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Stardock Game News

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:

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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!

Stardock Announces Galactic Civilizations III v2.0 Update and Special Steam Weekend Sale

Published on Thursday, January 26, 2017 By Island Dog In Press Releases (GalCiv III)

Plymouth, MI. – January 26, 2017 - Today, Stardock released version 2.0 for its popular space-based strategy game, Galactic Civilizations III. The version includes a new resource called Starbase Administrators, improved diplomacy, tweaks to the game’s UI, balancing, and more.

"Version 2.0 is the culmination of many months of working closely with our community on the kinds of features players like but often don't get a lot of attention,” Stardock CEO Brad Wardell said. “For example, the diplomatic AI is more sophisticated and plays a lot like a human would both in terms of trading and how they deal with the complex web of foreign relations. We also added a new concept called administration that is designed to let players have smaller empires that are competitive."

The latest v2.0 update for Galactic Civilizations III releases during a special Steam weekend sale where players can save up to 75% off of the complete Galactic Civilizations III: Gold Bundle from January 26 - 30. Existing players can complete their collection while players who are newer to the franchise can pick up the base game and all of its existing DLC for one low price.

Among the other improvements to v2.0 is an AI "redlining" system. The computer AI will internally evaluate diplomatic trades and "redline" for feedback to the player in order to better evaluate its own trades.This process allows for a much more interesting and engaging relationship with the AI players.

Several changes to the UI offer up even more improvements available in v2.0. These include folding categories for auto-generated military ships, adding player-designed ships to their favorites, and showing important resources and turn information to both the planet and shipyard windows.

To see a complete list of what’s new in v2.0, you can view the full changelog here.

The Galactic Civilizations III: Gold Bundle is currently available for up to 75% off on SteamThe base game can be found on Steam, at Stardock, or on GOG. 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.

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.

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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

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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

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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.

 

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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).

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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.

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

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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/


ASHES DEV UPDATE: January 2017

Published on Wednesday, January 4, 2017 By Island Dog In Ashes Dev Journals

Happy new year!

Here's what we're working on.

## Version 1.5 series ##

Last month version 1.5 was released but that isn't the end of the 1.5 updates.

In particular, these features/enhancements/bug fixes are scheduled to get added in 1.51/1.52/1.53.

1. Update UI.

We're bringing the Escalation UI over to the base game. The larger fonts and general layout are easier on the eyes.

2. Replays.

This is something that has been a lot harder to do than we had expected. Our lead developer has been ill which has slowed down work. She hopes to be back in the next week or so. Stardock's overall lead dev has been working on this feature in her absence.

3. Updated visuals.

From the lighting to the general look of materials and maps, we have what amounts to a visual p ♥♥♥ across the game in progress.

4. Safe mode.

Starting in 1.51, when you launch the game you will be given a choice between launching the game normally or going into "safe mode". This way, if someone has set up something wrong, it won't cause them to crash the game.


## User Reviews ##

Last Fall we had a "Mostly Positive" rating. Now it's "Mixed" with recent being very low. Why did this happen and what can Stardock learn from it?

Obviously, the game today is even better than it was last Fall. What changed was the release of Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation.

Traditionally, Stardock (and other RTSs) have released their expansion packs as stand-alone. We were trying to follow the model set by Supreme Commander who released Forged Alliance about the same time after the original release as Escalation was.

Stardock did this with GalCiv II with Dark Avatar and with Fallen Enchantress (Legendary Heroes), Sins of a Solar Empire (Rebellion) and so on.

So it didn't really occur to us that there'd be a backlash for doing the same thing with Escalation, especially given the sheer volume of updates the base game was continuously receiving.

Now, clearly, times have changed. And we're applying this feedback to Offworld Trading Company and Galactic Civilizations III whose upcoming major expansions will be released as DLC instead of a stand-alone has originally planned.

But what is done is done. Now, the question remains, what to do about the base game. Will our continuing work on the base game and the price differentiation help?

## Multiplayer integration ##

One unexpected challenge is that you presently cannot use Steamworks to have a game with one AppID to talk to a game with a different AppID. We are still looking into this but presuming we can do something about that, we expect to find a way to unify the MP player bases.

That said, we will probably get very aggressive in rewarding Steam keys to active MP participants in Ashes to Escalation to help give users more options.


More to come!

-brad


Originally posted by Brad on the Ashes Steam forums.

http://steamcommunity.com/app/228880/discussions/1/144512526674811735/


Offworld Trading Company on GameSpot's Best of 2016 list!

Published on Monday, December 19, 2016 By Island Dog In Offworld News

Cz65GsVWgAAv5qkOffworld Trading Company is on GameSpot's Best of 2016 list!

“Matches are vicious, and the scales often tip dramatically. Nobody would have ever thought a game centered around capitalism could get your heartrate up so high, but Offworld Trading Company succeeds with its truly unique, wonderfully-executed concept.”

http://www.gamespot.com/articles/game-of-the-year-2016-countdown-20-16/1100-6446345/

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