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Editor’s Note: The Escapist is working with Stardock to bring fans this walkthrough and developer diaries for Ashes of the Singularity, its upcoming strategy title that is currently in Early Access on Steam.

Introduction

Ashes of the Singularity is a real-time strategy game that pits humanity in the 22nd century against a seemingly all-powerful race of machine AI across many different worlds.

Players find themselves on a particular world with a home base, called a Nexus, and a single Engineer and must acquire the necessary resources to annihilate all enemy presence from that world.

The game is won either when a player eradicated the enemy’s Nexus or if they control special victory points called Turnium Generators long enough to put the planet into a chain reaction that gives you full control of it.

Hardware Requirements

Because the game simulates a war across an entire planet involving potentially tens of thousands of individual units the hardware requirements for this game are important:

  • 64-bit Windows 7, 8.x or 10
  • At least 6 GB of total system memory
  • A dedicated graphics adapter with at least 2GB if GDDR 5 memory
  • At least 4 CPU cores
  • Minimum screen resolution of 1680×1050

Make sure your video drivers are November 2015 or later. Otherwise you will run into problems. This game makes full use of your hardware.

DirectX 12 vs. DirectX 11

If you have Windows 10, we recommend you use DirectX 12 if you can. DirectX 12 allows all of your CPU cores to connect to your GPU simultaneously. In DirectX 11, only 1 CPU core at a time could do this. This allows, generally, for significantly better performance depending on the quality of the video driver.

First thing to do: Run the benchmark

When you first run the game, please make sure you run the benchmark to ensure you are satisfied with the performance. Your average framerate should be over 30fps at the end of the benchmark. If not, please go to the options and decrease the video card settings. Because Ashes is being designed for both today’s and tomorrow’s video cards, don’t worry if your video card doesn’t perform well on the highest settings. Our medium settings are roughly equivalent to a normal game’s highest settings.

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Learning the Game

We recommend you start with a single-player game. The Tutorial is not yet available in the Beta (sorry!).

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We also recommend playing a beginner AI for your first game until you are more experience.

Your First Moves

When you begin the game, you have only your Nexus and your engineer. This guide will give you suggestions on what to do next.

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For your first move, we recommend building a factory:

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Once the factory is built, build a few scouts.

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Left-drag select your scouts:

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Instruct your scouts to go capture a power generator. Over time, power generators attract “Splinters”, neutral mindless constructs that live mindlessly off the power generators.

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Once the enemy units are destroyed you can being capturing the generator.

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Building Armies

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In Ashes of the Singularity, you are fighting a war, not a battle. This means that you shouldn’t think too much about individual “units”. Instead, think of each unit as part of a larger machine. Each unit, therefore, is really just a particular type of a gun or a special ability you need. These “units” are merely pieces of a bigger unit which we call an Army (actually we think of it as a Meta unit but marketing didn’t like that term..).

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Once you have built a mix of units you like, form it into an army and it’ll act as a single bigger unit. Then send them off to capture more regions.

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While your army is engaged in battle consider building a Quantum Relay:

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Capturing Turinium Generators

One of the ways to win the game is to generate a critical mass of Turinium which allows you to instantly take over the world.

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A Quantum of Time

This planet is merely one of the planets of your vast interstellar empire. Unfortunately, space is big. I mean really big. So big you think it’s compensating for something. Simply put, space is rudely large.

Luckily, you have the technology to instantly communicate with your vast … Galactic … Civilization through the use of Quantum Relays. These give you infinitesimal moments of access to your vast technology capability so that your constructs can build more sophisticated things.

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The Post-Humans have access to 6 orbital structures that in turn launch into orbit a particular device:

Orbital Fabricator

The Orbital Fabricator launches a factory into orbit that can instantly materializes units anywhere you have vision. It costs quanta to actually produce these units but it has the benefit of intantly placing those units either via an Incursion (a small strike force) or by allowing you to place an engineer anywhere on the map.

Weapons Lab

The Weapons lab sends out a nasty little energy projection satellite that can bring down plasma storms or gun turrets anywhere you have vision.

Orbital Command

This orbital sends up a satellite that can instantly construct a disposable anti-matter phase weapon that can do mass destruction. Needless to say, this is a very expensive orbital and ability to use.

Power Regulator

This orbital allows you to overcharge generators that have an amplifiers on them to get more resources out of a particular region.

Energy Projector

This orbital allows you to send down a beam that can heal your units in a given area or disrupt enemy unit shields (if they have them).

Orbital Nullifier

This orbital sends up a satellite that prevents enemy satellites from being able to take action in the part of the world that the nullifer is built in. You will want to build these in areas you don’t want the enemy to mess with you.

Understanding Your Army

Many new players learn (the hard way) that spamming out blobs of units will result in a swift defeat. Ashes is a game that involves high quantities of units but their interaction is very asymmetrical.

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For example, a player who builds a lot of cheap Brutes can see them all destroyed by a couple of Zeus’s. However, a player who builds a bunch of expensive Zeus’s can see them all destroyed by a single Nemesis. Someone who spams Drone Hives can see all their drones be destroyed by a single Apollo. The mix of units you use matters.

On the other hand, while it can be tempting to simply take the safe route and build a generic mixture of units (a little of everything) you will want to keep an eye on what your opponent’s mixture is. A bland mix of units can be crushed by a player who commits strongly in a particular area (siege tactics versus air strikes versus direct assault and so on).

Much of your information regarding their strategy will ultimately come from their Dreadnoughts. As they go up levels, they get more powerful which will encourage players to create armies that complement the direction they take their Dreadnoughts.

The Post-Humans include 3 Dreadnoughts:

Cronus

This Dreadnought is for sieges. It is very vulnerable to direct assault. Thus, any army it is in should provide a lot of protection for it so that it can, ideally, hold position and use radar giving units (air and scouts) to maximize its potential. Its missiles pierce armor but are fairly inaccurate thus moving units are not particularly vulnerable to it.

Hyperion

This Dreadnought is designed to control an area or destroy enemy armies. It is very good against masses of cheap units but its weapons have limited functionality against heavy armor (buildings and other Dreadnoughts).

Promethesus

This unit kills other Dreadnoughts. It can be easily overwhelmed by masses of cheap units but will make short work against the player that foolishly commits to mass Dreadnoughts or even strike forces of Cruisers (tier 2 units) without screening them with frigates. Its primary weapon passes through all armor making it alarmingly good against poorly defended buildings too.

Controls

Some basic controls to get started:

Mouse

  • LEFT-CLICK to select a unit.
  • LEFT-DRAG to select several units.
  • RIGHT-CLICK to send to a destination.
  • RIGHT-DRAG to move the map. (the game will have options to change the bindings).
  • SCROLL-WHEEL to zoom in and out. Holding down this button will let you rotate the map and holding the SHIFT key while doing it will let you change the camera pitch.

Keyboard

  • F1 will select an idle engineer (we will update the UI to display idle engineers)
  • SHIFT will show all current orders and allow you to say up waypoints
  • ALT will show the weapon range of your units
  • CTRL and a number key will set up control groups. This is important because control groups are shown on the map.
  • # keys. Once you set up a Control group, you can hit the number key to select that control group.
  • TAB will allow you to tab into the next group of keyboard short-cuts for a selected unit or building.

Additional Tips

1. This is a game of skill. Not speed. Your strategic thinking is rewarded. How fast you are with a keyboard or mouse makes little difference.

2. Take your time. Units and buildings don’t die fast. These are powerful, well protected constructs. Analyse what the enemy is doing and take decisive action. Don’t panic simply because you see “a bunch of units”.

3. Come visit us! We live on our forums.

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