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Endless Space: Add-On “Rise of the Automatons” Released

By on October 2nd, 2012 11:52 am

Endless Space | "The rise of the Automatons"

Iceberg Interactive and Amplitude Studios release the free add-on/patch for Endless Space, “Rise of the Automatons”, today on Steam. Amplitude plans to release two more of these free add-ons till the end of 2012, before they start to work on the announced expansion pack.

According to the publisher the most important features of this free add-on #1 are:

  • Addition of the new Automatons custom faction
  • GUI changes such as a new Trade Route panel and updated Empire Management screen
  • Upgraded and updated diplomacy and alliance options
  • Improved hero management
  • Improved AI
  • Fixes, amendments and changes

Amplitude’s full release note can be found here.

Regarding “improved AI” the full notes include: better building of star system improvements; tax rate management improvements;  better handling of alliance requests and improved formula for trading a technology with the AI.

Concerning the “diplomacy upgrade” Amplitude added: a tendency panel that shows how an ally AI is likely to respond to a treaty you offer to someone outside the alliance. When you offer someone outside the alliance a treaty, your allies may decide to accept the treaty of leave the alliance.

There are also “balancing improvements”, namely: a change on the upkeep formula; deflectors efficiency reduced; hull HP increased; tonnage and repair modules cost increased; length of Cooperation Agreements reduced and AI bonuses reduced to balance the difficulty.

See the changes in the following screenshots supplied by Amplitude Studios (the text on the bottom of each image explains the change).

Apparently, your current game saves will not be compatible with this new version to come out today. So, make sure to stop Steam’s auto-update feature if you plan to finish your current game :)

According to Amplitude’s update plan, the free add-on #2 content will be defined through Games2Gether at the end of October 2012. The free add-on #3 content voting will start after that. All three free ad-ons “will be released until December of this year (2012)” said Amplitude.

For more information on this turn-based space 4X game checkout our Endless Space review and the AAR “Playing the Amoeba”. Information on where to buy can be found on our game’s list page.

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35 Comments


  1. SQW says:

    I’m not touching ES again until after they actually fixed both the tactical and diplomacy AI.

    • Smoking Robot says:

      +1. This game is not in good enough condition for them to be selling add-ons. This was my last day-1 purchase, ever.

    • Alex Ryden says:

      The community is working on ai mods right now, and the devs are actually using the mods in the new patch, from what I can see above. The main tactical issue is the ai does not use the entire tonnage value on ships, and a modder actually managed to find a work-around. Plus, the devs are going to release more packs in the future. I understand the frustration over the ai, but the devs are certainly working on it. And besides, the game wasn’t broken to begin with. It was still fun, it just lacked replay value. At least the devs are not going the distant worlds route, where the packs necessary for enjoyment are all as much as the base game itself.

      • t1it says:

        *Ahem*
        Matrix route! Not DW route!

        • Alex Ryden says:

          Does Matrix determine the pricing? Usually, the developer has some input on the price and whether or not the pack will be free or cost money. The ES space devs are not being forced into charging for this patch. But I guess steam is more of a store, not a publisher.

      • Mike says:

        I’ve got some faith in them as a dev myself. Considering AI is the most disappointing aspect of a huge proportion of, well, most games, even though I’m not a programmer I can see it must be difficult. I dig where the games going, so I dont regret the purchase to support them.

        What I’d more like to see is more… personality, content. Maybe some nebula systems, a black hole, occasional space monster or something, just a bigger variety of things on the galaxy map. Spice things up a bit beyond just various planet attributes.

        • Alex Ryden says:

          Those things are actually in the previous and current GTG vote. They plan on adding a lot of ambiance stuff in the next pack.

      • Ashbery76 says:

        Mods cannot solve issues like the A.I still not be able to use a simple feature like the retreat card.

  2. Jeff P says:

    If you bought the game from Steam, the add-on automatically downloads and installs when you next start Steam, like a patch.

    I haven’t had a chance to check out the new content yet.

    • Adam Solo says:

      I may be wrong but I think ES always requires Steam, both digital and DVD versions. So, the add-on install should be like you said for everybody.

  3. sly ostinato says:

    WARNING: Apparently they did NOT make this update/patch backwards compatible. Anything you have saved before this version will not work. How can an indie studio, whose primary goal is to break away from the way big gaming companies do things, overlook something that I’m sure has vexed them before as a gamer? Let’s face it…it’s irked us all. You play weeks on a civ-style game, an update comes out and BOOM…you can’t play any previously saved games.

    Players are already complaining on their forums that some bugs and missing features STILL have not been addressed. I know I submitted some bugs and problems that were more than an annoyance and if they were not addressed, even in part, I will NOT be recommending this game to anyone. I may even go as far as to tell people to outright avoid it.

    I’ve tried to remain positive with Endless Space and Amplitude Studios, but as time goes on, it would seem that this indie studio is missing the whole point of going independent – and what that means; and missing the point to their Games2Gether mantra.

    I won’t be buying their expansion pack when they try to sell it in 2013.

    • Alex Ryden says:

      Why is the save game thing such an issue that you would recommend people to avoid the game? It happens. It isn’t something they can avoid if they add a certain amount of stuff. They could work extensively to make the save games backwards compatible but I honestly am not that ticked by losing my saves. It just means I get to start some new games and challenges. And, the game runs fine. It works fine. There are no huge overwhelming bugs that I can see. It could be better, like everything else, but I wouldn’t tell people to avoid it. It has entertainment value and for $30 is not ridiculously priced for what it gives: a fun, relaxed 4x space sim.

      • fred says:

        You knopw StarRuler? Yes you do. Isn’t it so, that you there have the option to load an old (legacy 1.1.x) Game so you can still play the old version?!
        Well, not many games do that, but it is possible.
        But anyway, I recommend disabling the autoupdate-option in steam.. for any game. Because Steam ist updating Team Fortress and Halflife on a weekly basis.. what the heck…

        • fred says:

          by the way, steam is not updating anything and i have not even any upate info. but that might be a different problem,.. i’ve installed it in german. it might change when i switch the language..

        • fred says:

          forget my 2. post. it’s updating

  4. Towerbooks3192 says:

    Oh endless space!!

    I want to love you or even like you!!

    But I can’t tolerate your combat system..

  5. lammaer says:

    While the game is a bit simplistic and the combat system really needs an overhaul (its just not fun enough) ES is the BEST and most playable 4x strategy which we got this year.

    It’s UI is a masterpiece, even the big companies should learn from these guys, the game itself is intuitive and easy to play with. Also, it’s pretty bug free (no crashes, no glaring issues) which also something to value – actually it is playable.

    If they can add more content to have a bit more depth in the game, ES will be a wonderful 4X strategy, it have a great potential.

    • Adam Solo says:

      I agree that with a bit more content (immersive I would add) and depth as you say (that I would classify as more choices offered), it may turn into an excellent game.

      I said it before, I think Endless Space lacks aliveness and immersion elements. Something that makes us connect more with the background story, with the races, the environment, with what’s going on. We need little cutscenes, animations or text events to make us feel more connected with the game, to have a credible and fully enjoyable experience.

      And surprises. We need more surprises! Derelicts, ruins, events, something that makes us choose, and make those choices meaningful in the game progression, because in its heart choice is what strategy is all about in the end. Choice and consequence, the reward of seeing your empire flourishing according to your decisions.

      I feel that there’s little choice in ES besides deciding which planets to go after next and if we should be friendly or aggressive with our neighbors. I don’t feel enough tension to decide my tech progression or on what to build on planets next. I end up building everything everywhere and jumping from tech to tech with no particular focus.

      I agree that the UI is probably one of the best ever made for these type of games, and the game is also very stable. No problem there.

      So, in summary, I think Amplitude guys have done a good job and I have high hopes for the coming patches and the expansion planned. But, my feeling is that they are better software developers than creative storytellers (although their concept art is amazing). I just think they need to devote more time now to creative thinking, to involve more the artists on the game development process. To think in ways they can transform their good game and great software product (robust, fast, user-friendly) into an immersive, replayable and fully enjoyable gaming experience.

      • Ahbery76 says:

        Making a good IU is easier when the said game has little in the way of systems mechanics.EndlessSpace is hardly a Paradox level game in features or even Civ.

  6. fafrin says:

    This is getting better after every update if they keep at it we’ll have a classic!

  7. sly ostinato says:

    Wow, it looks like their forums and posts on Facebook are exploding with angry customers who were slammed with this forced-update. People are demanding that they offer a rollback download to revert back to a previous version of the game, so they can access and continue playing their old saves. Looks like they really screwed this one up. Some are already threatening not to buy the expansion pack when it comes out. Bye, bye, Amplitude. Not even a year out from your first game offering and you are pissing off people already. Doesn’t look good for Amplitude Studios.

    • Adam Solo says:

      It’s not the first time saves are not backwards compatible after patches, we’ve all seen it in other games (including Civ5 for example). Some will still let you load previous saves after you update but warn you that you may have strange behavior. If you change some pictures you’re fine, but if you change the numbers who knows what will happen, which apparently was the case here.

      I specifically raised this issue some hours before the patch was available on Steam on purpose because I was expecting this sort of problem. So, that’s why I posted about the update before it was available.

      Amplitude showed receptiveness (represented by the dev Max) to allow old saves to be loaded “don’t throw your old saves to the bin as we’re of course looking into this”. So, this shows care and willingness to sort out the issue.

      So, from my perspective the problem is two fold.

      1. Amplitude was not aware that this would be a big issue, although they seem to have warned people some time before the update was going to be available on Steam. But, they didn’t reach everybody. And, they couldn’t. You just can’t reach everybody on time.

      2. Steam should have a more robust update system. Not just “Always keep this game up to date” or “Do not automatically update this game” options but a flag on its configuration that if selected alerts you when an update is ready to be installed (for all games).

      Without Steam this would not be a problem because you would read the release note and then decide to apply the patch or not. This is how it is done for non-Steam games and works fine. So, Steam, in my view, acclaiming to be the guru of system updates, has a big part of the blame. That, or people are forced to micromanage the way their games get updated. No way out of this.

      On the other hand, if a lot of people are complaining on backwards compatibility this is also good news for Amplitude. It means that people are dead serious about playing their game :) Come on people. This is a sand-box game. Part of the fun is to re-start games using different settings, especially when a new update is available.

      Let’s give them some slack shall we.

      • slyostinato says:

        “Let’s give them some slack shall we.”

        Ummm, I think not. When a company puts out their hand and asks for my $40 (and that is what it costs in the USA – after Iceberg Interactive ships it to you with all the fees, money conversion rates and shipping charges), the product needs to be 100% ready for public use and fully working. For the life of me, I don’t understand younger gamers that are willing to pay full-price for a game that is not 100% complete. Are they that hard up for gaming entertainment? Who knows…all I know is that when you want my hard-earned money, then your product needs to be finished and ready to use. I’ve mentioned it before – the automobile simile – no one, in their right mind, would go to a car dealer and buy a car if they told you that it was ‘a work in progress’ and only 80% complete – plus you may experience some bugs with that 80%. The gaming industry is no different. If your game is not 100% complete, it is not ready for the market place and does not deserve my money.

        Ohh, and the DRM thing. People…Steam is a DRM mechanism to keep you from your game. Again, how would you like it if you paid for a car, but every time you wanted to use it, you had to pick up the phone and call the dealership that sold it to you and get their permission to release the lockout on you using it. And what if you were not near a phone at the time you wanted to use it? Just absurd! Or lets take it one step further – your cell phone. What if you couldn’t use your cell phone unless you logged into some 3rd party website to enter a ‘release’ code before you could get access to a product you already paid for. I realize these are extreme example, but it seems to be the only way to clunk people over the head with the reality of such situations so they will open their eyes.

        • Adam Solo says:

          You took my “Let’s give them some slack shall we” sentence from another context and used it now in a context that suited your need.

          But, anyway, this is not a broken game (like other recent 4X games that come to mind) neither a >90% outstanding game. This is a good indie game with shortcomings and plenty of room for improvement. You didn’t heard me or anybody here say “Please buy it now!”, did you?

          When you reach the level of quality Endless Space reached you need to be more patient. Rarely do great, and even excellent games (especially 4X games) start all shiny and perfect the moment they are released. Look at Distant Worlds then and now. Look at Star Ruler then and now. Look at Armada 2526 then and now. Even Sins then and now. Look at Civ5 then and now. You see what I’m trying to say here?

          One thing is to get a broken, incomplete, buggy, unstable, ultimately unplayable game like SotS2 or LoP were in the beginning (and unfortunately for LoP the future is not promising). Another completely different is to get a stable, enjoyable, playable game that although could be much better (therefore the 8.0 score), it could be easily a 9.0 or more with the right polishing, balancing and content. And, the devs are working on the game and releasing patches, 1 is out and 2 more to come till the end of the year.

          So, Endless Space could be better, it didn’t live to the expectations of most at release time but it surely is not a bad game, so it’s unthinkable to compare it with games like SotS2 or LoP (not saying you are). And, what for one person is incomplete for another may be wishlist.

          And, you can buy the game cheaper if you download instead of buy box (which you still need to get running on Steam anyway).

          Don’t get me wrong, I understand what you mean, you got disappointed, you expected more for your $40. But why did you expected that much? If you read our review you’d know that the game had considerable shortcomings at release time.

        • Menelon says:

          Totally agree with Adam.

          And if you have the boxed version, that means you bought it at the end of August, or later. Almost 2 months to be an advised customer and have read the reviews and comments…

        • slyostinato says:

          @Adam – We’ll probably have to agree to disagree. It would seem you and I have different definitions for the meaning of the word value. But, that is okay. That’s the beauty of living on a planet with so many people – many differing opinions.

          @Menelon – Nope…with a career, and family of four, I don’t have tons of time to live on forums and read endless threads on reviews. I read ONE review on ES, I believe it was either IGN or Gamespot, and made a decision from there. I just don’t have as much free time as others. But I will be telling those that I know to let ES mature and fill out a bit to warrant the $40 price tag. Plus, this game is basically an unknown in the USA as no retail stores carry it on their shelves. I’m going to have to go back to my “give me a demo first” policy before buying games from indie studios that are just starting out.

        • Adam Solo says:

          @slyostinato
          I took the time to check both IGN and Gamespot ES reviews (the ones you said to have read), and they also seem to think the game deserves an 8.0/10. So, where have you read that Endless Space provided that “value” that you were imagining it had? Where have I said that the game is an instant buy, or that it contains that “value” quality, whatever how much you thought it would contain?

          I don’t know what’s your meaning of value, and as you apparently didn’t read any of my reviews I guess you don’t know mine also, so I don’t know how you reached that conclusion so fast.

          I don’t know what games are you buying that are perfect at release, but they are certainly not 4X games, because in the large majority of cases NONE were perfect at release time (and I don’t say only indie space 4X games but ALL 4X games).

          Because of their complexity and sandbox nature, 4X games need to mature. Although there’s a limit to what’s acceptable. If a game is in the state like LoP or Sots2 was at release then it’s a totally unacceptable product and you should ask for a refund if you’re unhappy. I don’t think this is the case with Endless Space at all.

          Next time you’re buying space or sci-fi strategy games I suggest you read our reviews ;)

        • Luke says:

          I bought the ES-key through GameStop for $20, about 14 days ago, that’s half of Steam’s price tag. It’s quite sad actually :s

        • Adam Solo says:

          Are you sure that was not on a sale or something? At the moment I see $29.99 at Gamestop.com and Steam for Endless Space: Admiral Edition (the cheapest edition). But I guess this depends on where you are due to Steam’s regional pricing policy. By thew way, this site http://www.steamregionalprices.com is handy to check the different Steam prices around the world.

    • Kinne says:

      And why does this really matter in a game like this?
      It’s not like you have a campaign that you have to start from the beginning, you just start a new map and generate a new random galaxy like you done plenty of time already…. get real.

    • Alex Ryden says:

      I actually think people are over exaggerating the reaction on the forums a bit. There is one thread that I can find where people are complaining, and even in the thread there are only three or four people. It is annoying, admittedly. I had a great game going I have to discard now. But I can just start a new one, maybe even on the same map if I so choose. It is a sandbox game, part of the fun is starting new games. I actually find the beginning to be the most enjoyable stage.

  8. fafrin says:

    I have to say I agree with Kinne and Alex ,just start again it’s not the end of the galaxy! :D

  9. tanstaafl says:

    The release notes for 1.0.27 says “Added a backward compatibility system for the pre 1.0.25 save files.”

    I’m comfortable with the game being a work in progress since its fun, it supports mods, and this was just the first of three free add-ons.


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