Megawar! Ashes Of The Singularity Properly Released

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:

From this site

17 Comments

  1. DanMan says:

    I’m more of a TBS guy…

  2. trashmyego says:

    Stardock is the only thing keeping me from buying this game. Which is too bad, it looks like something I’d really enjoy. But it’s going to take a steep discount to get me to even contemplate giving that publisher money again.

    • harrylime says:

      May i ask why. I’m a bit out of the loop in terms of games and wasn’t aware of any kerfuflle.

      • Hobbes says:

        The discussion concerning that very topic has been wiped clean from this page. Don’t ask, don’t tell in other words.

        • lordcooper says:

          God forbid someone leave a games site having learned something about a games company.

      • Don Reba says:

        Googling for “stardock scandal” gives me a reddit discussion titled: “People are starting to apologize to Brad Wardell, CEO of Stardock, over false sexual harassment allegations brought on by Kotaku.”

        • Hobbes says:

          Damnit, now this thread will get atomised most likely too!

          • Don Reba says:

            I’m sure RPS editors are reasonable and handsome people who would not delete a valid discussion as long as it stays reasonably civil.

    • KD7BCH says:

      After GC3 I agree with you. Having tried AOS It isn’t worth the price they are asking. Having read that is the view of the CEO of SD too it simply confirms it. Good DX12 engine. Everything else about it is a regression of the gains in RTS made by Supreme Commander Forged Alliance.

  3. Mezmorki says:

    I’ll be looking at this game in depth (just got it today) – but I’m not all that convinced based on things I’ve seen so far. In no particular order:

    – The fact that the “technology engine” is being used so directly in the marketing is a turn off, especially when I don’t see anything that appears to justify the need for it. You do know that you can load up Total Annihilation today, uncap the unit limit, and easily play a game with a few thousand units in the field. You know, a game from 1997. I’ve yet to see a screenshot that captures such a complex giant scope that justifies the tech.

    – All the units are floating. The impression I get is one of detachment, and it makes me wonder how much terrain and the like really affect gameplay. In TA, vehicles moved differently from KBOTS vs. spiders vs. hovercraft vs. boats vs. airplanes vs. gunships. I don’t see that here.

    – The genuineness of TA was in the balance of power between defense and offense and how you needed to employ a creative use of combined arms to knock out a defense (e.g. bomb open a hole with bombers at the same time advances under a tank front line to knock out heavy gun emplacements and AAA so you can bring in gunship). I haven’t seen that sort of dynamic.

    Maybe Ashes is doing something else, or intends to do something else. Maybe that something else isn’t for me … I don’t know yet.

    • Pulstar says:

      It’s been almost 20 years and RTS has moved forward only marginally.

    • SomeDuder says:

      Good points. While I’m sure that AotS (What a fucking title) is visually impressive (But pro-tip: visuals haven’t been a sign of quality for a very, VERY long time now), the videos I’ve seen so far haven’t convinced me. I’m going to be very anal about a specific point – combat. Specifically, the feel and detail of it.

      In Supreme Commander (And its Forged Alliance legacy), a lot of units have secondary turrets and launchers. Especially the experimentals (Or tech 4, w/e) – just watch an UEF Fat Boy move around the battlefield (And note that it rolls with its tracks across the terrain), firing its array of turrets and AAA, all tracking independently of each other, and every projectile is an actual in-game object – no lazy grouping of shots and a diceroll whether it will deal damage. If an object comes between the round and the target, the round will impact on the object. Plus the sound is just amazing – link to youtu.be

      Compare this to a… whatever the fuck this is: link to youtu.be

      Everything just feels like it’s just… passing through each other. Units float around like leaves in the breeze, most shots seem to be some kind of missile-thing (i.e., the lazy man’s weapon of choice) and the few turrets that actually shoot projectiles don’t have any weight to them.

      I know this comes across as a very autistic thing to bitch about, but… just look at the linked vids. The difference is massive. I can only guess that AotS was meant to get a console release and the way that it was designed kept that in mind (Floating units, less detailed combat,

      It’s like the difference between Homeworld 1 and 2 – in HW1, you had individual units that fired projectiles that are individual in-game objects. HW2 took the easy way out – you made squadrons (treated as individual units) and projectiles were just a grouping of pixels that got shot at an enemy and a diceroll determined whether it hit or not (Formation and tactics make no difference).

      I might give AotS a try when it’s available at a 80% discount, but this is no replacement for SC:FA. It’s just… lazy. All this technology and they still can’t beat a game that was released in 2007.

  4. xyzzy frobozz says:

    Can anyone tell me whether DX12 utilises the virtual cores or only physical?

    Does an i7 owner finally get to make use of dem threadz?

  5. Unsheep says:

    You can also buy it on GOG and enjoy it offline.
    I plan on getting it eventually, but not right now. I’m looking forward to seeing some more video footage.

  6. Hobbes says:

    *blinks* Holy scorched earth approach batman!

  7. liquidsoap89 says:

    I’ve heard that the limited amount of units in the game is both a good and bad thing. Some people like that it gives you a bit more breathing room to focus on each type of unit more, but I’m a turtle at heart… And if I can’t build multiple types of defences -which is apparently the case with AOTS- then I’m not really interested.

  8. Arkanae says:

    My confidence on Stardock being able to deliver anything except spam about Fences is very limited these days. I want to give them the benefit of the doubt, but not at this price.
    I’ll go back to play Warzone 2100 instead.