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Political Machine election roll-out schedule

Published on Saturday, February 29, 2020 By Frogboy In Political Machine News

For this election cycle we have a ton of updates in store between now and election day.

Below is a tentative schedule:

## Spring 2020 ##

Steam Workshop support for creating and sharing your own political ideologies.

This year is a total, 100% rewrite of the game and while doing so we revisited everything about the game. The feature we like the most so far are the ideologies which will bring immense replayability to the game.

Most of the candidates have their own ideology with them. We also include a few alternative ones like Fascism, Lunacy and Giant Meteorism.

But we suspect other players will want to try making their own and the Steam Workshop support will make it easy to do so.

Scoring Handicap.
Some candidates are easier to to win with than others. To this end, different candidates will get score bonuses based on how hard they are to win with. This will make adding lots of historical Presidents to the game without it totally breaking things.

Spring Issue Update
Every few weeks we'll be updating the campaign issues. Even during our internal beta we've had to make a lot of changes such with "Escalation with Iran" and now with "Coronavirus". We are constantly getting new issues as well as tweaking existing issues to try to keep things as current as possible.

Really Loud Crowder & Rachael Maddox
New podcasts and TV shows are going to be added as we go through this election cycle. The game includes several already but we are looking to add more during the cycle. Two we plan to add this Spring include one based on Louder with Crowder and one inspired by Rachel Maddow.

## Summer 2020 ##

Candidate Architect
We already allow players to create custom candidates. But we also would like to expand on this feature to allow serious political wonks to architect candidates to extreme detail and share them.

State Emergencies
Not national emergencies. Instead, these would be events that affect only a single state. Maybe your campaign can ignore giving support to a tree fungus in Idaho but can you ignore a water contamination issue in Ohio? This will be a feature that players can turn off but will ensure that various states will require special attention.

Throughout this election cycle, we'll be hanging out on and the Steam forums to listen to ideas and suggestions and see what we can get in before the November election!

## It's a new game ##

We're incredibly excited to get this to you guys. This is the first time we've done a full rewrite since the original 2004 edition.

We added a bunch of new features. Some features in the old game we didn't include. For example, we don't have a "randomize the issues" feature or playing on an alien planet.

We also didn't bring the variable length campaigns and instead focused on 21 so that we could nail down the pacing. Players of previous versions will, we hope, really appreciate how well paced the new version is.

The biggest change you can't really see. It's the underlying simulation. It is so much better. Your actions mean so much more in the game and the game just "feels" better as your actions just make a lot more sense.

Stay tuned!

COMING SOON: Star Control: Origins Earth Rising Part 4 - Earth Rises

Published on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 By Tatiora In Star Control News

Stardock announced the final installment of its 4-part expansion to Star Control: Origins today. Earth Rising - Part 4: Earth Rises introduces players to exciting new adventures, including bar fights at Kapteyn’s Bar, the reluctant return of a God, a search for a missing Commander, and more.  

Star Control: Origins is set in the late 21st century. The player is the Captain of Earth's first interstellar starship with the mission to explore the galaxy, find allies to help protect Earth from hostile aliens, and find the resources necessary to help Earth expand to the stars.

Earth Rises is the final part in a four-part expansion pack called Earth Rising. The expansion adds a host of new aliens, ships, adventures and destinations to the already rich universe introduced in Star Control: Origins. Because Star Control is a non-linear action/RPG game, the new content does not require the player to have already completed the main story arc from the base game.

Highlights of Earth Rises include:

  • New Missions & Quests - Search for the missing Commander Magara, keep an eye on the humans developing a deadly Terran Battlecruiser, and stop the Measured from harvesting a sun and killing an entire civilization. 
  • New Location - Visit Kapteyn’s Bar to hear the latest gossip, triumph in a bar fight, and pick up bounty hunting quests.
  • New Battles - Lead your fleet into epic battles against massive space stations.
  • New Weapons - Take on enemies with an arsenal of new weapons like the Black Hole Array or the Charged Warhead.

Star Control: Origins - Earth Rising is now available for purchase for $19.99 on Steam. Currently, the first 3 parts are available to play until part 4 arrives. For more details, visit the forums.

Star Control: Origins is available on Steam, GOG, or Stardock for $29.99. For more information, visit   


Star Control: Origins - Earth Rising, Part 4: Earth Rises

Published on Thursday, February 13, 2020 By DerekPaxton In Star Control Journals

Heir to the Scryve

In Star Control: Origins you had a chance to save the galaxy and meet some very dangerous, troubled, strange (and overly friendly) aliens along the way. There may or may not have been some cannibalism involved. After the successful completion of Origins, the threat was stopped and the galaxy was at peace. What is there for a snarky ship commander to do?

Expand the influence of Earth, of course. It's time to get out into the solar system and to start becoming a galactic civilization (that sounds like a great name for a game). That is the story of the Earth Rising expansion. Earth's first star base outside of our solar system is set up and the Earth is looking to create colonies on distant planets.

Of course, there are aliens to encounter, friends or enemies to make depending on your choices, and lots of battles and lore to uncover.


In Episode 4 the Scryve have been defeated, and though they were cruel, they maintained some order in this corner of the galaxy. It will be up to the player to determine if he wants to fill the roll of the vacant Scryve with the same iron fist they ruled with, or a more diplomatic method.


Along the way the player will encounter old friends, new enemies, and find that space has been populated with more locations than ever before. And these are available even to first time players, making the galaxy more full of life even for those who haven't completed the story line of Star Control: Origins yet. Head out to the space station that serves as a watering hole, or hang out with a mix of aliens in the Kapetyn's Star system and have a drink, recruit some new crew, accept some jobs, and experience the horror that is a Drenkend karaoke group.


Episode 4 also concludes the story line of Earth Rising as the player pursues the Lexites, investigates the disappearance of Commander Magara, and aids the space station Deep Horizons in building a fleet of colony ships to spread out to the galaxy.

Earth Rising adds over 200 new characters to Star Control, over 70 new locations to explore, and dozens of new quests.

Community Newsletter #9 - 1/31/2020

Published on Friday, January 31, 2020 By SchismNavigator In Stardock Community Newsletter

We're Only Just Getting Started


We are back everyone! For this edition of the community newsletter we have news on new games, new tournaments, new mods and well everything that is new for a new year, new decade and maybe I should stop with this whole new thing now...


The Horizon


The Political Machine 2020



This month we announced the latest and most hotly debated The Political Machine 2020.


Who are the candidates? What do they want with your family? Why is there one building a campaign HQ on your lawn right this instant?!


The Political Machine 2020 is a PC strategy game where you get to pick a candidate and go head to head against either an AI or another player to win the US presidential election.


Candidates include the current Democratic front-runners including Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg, as well as Internet favorites such as Andrew Yang and Tulsi Gabbard.  Republican candidates include Donald Trump, George W. Bush and Mitt Romney. Players can also design their own candidates to take on the campaign trail to win the hearts and minds of American voters.


A new feature of the 2020 edition are unique ideology trees that allows each candidate to play differently from one another.



To learn more about The Political Machine 2020 you can read the full announcement here.


Continue Reading...

GalCiv III v4.0 Plans

Published on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 By Frogboy In GalCiv III News

The 'big cleanup' is in the works for GalCiv III 4.0.

Development on 4.0 is a work in progress as developer time becomes available (btw, we are hiring new C++ devs here..). So as we've discussed in the past, we'd really like to find a way to make modding more robust, though that's easier said than done because of the way we did our data structuring early on (there are tons of directories that the game pulls from, which all depend on which expansions you have installed).

When someone buys GalCiv III today from Steam, they actually get GalCiv III + Crusade + Retribution.  That's because we really want to focus on the assumption that everyone has Retribution going forward (or at least Crusade) which simplifies modding.  

We don't have an exact ETA on when v4.0 will arrive, other than it'll probably be this Spring.

COMING SOON: The Political Machine 2020!

Published on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 By Tatiora In Political Machine News

Let the Campaign Begin!

Stardock announced its new political strategy/simulation game today, The Political Machine 2020.  The PC strategy game allows players to choose a candidate and run for President against either a computer opponent or a candidate controlled by another person over the Internet.

Candidates include the current Democratic front-runners including Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg, as well as Internet favorites such as Andrew Yang and Tulsi Gabbard.  Republican candidates include Donald Trump, George W. Bush and Mitt Romney. Players can also design their own candidates to take on the campaign trail to win the hearts and minds of American voters.

“This game takes politics and brings them to players in a way that is fun and interesting,” said Stardock CEO Brad Wardell. “We use current data to model the US and voters in the game. The game emulates some of the unexpected things a candidate might have to deal with -- natural disasters, national tragedies, economic crises -- and immerses the player right in the middle of the insanity.”

The game now features unique ideology trees for the candidates. This allows each candidate to play very differently from one another.

TPM 2020
TPM 2020
TPM 2020

“During the game, candidates will visit Town Halls which give them ideology points,” said Wardell. “They can then spend these points on owning certain issues.  For instance, Bernie Sanders has ‘Medicare for All’ as an issue he can own, while Donald Trump uses points to purchase the ‘Build the Wall’ issue.”

Each issue is modeled on a per state basis with their voter support based on polling data to allow for an accurate simulation of how those issues will play out in different states.

“Since the object of the game is to win 270 electoral votes, players have to focus on winning the electoral college, which means paying attention to what issues voters care about in swing states. What plays well in Texas or California might hurt you in Ohio or Florida,” said Wardell.

Previous editions of The Political Machine have predicted the winner of nearly every state since 2004 with the exception of the 2016 edition, which was infamously patched due to it predicting Donald Trump would win Wisconsin.

“The game relies heavily on simulating voter enthusiasm, minority turn-out, and what political issues are most important in a given state,” said Wardell.  “Sometimes the results surprise us, such as in the 2016 edition where the game was projecting Donald Trump to beat Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin. We assumed we had a bug and patched it but it turned out, the underlying model was working. Turn-out is key.”

The 2020 edition is a complete rewrite of the game with vastly improved graphics and a more sophisticated simulation that combines polling data, voter enthusiasm, and the most recent US census results to deliver a game that is both fun to play for casual players, and realistic enough for political wonks.

The Political Machine 2020 will be released this Spring.
Visit to learn more or wishlist it on Steam today.

TPM 2020
TPM 2020

New Star Control: Origins Benchmark Focuses on Measuring DirectX 12, Vulkan Performance

Published on Thursday, December 12, 2019 By Tatiora In Star Control News

Stardock Entertainment released a benchmark on the Star Control: Origins game today.

The benchmark is set on an alien world that is generated on-the-fly as the scripted lander travels over it. The objective is to measure high-end PC gaming performance using DirectX 12 and Vulkan, while putting as much stress on the CPU as possible also.

The DirectX 12 and Vulkan APIs differ from previous generations of graphics APIs in that they were designed from the ground up in order to allow games to send commands to the GPU from multiple threads simultaneously.  

"Being able to have several threads talking to the GPU at once is a game changer," said Brad Wardell, CEO of Stardock. "When fully exploited by the game and graphics drivers, and then combined with hardware with lots of cores, a lot of exciting game features become possible."

Stardock developed the benchmark to help GPU manufacturers see the strengths and weaknesses of their drivers with DirectX 12 and Vulkan. Frequently, DirectX 11 still beats the newer APIs, largely due to the drivers being much less mature.  

Based on the user’s CPU configuration, the benchmark will report the system’s theoretical maximum. The benchmark accomplishes this by having a planet that is generated as it is executed.

"The biggest technical challenge was making sure to push the CPU and GPU simultaneously," said Wardell. "The planet in the benchmark is being done a bit like the Genesis demo from Star Trek II. That is, the planet is actually being generated as the lander travels over it. This is extremely CPU intensive and really lets users see the connection between lots of CPU cores and next-generation APIs."

The Star Control: Origins benchmark also includes support for AMD's new FidelityFX. This feature uses GPU acceleration to improve image quality of a scene without any hit to performance.

"When we saw what FidelityFX could do in a scene, we were a little skeptical that this kind of visual improvement was 'free,' so naturally we added this as an option for the benchmark," said Wardell.  "Sure enough, it appears to have no performance impact while delivering noticeable improvements to visual clarity."

Additionally, the benchmark has an option to push the CPU harder by placing hundreds of physics objects that the lander crashes through. While this feature is off by default, it exists as a preview of what benefits high-core count processors will provide in physics-intensive games of the future.

The Star Control: Origins benchmark is free to download.  It requires a high-end gaming PC with DirectX 12 and Vulkan support. It also includes a slew of command line options to automate testing.

Visit to download the benchmark and review scores.

Fidelity Sharpening
(Click to see full size of the screenshot)

Off (Left)                                                   On (Right)

NOW AVAILABLE: The Europa Wager Expansion for Soren Johnson's Offworld Trading Company

Published on Thursday, November 21, 2019 By Tatiora In Offworld News

Offworld Trading Company Releases Brand New Expansion
"The Europa Wager"

Get it on Steam or Stardock today! 

Travel to the smallest of Jupiter's Galilean moons and carve out a name for yourself against your competition! Head to the frozen moon of Europa, where numerous cracks on the moon's surface and multiple methane geysers will make building and sustaining structures a whole new challenge. Made of silicate rock and possessing a water-ice crust, Europa's atmosphere is thin but comprised mostly of oxygen, which makes it the next natural step for space-bound entrepreneurs.

---- Features ----

  • New Location: Europa
    Explore the smallest of Jupiter's Galilean moons where numerous cracks in the surface and methane geysers make building and sustaining structures more than a little difficult.
  • New Resources and Structures
    Methane geysers are abundant on Europa, and the new Methane Extractor will allow you to harness the gas' energy and transform it into power. Additionally, the new Gas and Hydrothermal Plants work hard to process resources in order to make you a profit. The Hydrothermal Plant works similarly to the Geothermal Plant, but produces more power and a small amount of water. Meanwhile, the Gas Plant converts fuel into power, which is particularly helpful when you find yourself with an abundance.
  • New Scenarios
    Everyone said you're crazy and that it can't be done, yet here you are: Europa. Fight through the frozen elements and help brave colonists found their colony and establish important resource lines. Survive the exceptionally long days and the freezing cold nights, make critical decisions on what to build and where, and mind the cracked and frozen landscape - in order to make sure your structures don't come tumbling down, extra time will need to be taken to build in those areas.
    Overcome the challenges of Europa and prove to everyone that money talks: you made it on Mars, and you can make it here, too.
Offworld Trading Co. - Europa Wager Announce
Offworld Trading Co. - Europa Wager Announce
Offworld Trading Co. - Europa Wager Announce
Offworld Trading Co. - Europa Wager Announce
Offworld Trading Co. - Europa Wager Announce

Offworld Trading Company: The Europa Wager is now available! 
Get it on Steam or Stardock now.


NOW AVAILABLE: Hunter / Prey Expansion and v2.9 Update for Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation

Published on Thursday, November 14, 2019 By Tatiora In Ashes of the Singularity News

New Hunter / Prey Expansion and v2.9 Update Are Now Available
New units, base defenses, orbital abilities, a new scenario, balance updates, stand ground command, and much more
View the complete v2.9 Changelog

Get it on Steam | Get it at Stardock

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation - Hunter / Prey DLC
Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation - Hunter / Prey DLC
Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation - Hunter / Prey DLC

Expand your strategic options, wield devastating new units, and turtle up with some fierce new defenses in Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation - Hunter / Prey! Haalee and her Substrate army are back with several brand new units that are armed and ready to destroy their enemies. The PHC, not to be outdone, have built up brand new defensive towers to counter the onslaught. Take advantage of the devastating capabilities of the new Heart of the Phoenix juggernaut, entrench yourself in your base and defend yourself with powerful and heavy-hitting Minos Cannons, and much more. 

To introduce you to the new units and defenses, a brand new scenario focusing on Haalee and the Substrate’s expansion onto a PHC-occupied world is included. For added strategic depth, the new content is available in skirmish mode, as well as certain campaigns and scenarios.

New Scenario: Hunter  / Prey

Haalee and her Substrate army have designated a new world for themselves as part of their plans for expansion, but there’s just one problem: that planet is already occupied. Now, the members of the PHC already entrenched in their colonies there must find a way to repel the Substrate’s relentless attacks before they are overrun and destroyed.

Following Haalee’s directives, you must guide the Substrate to victory against the PHC. Although you’re outnumbered and the post-humans are deeply entrenched with some devastating new defenses, the latest in Substrate technology is at your disposal. 

Multiple paths lead to the main enemy base, each with different defenses - you’ll have to deploy your armies carefully in order to counter them. Each Nexus you destroy unlocks more of the new units, so build up your reinforcements and destroy all opposition so that Haalee’s plans can be fully realized.

New Substrate Units

  • Clutch of Eggs: Dozens of enemies for the price of one! When destroyed, this mechanical spiderbot overwhelms its enemies with a horde of hatchlings.
  • Hatchlings: So. Many. Spiders. These quick moving skittering swarms emerge from destroyed spiderbot eggs and can wreak havoc on an unprepared enemy.
  • Scarab: Slow but hardy, this powerful frigate is perfect for overwhelming enemies with slow-firing, single-target weaponry.
  • Auxillary Assembly (building): This new building produces all of the new units, except for the Heart of the Phoenix, which can be built in the Advanced Assembly.
  • Heart of the Phoenix: Decimate your enemies with dozens of missiles and a static charge meant to disable nearby units! True to its name, this Juggernaut will regenerate once it’s killed unless the chrysalis it produces is destroyed within a certain time limit.
  • Falling Star: Watch out for the electromagnetic pulse. This disruption cruiser will temporarily disable an enemy’s base defenses when it’s destroyed within range.
  • Skirmisher: Harass your enemies with this quick-moving cruiser. It engages well against incoming artillery and its speed allows it to out-maneuver most enemies.

New PHC Defenses

  • Shotgun Turret: Upgraded from the orbitally deployed Emergency Turret, this new defensive building deals massive damage, but has a short range.
  • Machine Gun Turret: Versatility is key! Although it isn’t an especially heavy hitter, this turret handles both airborne and ground threats very well.
  • Minos Cannon: Mind the lengthy cooldown. It may take some time between shots, but this costly cannon is the ultimate in anti-dreadnought and anti-juggernaut defense.
  • Nova Tower: Shields up? No problem! Although it deals no hull damage, this bombardment tower provides heavy shield damage in a wide area.
  • Kinetic Accelerator: Need a boost? This tower increases the damage of all other nearby defenses and units by 15%. Be careful, though - it’s fragile and vulnerable to attack.
  • Stasis Hammer: Stop - hammer time! This long range defense deals no damage, but can slow an enemy onslaught by stunning its target for several seconds at a time.
Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation - Hunter / Prey DLC
Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation - Hunter / Prey DLC

The Hunter / Prey Expansion is available through Stardock or on Steam for just $9.99.
View the complete changelog of v2.9 changes here!

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation v2.9 with Hunter / Prey

Published on Wednesday, November 13, 2019 By Frogboy In Ashes Dev Journals

Version 2.9 of the award-winning massive-scale RTS, Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation goes out this week.

This version is the biggest AI update since the original release.  It also has numerous visual improvements including higher resolution textures.

Let’s take a look…

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation v2.9

This is one of the Hunter / Prey expansion turrets.  In v2.9 you can rapidly drop down Emergency Turrets.  They can now be upgraded into a Machine Gun Turret (pictured here) or a Shotgun turret.

You may also notice a general refresh on the terrain in this shot.

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation v2.9

This shot is mainly to just show off the updated terrain texture.

Same here:

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation v2.9

Structures blend in more nicely and the terrain itself has a bit more punch.

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation v2.9

Here I have a bunch of the new Nova Towers and Minos Cannon towers.  They are very vulnerable to air but are great anti-turtle siege weaponry.

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation v2.9

Subtle but important new feature in v2.9: Hold position.   The previous command “Stop” did indeed stop.  But you still ended up with the unit AI occasionally wandering towards unwanted objectives.

Version 2.9 will be released on November 14 at 1pm EST.

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