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Offworld Trading Company update 5 (ver 13492)

Published on Tuesday, August 9, 2016 By Derek Paxton In Offworld News

***RELEASED 8/11/2016***

Note: This update will break saves. You campaign progression and unlocks will be maintained, but saves in the middle of a game won't work.

 

Features

  • Added an option to Turn Off Unprofitable Buildings
  • You can now speed up Daily Challenge games (if you want!)

Balance

  • Debt thresholds are higher in games with 5+ players
  • Increased effect of Power Shortages and Surpluses
  • Lowered starting Offworld prices for Food & Oxygen
  • Colony grows faster

Fixes

  • Fix for the bug where you couldn't name the lobby when you created it
AI
  • Better algorithm for holograms
UI
  • Better piracy feedback
  • Shows resource lines when placing scientific buildings
  • More accurate Total Costs text for constructing buildings
  • When observing, can now see closest buyout percent for all players

Ashes of the Singularity: August update

Published on Monday, August 8, 2016 By Frogboy In Ashes Dev Journals

The goal: Create the biggest scale real-time strategy game ever

imageAshes of the Singularity is a real-time strategy game set in the not-so-distant future where a single person can control thousands of constructs (the distant descendants of today’s drones) in order to conquer an entire world. 

The world is broken up into regions with each region containing various resources that players capture and can then build up defenses, exploit the resources within and use as a staging area to conquer more of the world.

Little tiny ants

On the one hand, we want players to get a sense of the epic scale of these maps and see vast armies battling it out without turning them all into icons.  On the other hand, we want players to be engaged with the world so we’ve resisted getting too abstract with how we display everything.  Every unit in Ashes is unique with a specific role whose differences can be subtle. Hence, if we got too abstract, it becomes impossible to recognize the interplay between different unit mixes. One of the strengths of using Oxide’s Nitrous engine is that we can zoom way way out without hiding or abstracting units.  The downside is, of course, you zoom out enough and everything looks like “little tiny ants”

 

 

Hardware requirements

PHC_Indirect_LayerssThe other big challenge has been hardware requirements: Ashes of the Singularity v1.0 requires a video card with 2GB of video memory and a 4-core CPU with a display of 1920x1080 and 4GB of video memory.

According to the Steam hardware survey these requirements have consequences for us.

  1. The 4-core CPU requirement costs us 51% of the Steam user base right off the bat.
  2. The 2GB video memory eliminates 59% of the user base
  3. And the display resolution cuts out 53% of the user base.

It is safe to say that at least 70% of the Steam user base cannot currently run Ashes of the Singularity due to low hardware requirements.    Despite that, during the month of July Ashes of the Singularity past the 100,000 units sold mark.

We knew, long ago, that our hardware requirements would ensure that Ashes was a niche title on release.  It’s done substantially better than projected (in fact, it has done far better than it has any business doing given the hardware requirements and the genre). 

To put it in perspective, Ashes sales are at the top of the RTS charts for new 2016 releases despite not having a well known IP and costing $39.99.

Still, a goal of ours is to reduce the hardware requirements. That’s where version 1.3 comes in.

Version 1.3

image

On August 4 Ashes 1.3 was released and we are on the edge of being able to reduce the hardware requirements to  1GB of memory and a 2-core CPU.  We’re not there yet but we’re getting pretty close.  The one area we really need to work on is the minimum display resolution which is tricky given how generous we were in our UI design (generous to ourselves that is).

Some highlights of 1.3 include:

  • New unit physics system so that units can now turn on a dime and are exceptionally responsive.
  • New army organization system that breaks armies into companies if they are split up so that they don’t always have to be together in a single giant group
  • Updated pathfinding so that units don’t glomb up on each other
  • Updated UI across the board
  • 5 new (free) maps
  • Map ping for multiplayer
  • Various bug fixes and balance updates

It’s a pretty meaty update, particularly under the hood.  Someone who bought Ashes of the Singularity in May who hasn’t played it since and downloaded version 1.3 would discover that Ashes is a lot faster, a lot smarter, a lot prettier and has a much better campaign.  Too late for reviews but important for rewarding early adopters and fans.

 

Multiplayer: Season 2 begins

Season 1 is over and the winners are:

image

 

The ranked multiplayer in Ashes is similar to that of Hearthstone which probably isn’t surprising since it was designed by Adrian Luff who joined us after having been an architect of Battle.net for twenty years. Of the top 10 players, 6 players were Substrate and 4 were PHC. 

You can explore the Metaverse by going here: http://www.ashesofthesingularity.com/metaverse. This site also includes the DirectX 11/12 hardware performance results.

 

 

Single Player: What’s coming

Engineer_Web_LayersDespite Ashes having a pretty lively multiplayer community, over 95% of the player base only plays single player.  As in, they have never attempted to play multiplayer.  This is important for fans to understand because we often see people wanting us to spend more time on multiplayer features (something we tend to want to do because we play multiplayer). 

So often we have to make tough decisions on whether to put engineering time into features to help multiplayer or engineering time to support modding (we think a lot of people would love to make their own units or just share scenarios and maps with one another via Steamworks). 

For that reason, modding and sharing mods will make up a lot of our upcoming engineering time.  We want people to be able to make maps, units, scenarios, UI changes, buildings, terrain, etc. and share it easily withy one another.

 

 

Expansion News

PHC_Battery_Web_LayersThe first expansion for Ashes of the Singularity will be coming out this Fall.  It will be a stand-alone expansion (i.e. you won’t need to buy the base game).  This is the same thing we did with Sins of a Solar Empire and Fallen Enchantress and it worked well.  A new player would just buy the expandalone and get the base game and the expansion integrated.  DLC from the base game will migrate to the expansion (i.e. players won’t have to buy it again).

We also plan to allow people with the base game and the expansion (despite being different products) to be able to play together in multiplayer.  We don’t want to split the community and it gives us an opportunity, over time, to make the base game of Ashes of the Singularity a good introduction.

We’ll be announcing the expansion soon but in the meantime, here are some general details:

  • Will have three episodes (one of which is Imminent Crisis from the base game)
  • Lots of new defense buildings
  • New global abilities
  • Bigger map size
  • More players per map
  • Roughly a dozen new units
  • Game setup options
  • New types of worlds
  • Global view (similar to Strategic Zoom in GalCiv, SupCom, Sins)

There are a ton of other features as well but those features will be added to the base game as well for free.

The base price for the expandalone will be $39.99.  For a limited time, the upgrade price for existing players will be $14.99.

 

More soon!

Stardock Releases New v1.3 Update for Ashes of the Singularity

Published on Thursday, August 4, 2016 By Island Dog In Press Releases (Ashes of the Singularity)

Plymouth, MI. - August 4, 2016 - Stardock released v1.3 for Ashes of the Singularity today. This update includes new maps, a map pinging feature for team games, and updates to the way units move and respond to commands.

"Players asked for more responsive units," said Brad Wardell, President and CEO of Stardock. "So with patch v1.3 smaller units turn and accelerate more quickly, they don't wait on a distant army when ordered to move and we have upgraded the movement and physics for the larger PHC and Substrate units."

In addition to improved army movement, v1.3 introduces the "map ping" feature. Players can now set rally points for their team and coordinate attacks more efficiently by placing markers on the minimap. Only members of the same team will be able to see the pings, so players can continue to keep their movement and assaults secret from their opponents.

v1.3 also adds new Season 2 maps. The maps provide additional variety to multiplayer matches and hold from 2-4 players. "Maurn," "Monaco," and "Urich" provide a small, intimate arena for 2 players and are perfect for quick-moving matches. "Pulaski" and "Tortuga" are slightly bigger and can have up to 4 players, but are still small enough to provide fast-moving gameplay and quick eliminations.

"Our goal is to keep multiplayer fun and interesting," said Wardell. "The continued improvements to AI and the exciting battlegrounds that the new maps provide is a great way to continue that."

The v1.3 update is now available. For more information on Ashes of the Singularity, please visit www.ashesgame.com.


Screenshots

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


# # #

Please contact press@stardock.com for all media inquiries.

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.


About Oxide Games: Oxide Games is an independent digital entertainment studio focused on delivering revolutionary leaps in PC and console gaming. Its groundbreaking Nitrous engine provides industry-leading visuals and powers its first game, Ashes of the Singularity. Oxide Games is based in Timonium, Maryland. Learn more at www.oxidegames.com.

Galactic Civilizations III Releases New Lost Treasures DLC

Published on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 By Island Dog In Press Releases (GalCiv III)

Plymouth, MI. - July 27, 2016 - Stardock released the new Lost Treasures DLC pack for Galactic Civilizations III today. With new colony events, improvements, and ship components, many of which are affected by the player’s choice in Ideology, this update brings a lot of interesting content to the game for players.

"We really wanted to play with Ideology and its effects," said Stardock producer Patrick Shaw. "The choices you make and the ideology track that you invest in will affect how certain relics and improvements from the DLC work. It opens up a lot of possibilities for later playthroughs, since you can focus on different Ideologies in order to see various results."

Hidden throughout the galaxy are lost planets brimming with ancient treasures. Players will explore the galaxy and uncover these secrets in order to use them to improve their empire. Along the way, they will be challenged by new colony events that provide new Ideology choices. These choices can affect how colony improvements and ship components function.

Each new planetary improvement is unique and can only be built once. The new ship components are also unique and can only be used one in a fleet at a time. Players will have to make careful strategic decisions about what improvements to build and when in order to gain the maximum advantage over their opponent.

"This DLC adds another interesting level of choice and strategy," said Shaw. "We know that it will be enjoyed by both new and long-time players."

The Lost Treasures DLC is now available for purchase on Steam or through Stardock. For more information about Galactic Civilizations III, please visit www.galciv3.com.


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


# # #


Please contact press@stardock.com for all media inquiries.


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.


GalCiv III's most popular DLC

Published on Monday, July 25, 2016 By Frogboy In GalCiv III Dev Journals

When it comes to DLC, what is popular is not always what one would expect.

image

To that end, here are the top 3 most popular GalCiv III DLC in terms of units sold per day average.

 

#1 Revenge of the Snathi

image

Not in a million years would I have guessed this.  The DLC that delivered the psychopathic squirrels that have been a gag in the GalCiv games for years as a major civilization takes the lead.

 

#2 Precursor Worlds

image

This is the one I would have guessed to be #1 and it’s not far off.  Precursor worlds adds all kinds of unique worlds that helps make exploring the galaxy very interesting.

 

#3 Mega events

image

The Mega events DLC gives you a bunch of cool, but rare, events that can very much change the course of a game.  Such mega events are always a tricky thing because who wants their strategy potentially disrupted by an unplanned invasion from another dimension?  The answer, apparently, is many thousands of GalCiv players.

 

What’s your favorite DLC? Let us know what you’d like to see next! www.galciv3.com

Stardock Releases New Epic Map Pack DLC for Ashes of the Singularity

Published on Thursday, July 21, 2016 By Island Dog In Press Releases (Ashes of the Singularity)

Plymouth, MI. - July 21, 2016 - Stardock released the Epic Map Pack DLC for Ashes of the Singularity today. This new downloadable content contains new maps, as well as a new scenario that pits the player against a group of Substrate enemies in control of a world.

Players will be able to experience large team matches, free-for-all brawls, and asymmetrical match-ups on 6-player maps like "Pinwheel", "Kursck," or 4-player maps like“Xenophile,” and more.

"We know that people like to play large team games and that some of our better players like to take on uneven numbers just to see how far they can push themselves," said Brad Wardell, CEO and President of Stardock. “These new maps hold between four and six players and lend themselves well to asymmetrical gameplay.”

In addition to the new maps, the Epic Map Pack DLC includes a brand new scenario called "Against All Odds." In this scenario, the player has hacked their way into a Nexus that is controlling two Turinium generators on the planet Qoshyk. Four rival Substrate entities are aware of the intrusion and will be sending swarms of attacking constructs in order to re-take control of the generators.

"The Post-Human named Mac helps the player out in the new scenario," said Wardell. "He takes out the Substrate guardian and leaves you in charge of repelling the rest of the swarms. This scenario can be pretty tough on the harder difficulty modes, so we know our players will enjoy the challenge."

The Epic Map Pack DLC is now available on Steam or through Stardock. For more information on Ashes of the Singularity, please visit www.ashesgame.com.


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


# # #


Please contact press@stardock.com for all media inquiries.

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.


About Oxide Games: Oxide Games is an independent digital entertainment studio focused on delivering revolutionary leaps in PC and console gaming. Its groundbreaking Nitrous engine provides industry-leading visuals and powers its first game, Ashes of the Singularity. Oxide Games is based in Timonium, Maryland. Learn more at www.oxidegames.com.

Stardock releases new Campaign DLC for The Political Machine 2016

Published on Tuesday, July 19, 2016 By Island Dog In Press Releases (The Political Machine)

Plymouth, MI. – July 19, 2016 - Stardock released a new Campaign DLC for the The Political Machine 2016 today. This new DLC will have players battling for a spot in the White House against some of the most famous (and infamous) presidents in American history.

"Our biggest challenge was choosing which past-presidents to include in the DLC," said producer Patrick Shaw. "There are so many to choose from that we had a difficult time narrowing it down, but we think that people will be pleased with the results."

Each historical candidate comes with a modern perspective on all of the hot current issues and is ready to fight for the 2016 presidency. "Defeating a candidate in the new ladder mode will unlock them for general gameplay," said Shaw.

The new ladder mode allows players to choose Democratic or Republican candidates to campaign against members of the opposite party to win the presidency. Each new opponent will prove to be more challenging than the last, gradually increasing in difficulty until the player has a real fight on their hands at the top of the ladder.

"No one said becoming president was easy," said Shaw. "We've included some new custom challenges for ladder-mode matches, just to keep things interesting." Issues like dealing with high gas prices, the people’s mistrust of politicians, impending war, and much more will keep players constantly altering and adapting their strategies in order to achieve victory.

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

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


# # #

Please contact press@stardock.com for all media inquiries. 

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.

Stardock releases v1.2 for The Political Machine 2016

Published on Tuesday, July 19, 2016 By Island Dog In Press Releases (The Political Machine)

Plymouth, MI. – July 19, 2016 - Stardock released version 1.2 for the The Political Machine 2016 today. This new update will allow for ranked multiplayer matchmaking, an election simulation mode, and a new event for candidates to field during their campaigns.

The new matchmaking system will pair players against someone else online with similar skill. As players win games, their ranks will increase and they will be automatically matched with more challenging opponents.

"As election season heats up, it’s going to be really interesting to see what candidates people are playing as," said producer Patrick Shaw. "We will be watching the stats for multiplayer matches because it will be fun to keep track of."

With the new "Election Simulation Mode," players can satisfy their curiosity by selecting two candidates of their choice and watching them battle it out on the campaign trail. "We added this mode so that people can try out lots of different possibilities in a more leisurely way," said Shaw. "People can relax and watch a game unfold if they’re just feeling like spectating for a bit."

Finally, a new event rounds out the v1.2 update: the "Brexit" event.  In an outcome that shocked the rest of the world, citizens of the UK have voted to leave the EU. The issue has resonated in the voters of the United States, and this event forces players to think about how their candidate will choose to respond to the controversy.

v1.2 is now available and has been automatically added as an update to the game. For more information on The Political Machine 2016, please visit www.politicalmachine.com.

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

Please contact press@stardock.com for all media inquiries. 


# # #

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.

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.

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