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Greetings!

I’d like to introduce you to Callum McCole.  You’ll be hearing about him a lot in the coming months as I have asked him to take an ever great role in helping me on design elements of Ashes of the Singularity.  He runs the popular RTS YouTube channel, General’s Gentlemen.

As an RTS player of many years, I have often lamented when game developers fail to make the most use of the RTS community when it comes to design and balance that can be helpful both for the expert players as well as newcomers.  I have seen people make this wish so often that I suspect many of you will be surprised that we have fulfilled that wish.

The upcoming version 2.1 of Escalation will be the first to have the beginnings of his efforts starting with the great map rebalance.

In his own words:

 

Fixed Maps:

 

Canopus

Canopus is a 3 player map which is currently in the 1v1 map pool. It features incredibly narrow choke points with only a single path into the player's base and a small centre area with a mountain making the centre impassable. This is bad for gameplay since there’s no room for flanking or aggressive maneuvers, the game rapidly because stagnant and just about spamming defenses. The tight narrow chokepoints create problems for pathfinding and the balance is ruined by the unflankable PHC Artillery Turret.

Canopus also has a disproportionately high amount of Radioactives compared to Metal.

Changes Applied:

  • Create additional routes between each peninsula to allow for more strategic diversity and flanking routes
  • Reduced the size of the impassable terrain in the middle
  • Added a metal relay in the middle of the outer pathways

Old: New:

clip_image002

Ceres

Ceres is a great map as it is, but it suffered from not having a second set of Metal deposits near the base. Adding in additional Metal deposits makes map control more strategic, which is important for a map that is so small.

Changes Applied:

  • Added two metal deposits to one of the nearby empty relays

Old: New:

clip_image004

Deneb

Deneb is the most asymmetric map in the 1v1 map pool; while an asymetric map looks pretty and is interesting if done right, the current implementation of Deneb is imbalanced in favour of the left side due to the following issues.

  1. The left side has an additional Metal relay
  2. Southwards expansion on the right side is hindered by Turinium Generators.
  3. The Central mountain has two attack paths onto the right side, but only one for the left.

Balance aside, Deneb has a disproportionately low amount of Radioactives compared to Metal. This limits strategic diversity and generally favours PHC who are less radioactives intensive than Substrate.

Changes Applied:

  • Reworked the terrain layout in order to be more symmetrical
  • Symmetrized the resource layout to be fair and balanced for both sides
  • Replaced the side Turinium Generators with Radioactives
  • Centralised Turinium generators to make Turinium acquisition more viable

Old: New:

clip_image006

Knife Fight

Knight Fight is an extremely linear map, with only a single pathway through the centre of the map from which all points are connected. This results in little strategic diversity and no room for flanking and tactical manoeuvres. Knife Fight should have additional pathways opened up along the sides with the points being connected to allow for more tactics and attack paths. The south spawn also suffers from the first two relays being further away from the Nexus than the North spawn.

Changes Applied:

  • Equalised the travel time from starting locations to first two resource points
  • Opened up an additional pathway on the sides of the map
  • Opened up an additional pathway on the top and bottom of the map
  • Connected the resources points on the sides of the map

Old: New:

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Monaco

Monaco only has two pathways across the map with Starting Locations situated incredibly close to each other. This makes the map easy too easy to lock down with static defenses, while the close proximity of spawns allows for Artillery Posts to directly siege the opponent's Nexus from the safety of their own. Lastly, having two “safe” Turinium generators on each side of the middle prevents Turinium from being accumulated. 

Changes Applied:

  • Moved player starting locations to map corners
  • Reshuffled some of the resource layout to replicate a more standard starting location
  • Created a wide Pathway in the centre of the map
  • Centralised all the Turinium Generators to make acquiring Turinium more viable

Old: New:

clip_image010

Regulus

Having only a single attack route onto the other half of the map means static defenses easily lock down and prevent any aggression, creating a long, slow  grind to break through the enemy defenses with no potential for flanking. This inherently favours PHC, who have access to the Artillery post. Regulus needs additional pathways across the map to allow for more maneuvering.

Changes Applied:

  • Created a pathway at the top and bottom of the map with an empty relay
  • Moved the starting locations to map corners to account for additional pathways

Old: New:

clip_image012

Ulrich

Without any central Path, players can only fight each other via the sides of the map, when combined with how Ulrich is a very large map for 1v1 given its medium size, this makes the map feel very slow. Having only two attack paths on opposite ends of the map can can result in players attacking each other on opposite sides and having their armies completely avoid this other, creating a base trade situation. This is not a very fun dynamic, players should have more opportunity to move their forces around the map and be able to better respond to attacks.

Secondly, having two easily defensible Generators on each side of the map results in Turinium rarely being generated for a player.

Changes Applied:

  • Created a pathway between the centre of the map
  • The middle now only has a single centered Turinium Generator
  • Added Metal Deposits onto one of the empty relays near the starting locations

Old: New:

clip_image014

 

Adjusted Turinium Requirements

 

The Turinium Requirements in Ashes are not only vastly inconsistent, they are also too high. Almost all games will come down to annihilation of the enemy, with Turinium levels being ignored and neglected. Turinium Generators are still actively contested due to the additional resources they provide, but Turinium as a victory condition is not providing any strategic diversity and consideration from players.

I have standardised the Turinium levels on the current and future ranked maps, lowering the Turinium requirements where it is too high and making it more consistent. I used 500/750/1000 as the basis for Tiny/Small/Medium maps, but varied it slightly depending on how difficult Turinium acquisition is on those maps.

Maps:

Players

Size

Old Turinium

New Turinium

Bis

4

Tiny

600

600

Frosthaven

2

Tiny

500

500

Knife Fight

2

Tiny

750

500

Kralon

2

Tiny

2000

500

Monaco

2

Tiny

1000

750

Proxima

4

Tiny

2000

600

Spica

3

Tiny

1500

600

Thuban

4

Tiny

750

600

Ceres

2

Tiny

750

500

Canopus

3

Small

1000

750

Cygnus

2

Small

1500

750

Deneb

2

Small

1500

750

Maurn

2

Small

1500

750

Pyn

2

Small

1500

600

Regulus

2

Small

1000

750

Turtuga

4

Small

1500

750

Vega

2

Small

2500

600

Rus

2

Small

1000

750

Pulaski

4

Medium

2000

1000

Ulrich

2

Medium

1000

750

Italia

2

Medium

1500

1000

Espana

2

Medium

2500

1000

New Ranked Map Pool

The following maps are suggested for the next ranked map pool, assuming that these maps are updated with the above adjustments. While this map pool has small and medium maps, it is mainly skewed towards tiny. Some players don’t like the faster pace of tiny maps, preferring the more forgiving pace of medium, but those players are more likely to be playing more casual team games instead of 1v1’s, so it wouldn’t make sense to tailor the map pool around those types of players. If Ashes had a map veto system, that would give more flexibility to add more maps of different types.

Map

Size

Turinium Requirements

Bis

Tiny

600

Ceres

Tiny

500

Frosthaven

Tiny

500

Knife Fight

Tiny

500

Proxima

Tiny

600

Spica

Tiny

600

Deneb

Small

750

Cygnus

Small

750

Pyn

Small

600

Rus

Small

750

Italia

Medium

1000

Espana

Medium

1000

 

You are welcome to comment on these changes. We hope to release v2.1 quite soon.


Comments (Page 1)
on Feb 11, 2017

Cool for the pvp community, now lets get some co-op focused comp stomp stuff

on Feb 11, 2017

I made the Ulrich changes....  And helped with some others... Just had to say it^^ If reglus is the version I belive, mostly my work aswell

on Feb 11, 2017

Map changes seem fine and Turinium requirements did tend to be too high so trying lower VP is good.

Don't really agree with the last paragraph, I've seen a few of the top 1v1 players say they are not so fond of the tiny maps either. And then almost dismissing a group of players because they play team games too? Really the paragraph reflects the gaming bias of the author. We all have our own bias of course so please don't see that as a dig, but I don't see it as being as clear cut as he tries to make it sound. Not a huge issue for me at this point really, but just something to be kept in mind for future seasons perhaps.

 

Edit:

Forgot to say it is really good to see these kind of changes as some of these issues have lasted a long time, so good job to Callum and also to Lux who I know spent a fair bit of time and effort play testing the new maps.

on Feb 11, 2017

I like that you worked at the maps. I´m looking forward to play the maps.

 

 

on Feb 11, 2017

I'm not a fan of tiny maps... Not because of the paste which is fine but there is a lot more tatics and strategies in medium and small maps....  Callum likes tiny and small best, we should get rid of some of the tines and get some more small and medium... 

 

@tictoc most the time I spent was in the map editor... And some in testing, some maps I tweeked, some I did most of the work

on Feb 11, 2017

Just a subjective opinion for sure, but tiny maps are good to train the efficiency of the build orders and confront our early timings though...particularly in 1v1.

Those map tweaks seem interesting.

on Feb 12, 2017

Hey everyone! Looking forward to seeing all these changes in action with 2.1 and gradually bringing Ashes to its full potential!

on Feb 12, 2017

Map re-balancing has been a long time coming so this is really nice to see. Also wanted to chime in that I also enjoy some medium maps in 1v1. I don't mind the focus being on the smaller ones but I think it's important to have a mix to change things up. They open up some different strategies (air hit and runs more powerful, eco boom strategies easier to pull off, more likely to see late game units and bigger mixes of units, plus once T4s come to the game these will be the only maps you'll have a chance to see them in 1v1 on).

on Feb 13, 2017

Maybe change the node locations on Bis so that the neutral creeps won't attack your mines?

The rest seems nicely done!

on Feb 14, 2017

That upcoming ranked pool isn't final, I would like to do some amendments of my suggested ranked pool based off some feedback.

on Feb 14, 2017

Question: Will we have a "New" and "Old" version of each map?

I ask because Seton's Clutch is my favourite map of all time because of the singular choke point it creates. As such, seeing all of the choke points get eliminated is great for the competitive multiplayer guy, but a complete let down to me.

on Feb 14, 2017

In my past games vs Neinhalt and Danei, I often had the problem that the game was decided, before it was really decided, because of having not enough points in turinium on some maps. If you reduce the required cost of turinium too much, you will see less comeback possibilities in the game, which makes a game interesting.

on Feb 14, 2017

DasUnding

In my past games vs Neinhalt and Danei, I often had the problem that the game was decided, before it was really decided, because of having not enough points in turinium on some maps. If you reduce the required cost of quanta too much, you will see less comeback possibilities in the game, which makes a game interesting.

How about adding an additional requirement to the win via turinium? Maybe something like in sports: You need a set amount of turinium points and you have to have x more turinium than your opponent. That would make a comeback possible, when a match is especially close.

on Feb 16, 2017

Can you finally plz fix the bottom position of cygnus which players complained about 6 months ago but plz not like your great wasd implementation

on Feb 19, 2017

DasUnding

Can you finally plz fix the bottom position of cygnus which players complained about 6 months ago but plz not like your great wasd implementation

tell me what is wrong... detailed... I can fix a version of it and send it to callum who can submitt it to stardocks

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