Amplitude have consistently done things the right way, as far as I'm aware. They began well by making a superb space strategy game, Endless Space, which is a fundamental part of the development process. When they finished the game, they allowed the people who bought it to play, although those people did have to register the game on Steam which caused some grumbling. You're probably thinking they slipped up by charging outrageous amounts for inconsequential DLC but you'd be wrong. The fourth expansion has just landed and it's as free as the last three. This one adds new random events, anomalies and heroes, and allows further tinkering with gas giants. The game will be discounted by 50% until March 18th.
Before I do the hard part - copying and pasting from a press release - I feel duty-bound to admonish myself for not writing more about Endless Space, or indeed playing it more. It's a splendid game and even though Amplitude have sold 300,000 copies, I like to think plenty more people will discover it.
Here's the story behind the Virtual Wakening expansion.
“Driven by their need to terraform and cultivate, it was only a matter of time before the Automatons turned their eyes to the least hospitable planets: Gas giants. A probe ship departed for an uncolonized system, hoping to test technology that could transform these jovian worlds into something livable.
It was a nice plan, but luck and reality had other ideas. The gas giant had a derelict platform orbiting it that had been of the Virtual Endless war effort - and the Virtuals had left a guard behind. Worse yet, the system was rich in minerals from its asteroid belts, so a small but well-equipped group of Pirates was also keeping an eye on it.
Automaton, Endless, and Pirate - an interesting enough mix. But there was a fourth unknown actor, watching from the “surface” of the gas giant. Deep in the viscous atmosphere, where the boundaries between gas and liquid and solid are vague and changeable, an intelligent life form tracked the signals from the platform and wondered what was going on.
Up above an uneasy truce was reached: Automatons experimented while the Pirates kept an eye out for profits. The project went smoothly until one of the Automatons, who had shown unusually clever behavior since landing on the Endless platform, noted that the radiation seeping from the planet might be transmissions from a sentient race…
Finish the testing at the risk of genocide? Try again elsewhere, regardless of the costs? Steal the technology and see what you can get for it? There are many questions, not the least of which is: What exactly is going on with that unusually clever Automaton?
The galaxy is about to get even stranger.”
I've done carface and now I've done starface (might have done it before truth be told), and I shall do no more. I'm faceless.