I'm on the plane and have some time to talk a little bit about Ashes. I've been getting a ton of questions about the game and I'm going to try to answer these questions in the clearest way I can.
First, some house cleaning:
1. If there isn't a subedit on Ashes yet, could someone make it? The nature of this game is such that we really want to be able to talk to the community a lot prior to release.
2. We are instituting a new Founders system that we will apply retroactively to other games that have had founders programs (like GalCiv III). In essence, we will be giving Founders more exclusive stuff early on. That stuff may be made available later to everyone but we want people who supported us from the start to get first dibs on things.
Next, Founders info:
a. Re Supreme Commander & TA questions. Yes, Ashes is probably most similar to those games with one major difference - the maps themselves are broken up into regions. Thus, you have to control the region (ala Company of Heroes) and the contiguous regions back to your seed (Base) in order to receive the resources of that region.
b. Re scale. I've seen a lot of people talk about how many units are in other games with an accompanying screenshot. The difference here is that one of those big battles would just be one of potentially many battles going on across the world. The difference in actual units is an order of magnitude higher than anything that's previously been done.
c. Re Managing units. While each of the potentially tens of thousands of units can be commanded individually, that would be relatively insane to try. Instead, think of each individual as being a lego and being able to quickly and easily put together these legos into a single bigger unit which we call Meta units. The meta unit works together as if it's a single unit. You click on one, you have clicked on all of them and all their special abilities are available to use. They will automatically help each other (since they see themselves as part of a greater unit).
d. Meta units are not control groups. A control group might have multiple meta units in it. A meta unit can be 1 unit or it might be 3000 units depending on what the player wants to do.
Next, early debates on topics we can have:
a. There are 3 main resources players are fighting: Metal (for constructing stuff), Radioactives (for advanced units and researching), and Computronium. Comporting acts as the victory point ticker in this game. It's a real word and a real concept. But we hate the name. We are open to ideas on a different name. Computronium is the theoretical name of an idealized computing substance.
b. Map sizes. Our tiny map is about the size of the Bay Area in California. The largest map size is difficult to describe because it's so big. It takes a hour for a unit to travel across it. Based on who is reading this post, how long do you prefer your RTS games to last?