Community Announcements - x-4000
Um... wow?  Folks are absolutely amazing in their support, and I'm just agog at this.  I'm going to be out most of the weekend, but I just wanted to say thanks in advance if we hit any stretch goals before Monday.  At the moment we seem likely to hit the stretch goal for new music sooner than later.

So, other stuff -- first I'd like to share one new video with you:

So just what is this "AI War" thing, and why should you be excited about it?

Hopefully the kickstarter campaign page answers that question, in a general sense at least. ;)  But prior to launching this campaign I was working on this video, and I finally finished editing it today (with Pablo's help cleaning up some unfortunately peaky audio because my mic gain was off), so I thought I'd share it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IluP7KEx0xk

If you're wanting to explain to someone first what this game is, then why it's frickin awesome, maybe this video will help.  Or maybe I'm just longwinded -- 9 minutes is pretty concise for a game like this, though. :)

First Stretch Goal: Soundtrack!

So... right!  We're funded. :)  Now we're working on the first stretch goal off our list:



Up Next

Next week I expect to release a video actually showing combat, and some other cool visual effects, and we'll show you more of the GUI, and Pablo has a video for you, and Keith has some written updates...

Busy times, in the best sense. :)

I'm personally not going to be around much this weekend because I'm both trying to have a better work/life balance in general and also we're celebrating my mom's birthday, but I'll be back in force on Monday.  I'll peek in some over the weekend, of course, and I imagine Keith will be around some Saturday off and on.  But just so you don't wonder where we are if we're quieter than usual.

Thanks again for all your support!

Best,
Chris
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Arcen Games have launched a new Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund AI War II [Kickstarter page], sequel to their cracking 2009 real-time strategy game which pitted players against AI playing by entirely different rules. “Didn’t they just…?” you’re wondering and yep, they did try to Kickstart it in October but cancelled the campaign when it was clear they wouldn’t reach their goal. They’re returned with a smaller pitch for a smaller game with a smaller budget, and this time they’re almost at their goal. … [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

An entirely objective ranking of the 50 best PC strategy games ever made, now brought up to date with the riches of the last two years. From intricate wargames to soothing peacegames, the broad expanse of the genre contains something for everyone, and we’ve gathered the best of the best. The vast majority are available to buy digitally, a few are free to download and play forever. They’re all brilliant.

… [visit site to read more]

Community Announcements - x-4000
Good grief!  People are awesome.  I didn't mean to update folks here "late," but the new campaign for AI War 2 has already reached half of its (admittedly much more modest) funding goal.

https://youtu.be/CPrhD-_SNpo

I've already written a first update post that has a large Q&A based on early questions.  Apologies that the video above is just a teaser-style one, but one of the Q&A topics (way at the bottom) touches on the reasons for that.  Basically perfectionism on my part, I guess.

This is a very different project from the one that we were pitching in the first kickstarter, but I'm really excited about it.  Keith has written up a new design document that explains what is planned.  There's another document that compares the new vision for the sequel to the original AI War, for those wanting to see that comparison.

One of the last updates to the original campaign does probably the most concise job of outlining the differences between the two campaigns, the changing roles of Keith and myself, and the current configuration (so to speak) of Arcen.

Anyhow!  Hope to see you around soon. :)

Best,
Chris
Community Announcements - x-4000
FINALLY a sequel. Please stop by our kickstarter campaign -- we're counting on folks like you to make this bigger, better, clearer sequel a reality.

You might hate kickstarter, and I hate preorders, but I hope you'll love this project on its own merits. The original AI War is something that RPS called one of the best strategy games ever made, and which is widely regarded as having some of the best and most interesting AI ever seen in a game.



Why a sequel?

The original was designed in a different time, under completely different design goals. We're finally creating a sequel that is being rebuilt from the ground up using a whole bunch of new tricks and tech that we've acquired over the last few years.

The trickiest core technical improvements -- ranging from highly efficient 3D graphics to a multithreaded main-simulation to mod support -- are already complete.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLtDdZRq4Bk

Why trust us?

We’re not kidding around in our approach to this: we’ve made a massive 160+ page design document, because it was basically the only way we were comfortable doing a kickstarter campaign for this sequel.

We can't stand vague or overblown promises, so our goal has been to be as explicit and clear as possible. We did a massive AMA on reddit where we wrote more than 50 pages of responses, and we're happy to answer even more questions.

That said, this project is huge, and we've been having a rough time in the crowded New Steam Market (so to speak). Please consider backing the project if you can! It's very hard to reach customers nowadays, and we don't have a good way to fund this without your help. There are a few alternatives to kickstarter that we've worked out, but none of them give us the full creative freedom that working directly with our fans does.

Improvements at a glance:
  • GUI Clarity and usability!
  • Sane learning curve.
  • Better graphics.
  • Better performance.
  • Moddability.
  • More varied strategic landscape.
  • Streamlined out repetitive tasks.
  • Way, way more.



Even if you can't or don't want to back, please spread the word!
Whether or not you're able and willing to personally back the project, please consider forwarding this campaign's link to any friends (Steam or otherwise) that might have an interest in this sort of thing.

If you personally want to take a "wait and see" attitude toward this project, we totally respect that. But we are having trouble reaching our own existing customers, and so any help you can give us in spreading the word we would be incredibly grateful for.

Community Announcements - Dominus Arbitrationis
Chris here.  I'm going to keep this brief and try not to be annoying!  First up: if you didn't already know, we're running a kickstarter for the sequel to AI War, and that's a pretty big deal to us.

If you have not already, please consider signing up for the Headtalker campaign for AI War II.  The true power of this thing has only really become apparent to me today, and it's pretty awesome.

Briefly:
  • If 500 people sign up -- and there are 71 on there as of the time of this writing, including myself -- then a big social media blast goes out.  I guess kind of like a Thunderclap?
  • It tracks the amount of reach that we have on social media based on this, and basically it can be a way to get in front of a LOT of people.  Out of just 71 people signed up so far, that gives us a potential reach of 960 thousand people.
  • Bearing in mind that a ton of those people will have zero interest in this, it's still a lot more targeted than advertising in some ways, and it's also not costing us anything (or you much time).
  • Given our current backer counts, less than a third of you would need to help out with this for a big blast to go out.
  • And actually you can recruit other people as well if you like who are not backers of the project -- you never know if your friend's friends are strategy enthusiasts, even if that friend is not.
  • As with this kickstarter campaign itself, if the target is not hit, nothing happens.  So if we don't get 500 people signed up, then the whole thing doesn't happen.  Even if you have a small twitter following or just a few facebook friends or a small group on linkedin or whatever else, that still is valuable in that it helps us reach that count of 500 people.

Thank you for reading!
That was annoying, and I apologize for that.  To make it up to you, I'll give a few more tidbits about Reverse AI War, which I teased in update #8.

Basically:
  • It's a much smaller and shorter game, and made for serial replayability.  Ideally games are 5-25 minutes long, depending on the complexity of the scenario you set up.  I'd estimate 15 or 20 minutes on average.
  • I doubt it would be multiplayer, but who knows.  Probably that would just be irritating to play with others, though, to be honest.
  • The game is set in the Arcenverse, in the timeline after Bionic Dues and Release Raptor, but long before AI War, The Last Federation, Stars Beyond Reach, or Starward Rogue.
  • You play as the AI at the end of Earth's history in this game.  You may remember from the lore of Raptor that basically some humans got left behind on Earth while the rich and the upper classes fled to the stars.
  • The AI eventually chases the humans out into the galaxy, as we clearly see in the first AI War.  However, before it can comfortably do that, it needs to take care of the planet that we both came from.
  • The overall idea here is thus that you're trying to kill the last of the humans remaining on earth.  It really gives you a perspective of the sort of vaguely Risk-like experience that the AI has in AI War, but on territories on earth instead of planets and solar systems in space.
  • As with AI War, the AI (you, this time) have vastly superior resources to your foes, but also some weak spots.  This game is also a David and Goliath simulator... but this time you're Goliath tasked with destroying David?
  • If that sounds easy, then you're forgetting the core weakness of the AI: blindness.  You don't know WHERE all those pesky humans are.  You thus want to do various things to draw them out, including letting them take some territory from you in order to expose themselves.  Mwa ha ha, they think they're so sneaky...
  • ...of course, the more you do that, the more you actually do risk that they pop up in surprising force and destroy your quantum computer, thus ending you.  The other risk is that they escape into space, meaning that you've failed in your chief objective.
Overall I think it's a really fun concept, and it's simple and short and yet has good strategy to it.  As I mentioned before, I hope to have a WebGL online demo you can play by the end of November.

Depending on how things progress with this kickstarter, I might be convinced to give out copies of this to all backers above some certain tier... ;)

That's all for now!  Sorry for being annoying about the Headtalker thing, but if you can help out with it it is definitely appreciated.  And hopefully the Reverse AI War details make up for it.

Cheers!
Chris

Addendum!
There have been a number of objections to the Reverse AI War thing being talked about on our forums, and I felt like those are things that I wanted to address here, too. Here's the original thread: http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,19276.msg209980.html#msg209980

The TLDR is that basically, no, that doesn't mean that we're giving up on this campaign. It doesn't indicate a lack of interest on my part in AI War II, either. It is an attempt to be honest and clear with you despite the fact that it may be mildly stupid from a PR standpoint, but I think that honesty tends to beat "smooth talking" in situations like this.

If you still have reservations, the post there is worth a read. I suppose the other biggest point is that we're neither just sitting here and hoping things improve (we're both making contingencies and actively trying to improve things at the same time). A lot of kickstarters do this thing where they seem to just be blindly trucking along, and anyone who looks at them goes "that's not going to fund," but they seem oblivious. I hate that so much. I doubt the people are oblivious, but I guess they don't want to show a lack of confidence and so they sure seem oblivious. I'd rather tell you as much as I can about what we're trying to do to make things better, instead.
Community Announcements - x-4000
Bugfixes and an AI War II kickstarter notice on the main menu.  The release notes cover the details, and we hope that you enjoy those fixes. :)

We also hope you'll stop by the campaign for AI War II and see if you think it's worth your time and/or money.  We are having an exceedingly hard time reaching our existing players for AI War Classic -- of which we need only about 3% to actually back the kickstarter -- and as such, our kickstarter is stalling.

We have a variety of ways in which we're working on pulling out of the stall, but by far the best option is getting the message out to people who would directly be interested.  Hopefully that includes you if you're reading this, but please also spread the word to other players you know who might have missed this!

Best,
Chris Park
Founder and Lead Designer, Arcen Games
Community Announcements - x-4000
Just a very quick note to point you to this link.  We won't normally bug you with every little thing, but we wanted to give you a chance to get in any questions you might have if reddit is your bag.

Obviously you can ask us anything in general, but it's nice to have an event for it, too!
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

Arcen have launched a Kickstarter for a sequel to their excellent 2009 strategy game AI War: Fleet Command [official site]. The Kickstarter page comes complete with a 159 page design document, so if you really want to dig into the detail you can get a very good idea of what’s likely to be changed or improved in this sequel, and Arcen are shooting for just shy of $300,000. With one day of the campaign down, they’re more than ten percent of the way toward that target. … [visit site to read more]

Community Announcements - x-4000
Wow what a whirlwind of a few days!  If I haven't responded to your message yet, I really apologize and will do so as soon as possible.  I'm caught up on the kickstarter messages and comments themselves, but I'm behind on Steam and the Arcen forums.

Funding Is Starting Strong!

Our kickstarter for AI War II has now passed 10% funding within its first 30 hours, which seems like it bodes well.  But the graph for every game is different, and so we're not going to sit idle just because of a strong start.  We can still use all the help that we can get in spreading the word on social media, other sites that would be interested in this sort of game, and of course via gaming news.

Reddit AMA Tomorrow

Speaking of!  Tomorrow we're going to be doing another AMA on /r/Games/.  It will start at 11am EST, but if you're going to be late feel free to still ask questions -- I'm on reddit every day anyway (not during work!).

So what else is new?  Well, we've updated the video for the kickstarter to be a little better (it was already pretty killer).  If you've already seen it, it mainly just adds a bit of extra visual and sound effect punch and clarity in a few places, and then a bit of extra music at the end (sneak peek of a vocal track from Stars Beyond Reach, actually).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLtDdZRq4Bk

New Backer Tier!

Our $100 and $300 tiers sold out incredibly quickly, and we're trying to figure out how to handle that -- providing rewards at those levels that you folks will enjoy, but that don't break us in the implementation/fulfillment phases.  Thanks for bearing with us!

In the meantime, we've added a new $400 tier: SPACE ARCHAEOLOGIST.

As a Space Archaeologist you get the following benefits shared by all Neinzul Backers:
- Named prominently in the credits as a Neinzul Backer
- Neinzul Backer badge on Arcen forums.
- 5 backer-exclusive AI War II digital wallpapers
- Write your own “message in a bottle” that will be discoverable in-game (subject to approval)
- Two copies of the game in private alpha
- Name an in-game planet

n addition, and EXCLUSIVE to the Space Archaeologist, you get to:
-Work with Blue to design a mysterious alien artifact, then collaborate with Jack to write what we know about them (subject to approval)

Initially controlled by the AI, alien artifacts are variants on the resource-generating derelicts scattered across the galaxy. Capturing an artifact earns you a one time Science bonus, and ongoing attempts to study them sometimes "glitch out", and generate allied ships! These ships aren't pushovers, and while you can't control them, you don't have to pay for them either. The AI won't be happy about losing the artifacts however, and will destroy them rather than let you keep them.

Space Archaeologists will individually work with Blue to design their own artifact, and then work with Jack to explain what we know about it. That might be where it's from or how it was found, secrets of its construction or how it's been used. With this tier you'll be adding one more secret to the Arcenverse, so don't explain too much!

Soundtrack Now Included In All $100+ Tiers!
So many of you asked for this that we worked it out and are now going to be providing high-quality mp3, FLAC, and wav file versions of the AI War II OST for anyone who pledges at least $100. This will include the entire soundtrack, including any stretch goals or other bonus tracks commissioned, so when exactly you get each piece may be staggered a bit.

This was a belated addition due to popular demand, and kickstarter doesn't allow us to change the description of backer tiers after someone has pledged at that level (definitely for the best as a general policy), so we've had to make note of it in the campaign FAQ and in the rewards section (not the sidebar).

If you've read this far, here's a special reward. ;)  This is Pablo's reorchestrated and remastered version of the original AI War title theme.  Just like Arcen itself, he's come a really long way since 2009, and I continue to be really stunned and impressed with the work he's doing lately.

https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/287038354

Other Changes To The Campaign!

People have been making all sorts of great suggestions.
  • We now have a new $40 tier that simply gives you two v1.0 copies of the game (so it's just like getting the $20 tier twice).
  • We've added two new videos down in the body of the campaign that show off the far zoom mechanics for the new game as well as the last trailer for the first game.
  • Down at the bottom there are now a number of charts detailing our work status on all the major 1.0 features.  We're further along on a number of them than folks might have realized, massive design document aside.

That's all for now!  I'll have more updates coming up soon, as will other members of the team.  Thanks again for all your support, enthusiasm -- and let's not forget trust.  With a campaign like this you're trusting that we'll follow through for you, and we have absolutely no intention of letting you down.

Very Best,
Chris Park
Founder and Lead Designer, Arcen Games
...

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