Stardock Game News
King of the Hill is a scenario for Ashes Escalation where the player has to hold out as long as they can against endless waves of enemies. It plays out like a Tower Defense game; establish a strong defense and continue to place more turrets and upgrade them to bolster your position. Tower Defense games can be quite simple with limited options, but King of the Hill is complex because it's inside of Ashes with all the mechanics and content that the game contains. RTS games, and their cousin Tower Defense, are all about weighing up opportunity costs and making meaningful decisions.
Greetings! With Star Control: Origins out and having already sold nearly 50,000 copies after only a week of availability we are now ready to talk about...THE FUTURE.
We will be making an official announcement after version 1.1 (the big modding release) is available but we didn't want fans, especially those who are starting to finish the Origins adventure, to have to wait to know what's next.
Needless to say, we've gone back and forth on the best way to deliver new stories, quests and features to players in a way that fits in. Now, keep in mind, the base game will continue to be updated and improved for free. But obviously, new adventures and content are a different thing. So what's the best way?
We looked at 4 options. I'll list the 3 we rejected and why.
Option 1: Traditional expansion. This is what we've done with our other games. You make a single big expansion and release it. Fans tend to like these in our strategy games. However, the problem here is that this would mean waiting a year to continue the story in any meaningful way.
Option 2: DLCs. DLCs make sense in many ways but they have a lot of issues too. Many players will say that they feel "nickeled and dimed" when they see lots of little DLCs. We ran into this with Galactic Civilizations III where we'd just release a few DLCs per year. That sounds reasonable right? But after 3 years, there's now 12 of them and people get upset seeing all those DLCs.
Option 3: In-Game transactions. Believe it or not, a lot of people do like these. However, I personally don't like this.
So what's left? We look around at other adventure/rpg games and a Season Pass works the best. I won't get into too many details but the plan is to release 6 mini-expansions for $19.99. The micro-expansions will be released one at a time and they will add new missions, new characters, ships, stars, map areas, features, etc.
I wouldn't call these mini-expansions "episodes" because much of the content doesn't require that you have completed the Origins mission (plenty of it does follow the end of the Origins mission).
The first mini expansion would be made available in November and they'd continue on a set schedule with all of them and a general (non-spoilery) list of features that each one will bring.
When the first micro-expansion is installed, if you have finished the Origins story, the next stage in our multi-year story arc will continue. So after the "credits roll" you get a new cut scene that introduces you to the new state of the universe. On the other hand, if you have not finished the story or for those who have never played the game, they'll just see the galaxy a little more filled out. New side-quests, just a bit more "stuff" to bring the universe alive.
What will effectively happen is that players will have more and more paths to choose from in deciding how best to help Earth and have a richer, deeper universe to play in.
Please let us know your thoughts.
Greetings! This is it! The very last of this Prelude series. I hope you've enjoyed them.
So now let's talk about modding.
Wow! What a fantastic week! Like many of you, we weren't sure what the reception would be. How many people are into space adventure/RPG games? I've even seen debates on what exactly is an RPG?
Here's what we have planned for this week:
Russia is the #2 market for this game. With German a close #3. The translations came in a lot hotter than we expected due to the star and planet names.
We are hoping very much to have a package from Moscow waiting in our inbox with the final translations so that we can get those up. We will also be updating the other languages as people find issues. Humor...is not always easy to translate.
Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese are also supposed to get in but they might slip to the v1.01 update to get more QA time. Finnish and Norwegian are also currently in QA.
Overall stability is looking pretty good. But we have definitely encountered a few really baffling things and we know some of you are into this sort of thing like we are so we'll keep you up to date on the detective work. But here are the biggies:
1. Some people have reported not being able to load and save games. That's obviously a huge issue. But it dies immediately upon trying to open that dialog.
2. Crash on start up. This is, so far, 95% because people have altered their page file size to be smaller or fixed. Don't do that (I used to do it too). Windows 10 commits memory based on your core size if the game loads assets via that core. So yes, no matter what, if you play long enough even though the game might only be using 2G, it will commit 16Gigs. It's not leaking, the OS is caching it. So you an imagine what happens if you have a fixed page file.
3. Random locks/pauses. So far, this is largely due to CPU or GPU throttling (mainly GPU throttling). Your NVIDIA or AMD GPU can get very hot playing this game because the engine will use multiple CPU cores to send data to your GPU. You might need to make your GPU fans more aggressive.
For the update, we're going to put a tiny throttle to prevent this issue (don't worry it won't slow things down).
Usability and buglets
1. Fix for SUPER-ULTRA wide monitors. (32x9). You crazy people! We love ya, BEST FRIENDS!
2. Some of the alien meeting achievements aren't working right depending on timing. Fixed.
3. The game will let you know that you don't need to land on every crummy planet if you're landing on a bunch of crummy planets. #1 negative review source has been people landing on thousands of planets and thinking that's the way to make money. SC doesn't have a sand based (silicon) based economy.
4. Improved AI for the fleet controller module.
5. Updated UI for turning on and off the fleet controller module during battle.
6. Mappable E for interact.
7. Talk to MS (again) about whitelisting Star Control from Windows Defender so that it quits scanning all our files (for those experiencing load time pain).
8. Auto-Pilot will warn player that their destination is beyond their fuel range.
9. Typos. (removing them, not adding them).
10. Option to remove movie subtitles.
More to come!
Thank you everyone for your support! And as always, we would appreciate it a lot if you would review the game on Steam (good, bad, ugly). We read all the reviews and your posts.
Explore the galaxy, investigate unique worlds, contact new civilizations, and battle hostile aliens in Star Control: Origins! Take command of Earth's first interstellar starship in this exciting open universe space-adventure RPG and save the Earth at all costs and by any means necessary. Learn more.
In the previous Prelude, I mentioned that, early on, there was an expectation that a lot more time was going to be spent exploring planets than we ultimately chose to execute on.
Today, let's take a look at the menagerie of creatures we had considered back when we believed that the planets would be where players would spend most of their time.
Chess is one of oldest strategy games of all time, and the most successful having been passed down across generations for two millennia. Depending on how you define esports, Chess could now be considered one via platforms such as chess.com, with computerization and AI having increased accessibility and the scope of what's possible within Chess as a product. The long-term thriving and proliferation of Chess is a consequence of incredibly elegant game design both regarding depth but also simplicity. Today I'll be analyzing Chess through the lens of my RTS perspective, praising its design and drawing lessons that RTS games can learn from its success. I'm not a Chess expert, but I have a great appreciation for it, growing up with it and still enjoy playing it casually.
The soundtrack features over 40 compositions from renowned composers Mason Fisher (Age of Wonders, Eye of the Beholder III: Assault on Myth Drannor) and Riku Nuottajärvi (Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters) that encompass the spirit of Star Control: Origins perfectly. Learn more.
The best laid plans...
Let's talk about the environments of Star Control...