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ASHES: WEEK 7 DEV Status

Published on Monday, May 16, 2016 By Frogboy In Ashes Dev Journals

 

Greetings!

Another week has passed and thus another update.

 

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NEW UNIT: PHC Athena

The new PHC Athena will be going out shortly.  This won’t be DLC but rather an update to the base game. 

Backstory:

The PHC Athena was designed by Haalee, one of the architects of the PHC.  To build it, she created a new entity called Athena to specialize in militarized constructs. 

As some of you know, the PHC did not originally have armed constructs.  They were a necessity because of claim jumpers – Post-Humans who would take a planet that had been assigned to someone else.  

The Athena AI was decommissioned by Haalee at the demand of members of the PHC council who opposed the idea of an AI (such as Haalee) creating additional AIs and the design shelved.

Strengths and weaknesses

At the start of the war with the Substrate, the PHC lacked any direct counter to the Substrate Mauler or the Substrate Drone Hive.  It is important to understand that the Substrate designed its units knowing who its enemy was and thus started the way with a significant advantage. 

The Athena is the first new PHC unit to be produced since the start of the Ascension Wars.  It is very strong against Cruisers though relatively (very) weak against smaller units due to the relatively slow firing nature of its weapons array.

The Athena should be released later this Spring.

Next week we’ll be discussing the Substrate’s answer to the Artemis.

Reviews

As always, we ask that you review Ashes of the Singularity on Steam. A game’s review score determines its discoverability on Steam. Even if it’s a negative review, better to have reviews written by people who know the game than reviews written by people who spent only a few minutes playing the game.

Balance Update

We expect to release a balance update.  The main changes are that the Drone Hive will cost more metal and have reduced vision (it won’t be able to see far enough to target Archers generally) along with the Call Avatar cost increased from 35 to 50.  The Mauler has also gotten its cost increased somewhat.

Multiplayer: Season 1 standings

imageThis week marks the midway point of the first Season.

  1. DanailLazov (Substrate)
  2. DasUnding (PHC)
  3. Ailes (Substrate)
  4. LoveIsAll (Substrate)
  5. Shutdown (Substrate)

The Substrate dominance of Season 1 along with our own simulations is why we’ve been making the balance changes to Substrate these last couple of updates.

Once observer mode is in, we plan to hold a tournament at the end of the season to determine 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.  With prizes for the top 3.

At the end of the season, the maps in from Season 1 will be made into a DLC available and given to everyone who has the game at that point and made as inexpensive DLC for everyone else. 

Season 2 maps will be a substantially different style than Season 1.

Single Player: Deluxe Campaign

Today the voice overs for the updated campaign are being recorded.  We have some new characters who will be in this campaign to handle the 3 new cut scenes going in that will help flesh out the story further. Moreover, the dialog part of the game no longer takes input focus. The Deluxe campaign will be a free update to the base game. Once the Deluxe campaign is done, we’ll be moving to Episode 2 which we expect to release mid Summer.

 

More to come soon! Stay tuned

The Escapist Gives Offworld Trading Company a 4.5/5!

Published on Friday, May 13, 2016 By Island Dog In Offworld News

The Escapist reviews Offworld Trading Company and gives it a 4.5 out of 5!

"The real-time, market trading, economy simulation aspect of OTC is where the fun of the gameplay lies, of course, but the details of the game's representation of the Red Planet itself is founded on legitimate scientific research."

Read the full review here...

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/video-games/editorials/reviews/17037-Offworld-Trading-Company-Strategy-Economy-Simulation

 

 

ASHES: WEEK 6 DEV STATUS

Published on Thursday, May 12, 2016 By Island Dog In Ashes Dev Journals

Brad posted his latest dev status post over on Steam, so I'm copying the post here.


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HI all!



## v1.11 change log ##

http://forums.ashesofthesingularity.com/477374

This is supposed to come out this week but between Ashes, GalCiv III and OTC the QA guys are pretty busy.

## Staffing Changes ##

We've added a lot more artists to the game since release. Obviously, we wish we could have had more artists earlier but part of Stardock's policy is that we really don't like to lay off staff so that means we don't hire up a bunch of artists and lay them off at the end of a project.

With other projects done, we've got a lot more artists available. 

## The new stuff ##

In June we expect to release the Eradiactor (new Substrate unit) and Athena (a new PHC unit) along with a number of new defensive structures.

These will be free.

The way to understand how we're determining free vs. paid additions is essentially that if I can't figure out a way to balance something via the existing units, then we will add a unit and that becomes part of the base game.

So for example, the PHC simply doesn't have a decent anti-T2 unit. The Nemesis isn't cut out for that. So PHC players will see a bunch of cruisers coming in and have relatively little resource.

Substrate players will talk about counterrs: A couple of Apollos backed by Archers will annihilate a swarm of Dronehives. But what if they include a Mauler who makes short work of the Apollo?

In 1.11 we've done a lot of balance work to make it cost prohibitive for the Substrate to do this but realistically, the PHC needs a good anti-T2 unit which is the Athena.

Similarly, we need more defensive options. Thus, the PHC are going to gain a good fixed artillery defensive unit. They also need a defensive structure good at taking out mass swarms. The Smarty isn't designed for that.

The Substrate need a defensive structure that is good at taking out specific high quality units. The Annihilator is a great cheap defensive structure but we need something much heavier.

Economically, both factions need a path that rewards teching up more. We've done a lot to give players tools to punish rapid expansion. But we haven't given players tools to reward teching up. So that's going to be part of the updates we hope to finish for this Spring.

## DLC ##

We have a bunch of new maps and scenarios that will be coming out this Spring that will be DLC. We do only plann to charge $3.99. Some posted previously it should be $4.99 but for me, $3.99 is a no brainer where as at $4.99 I start to think about whether it's worth it. I know, I'm cheap.

## Deluxe Campaign ##

So we have both modeless dialogs (i.e. the narration doesn't prevent you from interacting with the map) and streaming audio in the campaign. 

I've tentatively recorded some of it myself as a test (no, nobody wants me to hear my "voice acting"). When I wrote the Offworld Traiding Company gameplay trailer I did the first recording of the "Imagine the future where wev'e landed on Mars" and it wasn't pretty. Hence "Get me a charming Englishman to say this."

But it works and now it's just about getting it all recorded. I don't know how much it will make people like the campaign but it probably won't hurt.

That's all for now!

I'm taking a bit of a break so there won't necessarily be reliably weekly updates. With OTC and Ashes out the door I want to sleep for a bit.

Cheers!

-brad

Offworld Trading Company patch 2 (ver 12987)

Published on Thursday, May 12, 2016 By Derek Paxton In Offworld News

 

*** Released 5/12/2016***

This patch has one focus, fixing issues with Multiplayer matches. If you have been having any issues connecting in multiplayer games, or the game hanging when trying to start a multiplayer match, this is the patch for you.

If you continue to see any issues starting multiplayer games please let us know. You can make a post in the support forum or just let us know in this thread and we will check it out.

Thanks for your support, and I look forward to playing some games with all of you online.

 

 

 

The Practice Games

Published on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 By Island Dog In Offworld Dev Journals

Originally posted by Soren Johnson on the Mohawk Games blog.
 

I did a playthrough of all five of the Practice Games, which can be found under Learn to Play. (Note: to unlock them, finish the first two scripted tutorials.) Over the course of the series, I explain how to play from scratch, so the videos will also serve as a good introduction to the game if you want to learn to play just from watching.

The videos are also available as a playlist.

Enjoy!

 

Ashes experiments with the future Episode 1

Published on Saturday, May 7, 2016 By Frogboy In Ashes Dev Journals

 

So here we are with this amazing new, 4th-generation RTS engine. 

If you’re an RTS fan, when was the last RTS engine made before Ashes.  Not RTS game. I mean engine.  I’m trying to think how many years it’s been.  Each iteration becomes more expensive to make.  There is little patience for a new game to implement the niceties that mature engines have developed.

So let’s look at the Pros and cons of the Ashes of the Singularity (technologically):

Pros:

  1. Natively 64-bit
  2. Core neutral (the more CPU cores you have, the faster it gets)
  3. GPU core neutral (it will max your video card, no video card yet has even come close to maxing what Ashes can do, we’re still gimping what we can do)
  4. Brand-new engine, easy to extend and enhance with new features
  5. Object space lighting – allows for vastly superior visuals
  6. Unlimited light sources – only limited by your GPU perf.  Not hard-coded to 2, 4, or 8 (below I have a screenshot with thousands of light sources).

Cons:

  1. Requires 2GB of video memory and that’s just barely enough.
  2. Relatively few art assets (polished visuals need this).
  3. Brand-new engine also means relatively little maturation in RTS feature refinement
  4. Relatively new toolset (Getting art in is expensive)

Screenshots of some stuff

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The Artemis is getting a specific building destroying weapon.

 

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Some fun with the visuals of the Artemis

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Playing around with maps.  Multi-tier terrain will be one of the things we want to explore (right now we have 4, we look to have this be unlimited someday).

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Mini map resources displayed based on the amount of resources the region provides. Also, Huge maps – 4X larger than huge (though we are probably going to have to limit these to those with monsters systems as the unit counts are obscene). Though just remember, today’s monster system is tomorrow’s mainstream consumer system.

Eurogamer Gives Their Recommendation for Offworld Trading Company

Published on Friday, May 6, 2016 By Island Dog In Offworld News

Eurogamer.net has reviewed Offworld Trading Company and has given it their recommendation.

"Everything moves very quickly and very precisely. The central economic model at the core of experience performs impeccably, and never once does it feel unfair."

Read the full review at Eurogamer....

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2016-05-06-offworld-trading-company-review

 

 

The Political Machine version 1.1 adds new candidates, additional social issues, a new random event, and more

Published on Thursday, May 5, 2016 By Island Dog In Press Releases (The Political Machine)

Plymouth, MI. – May 5, 2016 - Stardock released version 1.1 of The Political Machine 2016 today.  This update includes over a dozen new candidates including Barack Obama, Sarah Palin, John Kerry, Ron Paul, and more. In addition, new and current issues have been added as well as a new random event.

Since real world events are constantly changing, the development team continues to add current issues and events to the game with every update. In v1.1, players will be able to determine their candidate’s stance on new problems like the Flint water crisis, reducing the wealth gap, and more. A brand new random event, “death of a supreme court justice,” gives players the opportunity to react to a national problem and win (or lose) votes based on how well it’s handled.

“People have been asking us when they’d be able to play as older candidates since we released,” said producer Patrick Shaw. “We’re excited to provide them with a plethora of new options, as well as some additional custom character creation options and fun extra events to spice up their campaign experience.”

The game will continue to receive updates all the way through this election season. Advanced poll tracking system and leaderboards will allow players to see how well they are playing as a particular character compared to others.

The Political Machine 2016 is now available on Steam or through Stardock. For more information about The Political Machine 2016, please visit www.politicalmachine.com.


Screenshots
Screenshot 1  |  Screenshot 2  |  Screenshot 3  |  Screenshot 4  |  Screenshot 5


# # #


Media Contacts:
Adela Piper | 586-212-4792 or adela@siren-pr.com
Lindsey Walenga | 313-354-5428 or lindsey@siren-pr.com



About Stardock: Stardock is a developer and publisher of PC games and desktop software founded in 1991 by nationally recognized technology expert Brad Wardell. Located in Plymouth, Michigan, Stardock is a powerful leader in the video gaming and software development world.  Its PC games include Sins of a Solar Empire, the critically acclaimed Galactic Civilizations series, and Ashes of the Singularity. Stardock puts the user experience first through software that enriches the Windows experience for everyone from casual computer users to highly technical professionals. Products offered by Stardock include Start8, Start10, Fences, WindowBlinds, Multiplicity, and more at www.stardock.com.

Offworld Trading Company patch 1 (ver 12867)

Published on Thursday, May 5, 2016 By Derek Paxton In Offworld News

 

*** RELEASED 5/5/2016 ***

 

 

Offworld Trading Company released 1 week ago today and we are thrilled to be able to share it with all of you, and in the response from players. But release is only one stage and the team continues to listen to your feedback and update and improve the game. This is the first patch and it brings a long list of improvements. The audio section of the game received special focus and you will be delighted with the results.

Keep playing, and please let us know what you think. Thank you from everyone at Mohawk and Stardock.

 

New Features

  • Audio overhaul. Tons of new voice over and sound fx.

  • Improved performance and reduced memory use.

  • Using a Core Sample will now give you exclusive rights to claim the tile for 60 secs.

  • Double clicking on the "Open Lobby" now creates a default lobby just like clicking on the Join Lobby button when the Open Lobby is selected.

  • Players can now set which monitor they want the game to use in options.

  • Updates for Portuguese, French, German, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Chinese and Korean languages.


Balance

  • Less patent auctions.

  • No more Solar Flares at night.

  • Updated Tutorial 5 based off of community feedback/confusion.

  • Solar Flares back to original probability.

  • Higher stock prices at start.

  • Updated Tutorial 2 flow based on user feedback.

  • Various campaign improvements.


Fixes

  • Fix for replays not getting attached to daily challenges if the player does a restart of the mission.

  • UI/main menu/lobby: Fixed an error where the toggle control was getting focus when "on" was changed.

  • UI/menu screen/lobby: Check in fix for chat message lobby clear message.

  • Fixed bug where sometimes the replay files are not stored for ranked matches.

  • Fixed Black Market UI issue for Spies/Holograms.

  • Rejected potatoes from Mark Watney farms, they tasted funny.

  • Electrolysis reactor building class type no longer uses the text for hydrolysis reactor.

  • Fix for reporting the wrong match type from the standalone server at the end of the match.

  • Fixed bug with deleting old replay files.

  • Fixing edge cases that were preventing tutorial 5 advancement.

  • Fix to getting the number of players waiting for a match.

  • Fixed the ambient occlusion artifact when zoomed out.

  • Now showing correct time for patent on patent tab.

  • Fixed an issue with index of the player for them message of who dropped.

  • Fixed an issue allowing people to rejoin lobbies they were kicked from.

  • Fixed an issue that could cause replays to not work.

  • Fixed an issue where we were showing the incorrect tooltip on the campaign rewards screen.


UI/Graphics

  • Changed all references to Colony Shares to simply Colony modules in Campaign.

  • Better stock text.

  • Removed the old welcome popup.

  • Reduced the changelist size.

  • Improved changelist popup.

  • Improved Week 2 tutorial popups in campaign.

  • We now show resource level icon on tooltips for tiles that are empty but have resources.

  • Renamed “Unlocks All HQs” perk to “Indie Developer”.

  • Better help text for subsidy rewards.

  • Updated the name for the 4 player FFA lobby for filters.

  • In-game/ui/player list: Added an icon to indicate current winner on 7 sols and campaign 7 sols mode.

  • We now use the visible building height to determine hologram and goon squad height.

  • Changed the campaign mission reward text color from red to green.

  • We now show black market types on the loading screen.

  • Losing team members on a winning team will now see the victory screen.

  • Campaign events that do not have a unique icon will now use a 20-sided die icon instead of Westward Wind icon.

  • Charts and graphs headers now show better in an 8 player game.

  • This changelist item stolen by pirates, those filthy bastards.

  • The loading screen now shows num players and map size for Daily Challenge.

  • Added a new loading screen featuring the New Meridians.

  • Improved victory screen graphics.

  • Updated MULE skinning.

  • Improved Geothermal ground and Electrolysis Reactor construction.

  • Improved Quarry ground plane.

  • Improved Metal Mine ground plane.

  • Improved Chemical Laboratory.

  • Improved low/med Metal Mine.

Ashes: WEEK 5 DEV STATUS

Published on Tuesday, May 3, 2016 By Frogboy In Ashes Dev Journals

## Post 1.1 Micro updates ##
Since the 1.1 release we've had two micro-updates to the game. They've been content additions mostly in preparation for upcoming Steam sales.

Here is what has been added in the past 5 days:

+ New Mission: Rigel III (campaign mission between missions 1 and 2)
+ Nexus Armor increased from 12 to 16
+ Armor build time reduced from 45 seconds to 40 seconds
+ Quantum Relay radioactive cost reduced from 350 to 300
+ Nova bomb Armor piercing reduced from 16 to 8
+ Punisher Hedavy Plasma cannon Armor piercing reduce from total to 8
+ Call Probing Force rate increase changed from 10% to 20%
+ Sensor drone rate increased changed frfom 25% to 10%
+ Couple minor bug fixes
+ Balance update to the Slow and Steady map
+ Reduced creep HP slightly
+ Moved the planets around to fit the new campaign mission.
+ Sentinel Armor increased from 8 to 12
+ Repair Bay armor increased from 4 to 12
+ Drone bay HP increased from 1500 to 4000


These are all data changes so it's still 1.1.
## New Units Incoming ##
https://draginol.stardock.net/images2016/Eradicator-Concept_AA2E/Eradicator_Concept_002.jpg
Both the PHC and the Substrate need more tools to execute more types of strategies.
The first two coming out will be the Athena and the Eradicator.
Right now, Substrate players end up massing Maulers. But Maulers are horrendously poor at the job they're being used for. Archers, which are cheap screened by some Brutes will wipe the floor with them. The problem is, the Substrate have limited options for trying to get through to deal with those Artemi and the odd Nemesis.
The Eradicator has a ranged beam weapon on it that is primarily there to take out at range Cruisers. It's not a sniper so it's not as good as the Nemesis for long range sniping. It is fairly poor against Frigates and its main weapon has no armor penetration so it's not great against Dreadnoughts either.
The Athena has a somewhat different purpose. It's short range but designed to deal with cruisers as well. If it can get up close to a Dreadnought it can do real harm but it's not so good against frigates.
The Athena has 3 different weapons but only one of which is accurate enough to target a frigate.
We expect these two guys to show up this Spring.
BTW, they'll be free.


## Building the Community ##
Steam reviews matter now. A lot.
They determine whether a given game will be promoted or shown to other gamers. If a game falls under 70%, it disappears from visibility on Steam unless you explicitly search for it.
If you read the negative reviews of Ashes they are mostly from people who feel Ashes isn't Supreme Commander. They are right. It's not. It's not supposed to be.
But, unlike Supreme Commander, Ashes is being actively developed and I hope people feel like we're listening to their input. Effectively trying to bury our game won't summon a new version of Supreme Commander. It just makes the game mostly likely to succeed it in the large scale RTS genre have a harder time.
That doesn't mean people should give the game a good review or refrain from giving it a bad review. Rather, it is to make sure people understand that on Steam, these reviews do matter and there are real consequences to them.
We had a game called Sorcerer King which has its fans. It's a good game. But some of our own fans who loved Fallen Enchantress nailed it because they wanted a Fallen Enchantress 2 not a different fantasy game. They got the game's review score under 70 and sales evaporated (because you couldn't find it). That was the end of that game. Now, some of those players have changed their review to positive (it's at 70% now) because they now see that SK could evolve into a bigger game than Fallen Enchantress given the time and resources. But it's too late. That ship has sailed.
Ashes is selling reasonably well and its daily player base is slowly creeping up. It'll probably take until the end of Summer for it to catch up and surpass the average player base of SupCom: FA provided that the SupCom fans give Ashes an opportunity and don't bury it before.
Even SupCom isn't SupCom after all. They aren't referring to SupCom 2 or SupCom 1. They're specifically referring to SupCom: FA which came out 6 months after SupCom shipped. Let's see where we are in 6 months.


## Overlord DLC given away coming to an end soon ##
In about a week the Overlord DLC and maps that come with it will no longer be free to new buyers.
Right now, when you buy Ashes, you get Overlord for free. It's added to your account.
In multiplayer, as long as the host has the DLC it'll be available to play. This is the plan for all future DLC and expansions. I.e. Someone who buys Ashes base and zero DLC should be able to hook up online with someone who has Ashes:Forged Void Alliance Wars or whatever and be able to play the game with them using all the units that the host has.
This will do two things: One, keep the multiplayer community from splintering and two, encourage people to play the game multiplayer.
## Single Player Content Discussion ##
Since release, we've added two new missions to the campaign.
When we see feedback on the game, particularly from those who just don't find the game fun, what would be your recommendation to win them over?
Please discuss in the comments. Thanks!


See you next week!

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