It’s the Final Countdown
Yesterday we did an in-depth look at Ashes of the Singularities’ new marquee feature, Explicit Multi-Adapter support, which allows the engine to potentially use any DX12 GPUs it can find to improve performance. In practice, you’ll want to stick with similar performance cards, but you’re not beholden to AMD or Nvidia. All of our testing was done using relatively modern AMD and Nvidia cards, but what about pairing things like Kepler with earlier GCN 1.0 hardware, or Maxwell with Kepler? We may not have had the time—or hardware—to test all of the permutations available, but opening up the beta to the general public will provide far more manpower.
The game is currently available via Steam’s Early Access as well as GoG, and as an added bonus, it’s on sale for $25 via Steam instead of the regular $50 asking price, at least through February 29. As a DX12 technological marvel, Ashes is certainly interesting, but there’s a game lurking beneath all the glitz and glamor. Most of the pre-launch commentary has discussed similarities to Supreme Commander, and rightly so. There are tons of units on screen, with sizes ranging from tiny drones to massive ships. Even in beta form, there’s enough going on to keep things interesting.
The current build adds the Substrate aliens to the previously existing PHC (Post-Human Coalition), which livens things up quite a bit from the earlier builds where it was all PHC, all the time. But if you’re looking for a story to play, right now that aspect of the game isn’t in place. The game at present offers single-player and multi-player modes, which consist of pretty standard RTS fare, on one of the 20-plus included maps. The maps have five sizes, ranging from “tiny” to “large”, with support for up to six players. There are three different terrain types as well, to keep things visually interesting. If the included maps aren’t enough, there’s a map editor as well.
If you’re looking to practice against the computer before going online, there are seven AI difficulty levels to choose from. Online options include ranked matches as well as open custom battles. The game itself can feel a bit sparse right now, due to the lack of a story. Also, maybe I’m missing some setting, but the “Ranked match” keeps telling me that it “failed to start matchmaking,” possibly due to running the press-access beta. (Considering I have my hands more than full with the AI, it’s probably for the best; I’m just here for the benchmarks and DX12 technology.)
The official launch is currently set for March 22, which means Early Access will be coming to an end soon enough. If you’re hoping to get warmed up for multiplayer matches in advance, now’s the time.