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Endless Space: 3 Free Add-ons Before The Expansion

By on September 6th, 2012 3:39 pm

Endless Space

A couple of weeks ago Amplitude Studios announced an expansion for their space 4X game Endless Space, which they released on July 4th 2012. This caused a bit of worrisome in the community about the nature of Amplitude’s future support for Endless Space since many still think further balancing and bug fixing should be done before a paid expansion is released.

Amplitude has stated their intention to keep “supporting the game via [free] updates (…) adding balance, tweaks and other additions” many times in the past and although the work on the expansion will “start soon” the idea, said Amplitude, was to consult the community early on. “It is important to understand that we decided to start discussions early on the content before to start working on the expansion, to make sure that packs answers your wishes” ~Amplitude Studios.

Today Amplitude clarified Endless Space’s update plan. They announced “many improvements to come” and that they are going to group all the elements together and deliver those as packs. So, they will start with “3 free add-ons” inline with the improvement list on their forums. The free add-ons will be “released until December of this year, the first one due end of September”.

Following the 3 free add-ons Amplitude will start working on the expansion pack, which will focus on the battle system. And, about that Amplitude stated: “if we want to be ambitious on the delivered content, and keep expanding the game, we will need to generate some revenues from expansion pack. Amplitude is a young company, and we must make sure we will survive to deliver other games in the future!”. ~Mathieu Girard (Amplitude Studios CEO).

Free add-on #1 (ETA: end of Sep 2012)

Features / Improvements:
– The Automatons Custom Faction
– Custom Faction Affinity, so you can differentiate the visual affinity […]
– Diplomacy Improvement on alliances, to be aware of allies decisions
– Trade Routes Sum-up : special panel to summarize and sort trade routes
– AI : improved tax rate management
– Hero management improvement: navigation, selection, leveling and undo
– Empire Wide factors more readable in a special panel
– Multiplayer version consistency check

– Economic victory possible in Endless Victory (difficulty tuning)
– Academy, hero balancing, for more balanced game starts
– Bushido trait (Hissho) balancing
– Industry cost balancing for repair and tonnage modules

– Ability to mod ship meshes and textures (that is a big one)

Free add-on #2 content will be defined through Games2Gether (Amplitude’s system to retain the community’s feedback) and is expected to be set at the end of October 2012. Free add-on #3 content voting starts after that. All 3 free ad-ons “will be released until December of this year (2012)” said Amplitude.

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  1. Ahbery76 says:

    That is not an add on.That is patch work due to releasing the game early.

  2. killias2 says:

    The first “add-on” (patch) looks good enough, but I don’t think there’s anything that will really make me come back. I hope there’s something juicy in one of the other two add-ons. I doubt I’ll buy an expansion by what I feel by the initial purchase….

  3. dawmail333 says:

    As a developer, I approve of this. It balances community focus with financial realities, and allows them to make good their promises. Another reason to buy this game, if playing it on a friend’s computer wasn’t enough.

  4. ray says:

    Good to hear – a subtle retrenching with an action plan – may have just won me back on board

  5. SQW says:

    Since when did patches are considered ‘add-ons’?!

    Considering how woefully inadequate the AI still is after almost 3 months, I’m with Ahbery76. The devs admitted in the forum on launch day that some features and balancing were omitted in order to release on time.

    These ‘add-ons’ are nothing more than a clever way of milking extra goodwill from things that should have been done in the first place – a lot of the ‘extras’ are stuff people have been asking for since beta.

  6. Unforgiven says:

    Instead of complaining over how things should be done in your view, be glad that they are willing to fix things instead of just churning out an expansion while leaving game mechanics and balances for what it is. I, for one, am glad that they are willing to spend time to fix / get things straight to make ES a better game than it is already.

  7. Adam Solo says:

    We really are a tough audience.

    We know how hard this kind of games are to develop, how difficult it is to get things balanced, so, I think we should distinguish things here. One thing is to release an unfinished and unplayable product, another totally different is to release a playable game that could be improved further. That’s what the devs are doing in my view. Could it be better at release time? Always. Endless Space is not a prime product but it is a good game. Now, do you want to leave it like that or want further improvements?

    The alarm bell fired when people started to think improvements & fixes would only be obtained through paid expansions, or DLCs. This doesn’t seem to be the case here. Amplitude is showing goodwill to keep supporting the game with patches, add-ons, updates, whatever as they have always said.

    I played a few ES games and I concur that the game needs further balancing, a better combat system, more aliveness injected in and so forth, but name me one 4X game that didn’t received or needed patches after release. Even Master of Orion 2 got patches. I say let’s cut these guys some slack and please let’s redirect our batteries against folks and companies who have been discrediting the genre for the past years.

    I don’t see a problem in post-support for fixing and balancing and improving. This is what all 4X games have been doing for the past 20 years. Civ games, GalCiv games, they all started shaky in their vanilla versions. Would it be better to have better vanilla products? Yes. But, we live in the real world.

  8. Ahbery76 says:

    The problem is they are pretending that this is some sort of free favour DLC add on when it is normal patch work for unfinished game.The DistantWorlds or Paradox devs do not call their patches add on’s.

    • Adam Solo says:

      Don’t forget that they have this Games2Gether thing where people vote on things they want to add/improve. So, some things are normal patching work (bug fixing, balance, tweaking) while others seem to be voted to be added, not just fixed but added on top according to people’s likings. “Invasion Estimator”, “New victory condition”, “Destroying Systems”, “Unique Systems” all seem new things to me. See them all here.

      And this reminds me of how Stardock used to do things for GalCiv and GalCiv2. Besides fixing stuff they also listened carefully for possible tweaks and small improvements but the overhauls always came with the expansions. Stardock called these balancing/tweaking/fixing/minor improvements patches, Amplitude calls it “free add-ons”. Amplitude probably thought that patch would not be the best word to define the kind of updates they’re doing or whatever.

      And quite frankly I’m not worried about the word they chose to define their updates. They published their work, it was reviewed by a lot of people. It’s not an excellent game at release but neither poor also. It’s a good game. There are superior titles available but far worse titles also.

  9. SQW says:

    I was actively supporting ES during alpha but when the beta ended in barely a month with host of reported imbalances and AI problems still present, I stopped looking at Amplitude with rose tinted glasses.

    I understand and accepted that they had a contractual deadline but let’s be honest, they rushed the release in July(?) and are still fixing things reported in beta. To me, they are piling on the visual trinkets instead of address the more difficult but more critical weaknesses such as the AI. I will, of course, reconsider my position on the expansion after their 3rd add-on.

    @Unforgiven, it’s unfortunate if you are willing to accept that devs WILL give you an imbalanced game and that if you are lucky, they might fix the problems. Guess I hold companies that take my money to a different standard.

  10. Alex Ryden says:

    I agree with the sentiment that there are better targets to direct ire towards. Yes, the game is not perfect. I have experienced better games. But it is far from broken. It has issues, but it is no where near SotS 2 or LoP. In LoP in particular, the ai is so brain dead it does almost nothing. I can at least egt a decent fight from the ES ai. And, don’t forget that Distant Worlds was in a similar state on release. It had many issues. Just read Space Sector’s review. However, it ended up being a great 4x game. I see ES in a similar light. The devs are even providing free content, whereas the DW devs released it all as paid expansions. So, does ES have issues? Yes, but it is not worthy of so much anger.

  11. Smoking Robot says:

    Game was unfinished on release. Other than a big title like ‘Civilization VI’ I will no longer buy games day one.

    Period. No exceptions. This was one time being burned too many.

    • Adam Solo says:

      That’s a good strategy I would recommend to everybody. If you’re unsure about it, and supporting the devs is not your top priority never buy day one! Just wait for reviews.

    • Alex Ryden says:

      I don’t agree that it was unfinished. All the features they promised worked. Could it use more depth? Sure. But, it was not buggy or broken on release like LoP or SotS 2 was.

      • SQW says:

        I think he meant unfinished as in lacking in polish. ‘Working’ is suppose to be the absolute minimum standard a product should achieve and not be regarded as an accomplishment.

        We really can’t let disasters like Elemental, Lop, Stronghold 3 and SotS 2 set the bar for future games.

        I’ll say one thing for the console market, at least their games have way better QA.

    • SQW says:

      We moan about how studios these days kept releasing half-baked games and $15 map-packs etc and I can say we deserve everything we get with our current blasé attitude in regards to consumer rights/protection.

      I’m not even pre-ordering xcom because of Civ V.

      p.s. Angry? Who’s angry over a video game? =)

      • Ahbery76 says:

        I watched about 3 hours of gameplay footage on twitch over the Pax event and X Com looks a sure winner and most likely best strategy game on 2012.I am confident.

        • Adam Solo says:

          I’m also confident about XCOM. First of all because the devs sound damn confident about their game. Gameplay seems nice but I have some reserves if it will be as intense and have as many elements of surprise, fear and suspense as the original X-COMs. If that’s all in then I’m happy. Will only know that by mid October.

        • Towerbooks3192 says:

          If my eyes didn’t deceive me, the screenshot from one of the article showing a character was name sid meier and I would buy anything with his name stamped on it. His name is synonymous to quality and I think I would agree that Xcom would pull it off. However the big question mark would be if they stripped off a lot or some major mechanics and setting it aside for expansions while placing in some new ones and this could determine if all the Xcom purists/elitist would love/hate it just like the communities’ reaction to Civ V

        • Adam Solo says:

          Nothing leads to the conclusion that there will be expansions to XCOM:EU, but I guess nothing leads to the contrary either.

          As you probably know Sid Meier is one of the founders of Firaxis Games and the Director of Creative Development there. So, XCOM:EU has his stamp but it’s not really a Sid’s game, at least not directly. He’s like God in Firaxis, and I’m sure he gave lots of good tips to Jake Solomon (lead designer) but it’s not really a “Sid game”. Anyway, from what I understand Sid doesn’t design games anymore. He is the consultant, the guy you ask things if you have a doubt or need direction. So, all games under him will have his touch in the end some way or the other.

          As a curious history fact Sid was at Microprose when the original X-COM was made (X-COM: UFO Defense). Microprose was both developer and publisher. So, Sid was there in the beginning as he his now. Both times it was not his baby directly, it’s not Sid Meier’s XCOM: Enemy Unknown but he knows the series inside out that’s for sure.

  12. Nick West says:

    Could we just somehow pool the 5 or so “meh” 4x games out there and make one good one that sells well? Must be the scotch talking.

  13. slyostinato says:

    I’m going to have to concur with my fellow ‘tough audience’ gamers. As a more mature gamer, I hold companies who want my money to a higher standard, much like SQW does. Amplitude is starting to ‘play games’ with customers by calling them free add-ons when they are clearly 3 major patches to address all the issues they ignored, in their mad rush to get this pushed out the door and into the hands of Steam to start milking that cash cow. Cynical? Nahh, I’m just being a realist. I call it like I see it. They are playing the psychology card of marketing and sales. By telling people they are giving them 3 FREE add-ons, it creates this artificial image of goodwill and a “we are on the customer’s side” type of mentality to lure more game buyers in, by making them believe that this is a company that “cares” about them. How can I be so confident these are patches? Well, because I have a list of tons of things that need addressed in this game – and I’m not talking eye-candy, ship modding or new species/races, I’m talking game mechanics, flukes, bugs, language discrepancies and general game flow issues. As I’ve said previously, Amplitude is going to have to be careful on this big push to come out with an expansion so soon, less than a year, since the game’s releases. Moves like this are seen by customers as ‘milking us dry’. And I have to further agree with SQW about the XCOM/2kGames issue. Because of how they handle business, since Civ IV, I don’t buy ANYTHING from 2kGames any longer. Oh, I still play their games, but I will tap friends or colleagues to borrow their game to check it out for myself. As for ES and Amplitude, I’ve pretty much stopped playing this game as it has alot that needs fixed to make it completely ‘polished and finished’. It’s still fun to play but not worth the price they are asking for in its current state.

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