the Andrew Bailey

Ashes of the Singularity

It's the future, and the singularity has happened. Artificial intelligences exist, and humanity roams the stars (some of them, at least). A few have transferred their consciousnesses into computers to join the AIs. Did you think that would change humanity's fundamental territorial nature?

Screenshot with a Post-Human Coalition army attacking a Substrate base.

Ashes of the Singularity is a real-time strategy game. There are two factions: the Post-Human Coalition, and the Substrate. Both are robot-based. The post-humans have a familiar military/industrial aesthetic, and the substrate are more curvy and alien looking. In the campaigns, you first play as the post-humans trying to stomp out revolt, only to have your AIs rebel too. This leads to the substrate missions, where you uncover some bad secrets about the post-humans, and eventually ally with some of them.

Gameplay heavily revolves around land control. Each map is divided into several dozen regions, and every player starts in one, where the nexus is. If it's destroyed, you lose. Each region may have metal or radioactive resources. To collect resources, you must build an extractor on the deposit, and you or your allies must control a path of regions going back to your nexus. All buildings and units require metal, which is in abundant supply. More advanced units and buildings require radioactives. There is a third resource, quanta, which is produced by quantum relays and archives. Quanta is used for global upgrades, like weapons, shields, and logistics (unit limit), and special abilities, like orbital strikes. Like Supreme Commander, the economy is based on resources over time. Substrate players can store unlimited resources, but PHC players can only store so much and any more gathered is wasted.

Ground unit types come in 4 classes: frigates, cruisers, dreadnaught, and juggernaut. Frigates are small and cheap (sometimes costing metal only). Cruisers are a bit tougher. Dreadnaughts are much larger, and can turn the battle. Juggernauts are even bigger, but also cost quanta. There are also air units, coming in the form of fighters, bombers, gunships, and floaty things that steal resources. There are no naval units.

Screenshot of a Substrate army attacking a Post-Human Coalition base.

My usual strategy is to grab as many resources as I can at first. I use one engineer build high tech buildings, since any more than that drains radioactives early on in games. I start to build turrets at key points. Then, build quite a few factories to build many frigates and cruisers at once, but only one dreadnaught or juggernaut at a time. I always build a mix of units. At some point, I build anti-air fighters, and upgrade some turrets. Once I have two or three armies, I go attack. You win when you destroy every enemy nexus, or hold turinium generators long enough. Turinium is the computational substance that post-humans live in, and it ideally covers entire planets.

When this game came out, CPU reviewers used it for benchmarking due to its multithreaded engine, to the point where it was called Ashes of the Benchmark. It's not used in that capacity for new CPUs anymore. For what it's worth, this game runs smooth on my 1800X, RX 6800, and 4K monitors. That said, it crashed about once on every game played. I'm not sure if this is due to my drivers, or just buggy code in the game itself. Thankfully, the game does autosaves every minute, so you hardly lose any progress.

Although there is some asymmetry going on, this game doesn't break new ground. Grey Goo has more experimentation going on. I'd only pay $20 or so for this.

Posted under Gaming. 0 complaints.