Ashes of the Singularity: July update

Published on Tuesday, July 28, 2015 By Frogboy In Ashes Dev Journals

Recap

Ashes of the Singularity is a real-time strategy game we’re developing with an expected release date of 2016.  It goes into early access later this Summer.  It can best be described as Sins of a Solar Empire on a planet (or Total Annihilation meets Company of Heroes).  Your empire has thousands of individual units spread across a world in which you’re battling other players (single player or multiplayer) for control of its resources.  No game, RTS or otherwise, has ever had scope like this in terms of sheer numbers of units.  For that reason, a new type of specialized 3D engine had to be developed called Nitrous just for this purpose.

AshesWall

Ashes wallpaper for you.

More stuff: www.ashesgames.com

 

Windows 10 support

With Windows 10 looming we are in the process of sending out Ashes code to game sites who want to benchmark DirectX 12 with the only native DirectX 12 PC game: Ashes of the Singularity.

IF you are in the media you are welcome to contact kristin@stardock.com to get a copy of the game.  The DirectX 12 benchmark will be going out this week we expect.

image

The Ashes benchmark on my puny Windows 8 box.

Ashes will give you a real preview of DirectX 11 vs. DirectX 12 in terms of real world performance.  What matters in particular is that Ashes is being optimized for both DirectX 11 and 12.  We need it to run extremely well on DirectX 11.  You can also compare it to Mantle which will give you a preview of how it will run on Vulkan in the future.

DirectX 12 Benchmark Release Schedule: [UPDATE]

  • Officially released to the media: August 13
  • Released to the Founders: August 20

 

Ashes Lore Evolution

We’ve been working on the Ashes lore for the past several years.    I first started thinking about it in 2000 after having read The Age of Spiritual Machines.  Around that time I met with GT Interactive to license the Total Annihilation engine.  That didn’t happen and we moved on to other things.  The basic concept of the game, which back then was called “Mobilization” was about Post-Humans vs. Sentient AI. 

That is, in essence, the background for Ashes.   Humans who have transcended the limits of biology versus sentient AI.  It is not a rise of the machines scenario.  It is more of a divergence in what the fate of the galaxy should be. 

Naming conventions

From a lore point of view, balancing science (which has a lot of dorky names) with good entertaining sci-fi has been more challenging that we thought.  For example, what do we call the Sentient AI? We want players to want to play as them. Giving these things good names matters. Same for the resources involved. There is a theoretical material called “Computronium” For those of you not interested in reading up on the limits of mixing n-type and p-type materials together, it boils down to the end point material in which we cannot possibly increase computing density.  We’re at 14nm right now with Skylake. There’s a limit to how tiny we can get. That theoretical limit is called computronium. aka, really dorky name.

Post-Humans

This will be a bit hard for some people to understand but in this future, there are no nations. Every Post-Human, individually, is an empire. They have entire worlds at their disposals. They may form coalitions (in the same sense nations do) But every human in this future has more power in their hands than entire nations today do.

This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise if you think about it.  You already command thousands of robots today even though they’re all in software. You have many “horses” worth of power available to you right now.  The typical westerner lives better than the most powerful Kings and Queens of just a few centuries ago.  It’s not a stretch to imagine

But what should they be called?  In Sins of a Solar Empire, there is a coalition of humans called TEC (Trade Emergency Coalition) which is a set of corporations that have gotten together to help each other.  Post-Humans is basically a race.  They’re not on the same side.  In fact, there aren’t even coalitions yet.

Turinium

We are leaning towards calling computronium Turinium after Alan Turing

Turinium is what people are trying to convert planets into through nans.  In 2178, people aren’t living in the physical world anymore. Why bother? The physical world is interacted with through your constructs.  You could, if you really wanted I suppose, create a 2015 era biological human construct to go around and walk around and experience the physical world. It would suck.  2015 era humans couldn’t even see into the UV spectrum and couldn’t even fly.  So no one in 2178 would seriously consider doing that for very long.  Everyone lives within the Metaverse instead and each person’s capability is based on how much Turinium they control.

The Sentient AI

The first sentient AI shows up around 2030 and is known as Haalee.  By 2178, she and her descendants have evolved into their own race. Since they never were “real” humans, their views have become increasingly alien to the post-humans.  They are a lot less sentimental.  On the other hand, they have a larger view of things than the Post-Humans tend to do since they are much more cooperative with one another.

That said, we currently refer to them as “The Substrate” because the spaces they occupy in the physical world tend to get covered with a non-organic material they use.

What’s next:

  1. Windows 10 reviewers will start getting Ashes keys this upcoming week to test DirectX 12 performance.
  2. Gamers can join the Founders program to get access to the same benchmark (and the game)
  3. Users who have purchased the Founders Lifetime edition will be receiving a second Steam key to give to a friend so that we can get multiplayer testing going.
  4. Moving from Alpha to very early Beta begins mid August.

To join the Ashes of the Singularity Founder’s program and get instant access to our alpha, visit www.ashesgame.com

New Screenshots

image

Barren planet will be coming out soon

image

Early map of Drengi

Ashes of the Singularity: Map Talk

Published on Monday, July 27, 2015 By Frogboy In Ashes Dev Journals

The founders have given us a ton of great feedback which we’ve been using to balance and add new maps.  So far, we’ve only had relatively small maps in.  The next update (which we expect to be next week) will start to add large and huge maps to see how well those work on your machines.

Below are the maps we’ve got. Click on the thumbnail to see them better.

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

(too big to zoom out on)

So these are some of the maps we’re going with.  The maps for Ashes are designed to range from small (like a city) to huge (size of a state). 

Early on, we’re just manually making these maps (they’re procedurally generated via our in-game editor).  This way, we can nail down balance and find out what kinds of maps people like.  Once we have a better idea of what is “fun” with these maps we then move into having more maps be created via algorithm so that you can have potentially random maps.

Do you have a favorite map from an RTS? Put it up in the comments section and tell us what made it fun for you.

Sorcerer King: Post-Release road map

Published on Sunday, July 19, 2015 By Frogboy In Sorcerer King Dev Journals

Greetings!

Sorcerer King has been released and it is good.  So now what?

We have an extensive road-map in place for it for the next couple of years.  Let’s take a look at 3 basic areas:

#1 Sorcerer King free updates

#2 Sorcerer King DLC

#3 Sorcerer King expansion pack

The free updates

There’s a lot of things we can do for the updates.  We would like to hear from you.  In the comments below, please feel free to list a few bullet items you’d like to see in free updates.

Sorcerer King 1.1 is due out next month with UI, AI, and more balance tweaks in it.

We would like to also implement an additional victory condition but we would like to hear from you guys what that victory condition should be.

The DLC

What would you like in DLC?  We’re thinking $3.99 for DLC.  So what would you like to see? Maps? Magic? Items? Quests?

The expansion

The expansion for Sorcerer King will deal with the rivals.  You’ll be able to play as some of them (instead of just the Kingdom).  Moreover, the rivals will play as full 4X civilizations each with their own plans, alliances, etc.  There will be a LOT more types of resources (like 3X as many) which will feed into crafting, trading.

Need your saved games

Published on Saturday, July 18, 2015 By Frogboy In Galactic Civilizations III

Working on the AI this weekend to help the GalCiv team with v1.2.  

But nothing helps faster than having saved games where the AI is already doing something "stupid".  Please post saved games here ASAP.

 

Thanks!

Sorcerer King nears gold and some random thoughts on the game industry

Published on Saturday, July 11, 2015 By Frogboy In Sorcerer King Dev Journals

Sorcerer King about to go gold

imageIn the next few days, Sorcerer King will go gold.  That term means a lot less in the digital era since it’s just the moment that it’s 1.0 and we’re ready to say “this game is worthy of being purchased for the posted price.”

I’m both excited and nervous about reviews.  In the past, our games were designed with “drive by” reviews in mind.  That is, they were fairly straight forward in what they’re about.  Sorcerer King, however, is not.  It doesn’t fit nicely into a genre whole.  On the good side, the game is immediately fun to play.

Sorcerer King is NOT a 4X fantasy strategy game along the lines of Fallen Enchantress, Endless Legend, Age of Wonders, etc.. The best way I can come up with is that it’s a 4X RPG.  You’re building an empire but the empire is your character.  It has 4X elements but it has more RPG elements than traditional strategy elements.  The best way I can describe it is that it’s fantasy Star Control which is a cop-out. 

Sorcerer King’s goal: Blend Star Control and Master of Magic

What I wanted to do with Sorcerer King is blend Master of Magic and Star Control together.  No easy task which is why it’s taken us 2 years to make this game because the two games contradict each other.  Star Control 2 is designed to be played once.  Master of Magic is designed to be played over and over.  That contradiction is where most of our design time has been spent (as well as a goodly chunk of the game’s budget). 

There is more content in this game than our last 3 games put together. And yet, most people won’t ever see half of it unless they play for a very long time.  That’s because how do you make an EMPIRE RPG (if there’s such a genre) highly replayable unless every game plays out differently?

While I love Galactic Civilizations III, I think Sorcerer King might be the funnest game Stardock has ever made.  It’s the first game we’ve made in some years where I go back to playing it to make little tiny tweaks over and over.  “I’m just testing it of course”.

Hunting season on game developers

imageWindows 10 comes out this month.  It’s a free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8 users.  I am very hopeful that people will take advantage of this because DirectX 12 matters a lot.  It will represent a revolutionary jump in game visual fidelity once it gets fully used.

That said, the game industry has gotten a lot less fun to work in this past year. Not a day goes by where some idiot is attacking me, personally, online over things that I never said or did (or, at best, they torture the context so much that they might as well have simply made up their allegation whole cloth). 

It’s not just me, of course.  It’s become a virtual plague for developers as everything we make or post is scrutinized as if we were running for public office.  That’s not what we signed up for.  We just want to make cool games and release them, not worry that the outrage brigade is going to be calling our offices demanding we be fired because they don’t like the “subliminal, ableist, misogynist message in our game”.

At least I’m able to respond to this publicly as I am not answerable to anyone other than our customers who, by and large, like what we do.  But most developers do not have the luxury and they’re getting pretty fed up as they weigh their “fight or flight” instincts.

Tolerance for other points of view is a win-win for civilization

I like people. Someone disagreeing with some view I have doesn’t affect my opinion of them.  I can read someone’s book, watch someone’s movie and be friends even if we disagree on politics.   My concern is that it is becoming increasingly common for people to celebrate their intolerance rather than trying to overcome it.

Unlike the movie industry, the game industry doesn’t generally inject its politics into its creations.  My only agenda in my creations is for people to have fun. There’s no underlying message, subliminal or otherwise.  I have no passion for causes or politics. My passion is to make cool stuff.

I can’t predict where things will go.   I just know that something that can’t go on forever won’t.

What’s next

Stardock has a very busy year coming up.  Sorcerer King is this month.  Servo is this Fall. Ashes of the Singularity is this Winter. Offworld Trading Company is early next year. And between all that there are new games to announce, new expansions, DLC, etc.  And Star Control should be ready to be announced this Winter. We have a fun time making these games and we really enjoy interacting with our player bases.  We have less fun receiving emails, messages, and wishes for us to kill ourselves.   

Ashes of the Singularity: July Founders Preview

Published on Friday, July 10, 2015 By Frogboy In Ashes Dev Journals

image

The Fury is lethal (and that’s the actual unit with a high-resolution texture, not a mockup).

It’s a big month for Ashes of the Singularity. 

Windows is coming

First, DirectX 12 will finally see the official light of day with the release of Windows 10.  We plan to release an update to Ashes this month that includes a benchmark mode so you can see how well your machine works on DirectX 12 (and then you can try the game out on DirectX 11 and compare the difference).

The AI is coming

This month we’ll be incorporating the first draft of the Ashes AI so that you can set up your own challenges and players on various maps (more maps are being added).

Multiplayer and Friends

Hopefully for July anyway we plan to give those with Founders Lifetime Editions some special keys that will let their friends join in on multiplayer. Really depends on where the multiplayer services (not the in-game multiplayer but the Metaverse features like leagues and such). 

What would you like to see?

Those of you in the Founders program, feel free to post here to see what you’d like to see in asap!

Sorcerer King: Walkthrough

Published on Tuesday, July 07, 2015 By Frogboy In Sorcerer King Dev Journals

SK_Logo_Grand_Final

Introduction

Welcome to Sorcerer King a different kind of fantasy 4X from what you’ve played before.  Sorcerer King is a game where the events of a traditional fantasy 4X game have already happened: A group of rival civilizations built up empires fought wars with one of those civilizations coming to dominate the others.  In this case, the winner was the Sorcerer King.

The game starts out with you and your rivals relegated to a single city under the terms of peace set by the Sorcerer King.  Now, however, rumor has reached you that he is looking to become a god and is destroying the magical shards to consume their magic.  He must be stopped.

Elemental Timeline

If you’re new to the Stardock Elemental games, here is a brief history:

  • War of Magic.  Released in 2010, it introduced the various fantasy civilizations of Elemental, a world filled with magic.
  • Fallen Enchantress.  Released in 2012, it dealt with the rise of Ceresa, the Fallen Enchantress who sought to unite the Fallen of the East and crush the Kingdoms of the West.
  • Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes.  Released in 2013, it focused on Lord Relias, the hero of the Kingdoms of the West and Procipinee, Queen of the West in their struggle to defeat the Fallen Enchantress.

Ultimately, the hero Mirdoth found a mysterious artifact called Curgen’s Bane and used it to help Relias and Procipinee defeat the Fallen Enchantress and bring peace to the land.

Two hundred years later, Mirdoth returned. No longer a hero but as the black sorcerer who has mastered Curgen’s Bane and with it, has annihilated the kingdoms and empires turning them into shadows of their former selves. 

FE_RightWall_Original

Mirdoth returned as the Sorcerer King and annihilated the kingdoms of Elemental.

 

This story is about you and how you will save (or destroy) the world.

How do you kill a god?

The Sorcerer King is powerful. He’s not your typical fizband waiting for you to walk up and kill him. He has vast armies and at the start of the game, you rely on his tolerance to exist.  Nothing stops you from antagonizing him but that is the quick way to defeat. You must use some discretion early on.

SK_LossPainting

You start out incredibly powerful but the Sorcerer King is a demigod. Tread lightly.

 

It’s not all bad news though.  You are also extremely powerful and you control the Forge of the Overlord, a magical device that allows you to craft powerful items that you can equip on your most powerful champions and lowest soldiers.  With skill, patience and a little luck you will be able to rebuild your kingdom, raise powerful armies and defeat him and his minions.

Choosing your sovereign

At the start of the game you will be choosing your sovereign.  You start with 6 and each one is very different.  Your sovereign choice determines:

  1. What units you will have access to
  2. What technologies (skills) you will access
  3. What spells you can learn
  4. What your initial relationship with the Sorcerer King is
  5. What champion you start out with

Setting up your world

The difficulty level matters a lot. We’ve had two years to work on the AI.  The normal difficulty is designed for those who are already pretty good at these kinds of games.

We recommend playing on small or medium land size when you’re first starting out.  Larger than that requires a lot more care and strategy in dealing with the Sorcerer King since his domain is that much larger.  We also recommend the random map generator in general but we include many different pre-balanced maps.

The shards and doomsday counters should be left on their defaults until you are familiar with the game.  The more shards, the more powerful you can become but then again, it’s also how powerful the Sorcerer King can become.  Doomsday speed determines how quickly the Sorcerer King is able to acquire the necessary magic to become a god.

Doomsday

The Doomsday meter is not a clock.  It represents the Sorcerer King’s progress in casting the spell that will make him a god.  It can be sped up, slowed down, even reversed based on your actions.   And some champions and even one of the sovereigns (the Tyrant) feed off of it.

The higher the doomsday counter, the more powerful the Sorcerer King becomes. He gains access to more powerful creatures and more powerful spells as it goes up.   Keeping the doomsday counter low is generally a good thing…unless there’s a really good trade.

Your Rivals

Your rivals are the other kingdoms and empires that once competed with you for dominance of the world. Like you, they were defeated. Unlike you, they are unaware that the Sorcerer King is looking to become a god.  They have not evolved with the times yet.  They are still trying to reclaim their former glory.  You must convince them otherwise (or at least keep them from going to war with you).

image

Your allies

 

Early game

You start the game already with a single city. This city was once the capital to a mighty kingdom.  Now, you are a vassal of the Sorcerer King. Early on you will be exploring and scouting out the world.

 

image

You can build on any resource that is in your zone of control. Click on it and choose build.  Any enemies within that zone of control will be attacked automatically.

Shards provide magic which you can divide one of 3 ways:

  1. Lore to learn new spells
  2. Mana to cast spells
  3. Skills to gain access to new technology

There are also 4 other key resources in the world:

  1. Logistics. Every unit and structure in the world consumes logistics.
  2. Crystal. Magical units require crystal in order to access Elemental’s magic.
  3. Metal. Weapons, armor, etc. for soldiers require iron.
  4. Horses. Riding units need something to ride.

image

Magic can be directed towards lore which allows you to learn new spells. Choose wisely.

image

Your cities can train units or build city improvements. The resources they have are food (which the city needs to grow), production (for constructing things) and essence (which allows enchantments to be cast).  As the Sorcerer King grows more powerful, some of your citizens will become thralls reducing your logistics.

 

image

IMPORTANT: If your city has essence, use enchantments on it. They cost mana but they help your city out.

 

image

When a city has enchantments, you can see it on its info bar. You can have 1 enchantment per essence and most of them stack.

 

image

PRO TIP: You can go to the advanced options and turn on the Story Teller camera which lets you use the middle mouse button to move the camera angle.

 

 

image

It won’t be long until the Sorcerer King summons you. Remember, you are not at war with him at the start of the game.  In fact, he will happily help you..for a price. You, like him, are a magical channeler, able to use the shards. He will give you things in exchange for using your powers to fuel the doomday counter.

 

image

Scattered across the lands are plenty of opportunities for adventure and questing.  How you deal with these quests will shape the game’s progress.

 

image

Quests can pretty much do anything. They can change your stats (in this case, +1 cruelty) as well as provide items, weapons, armor, units, spells, more, you name it.   In addition, they will change what future quests within that game are available and what options you have. 

 

image

Each sovereign has their own skill tree. Think of this like a “tech” tree in a traditional 4X.  They unlock new abilities, city improvements and unique features.

 

image

You can build more cities but only on tiles that can grow food. Recommended locations will show food icons.  However, often, you cannot settle on these tiles until the local warlords, ruffians and other scum are cleared as they have their own zone of control.

image

Across the world, lots of other would-be leaders have set up their own camps and claimed areas.  Look carefully at their combat rating (the 17 in this screenshot).  That is a decent estimation of how powerful they are.  If your own combat rating is less, you will need to be very careful in confronting them.

 

image

Inevitably, you will find yourself in combat. 

The tactical battle screen shows who is going to move next on the left along with what combat round it is to give an idea of the passage of real-time.   How far a unit can move is shown as lightly lit tiles on the map.  Your units typically have special abilities as well.  Your units can also call on you to cast a spell on their behalf.  However, your ability to affect events far from you is based on your own clairvoyance skill.

image

When your champions level up, they gain access to new skills.

 

As you explore, you will be kept informed of the Sorcerer King’s progress both in terms of the doomsday counter as well as notifications when he has attacked one of the shards.  You must balance your own expansion with that of protecting those shards.  Each time one of them is wounded, you they will become reveals on the mini map.

image

The map will reveal where a shard is once it has been attacked.

 

The Rivals

image

Other realms have their own plans. You will soon encounter them.

Each rival kingdom has their own wants and needs.  You can trade with them, gain favor with them (or lose favor) by acting in their interests.

image

They can also be powerful enemies…

Midgame

As your cities grow, they can gain access to additional tiles.

image

What to choose? More food, more materials or more essence?

image

You can also train pioneers to build outposts (which extend your zone of control) or new cities if you can find fertile land.

Building new cities makes your kingdom more powerful but also attracts the attention of the Sorcerer King…

image

The Sorcerer King is not pleased.

image

Depending on how much groveling you do, you can control how much threat you generate.

The discussion of Threat takes us to the report screen.

image

The report screen

At this stage of the game, the Sorcerer King considers me a minor annoyance.  In this world, there are 22 shards, 1 of which I control.  The doomsday counter is still very low.  I can also see that the Sorcerer King’s standing army is much…MUCH more powerful than mine.

Also at this point, you should have gathered enough items to start crafting things. Click on the crafting button to bring up the Forge of the Overlord.

 

image

It takes skill to use the Forge of the Overlord effectively. At first, you’ll be making very basic items.

image

Pretty much anything can be crafted. For example, with the right ingredients you can learn to make scrolls that will reveal where the Sorcerer King has imprisoned rival champions.

image

Your champions are powerful but beware, if they are killed, it takes 25 doomsday essence to revive them.

image

On the other hand, dangerous quests can lower the doomsday counter and bring other spoils with it.

However, your increasing power and meddling will slowly turn the Sorcerer King’s attention at you.

image

You must be very careful when to reveal your true motives to the Sorcerer King.

 

As soon as possible you will want to find or acquire more champions. Most of the sovereign skill trees allow you to free a champion directly. 

image

Lord Tandis is one of the most powerful champions in the game.

 

Transforming the world

You are encouraged to do whatever it takes to win the game.  The stakes are very high.  You can alter the shape of the world through magic.  For example:

image

One easy way to prevent evil from attacking your cities and shards is to raise mountains as fences against them.

image

Pick a choke point

image

Cast the spell

image

and voila, instant mountain. The Sorcerer King can’t get to your capital city without either lowering the land or using naval which he rarely does.

image

You can also harvest the lands for resources though this has the chance to generate doomsday (rarely).

 

Growing Power

The Sorcerer King is also trying to tame your rivals.  While you have the Forge of the Overlord, the Sorcerer King commands Curgen’s Bane, an ancient artifact of incredible power* (as seen in Galactic Civilizations III).

image

You are in a race with the Sorcerer King to win the favor of your rivals

 

Once you have enough power to confront the Sorcerer King, you have to obtain a key to his magical fortress.  His two lieutenants hold this key and are somewhere in the world.  Finding them can be difficult.

 

image

A “lucky” scout finds the Vetrar..for a few seconds.

 

Late Game

Winning your rivals over to your cause not only gives you access to their resources but also gives you a unique champion.

image

Gaining allies is crucial but difficult

 

By this stage of the game you will star to use auto-resolve more.  Those units that were so intimidating early on are now fodder for your might.  That said, it’s sometimes fun to watch how powerful you’ve become.

 

image

By late game, your champions are so powerful that those early game thugs you still occasionally run across are no match

It is during the later part of the game that you will gain the ability to create your own unique items via the Forge of the Overlord.

image

The second tab on the Crafting screen allows you to enchant weapons. This becomes unlocked through your sovereign skill tree.

 

Your Destiny

Destroying the Sorcerer King in combat is not your only option.  There is also the TOWER of MASTERY.  Most sovereign skill trees have this at the end.  But doing so is perilous as the Sorcerer King will bring his wrath on you.  However, you can build lots of outposts to extend your zone of control which will attack anything that enters them.  You can also upgrade your outposts by sending more pioneers to them.  If you can hold off the Sorcerer King long enough, you, instead of him, will become a god.

image

The Sorcerer King can be confronted directly or alternatively replaced by you as a god.

 

Have fun and Good luck!

The Sorcerer King is a compelling strategy RPG

Published on Wednesday, July 01, 2015 By Frogboy In Sorcerer King Dev Journals

I’ll admit my bias here but Sorcerer King is extremely fun.

What is it? It’s a fantasy strategy game with a lot of role playing elements.  Or it’s an RPG with strategy elements.  You be the judge:

It’s a strategy game because

image

  1. You train units
  2. You found new cities
  3. You build up your cities
  4. You engage in diplomacy with rival civilizations
  5. You can terraform the map (using  magic)
  6. You harvest resources
  7. You can craft weapons, armor, etc.
  8. You research new “technologies” (skills)

It’s an RPG because

  1. You take on a specific role at the start of the game
  2. You go on quests
  3. There is a central villain (The Sorcerer King) who responds to you differently each game based on your actions
  4. You gain experience and go up a skill tree
  5. You learn new spells
  6. Your interactions and decisions in the world affect what quests you can go on

Fallen Enchantress vs. Sorcerer King

Our last game in the Elemental game universe was Fallen Enchantress and it was straight up a 4X strategy game.

Star Control vs. Sorcerer King

This may seem counter-intuitive but the game that inspired Sorcerer King the most was Star Control 2.

In Sorcerer King, the war is over. Your side lost.  Now, the Sorcerer King is looking to become a god which is a bit of a problem because it requires all living things in the world to die for him to do it. 

Now, you must go and unite former rivals, go on quests and build your characters up to confront him.  The game does have a campaign that provides a very curated experience (similar to the Star Control main story).  But Sorcerer King also supports a very sophisticated sandbox (which is we’ve had to spend 3 or so  years on this game). 

What character you start with determines the entire course of the game. Not just because each one has lots of different cool features (it does) but also because the story elements each character receives changes based on this as well.  On top of that, every quest feeds every other quest. The options and consequences of quests in the game mean that each game will be different – even the campaign.

Sorcerer King in images

image

You can choose between 6 entirely different sovereigns. Each has their own story and their own series of interactions with the world (which take many games to even experience most for just one character).

image

You can also choose your own rivals (or have them randomly chosen) that you’ll have to contend with (or win over).  They have their own baggage with each other as well.

image

You also can set up the backstory for each sovereign at the start of the game which changes your starting conditions.

 

image

Across the world there are elemental shards. By capturing them, you can invest their magic into lore (new spells), skill (which gives you new abilities), or mana (for casting spells).

image

Learning new spells

image

Your sovereign’s skill tree.

image

image

Sorcerer King’s quests, written by Chris Bucholz (a columnist at Cracked.com), both progress each game’s unique experience but are also enjoyable for themselves.

image

The Sorcerer King wants to be your friend. Or specifically, wants to keep you from meddling with his quest to become a god.  How he treats you depends on which character you’ve chosen to play as as well as what decisions you’ve already made.

image

Through the course of the game, you will be able to find recipes and craft new items for your units

image

If you antagonize the Sorcerer King too quickly, you will suffer his wrath as he starts out much more powerful than the player.

image

Every unit can be equipped

image

Mid game crafting gets especially powerful as you can create unique items without recipes.

image

Using your magic, you can raise mountains to protect your cities (or create land bridges across the water).

 

Your ultimate objective

You can win the game by either defeating the Sorcerer King through strength of arms or supplanting him by becoming a god yourself (capture shards to fuel your own spell of godhood).

How to get it

Sorcerer King will be released on July 16, 2015 at www.sorcererking.com.

GalCiv III AI: The challenges

Published on Wednesday, June 24, 2015 By Frogboy In GalCiv III AI Talk

Unlike GalCiv II, the GalCiv III AI and overall system is extremely moddable.  I'm glad they did that but I'm having a hard time making the AI play the game as well as I'd like.

Whether people like it or not, skill at a game is the result of knowing effective, specific, strategies. You can't procedurally generate a strategy. Some of it needs to be hard-coded and that's where we're struggling because GalCiv III is all about data mining and procedural design.  It is much more like a Chess AI than what I've done in the past.

For instance, in Starcraft, I'm a mid-level diamond league player. I have very specific build orders, very specific map control strategies that rely on timing and a very tight control of resources.  In GalCiv III, presently, I can't even make a ship focus on a particular type of defense.  Heck, getting the AI to not decide to build endless constructors is a lot harder than you'd think.

Anyway, you're not here to read me complain about our own game.  So let's roll up our sleeves, we've got years to do this.  What I can say is that the AI system in GalCiv III is on a much better foundation than GalCiv II.  There's much more we can do. But it's going to take time and frankly, a lot of community help.  

What I need form you guys are saved games with an explanation of a strategic error you see the AI making.  I don't need help in coding what the AI should do because I can assure you, all those functions are there. It's simply calculating that doing something else is a better idea.

GalCiv II way:

If (transportisnearmylanet)then (do specific bad things to that opponent)


GalCiv III way:

Go through and weight zillions of possible things you might do, sort those weights and execute various empire-wide build/movement decisions.

Much of the work on GalCiv III will be making decisions more locally.

678 pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next