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Published on October 26, 2016 By Draginol In Ashes Dev Journals

The Basics

  • Massive-scale real-time PC strategy game
  • Requires Windows 7, 8, 10 with 2GB video memory, DirectX 11 or DirectX 12, 4 CPU cores.
  • Stand-alone expansion to Ashes of the Singularity. Includes everything from the base game plus Escalation.

 

 

The Specs

image

 

The Screenshots

 Esc_SS1 Esc_SS3 Esc_SS2

The Details

12 new missions further chronicle the story of Ashes of the Singularity:

  • Campaign 1: Memories- See the events of Imminent Crisis from Haalee’s perspective and understand why she gave birth to the Substrate.
  • Campaign 2: Escalation- The PHC struggles to to fight the Substrate threat while internal rebellions threaten to break them apart.

Gameplay

Wage wars with more than a dozen players at once.

Strategic Zoom: Zoom out and the map changes to a new strategic map that shows a holographic display of the entire battlefield.  This will allow you better control of large groups of armies across the map. 

The Substrate use a new economic system that keeps them from wasting resources. They have unlimited storage, so they can gather infinite amounts of Metal and Radioactives for when they need them.

Game Options allow you to configure the world you want to play on. Explore 9 new map option sliders in both multiplayer and single player games. Configure the game you want to play by fighting on worlds without the atmosphere to support aircraft, increasing resource production, granting bonuses to entrenched armies, and more.

New Orbital Abilities

  • Orbital Jam (Substrate / PHC): Protects a large radial area from orbital abilities for a short period of time.
  • Nano-Mesh Armor (Substrate/ PHC): Provides an armor bonus to targeted units.
  • Nano-Transport (Substrate): Reinforcements automatically teleport to the army when they are created.
  • Emergency Turret (PHC): Call down a temporary turret to defend a region.
  • Rush Build (PHC): Doubles rate of production to give you a burst of resources.
  • Serpentine Turret (Substrate): This construct can be placed anywhere you have vision, allowing you to deploy it behind enemy lines or to set a trap for incoming forces.
  • Sapper (PHC): The Sapper can be inserted anywhere you have vision.  It builds small turrets that can harass or entrap enemy forces. 
  • Saboteur (Substrate): The Saboteur can be inserted anywhere you have vision. It specializes in destroying buildings -- use it to target your enemy's defenses or cripple their economy.

New Worlds

  • Crystal Worlds: Explore alien worlds covered in massive crystals.
  • Lava Worlds: Fight battles over volcanic pits on these burning worlds.
  • Huge map size: Even larger maps to conquer.
  • Multi-tier terrain: Get the high ground advantage with more levels available on maps. The terrain might keep you from being able to get to your enemy, or might provide excellent places to bombard your enemy from.
  • Dynamic Weather: Clouds and storm fronts will occasionally travel across the landscapes.

New Structures & Defenses

Buildings can be upgraded into more powerful forms. For example, Smarties can be upgraded into the new Barrager building.

PHC Advanced Sky Factory and Substrate Aviary that build advanced aircraft.

New turrets that allow you to better hold territory, harass enemy lines, and strengthen your defenses: 

  • Barrager (PHC): This upgrade from the Smarty Launcher has armor penetrating rockets that are effective against both air and ground units.
  • Constable (PHC): A cheap anti-air gun useful for a rapid deployment to quickly build up your defensive line or respond to a sneak attack.
  • Eliminator (PHC): The Eliminator takes out enemy aircraft with a single shot. Great against Strategic Bombers and Harbingers. 
  • Oblivion (PHC): This upgrade to the Artillery Post fires a single depleted uranium round whose kinetic energy is absolutely devastating to single targets. 
  • Odin Artillery (PHC): A long range gun with AOE rounds, useful for shelling groups of enemies from afar. 
  • Exterminator (Substrate): This expensive weapon is great for attacking both air and ground units.
  • Starburst(Substrate): A flak cannon that sends out a pulse of energy above it to damage groups of enemy aircraft. 
  • Disruptor Cannon(Substrate): This nasty cannon will absolutely melt incoming swarms of frigates.
  • Deadly Annihilator(Substrate): This upgrade to the Annihilator shoots endless streams of superheated plasma that does even more damage to both air and ground units.
  • Pulverizer(Substrate): This nasty creature fires a steady, long beam that does massive damage to everything in its path. 
  • Serpentine (Substrate): This construct can be placed anywhere you have vision, allowing you to deploy it behind enemy lines or to set a trap for incoming forces.
  • Sky Ender(Substrate): An expensive anti-air defense cannon that is great at taking down squadrons of enemy aircraft. 

 

Units

  • Hera (PHC): A giant tank sporting heavy armor and a really powerful gun. Useful for holding a defensive line against waves of enemies. 
  • Instigator (PHC): A fast unit that can harass and punish enemies that have spread out too quickly. 
  • Marauder (PHC): A large hovering gunship used to destroy enemy cruisers. 
  • Strategic Bomber (PHC): Send this bomber in to destroy your enemy's buildings with a single large explosion. 
  • Charon (PHC): Allows reinforcements to instantly teleport to whatever army it is part of.
  • Mobile Nullifier (PHC and Substrate): Late game unit that prevents enemy orbitals from acting on the army it is part of.
  • Caregiver (Substrate):  This unit boosts multiplies an army's strength by recharging its defenses.
  • Harbinger (Substrate): A flying unit specially designed to blow up your enemy's buildings.
  • Harvester (Substrate): A small unit that increases the amount of resources gathered, boosting your economy. 
  • Masochist (Substrate): Becomes more deadly the more it has been damaged. The perfect spoiler weapon. 
  • Rampager (Substrate): An evil looking thing that is great for destroy large numbers of small units. 

 

 

FAQ

Q: Why is Escalation a stand-alone expansion? Does this mean you’re abandoning Ashes of the Singularity?

No.  We definitely did not intend to create confusion by having two different purchase options.  What we want to do is have an entry-level way to get into Ashes of the Singularity where we could keep the gameplay close to its core vision: an approachable RTS for newcomers to the genre as well as veterans, and then have Escalation be for power users.

Right now, we sell both Sins of a Solar Empire: Trinity ($19.99) and Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion ($39.99) with the same idea in mind.  When it came time to do Escalation, it didn’t occur to us to release it any other way.

Q: So will the base game continue to receive updates?

Absolutely.  We will be updating Ashes for years to come both in terms of new DLC and content for those who prefer its more streamlined game play. We will also evolve Escalation to be more sophisticated.

Q: Was it always your plan to have Escalation and Ashes take on different roles?

No.  When we released Ashes of the Singularity, the comparisons with Supreme Commander brought in a lot of Supreme Commander fans as well as RTS gamers who wanted to see Ashes of the Singularity have more depth in terms of units and strategic management.  As our beta testers can attest, we strongly resisted this as we did not want Ashes of the Singularity to become a hard-core only game.  But, the fan advocacy for depth became irresistible and Escalation was born.

Q: Were you surprised at how successful Ashes of the Singularity has been?

Very.  Technically speaking, only a minority of PC gamers can even play Ashes of the Singularity.   Only a really small percentage of PC gamers who play strategy games have the hardware that Ashes requires.  As we would regularly remind our founders during the beta, Ashes had a very small budget (1/9th of Supreme Commander not counting Forged Alliance).

The original projected sales goal for Ashes was 50,000 units in its first year from release when we budgeted it.  That would have covered the core game development costs which would in turn allow us, over a period of years, to roll out new content to the game (naval units, more races, etc.).

Selling 100,000 units by the 6-month point (not counting the hundreds of thousands of OEM buyers via video cards), combined with the overwhelming demand that we flesh out the game in terms of depth, led us to increase the team size dramatically after release.

This may come as a shock, but the base game had only 4 developers and 2 artists (along with some contract modelers).

Remember, when we started this project, there was no DirectX 12, no Mantle, no Vulkan.  So we had to plan on a game that would only run on DirectX 11 for people with the absolute extreme of hardware requirements.  Obviously, if we knew there was going to be a DirectX 12 and a Vulkan, we would have had a bigger budget.

For Escalation, there are now 6 developers and 8 artists.  Still a relatively small team, but that is why Escalation has so much more in it so quickly.

Q: What about the people who bought Ashes of the Singularity for $49.99 when it first released?

We are going to give early adopters of Ashes of the Singularity a “season pass” to Escalation DLC that will last until the end of 2017.  That is, all new DLC created for Escalation they get for free (provided they register with us, as we need to know when they got the game in order to give them the DLC).


Comments (Page 1)
on Oct 26, 2016

Awesome!

 

But... where is the substrate mobile shield regenator that absorb damage? 

 

Thanks for the hard work! Can't wait to get my hands on it!

 

on Oct 26, 2016

bernhardvd22

Awesome!

But... where is the substrate mobile shield regenator that absorb damage? 

 

In play it was redundant with the Caregiver so we switched him to a new use to make him more fun. He is the Masochist, he has a Plasma Flail weapon that damages enemies. The more damaged the Masochist becomes, the more flails he can have operating at once. Making him more deadly the closer he is to death.

 

on Oct 26, 2016

Derek Paxton


Quoting bernhardvd22,

Awesome!

But... where is the substrate mobile shield regenator that absorb damage? 



 

He was pretty redundant with the Caregiver so we switched him to a new use to make him more fun. He is the Masochist, he has a Plasma Flail weapon that damages enemies. The more damaged the Masochist becomes, the more flails he can have operating at once. Making him more deadly the closer he is to death.

 

 

Thanks for answering! Sounds good to me, is there a limited number of Flais that the Masochist can activate at once?

on Oct 26, 2016

bernhardvd22


Thanks for answering! Sounds good to me, is there a limited number of Flails that the Masochist can activate at once?
 
Currently it is set as follows (all subject to balance):
 
HP%      #Flails
76-100      2
51-75       3
26-50       4
1-25         5
 
on Oct 26, 2016

Derek Paxton


Quoting bernhardvd22,



Thanks for answering! Sounds good to me, is there a limited number of Flails that the Masochist can activate at once?

 

Currently it is set as follows (all subject to balance):

 

HP%      #Flails

 

76-100      2

 51-75       3

 26-50       4

 1-25         5

 


 

Thanks for sharing!

 

on Oct 26, 2016

Great screenshot top left. 

Is the PHC Instigator the flying unit that can turn owned territory neutral? Or did that concept get re-worked?

on Oct 27, 2016

Is there any way you guys can share more screenshots from the Masochist? I really love this unit:)

on Oct 27, 2016

Thanks for the great work! 

 

Do you have any Youtube developer gameplay videos of Escalation for us to watch?  Not seeing any after a quick Youtube search.

on Oct 27, 2016

kreyson135

Thanks for the great work! 

 

Do you have any Youtube developer gameplay videos of Escalation for us to watch?  Not seeing any after a quick Youtube search.

Find Stardocks Twitch channel, they have a video there.

on Oct 27, 2016

bernhardvd22

Is there any way you guys can share more screenshots from the Masochist? I really love this unit:)

Sure! Here are a group of Masochist's going to work on the Crystal world of Vega.

on Oct 27, 2016

Awesome news guys, just two quick questions: If the game now has more environments with more players, does that mean the required specs have gone up as well?

Also, how do we register that we've bought the game/bought Escalation?

Thanks!

on Oct 27, 2016

Derek Paxton


Quoting bernhardvd22,

Is there any way you guys can share more screenshots from the Masochist? I really love this unit:)



Sure! Here are a group of Masochist's going to work on the Crystal world of Vega.

Reduced 30%
Original 1900 x 1158


 

Wow! I want Escalation right now! 0_o

on Nov 14, 2016

If we purchased the original on gog.com, can we pick up Escalation on Steam instead at the discounted price?

 

And how do we register for the "season pass" if we purchased the original in early access?

on Nov 14, 2016

Q: What about the people who bought Ashes of the Singularity for $49.99 when it first released?

We are going to give early adopters of Ashes of the Singularity a “season pass” to Escalation DLC that will last until the end of 2017.  That is, all new DLC created for Escalation they get for free (provided they register with us, as we need to know when they got the game in order to give them the DLC).

 

Assuming this is not a simple registration on the forums obviously, could you please explain the steps to achieve this registration?

In my case, i bought base Ashes on Steam a short time after the launch.

 

Thank you.

on Nov 14, 2016

For most people, they won't have to do anything.

For anyone who gets missed, they'll enter their STeam account info and it'll hook them up.

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