What will become 0.63
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
We plan to have a lot of orbitals in the game eventually. But in the near-term we are focusing on these 4:
Engineering Drop Down
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.
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.