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.