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"You are outgunned. You are massively outnumbered. You must win." These are your orders. Humanity has already fought its war against the machines -- and lost. AI death squads stand watch over every planet and every wormhole, the few remaining human settlements are held captive in orbiting bubbles, and the AIs have turned their...
Release Date: Oct 21, 2009
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Includes 7 items: AI War: Fleet Command, AI War: The Zenith Remnant, AI War: Children of Neinzul, AI War: Light of the Spire, AI War: Ancient Shadows, AI War: Vengeance Of The Machine, AI War: Destroyer of Worlds

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AI War Official 8.001 "Oiling The Engine" Released!

August 20th, 2014

This one is our first post-8.0 update. It's an intentionally small one, as we're trying to wait and see if there are any serious things that crop up before going through other kinds of bugfixing or balancing.

In this particular case, some of the Unity 3D engine upgrades that we did between versions 7.0 and 8.0 may have led to some incompatibility with certain older drivers or graphics cards, thanks to the game erroneously trying to force 2X antialiasing on. The way that fullscreen mode was working on OSX was also incorrect, but now all of the above match how our other later games (The Last Federation, etc) work. There were some people who strangely could run TLF but could not run AI War, while running on the same engine version, so hopefully this fixes that for them. It's tricky, though, because it's an incredibly minor subset of people on some very specific older hardware. Fingers crossed for them!


This is a standard update that you can download through the in-game updater itself, if you already have 4.000 or later. When you launch the game, you'll see the notice of the update having been found if you're connected to the Internet at the time. If you are using Steam, you can simply restart Steam in order to force it to update immediately.

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AI War 8.0 Launches alongside Expansion 6: Destroyer of Worlds (and Linux Support!)

August 18th, 2014

AI War's run from 7.0 to 8.0 took a long break during our development of The Last Federation, but still contained over 60 new releases in 425 days. Thanks to player feedback (some new, some from years ago) the game is now better than ever.

Biggest on the radar is the addition of the new "hacking" mechanic which gives the player several abilities which can be extremely useful but also quite risky. Hack wisely, and you can turn defeat into victory. Hack foolishly, and you can turn humanity into hamburger. The idea came out of long discussions with players on improving the relationship between metal and crystal. Those two mechanics had become far too similar, and ultimately the idea of merging them in favor a new radically-different mechanic found a lot of support from the community.

"Salvage" is another major new mechanic based on years of community feedback. Basically if you lost your whole fleet in an attack it could take a long time to rebuild but often there wasn't much actual danger. In a game where 8 hours is a "short" campaign, players don't want to be stuck spending real "wall-clock" time without much actual "game" happening. So salvage allows the AI to harvest the remains of your ships lost in its territory to build a "reprisal" force that threatens you after a fleet-wipe, and allows you to harvest the remains of AI ships lost in your territory to accelerate your rebuilding. This led to a somewhat bumpy ride balance-wise but it's shaken out pretty well by now and has significantly improved enjoyment of the game.

Champions have also been the subject of quite a bit of player feedback since they were introduced in the fourth expansion. Some people really liked them, some people really did not. One of the biggest issues was how the nebula scenarios (the main way you could improve champions) were so disconnected from the rest of the game. So we've added an optional alternate way to improve your Champion units that's much more aligned with playing normally. There's probably more to be done on this topic, but what's been done thus far has helped.

"If anyone beats difficulty 10, that's a bug" is one of our old jokes with the community. Actually, we laugh when we say it but we're not joking. Several players have managed to beat Diff 10 over the years and the refinements to prevent this (without being too heavy-handed) have continued. Several AI improvements were made for 8.0, especially it's pushing an advantage during a large-scale attack. Balance dials have also been cranked to even-more-painful levels, and as of this writing there are no confirmed reports of a "normal" diff 10 win since the last round of related changes. The gauntlet's right there on the ground, folks.

Player feedback (and our own devious minds) prompted tons of other changes in 8.0 (counter-attack posts being made optional comes to mind, and many turret caps becoming per-planet), but this account has to stop somewhere. Oh, and let's not forget the engine upgrade and the addition of linux support :)

Have fun! (Here's the discussion on the official forums, by the way.)

Also, check out our awesome new trailer for version 8.0!

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"AI War breaks most of the genre’s rules. Which is precisely why it’s incredible… This out-of-the-blue one-man passion project is one of this year’s finest strategy games."
- Alec Meer, PC Gamer UK, November 2009

It’s a balancing act, with your own strength on one side, and the AI’s opinion of you on the other. Piss it off before you’re ready to face it, and you’re going to get squashed. That moment, when you’re finally in a position to turn the tables, is about as glorious as gaming gets.
- Phill Cameron, Eurogamer, February 2011

I think I’ve stumbled across this year’s Really New Thing. There’s a lot of 2009 to go, but I’ll be surprised if anyone else twists the RTS formula this dramatically and this effectively. And I’m hoping it’ll be the Next Big Thing, because it’s big, different, entirely unprecedented and an exciting way to play an RTS.
- Tom Chick, Crispy Gamer, August 2009

Having played this title at two distinct points in its life cycle what really stands out is the incredible dedication of Arcen Games in keeping on top of how the game evolves and expands. Even though a great many features have been added and tweaked and refined, it was possible for me to drop back into AI War after more than a year away and not find it to be a confusing mish-mash of feature overload. The post-release support is, quite honestly, the best I’ve seen for any game.
- Peter Parrish, IncGamers, February 2011

AI War is, quite simply, the best experience you could have with co-op or single-player real-time strategy in this or any year. It combines grand strategy with emergent AI to form an excellent game perfect for parties and multiplayer. It is easily worth double the price that the developer is selling it at, and anyone with any affinity or taste for strategy games should not miss it. It may be daunting at first, but an excellent tutorial and amazing gameplay mechanics alleviate this into a game that almost anyone can - and should - play.
- James Murff, Big Download, November 2009

About the Game

"You are outgunned. You are massively outnumbered. You must win." These are your orders.

Humanity has already fought its war against the machines -- and lost. AI death squads stand watch over every planet and every wormhole, the few remaining human settlements are held captive in orbiting bubbles, and the AIs have turned their attention outward, away from the galaxy, to alien threats or opportunities unknown.

This inattention is our only hope: a small resistance, too insignificant even to be noticed by the AI central command, has survived. These are the forces you will command. The AI subcommanders will fight you to the death when they see you -- but your glimmer of opportunity comes from quietly subduing those subcommanders without alerting central processing to the danger until it's too late.

You do have a few things going in your favor. Your ships are much faster. You have safe AI routines to automate defenses and mining outposts. You have production techniques that can churn out fully-outfitted unmanned fighters in seconds. There will never be more than a few thousand of your ships versus tens of thousands of theirs, but through careful strategy you must somehow reach and destroy the heavily-guarded AI cores.

Go forth into the galaxy, steal AI technology, recapture those planets you must in order to achieve your ends, and save what remains of humanity. But draw too much attention to yourself, and the full might of the AI overlords will come crashing down.

PC System Requirements

    • OS: Windows XP SP2 or later
    • Processor: 1.6Ghz CPU (2.4 Ghz recommended, Dual Core strongly recommended for Host)
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Graphics card must support 1024x1024 textures (most 32MB and up graphics cards do), 1024x768 or greater (32 bit color recommended)
    • Hard Drive: 300MB
    • Multiplayer: Broadband Internet Connection or LAN required for multiplayer.

Mac System Requirements

    • OS: Mac OSX Intel CPU and "Leopard" 10.5 or later.
    • Processor: 1.6Ghz CPU (2.4 Ghz recommended, Dual Core strongly recommended for Host)
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Graphics card must support 1024x1024 textures (most 32MB and up graphics cards do), 1024x768 or greater (32 bit color recommended)
    • Hard Drive: 300MB
    • Multiplayer: Broadband Internet Connection or LAN required for multiplayer.

Linux System Requirements

    • OS: Ubuntu 10.10 or later, although other unsupported distros may very well work
    • Processor: 1.6Ghz CPU (2.4 Ghz recommended, Dual Core strongly recommended for Host)
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Graphics card must support 1024x1024 textures (most 32MB and up graphics cards do), 1024x768 or greater (32 bit color recommended)
    • Hard Drive: 300MB
    • Multiplayer: Broadband Internet Connection or LAN required for multiplayer.
Helpful customer reviews
75 of 78 people (96%) found this review helpful
268 products in account
25 reviews
233.8 hrs on record
Do you like skirmishing against computer players in RTSes, but don't think they simulate humans enough? Great, you'll like AI War. It's asymmetric, about halfway between skirmish and campaign modes, and it doesn't try to act like a real human.

Do you like really long RTS matches, but don't like that they usually turn one-sided after the first half an hour? Great, you'll like AI War, it stays tense and balanced for the entire 5-20 hour struggle.

Do you like HARD games? Play AI War. The difficulty levels you can select start low but go up to truly legendary heights.

Do you like constant battle? AI War may not be for you. Yes it's real-time, but you will spend a fair amount of time thinking and plotting and planning. Anxiously.

Do you like games that you can finish in one sitting? Don't play AI War. Just don't.

Do you like an easy, relaxed gameplay experience? Probably don't play AI War. You can set the difficulty low, but it's boring...and the difficulty goes up as time goes on, not down. Unless you're playing way below your skill level, the endgame is always a brutal nailbiter and if you are careless you can get wiped out. AI War needs you to think about what you're doing for the whole game.

This game is not for everyone, and it takes a big time commitment. If you're sitting on the fence, I'd recommend avoiding it. There is no "let's sit down for half an hour and see how it is", it will take a lot of time no matter what. Also, you will absolutely want to sit down and play the tutorial, even though it takes a couple hours. It's basically just a short version of a full game that walks you through the unique strategies of AI War with kid gloves on. Playing this game like it was any other RTS is the biggest mistake you can possibly make.

As for what makes the strategy different? You have to pick your battles. The AI is generally not that aggressive, at least not in a planet-by-planet way, but every single time you expand it's like kicking a hornet's nest. Discretion is the better part of valor, and not just because you risk your current armies: In this setting, your opponent is much bigger than you, but it also has other interests much bigger than you. If you stay small and pick your targets carefully, you can keep from drawing too much ire, but if you try to take over the whole galaxy then your enemy will say "oh maybe these humans are a real threat" and stomp the hell out of you. Don't do that.

All in all, it's a truly unique entry in the RTS genre. If the above caveats don't scare you away, give it a shot. It might not be your favorite game, but it's a truly memorable one, and worth the time commitment to play a few games.
Posted: March 4th, 2014
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14 of 16 people (88%) found this review helpful
27 products in account
1 review
34.5 hrs on record
This game is fantastic. Great music and deep gameplay. The BGM is outstanding, and multiplayer is fun as well. If you get bored with normal AI, there are a variety of modifiers to make the game interesting. You will never have two identical playthroughs. My only complaints are that the graphics are quite dated, and multiplayer often requires Hamachi or some other third party software. If you have $10 and want a quality space-themed RTS, buy this game. 9/10
Posted: March 14th, 2014
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20 of 28 people (71%) found this review helpful
65 products in account
1 review
30.6 hrs on record
A really very interesting game.

It's fun if you like the concept of looking around and making your decisions carefuly. You may like this game if you played FTL a lot on pause, and wish you had more to think about while you were doing so.

The game is very complex, very hard, and very tough to win. I personally go between liking the game and not liking it, but only because I'm never a big fan of losing.

Overall, i'd recommend this game to some people, but not to others.
Posted: April 16th, 2014
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7 of 8 people (88%) found this review helpful
1,780 products in account
65 reviews
11.0 hrs on record
Amazing space strategy game.

It has incredible depth, but is still straightforward to pick up. You will lose a lot in this game, but learn as you go.
The visuals are incredibly impressive, and the AI operates on a threat factor system which means it will respond to your expansion in logical ways.
It is also brutally efficient of taking advantage of any holes in your defences.

Recommened for all 4X and RTS fans.

For more details, read KJ[]Real's review for this game with which I agree 100%: http://steamcommunity.com//profiles/76561198034117169/recommended/40400/
Posted: June 20th, 2014
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
57 products in account
5 reviews
69.0 hrs on record
AI War is a special game to me. To borrow a quote from Firefly:
"Live with a man 40 years. Share his house, his meals. Speak on every subject. Then tie him up, and hold him over the volcano's edge. And on that day, you will finally meet the man."
AI War lets you meet yourself. Some games you play until you can win, then you get bored. AI War is different. At difficulty 7 or below it's still challenging, easy to stumble on the long road to victory and not a sure thing. It'll take a while but you'll have a satisfying victory. But you won't stop there, once you can win the game then you'll feel free to turn up the heat. Walking through the labyrinth of options until, quite quickly, you find yourself standing on the volcano's edge, bound and tied by your own hands. But when you find yourself there it'll be with a smile on your face, saying quite happily: "Oh no! Oh no! Oh dear... I'm dead." And if you do manage to win at difficulty 10, it's a bug. Report it on the Arcen games forums... with pride.

Also, it has co-op multiplayer. So you can tie your friends up and hold them over the volcano's edge... though you'll probably both be a little singed. (Fighting Scorched Earth AI's and... Mimes! NB: Scorched earth destroys planets rather than letting you take control, never set both AI types to that if you want to win. Mimes mimic the ships you used against it, you'll think... “So what happens if I use...” and the answer: You die.)

Lastly, the developers are kind, polite and extraordinarily hard working. The game has evolved with constant developments for year after year after year. They read people's after action reports, watch the lets plays, answer questions on the forums and are just plain nice. Not a dull nice, but a sweet, genuine, sharp and creative nice... rather like shaving a birthday cake into a beard. Or sneaking into the office to digitise old files to save you time.

They've got a touch of magic, love and creativity that I want to watch, and I hope that other people will have a chance to see it too. So yeah, it's just a game, the graphics are a little dated and the learning curve is a little steep... it isn't really magic and it doesn't grant any wishes. But I like it. I'm glad I bought it. I hope you'll set aside a few hours and give it a solid try. Then some more hours when you drag a friend to play a co-op game.
Posted: August 15th, 2014
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100 of 106 people (94%) found this review helpful
704 products in account
70 reviews
8.7 hrs on record
Be warned - this game can get insane.

As the title suggests this game is a fleet (unit) management game, mixed in with a x4 type of experience. The scale of the game opens up suddenly and can get to the point where it just seems overwhelming, however if you stay with it and learn how it works you'll find a decent game.

I'd recommend taking this game slowly, even if the AI doesn't really want you to. You will die several times as you discover the past ways to link units together and arrange your resource collection and defending units to be most effective - that's just the nature of the game. As such this isn't really the ideal game for a beginner to x4 to step in, yet it might just be one of the most rewarding.
The depth in potential is deep and the 3 expansion packs have been done in the 'right way' adding more content to the game and improving gameplay. Thankfully the developers regularly patch AI War: Fleet Command too, which would suggest they're aware of their community, which for me is a major part of buying into a game.

I know some people aren't too keen on AI War due to the rather dated UI and graphics, but I think that's part of the charm. The lack of flashy graphics allows for resources and time to have been spent on the complex nature of the game's actual 'AI'. So, considering the game is called 'AI War', it's almost essential that the game itself has a top level AI behind the scenes making all of this work.
At times this can feel like the enemy are being hyper aggressive, but in truth they're learning about you the player. They're not just reacting to whatever race you play, they learn how you use that race and how you setup. Again this might not be ideal for a new comer, however it can help too, as sometimes they'll go 'easy' on you... for a little bit.

Overall AI War: Fleet Command is a very indepth game that doesn't seem to get much fanfare amonst the Steam Community. If you're a fan of x4 games then this is the game for you. If you can look past the very basic graphics there is a very deep experience waiting for you, perhaps one of the best experiences you'll ever have.
The added bonus is that this game is often VERY cheap on Steam during the Steam sales.
Posted: November 27th, 2013
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