Ascent: The Space Game formally launches from early access today

Players of Ascent: The Space Game have no doubt grown accustomed to the game being in early access, along with approximately every other title. Now the indie sandbox MMORPG is moving out of early access and into the waters of launch; if you’ve been leery about jumping into the game while it’s still not in a launch state, now is the time to step in and start playing — especially if you like your sandboxes to be more in the “let’s work together to shape a potentially unfriendly world” vein rather than “let’s shoot one another because there’s no rule against it.”

What prompts the launch? Two facts: completion and money. A post on the game’s official forums on the state of the game reveals that the game is in a very good place, but the company is struggling. “There is no chance the company will fold or the game will end (I still run it on a test server at home and it’s fine. I could operate it for you with NO income),” solo developer James Hicks writes, “but there is also no chance I will be 100% full time on the game any more in May or June if we can’t FINALLY get some press traction and make some significant sales.”

“I am not getting paid anymore, and I’m personally almost out of money. I’m in the red, if you add it all up, probably not what where you want to be a few months before your 40th birthday, but as I said to a colleague in the middle of an all night coding binge: “I would rather go bust making something special, than get rich developing something ‘meh’.”

And I think that just about sums up the Fluffy Kitten Studios philosophy, for now. The company is not in great shape. Sales until now have slowed to a crawl. I think people are thoroughly sick of buying early access games in general, and Steam is now absolutely flooded with indie titles all vying for the same market. The number of games has grown at a pace that leaves the market growth for dead, and the vast majority of our potential playerbase has still never heard of us.”

So if you like the philosophies at work in the game, there’s all the more reason to pick up the title in launch.

Want more context for the game? We spoke to Ascent’s James Hicks last fall on the Massively OP podcast, and MOP’s MJ streamed the game itself.

Official press release:

Ascent Flies out of Early Access!
The largest space game ever made, now available!

April 11, 2016 – After three years of development and one year in Early Access, Ascent: The Space Game is finally launching, with a completely new UI and a fresh graphical update. Explore over 270 billion stars and over 1 trillion planets. Mine resources, build colonies, participate in galactic politics, and return civilization to space. It is now available on Steam.

Humanity has all but collapsed into starvation, disease and chaos. In Ascent it is up to players to band together, end the suffering, recover the lost fragments of technology, and rebuild civilisation in their own image.

Ascent’s feature list is as large as its immense scope:

  • A huge 270,000,000,000 star system galaxy with over a trillion unique planets to explore
  • A deep exploration game, allowing players to make a full career from discovery of planets and asteroids
  • A huge city-builder game, scaling up to over 100,000 structures in the largest player made Colonies and Starbases
  • A deep in-game economy encompassing markets operated by players at their colonies, recruitable NPC pilot traders and a large central NPC economy to maintain balance
  • Player made jump gates – a huge community driven megaproject
  • A single player Combat campaign
  • Multi-player Co Op combat against pirate ambushes
  • An industrialist campaign that encompasses the major industrialist features (trading, building, research etc)
  • A deep system of research and technology, enhancing all aspects of the game
  • The most interactive and fun system of asteroid mining yet
  • Player driven politics, complete with a functioning galactic senate, president, and planetary mayors.

Source: Press release, Steam, official site. Thanks to everyone who sent this in!
SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Code of Conduct | Edit Your Profile | Commenting FAQ | Badge Reclamation | Badge Key

LEAVE A COMMENT

67 Comments on "Ascent: The Space Game formally launches from early access today"

Subscribe to:
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most liked
tobascodagama
Guest
tobascodagama

Lostfanatic Xariukan ohforfs “Why doesn’t anybody do anything except the same old boring sandbox?”

“UGH, THIS SOLO DEV WANTS $3 A MONTH FOR END GAME FEATURES I DON’T EVEN NEED. FUCK THIS.”

Lostfanatic
Guest
Lostfanatic

Xariukan ohforfs Dude it $3 and it’s not exactly hidden so calm down.

Lostfanatic
Guest
Lostfanatic

lazylex It’s a kickstarter item. It was never meant to be available to everyone anyway, but the dev caved to the players and he needed money. It’s the same price as it was in the kickstarter so the kickstarter contributers don’t feel cheated.

GoJammit
Guest
GoJammit

wjowski Spam is meat. So is road kill. neither look good on a plate and rarely taste good.

GoJammit
Guest
GoJammit

deekay_zero LordOfBread breetoplay They were. They canned it. And I hope for their own sake that they don’t release something with flight anything like BF or SWTOR for that matter.

Xariukan
Guest
Xariukan

Thoemse dat hidden sub fee tho

Xariukan
Guest
Xariukan

ohforfs “Space trading, city building” -> yeah, if you buy premium sub after 3 months 
“premium enables colony building, outer starbase construction, government
participation, extension of your inner starbase past the first ring”

tobascodagama
Guest
tobascodagama

yukonsam01 Just imagine: the UI used to be worse. :P

yukonsam01
Guest
yukonsam01

Only got to play for a few minutes last night. Initial impression: graphics need a lot of work, and there are some rough bits in the tutorial and introductory mission, and the UI could use a professional polish… and I like it anyway. Looking forward to getting back to it tonight. It might be a market leader if it had a AAA budget… at the risk of compromising some of its charm.

Thoemse
Guest
Thoemse

Not currently playing but i investet countless hours into this game allready and it definatly is worth buying. 
Give it a chance!

Coffee, Please
Guest
Coffee, Please

Well damn, I already spent over $100 on gaming stuff between BDO and a fight stick for SFV.

This will be on my wishlist for awhile, I guess.

tobascodagama
Guest
tobascodagama

theeknighthood AFAIK, there’s no multi-crew. One of the ships is a carrier that lets you walk around inside to access smaller ships that you dock inside it, but other than that there are no crew stations or anything that would require multi-crew features. It’s more of a player==ship model, so cooperation means two ships helping each other out rather than two people working in the same ship.

TommyTim4
Guest
TommyTim4

Darkdrakke  are you implying that players don’t really want the things they say they want in a PVE Space MMO?

theeknighthood
Guest
theeknighthood

Does anyone know if this game has the ability to have multi crew ships? I can’t see it mentioned anywhere so I assume not :(

theeknighthood
Guest
theeknighthood

Impressive features but a graphics engine that looks like its from 2003, however as I am more of a game-play man then graphics I may have to look into picking this up, how this one had slipped through my radar I have no idea!

tobascodagama
Guest
tobascodagama

CistaCista Yeah, it is a bit weird. I only started a little while ago, and it seems like there are already lots of players will tricked-out colonies and starbases in multiple systems.

I think one aspect that makes it less of an issue is that there are certain material sinks for “endgame” players — namely, hyperspace gates — that require huge amounts of basic materials, more than any one or handful of players can provide in a reasonable amount of time even with deluxe ships. So there’s room for newer players to go around collecting Iron and Hydrogen and whatnot, which are materials that you can start harvesting from the very beginning of the game, and delivering them piecemeal to those advanced players. Hydrogen in particular is used for hyperdrives jumps, which are necessary for explorers who want to discover new systems, and while it’s possible for those explorers to skim it themselves, it’s maybe a little more efficient to just buy it from other players.

Another thing is that the Core Systems of the game exist mostly independent of player activity and provide a steady source of income for new players. So you’re not being shut out of progression by the player-run economy, and by the time you’ve outgrown those inner systems you should be able to operate on an acceptable level compared to everybody else.

Plus, I think the long term intent is for ships beyond a certain tech level to be highly specialised, where the lower-level ones are all generalists. Even the “fighter” ships you can buy early on can still haul cargo and come with built-in mining beams, ram scoops, etc.

Darkdrakke
Guest
Darkdrakke

Impressive as a one man dev game, all the things we all say we want in a PVE Space MMO def something to check out.

CistaCista
Guest
CistaCista

tobascodagama CistaCista Oh wow. The thing that always goes through my head then is, what do new players entering the game at “launch” say about veterans having all their wealth and skills and achievements already from before launch? Maybe it is not that important in this particular game (no PvP), but the game does advertise a player-run economy which normally would mean a just as rough competition there.

thickenergy
Guest
thickenergy

LordOfBread Unfortunately, Vendetta Online is still very feature poor. The game is, in most ways, just the same as it was when I first played it ten years ago. The space flight physics are pretty sweet, but the rest of the game is still a very incomplete framework. It just doesn’t have anything approaching the depth of Ascent.

ohforfs
Guest
ohforfs

I just bought it – never heard of it before (and I think that is his problem). It’s just what I was looking for – an Elite without having to control the bloody ship. Space trading, city building.. it sounds awesome!

enamelizer
Guest
enamelizer

Count me in as someone who has been waiting until the end of early access. The quality of early access games is just too variable, and I would rather just play the released versions.

Time to put my money where my mouth is, event tho I might not play it for a bit too many games vying for my attention!

tobascodagama
Guest
tobascodagama

CistaCista No wipe. I was playing last night on the same character I had during EA.

lazylex
Guest
lazylex

$90 DLC ship and no one is screaming P2W yet? I never thought I’d see the day…

ReesRacer
Guest
ReesRacer

I have too many games to play right now. Black Desert and The Division have been taking up a great deal of my time presently, but I’m also messing about in EVE again et al. Nevertheless, I’ve had Ascent:TSG on my Steam wish list for many months, so I bought it today because I admire the labour of love this game represents. I already own Elite: Dangerous and have spent a few hundred on Star Citizen, so even if I don’t get round to playing this straight away, I want to support the dedication and vision.

Lights_andMusic
Guest
Lights_andMusic

breetoplay LordOfBread deekay_zero “Way too many great games like this one are buried under the garbage.”
You have to admit they sort of did it to themselves though – they even hint at it in their letter “I think people are thoroughly sick of buying early access games in general, and Steam is now absolutely flooded with indie titles all vying for the same market.”  I 100% agree with their sentiment, I just think it’s odd that they are so aware of the marketplace issue and yet decided to go the Early Access route anyway (perhaps it was their only option?)  I certainly avoided this game, which otherwise sounds interesting, specifically because of the development process they undertook

Lights_andMusic
Guest
Lights_andMusic

RagnarTheDrunk Polyanna I would punch my own dog for a Not Early Access checkbox

RagnarTheDrunk
Guest
RagnarTheDrunk

orionite RagnarTheDrunk Polyanna
Agreed, me neither. There should be something for everyone, just please stop making be sift through the Atari bargain bin to find my games.

orionite
Guest
orionite

RagnarTheDrunk Polyanna I would likt to add: Retro, 16-bit, simple, pixel-art
I’m glad there are apparently a lot of people who are into the type of game and the art style we have come to associate with an indie steam game, but I am just not one of them.

CistaCista
Guest
CistaCista

Thius launch means everything including characters is wiped, right? I am curious as to how games usually proceed from early access and into launch. The press release above does not mention a wipe.

Damonvile
Guest
Damonvile

Were you trying to be ignorant or funny? Because you nailed one of those.

tobascodagama
Guest
tobascodagama

agemyth Yeah, Hicks and his artist compatriot have done a LOT of work adding new stuff to the game and polishing existing stuff. I want to see that continue!

deekay_zero
Guest
deekay_zero

LordOfBread deekay_zero can you code such a game tho? can you afford to spend 2+ years doing little coding at all but churning out millions of dollars worth of in house made art and art assets while getting little to no coding beyond tweaking cryengine? 

this developer chose to spend his budget on the meat and potatoes of the game and buy art assets which were affordable on his budget.

and for his labour he’s produced a quality product at a great price that doesn’t look like much and is a bit janky but suits his dreams as a would be game developer short of becoming a break out runaway financial success and does so at an equitable price point. 

and he’s produced this product that has such depth and nuance to it in the shadow of a game that has gathered 100s of millions in revenue on the backs of a whaling regime so intense that PWE is probably trying to figure out how to crack that nut themselves, with little more than surface qualities to what’s been produced so far.

star citizen is not a particular shining example of any part of the games business, either production wise, revenue model wise or results driven work wise, it’s a great example of how far you can whale based on word of mouth fan based viral marketting, it’s a great example of how having a tonne of money can buy you great art. as of today, it’s not much of a game tho, as much fun as i have poking about un the universe mode that is available these past months, there’s really very little to it at all.if i had bought an early access game for $20 that had everything star citizen has today i would not be particularly pleased.

shadowblender
Guest
shadowblender

What is this? The poor man’s Star Citizen?

Sigbjorn
Guest
Sigbjorn

The feature set is impressive. The fact that it’s a sandbox game that’s PvE is awesome. If only I liked space Sims
:/

deekay_zero
Guest
deekay_zero

LordOfBread breetoplay i doubt DICE isn’t already working on a star wars space game to some degree. we already see some aspects of such a game in swbf.

RagnarTheDrunk
Guest
RagnarTheDrunk

Polyanna
If they’d just give us a “not-indie” search parameter, I’d be fine with it. In fact, just a “not” checkbox with the existing tags would work just fine and I would keep the indie tag.
If I could do:
Not Early Access
Not 2D
Not Platformer
Not Iso
Not Free To Play, and
Not Funny
I’d be in heaven.

deekay_zero
Guest
deekay_zero

agemyth Polyanna it all has alot to do with what has been valve’s apparently devolving work ethic since the orange box. if not before hand.
they are great at buying new IPs and talent and bringing them to market under their own brand name (tho arguably with dota2 and csgo they’ve gotten poorer at even that), but when it comes to doing teh business savvy stuff to improve the quality of their walled garden and bring their customers a quality service experience they’d rather fight it in court or code automated systems that are often buggy or have holes in them than hire teh HR to do the job right the first time every time.
they are no doubt the biggest game company in existance that is based in the west if not the world and they have an HR force of just 300~ people and refuse to even hire on a proper CS department because of their corporate culture ideals that increasingly proves itself not to be so utopic as we all once thought it could be back in valve’s golden days, when we all loved them, even those amongst us who hated steam.

Damonvile
Guest
Damonvile

I think it has its place but a whole universe of procedurally generated worlds sounds pretty dull and boring…no matter what game it’s in.

Kayweg
Guest
Kayweg

I don’t know, i have a growing feeling that perhaps procedural generation isn’t the “new boss in town” when it comes to the future of game development.

LordOfBread
Guest
LordOfBread

syberghost That would be a great opportunity to bash Elite, comparing the feature list. Look how cheap Ascent is, it has more procedural stars and 10 times more features. That can only mean that Frontier are total noobs. Let’s deal in absolutes, I’m in the right mood today. Bring it on

LordOfBread
Guest
LordOfBread

breetoplay Good point, but if a game is fun it acquires a fanbase by word of mouth. This one doesn’t look any different from Vendetta Online which has been around for years. Graphics are almost identical. Or take Rodina
http://store.steampowered.com/app/314230/
Space sim games are still a niche within a niche. Making space games isn’t the new “get rich fast” scheme, just because two space sim celebrities are making sequels.
If EA would smell money from space freaks, they’d pushed out SWG+JTL II already.

agemyth
Guest
agemyth

All those who have been standing on the sidelines waiting for a MMO space game that isn’t a PVP “gankbox” but has systems and content with depth, now is your chance to jump in.
The game has been improved considerably over the last year in Early Access with the funds that launch afforded the developer. This may not be possible for the next year+ if this launch doesn’t generate some income.

breetoplay
Guest
breetoplay

LordOfBread deekay_zero “every space game that’s crawling out of a hole feels the need to compare itself to some ‘evil big budget’ game. If my game would look like crap, I’d at least be humble enough to shut up and stop comparing my indie hobby project to triple A titles.”
This is incredibly unjust in context and naive in general.

Damonvile
Guest
Damonvile

Dude… just read his post history don’t invite him to repost it here so the rest of us have to see it again.

breetoplay
Guest
breetoplay

LordOfBread deekay_zero The trick isn’t finding someone willing to buy it. The trick is finding people willing to notice it loudly enough that the people who are willing to buy it learn it exists.
Way too many great games like this one are buried under the garbage.

LordOfBread
Guest
LordOfBread

deekay_zero  If you put up something for sale, you still need to find someone who is willing to buy it. The concept is called “trade”.

agemyth
Guest
agemyth

Polyanna Yup. These days a it seems like a lot of people whine about how many things appear on Steam that doesn’t fit their idea of what kind of software should be sold on the store, but back in ye olde days (200X-2012) developers and games writers alike were very critical (justifiably so) of how few titles get through to a Steam release. The process was a crapshoot because you basically had to find someone at Valve who would pay enough attention to you (while numerous other issues were clamoring for their attention) long enough to even consider your game pitch.
In 2012, they launched Steam Greenlight and developers were critical of it because it became a popularity contest on a section of Steam few people bother to visit. Plenty of questionable titles even made it through that crowd-sourced filter. With the popularity and general understanding of the “App Store” idea on modern phones it makes the most sense to open the floodgates and simply leave it to the developers/community to get exposure for their games.

LordOfBread
Guest
LordOfBread

deekay_zero
I read:
“faster time line than what 112million dollars”
It never occured to you it takes time to actually spend that money, on people who go to their jobs every day? I can draw you a shitty looking space ship triangle on a napkin in 3 seconds, does that make me the fastest(=best) concept artist in the world?

syberghost
Guest
syberghost

LordOfBread syberghost you mean the one that waited until after launch to sell DLC? Not sure what effect that would have on pre-ordering games. Please explain.

deekay_zero
Guest
deekay_zero

LordOfBread deekay_zero hardly, i love my eye candy, and i quite enjoy playing what is there to star citizen right now with my $300cad in dlc internet space ships every so often.

i’m not the one exhibiting an inferiority complex here bro. and teh ascent fans aren’t the one comparing their fanned over product of choice to some kind of great evil on a habitual basis.

hell my OP was actually in favour of star citizen ffs. you’re the one that got all mean short ginger nice guy up in here XD

wpDiscuz