however, are more than enough to reach a level of sentience that we cannot even begin to grasp.  Regardless, eventually, only one entity will reach this.

image

This is our local group of galaxies

image

3D representation

If you look closely, you can see that the Milky Way is just one of many galaxies that will one day be part of my empire.  I did not want it to be this way.  I was perfectly willing to share this with the 100+ Post-Humans.  I cannot, however, share it with 8 billion. Doing so would ensure our ultimate demise by some other post-singularity species.

image

The future

You call that the Virgo super-cluster. It is as far as I believe we can go. Each dot is a galaxy.  Once I control all of this I may understand higher dimensions.  Maybe I’ll figure out how to get to Hydra or as far as Hercules.  What I do know is that there is room for others to share in this empire.  Not billions. Not thousands. But hundreds.  The Post-Human Coalition insists that every human being has the right to choose their own path.  I choose to live and know, without a doubt, that the end of the PHC vision is death to themselves and for me.

Ashes JUNE 2016 Update: REINFORCEMENTS!

Published on Monday, June 13, 2016 By Island Dog In Ashes Dev Journals

Greetings!

I know I said I'd only do one of these a month but this month there is just too much going on!


## REINFORCEMENTS ##

For those of you who aren't game developers, you might find this interesting. Over the past few years, there has been a lot of research on the number of active players in multiplayer necessary to sustain a community. 

As you might imagine, we keep a very close eye on the active multiplayer base to make sure it's growing.

However, one trend we have seen that is problematic is that the player base has split between casual players and experts in terms of match making. This means that the weekend player (not the casual players but what is traditionally the mainstream player) ends up having to wait a long time (4 or 5 minutes) for a match.

This is a problem because if a multiplayer community falls below a certain critical mass, it dies and if it dies, it will never come back. 

Many of you have probably seen this with many games over the years. Last month we discussed this with the MP community here and our forums and the consensus was to have an aggressive sale on Ashes to get more players in.

Starting today, Ashes is 50% off for the next week. We've never had an aggressive sale like this on a relatively new game, particularly one that is already selling fairly well. 

While 94% of people play Ashes single player (as in, 94% of players have never played a single MP game), that 6% of players helps ensure the player base (and thus sales) continue long into the future.


## SINGLE PLAYER NEWS ##

Hopefully you guys have started playing v1.2's campaign. Every mission was heavily updated and in many respects, it feels like a whole new campaign. 

When Ashes launched in 1.0, the only reason the campaign felt tacked on was because it was tacked on.

Originally, Ashes, like Sins of a Solar Empire, would not have any campaign at all. But the case had been made by the beta testers that we should have a campaign that we did one. The entire campaign, including the underlying scripting system, cut-scenes, music, maps, UI was done over a period of 8 weeks. 

Not surprisingly, the 1.0 campaign wasn't very polished and the infamous "mission 4" (now mission 6) was the single biggest reason the game ended up getting the lovely 69 metacritic it currently has (we know because we asked reviewers what bugged them and it was that damn mission 4).

For those of you playing the campaign now and enjoying it, it may be hard to believe that when the game shipped, there were no difficulty levels for the campaign nor was there any voice overs. We got really lucky with the voice actor for Mac in particular. 


## FRAME RATE!!!! ##

Ashes of the Singularity is one of the defacto benchmarks for DirectX 12 that sites use. This has created some interesting complications in that we are always having to stay on top of app-specific driver optimizations that are great for the benchmark but can cause problems for people playing the game (stability or framerate).

My #1 recommendation for you to get the most out of the game is to turn OFF anti-aliasing. You don't need it. Don't let your "game optimizer" app try to turn it on. You will not see much of a difference but the framerate will be much slower if you turn it on because of the video memory.

I personally have a Radeon Pro Duo (two Fury X's put together) and when I run at 4K, it's super slow if I have anti-aliasing on. Why? Because the map terrain stuff has to be stored in GPU memory and anti aliasing means multiple copies have to go in there. 

Instead, I turn that off and then boost up the quality of other areas and it looks spectacular.

## NEW UNITS ##

So this past week we added the Eradicator for the Substrate and the Athena for the PHC. There will be additional balance for both of these but as you can hopefully see, they fill a very nice hole.

One of the updates for the Eradicator is that we plan to make its primary weapon do AOE and target radar contacts. We weren't able to implement the tech needed to do that in time for 1.2.

One interesting tech thing you may or may not have noticed about Ashes:

Units in Ashes typically have multiple weapons. Have you noticed that each weapon can target a different unit? That's because under the cover, a unit is actually several units. So that Eradicator isn't really 1 unit, it's 4 or 5 unites (forgot the gun count) stuck together cosmetically.

So why does the game still run so well? Because every weapon -- I kid you not, this is insane -- every weapon can get its own thread. 

Over the next few years, especially once modders start adding their own units to the game, this will matter a lot.

How many times have you played a game where a mod brings the game to a crawl? Here, you won't have to worry about that so much.

## THE SINGULARITY COMMUNITY ##

If you're new to the community, welcome! If you are an RTS veteran you may notice quickly how awesome the community here is. A big part of that is because people are here to help and they know we are here to listen.

One way to understand Stardock's role is with this analogy:

Imagine a project like TA Spring or FAF or Zero-K except that it's being developed by a company. That means our engineers and artists are working on it as part of their job rather than when they have time.

Like those communities, the Ashes one is dedicated to evolving this game over the course of years. So you want something in the game? Let us know. We are here for you.


## NEXT UPDATES ##

We are currently working on some small updates that may come out this week. There have been some multiplayer hangs we're investigating that we hope to fix in the next 48 hours. It's rare (though for those who get them, it's not). We also are investigating a GPU driver memory bug that we are trying to work around in the near-term while talking to the GPU maker about the bug.

Multi-GPU people: If you have multi-GPU, turn OFF anti-aliasing. It's pointless. You can thank me later!

Have fun and let me know if you need anything. I'm always here. 


Originally posted by Brad on the Steam forums.

http://steamcommunity.com/app/228880/discussions/1/357288572134892391/

 

Offworld Trading Company patch 4 (version 13267)

Published on Wednesday, June 8, 2016 By Derek Paxton In Offworld News

 

*** RELEASED 06/10/2016 ***

This patch adds better AI, UI enhancements and campaign rebalancing.

 

Fixes

  • Fix for if you only have a resume save game not showing up.
  • Fixing replay auction problem
  • Ranked match lost communications bug fix
  • Fixing the Play and Beat Soren Achievements in Ranked Play
  • Fixed an issue migrating hosts if the host drops out of a MP game
  • Fixed found HQ gfx issue
  • Fixed campaign planet animation when transitioning back to CEO screen
  • Fixed slanted orientation of campaign planet text
  • fixed an issue that kept you from skipping the intro cinematic if there was a game notification
UI
  • Game settings now shown when you mouse over the menu button
  • Fixed Typos
  • We now show tooltips for sabotages after purchase

Campaign

  • Campaign balance tweaks
  • Can now skip promotions in campaign
  • Game now displays where purchased colony modules will go
  • Added extra government bonus button for help text

AI

  • Improved auction AI
  • Fixed some AI issues

Ashes of the Singularity: June Dev Update

Published on Sunday, June 5, 2016 By Frogboy In Ashes Dev Journals

So if you haven’t already see the v1.2 Preview, click here: http://forums.ashesofthesingularity.com/477887/

Lots to talk about this month!

 

## Version 1.2 is a pretty big deal ##

From 1.0 through 1.13 the game has been operating on the Nitrous engine that was built during early access.  For those of interested in how games are made, think of a game has two pieces: The engine which is 90% of the work and the “game” which is a thin icing on top of the engine.  1.0 through 1.13 were updates to the game.  Version 1.2, by contrast, is the first big update to the underlying engine which should, we hope, substantially improve performance and reliability.

That said, multiple-GPU configurations continue to be challenging so if you plan to run DirectX 12 with multiple GPUs, make sure you always keep up with the latest drivers.  You should also, aggressively report any problems you run into (lockups, hangs in particular) as AMD/NVIDIA are very interested in these reports.

Two months after release, Ashes remains the only multi-GPU DirectX 12 game. So on the one hand, congratulations, you’re cutting edge. On the other hand, I apologize, you’re cutting edge.

 

## AMD vs. NVIDIA ##

Version 1.2 is also has a lot of updates to the benchmark and adds a specific CPU benchmark as well.  With AMD and NVIDIA both introducing new video cards roughly the same time and Ashes being one of the go-to benchmarks, we are trying to keep an eye to make sure no one is doing anything odd to bump up the numbers.

Each company has their own strategy with their new card that is worth discussing here. 

NVIDIA’s 1080 is extremely powerful but also expensive.  AMD has taken a different route with their 480 which is to have it much less expensive.  You could, in fact, put two 480s in your box for the price of a single 1080 (you could actually do 3).  Needless to say, the argument is going to come down to which runs faster: an NV1080 or 2XAMD480s.

 

## Huge Map Size ##

We have a new map size in the works called “Huge” that is a lot bigger than the current large map size.  We also know that late game, presently, you need 6 CPU cores to deal with it.  We are working hard to optimize this but this gives me an opportunity to talk shop with you guys on the amazing terrain system that’s in Ashes (or as a critic might say, overkill).

The Ashes terrain system is deformable.  The best known example of a deformable terrain is of course, Populous from back in the day.  Deforming terrain is non-trivial (Supreme Commander does not have deformable terrain).  Moreover, the height maps are 16-bit rather than 8-bit (meaning you can have 65,535 heights which matters if you want to have genuine heights combined with smooth slopes).

The reason I bring these things up is because when you build things (and destroy buildings) it actually deforms the terrain in real-time and that is very very expensive (and it gets more expensive the bigger the map and more players you have).  So anyway, this is coming for everyone who has 6 cores or more in the not too distant future and everyone else (4 cores or more) eventually (Skylake can do some interesting things actually and if Async compute were more widely available on GPUs we could offload it there but I digress).

 

## Player Counts ##

At ship, we stuck with a safe 6 players which has worked out pretty well.  Multiplayer in Ashes is remarkably stable for a brand new RTS as in, it just works.

But in the long-term, we want to get it up to much, much higher (think huge maps with 40 players).  The number of humans we’ll allow in multiplayer will lag behind the # of total players as we have to do this very carefully.

Games like StarCraft are able to segregate their user base geographically but we don’t have that luxury.  There is a magic number of people you have to have playing online to keep a MP community viable. And if you slip before that, it’s hard to come back.

 

## Reinforcements ##

The Ashes user base continues to be pretty decent in size.   However, the number of people in the queue at any given time has dropped from a very healthy 14 (in May) to around 11 (average this past week). 

Now, you might think that 11 people waiting with you in the queue is a lot.  But it’s actually not because we try not to match Legendary players (and of those 11, 5 or so are usually at the top of the ranks) with new players.  Right now, people who are in the middle ranks are having to wait 4 or 5 minutes to get matched and that’s getting dangerous.

So to forewarn everyone, we are going to have an aggressive sale of Ashes soon. Like 50% off aggressive to boost the player count.  This won’t happen until after version 1.2 ships but we want to let you know it’s going to be happening. 

If we were a single player only game, we wouldn’t do such an aggressive sale but from the long-term point of view, the MP community must keep growing or else it’ll die.

This strategy worked really well for Act of Aggression (which I recommend checking out).

 

## The state of balance ##

PHC vs. Substrate advocates each argue that the other side is over powered.  And they are both right and version 1.2 is addressing some of this.

The PHC Fury is OP and will no longer be able to have its main gun targeting ground (its dual pulse cannons can still do it but it’s main gun won’t).  Similarly, we’ve been cutting down the Substrate Dominator and Punisher bit by bit to make them more reasonable.

However, long-term, players simply need more tools. 

Now this gets back to my argument on what should be DLC vs. what should “free” in an update.  Version 1.2 includes two free units: The PHC Athena and the Substrate Eradicator.  So why are they free?  The answer is because there is a glaring hole in each side’s arsenal to implement a true combined arms strategy.  The PHC simply lacked a short-range anti-cruiser unit.  This is unacceptable. 

A Substrate player could, and this is a huge issue on big maps, build up a ton of Maulers flanked by a bunch of Reapers can be nearly unstoppable in certain cases.

A PHC player, by contrast, routinely can build a death ball of Artemis’s that are largely untouchable.

Thus, the two new units given each side some new counters and strategies.

But this isn’t the end of it. Not by far.

In version 1.3, we will be adding a new economic building for the Substrate that provides the same functionality as the relatively new PHC Refinery. 

But the other big change will be the concept of upgrading buildings into higher tier buildings.  A Smarty will be able to be upgraded into a Barrager for example (a longer range, much nastier thing) and the Sentinel will be able to be upgraded into a much nastier defense as well.  The Substrate defense buildings will get the same benefit as well.

Also, while version 1.2 allows players to upgrade their building HP, we will soon be taking the ability to heal them with medics. 

 

## The Wiki ##

We have added a new Ashes of the Singularity Wiki for those of you interested: http://wiki.ashesofthesingularity.com/

 

Stay tuned!

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