The Games Of Christmas: December 18th

By RPS on December 18th, 2009 at 2:00 pm.

This way please.
Things are better when in space. Games are better when played co-op. But what do these cast-iron truths mean for seasonally festive advent-o-calendar? An intriguing question. Almost as intriguing as the game of the year that is indicated by the hand of the one true leader of the Autobots. Let us travel through the 18th window to discover…

AI War!

Kieron: Frankly, the Indie-world’s become my favourite place to look for clever strategisosity. AI War is one of the premier examples of that. It’s best thought of as an stranger version of Sins of the Solar Empire, embracing the oddness in space rather than resting on the semi-symetrical design of Ironclad’s game. Of course, Sins veterans are noting that it’s not symmetrical and there’s different sides and yadda-yadda-yadda. All things are relative. Compared to AI War, Sins is as symmetrical as chess. Because it’s a game which is in the family of chess, derived from the idea that there’s these sides and they exist to bash the living shit out of each other. It’s games-as-games-were-concieved-before-videogames.

AI War isn’t that sort of game. It’s a game which understands that videogames open up possibilities other than having the computer do your maths and having spangly things spangle when your maths leads to a piece being removed. You’re the player. Out there, in the map, is the AI. But the AI isn’t like you. The AI is something alien. It acts differently. It thinks differently – and that’s the thing. It thinks. It wants to kill you, but will only really do so when you rile it. It’s like fighting hornets or ants. And – more genius – it works best when you play co-op. You and friends working out how to make humans the only sentient creature in the gameworld. It’s quite the experience. You could call it slow, of course. I prefer to call it stately.

It also begat one of my favourite RPS running jokes about Quinns not having any Iron. Doubly great, in other words.

Alec: A first glance at our list of Games of 2009 had me thinking it wasn’t a spectacular year for PC games. Not a bad one by any measure, but not the wealth of riches of 2007/8. But then I keep sitting down to write about stuff like Spelunky and now AI War, and instead I think it’s been a phenomenal year for PC games – the problem’s been me, and not having the time to sink myself utterly into these extraordinary and unexpected titles.

In short: too many other games and too many distractions, and that’s kept me from being the massive nerd about offbeat and unexpected delights I usually am. I mean, I haven’t so much as installed Solium Infernum yet, even though I’m even more confident I’ll love it than I am that grass is green, Scientology is evil and milk is delicious.

I want to be more of an AI War gonk. I want to know its units, its upgrades, its tactics inside out. I want to be doodling astrotrains onto my notepad while I’m on the phone. In a quieter year, I would have been – and, while it did devour all my evenings for a good week or so, I’m incredibly envious of those of who you have spent week upon week digging into the skull of this complicated, entirely mechanical yet ever-changing thing, and learning the shape of the mighty robo-brain beneath.

It does everything I want from a strategy game. Explore, expand and all that – a galaxy to build a pathway across, a glut of planets to conquer, ignore or isolate, a style of combat that relies on tactics and forethought, not on clicking and hotkeying at the speed of sound, an enemy that’s implacable and indefatigable but plays by rules I
understand, and that smoothly grows in menace as I do. And, of course, co-op: increasingly my preferred way to play strategy games. I don’t much care for the punishing brew of luck, speed and stat memorisation that characterises PvP RTS any more, because I am weak and afraid, but most of all because I have to pretend I’m not weak and afraid so that teenagers will respect my opinions about videogames. AI War’s co-op gives me the social element, a sounding board for my embryonic strategies and, if I play with Kieron, even more conflict with the other player than I’d experience from any competitive game. We do tend to redefine ‘co-operation’, he and I.

AI War is deservedly one of the best PC games of the year – holding fast against the mainstream trend towards simplicity and accessibility, in a way that Sins Of A Solar Empire did last year. That it hasn’t been an enormous success is purely a reflection of it not having the marketing budget and nous of Stardock. It’s a tiny, brave independent project, born of a clear and total love for PC, and PC-only gaming. It is pure-blooded in a way that little else has been this year, and you should worship it.

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69 Comments »

  1. Aldehyde says:

    Will have to try it out, although, those 20 bucks could probably go somewhere else.

  2. Martin Coxall says:

    How did I miss this? I think in some way that the Hive Mind must have let me down. I shall be contacting my attorney.

    • Serondal says:

      How is it the Hiveminds fault you missed it when they went post crazy about it when it came out and even did a multiplayer game post where Quinns, alas, did not have iron.

  3. Ian says:

    I seem to have mostly missed this one too. :-/

    So does it not require much by way of “holy shit something’s happening there I need to clickclickclick these things” because I’m increasingly becoming aware of how much I suck at those strategy games.

    Also: I like the idea of an AI that I’ll think has actually beaten me, rather than feeling it’s producing units than I could ever dream of.

    • Ian says:

      ….faster. FASTER than I could ever dream of.

    • Chris Park (AI War Developer) says:

      Glad to see AI War getting some more love on RPS! So very much has changed since the last time the game was on RPS (Steam release, we hit 2.0, massively better graphics, expansion is winding up in development, lots of gameplay refinements and extensions, etc). Would definitely be good to see how Officially Unintelligent fares if it is ever started up again — maybe with the expansion, who knows!

      But, at any rate, thanks for the kind words about the game, and I’m glad to see it’s still a favorite here. Now, to answer some of the questions I see here…

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Chris: Actually, for those who were wondering about unintelligent, that the game had a hefty and – if I remember correctly – save-incompatible patch closely after the we did the first part. It was one of the things which made us sort of pause about continuing.

      Also, organisation. Alec hasn’t even found time to play a PBEM game!

      (But yup – plan to go and have another nose in the New Year)

      KG

    • Chris Park says:

      KG: There are definitely no save-incompatible patches with AI War (I still load savegames from the alpha versions of the game to test this from time to time), but it was the big economic overhaul that made the officially unintelligent game a bit… nonrepresentational of normal newer campaigns if you had continued with it. Anyway, so you could have continued if you had wanted to, but I recall also being in agreement that it would be better on all fronts to simply start a new campaign, since you weren’t that far in, anyway.

      All sounds good about the rest, I can certainly understand being super busy!

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Chris: Ah, God knows how I got that idea then. I presume confusion and craziness.

      KG

    • Chris Park says:

      No worries — I’m sure you had a ton going on at the time, same as me.

  4. Fazer says:

    You know what other game you should recommend in “The Games Of Christmas Calendar”?

    Yes, it’s Team Fortress 2.

  5. Ian says:

    Looking back, you guys did a splendid job of not making an Officially Unintelligent part 2. Unless it’s tagged differently.

  6. Plopsworth says:

    So, Eufloria (Dyson) + Gratuitous Space Battles * GalCon = AI War? Teeeempting. Maybe I’ll try the demo to see how it would differ from the first two (which I already have).

    • Chris Park says:

      AI War really isn’t a combination of those other games; I don’t think you could point to any specific games that it is a combination of. If I had to try, I’d say Civilization IV + Supreme Commander + Space = AI War, but even that’s really a stretch. It’s mainly like SupCom on the surface, in terms of economy and controls, but the tower defense aspects and 4X aspects are implemented in a way that is not very similar to anything else except in broad concept. The Fast Facts: AI War in 2 pages or less does a pretty good job of laying out the basics. I also think that this recent user review does a particularly good job of explaining all of the different gameplay elements and how they fit together. Hope that helps!

  7. scoopsy says:

    Ooh, must admit that when the first RPS article quoted Tom Chick, and when he compared it to Tower Defense, I was doubly put off of this one. Between this Advent writeup and the description of the co-op game I somehow missed, this just became a must-purchase for me.

    Thank you RPS!

  8. Ian says:

    I’ve just noticed: The Horace currently on show at the top of the forum and the segment of Horace visible for this article match up.

    Secret proof that the 18th of December is Horace’s holy day?

    • Zerrick says:

      Ian: It also matches on 2, 4, 6, 9, 10, 17 and 22 December. This means Horace has 8 holy days. Which is only fitting for His Endlessness.

  9. DMJ says:

    This game is daunting to approach. It has all the immediate “pick me up and play me” of Dwarf Fortress.

  10. Edawan says:

    So what sets it apart from other strategy games is “the AI is different” ?
    Doesn’t sound like much…

    • Arathain says:

      Ah, you misunderstand what is meant by different. The AI doesn’t even follow the same rules as you. This is not the standard ‘I have a base, you have a base, we both build units that fight’ symmetrical warfare. The AI just gets given a large force at regular intervals. The size and aggression of that force is determined by how much you’ve pissed the AI off, by expanding into other systems and such. The player is in the domain if a powerful and vengeful giant, and the more you anger it, the harder it hits you. You have to choose your expansions very carefully.

      On top of that, the AI is also better than most other RTSs, in that it adapts to your setup and works to find weaknesses in your defenses.

    • Chris Park says:

      In addition to the AI being founded on an entirely different premise (very detailed info on that here), the gameplay mechanics are really a novel cross-genre blend, too. RPS has written about that in their past articles, as has Tom Chick in the linked article in the original RPS article about AI War, but I’ve also discussed this at length in various interviews and most of our reviews in general talk about it (quick to google if you want detailed info from sources other than me).

      The short version is that you’re basically using RTS mechanics that are entirely conventional to do some really unconventional stuff for an RTS game. The length of games is more like a 4X game, but it’s all in realtime. You also have to adopt a strategy other than just “conquer everything,” which is the surest way to lose in AI War. That alone is unique, and is based on our AI Progress mechanic, which some people have dubbed the AI “rageometer.” There are many other novel things here, too, but those are some of the high points.

  11. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    I’m still awaiting the second part to that RPS vs AI War, by the way. I loved that piece.

  12. Heliocentric says:

    The ai goes into your browser history and posts the worst of it to your mothers email address if you lose.

  13. Lucas says:

    My thoughts exactly. I want to play this, but I have other things I can play right now instead of dropping everything to climb the learning cliff before I could start to play this. I like hard games, and I love a super long learning curve (the kind you never really get tired of), but I haven’t seen a down to earth “here’s how you start” guide to AI Wars of the sort that got me started in Dwarf Fortress.

  14. l1ddl3monkey says:

    The AI in this is such a massove bastard that you will genuinely hate it and want to stamp it out and it will make you fight tooth and nail for every gain. Really hard and very rewarding.

    • EthZee says:

      @l1ddl3monkey

      It sounds like a good idea, but my problem is that I remember half-way through losing, the fifth time, that I have one sure-fire way of defeating that bastard AI/Level/Boss.

      *uninstalls*

      (This doesn’t apply to AI War, as I have not tried it yet; it does apply to a few other games, though) Nevertheless, I shall try the demo. I haven’t been stupidly angry in a while, anyway.

    • Chris Park says:

      There are a ton of different difficulty level gradations — difficulty 1-3 are absolutely moronic and will impale themselves on your strongest forces, etc. So if you want no challenge at all, you’ve got them. On the other hand, if you want to see how long you can survive the apocalypse, there is always difficulty 10 for you. Personally I prefer to play on difficulty 7, which is where the AI is fully functional and an interesting challenge, but also where I tend to win more often than not in the end. A number of players prefer playing more in the 8 range, where the AI is even more of a threat and they lose more. So there’s definitely an available difficulty to match your skill level, anyway!

  15. qrter says:

    Nice little extra I only found out about a couple of weeks ago (by accident, ofcourse) – you can register your independantly bought CD key on Steam too.

  16. Freaky says:

    Lucas: The demo has a pretty good tutorial campaign. It both eased me into the basics and convinced me to buy it :)

    • Lucas says:

      I miss the old days of really good demos, when you could play every demo that came out, and they had to be very competitive. Now they’re an optional afterthought and I try maybe a couple a year, and most are poorly designed. We can blame piracy I suppose. Videos are another alternative more recently.

  17. PJ says:

    I can’t get into this game :(

    I bought it right when it was released and have tried it 4 times (all solo games, since I have nobody to play with) and just can’t keep interested for more than 10 minutes at a time. Partly because of the graphics and production values, but mostly because the number of units to manage become overwhelming very quickly. You start the game with the capacity to basically have an endless build queue of fighters and bombers. I guess I need a bit of a strategy guide or something to show me what the feck I should be doing at the start.

    • Chris Park says:

      I would definitely suggest the in-game tutorials; sounds like you didn’t go through those. They give you a more natural progression of gameplay from simple to managing the huge fleets; if you just jump into a new campaign with no preparation, it will seem a lot more overwhelming simply because the game is so different!

  18. Kieron Gillen says:

    To echo what others have said, the Tutorial campaign in the actual demo is over an hour’s worth of game, and easily enough to show you how it rolls.

    KG

    • Chris Park says:

      Actually, it’s closer to four hours of Tutorials, for most people. The first three are easy to blitz through, but the average time spent in the tutorial campaign seems to be around 3 hours. Most people seem to really enjoy the tutorial campaign since it lets you actually play while giving you tips and instructions as you go.

      Also, there are a number of video tutorials that have proven popular (and which have been updated to account for all the changes in 2.0): AI War Video Tutorials.

      Also, our wiki has a wealth of detailed information, but perhaps most notable for people getting started are Fast Facts: AI War in 2 pages or less and I’m Just Starting Out — What Should I Do?.

      The AI War Strategy Discussion are newer than the other resources, but are also becoming popular with players (many of them new, some more experienced) who are stopping by to ask questions of other players and to swap strategies with one another.

      For many players who do the in-game tutorials, those are all that is needed. For others who want more detailed info, there’s more info available (and linked to from within the game) than for most games. AI War is not at all a game that can just be started up and played without any tutorials or anything, so we’ve done everything we can to make it accessible through a wealth of information made available in other channels.

    • DMJ says:

      I think the sheer length of the tutorial is one of the things I find daunting. When I find that I haven’t covered the entire tutorial in a single sitting, I tend to find my attention starting to wander.

      For how to do tutorials absolutely perfectly, see Portal. The first half of the game was pure (and brilliantly done) tutorial that slid under the skin like a razor-sharp scalpel dipped in powerful anaesthetic. It only became evident that it was a tutorial when I replayed it with commentary, and I can genuinely appreciate the design effort that went in to making it the least painful tutorial in the history of tutorials.

    • Chris Park says:

      I agree, the tutorial in Portal was brilliantly done — definitely a game I love, too. I suppose I can’t really argue with that, with a larger budget and a different focus from the start, I probably would have gone more that sort of route. With future Arcen titles, which are more progression-based (versus isolated skirmishes, as with RTS titles), I also expect our tutorials to be more wrapped into the basic game.

      For AI War, it’s really all about procedurally-generated campaigns, so there isn’t a central progressive storyline that we can wrap tutorials into. This is a pretty common problem with strategy games in general, I think, although often the scripted campaigns in those games are doing double-duty as an extended tutorial of sorts. However, for reasons of resources and interest, we simply don’t have a scripted campaign, so that approach was out for us. Even in those RTS games that do have a scripted campaign, there is often an hour or more of regular tutorials for those who are just interested in multiplayer (thinking here of Rise of Nations and Company of Heroes, primarily).

      I understand where you’re coming from, and in general that’s actually a sentiment I really share, but with a strategy game I think the genre expectations are a bit different, and so that’s why we did the tutorials the way we did. Most players who buy the game found the intermediate tutorial (the long one that requires multiple sittings to complete) to be really fun and engaging, and I get a lot of mail from people saying “I was partway through the intermediate tutorial campaign and I knew I had to get it,” or similar. So I think it’s working pretty well, in the main, though it’s a very hardcore game simply by nature.

    • Vinraith says:

      @DMJ: That the first half of Portal is an agonizingly slow, painfully easy tutorial is one of my least favorite things about an otherwise brilliant game. It’s covered well by the humor, design, and overall cleverness of the concept, but I could have done with consolidating several of the “lessons” taught into the first few challenges rather than dragging it out so much.
      _
      You really didn’t realize it was a tutorial the first time you played? Maybe it’s a generational thing, but I can smell it when a game’s pandering to me. Portal may have been brilliant about it, but it was still pandering.
      _
      Integrated tutorials need to be short and to the point if they’re going to exist at all. By and large, I vastly prefer optional tutorials, both because sometimes I don’t need one at all and, in those cases where I DO need one, I certainly don’t need it every time I go back to replay the game.

    • Chris Park says:

      Well, this is true, perhaps the puzzles in the early levels of Portal were a bit on the slow side. But, I maintain that I really like how they integrated them in general (and yes, I knew I was playing a tutorial as I went — but I also thought that the tutorial was the entire game in that case, so I was quite pleased when it turned out I was mistaken). Most games integrate the tutorial sections into the story of the game these days, and that has a lot of positives — with Assassin’s Creed II, I felt like that was pretty balanced, with Borderlands I felt like it was a little on the too-overly-easy end. Being able to optionally skip stuff like that would definitely be nice, essentially how it was done in Demon’s Souls. With future Arcen titles that have more in the way of story and central progression, that’s how I plan to handle it.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Chris Park: That sounds reasonable (as usual).

      That’s another mention of Demon’s Souls. If people whose opinions I respect keep bringing up that game I’m going to be forced to buy a PS3. That would, in turn, mark the second time I’d bought a console just for Atlus games.

    • Chris Park says:

      Demon’s Souls is very cool, and I’ve actually written about it at some length (wow, I’m posting a lot of lengths today). I really enjoyed the game, but I definitely wouldn’t have bought a PS3 just for it. And it’s definitely not one that everyone is going to “get” or even particularly enjoy. But I think it’s definitely deserving of the bulk of the praise it has been gathering.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Chris: Serves me right for not going to look at my notes. I thought “At least a couple of hours” then thought “Surely not?”. But yeah, epic demoness.

      KG

    • Chris Park says:

      No worries! Our next version (of the base game as well as the expansion) will have even more demo time available in the non-tutorial parts, too. Up to 3 hours per campaign, rather than just an hour. For those wanting to test out the co-op without buying the game, that’s really the best way; since it was a semi-regular request, I decided that having even more demo time was probably a good idea.

      As it stands, before it was unlimited tutorial time (which usually translated to 4 hours total between all of them, or up to 5-6 hours depending on the player, plus as many 1-hour-time-capped regular campaigns as players want to start (and which can be continued beyond that first hour if they later get the full game). The new change is to change that 1-hour time cap to a 3-hour cap on the regular non-tutorial campaigns.

  19. Vinraith says:

    Ah, now here’s one I can completely get behind. It’s a brilliant game, it’s genuinely strategic (and gives you time to think things through, rather than being a clickfest), and it’s one of the most well supported games I’ve ever seen. Chris Park and Arcen studios are probably my favorite “find” of this year, I wish them well.

    Oh, and if anyone has this and doesn’t have the expansion yet, you’re well advised to pick it up. Yet more genius at low low prices.

  20. Sovietmudkipz says:

    Good game, thumbs up.

    Only, I wish you guys were more into tradition RTS games, ala C&C, the *crafts, Supreme Commander.

    I like this game because it reminds me of SUpreme Commander mixed with Star Wars: Empire at War

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Sovietmudkipz: I agree Supreme Commander actually – which is the other game which always reminds me of Sins of the Solar Empire. I was talking in the chatroom about the tradition of THE BIG ZOOM subgenre, which is basically these three.

      I wouldn’t say we were anti-trad-RTS. It’s more that there hasn’t been a good one this year, bar DoW2.

      KG

  21. Blahbilicious says:

    FWIW, the tutorial took me about 4 hours…I could have finished it earlier as I felt I had amassed a large enough force to complete the objectives but I took my time experimenting with some other things, etc. I think some people have the impression that it’s hard to get into like, say, Solium Infernum, exacerbated by the fact that it’s real-time, but it’s not at all and actually has a good tutorial.

    I bought this game after listening to the Three Moves Ahead podcast with Chris Park (http://flashofsteel.com/index.php/2009/11/03/three-moves-ahead-episode-37-chris-park-and-ai-war-fleet-command/). Didn’t hear much about it until I listened to that show and I went back and read Tom Chick’s endorsement of how it’s a totally unique RTS/Tower Defense/4x hybrid type thing. While I don’t always agree with Chick’s opinions of other games, he seems to know his strategy games very very well so I lend more weight whenever he mentions one of them.

    This game is fantastic. I think the scrollwheel on my mouse is starting to give out because of it :P
    I’m also impressed by how the developer shows up whenever and wherever AI War is mentioned on the Intarwebz and interacts with the playerbase.

    He’s like ceiling cat. Or something.

    Anyways, I think this game flew under a lot of people’s radar and I’m glad to see it mentioned again on RPS. When people see it’s an “RTS,” I think they have the impression of a frantically scrambling, high APM clicky thing (i.e. Starcraft-like) that looks daunting to get into because of other layers added on top of it and all of these different unit types they have to learn, etc., but its pace is much slower (enough that it eases you into the game) and it rewards carefully planned strategy rather than reflexes.

  22. zebramatt says:

    AI War actually pretty easy to get into (although on the serious difficulty levels it’s far from easy to win). Understanding the basic mechanics and objectives and getting to grips with the major gameplay elements and basic strategy won’t take you long. But it’s so rich, so deep with tactical and strategic nuance – and so varied from one hour, one game or one set of AIs to the next – that you literally never stop learning new ways to tackle situations.

    Every time you think you’ve finally cracked it, that you’re finally on easy street, the game throws something new your way and you’re pulling your hair out trying to find a way to counter it. In a good way. Because there won’t just be one way to deal with any new threat; there’ll be a couple, or a dozen, different ways – and each will have its merits. You have to try to make the best choice. And you’ll be under pressure to get it right but not necessarily time pressure – strategic pressure. You’ll weigh up opportunity costs all the time. You’ll try new things. You’ll improvise. And you’ll win battles. Lots of them. But you’ll lose too. And maybe you’ll learn enough that you’ll crush the AIs and win the war. Maybe you’ll just scrape a slim victory with a crazy gambit to destroy the buggers. Or maybe you’ll lose. But you’ll learn from that as well.

    AI War doesn’t have so much of a learning curve as it does a learning orbit.

  23. Unaco says:

    I picked it up a few months ago, but never got round to getting involved too heavily in it (PhD and teaching work to do)… Played the ‘Tutorial’ campaign thing, up until the final assault. Its Holiday time just now though, so I’m probably going to get back into it this coming week.

    I’ll agree with some of the posters above… it does seem like it might be a scary game to get into, but it really isn’t. I spent about 5 or so hours on the tutorial, but that was making sure I did everything right, and didn’t rush through it (it warns you that you CAN fail the tutorial by doing silly things). At that point, I felt I was ready to plan and execute my final assault, and then jump into a new game. Was easy to pick it up, and it has a great balance between all the RTS standard “things to do” (i.e. little work on resource management, lots of work on your tactics and strategies). Like I say, I am only at the end of the tutorial, but I thoroughly enjoyed that, had no trouble getting into it, and look forward to getting into the full game. Its the first RTS I’ve enjoyed like that since TA Kingdoms, or HomeWorld.

    One final thing I’ll add… though they weren’t up to the level of the the original trilogy, I actually didn’t mind the “Legends of Dune” novels. This game reminds me of them… the massive, messy, bloody, savage battles… the AI enemies, with different ‘personalities’ and tactics and their inhuman nature… the asymmetry of the situation.

    Anyways… glad to see this on the list. Its one of only two games (released this year) that I’ve picked up this year (the other being the Void, which I also only played as far as the tutorial).

    • Unaco says:

      Quick question if anyone can answer… I picked up the Steam version, which I assume is 2.0. But, will the Zenith Remnant expansion be available through Steam? I’ll likely pick it up, but if I can get it through Steam I’ll do that… means I can install it on my home desktop, and on my office desktop, for when I’m “compiling” (or running code on my cluster, and so my desktop can do something else).

    • Chris Park says:

      Thanks for your support, Unaco! The expansion will definitely be available on Steam by the time it is officially released (in mid-January), and probably for preorder sometime in the next few weeks. GamersGate and Impulse and our site already have the game on sale for preorder, but both Steam and Direct2Drive will be carrying the expansion by the time it is released — the official release of the expansion should be on all of those platforms at basically the same time.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Unaco: “means I can install it on my home desktop, and on my office desktop, for when I’m “compiling””

      Actually you can do that with any version of the game, being as it’s DRM-free. The Steam version is actually one of the most restricted versions, being as it’s on Steam.

    • Mr Popov says:

      following up with Vinraith “Actually you can do that with any version of the game, being as it’s DRM-free. The Steam version is actually one of the most restricted versions, being as it’s on Steam.”

      You can even plug in your cd-key from gamersgate, impulse, etc into steam if you want that too (not sure if the expansion will support this, any idea Chris?)

    • Chris Park says:

      I don’t see any reason why the expansion won’t also support this, but I have not talked to Valve about it; I think they and I are basically operating under the understanding that we’ll implement the expansion in pretty much the same way as the base game on their service, though, so I expect the cross-registration will likely work as with the base game. May not be on the date of launch, though, if the experience with the base game is any guide. I’ll do my best to make sure that is in place, and in place as quickly as possible, but the bulk of that process is out of my hands. I expect it will work out just fine, but those are my caveats!

  24. Javier-de-Ass says:

    incredible game

  25. somedude says:

    This article series has introduced me to so many more games that I want to try, including this one (this article pretty much singlehandedly convinced me that I have to try AI War). The real trick is going to be finding enough spare time to actually play them all…

  26. drewski says:

    I’d quite like to read the old articles on AI War, which for whatever reason I missed the first time around…any chance we could get an AI War tag in the original post? The Search-O-Tron isn’t really much good for multi-word games with the word “war” in them…too much war on this site.

  27. sinister agent says:

    I do like AI War, but I’ve had barely any time to get into it. It doesn’t help that nobody in my house when I got it was interested. The big wussies.

    I think it’s actually quite easy to get into. You can set the scales down medium or low, and as the AI doesn’t really do anything much if you leave it alone, you can play defensively for a while until you’re comfortable with the controls and have an idea of what ships you’ll be needing. Getting into it in depth, though, well, I haven’t even tried yet, to be perfectly honest.

  28. doctorfrog says:

    Piping up here, I bought the game shortly after playing a bit of the tutorial. Actually, you can play the tutorial campaign completely with just the demo (you’re not restricted to one hour, as you are with campaigns), and it’s plenty to get you going. I’m the type who shies away from complexity as well, but it really is good at giving you an overview of how the tactics play out on a planet-by-planet basis

  29. Greg says:

    Alec, you’re all right mate. Cheers.

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