Here's a more sedate representation of space than that offered by some of today's other interstellar stories. Endless Space may not be as infinite as its title suggests, but thanks to Amplitude's commitment to free add-ons, it is constantly expanding. The fifth of these add-ons, called The Search for Auriga, is now available for owners of the game's Disharmony DLC.
The main features of this update include the special planet Auriga itself, new heroes, a new wonder, tweaks, adjusted features and some AI improvements.
Despite all that, one of the most important changes is a tweak to the Disharmony penalty for the Harmony faction. "Disharmony now affects the planet only and not the system any more: thus the player can more easily colonise planets with dust and earn some industry/resources from it. However, the science and food will decrease faster than before but only on the planet." That should go a long way to un-nerfing the DLC's added faction.
You can see the full list of changes via Amplitude's forum. The Search for Auriga should already have squeezed through the update pipes of Endless Space owners.
Amplitude Studios have been generous in their post-release support for sci-fi 4X strategy Endless Space. Four free add-on packs followed the game's launch, adding new factions, heroes and technologies, and boasting excellent sci-fi names like Lights of Polaris and Rise of the Automatons. Now they're set to continue that generosity with a free major update to the game's Disharmony expansion. As before, it will bring expanded content and a strong name: The Search for Auriga.
"'The Search for Auriga' will include new heroes, a special wonder, a unique planet, in addition to new features such as Rally Points as well as AI and balancing improvements," announces Amplitude's development blog.
Normally I'd be more excited for the new stuff - particularly the prospect of making a strategic push for special planets and wonders. Having played Disharmony, though, it's the AI and balance improvements that I'm anticipating the most. Hopefully they'll do a lot to fix existing problems with the expansion's new faction, The Harmony, who are an interesting idea let down by some pretty severe penalties that make them a chore to effectively play.
The Search for Auriga is due out next month. In addition to their continued development of Endless Space, Amplitude are also working on two other games set in the same universe, Endless Legend and Dungeon of the Endless.
A week is a long time when you're riding the PC gaming news bus. After ten days of announcement bumps and trailer plotholes, you'd be forgiven for not remembering Amplitude Studios' mysterious announcement for Dungeon of the Endless. Luckily, we can turn this vehicle around with a link. If you're all caught up, let's get this engine started, because a new trailer reveals more about the game.
The two halves of this pixellated saga have been smooshed together here. Pop to the 1:20 mark to see the new segment.
The video, while charming, still doesn't explain what the game is. For that, we turn to Joystiq, who describe it as a tower defence sci-fi fantasy roguelike. Er, okay. Set in the same universe as Endless Space and the also recently announced Endless Legend (yes, those two are linked), Dungeon of the Endless will see 'heroes' killing monsters, spending resources and bolstering defences. The developers are aiming to give players infinite replayability and brutal difficulty, because roguelike.
Dungeon of the Endless is due out on Steam Early Access later this year.
Space is endless. We knew that much, but it turns out legends are endless as well. Or rather, one Legend in particular, and probably not the one where Tom Cruise shares a curry with a guy named Tim (as is my understanding of the film). Not content with just one 4X strategy game, the Endless Space developers are back at it again, this time using those 4 Xs (eXplore, eXploit, eXpand and eXtreme) in a fantasy setting, with no spaceships or anything. You can see some hexy screenshots after the break.
According to the press release, Endless Legend will let you "Explore legendary lands with one of the eight civilizations", "Expand beyond the unknown and send your heroes in every corner of the world to find mysterious artifacts", "Exploit every opportunity by researching new technologies and magical powers while collecting Dust, luxuries and strategic resources tradable on the marketplace" and "Exterminate fools who defy you with a genuine combat system where terrain and your unit abilities are key to take the advantage over the enemy armies".
If you're wondering what that might look like, you may find these screenshots illuminating.
Endless Legend will release in 2014. For our complete Gamescom coverage, it behooves you to follow this link.
Amplitude Studios are gearing up to announce their second game, after the stately 4X space strategy Endless Space. Dungeon of the Endless is... well, actually, we don't yet know what Dungeon of the Endless is. For now, the developers are keeping the specifics a mystery, choosing to the reveal the game through a tantalising pixel cutscene of spaceship destruction, planetary crash landings and an unanswered question.
The question the devs are posing is "what's behind the door?" And they've set up a contest for people to post their guesses. Personally, I'd say the more interesting question is: what does the Endless of the title refer to? Is it that the game is set in the Endless Space universe, complete with its varied alien races? Certainly the trailer could be the fallout from one of that game's battles. But the title could also be more literal: Endless in the roguelike sense of procedural generation. My money is on both.
We'll find out for sure later in the month at Gamescom, when Amplitude plan to officially announce the game.
If you're not up to speed with the story behind 4X strategy Endless Space, this launch trailer for the Disharmony expansion doesn't quite hit the tone that developer Amplitude were presumably aiming for. An ancient, powerful, crystalline race rises from the depths of time. Their mission: to destroy... Dust?
You're telling me the oldest race in the universe are dustbusters?
Given that, in the game, Dust is a valuable resource, the Harmony's mission to purge its existence is a slightly more dramatic proposition.
"We’ve put a lot of effort into addressing the parts of the game and gameplay that either we or the community thought could be improved," says creative director Romain de Waubert. "We’ve come a long way already with the four free add-ons, and the expansion pack is the icing on the Endless cake."
Endless Space: Disharmony is out now for $9.99/€9.99/£7.99.
For most games, you wouldn't get away with releasing a series of screenshots depicting menus. But for 4X strategy buffs, a nice menu is appreciated like an FPS fan appreciates a perfectly recreated gun. Or like an RTS fan appreciates some topographical terrain. Or even like a Saints Row fan appreciates a weaponised dildo. As these screenshots show, Endless Space's Disharmony expansion has some particularly nice menus. The space explosions are really just a bonus.
Also a bonus: the expansion's release date has been set for the 28th of June.
The expansion brings the new Harmony faction, along with enhanced game AI, and a reworked battle system. "We added fighters and bombers, flying space with quasi-realistic-sci-fi flight models, killing each other in dogfights, raiding capital ships," write Amplitude. Head here for more details on the expansion's added features.
On release of the expansion, developer Amplitude will also release the ‘Sheredyn Faction’ and ‘Endless Hero’ from the Emperor Edition, as well as additional "Automaton ship models". These gifts will be provided free to all players, whether they buy Disharmony or not.
Endless Space is already a disharmonious place, with multiple factions locked in turn-based 4X fighting. And the game's developers, Amplitude Studios, have been busy stoking the fires of this conflict, having previously released four free add-ons, introducing new units and factions to the game. Now they're set to unleash the biggest galactic overhaul yet, with Disharmony, Endless Space's first full, paid-for expansion.
A teaser trailer gives you an idea of what to expect. Sort of.
Right, yes, okay... We'll probably need to go elsewhere for firm details on what the expansion contains then. Like Amplitude Studios' Disharmony page.
The star of the pack is the new faction, "The Harmony," who are described as having a "unique play style," albeit one that hasn't yet been revealed. In addition, the expansion will include new units, including fighters and bombers, and an overhauled adaptive AI system.
Here's the full feature list:
"A brand new Faction called “The Harmony” with the main objective to ANNIHILATE DUST!" "New fighters and bomber units that will completely change the shape of combat, especially with the new Battle Formation and Targeting systems" "A complete rework of the Ship Design Interface giving an improved Weapon System that includes family types for modules (short, medium and long range)" "New invasion mechanics have been added: prepare the population for bombardments, sieges and land invasions" "Expect to face a real challenge when playing against AI opponents with the new Adaptive Multi-Agent Artificial Intelligence System (AMAS)" "Four new heroes (Games2Gether)" "A new option to disable exchange of technologies, as a request from the Multiplayer community" "New Rally Points feature for newly built ships to reduce micromanagement"
"We’re lucky to have a motivated team and even luckier to have such an incredible community," said Amplitude CEO Mathieu Girard. "Our expansion pack has been designed based on player requests and community G2G votes, and we hope that it fulfills – or surpasses – their expectations."
Disharmony will launch this Summer, and will cost $9.99
Endless Space has received its fourth free add-on pack, Virtual Awakening. The update, launched in celebration of selling 300,000 copies of the 4X turn-based strategy, adds a bunch of new features unlocked during last year's free weekend. The more people who participated in that event, the more new items would be unlocked. And given the size of the changelist, it's safe to say the galaxies were swarming with would-be colonisers.
Four new heroes have been added, including the titular Virtual Endless, along with new buildings, technology, planet anomalies, random events and exploration awards. There are pirates, too.
"Driven by their need to terraform and cultivate, it was only a matter of time before the Automatons turned their eyes to the least hospitable planets: Gas giants. A probe ship departed for an uncolonized system, hoping to test technology that could transform these jovian worlds into something livable.
"It was a nice plan, but luck and reality had other ideas. The gas giant had a derelict platform orbiting it that had been of the Virtual Endless war effort -- and the Virtuals had left a guard behind. Worse yet, the system was rich in minerals from its asteroid belts, so a small but well-equipped group of Pirates was also keeping an eye on it."
Amplitude Studios have also rolled in a round of balance changes, bug fixes and AI improvements. In all, it's a meaty update to the game. The full patch notes can be found here.
If you're interested in picking up Endless Space, which we were impressed by even before the inclusion of four free add-on packs, it's 50% on Steam for the next week, reducing the price to £11.49.
Slick 4X strategy game Endless Space received a free update yesterday adding a mysterious Christmas wonder called The Polaris Factory. Wonders were added in an earlier free update, they're hidden facilities and phenomenon that can grant great boons to an expanding empire. This one is an ancient machine couched in the deep arctic ices of a frozen planet, but what does it do?
"Raw materials are collected, goods are produced and packaged, and an endless stream of boxes disappear into ships, portals, and sleds for distribution," reads the official description. "What is this unceasing travail? What is the purpose of these strange, colorful, impractical objects that they build?"
Sounds like an intergalactic santa's grotto. We'll have to find it to discover its purpose, but hopefully it's some sort of "ho ho ho" happiness bonus for your beleaguered citizens. The update also adds a new "Oros Gec Faction Hero" and slips in a few community-requested features like "enhanced battle action AI," new Steam achievements and a "No Pirates” Option.
Here's the full update list from Steam.
LIGHTS OF POLARIS (1.0.45)
CHANGES AND ADDITIONS
New balance of Factions traits (first pass). Added abilities tree pictures for each hero class in "inspect" panel. Added Steam cloud management system for saves. New game introduction panel. Added a new hero from minor faction. Added a new natural Wonder with associated FX on planet. Some additional texts translated in RUS/POL/ITA/GER.
Added new Steam achievements including Votes: Marco Polo with Tentacles / Have a Trade Route with every other system in the galaxy Alien and Eve / Colonize a Garden of Eden Cake² / Clone Galdos AI There's no Place like Home / Terraform a planet to your home planet type There can only be One / Be the only remaining empire in a game with 8 starting empires Cultural Assimilation / Envelop another empire's system in your Influence Area
Added exploration events flag option to remove the visual feedback in the galaxy view. Removed exploration and random events making spawn pirates when the "no pirates" options is enabled.
New pre-battle cards selection system with adapted GUI and report panel AI can use retreat cards now (not allowed to pirates however). New weight-balance of battle cards for AI use. Added a new option in game options to enable or not the manual battles.
Players (including host) now forward orders to themselves instead of treating these locally. Fixed wrong construction gets canceled/bought out leading to desync. Fixed construction UID mismatch leading to desync. Fixed fleet's orbit assert. Fixed an issue where AI tries to buy out infinite improvements. Fixed loading issue to MP session when pressing cancel after "Connecting to server" message appeared. Fixed an issue when a client quits a session in progress then he will not be able to rejoin from the server list, since the session will no longer be displayed.
Fixed an issue where Dust miser and co-opetition corporate hero abilities effects were mixed-up. Fixed an issue where debug could be noticed on the battle notification. Fixed an issue where the selfish dust bonus of the dust rain event was not displayed in the dust income summary tooltip. Fixed an issue where the effects from exploration and random events were not properly applied after reloading a save. Fixed some issues of GUI and localization.