Phase II: AI War: The Zenith Remnant

By Kieron Gillen on January 14th, 2010 at 10:55 am.

I attack them with shiny.

Fans of our long-running series of AI War diaries will be pleased to hear that an expansion for AI War has been released. The Zenith Remanant can be bought for ten (Count ‘em!) dollars and opens a mass of new possibilities that will urely impact any second diary’s course. How will we respond to the 122 new ships? Will we manage to capture the seven enormous golem vessels? How will we deal with the 4 minor alien factions? Will our tiny earth brains compare to the 12 new AI Types? And will Quinns deal with his chronic shortage of iron? Only time will tell. Until then, go find out more and watch the trailer below…

Tight.

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33 Comments »

  1. Tei says:

    “How will we respond to the 122 new ships? Will we manage to capture the seven enormous golem vessels? How will we deal with the 4 minor alien factions? Will our tiny earth brains compare to the 12 new AI Types?”

    Holy Shit!. Is enormeousgordo!. This single expansion is the size 20 ‘normal’ games. Does it need the original or is a expandalone?

    • alseT says:

      @tei
      It needs the original, but it’s the good kind of DLC with a demo for it and everything. It blows my mind that it only took 3 months to make this amount of content.

      When at the same time Gearbox takes 6 months for some superfluous areas with not even any new guns(!!!) and still not fixing the broken multiplayer.

    • Chris Park says:

      @alseT: It was way more 16 and 18 hour days and 7-day work weeks than I would have preferred, but it was worth it. Plus, having community support for ideas, bug reports, and suggestions during that entire time was a godsend. Nothing like an army of a few dozen or more hardcore strategy fans to really nitpick an in-progress project into a high state of polish. And I say that as a huge compliment. :)

  2. Unaco says:

    Gah!! Still haven’t found the time to get into the Vanilla game properly. I’ll try and remember to pick this up before I do. Maybe this weekend. Maybe tomorrow evening. A Friday night battling fiendish AI, and finishing off that half a crate of Becks from Christmas. I’m sorry… I know, I’m making you all jealous.

  3. DXN says:

    I’m sure I’m just being dumb, but were there actually any further installments of the AI War diary? I can’t seem to see any, but I’d love to read them if so.

    • Chris D says:

      Seconded. Will Quinns get his iron? The world needs to know these things.

    • sinister agent says:

      If I recall correctly (which isn’t even close to guaranteed with my ligaments), the RPS droids began their game not long before the game was updated, and so were unable to continue without a big reboot.

      Which is a shame, but there you go.

    • Chris Park says:

      A reboot would not have been required, but would have been recommended due to the economic changes between versions. Here’s hoping we see an expansion diary, or something of that sort.

  4. invisiblejesus says:

    For those who’re interested and don’t have the original game yet, AI War is 50% off at Gamersgate right now. No idea offhand if they have the expansion available yet.

    • Unaco says:

      Also looks like it’s currently 50% off on STEAM as well. Down from £11.99 to £5.99. Which is cheaper (by £1) than the expansion. Don’t know what American/European prices are.

    • Wolfox says:

      Yes, the expansion is indeed available from Gamersgate. I pre-ordered it there, and it’s been released now.

      C’mon, guys, support Arcen Games and get AI War and the expansion. They’re not only great, unique games, but the support from Chris Park (from Arcen Games – x4000 on the comments here at RPS, IIRC) is the best I’ve ever seen. He finds the time to not only fix bugs, but also adds free DLC all the time, implementing changes and improvements based on feedback from the community (and he somehow finds time to talk to the community all the time). It’s really impressive, and something worth supporting all the way.

    • Chris Park says:

      GamersGate, Impulse, and Steam all have the expansion and are running 50% off sales on the base game. We’re all running a sale on our own site directly. Direct2Drive will be along shortly with the expansion, and they are already running a sale on the base game.

      Thanks for your support, and the kind words, Wolfox!

  5. frags says:

    AI War is going 50% off on all digital download sites. You can get both the vanilla game and Zenith Remnant for a cool 20 bucks. Really good value considering the scope of the game and the amount of content.

  6. phil says:

    I am the only one who, on reading the subtitle, hoped the Many-Angled Ones and Peter St John will make an appearance?

  7. Meat Circus says:

    I only started playing this this week.

    Oh my baby Xenu, it’s an addictive little time-sponge, isn’t it? DO WANT. Will this expansion be on Steam whence I acquired the original?

    • Unaco says:

      Yes. It’s available on Steam. £6.99 was the price last I checked this morning. The original should have updated if you’ve ran Steam in the last 12-15 or so hours.

    • Javier-de-Ass says:

      You can just buy it on the arcengames site and plonk the keys into steam, it’s the superior way to buy the game I think ?

  8. Dominic White says:

    Bloody hell. This expansion pretty much doubles the size of the game. It’s quickly starting to resemble Sword of The Stars, in that every game will be different because of the sheer number of random events it can throw into the mix to challenge the players. Therefore, epic-scale replayability.

    I can’t wait to see what the game looks like by the end of the year. Doesn’t the developer have a pretty lengthy content roadmap planned out for it?

    • frags says:

      Yes. There are plans for many DLC’s and updates(free) for this year.

      http://arcengames.com/aiwar_20vs10.php

      That page explains the changes of 2.0 and if you look below, you’ll find the developers plans for future updates. AI War is now at 3.0 and looking a lot better than what it was in 1.0.

    • Chris Park says:

      Oh yeah, we’ll have monthly free DLC from now until the end of the year (much smaller than 3.0, but a few new ships or what have you every month, plus bugfixes and balance tweaks, and other community-requested minor enhancements), and then in about 10ish months we’re planning on doing a second expansion that will have a similar scope to this one. Making the game world seem almost alive based on just how many things are in it and how many things can happen is definitely a goal.

  9. Kynes says:

    A reentry into the “long running series” for the sake of the new expansion would be glorious.

  10. getter77 says:

    Huh….somehow this hadn’t at all entered onto my radar all this time up untl now. I’ll….think….about……it…

    :begins hunting for $20 bill:

  11. Orange says:

    Just purchased the original from Steam, will see how it goes.I do love grand strategy and space games.

  12. Vinraith says:

    People, it’s a DRM-free game, why on Earth are you voluntarily tying it to Steam when it’s the same price everywhere?

    • Chris Park says:

      You get an Arcen license key no matter where you buy it from, so you can always have a completely 100% DRM-free version even if you get it from a distributor with an updater, like Impulse or Steam. So you aren’t locked into any system no matter where you get it from.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Chris Park

      True, but that’s just because Arcen is frankly one of the most end-user-friendly developers ever.

      Anyway, better to buy the game than not buy the game, wherever they get it from, I’ll just never understand Steam loyalism.

      Oh, and fantastic work on the expansion btw. Looking forward to your future projects!

    • Chris Park says:

      Many thanks! Glad you’re enjoying the expansion, as well. We’ve just kicked off post-prototype work on our next project, the puzzle game, and we’re really excited about that. Of course, we’ll also start having some more beta updates to AI War starting tomorrow, also, as the first contributions towards this next month’s DLC. Lots of exciting stuff going on!

    • Blackberries says:

      Vin: In my case, I just threw AI Wars into my basket along with four other games in the Steam holiday sales.

  13. marxeil says:

    Dumb question but – how hard is this game? From what I’ve read it seems the AI is rather ruthless.

    • Chris Park says:

      Really, it can be as easy or as hard as you want. There are 10 levels of difficulty, where 7 is the fullout AI and 8 is for very good RTS players, and 10 is absolutely nightmarish. 1, on the other hand, is an incredible pushover that intentionally does stupid things. 5 is pretty average, with the AI giving you little spots of innovation, but without any of the really devious stuff that it does on 7. And 6 is a halfway point from that and 7.

      There are also cheats that can let you have unlimited whatevers (pick your cheat), and there are handicaps to give yourself a boost in resource income or the AI a penalty in income. There are also AI Modifiers that let you turn off waves, or get half as many waves as normal (or twice as many). You can also turn of specific unit abilities that you might find more difficult, like teleporting or cloaking or astro trains.

      Oh — you can also treat it sort of like a turn-based game, where you play until you need some time to think, and then pause it (there are settings options that are TBS-friendly for keeping the screen from going dim and the music from going off when you pause). Then you can take all the time you want to assess and queue up orders, then unpause and let it run a bit until you want to reasses and reset orders. Players that are purely interested in TBS tend to like doing that sort of thing, at least at times.

      So, you can set it up however you want to, really. Personally I play on difficulty 7, which is a hair on the easy side for me but still very interesting. I win about 80% of the time on that difficulty, and am rarely super stressed out by the AI, even if it does trick me and destroy half (or more) of my stuff on occasion. I suppose it’s a matter of finding the level of difficulty that you want, based on whether you want it to be a really intense grudge match, or a slightly more relaxed exercise. I tended to play Civ IV on a somewhat relaxed difficulty, upper-medium or something (been a few years, so I have a hard time recalling exactly), and the way I’ve got AI War set up for me gives me a similar sort of feel. But if I wanted to go more all-out it’s there. All a matter of what you’re looking for in a strategy game — AI War should be able to handle any of it (at least difficulty-wise)!

    • marxeil says:

      Thanks for clarifying. I’ll give it a try.

    • Chris Park says:

      My pleasure. It’s meant to be an interesting AI, an adaptive AI, but one that’s fun to play against — not something that’s always pulling your teeth out by the gums. :)

  14. Egoh Rtut says:

    Bought the expansion despite having not actually played AI War since I bought it. Definitely going to try the tutorial soon though.

    Just glad to support an indie developer who is pushing some new ideas. (And seeing the game described on Impulse… Do we really need to shoehorn everything into a genre?)