• Endless Space update plan

    Dear all,

    A few weeks ago, SpaceTroll announced the first elements of our update plan of Endless Space for the coming months. He mentioned many improvements to come, and there were also some cries of anguish that these evolutions would require a fee. We have spent some time determining the cost of each feature, evolution or improvement. We have also grouped these elements together, to deliver them as packs. This allows us to have more consistent versions (for QA, localization), while atomic deliveries make it difficult to start big features.

    When Endless Space was released, I announced that it was just a step in the development of the game, and we will keep our promises. The update plan will start with 3 free add-ons, following the improvement list found on the forum. These 3 free add-ons will be released until December of this year, the first one due end of September. Of course, we will continue to be agile during the development of these add-ons, asking your feedback and putting them to vote. Some of the features will get into the game anyway, because they are more annoying bugs that everyone is experiencing.

    Following these 3 free add-ons, we will start working on an Expansion Pack, which will focus on bringing a new dimension to battles. if we want to be ambitious on the delivered content, and keep expanding the game, we will need to generate some revenues from expansion packs. These revenues will allow us to invest in the content creation as well as making sure our team is focused on making the best possible game. Amplitude is a young company, and we must make sure we will survive to deliver other kick ♥♥♥♥♥ games in the future!

    You will find below the description for the content of Free Add-On 1, which is pretty much solid as we need to finalize everything. The current and upcoming G2G votes will define Free Add-On 2’s content, which content will be set end of October. Then you will vote for the content of Add-On 3.


    Free Add-On 1 content:

    Features / Improvements:
    - The Automatons Custom Faction
    - Custom Faction Affinity, so you can differentiate the visual affinity (look and ships) from the gameplay affinity
    - Diplomacy Improvement on alliances, to be aware of allies decisions
    - Trade Routes Sum-up : special panel to summarize and sort your active trade routes
    - AI : improved tax rate management
    - Hero management improvement: navigation, selection, leveling and undo
    - Empire Wide factors more readable in a special panel
    - Multiplayer version consistency check

    Balancing:
    - Economic victory possible in Endless Victory (difficulty tuning)
    - Academy, hero balancing, for more balanced game starts
    - Bushido trait (Hissho) balancing
    - Industry cost balancing for repair and tonnage modules

    Modding:
    - Ability to mod ship meshes and textures (that is a big one)

    Cheers to all!


    Mathieu Girard
    CEO
    AMPLITUDE Studios
    Comments 18 Comments
    1. SQW's Avatar
      SQW -
      Diplomatically, strategically and tactically, the AI still behaves like a two-year-old; at least make it seems like it's reacting to what's happening around it.Please light a fire under your AI programmer (or hire a better one) because that is the biggest weakness of your game ever since beta. All the extras are just window dressing until the AI problem is resolved.If beating lobotomised person at chess is pointless the first time, giving me a prettier chess board wouldn't help. At the moment, winning in single player ES is easy, grindy and ultimately, not fun.
    1. Seboss's Avatar
      Seboss -
      I find surprising that people would complain about paying for expansion packs, especially when the base the game is so cheap in the first place. I think the Endless Space release was the smoothest I've seen for a long time, and Amplitude already ran the extra mile to support the game, and it's only the beginning. I don't think demanding free content and updates forever is reasonable or viable.
    1. Thoto79's Avatar
      Thoto79 -
      Quote Originally Posted by SQW View Post
      Diplomatically, strategically and tactically, the AI still behaves like a two-year-old; at least make it seems like it's reacting to what's happening around it.Please light a fire under your AI programmer (or hire a better one) because that is the biggest weakness of your game ever since beta. All the extras are just window dressing until the AI problem is resolved.If beating lobotomised person at chess is pointless the first time, giving me a prettier chess board wouldn't help. At the moment, winning in single player ES is easy, grindy and ultimately, not fun.
      It is extremely hard to make a good AI, i dont think this game does it worse than any other game in the genre. Most people find this AI pretty hard to beat even on normal difficulty so that u find it is so easy is surprising. Think you need to practise less :P
    1. Codename_Veers's Avatar
      Codename_Veers -
      Oh I just can't wait!!! Taking a brake from ES right now, because I want to play it next time with as much improvements as possible. And while waiting, I try to help via Forum as much as possible with ideas and suggestions.
    1. SQW's Avatar
      SQW -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thoto79 View Post
      It is extremely hard to make a good AI, i dont think this game does it worse than any other game in the genre. Most people find this AI pretty hard to beat even on normal difficulty so that u find it is so easy is surprising. Think you need to practise less :P
      Nope. Some modder posted his/her findings in regards to how Amplitude programmed their AI (ship design only) and it wasn't flattering. In short, the AI as a whole, is very very basic and isn't equipped to react to you in a meaningful manner. Instead, it relies on a very rigid template that's very easily exploited. I know programming AI is hard but I've found ES's AI to be noticeably dumber than much older games like say, Europa Universalis, SOTS I or GalCiv.

      Once you figured out the winning build order (my 4th game), that strategy will work every time because the AI will behave the same regardless. And just for reference, I've never beaten GalCiv on normal difficulty. :P
    1. koobluh's Avatar
      koobluh -
      First post here, yay! Just wanted to start off saying I am thrilled with this game. Very rarely do I come across a first game from a brand new development studio that has the level of quality that Endless Space has. Kudos to everyone on the dev team for the awesome work!

      As for the free packs, I think a lot of people forget the times before MMOs and online games when you bought a game at the store on a CD or DVD and what you bought in pretty much the final product. The only update would happen a couple months after release with bug fixes and that was it. Expecting a dev team to work for 4 months on additional content for a game without gaining any additional revenue really is more than gracious and quite honestly I just hope it doesn't hinder progress on any other awesome games they have in the works.

      As lame as this sounds, I agree with everyone here on the AI issue. When I first started playing, I couldn't beat the computer on Easy with 3 opponents. However 4 games in, I am beating the computer on hard in a small galaxy with 8 players. The AI is decent against new people learning to play the game but quickly becomes predictable and exploitable. At this point, I do believe the AI is really the only weakpoint in this game. I would love to see a revamp in Free Pack 2.

      Thanks for all your hard work, devs. I see a lot of people complaining but for every complaint they speak, there are probably 10 good things they don't mention
    1. Nasarog's Avatar
      Nasarog -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thoto79 View Post
      It is extremely hard to make a good AI, i dont think this game does it worse than any other game in the genre. Most people find this AI pretty hard to beat even on normal difficulty so that u find it is so easy is surprising. Think you need to practise less :P
      Yes, because it cheats and has all kinds of bonuses. Wouldn't it be more fun if the A.I. was smarter and did well on it's own. It only got the bonuses at the highest difficulty levels. By the way, Gal Civ 2 did this.
    1. Pleasure's Avatar
      Pleasure -
      Yes ! Ship models and Textures !
    1. nats's Avatar
      nats -
      Meh. Nothing here for me. Thanks for the outline, but this has just reaffirmed my fears that the interesting development of this game has pretty much come to an end. Trade routes sum up, hero management screen improvements, balancing - yawn yawn yawn.
    1. Marthnn's Avatar
      Marthnn -
      Quote Originally Posted by nats View Post
      Meh. Nothing here for me. Thanks for the outline, but this has just reaffirmed my fears that the interesting development of this game has pretty much come to an end. Trade routes sum up, hero management screen improvements, balancing - yawn yawn yawn.
      So a convenient UI and a balanced, non-broken game aren't interesting to you? What kind of gamer are you?

      And it tells us nothing of what you expected in the first place.

      Better AI? They'll do tax management in Add-on 1, which is central to a lot of problems with the current AIs, and there's 2 other Add-ons where I expect to see more AI improvement.
      New/improved combat system? This would be a major change. As stated, that's for the 1st expansion pack, which won't be free and will probably come out in 2013.
      Am I missing your point? Maybe voicing it clearly will shed some light.
    1. Ail's Avatar
      Ail -
      The tax-management as well as the system-management are very minor parts of the problems of the AI! Currently their biggest problems are: a) their ships are trash b) they don't use their ships effectively The ships will improve vastly because 2 of the bugs related to their sucking are going to be fixed and the Devs have signalized that they are looking into the possibility of using AI-ship-templates from modders. According to the developer-comments in Registry.xml there are some hints about how the strategical AI is supposed to work. The situation that it doesn't leads me to believe there's some more bugs involved. For example I think the AI miscalculates where it's gatherpoints aka "DefenseZones" shoud be. It puts them in their hinterlands and thus will have unprotected systems at the front and won't launch any attacks from there. Instead of general complaining, make a list of what exactly looks faulty and can be improved regarding AI-behaviour. Post it on the forums. The more detailed the better. I'm pretty sure that amplitude with the help of it's ambitioned players can vastly improve the AI. But in one thing I have to agree. The priority of AI-improvements and AI-limiting bugs should be higher on their list.
    1. ericbrooke's Avatar
      ericbrooke -
      Awesome. Things I am looking forward to:- Custom Faction Affinity, so you can differentiate the visual affinity (look and ships) from the gameplay affinity- Diplomacy Improvement on alliances, to be aware of allies decisions- Trade Routes Sum-up : special panel to summarize and sort your active trade routes- Hero management improvement: navigation, selection, leveling and undo- Empire Wide factors more readable in a special panel- Multiplayer version consistency checkBalancing:- Academy, hero balancing, for more balanced game starts- Industry cost balancing for repair and tonnage modulesModding:- Ability to mod ship meshes and textures (that is a big one)
    1. nats's Avatar
      nats -
      Quote Originally Posted by Marthnn View Post
      So a convenient UI and a balanced, non-broken game aren't interesting to you? What kind of gamer are you?

      And it tells us nothing of what you expected in the first place.

      Better AI? They'll do tax management in Add-on 1, which is central to a lot of problems with the current AIs, and there's 2 other Add-ons where I expect to see more AI improvement.
      New/improved combat system? This would be a major change. As stated, that's for the 1st expansion pack, which won't be free and will probably come out in 2013.
      Am I missing your point? Maybe voicing it clearly will shed some light.
      I have voiced my opinions in detail elsewhere in the forum. I have played and enjoyed the game as it is, but the update plan contents don't interest me very much and I think it doesn't even start to tackle the problems that lots of people are asking about. As for what I expected in the first place I expected the development of the game to continue at pace for a few more months until we got a bit more rounded, detailed 4x game, rather than the devs just occasionally tarting up the bare bones of a good game like we have now. IMO if the devs are planning an expansion pack this early the game should never have been released in its present state and that it is an acknowledgement that there is a lot that still needs doing to the game yet. Expansion packs should be for optional extras that are not essential to the gameplay not for the ongoing development of basic features of the game that arent finished as seems to be the case here. I dont like the expectation that I am going to have to play a beta copy of this game for a year whilst they finish it off. Better to work on several DLC packs that will be released incrementally that one large pack for a years time. I dont mind paying for extra work on the game as long as development continues at a pace that will keep up my excitement and interest.
    1. KingJohnVI's Avatar
      KingJohnVI -
      Hi, I just wanted to say I love this game. In fact, I purchased it for a friend because I liked it so much, and then convinced my brother to buy it as well. I am also glad that you are continuing to develop the game. However, I have two questions relating to the above:
      1) I purchased this game through steam (perhaps that is the only way?); will the free add-ons be automatically available through steam as a download, or will they be installed automatically?
      2) For add-ons, expansions, or any other additional content, will I be able to play with someone who elects NOT to purchase or install the extra content?
      Thanks!
      - KingJohnVI
    1. wahnvorstellung's Avatar
      wahnvorstellung -
      @KingJohnVI:1) ES can only be installed via steam, so they will push all the updates automatically via steam2) This addon is free of any charges. Future plans have not been announced in detail. I liked the way THQ did release its addons with Dawn of War II alot, it made it possible for the community to be not split into 2 parts, while playing the same game.
    1. Troodon's Avatar
      Troodon -
      Quote Originally Posted by SQW View Post
      Diplomatically, strategically and tactically, the AI still behaves like a two-year-old; at least make it seems like it's reacting to what's happening around it.Please light a fire under your AI programmer (or hire a better one) because that is the biggest weakness of your game ever since beta. All the extras are just window dressing until the AI problem is resolved.If beating lobotomised person at chess is pointless the first time, giving me a prettier chess board wouldn't help. At the moment, winning in single player ES is easy, grindy and ultimately, not fun.
      I beg to differ. Many fans have complained about the opposite issue, saying that the AI always out perform them. Some even say this regarding "newbie."

      Still, the AI could use some things such as.
      • becomming upset when you attack a friend
      • disliking it when you form an alliance and drag them into a bunch of wars
      • Cravers should be more hostile. ALways.
    1. Hakko's Avatar
      Hakko -
      Great news! I like ES, and if you fix the annoying issues (unilateral ceasefire, automatic combats, poor ai ecc), i will like it even more.I will surely support ES when the first expansion will come out.
    1. murkla's Avatar
      murkla -
      This is how what i read gets translated in my mind.Dev: Hmmm we have to fix the bugs. Need to get patch out.Bizz people: No, no we will call it pack instead of patch. That way we can rip people for more.