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Ashes v1.1 Changelog

Published on Monday, April 18, 2016 By Frogboy In Ashes Dev Journals




  • New PHC Unit: Sentry
  • New PHC Orbital Ability: Probing Force
  • New Map: Fast & Furious
  • New Map: Slow & Steady
  • New Map: Dread Valley
  • Difficulty Levels for Ascendancy Wars!
  • Two new difficulty levels: Novice and Intermediate
  • Existing Campaign updates to support new difficulty levels
  • Tachyon better tracks difficulty levels for future Hall of Fame handling
  • Radar stations show their range when being placed
  • AI updated to use new features
  • AI army handling improved
  • Matchmaking algorithm changes to reduce wait time when there are lots of players in the queue
  • End screens now display Quanta production graph and stats
  • Military power and overall power now broken into two graphcs on end screen
  • More stat reportinG
  • New Scripting commands for modders
  • Beam weapons now display an impact effect
  • General polish pass on missions
  • Improved edge scrolling
  • Certain third-party apps that do process injection blocked for stability
  • Auto-reporting of detected potential cheaters
  • Avenger primary weapon improved to deal with large numbers of weak units. 
  • Tier 1 units HP/shields slightly reduced
  • Call Avatar cost increased from 30 to 35 quanta
  • Avatar velocity reduced (less cheesy)
  • Creeps will sometimes spawn anti-air creeps

Ashes of the Singularity: Week 3

Published on Monday, April 18, 2016 By Frogboy In Ashes Dev Journals

If you're new here, you may have noticed how awesome our community is. We have gathered here some of the most experienced RTS players around and together, we are making sure Ashes of the Singularity evolves into the go-to strategy game.


We just sent in our Gamasutra postmortem with all the good/bad/ugly details of a project like this. We'll post a link when it shows up. We think you'll like it.


We're starting to ramp up on the content creation side of things. People want more units. More maps. More scenarios. More missions. Most of this we can give away for free. Speaking of free.

## Version 1.1 ##

The first big update is scheduled to show up within the next week or so. We just released v1.02 ( mixed up the strategy mix some.

== The New Unit ==
But version 1.1 is the first update that adds a new unit - the Sentry. If you played the campaign, you saw it. It comes via a new global ability called a Probe which is much like a very small incursion. Similarly, it is very inexpensive as well. 

Sentries are pretty good against buildings, not so great against units. But if you want to mess with your opponent's rapid expansion or find ways to tactically insert a flank, the Sentry is the one to do the job. A single Sentry squad can take out most early creeps.

The Substrate Avatar already got its balance update in 1.02 in preparation for this. So for now, the Avatar had an advantage the PHC doesn't have but 1.1 will catch the PHC up.

== New Difficulty Levels ==
Version 1.1 also will add two new difficulty levels: Novice and Intermediate.

Most of our readers here won't use this that much but slightly more than 60% of players are losing against EASY (as in, they start the game, play more than 5 minutes, and leave). Only 10% of players lose against BEGINNER and we suspect most of this are people who just run out of time and have to go do something else.

We are also very close to having difficulty levels for the Campaign and scenarios done but I can't promise it for 1.1. It might have to wait until 1.11. 

## The Reviews ##

We've had a lot of good reviews in the media and some lousy ones. I won't comment on my opinions of the reviews other than to say: People, especially reviewers, really value a story-driven campaign. 

While we can argue whether we should have had a campaign at all, what is done is done. 

Right now, we are implementing a way to stream audio from the missions so that we can record voice overs and such as well as make the character box be modeless (meaning it won't interfere with game play). 

Since we're doing VO, there will be a lot more dialog in than there was initially. Our original campaign script was much longer but we realized that reading text was not super fun so we kept cutting and cutting.

## Review bombing ## 

Speaking of reviews, I can tell you that user reviews matter. A lot. They are a primary mechanism for Steam to determine what gets featured where. Hence, if a game becomes "mixed" it's basically dead from a discoverability and if a game becomes overwhelmingly positive (80%) it becomes much easier for people to find it.

We've had some reports (unconfirmed) that Ashes has been user review bombed and here (via purchasing, reviewing the game, returning the game). 

To those communities that might be doing this, please don't. We are not trying to "steal" your players. Our goal is to introduce a new generation of gamers to real-time strategy. Getting more people to play RTS games means that all RTS's will benefit.

I won't claim that Ashes is perfect. Far from it. We need to add more content and, simply put, it will take time to give the game the various niceties based on player feedback. As much as you may love Supreme Commander, remember, SupCom 1.0 didn't have a lot of units or maps. FA added 32 (thirty-two) new units/buildings. 

Also, as a reminder: Ashes is not setting out to be a successor to Supreme Commander. It is a different game within the same genre with its own gameplay philosophies (global abilities, territorial control). 

## Game Design thoughts ##

One of the areas of the game that we are trying to flesh out this Spring is the balance between rush-boom-turtle.

If you're not familiar with the term, rush-boom-turtle are the 3 pillars of RTS thinking. Rush = Get out there fast and kill the enemy. Boom is where you build up your economy and win through overwhelming force. Turtle is where you take a small area, hold and fortify. Take a little more. Hold and fortify. Etc.

In Ashes 1.0, Rushing was definitely over powered. With 1.02, we've given players more tools to counter rushers as well as made booming a bit better with the way economies are built up.

In v1.11, we expect to release two changes to make turtling and booming a bit stronger. For the PHC, this will come in the form of the Refinery, a building that magnifies your economy and stacks if you keep building it. Thus, someone with less territory could, in time, out produce someone with more. The Substrate Boost ability will also get..well, boosted so that players can keep improving their generators.

Several new buildings are in production but they won't be ready before the end of Spring. We don't intend to have any long-range (map crossing) artillery. That isn't the type of game we want to make. But we do intend to create more siege/counter siege artillery (defined as ballistic weapons).

Beyond that gets speculative on scheduling.

That's all for now! 


What's new in Galactic Civilizations III 1.7

Published on Monday, April 18, 2016 By mormegil In GalCiv III Dev Journals

It has been a few months now since I have have been able to do the weekly GalCiv Twitch Stream, and I find myself missing the weekly GC3 progress report and Q & A. I thought I would take a page out of Brad's book and try and start doing some more regular Developer Journals. This week I’m lucky because we are going to release 1.7, and there are lots of new features to talk about, and a few questions that I can preemptively address.

1.7 for the most part is a game play patch. Those of you who have already opted in to 1.7 beta will know that a lot of things have been addressed, some more obvious than others. Starbases management has been more or less completely reworked. We have added a brand-new ship list to the shipyards and the Design screen. Other changes are a bit more subtle. The way component mass is calculated has changed, and sensors now use “sensor power,” changing them to a volumetric system, making them much more realistic and less subject to exploitation. Add to this a ton of bug fixes and AI improvements, and I think this is one of the most exciting patches we have done since release.

Starbase management has long been one of the biggest issues for our players, changing the system however has always been dangerous because some players liked it as is, and perhaps more importantly we did not want to break compatibility with older saves.

What's New
You now order starbase components directly from the starbase. If you have an economic starbase and have already researched a bit up the production branch of the tech tree, you can now directly order Starbase Factory 1, 2, and 3 all in one go. The starbase will order the constructors itself from the most efficient available shipyard. Advanced players can even specify what shipyard they want a starbase to use, or even what constructor they want the starbase to order.

The Starbase screen has been updated to better show what the starbases effects are, and what they are affecting; this is in addition to the new starbase queue.
We found that with this change starbases became much more useful, so we had to make a few overall balance changes as well. Many of the starbase modules have been tweaked, and almost all of them now have maintenance cost. Don’t panic, it’s pretty low in general.

What has not changed
You still build initial starbases with constructors and you can still manually send a constructor to a starbase to use its modules.

What we still want to do
Overall I am pretty happy with the new system, but there will certainly be some issues that come up once it is in the hands of the players. You can certainly expect some more balancing. Depending on feedback, we may end up increasing the maintenance cost, increasing the min distance between starbases, or even reducing some of the bonuses. The one thing that I don't want to do is remove the bonus stacking, so let me know what you think of the new system, and what horrible exploits you find.

New Ship List
One of the most fun things in GC3 is the ship designer.  Yet, one of the side effects of being able to design new ships is that players have a ton of ship designs. This has been a problem since early on. We have players out there with 600+ custom ship designs, not counting the built designs and templates they have downloaded from the workshop.

What’s New
Pretty much everything.
All ships are now automatically categorized into filter groups. For example, all Beam Heavy ships will be listed in the Beam Ships group. If you are playing as a race that prefers missiles, you can collapse that group entirely and not have to see those ships at all.

Specialized ships ( ships that are of the same class but with special components, like the Ranger and the Ranger-L, -D, -R, etc) are now grouped together with the one that does the most damage at the top of the group. So you will no longer have to wonder what the difference is between these ships. You can now see a list of icons in each entry that shows the ship's most important features such as such it's best attack, best defense, and any special components like Range Extenders.

You can now favor ships. If you have a ship design you always use and don't want to have to dig through the list each game, you can now Favor your ships.  This will make them always show up in the Favorites group at the top of the list.

We also added better filters: you can now sort by size, attack, cost, or resource use.  This will automatically arrange each filter group accordingly without affecting the groups. You can also now choose to hide all Auto Generated ships or all User Created ships from the list without having to go to the options screen.

What's the same
Not much, I guess there is still a ship list?
What we still want to do
Several players have requested an alphabetical sort, the ability to multi-select ships, or deleting ships. These are all on my list, as well as the ability for players to set up their own ship groups, like we currently have for the built-in designs, such as the ranger-R, -L, -D, etc.

Other Changes

Component mass is now affected by ship size. The effect is often subtle, and the goals are to make the game a bit more realistic and to control some of the more extreme exploits of miniaturization. Each component now gets slightly more massive as the ship gets larger. In most cases, this difference is generally only 1% of the mass of the ship but in others, it can be larger. This is used for device systems and life support systems, both of which must be larger to push / support a larger ship.
One negative side effect of this change is that some older player design ships, will now be “illegal” -- if you find yourself missing one of your favorite ships you can go to the options screen and check the “Show over-mass ships” checkbox. This will make them show up in the designer, but you will have to edit them and reduce their mass to a “legal” level before you will be able to use the design in the game.

One of the more controversial changes we decided to make was to rework the Sensor system. Exploiting Sensor Range is a staple of many successful strategies for winning the game. I have always been reluctant to change this because one of the strengths of GC3 design is letting the player build very specialized ships. We talked about simply adding a sensor cap or making sensor modules, one per ship. But in the end we decided to change the math slightly to be a bit more “realistic.” We changed the sensors to be volumetric (more like the influence system) instead of linear. This has the effect of giving sensors diminishing returns while letting players who want to build sensor barges can still use them as a valid strategy.

How they work
All sensors now have a Sensor Power stat, the sensor power is the amount of power it takes to fill six hexes. This is a one radius around the ship. This radius is still represented by the Sensor Range stat. Since Fog of War does not clear until 100% of that radius is cleared, to get to the next sensor range radius you must increase your sensor power to two, (one power for the first radius six tiles, and two power for the second radius of 12 tiles) and the next radius to three. We have updated the sensor tooltip, so you can always tell how much more power you will need to increase your range.

In addition, we have also changed all sensor bonuses to be multipliers on Sensor Power.  Some of the old techs and traits that increased your sensor range by one are now much more valuable.

Diplomacy and Aggressiveness

We get a lot of feedback on diplomacy and it varies wildly, from “the game is way to hard,” to “the game is way too easy,” or “the AI will never trade with me,” or “the AI will give me anything I want for a pittance”. Sadly most of these complaints are valid, and mostly depend on the person's play style.

So in 1.7 we have begun to tackle some (but not all) of these issues. We changed the way the AI values its stuff and your stuff, depending on its AI difficulty and its relationship with you. So now if you want to be able to get good values on your trades, you need to keep the AI happy.
Keeping the AI happy might be a bit more difficult for some, as we rebalanced some of the more exploitive diplomatic techs and improvements. But don't worry we spent a lot of time making sure the AI would not be such a jerk. I think the new balances feel really good, and will be interested to see what you think.

We are going to be focusing much more on Diplomacy in 1.71 and 1.8.

Battle previews

You can now get a preview and estimate of battle outcome simply by selecting the fleet you would be attacking with, mousing over any enemy ship, fleet, starbase, shipyard or planet. This should save thousands of virtual lives and it is very helpful when planning your next move in a war.

Planet Notifications

We have added notification explanations to the planet screen, to make sure you can easily tell if your planet is getting close to any sort of trouble, such as low food, low approval, or a dangerous level of foreign influence.

And Much More

And of course many bug fixes, and other improvements, that I have just plain forgotten. We have a lot more we want to do and I know we have not gotten to everyone's request yet, but hopefully you will find 1.7 makes Galactic Civilizations III an even better game.

Keep giving us your feedback, and bug reports, it helps us focus our development time on what you guys find important.

Paul Boyer
Lead Designer - Galactic Civilizations III

Eighth Offworld Tournament Finals

Published on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 By Island Dog In Offworld Dev Journals

Originally posted by Soren Johnson on the Mohawk Games blog.

The Eighth Offworld Twitch Tournament has finished, between Gameslayer, Cubit, Blues, and Heisenberg. The winner of this four-player free-for-all format is the first to win two games. The finals were broadcast by Zultar and Soren:

The final bracket can be viewed here:

Soren Johnson's Offworld Trading Company to be released on April 28, 2016

Published on Thursday, April 7, 2016 By Island Dog In Press Releases (Offworld Trading)

Plymouth, MI. – April 7, 2016 - Stardock and Mohawk Games have announced April 28, 2016 as the release date for Offworld Trading Company, the economic strategy game from Civilization IV lead designer Soren Johnson. Set in a future where humans have begun to colonize on Mars, the player will take on the role as an investor trying to control the Martian market and drive all of the competition out of business and back to Earth.

"Offworld Trading Company is a new direction for real-time strategy, where money is both your deadliest weapon and and your toughest defense," said Johnson. "After all of the lucrative resource mining on the asteroid belt is claimed by mega-corporations, savvy business hopefuls turn to Mars to stake their claim to the red planet and build an economic engine capable of out-producing the competition."

The real-time, player-driven market is the foundation of the game, allowing players to buy and sell resources and materials - even the food and water that the colonists need to survive. Players will need to build up enough capital to gain access to the lucrative offworld markets so that they can buy out their rivals and claim the Martian economy for themselves. But this battle isn't limited to the board room. Players also have access to a black market that allows them to employ some more underhanded methods for victory, such as hiring pirate raiders or hackers to disrupt production or sending a covert electromagnetic pulse to an opponent's base.

"All of the feedback we've received from fans during our development process has been great," Johnson said. "We used it to refine and polish this game. We're really excited to share it with everyone."

Offworld Trading Company is currently available in Early Access on Steam or through Stardock. The full version with all of its intended features will be released on April 28, 2016.

For more information about Offworld Trading Company, please visit  

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

# # #

Media Contacts:
Kjell Vistad | Tom Price
ONE PR Studio [for Stardock]

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 the highly anticipated upcoming 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

Announcing the Release of Offworld Trading Company on 04.28.2016!

Published on Thursday, April 7, 2016 By Island Dog In Offworld News

The next great strategy game from Civilization IV designer Soren Johnson
Bankrupt your friends in the economic strategy game, Offworld Trading Company

Releasing on 04.28.2016!

Grab your briefcases and ready your billfolds, the time for all-out corporate warfare has finally arrived! Hire pirates to raid your enemies' businesses, corner the market on your resources of choice, and turn your friends into frenemies in this fast-paced economic RTS!


Win your fight with wit, not weapons
The Martian market is a battlefield where your money, wits, and business savvy win the wars. Race against your opponents to control the stock market and drive their businesses into the ground.
  Experience new adventure in every game
Every time you play Offworld, it's a new experience! Since the gameplay is market-driven and changes each time, no two games will ever be the same.
Manipulate the Market
No one ever said that corporate war was fair. Sneak in some underhanded attacks against your opponents by hiring pirates from the black market to steal their hard-earned goods, or send a spy in with a device to trigger an Electro Magnetic Pulse to disrupt their business for a short time.
  Exciting Daily Challenges
Try our daily challenges and test your mettle against other players to try and get the highest score! Take a look at the scoreboard and watch the leaders' replay videos to check out their strategies.
Learn about Mars' Corporations in the Campaign
Four big businesses are vying for all of the resources and control on Mars. Learn about what brought them there and how they intend to drive their competition into the ground and come out on top.

Offworld Trading Company will be releasing on 04.28.2016!
If you haven't already, check out our Early Access version on Steam or Stardock.
For more information, visit  

Release Date: April 28th, 2016!

Published on Thursday, April 7, 2016 By Island Dog In Offworld Dev Journals

Originally posted by Soren Johnson on the Mohawk Games blog.

Offworld Trading Company has been in Early Access for over a year, and in that time we have launched 10 major beta updates based on feedback from you. The game has improved in innumerable ways from our first version because of the dedication and involvement of our community.

Today, we announce the release date of the game as April 28th, 2016, and we are excited to bring this game to a wider audience. We don’t view release as the end of the project but as another milestone in the game’s progress. We will be supporting, updating, and playing the game with all of you as we have always been (indeed, we have added an achievement entitled Beat Soren, so look for me online!).

We want thank all of our players for believing in the game, posting on our forums, and playing with us. Building an economic RTS was a leap of faith for us, but it was also a leap of faith for you, one that we will never forget. From the entire Mohawk team, thank you for supporting Offworld Trading Company.

Rewarding Early Adopters in the age of the STEAM SALE

Published on Wednesday, April 6, 2016 By Frogboy In Ashes Dev Journals

Ashes-5K-BoomOur new real-time strategy game, Ashes of the Singularity is out.  Stardock hasn’t released an RTS since 2008 Sins of a Solar Empire.  Like Sins, Ashes is a massive scale RTS.  It’s not about actions per minute, it’s about your global strategy as you battle for a planet (heh, except on the tiny maps of course).

The good news: Ashes is a hit. Sales are excellent and the reviews are, so far, universally positive from reviewers.

The bad news: Since the release of Sins of a Solar Empire, the market has changed dramatically.

When you buy a game brand-new nowadays, you know, at some level, that it’s going to go on sale for a steep discount.  To give you some understanding: While Ashes quickly passed the 50,000 unit sales within the first week, the WISH LIST mark on Steam crossed 200,000 units.  What does that tell you?

How do we reward early adopters

We have some ideas on how to address this.  The first, and I hope, the easiest to do (depending on the Steam rules) is to make certain DLC free to everyone who currently has the game.  So people who bought your game at release for $50 or $30 or whatever your price point is will start getting DLC that is simply added to their account but made say $4.99 after to those who come later (who got the game on sale).  These wouldn’t be anything critical to the game.  More maps. More scenarios. More skins. That sort of thing.  The kinds of things people usually expect in DLC.

What say you?

Post in the comments what you think of such a system.  How do you feel about the evolution of the PC gaming market place?

How to get Ashes: [Get it via Steam/GOG/Direct/GMG]



More screenshots:

 Ashes-5K-UI ashes-5k 

Ashes-5K-Ice Greatbattle

Massive Scale Real-Time Strategy Game, Ashes of the Singularity Released Today

Published on Thursday, March 31, 2016 By Island Dog In Press Releases (Ashes of the Singularity)

Plymouth, MI. – March 31, 2016 - Today, Stardock released its highly anticipated real-time strategy game, Ashes of the Singularity.

Set in a future where humanity has expanded into the stars and is now in conflict for control of key planets in the galaxy, players wage planetary warfare on a massive scale to conquer opponents and control worlds. In Ashes of the Singularity players command vast forces as they fight for control over the galaxy’s most prized resource, Turinium.  

"We want to deliver a game that lets players feel like they are fighting a planetary war, not just a battle," said CEO and President of Stardock, Brad Wardell.

The game includes a story-driven campaign called the Ascendancy Wars, a variety of single player scenarios, dozens of maps for skirmishes, the first multi-core RTS game AI, co-op and competitive multiplayer modes, and much more.

"As cool as the technology in Ashes of the Singularity is, our goal is to introduce a new generation of gamers to real-time strategy games," said Wardell. "For us, that means a game that has long-term replayability both in single player and multiplayer, has good modding support, continuous free updates for our customers, seamless multiplayer either in ranked matches or in comp stomps with friends, and can evolve over the coming months and years."

Ashes of the Singularity has some notable features, including:

  • Massive numbers of units in the world that can be easily organized into armies, allowing players to fight wars across several different fronts simultaneously.

  • The world's first multi-core real-time AI allowing for a non-cheating AI that can beat most players.

  • A story-driven campaign that tells the story of a post-singularity Earth and its expansion into the stars.

  • Strong modding support so players can create and share their own takes on gameplay.

  • Ranked and custom multiplayer modes with an active multiplayer community.

  • The future-proofed Nitrous 3D engine whose 64-bit, multi-core foundation supports DirectX 11, DirectX 12, and multiple GPUs.

Ashes of the Singularity is now available on Steam or through Stardock. For more information about Ashes of the Singularity, please visit   


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

# # #

Media Contacts:
Kjell Vistad | Tom Price
ONE PR Studio [for Stardock]

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 the highly anticipated upcoming 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

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

Eighth Offworld Tournament!

Published on Wednesday, March 30, 2016 By Island Dog In Offworld Dev Journals

Originally posted by Soren Johnson on the Mohawk Games blog.

Here are the rules:

  • All tournament matches are free-for-alls, with a medium map and default settings, with the exception of Masquerade, Reveal Map, and Random Prices, which must be turned on.
  • All games will be played on the next_version branch (password is “MohicanSun2015)”).
  • The format for winning is that games continue until one player has won two matches.
  • If a player does not show up within ten minutes of the match start time, s/he forfeits the match, and a replacement will be brought in if possible.
  • Games will be streamed at either or Make sure to follow both if you want to be notified of start times.
  • Zultar (myself) will broadcasting and commentating on each game. If you’re interested in joining me for a day, feel free to in get in touch and we’ll look into setting something up. No additional commentators will be added last minute.

Game #1, Wednesday, Mar. 30th, @6pm EST:

  • Blackmagic
  • Deathtacticus
  • Heisenberg
  • Duban

Game #2, Thursday, Mar. 31st, @10am EST:

  • SorenJohnson
  • Cubit32
  • Hydroponos
  • MantisStyle

Game #3, Friday, Apr. 1st @10am EST:

  • kingmorgan
  • theSpinCycle
  • Blues
  • Dawbz

Game #4, Saturday, Apr. 2nd, @3pm EST:

  • Yerand
  • Gameslayer
  • Dermas
  • InSync

Here is the bracket:

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