May has been a big month for us at Stardock with the launch of Galciv 3: Crusade, and the upcoming release of the expansion for Offworld Trading Company, Jupiter's Forge. Despite that, we have been hard at work on Episode 3 to get it ready for launch in June. Aside from the big set of balance changes in the 2.25 Update to pave the way for Juggernauts, there's not much more to reveal after what's already been talked about in the previous Dev Diaries. Regardless, I'll go through some things here again to keep everyone in the loop.
## What is Episode 3? ##
Episode 3 is the third installment of the story-driven single player campaign which adds in two Juggernauts, a new class of units beyond Dreadnoughts. Episode 3 will be released for free to all owners of Escalation. It will also include other changes such as some bug fixes and map updates.
## New Campaign ##
The new fully voiced campaign, Genesis, will be our most challenging yet; I've put a great deal of effort to make sure "Much Harder" is no walk in the park, even despite having access to the two new Juggernauts.
## Juggernauts ##
The Substrate Nest of the Queen and PHC Leonidas bring destruction to a whole new level. Juggernauts will be many times more powerful than Dreadnoughts and will be the ultimate late game weapon. Don't expect to see Juggernauts in your average match as their cost is substantial, but when a Juggernaut is fielded, serious firepower is needed to stop them in their tracks.
## Modding ##
Lately, modding has been a big focus of our attention. While modding support has only recently been added, Ashes was built from the ground up to be very mod friendly under the hood. There's lots of modding stuff we've been working on which we're hoping to get included with the June patch, but at this stage it's a bit too early to confirm if that they will be ready.
## Draginol on Modding ##
"We're working to make Ashes a universal RTS engine for modders. We are continuing to add content to the base game but we are doing it in a way that modders will eventually be able to make a SupCom version and a TA version and a CoH version. Think of Ashes as both an RTS and a platform. As a practical reality, the RTS market isn't large enough to support lots of RTS's.
Therefore, our goal is to continue to improve Ashes of the Singularity (the game) but also turn it into an RTS platform. So imagine if GPG had been able to make SupCom a RTS platform back in 2008 where we might be today (though it was a single threaded game so there still would have been issues).
Let me give you an example to consider: Imagine if we are able to add Python support to the Ashes engine. Now, traditionally, scripting slows down the game a lot. However, because Ashes is core-neutral, who really cares if scripts are slower when people in just a few years will have 16 CPU cores?"
## Vulkan ##
We were hoping to get Vulkan support included with the June patch for episode 3, but unfortunately it's being delayed to a later date. Draginol: "The NVIDIA dev team has been at the office all week helping us optimize Vulkan support for Ashes. We'll likely have to time our release on the Vulkan version with when NVIDIA and AMD have their driver updates that support the parts of Vulkan we're using."
## Post Episode 3 ##
We still have lots planned for Ashes and will be continuing to release updates, new content, new features and improvements for years to come. Our next major project will be the Naval expansion called Tides of War, but that's still a ways off so don't expect anything on that front for 2017. Other then that, I won't repeat what's already been explained so if you want more info on what to expect moving forward, take a look at our April Dev Diaries from Draginol and from me.
We're very excited to bring you the new campaign and the new tier of units which we're quite proud of. Stay tuned for episode 3 in June!