Ashes Performance and balance tuning

By on November 5, 2015 6:29:32 PM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
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What will become 0.63

Greetings!

We continue to make rapid progress on all fronts as we head towards BETA.  We hope to have the beta ready by November 19.  Before then, we’ll have an interim update called 0.63 which will update the balance a bit and allows players to zoom out to 25,000 feet (as seen here).

On the performance end, we continue to work towards more frames per second on lower end hardware.  We’re making a lot of progress there (enough that we can zoom out without having to turn things into icons). 

Zoom

Speaking of zooming out, throughout the development process we have looked at how far we should zoom out.  Some people want to zoom out to see the entire map. That won’t be happening.  If you hit the space-bar you can get a strategic view of the entire map but we are looking at ways to zoom further out while ensuring people can still identify friend/foe units.

In the longer view, we’d like to make it so that people with multiple monitors can have a situation map always visible on the second monitor that will be a wire frame version of the world that lets them see the hot spots.  But even minus that, we have seen some great mockups on the forums on how we might be able to make units more visible when zoomed out.

TIP:HIT THE SPACE BAR to bring up the situation map.

Unit Tiers

The units in Ashes are not designed to be replaced by higher tiers.  That said, we have begun to put more emphasis on making those purposes more self-evident to the player.  For example, in 0.63, the Scout will come out as a single, very fast unit that comes out of the factory in 4 seconds.  By contrast, the Archers will come out in groups of 3 that take 12 seconds and the Brute will come out in groups of 4.  This will make them a bit easier to identify and help us visually communicate their roles a little better when they’re in battle.

Tier 2s are getting some pretty big buffs both in terms of how powerful they are, relatively, and their cost.  In the balance area, we’re trying to make the stream economy now be full of “newbie traps”.  Hence, a T2 will require about 1.5X more metal per second than a T1 and a T3 will require about 3X more metal per second than a T1.  They’ll take a lot longer to build but that can be compensated by adding engineers which can aid in the construction.

Pacing

Right now, we feel like players get to all the “stuff” pretty quickly.  This is particularly true of defensive structures where repair bays and drone bays are quite rapidly acquired.  We plan to tie a number of units/buildings to having at least a Quantum Relay built.  This will also address another “newbie trap” where people don’t realize that need to upgrade their logistics or else they get stuck at a mere 100 units.

Power Amplifiers

Ashes currently has a two-tier economy:

Tier 1: Capture region, gain +1 from every resource in that region

Tier 2: Place an extractor on those resources to get another +1 from each resource

But we plan to add a third tier for late game:

Tie 3: Power amplifiers. Build a power amplifer to double the output of a region.

This will work by clicking on a power generator and upgrading it.  We want this to be in the Beta but we’re running very tight.

Orbitals

We plan to have a lot of orbitals in the game eventually.  But in the near-term we are focusing on these 4:

  1. Engineering Drop Down
  2. Incursion
  3. Orbital Strike
  4. Orbital Nullify

When players build the corresponding orbital, a global ability is enabled. Orbital Relays provide the generic resource, “quanta” which are moments in time of access to your off-world empire’s resources. You use this resource to upgrade your tech and to spend on these global abilities.

The Engineering drop down will instantly place an engineer anywhere on the map.  The Incursion will place a small but ever more powerful (the more you use it, the more powerful it gets) force in a target location for behind the lines work.  This small force won’t be enough to take out a serious force but it’ll be enough to punish players who have spread themselves too thin and not guarded their supply lines.

The orbital strike is Ashes’s nuke equivalent.  You spend quanta and target a location.  The mini-map will display the large area that is about to get nuked.  The opposing player, if they have built the Nuliffier orbital and have enough quanta held back can nullify the strike.

We have others in the works but these will be the 4 that will let us balance the give and take between players building units versus using special abilities.

Gaining Levels

The other area we have a lot of work to do is on Dreadnoughts gaining levels. The plan is for these units to gain special abilities that the player can choose.  These probably won’t be ready by the beta however.

We hope you’re having fun!

The Early Access program is doing well. We’re glad to see so many people liking the direction we’re going.  It’s a definite challenge to make a new RTS that will appeal to the very different tastes of the RTS market.

Let us know what you think.

-brad

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November 5, 2015 6:58:03 PM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Great post.


allows players to zoom out to 25,000 feet

How many feet can we currently zoom out? For comparison.

  1. Engineering Drop Down
  2. Incursion 

These two are potentially OP, especially the engineer one actually. I think that they should only be drop-able in places the player has already scouted. (a slightly modified space-bar map could be used to remind/show you where you have been). That way the defending player has a chance to wonder why there is a Pan over that bit of land and may be able to react in someway. Otherwise preventing it doesn't seem so skill based. You'll just have to have loads of sensors and troops everywhere in your land which may be more trouble than fun. Anyway, that is just a quick thought, once we give it a play test I could well be proven wrong.

Thanks for the update! 

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November 5, 2015 7:13:18 PM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Thanks for the update! Looking forward to 0.63!

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November 5, 2015 7:47:53 PM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Quoting Ticktoc,

Great post.



allows players to zoom out to 25,000 feet



How many feet can we currently zoom out? For comparison.

 


    1. Engineering Drop Down

 


    1. Incursion 

 


These two are potentially OP, especially the engineer one actually. I think that they should only be drop-able in places the player has already scouted. (a slightly modified space-bar map could be used to remind/show you where you have been). That way the defending player has a chance to wonder why there is a Pan over that bit of land and may be able to react in someway. Otherwise preventing it doesn't seem so skill based. You'll just have to have loads of sensors and troops everywhere in your land which may be more trouble than fun. Anyway, that is just a quick thought, once we give it a play test I could well be proven wrong.

Thanks for the update! 

In both cases, you have to have vision of the location you are going to drop down.

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November 5, 2015 8:39:03 PM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

 Sounds like great progress, thanks for the update!

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November 5, 2015 9:10:36 PM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

My humble thought is that you made the best calls with these plans.

 

- Great to see you're focusing on performance improvements. they're welcome!

 

- the zoom out level, as shown in the picture, seems perfectly enough and comfortable in order to have a good readability of the units and a good tactical view of the battlefield. coupled with the usefulness and the exhaustive elements displayed on the strategic map, the right informations are at the player disposal. Though, i'd really do something to identify at first glance where are our builder units : as said, maybe a dedicated section in the left panel, or simply an icon above them could do the trick.

 

- I also think that the game course could benefit from a harder curve concerning the prices and the time needed to switch from tier 1 to the upper tiers and upgrades. In general terms, the pace of the units and the combat/placement strategic timings are enjoyable and make this game special, don't doubt about that. But for now, seeing the best units, the dreadnoughts, appearing on the battlefield approximately at the ten minutes mark is way too quick and easy in my opinion. Also, scaling a bit more the firepower or the defense of higher tier units seems a good choice as well.

You're right to bring some difficulty to the game course and some traps if the players want to take obvious shortcuts. But, as simple "beta testers", we have (and devs have) to proceed with great caution as it is very early to discuss balance details at this stage. From my humble experience, more than one beta test turned into a glorious balance mess even before all the gameplay routines and features were perfectly implemented in the game. For example the different groups settings or improvements regarding the pathfinding, the homogeneous movements, the defensive/offensive stances and the engagement rules... or the formations choices : compact, normal, spaced...Or even the orbital abilities, which seem to impact notably a match. So to say, all the gameplay routines forming the spine of the game and the strategical/tactical macromanagement possibilities available for the players.

but you got the experience from older great games, know where you're getting at, and undoubtedly deserve credit. your general idea about the game course is the good one from my humble point of view.

 

- Finally, eco amplifiers and specially the upgrades or abilities unlocked as the dreadnoughts gain levels, sound definitely sexy! can't wait to see them in action.

 

- On a side note, can we expect some visual effects, auras, or models changes indicating that our units gained some enhancements? For example the groups, benefiting from shared buffs, or indicating that our army earned a certain amount of quanta upgrades for their HP, or their attack power? or also the level of the dreadnoughts, even if the abillity choices could be kept secret to keep a first tactical advantage?  It could emphasize the role of the scout units in order to prepare the right counter moves...

 

- Pilot licence for the AI so she could use air units? second faction?

 

Anyways, just some ideas brought to the table...

This game has a great potential. Thank you and keep up the hard work guys

 

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November 6, 2015 3:02:43 AM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums


TIP:HIT THE SPACE BAR to bring up the situation map.

but that thing isn't rotated to match the view and it doesn't show the topography of the map (and accessorarily isn't pretty)

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November 6, 2015 3:36:08 AM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Quoting tatsujb,


but that thing isn't rotated to match the view and it doesn't show the topography of the map (and accessorarily isn't pretty)

And furthermore this is still alpha and they plan to make it better.

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November 6, 2015 4:52:13 AM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Quoting eviator,

And furthermore this is still alpha and they plan to make it better.
I know that. what I'm doing is feedback so that they don't assume we are satisfied with it and leave it as is.

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November 6, 2015 7:37:42 AM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Quoting Frogboy,

In both cases, you have to have vision of the location you are going to drop down.

Great! Looks like I jumped the gun a bit there.

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November 7, 2015 7:18:22 AM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

 Tier 3: Power amplifiers. Build a power amplifer to double the output of a region.--->pls we need it 

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November 8, 2015 7:11:50 AM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

With regard to Gaining Levels  besides Dreadnaughts will other tier units be able to gain levels with their own specialty that players can choose.

 

Also with regards to Orbitals abilities would their be a cool down b4 each type of use?

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