Oxide and Stardock have properly launched their sci-fi RTS Ashes of the Singularity [official site], after five months on Steam Early Access and a few more before that in a paid ‘Founder’s Program’. It is, I’ll explain for those who missed the gentle murmuring or Alec’s impressions of an early version, a Total Annihilation sort of an RTS with hundreds, even thousands, of units romping across the map in massive battles producing a great many explosions.
I’ve tended to say “Yeah, it’s a Total Annihilation sort of an RTS” when talking about that because it’s useful shorthand but… is it? I probably shouldn’t go assuming everyone knows about a game released in 1997 by a studio which has been closed for yonks. Even the follow-up, Supreme Commander, is getting on in years. So! Ashes of the Singularity casts players as the commander, building bases to churn out forces then sending those armies to smash the enemy. Its scale gives a different pace to an RTS like StarCraft, less reliant on twitch clicking and micromanaging. Also, it’s cool when hundreds of units fight. Singleplayer and multiplayer, obvs.
A lot of the marketing talk around Ashes of the Singularity focuses on technology, on the Nitrous Engine which supports Direct X 12 and requires a 64-bit system with processor cores aplenty and heaps of RAM. If you get excited about seeing your CPU activity max out, hey, that might be another reason to dig this.
Resident RPS stratoman Rob Zacny had a chat with Stardock about the game and its technology, which is a good read. The following quote doesn’t at all summarise the chat, but I dig where Robbo’s going with it as I’ve come to feel similar ways about tech obsessions so:
“But I’m not sure 64-bit, multi-core design is the panacea that Wardell makes it out to be. This makes Ashes a throwback to the golden age in another way: it is made with a conviction that better technology and more system resources can produce something revolutionary rather than an incremental improvement on what came before.”
Anywho! Ashes of the Singularity is on Steam for £35.99/$44.99, which includes a 10% launch discount. Here’s the launch trailer: