Happy new year!
Here's what we're working on.
## Version 1.5 series ##
Last month version 1.5 was released but that isn't the end of the 1.5 updates.
In particular, these features/enhancements/bug fixes are scheduled to get added in 1.51/1.52/1.53.
1. Update UI.
We're bringing the Escalation UI over to the base game. The larger fonts and general layout are easier on the eyes.
This is something that has been a lot harder to do than we had expected. Our lead developer has been ill which has slowed down work. She hopes to be back in the next week or so. Stardock's overall lead dev has been working on this feature in her absence.
3. Updated visuals.
From the lighting to the general look of materials and maps, we have what amounts to a visual p ♥♥♥ across the game in progress.
4. Safe mode.
Starting in 1.51, when you launch the game you will be given a choice between launching the game normally or going into "safe mode". This way, if someone has set up something wrong, it won't cause them to crash the game.
## User Reviews ##
Last Fall we had a "Mostly Positive" rating. Now it's "Mixed" with recent being very low. Why did this happen and what can Stardock learn from it?
Obviously, the game today is even better than it was last Fall. What changed was the release of Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation.
Traditionally, Stardock (and other RTSs) have released their expansion packs as stand-alone. We were trying to follow the model set by Supreme Commander who released Forged Alliance about the same time after the original release as Escalation was.
Stardock did this with GalCiv II with Dark Avatar and with Fallen Enchantress (Legendary Heroes), Sins of a Solar Empire (Rebellion) and so on.
So it didn't really occur to us that there'd be a backlash for doing the same thing with Escalation, especially given the sheer volume of updates the base game was continuously receiving.
Now, clearly, times have changed. And we're applying this feedback to Offworld Trading Company and Galactic Civilizations III whose upcoming major expansions will be released as DLC instead of a stand-alone has originally planned.
But what is done is done. Now, the question remains, what to do about the base game. Will our continuing work on the base game and the price differentiation help?
## Multiplayer integration ##
One unexpected challenge is that you presently cannot use Steamworks to have a game with one AppID to talk to a game with a different AppID. We are still looking into this but presuming we can do something about that, we expect to find a way to unify the MP player bases.
That said, we will probably get very aggressive in rewarding Steam keys to active MP participants in Ashes to Escalation to help give users more options.
More to come!
Originally posted by Brad on the Ashes Steam forums.