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Sequel to the award-winning, genre-breaking, asymmetric strategy cult classic.  The most sentient AI in gaming.
Sequel to the award-winning, genre-breaking, asymmetric strategy cult classic.  The most sentient AI in gaming.
2,545 backers pledged $97,205 to help bring this project to life.

Alpha Begins!

Posted by Keith LaMothe (Collaborator)

Keith here.


We're pleased to inform you that the latest in Nightmare Death Machinery is now ready for alpha testing! If you're an alpha backer, you should have received your key by email now (or it may only be visible in backerkit). Please give it a whirl and send us a postcard (or comment) about your particular mass extinction event.

If you're not an alpha backer, and want to be (see the "PLEASE NOTE" part below, to make sure), you can accomplish that by emailing BackerKit at if you ARE already a backer, or simply make a preorder here if you are not already a backer.

PLEASE NOTE: the game is in an extremely early state. Earlier than early, as Chris said. The upside for you is that most stuff is still up for discussion and feedback. The downside for you is that the interface is abominable, the balance hardly existent, and everything terribly incomplete.

Getting Started

1) Check your email for your key. If you cannot find that email, even searching the usual places your email system hides important things (spam, etc), please check on backerkit directly. If you cannot find the key on your backerkit page, please contact

2) As mentioned during the campaign, the game is steam-only through the early access period (and we're not even in early-access yet, actually). There will be a drm-free version at release, but maintaining separate distributions throughout the whole testing period would take a lot of effort and bandwidth costs, and really slow us down. So if you don't already have steam, download it.

3) In steam, on the library tab, in the lower-left corner, click "Add A Game" and then "Activate A Product On Steam". Then follow the instructions and provide the key when asked.

4) When the game is added to your library, select it and click the Install button.

5) When it's installed, run it, and the mass extinction event will begin shortly :)

How To Play

Normally, we wouldn't have to tell you. The game would tell you, and the interface would be all nice and intuitive.

But it ain't nowhere near there yet ;)

So while you're welcome to just go in blind, and you'll probably get successfully annihilated in due time, you may get a better picture of what's there if we just tell you.

Since this is documentation, we're putting it up on our wiki:

And also instructions on the modding workflows (such as they are, and what there is of them) :

Those pages are still under construction, so if it still says "(work in progress)" that's because you got there too fast ;)

How To Help

Right now, don't worry too much about intensive bug finding and whatnot. Just see if the game runs on your particular platform, and try to have fun. You probably won't have a lot of fun because the game is in such a placeholderish and incomplete state, but you probably will lose! If any of you fail to lose, please submit a bug report right away.

Speaking of bug reports, our mantis is the place to do that:

Be sure to select "AI War 2" in the Project dropdown.

We're happy to read other feedback here in the comments, but it's most likely to be put to good use if submitted on our forum:

When it comes to me, the feedback I'm most interested in right now is: What bothers you most? Not the little stuff, but the biggest things. Obviously, a lot of that is due to the game being in such an early state, but I always want to know where the major pain points are during any given part of the testing. I may or may not be able to address them soon, but often I can, so it's good to know.

When it comes to Chris, the type of feedback he’s mostly looking for right now are performance-related or outright crashes.  You can see the list of things he already has in progress on his todo list.  A lot of the visual or gameplay-feel things you’d be most likely to mention are already on there; but if something isn’t please feel free to bring it up!


Chris and I need to get back to work, as there's a ton of stuff we'd like to have gotten in for the first alpha and are still working on, but we'll be listening to feedback. Thanks so much for your support, it's very exciting to have reached this point :)


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    1. Chris Park/Arcen Games 2-time creator on

      All of the key-related stuff should be sorted out as of about 1.5 hours ago. If anyone is an alpha backer and still doesn't have a key, please let me know! Thanks. :)

    2. Chris Park/Arcen Games 2-time creator on

      Excellent, thank you! That's excellent news. :)

      I'll have some stuff in there with the mouse wheel scroll speed in a build tomorrow or later today, depending.

    3. Missing avatar

      Sergey Shpikin on

      Yep, 64bit Debian Stretch/testing. i7-2600, 32 Gb RAM, 1070 GTX, Awesome WM. Got about 500 FPS in the menu:
      A bit less on the map:
      And 170 FPS in game:

      Mouse wheel is quite slow for now so I had to scroll a lot to zoom out. Basic controls work, switching to the galaxy map and back via Tab, sending fleets around and to other planets, music works. All systems nominal!

    4. Chris Park/Arcen Games 2-time creator on

      Whew, excellent! Hopefully nobody is missing codes that is actually online right now. Wouldn't it be lucky if all those folks were asleep or at work, depending on where they live? Fingers crossed... :)

    5. Missing avatar

      Sebastien Ouellet on

      I got my codes, thanks for the explanation!

    6. Chris Park/Arcen Games 2-time creator on

      Awesome, thank you very much!! What specs are you running, and which distro? I assume running the 64bit build?

    7. Missing avatar

      Sergey Shpikin on

      Okay, good news: it works on Linux! Congratulations on that! Not much to do in game at this point as expected (and it has been said many times in the updates) but checking the progress is always great. Music already rocks!

    8. Chris Park/Arcen Games 2-time creator on

      @Sebastien Ouellet: It turns out I made a bit of a mistake with my estimated provisioning of keys. I put in for 1000 from Valve, and then pushed 600 into the system. It ate those immediately, and wants about 1200 instead. I've put in the other 400 and now have requested another 1000 from Valve.

      The mistake I made was in looking at backer numbers, and not thinking about all the extra keys and so forth the higher-tier people looked for. I thought I had a healthy buffer, but I was actually well under what I needed. I'm working on getting that straightened out. Sorry about that to anyone who is presently affected!

      As far as emails not going out, I have to look into that, too.

    9. Chris Park/Arcen Games 2-time creator on

      Hi Roger,

      Okay, awesome to hear -- I actually just messaged you directly anyhow.

    10. Roger Scotter on

      nice just got my code

    11. Roger Scotter on

      does it have anything to do with my kick starter account being linked via Facebook and my backer-kit account as my email address?

    12. Missing avatar

      Sebastien Ouellet on

      To add one more data point, I also see "order has not been locked down yet" (my pledge level is 72$, for two alpha keys). BacketKit does confirm that the survey has been answered, by the way.

    13. Andrew Butler on

      Like Tridus, I received no email but my code is on Backerkit. May want to have them resend to everyone.

    14. Keith LaMothe Collaborator on

      @Tridus: thanks for letting us know, I've amended the post to say to also check in backerkit.

      @Roger Scotter: I'll check with Chris if that's something on our end or if it's something else.

    15. Tridus on

      I never got an email with codes. But, if I login to Backerkit, I see codes there.

    16. Roger Scotter on

      backerkit is saying my order is not locked down