News: Ashes of the Singularity Beta Begins

Ashes of the Singularity has been in a founders-only Early Access state since October 22 of 2015, and in true Stardock fashion, it’s been a truly in-progress title, suitable more for those who truly want to help shape and improve the game than those simply desiring to play it. Today, that changes. Ashes of the Singularity is entering beta today, providing access to both of the game’s factions, and ready for general audiences for the first time.

Below the break, I’m including details from Stardock’s Ashes of the Singularity fact-sheet, as well as a video from Brad Wardell, CEO of Stardock and lead design of Ashes of the Singularity as he plays an AI skirmish with the newly added Substrate faction, and explain their unique mechanics.

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Wayward Thoughts About Ashes of the Singularity

Ashes of the Singularity is a large scale RTS with a different DNA to what you see with Planetary Annihilation or Supreme Commander. It is, I would go so far to say, a fresh take on what a large scale RTS can be. Instead of contesting individual Metal points on the map, and building extractors atop them, players in Ashes are required to maintain a chain of territories from the front line to their base, in a similar fashion to Relic’s iconic Company of Heroes games. Each territory also contains multiple resource points of one of the game’s 2 resources. Also similar to Relic’s titles (or the later Westwood games such as Command and Conquer 3), players can research and unlock support powers, which is uncommon if not unprecedented in games of this scale.

A core mechanic in Ashes is the “meta-unit” or “army” where players can bind units together so that they are aware of, and ‘care about’ each other in ways not typically seen in RTS. Joining units into an army changes their behavior relative to each other, so that units can react to threats or units in need of support past the ‘awareness range’ typically used in determining how RTS units react to external stimuli.

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The game currently features and will launch with two factions, the Post-Humans and the Substrate (AI), each with unique mechanics and approaches to construction. I’d like to call this second point out, actually, since typically in RTS that feature hundreds or thousands (as opposed to dozens) of units on the screen tend to feature factions whose structures and tech trees are quite similar (As in the Supreme Commander games).

Units in Ashes also have a counter system more akin to what is seen in games like Company of Heroes than is typical for RTS at this scale, with units of certain types having armor that renders them virtually immune to the weapons of other classes of unit, adding another layer of complexity and increasing the depth of the counter system and making army composition an even more important consideration. In similar fashion to Company of Heroes, as well, the players can duke it out to the death in a traditional RTS slugfest, but each map’s primary objective consists of 3 victory regions which count up points as the player holds them. I am personally a fan of alternate win conditions in RTS titles, as this rewards player skills other than sheer combat prowess.

As the beta progresses, I look forward to seeing the thoughts of other players of this unique large scale RTS, which takes mechanical nods from smaller scale tactical RTS games in an attempt to craft a game that’s ‘big’ in more ways than one.

Now Watch it In Action!

And I hope to see you on the battlefield. Look for some more substantive analysis of Ashes of the Singularity after the beta concludes. Thanks for reading.

From the Ashes of the Singularity Fact Sheet:

FEATURES:

•   Not Just a Battle, but a War Across Entire Worlds – Maps of unprecedented size and detail are possible with the unparalleled power of the world’s first native 64-bit real-time strategy  game engine.

•   Construct thousands of units – With impressive details normally reserved for games with only a few active units, players will  build armies that will intelligently target enemies based on true  line-of-sight physics.

•   First Multi-Core, Non-Cheating AI Engine – Face off against a highly sophisticated AI Engine that is capable of creating complex strategies and plays by the same rules as the players do.

•   Competitive and Cooperative Multiplayer – Compete in ranked games or set up custom  competitive or cooperative games with friends. A worldwide ranking system lets players find where they stand in comparison to others.

•   Winning is About Strategy, Not Speed – Games are won or lost based on your strategy, not how fast you can click. Deciding what technologies to research, where to send armies, how to manage  your economy, and what units to construct are critical.

•   Battle Across Multiple Fronts – Scout your opponent’s strategy, determine their priorities, track where they are, and capture strategically vital resources.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Developer: Oxide Games
Publisher: Stardock
Platform: Windows 7/8/10 (64-bit)
Genre: Real-Time Strategy
Available: Early 2016
Price: $49.99 (Early Access)

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