Over the last few months, we've been been pushing out each of the three main factions to our testers in their own alpha builds, and this week the third and final alpha was given to the alpha testers. In light of this development milestone, we're writing Dev Diary #12 to address some of the most common questions about what you can expect in the first version of Ascendancy, as well as what's coming beyond that.
Anyone who's followed our Empire at War mod, Imperial Civil War, knows we're pretty fond of incremental releases and they are something we're going to be continuing with Ascendancy. This allows us to release earlier to get feedback and broader experience with different systems to see how they function before we pile too much on top of them. It also helps us set attainable short-term goals and stop from falling into "development hell." So, here's a quick preview of everything that will be in the first release.
The main thing that 1.0 will include is all three of the main playable factions, fully functional and with all of their units. They'll also include complete tech trees and unit abilities. However, as in ICW, there's several models and skins we're not quite happy with, so every subsequent release will feature visual updates of various units where we feel it's necessary, and maybe a one or two new toys if they need them. Tech trees will also be expanded and contracted based on feedback; there are a few areas we want to explore with the Remnant in particular which won't be attempted until afterwards.
The majority of what's been announced already will also be in the first release; migration, degrading systems based on damage, fleet commanders and the like will all be included in the first release. The only major absence of something we've already announced will be, unfortunately, minor factions. After several internal discussions, we've decided to handle them a different way. Ultimately we feel like people will enjoy the new way a lot more, but it does mean we have to delay them. Hapan and Ssi-Ruuvi fleets will still be present as militia, however they will not yet be present as independent galactic powers. This will be the focus of the second version, so we'll address what we're doing with them more fully after the first release. The worst-kept-secret fourth major faction will also be addressed at that point as well, which we're pretty excited for. We've posted a bit about them in the Admiral's Lounge on our forums (accessible to people with 25 posts or more) and everyone thinks their ships rock. In addition to the faction changes and additions, there's a bunch of gameplay changes we want to make going forward, especially on the economic side to expand the non-military aspects of the game.
Everything's been coming together pretty nicely in the last few weeks but there's still quite a bit left to do. There are still a handful of ships and structures that need to be finished, however we're at the point where the main focus is finishing up tech trees and abilities, which overall are about halfway done. After that, the main thing is to get voice overs put in, finish off some planet textures, and the tedious task of making several hundred icons for abilities and techs. The more diverse the voiceover cast, the better, so if you think you have the proper audio equipment and voice for it, send an email to ThrawnsRevenge@gmail.com . The main stumbling block at the moment is music, which we don't quite know how we're going to handle. So, on the off chance you're a composer who's interested in recording some Star Wars style music for the mod, send an email to the same place.