Account Cart Search

Stardock Game News

ASHES DEV UPDATE: February 2017

Published on Friday, February 3, 2017 By Draginol In Ashes Dev Journals

Esc_wall-1

Greetings!

February is here and there is a ton of stuff to talk about.

[..]

## VULKAN ##

We have been working diligently on Vulkan support and I am pleased to tell you that we have it...mostly working.  We are tentatively scheduled to release Escalation v2.1 (Ashes 1.51) on February 16.   Unfortunately, Vulkan won't make it in there as it needs a little more time to bake.

## REPLAYS ##

We have this.  It's not super stable though so we're still working out the kinks.  We expect to have an opt-in build available within the next couple weeks so people can play around with it.    We've been working with General's Gentlemen on the design of this feature so that it will appeal not just to those who want to see a replay of their game but also for casters who want to cast games.

## MODDING ##

I have an Ashes modding Skype channel where we're bouncing ideas around.  There is a fine line between "modding" and "end user customization".  As someone who started out as a modder, I tend to take a bit of a dim view on modders who think they have to have commercial grade tools in order to make changes. 

Making front ends to XML and CSV files is not super high on my priority list.  I expect modders to be able to do this sort of thing.

What I don't expect modders to have to do is: Reverse engineer the .OXModel format or hack the EXE to change game rules.

So on our end these are the tools that are in development:

Mod Manager.  This will let you create your own mod in \documents\my games\ashes..\mods where you will have a file a .ashesmod file (i.e.bradsbalancemod.ashesmod).

This file is a manifest for your mod tells the game where to look for your other files.

There are FOUR files I mod all the time for personal use:

  1. WeaponMOdulesTemplates.csv
  2. UniteTeampltes.csv
  3. BuildingTemplates.csv
  4. DefaultPlayerAI.xml

You can mod those files right now and drastically change the way Ashes plays.

Anyway, you can create your own versions of these files, put them in your mod folder and then have your .ashesmod point to them.  When the game sees a duplicate Internal ID, it'll replace the one in game with yours.

If you're into modding, you can practice this now by modifying one or more of the files there locally and see what crazy things happen.

 

## LOCALIZATION ##

Ashes is coming to a lot of new languages.  This will start with the big 2.1 (1.51) update.

Esc_SS6

## MERGING CODE BASES ##

For easier maintenance, Ashes of the Singularity and Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation are going to have their code-bases merged.

Thus, the base game will pick up a lot of the enhancements that are in Escalation (visual updates, engine update, UI update, etc.).

Escalation will have everything Ashes has plus:

  1. Strategic Zoom
  2. The New units
  3. Volcanic Maps (These will be made available as DLC for Ashes players)
  4. Crystaline maps (This will be made available as DLC for Ashes players)
  5. Escalation Campaign
  6. Upgradeable Defenses

The goal is that we want Ashes of the Singularity to be the "mainstream" game and Escalation be the hard-core game.  This frees us to continue to evolve Escalation in ways that would likely be unappealing to mainstream RTS fans (more resource types, more unit types, deeper economic features, etc.).

And just to drive home the point how serious we are on this: We plan to give everyone who was part of the early access program a free license of Escalation (that's about 100,000 free licenses).

Anyone who has upgraded to Escalation already or does so before we do this will get a lifetime pass Escalation DLC.  And those who were part of our Lifetime Ashes Founder's program will be truly getting a lifetime pass to Ashes such as sequels.

So if you were part of early access and haven't upgraded to Escalation, you'll want to do that before we do this.

As many of you know, the base game sold a lot more than we had anticipated.  Remember: RTS games are supposedly "dead" and only MOBAs have a market.  Combined with our hardware requirements, we presumed about 50,000 units in the first year.

Thus, putting Escalation and the base game on equal footing, we can see which game has more players.  Ashes or Escalation.  I know you hard-core RTS players are convinced that Escalation will win.  Don't be so sure.  I love them both but it's Ashes, not Escalation, that my friends tend to prefer for LAN parties due to the relative simplicity.

In short: If you were part of the Ashes early access program (or likely bought soon after it came out) you will soon have an Escalation key too.  Play whichever one you prefer. The market will decide which path the RTS community wants us to follow.

## JUGGERNAUTS ##

In the "not a promise" category, Episode 3 is well into development.   While Episode 3 will be DLC, Juggernauts will be a free unit added to the game.  Each side will get one and they'll appear in Episode 3. The base game, btw, will be getting Juggernauts too as they make a satisfying doomsday weapon.

Right now, I have early Spring as the release date for this.  

 

## BEYOND JUGGERNAUTS ##

Where Escalation focused on making the game...well bigger, the next major area of focus is going to be water and naval.   That doesn't mean it's the next thing on the list as we have a long list of things we want in this game first ranging from wrecks to more types of units to more single player and multiplayer replayability features (I'll be talking more about this in the near future).

The one thing that we are excited about the most and that we hope we can persuade you to be excited about is that this game is still at the start of its life.  Go look at every other RTS on the market.  Go.  I'll wait.

Are you back?

Ok, I will keep nagging about this but it is non-trivial to make a major RTS.  Even Microsoft struggles with it (Halo Wars for instance).  It is tough.  And here we are (you guys and us) with a fresh engine designed specifically for RTS games that supports DirectX 12, Vulkan and as many CPU cores as you can throw at it.  Right now, that's all really just potential.  But as any SupCom player can tell you, the tech does matter because it determines the long-term evolution of the game.

So that's all for this month. 

Cheers!

Galactic Civilizations: Ship Designer

Published on Friday, February 3, 2017 By Draginol In GalCiv III Dev Journals

Ship design has been part of Galactic Civilizations games for many years.  However, with Galactic Civilizations III, the designer has reached the point where user creations are starting to rival what you would see in movies.

The ship designs we included are wholly original creations based on the lore that's been developed over the past 25 years.

The ship designer itself lets people put together thousands of parts to create whatever they want.

A new design

For the serious designer, they start from scratch.  This blank screen with a collection of parts is the starting point.

image

In the beginning...

 

image

As you add parts, you will see red dots where you connect other parts to it.

 

image

In the hands of a clod like me, I can design something like this in minutes.  The controls in the bottom right let me resize, rotate, animate, etc.

 

image

In the hands of someone with some skill, you can get something like this such as this Babylon 5 inspired Starfury like ship.  Because ships are hard surfaces, it's relatively easy for someone to create pretty much any ship.  Organic ships tend to be a lot tougher to make.   But most ships are ultimately a series of wings and cylinders.

What is part of the game?

Obviously, we don't include any of these designs, even inspired ones, with the game.  The point of the ship designer and the fans who share their ship designs is to create their own stories in their heads. 

There is a cottage industry of people who compare different ships sizes, write fan fiction regarding their favorite ships.

image

Ship size comparison on deviantART.

Anyway, the point being, what people create and share with our tools is up to them.  Galactic Civilizations has always been about creating your own sandbox universe to play in.  It asks the question: What happens after we leave Earth? What is next? And leaves the answers up to the player.

If you have any questions, feel free to post in the comments.

CRUSADE DIARY 1: Introducing Galactic Civilizations III: CRUSADE

Published on Thursday, February 2, 2017 By Draginol In GalCiv III Dev Journals

image

Explore. Expand. Exploit. Exterminate.  This is where the term "4X" originates. 

The granddaddy of our genre is, of course, Sid Meier's Civilization. Where Sid Meier's Civilization leverages our common history from the dawn of agriculture to the moment we leave the Earth, Galactic Civilizations begins at the moment we leave our home world.

In Galactic Civilizations, players create their own histories.  Each game is a different possibility. 

When we released Galactic Civilizations III, we began taking notes on what players wanted to see in future updates or expansions to it.  Many of the features ended up in updates which culminated in the recently released 2.0.  Other features would take a great deal of time and thought to do. 

The biggest, most important features have come together in Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade.

Those features are:

  1. A Civilization Builder for creating and sharing full-fledged civilizations including ships, techs, custom diplomacy behaviors, etc.
  2. An economy based on citizenship that allowed players to macro or micro manage their civilizations based on their preferences in a way that didn't penalize either play style that eliminates sliders and dials.
  3. Espionage for spying and sabotaging your opponents.
  4. Interactive Invasions that make invading a planet a game unto itself.
  5. A better UX for managing large and small empires alike.

These aren't the only features in Crusade of course.  Far from it.  It doesn't even touch on the Crusade campaign, the new alien civilizations, the new graphics engine, the new resource system, the combat changes, the continued evolution of the AI (I am happy to say that the free update to GalCiv III in v2.0 now surpasses the AI in GalCiv II -- sorry it took so long, I'll be happy to discuss AI coding in another diary entry).

The Schedule

Each week between now and the release of Crusade, we will be posting Development Diary highlighting a major element of the expansion.  Here is a sneak preview of the first three:

 

CRUSADE DIARY 2: The Civilization Builder

image

February 9, we will walk through how you can build your own civilization to play as or to play against including how to assign specific ships for different roles, share your creations, create diplomacy behavior and more.

 

CRUSADE DIARY 3: Galactic Citizens

image

February 16, Take a tour of the all new citizen based economy. Gone are sliders and dials and in their place are your people.  Much strategy (and AI coding) goes around how to get the most out of your most valuable asset: Your people.

 

CRUSADE DIARY 4: Spies and Saboteurs

image

February 23, The galaxy is a dangerous place.  One of the vocations your citizens can take is to be trained to be spies and sent on dangerous missions. We will walk you through how espionage works, its consequences and the importance of knowing who is doing what and when.

 

 

 

Lone Star

 

The Sabre

Civilization Builder

FAQ

Q: Will Crusade be a stand-alone expansion?

A: No.  It will be released as an add-on to Galactic Civilizations III (DLC).

Q: When will it be released?

A: Our target date is Spring.

Q: How much will it cost?

A: $19.99

Q: Will there be a public beta?

A: No.

Q: How will I be able to get it when released?

A: It'll be on Steam, GOG, direct and elsewhere as a DLC to Galactic Civilizations III.

Sorcerer King: Rivals 2.1 preview

Published on Sunday, January 29, 2017 By Frogboy In Sorcerer King Dev Journals

Greetings!

 

The editor

I’m working on Sorcerer King: Rivals v2.1 right now.  Much of my work is actually happening in the Unit editor:

image

This is just a glorified Excel spreadsheet that lets me change the pre-requisites.

 

The new units

There are 5 sovereigns we are enhancing:

  1. The Commander
  2. The Tyrant
  3. The Guardian
  4. The Priestess
  5. The Tinkerer

Each of these 5 are going to get their own starting units and their own unique improvements that go along with their theme.

Originally, we envisioned these sovereigns as being part of The Kingdom so naturally, they would have the same units.  While that makes some sense lore-wise, it wasn’t satisfying gameplay wise which is why we’re trying to further differentiate it.

The new campaign

The campaign new campaign is done and in QA.  Hooray!

The date

We’re looking at just under 3 weeks to have this out to all Sorcerer King: Rivals players!

Stay tuned!

Galactic Civilizations III: Season 1 Episode 1

Published on Monday, January 23, 2017 By Draginol In GalCiv III Dev Journals

Greetings!  Welcome to the first season of Galactic Civilizations III AARs.   Long ago, I used to write stories regarding Galactic Civilizations II.  With the release of Galactic Civilizations III 2.0, I am proud to bring you a new generation of stories based on Stardock's epic 4X strategy game.

This is just one story...your story will be completely different.

We have detected something...

Just beyond Jupiter's orbit, something was noticed.  Something massive but previously undetected.

image

The Imagineer is sent out to investigate.  Scientists determine that it is some sort of relic from a long lost, space-faring civilization.

Continue Reading...

DEV DIARY: Ashes T4s

Published on Friday, January 13, 2017 By Draginol In Ashes Dev Journals

NextOfTheQueen

We are currently working on additional units for Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation.  The T4s and more T3s are not units you will run into in the competitive multiplayer games but on the bigger maps, late game, we run into a lot of cases where the existing units just aren't powerful enough to distinguish between one civilization and another.

Below is a list of some of the units we are considering.  Feel free to suggest your names:

Name Level Description
Jinx T1 Fires a shot that slows down a unit. The more hits, the slower the unit goes
Flea T1 Splinters won't target it. Can jump up a level of ground without a ramp
Havok T1 Very fast moving light attack unit
  T2 Protects area from bombardment
  T2 Hides area from radar detection
Helios T3 Flying air Dreadnought
War Hog A3 Slow moving flying air cannon
Theia T3 Giant Mobile Factory
  T3 Greatly enhances other units in fleet
  T4 Very slow moving doomsday machine that will destroy one thing at a time.
  T4 Very slow moving doomsday machine that wipes out vast swaths of cheap units
  T4 Very slow moving doomsday machine that lays siege to a distant target
  A3 Ultimate air superiority fighter
  T4 Very slow moving doomsday machine that protects everything nearby

These units will be released for free for Escalation owners.

DEV DIARY GalCiv III v2.0 preview

Published on Friday, January 13, 2017 By Draginol In GalCiv III Dev Journals

I'm enjoying my time back on Galactic Civilizations.   The team is working on lots of neat things for the upcoming version 2.0 update which is due this month.

Here are a few highlights:

Administrators

image

There's a new resource called administrators.  Your capital world provides N of them where N is based on the size of the map.  Building a starbase consumes one.  You can get more by researching government related techs but that means you're not researching weapons or economy techs. 

The practical effect is that it takes a little pressure off the idea that you have to spam out starbases and also gives some advantages to smaller empires who can now choose to use their starbases to improve morale and productivity in their home systems.

 

Better diplomacy

image

When I play other games, I tend to cheese.  There have been patches made for games over the years to counter some of my cheese.  There's plenty of diplomacy cheese in GalCiv also and thanks to player feedback, I was able to b-line my way to it.

But it wasn't just cheese that I wanted to improve on.  I wanted the AI to do more trading and less "give me stuff please". So I worked on the diplomatic system to work harder on coming up with trades.  It'll probably be one of the first things players notice.  More AI talk with more interesting trades.

 

image

 

image

One new system I spent some time on was the concept of redlining. 

When I inevitable have to work on contracts in my "day job" at Stardock/Mohawk/Oxide I do what is called redlining.  That is where I make marks on a proposal as to why I think we should pass on it or cross out things that won't work for us.

One of the first things I did when cheesing GalCiv was to use the old technique of manipulating the aliens to do things that weren't in their best interests.  Now, to be fair, most people don't do this kind of thing but once you do it, it's hard not to do it.

So in response, I implemented a redlining system that you code-geeks might find interesting:

I noticed that the game passes around the trade offer a lot:

VOID IAIOpponent::AppraiseTradeOffer(CDiplomacySystem::ActiveTradeInfo* pTradeOffer, CDiplomacySystem::ActiveTradeInfo* pOtherSideTradeOffer, ObjectID forPlayerID, ObjectID otherPlayerID)

See the pTradeOffer there?  It was the full detail of what was being offered and the AI looks at it in lots and lots of different ways.

So what I did is add a vector of redlines to it.  That is, the AI can be evaluating an offer and say "Hey, this tech is too valuable" or "Those guys are too tough" and add that redline to the trade offer.

Then, when it gets back to you, you see why they rejected it.  And in the process of implementing it, I went ahead and got rid of some of the things I was exploiting like how easy it was to get other people to do your dirty work (you can still do it but you  need to have a lot of persuasive ability or have a much better deal or both).

UI: This will be controversial

I don't expect this next change to be universally loved and I haven't gotten approval yet from the GalCiv III lead designer, Paul Boyer to check this in. 

But anyway, I really really REALLY hate the ship list thing.  That is, when I go to pick a ship to build, it gets filled with tons of auto-generated ship designs.  None of the filter options work for me (i.e. I don't like them).

image

So instead, what I did was make it so that when you first load up the game, only your favored ships are shown and the other ones are folded up.  Then I made it so that if you click on the label (like Beam Ships) it'll unfold the other ships.   

Now, the trickier thing I had to do was when designing a ship.  I wanted my ships that I designed to automatically show up in the favored list.  It was annoying to design a ship and then have to go look for it.

image

So now, when I design a ship and save it (in this case, I'll call it the Intrepid class).

image

Ironically, this proved a lot tougher than you'd think because the ship design screen deals primarily with saving files where as the ship build list actually deals with UI handles (which don't exist when you design a ship since you haven't added that ship to a listbox list yet).

But it's done.

There's a lot of other stuff going into 2.0.  Today I'm working on late game AI stuff.

This free update is due this month.  Stay tuned!

Ashes Dev Diary: But it's on my home machine...

Published on Thursday, January 12, 2017 By Draginol In Ashes Dev Journals

So I did a lot of changes on Ashes balance over the holiday and the team was asking for those changes to be checked in.

I said, "Sorry! I forgot to check them in, they're at home..."

image

Then suddenly, I realized, I had taken my work machine home to do those changes and brought my work machine back to the office after break.

So I do have them here which means my balance and AI tweaks can go in the upcoming update after all!

Sorcerer King: Rivals JANUARY Update!

Published on Monday, January 9, 2017 By Island Dog In Sorcerer King Dev Journals

Greetings!

Happy New Year!

So here's what's happening around here.

== New Campaign ==

Chris Bucholz (you can google him) is creating a new campaign for Sorcerer King: Rivals. It is almost done but you can expect the same style of writing with it as with the quests.


== New Units ==

I'm currently mostly on GalCiv III right now but my intention is to get a bunch of new trainable units in for v2.1 which we currently have slated for the second week of February. 


== General Game Direction ==

Broadly speaking, we plan to create more game setup options such that players can choose how active they want the other factions to be. This way, we can make it more 4Xish for those who want it.

Keep adding to the wishlist as that's where I go to mine ideas.

Thanks!


Originally posted by Brad on the Sorcerer King: Rivals Steam forum.

http://steamcommunity.com/app/496730/discussions/0/144512753466802305/

 

ASHES ESC: January 2017 Dev update!

Published on Thursday, January 5, 2017 By Island Dog In Ashes Dev Journals

Greetings and happy new year!

Lots of stuff going on so I'll get right to it.

## DLC MIGRATION ##

People who bought the base game Ashes of the Singularity's DLC will start to see that DLC show up here and automatically be added to their account.

The tentative schedule is like this:

January: Part 1
- Dawn of the Singularity (eBook prequel written by David Simpson) [$4.99]
- Soundtrack (by Battlestar Galactica's Richard Gibbs and Civ V's Geoff Knorr) [$9.99]

January: Part 2
- Overlord Gauntlet (combines Overlord and Gauntlet together, if you have either one you get it) [$4.99]
- Epic Turtle Wars (combines the epic map pack with turtle wars with oblivion, if you bought either one, you get it all). [$4.99]


## Version 2.1 ##

We are hard at work on the next big update to Escalation. We expect this to show up within the next 30 days or so. Lots of little polish things, localization improvements, general clean up.

We'd like to get your feedback on other hot key layouts you might want to see. 

Think of 2.1 as a general across the board polish pass so feel free to comment here on any little touches you'd like us to get in for this version.


## Scenario Editor ##

We are going to be releasing an open source scenario editor for Ashes. You should be able to make your own stuff relatively easily. This will be in preparation for the forthcoming Steamworks uploading and downloading of maps and scenarios.


## Cider Mill ##

This is more of a modding thing but a major project at Stardock is to create a series of tools that will let people more easily modify Nitrous based games. That means UI, units, etc.

One of the first tools will be called Nitrous WhipIt which will let you bring in FBX files and manipulate them so that you can create your own models.

The long-term goal is to open up Ashes so that you can create any RTS with it. Baby steps.


## Juggernauts ##

The T4s are on the way. The question is whether we release them as they get done or wait until all 6 are done. You tell us.

That's all for now.

BTW, your reviews make a big difference to the game's success. We hope you're enjoying the game and if there's anything you want, let us know.

Cheers,

-brad


Originally posted by Brad on the Ashes Steam forums.

http://steamcommunity.com/app/507490/discussions/0/142260718947224175/


102 pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next