Age of Ascent - Developer Blog

Frequently Asked Questions

March 3rd, 2014 by James Niesewand

My framerate (fps) is terrible! What’s that all about?

There are some hardware / OS / browser combinations where WebGL framerate can be unplayably poor. The circumstances that we’re currently aware of are:

IE11 on Windows 7

Either try using another web browser such as Chrome or Firefox, or upgrade to Windows 8.1/Windows 10

Very low-end hardware

Whilst AoA runs just great on a $200 Chromebook, it’s really not going to run on a mobile phone, and may struggle on a standard Surface RT (but runs fine on a Surface Pro)

NVIDIA dual GPU gfx cards on a laptop

There’s a known issue with some NVIDIA graphics cards in some circumstances (especially the “Optimus” cards on a laptop – see the following articles “NVIDIA cripples WebGL on dual GPU devices”, and “nvidia hobbles WebGL performance on laptops”).   NVIDIA are currently looking into fixing this issue and reversing this decision.

If you’re feeling brave, there is a workaround, but using it would be very much at your own risk. Click here for details.

What are you hoping to achieve?

We want to build a game combat engine that scales

We want to have thousands of pilots fighting in real time and with directly-piloted dogfights in a single continuous battlezone with players from all across the globe. Without sharding or instancing.

We want to demonstrate new networking and physics engine technology

We think that the traditional single node architecture that MMOs typically use has reached capacity and is relying on better hardware to increase capacity.  We’re doing it differently, using technologies not currently (to our knowledge) in use in the MMO industry. Age of Ascent’s technology has more in common with a Wall Street algorithmic trading company than a traditional gaming company.

What we’ll be demonstrating over the next few weeks is in no way the complete game. It’s a tiny portion of the PvP component of a game that’s going to launch fully at a later date. It’s a proof of concept that our networking and distributed cloud infrastructure actually works on demand, with real players, doing the things that real players do during a dogfight.

We want to show that WebGL can be a serious choice of technology for a game company

WebGL means gaming that runs natively in your browser, without downloads, installs or plugins. It means no Flash, Steam, or installed software… just literally go to a web page and within seconds you’re in the game. We will have a frictionless entry (and frictionless updates, meaning no “patching”) on a huge range of devices, playable anywhere with an internet connection. We think that’s cool and we think that’s worth showing off. For the record, Age of Ascent  may or may not work in Safari, but we haven’t tested it in any meaningful way because Apple has disabled WebGL in Safari by default.

How many players does Age of Ascent hope to achieve during these public alpha tests?

We don’t actually know how many players the system can achieve. The system has been built on cloud computing and distributed networking architectures, using Microsoft Azure. Although we’ve put heavy loads on the system with real and simulated players, nothing beats massive numbers of actual players dogfighting in space. So, in short, we have no idea how many players the system can support. We’d really like to find out.

Will Age of Ascent be similar to other games?

If you have enjoyed games like EVE Online or look forward to games like Star Citizen you will likely find a home in Age of Ascent. You might also be a fan of Illyriad, our first game and MMORTS and you’d be welcome as well! We’re fans of all of those titles but hope to bring something new to the table; an instant-on sandbox MMO that can host truly massive numbers.

Will your game install software on my computer?

No. The public alpha (and the full game as well) will run natively in your browser in WebGL. That means no download or installation, not even Flash. Just turn up with a modern web browser (except Safari) and a good internet connection. It runs great on a $200 Chromebook and other lower-end setups, so no high-end gaming PC is required.

Will you spam us if you have our email address?

We’re not even going to ask you to register your email address, create an account or anything for the alpha tests. You can, however, join our mailing list if you want, but it’s entirely optional if you want to sign up.


James Niesewand, CEO, Illyriad Games

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