If you're new here, you may have noticed how awesome our community is. We have gathered here some of the most experienced RTS players around and together, we are making sure Ashes of the Singularity evolves into the go-to strategy game.
## POSTMORTEM ##
We just sent in our Gamasutra postmortem with all the good/bad/ugly details of a project like this. We'll post a link when it shows up. We think you'll like it.
## MORE CONTENT ##
We're starting to ramp up on the content creation side of things. People want more units. More maps. More scenarios. More missions. Most of this we can give away for free. Speaking of free.
## Version 1.1 ##
The first big update is scheduled to show up within the next week or so. We just released v1.02 (http://steamcommunity.com/app/228880/discussions/1/368542585863350912/)which mixed up the strategy mix some.
== The New Unit ==
But version 1.1 is the first update that adds a new unit - the Sentry. If you played the campaign, you saw it. It comes via a new global ability called a Probe which is much like a very small incursion. Similarly, it is very inexpensive as well.
Sentries are pretty good against buildings, not so great against units. But if you want to mess with your opponent's rapid expansion or find ways to tactically insert a flank, the Sentry is the one to do the job. A single Sentry squad can take out most early creeps.
The Substrate Avatar already got its balance update in 1.02 in preparation for this. So for now, the Avatar had an advantage the PHC doesn't have but 1.1 will catch the PHC up.
== New Difficulty Levels ==
Version 1.1 also will add two new difficulty levels: Novice and Intermediate.
Most of our readers here won't use this that much but slightly more than 60% of players are losing against EASY (as in, they start the game, play more than 5 minutes, and leave). Only 10% of players lose against BEGINNER and we suspect most of this are people who just run out of time and have to go do something else.
We are also very close to having difficulty levels for the Campaign and scenarios done but I can't promise it for 1.1. It might have to wait until 1.11.
## The Reviews ##
We've had a lot of good reviews in the media and some lousy ones. I won't comment on my opinions of the reviews other than to say: People, especially reviewers, really value a story-driven campaign.
While we can argue whether we should have had a campaign at all, what is done is done.
Right now, we are implementing a way to stream audio from the missions so that we can record voice overs and such as well as make the character box be modeless (meaning it won't interfere with game play).
Since we're doing VO, there will be a lot more dialog in than there was initially. Our original campaign script was much longer but we realized that reading text was not super fun so we kept cutting and cutting.
## Review bombing ##
Speaking of reviews, I can tell you that user reviews matter. A lot. They are a primary mechanism for Steam to determine what gets featured where. Hence, if a game becomes "mixed" it's basically dead from a discoverability and if a game becomes overwhelmingly positive (80%) it becomes much easier for people to find it.
We've had some reports (unconfirmed) that Ashes has been user review bombed atMetacritic.com and here (via purchasing, reviewing the game, returning the game).
To those communities that might be doing this, please don't. We are not trying to "steal" your players. Our goal is to introduce a new generation of gamers to real-time strategy. Getting more people to play RTS games means that all RTS's will benefit.
I won't claim that Ashes is perfect. Far from it. We need to add more content and, simply put, it will take time to give the game the various niceties based on player feedback. As much as you may love Supreme Commander, remember, SupCom 1.0 didn't have a lot of units or maps. FA added 32 (thirty-two) new units/buildings.
Also, as a reminder: Ashes is not setting out to be a successor to Supreme Commander. It is a different game within the same genre with its own gameplay philosophies (global abilities, territorial control).
## Game Design thoughts ##
One of the areas of the game that we are trying to flesh out this Spring is the balance between rush-boom-turtle.
If you're not familiar with the term, rush-boom-turtle are the 3 pillars of RTS thinking. Rush = Get out there fast and kill the enemy. Boom is where you build up your economy and win through overwhelming force. Turtle is where you take a small area, hold and fortify. Take a little more. Hold and fortify. Etc.
In Ashes 1.0, Rushing was definitely over powered. With 1.02, we've given players more tools to counter rushers as well as made booming a bit better with the way economies are built up.
In v1.11, we expect to release two changes to make turtling and booming a bit stronger. For the PHC, this will come in the form of the Refinery, a building that magnifies your economy and stacks if you keep building it. Thus, someone with less territory could, in time, out produce someone with more. The Substrate Boost ability will also get..well, boosted so that players can keep improving their generators.
Several new buildings are in production but they won't be ready before the end of Spring. We don't intend to have any long-range (map crossing) artillery. That isn't the type of game we want to make. But we do intend to create more siege/counter siege artillery (defined as ballistic weapons).
Beyond that gets speculative on scheduling.
That's all for now!