Learn About Our Project:
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THANK YOU! Not only did we hit our original funding goal in 22 hours, but we made it through a full four stretch goals beyond that.
We'll continue providing updates through kickstarter -- of course -- but if you want up to the minute communications, please head over to our forums for the game.
Right at the end we hit one last stretch goal with the help of paypal backers: Interplanetary Weapons. (It's the only way to be sure.) That goes along with the awesome Nemesis, Spire, and music goals that were already hit.
You've all been amazing, and we look forward to a fantastic 2017 with you. :)
-- Chris and Keith
AI War II is a grand strategic RTS against an overwhelming, inhuman enemy who has conquered the galaxy. The enemy has made only a single error: underestimating you.
You must steal as much technology as you can, and take enough territory to fortify your bases and launch your attacks. But every conquest you make turns the attention of the AI ever more in your direction... so choose your targets with care.
We designed AI War II from the ground up for both solo and co-op play (up to at least 8 players), and put the emphasis on your smarts instead of your reflexes.
What Makes The AI Awesome?
The AI has a distinct advantage over you in a grand strategic sense, but when it comes to combat and tactics it plays by the same rules as you... and it's very devious.
The core conceit of the AI is that most of the time it's not aware of you. But pieces of its empire become aware of you at various times, and you have to then deal with those pieces in battles ranging from tiny skirmishes to thousands-strong epic encounters.
We've written in depth about our core approach to emergent AI, which keeps it from becoming predictable. However, on top of that we've layered a lot of specific tactical tricks to counter a wide array of player tactics.
The game has options to tailor the game to your skill level and playstyle:
- Whether you're a masochistic ultra-hardcore grognard
- Someone who enjoys RTS games.
- Or just a space game fan!
Generally speaking, if you're winning all the time, the usual suggestion is to 'up the difficulty a notch.' Most players tend to enjoy the game best when victories are hard-fought or just barely lost. It's not about winning or losing, but about finding the right balance so that each campaign is an epic story of accomplishment.
Sidebar: The very highest difficulty is meant to be unwinnable -- and so top players enjoy their occasional victories at that level, then help us update the AI to prevent their prior tactics from working. We have a super fun time with that arms race, and it makes the AI at the lower difficulties more interesting, too.
Key Design Shifts From AI War Classic (The Original Game)
- The Ark: your central command is now mobile, and can directly hack the AI. What could go wrong?
- Making the AI's responses more fluid and aggressive.
- Reworking armor and attack multipliers into new, intuitive defense mechanics.
- Splitting Energy: globally-held Fuel drives your fleets, while per-planet Power allows for meaningful planet customization.
- Reinventing Cloaking: the old long-term stealth ability becomes a dangerous assault mechanic.
- First of all, we have the Design Document, which outlines what the launch build of the game is intended to be. This is useful even if you've never played AI War Classic. Notably, this explains the Key Design Shifts above in considerable detail.
- Then we have a separate Appendix A - Relationship To AIW 1 document detailing specific differences from original to sequel.
- For those considering the Personable AI reward (and for those who are simply curious) we have Appendix B - AI Traits, detailing the currently-planned traits that can be mixed and matched to create new AI personalities.
- Lots and lots of multithreading to make awesome use of modern computers.
- XML modding for game content, and advanced C# modding for several key logic zones.
- DRM-free copies also available on launch, and day-one OSX and Linux in addition to Windows.
- Robust scaling of the 3D graphical complexity so that it can look great while running well on older machines, and look even better on newer ones.
- Already approved for Steam -- no Greenlight needed.
- Come chat with us and other backers on our Discord server!
- Feel free to sign up for our mailing list if you'd like the occasional update about new games or other major happenings.
Thanks to fixing up a ton of usability issues, AI War 2 is well placed to deal with the first game's most common complaint: the killer learning curve. AI War is meant to be a hard but fair game, and the start menu should not be enough to defeat new players.
We’re coming at the problem from a few different angles. Usability changes will help smooth the difficulty curve once they’re in-game, as will quickstart options that allow you to jump into the game without fiddling with settings.
One thing we will not be doing is dumbing the game down. The point is to remove your need to fight the interface, so you can focus on fighting the AI.
We are pleased to announce that AI War 2 is built from the ground up to be open and easy to modify, while still maintaining multiplayer stability. Players can modify ships and structures, the design of AI personalities, and create tutorials, scenarios, and vignettes of their own.
You can write your own C# code (just as we do) to hook into various parts of the game, such as map-generation, which allows for much more robust modding than we had originally planned. Modders asked for this, and we listened!
The design document has a list of modifiable components that we identified before we even started making the game.
The project hit 100% funding in just 22 hours -- WOW! And our awesome backers carried us through a further FOUR stretch goals by the end. We have full writeups for the Spire, Nemesis, and Interplanetary Weapons if you want more details. We'll see what we can do about those solar systems post-campaign.
Bear in mind that the project funding total listed doesn't include the paypal contributions, which are what pushed us the last bit over the finish line.
Please note: rewards for backer tiers are as-shown in the sidebar. If you increase your pledge for the purpose of add-ons, that does not increase your baseline rewards. THAT said, if you pledge at least $260 through any combination of tiers and add-ons, we'll send you a copy of Stars Beyond Reach.
By popular request! Simply add an extra dollar amount to your pledge equal to the addon(s) you want, and then in the backer survey we'll ask you what exactly it is that you were adding on. Note that you can choose multiples of individual items (three cyber cyphers, etc) if you wish.
- "Personable AI": If you've backed at a tier that is at least $160 (taunts), then add $40 to your pledge and you can note in the survey that you also want the "Personable AI" rewards in addition to whatever your chosen tier rewards are.
- "Cyber Cypher": If you've backed at a tier that is at least $160 (taunts), then add $40 to your pledge and you can note in the survey that you also want the "Cyber Cypher" rewards in addition to whatever your chosen tier rewards are.
- "Bronze Merc": If you've backed at a tier that is at least $100, then add $70 to your pledge and you can note in the survey that you also want the "Bronze Merc" rewards in addition to whatever your chosen tier rewards are.
- "Silver Merc": If you've backed at a tier that is at least $250, then add $170 to your pledge and you can note in the survey that you also want the "Silver Merc" rewards in addition to whatever your chosen tier rewards are.
- "Gold Merc": If you've backed at a tier that is at least $350, then add $270 to your pledge and you can note in the survey that you also want the "Gold Merc" rewards in addition to whatever your chosen tier rewards are.
Arcen (that’s Ar-KEN) Games started in 2009 with a lone programmer on a mission. Most real time strategy games at the time lacked artificial intelligence worthy of the name. Once you understood how the AI worked, the challenge, and most of the fun, disappeared. So Chris Park decided to make his own.
It would promote strategy over tactics, reward players for experimenting, and constantly surprise them. The game needed to be fun for Chris even if he knew the game backwards and forwards.
From its origins as a one man product, AI War Classic morphed into a community driven cult classic. Critical praise for the original is glowing, and it was one of the best-reviewed PC games on metacritic in the year of its launch.
Seven years, ten games, ten expansions to those games, and hundreds of patches to those games later Arcen Games is a proud independent game studio with fans all over the world.
Pablo Vega joined very early on and provided an awesome musical score for the game. He has since scored every other game we have put out.
Keith LaMothe is helming this new vision of AI War 2 as both lead designer and lead programmer. Fans of the original game know him well, as he basically was the force of nature behind AIW Classic from 2011 onwards. Chris may have started the AI revolution, but Keith gave it many of its most dangerous weapons.
Daniette "Blue" Mann has been with the company since 2013, and her graphic design talents are behind our increasingly-awesome interfaces in years past, as well as some of the coolest bits in our move to 3D.