We’re rapidly coming up on the new Founder’s build. Lots and lots of changes coming in.
Here are topics that have been brought up on the forum.
Q: What are you calling the core resource everyone is fighting over?
A: Turinium. We were calling it computronium internally (it’s a real thing) but we didn’t like the sound of it. Turinium sounds better and it’s a good nod to Alan Turing.
Q: Will seeds be upgradeable?
A: Yes. But not in beta 1. Originally, the Seed upgrades were how you unlocked T2 and T3 units but we felt that slowed down the game. We’re going to find another thing to do with them.
Q: I want to be able to defend my regions with outpostgs or something.
A: Ashes has a host of defensive structures ranging from rockets, heavy plasma cannons, drone bays and more. If a region is crucial you can absolutely lock it down.
Q: What is the game mechanic of the logistics array?
A: The ultimate limiter in the game presently is power. Each world you fight for has already had expeditionary drones sent out to it that have placed a series of core taps which are at the heart of a region. Buildings use power.
So what does this have to do with logistics? Because the logistics array provides units but also consumes quite a bit of power. This matters because the player ultimately has to decide between buildings and units. This avoids infinite turtling.
Now, in the founders, you only have tiny and small maps. So it may seem like having such limits are unnecessary. But the next build will introduce medium, large and huge maps that are, well, enormous. Thus, we want some method to prevent infinite turtling because at those sizes, if there isn’t something to limit it, games could be decided by the person who has the most time on their hands. The Turinium generators help prevent that most of the time but the power generators are the ultimate leash on scope.
Another benefit of power is that it allows us to have a lot of interesting map design options. We could have maps with tons of power generators and some with hardly any.
Q: What sorts of things are you looking to add to the economic system?
A: We debate this constantly. Here are a few key points about the economic system as-is:
- Core Resources (Metal and Radioactives) never run out
- Core resources are consumed as you need them (you don’t pay up front)
- Power provides a cap on structures. You get more power by capturing regions.
In addition, we are looking at two more resources:
- Noble Gases. These unlock global special abilities (orbital strike, targeted repair, sector scan, etc.) Will talk more about this in a bit.
- Technology. Your research matrices will generate tech points which you can spend to acquire tech from the tech tree.
Both of these were in our pre-production design but we were concerned that this might be a turn off to “mainstream” RTS players. As time has gone on, we have been gravitating towards having the economy more sophisticated and this line of thinking continues even now.
Q: What are global abilities?
A: Now that the AI is in and we’re playing on the really big maps it has had a significant impact on the way we look at the game. We are starting to ease away from having a lot of active unit abilities to ones that essentially targeted player interventions on the map.
When you’re managing a global war where you have several big battles going on simultaneously that may last a few minutes each, giving the player the ability to act on a particular battle from the global UI seems more fun than having to click on a unit and and select a special ability. This doesn’t mean that units won’t have special abilities but we may design them so that the player can set them to autocast ala Sins of a Solar Empire.
Q: How far along do you consider the current UI?
A: It’s still very much a work in progress, especially visually.
Q: How are the Meta units going to work?
A: In the Founder’s build, a T1 can only answer to a T2 which in turn can only answer to a T3. We found this to be too micro-intensive to set up. We have thus been migrating to a system where you select a bunch of units, hit the Form Battle Group button [Z] and it will turn them into a single unit that acts together. You don’t have to worry about having the composition exactly right for it to work.
Q: Will you let us build stuff even when the amount of a resource is fully depleted?
A: We are still debating this. It’s a really tough call because we are trying to keep people from wrecking themselves by over spending. I think what will happen is that once the UI catches up to make it easy to tell what is sucking up your stuff and turning it off we’ll have more options.
Q: Where do things stand on “strategic zoom”?
A: We are still discussing what kind of abstract view of the battlefield we want to do. We can’t iconize units ala Supreme Commander because of the numbers of units. We are playing around with a lot of different ideas. What I can say is that we do plan to have some sort of worldwide view of the game if you zoom out. Someone mentioned World War II in space which is something we are indeed looking at.
Q: Will there be a campaign?
Q: What about morale?
A: There is no morale. Every unit in the game is you. They are your constructs that act as extensions of you.
Q: Do you see this as an e-sport?
A: No. I think it’ll be pretty popular multiplayer but single player is a big focus for us as well as friends vs. AI. We will have a league and seasons and all that ala Starcraft but when push comes to shove, smart AI and maps that lend themselves to strategic depth are where we’re putting our resources.
Q: What is on Stardock’s wish list for this game?
A: I’d like to see random maps and I’d like to see (especially for single player) additional resources ala Civilization that if owned allow the player to unlock additional technologies. But whether the player base will want that remains to be seen.
Q: How good will the AI be for early access?
A: In our current internal build, no one can beat it on hard or come close to it let alone expert or insane.
What else would you like to know?