Greetings! Spring is here and there's lots to talk about. So let's do this!
## Multiplayer population ##
While Ashes of the Singularity is primarily a single player game, we are concerned about the multiplayer population. While people at the lower ranks are having no problems finding people, it gets harder (meaning longer) to find a match the higher up you go. This is a real problem.
What we are doing:
- Use the Escalation browser: https://1drv.ms/u/s!AuBwidOf1nOuh-Z_qrrsc7nNm43uOA (note, it's not digitally signed so Windows will give you a scary message, you can ignore that). It will let you chat with others and will inform you if there are games available that you can join.
- We are going to start connecting the top players into our Stardock.net system so that we can better host tournaments and contests.
- Multiplayer Scenario support. The way this will work is that we will have a set of scenarios that players can opt into or out, press a button and it will find players to play with (with 1 on 1 still being one of the pathways).
## Stability ##
The recent Windows updates have made DirectX 12 a little unstable in Ashes. And in fact, overall, we've been seeing an increase in instability. We have some theories on why this is happening (it's not like the underlying code has changed) but the bottom line is that we are making stability improvements our primary focus for version 2.3.
## Modding ##
We now have an "easy bake" app that lets modders take their FBX files and turn them into Oxmodels. This will pave the way for matters to truly create their own units.
The goal is to do whatever is necessary on the engine side to allow modders to create almost any RTS game with the engine. I personally would like to see a Total Annihilation mod for instance.
## Juggernauts ##
The art on these is basically done. What we are currently lacking is engineering time to implement them as we are focusing on Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade right now. Once that ships, we'll have some more bandwidth for that.
## Season Pass Policy ##
The complicated formula for who gets a season pass of Escalation DLC made the Inception DLC a bit bumpy to get out there. I think it's mostly cleared up now.
So that we're clear: IF you bought the upgrade from the base game to Escalation you get a season pass.
## Vulkan ##
The Vulkan work is largely completed. However, it won't be until June before it's released as there is a ton of compatibility and optimization work to be done given the game's popularity as a benchmarking tool for high end graphics.
Now, Vulkan doesn't mean Linux. It just means that the door is open to Linux. The challenge with Linux is that the user base has to be sufficient to justify it. Right now, the biggest challenge for Ashes remains the hardware requirements. Most PC gamers cannot run the game. This was always known which is why we have always viewed the game as a very long-term endeavor (hence the roadmap we've posted).
Thus, if I have say 3 engineers working on the game we have to carefully consider what gets what priority.
For me, the priorities are as follows:
#1 Improve compatibility (which translates as game stability)
#2 Support the modding community
#3 Get more units into the game (Juggernauts)
#4 Add more depth to the gameplay (more units, more resources, etc.)
#5 Improve performance, lower hardware requirements
Thus, in my view, getting the above things done trump getting a Linux version out. That doesn't mean no Linux version, it means it's not yet on the radar.
## What's next? ##
Right now, the team is focusing on improving stability (more accurately described as compatibility) while they await reinforcements from the GalCiv team to arrive.
We are play testing Episode 3 which includes 2 dreadnoughts (which work ok for the campaign but will need AI work for skirmish, multiplayer).
I am also hoping to have Steam Workshop support for mods, maps, scenarios in for 2.3 but it's a bigger challenge than it might seem given the sheer size of the maps (hundreds of megabytes each). We have solutions for these challenges but they will take engineering time.
That's all for now, as always, you guys are awesome! Cheers!