Ashes of the Singularity is a concept that Stardock has been mulling over since the year 2000. Finally, we are in the throes of development and Steam Early Access is upon us, which has us all very excited!
Perhaps the happiest member of the bunch is our CEO and President, Brad Wardell, who sat down with me to talk a little bit about the game and how he feels about its development.
Q: What has been your favorite part of working on this game so far?
"To be honest, it's the team and the people we have available to talk to. At the risk of being so bold, I'm not sure a strategy game team like this has ever been assembled.
We have, in the same building, the designers of Civilization IV, Civilization V, Galactic Civilizations, Grey Goo, much of Sins of a Solar Empire, much of Demigod, along with lead engineers, AI developers, composers, artists from those games as well. Even in pre-beta, the AI in Ashes of the Singularity is lethal partially because we have such a concentration of AI development experience in one room."
Q: What's your favorite ship design?
"The Nemesis. It's not very big (about 100 meters long) compared to the biggest ships and it can only fire once every 12 seconds, but whatever it hits dies or is severely damaged."
Q: What’s your first move when you play a round of Ashes? Got any advice for newer players?
"There is no ideal first move. I tend to play greedy so I build a lot of engineers to go out and try to claim regions fast before I even build up offensive units. I'm pretty vulnerable to early attack as a result but if they aren't scouting what I'm doing it gives me a big advantage. Unfortunately, my evil coworkers know that I do this and punish me for it."
Q: Anything else you'd like to mention?
"I think it's going to be important for Stardock to make clear that while Ashes of the Singularity is a technological breakthrough for gaming, it's still about the game play. Making the first native 64-bit game that also natively supports DirectX 12 are all very cool things, but at the end of the day it only matters if the game is fun.
What I think will make Ashes popular isn't just that it is gorgeous and supports thousands of units. I think what will be key is that even though it has a deep multiplayer game mode, we still spend the time to make sure the game is really fun as a single player game.
I know a lot of gamers really are into multiplayer RTSes and that is one of the reasons we hired one of the original creators of Battle.net to build an amazing multiplayer service for the game. But, Brian Wade and I are still very committed to making use of all these CPU cores to have a single player AI that is like nothing anyone has seen before. We want to be able to keep releasing updates even after it ships that lets gamers play against "synthetic" people who have very different strategies."
Ashes of the Singularity is now available on Steam in Early Access. We have a lot of content planned, but the builds we have out right now are still very early builds. If you love RTS games and want to watch (and influence!) the game as it develops, we encourage you to join us right now! If you are looking for something fun to play alone or with friends, we urge you to wait until the game is more complete.