Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Published on 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!


Comments
on Feb 03, 2017


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.

Cool!

## 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.

Since it is one unified codebase now, does that mean that you guys were able to overcome the steam AppID that prevents both games from "talking" to each other (causing a split in MP base)?

Or, does that mean that the game will be repackaged, and then you will have unlock codes (or whatever) to "enable" the extra features in Escalation?

 

Overall, this sounds like a VERY good move for the community!

on Feb 03, 2017

@badvoltage, escaltion has more units, has strategic zoom, you can't merge the mp simply dou to ballance.

on Feb 03, 2017

## 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.  

 

I thought you were going for 3 Juggernauts per side?

on Feb 03, 2017

aceparagon

 

Quoting ,


## 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.  

 



 

I thought you were going for 3 Juggernauts per side?

 

We are.  But we're going to release them 1 per side at a time.

on Feb 04, 2017

Fantastic! This all sounds very good! As always I'm excited about the future of the game, and looking forward to the juggernauts, naval combat and the 3rd episode.

The release of the free escalation keys (thanks for that!) will surely bring some new players to escalation in the meantime. (even if the community chooses ashes over escalation in the long run)

on Feb 05, 2017

I think you are doing a great job! I somehow lost my interest in Ashes somewhere during the beta/ea. It did not really take a hold of me. When Escalation came I thought it wouldn't change much. BUT: It did! It's really what FA did for SupCom back in the days. I can not really put my finger on it but it is a much more enjoyable, fluid and refined experience than Ashes. With the free keys you are about to give to early access people there is nothing anybody can complain about. Escalation is about what you promised during the crowdfunding campaign and, as everybody can see, the game is getting better with more content on the way. A very good and fair move that puts you on the top of the list of my favourite game developers. That I wanted to say first.

Being owner of the Founder's Lifetime Edition and, of course, enjoying AotS:Escalation very much, I am really looking forward to this game having a long and bright future with cool new content added throughout time.

One thing I would like to ask about at this point is if I remember it right that a third faction is intended to show up somewhere in the future. I really enjoy the factions given at the moment. A third would still add a lot to the joy

on Feb 05, 2017


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.

So Episode 3 is the campaign, which takes place after the Escalation campaign? Im already hyped for this

Also it would be nice to see what happened between the events of Dawn of the Singularity and Imminent Crisis. Maybe a sequel for the book or some additional missions as in Memories, though i would honestly prefer a sequel of the book for that.

on Feb 05, 2017

Galaxio



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.



So Episode 3 is the campaign, which takes place after the Escalation campaign? Im already hyped for this

Also it would be nice to see what happened between the events of Dawn of the Singularity and Imminent Crisis. Maybe a sequel for the book or some additional missions as in Memories, though i would honestly prefer a sequel of the book for that.

 

Yea.  The trick is that David Simpson is so busy he may not have time to write the sequel in the near future.  I may have to work with a different author (David's a great guy btw, you should read his Post-Human series).

 

on Feb 06, 2017

Frogboy

 

We are.  But we're going to release them 1 per side at a time.

Awesome! Little sad that Vulkan got delayed, but still, this was a great update.

on Feb 07, 2017

Frogboy

Yea. The trick is that David Simpson is so busy he may not have time to write the sequel in the near future. I may have to work with a different author (David's a great guy btw, you should read his Post-Human series).

I will definitly have a look at the Post-Human series when I'm finished with my bachelor thesis

I hope you get David to write the sequel. I'm afraid another author will use a different writing style...

on Feb 08, 2017

I think you should go more Supcom, either game can play same mp, but your restricted by what everyone has in maps and units. Auto download of maps, unit caps, better lobby,(like to see the lobby to see how many in there when hosting and waiting for peeps.

on Feb 16, 2017

Hi,

i can only give you one advise. If you make an RTS game like Supcom which is Ashes. There is no reason to make it simple (unit diversity and so on). People who play RTS games want a complex game. People like many different kind of units. Your mistake was that you didnt made the base game complex enough.  

Ill give you an example. I told you in one of my posts that i will advertise the game. My friend looked at ashes escalation. He said hey cool game but why dont we have real T4 Units like in supcom. He bought the game because i told him that T4´s are coming.

People on steam are angry because you sell an Expansion which should have been in the basegame (I bought both games because i dont care about this moneywise because gaming is my hobby). The basic version of supreme comander 1 and even supreme comander 2 have better gameplay than the basic version of ashes.

Im playing games for 30 years now. Im a hardcore starcraft player. I also played many many other RTS games. The hardcore aspect is only for the multiplayerpart of the game in RTS. Everey RTS player wants to have many units and many ways to upgrade buildings and Units (this makes the game fun). The hardcore part of an RTS is the multiplayer. Here it doesnt matter if you make the access to the game easier. A good rts player will crush any casual player in pvp anyways (APM and so on) it doesnt matter if the game is complex or not. Supreme Commander FA didnt sold much copies for other reasons like a stupid campaign which also was a problem in Supcom in general. Supcom 2 didnt sell much copies because most people recogniced that the game is watered down....

Pls dont make the mistake and think that you get more players if you make the game not so complex. This is completly wrong. Look at Planetary Anihalation or Greygoo. Im sorry for the developpers but these are the best examples why games in RTS fail at the moment. They reduced complexitivity and thought ohh so we get more players to play the game. Absolutly wrong! RTS games are complex from their nature. Pls accept that fact. The only reason why people are angry on steam is that they have to pay again for escalation. Ohh by the way i have no problem with it, i like to give money for good ingame content. But i do have a problem with the argument ohh we can make the RTS game not so complex (fewer Units and so on) so we get more customers. This will never happen. Starcraft 2 Lotv (3rd expansion of SC II) is a complex game. There are tons of Units in the campaign and upgrades. It sold over a million copies on day one.

Pls focus on Escalation and make it complex like supreme comander 1 and its expansion FA!

 

on Feb 16, 2017

AlphaApe1

This will never happen. Starcraft 2 Lotv (3rd expansion of SC II) is a complex game. There are tons of Units in the campaign and upgrades. It sold over a million copies on day one.

I wouldnt call sc2 a complex game. Its a simple game with a lot less upgrades, units, builds than your average RTS. BUT sc2 is a lot micro dependant. If you cant micro well enough, you will fail at sc2. Ashes for example are not that micro dependant. Its more about macro. So i wouldnt call sc2 more complex than ashes. I do like both games though.

You cant actually expect SD with a quite low budget at their disposal to be on a level with a giant company like blizzards via marketing/distribution and so on. Majority of blizzard customers that buy their products are just "blizzard fans" that buy everything that blizzard has to offer. SD on the other hands must prove to their potential customers that their product is worthwile spending money and time on. Sometimes i think if blizzard puts its tag on a regular trash bin it would also get a million copies sold day one.

But i do have to agree that ashes like any decent RTS, that focuses on macro, must have a lot more units/upgrade options/resource types than games like sc2 (that are more action packed), because it all comes down to choices you make via macro management. And a few more game modes would actually benefit ashes a lot.  

But hey, im not in the position on giving advices to a competent developer team, that proved themselves by making some great decisions for ashes/escalation.

 

Meta
Views
» 8766
Comments
» 13
Sponsored Links