Oxide Games’ Ashes of the Singularity is still in development, but the real-time strategy game is one step closer to completion as it enters its first phase in beta. The game first appeared on Steam Early Access last year on October 22.
For now, you can participate in single-player skirmishes, co-op multiplayer and the new ranked multiplayer mode. There’s also a new level system for your Dreadnought units, which allow you to choose from more abilities such as upgrading weapons, unit repairs and bonuses to your entire army.
Two additional maps are included with the update. Frozen Wastes is an ice-based area that can hold up to four players, whereas Proving Grounds is a smaller one-on-one desert map. The developers also added 12 new Orbital Abilities so you can call for more help from the sky.
Amplify: Target amplified power generator gets a permanent 33% boost. Orbital Strike: After a 10 second countdown, target area receives 5,000 damage over five seconds. Carving Turret: Places a heavy plasma beam cannon in target location that does 500 damage to a single target over three seconds with a five-second cool down. EMP: Units within target area (600m) lose all shields. Overcharge: Target power generator boosts region production by 200% for 10 seconds. Regenerate: Target units have their shields fully restored over a period of five seconds. Sensor Drone: Summons a sensor drone to a target location and floats around until it's destroyed. Boost: Target power generator receives a permanent 20% boost in output, stacks at half rate each time (20%, 10%, 5%, etc.) Drone Swarm: Place a swarm of drones in the target area (must be an uncovered FOW)Kill: Target unit receives 5,000 points of damage over five seconds. Call Avatar: "Searcher" re-purposed to be a spawned unit that can build and attack strongly. Detonate: Teleports a bomb to target area that deals 4,000 damage in three seconds to target area when it explodes.
For those unfamiliar with the game, Ashes of the Singularity is different than most real-time strategy games because of its immense battles. The team at Oxide Games was able to include so many units on screen at the same time because Ashes of the Singularity is one of the first games to natively use DirectX 12 in conjunction with the company’s own Nitrous Engine.
In our interview in December with Oxide Games co-founder and Nitrous Engine creator Dan Baker, he told us that the team developed Object Space Rendering, a method similar to Pixar’s rendering process that removes aliasing and noise from an image before details are added to the scene.
At some point next month, Oxide Games will launch the second version of the beta, which introduces a benchmark mode. More importantly, it will also introduce multi-GPU support, including the mixing of AMD and Nvidia GPUs on a single system. With DirectX 12, the developers can synchronize data across multiple GPUs for a larger pool of resources to use in the game. The developers are also working on a new feature on the Nitrous Engine: a new multiadapter method called Explicit Multiadapter. This process treats multiple GPUs as separate devices, and wouldn’t require a driver to use multiple processors.
With multi-GPU support during the beta phase, the developers will be able to see multiple combinations of AMD and Nvidia cards working together. According to Baker, there are “over 4,000 combinations of multiple vendor video cards that are probably valid.” Based on the feedback from the beta, Baker and the rest of the team can use the data to improve the Nitrous Engine so it uses as much power as possible when the final version of Ashes of the Singularity is finally released.