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  1. Stellaris

    #1024102016-05-11 17:23:04Kirn said:

    You do now know this, but recently I found myself in need of a good space strategy game. And not levels-based strategy, like Homeworld, for example (which is great in its own right). No, something grand. Something that will give me the whole universe to plunder as I see fit. And what do you know... few days ago they made one just for me!

    So, I will say this right away - the amount of creativity that went into this game is seriously impressive. You know what, before I go into details here, let me just re-tell you the game I already had.
    I created a race of cat-like aliens who were extremely xenophobic and militaristic. They liked to attack people, and they liked to take alien slaves. I started out nicely, explored systems around my homeworld, colonized some tropical planets. Started meeting neighbors, and since my nation was xenophobic, we really didn't like each other, so I started competing for stars with one of them. All the while I gathered up my combat fleet to just go and destroy something.
    At one of the planets I colonized I found a population of natives, who were pretty primitive. Well, my nation were slavers, right? So we put them to work. They couldn't mine minerals well, cause they were too stupid, but they could work farms. However, at another planed, I suddenly had a rise of a separatist fraction of my people who said that slavery is wrong and wanted to gain independence from me. At the same time slaves started breeding too much, and I had to kill a few billions of them, which resulted in horrible moral across all my star systems, production went down and I was pretty much swallowed by rivals.

    Well, fuck me, that was cool.

    So, what is this? This is a grand strategy in space. In real time, btw. You may know that most space strategies are turn-based. This one goes simultaneously for all, but you can set the pace as you want it, and pause the game, so it's all cool. While the proceedings are familiar to all who plays such games - start with 1 planet, conquer the galaxy - every part of it is unique and very well implemented.
    Main thing that most people will immediately like - it can have galaxy of 1000 star systems. 1000 fucking star systems. Tryst me, I tried some other real-time space strategy in real-time, and it lagged like hell on 300 systems. This? It runs smoothly, which is incredible. Not only that, but you can also have up to 40 starting empires, including your own. And during the game it's likely their number will only rise.

    You start by picking a space nation. You have some choices, but... You know how some games got set of pre-made races with their own back-story and everything? This is not the case here. With so many possible aliens, there's nothing set, and every race is a mix of common elements in different proportions.
    First you pick species, but this is just purely cosmetic choice. However, you also get to pick a set of species-related namings for your leaders and planets and stuff. As well as design your flag. It's minor touch, but it's nice.
    You will also pick their traits. Your species can be strong, fearful, repugnant, industrious... some traits are positive, some are negative, providing you with more points for positive traits. They are all pretty good, depending on your style of play, so it's something to really think about even though the list isn't long. You will also get to pick your preferred type of planets - those will be initially available for colonies and just better suited for you.
    You will also decide the character of your race. Are they militaristic? Are they spiritual? Maybe xenophobic? You got 3 points there, and along with giving bonuses, those character traits define what system of government you can have, which also provides its own bonuses.
    Last, but not least, you pick your starting weapons - projectiles, lasers or missiles - and your way of space travel - warp, hyperspace or wormholes.

    Few... and that's just to start a game! The races you previously made are saved into the game, and when you aren't playing them, you can actually meet them on the generated map as your rivals.

    As you get in game, you will start with game being paused, letting you to look over your star system and get things moving. First of all, you got your homeworld, on which you can start building mines or other production buildings. Over the homeworld you got your lvl 1 space station, which makes your ships. Both planet space and station slots are limited, so you have to be smart about what you build. Though, game, thankfully, doesn't swamp you with too many options. More station slots you get by upgrading station to next levels (after appropriate research), and on the planet you might have some blocked tiles which you will have to clear up first before building.

    Your mighty fleet consists of your war ships, you military transports carrying invaders during war, and of civilian ships. Military is pretty self-explanatory, but civilian ships aren't
    First of all, you get your colon ship... which you do not get. Yes, in many star strategies you get one right away so you can start colonizing something. Not here. We are doing serious business here, so you will have to actually research colony ship before building one. But when you do - it acts as you expect, allowing to claim one planet.
    Right away you get, however, science and construction ships, and those are extremely important. Science ship is the one surveying the star systems. Cause at the start of the game you don't even know what you got in your own systems. Planets, asteroids and even stars can be sources of resources, science or even space anomalies, which your science ship can research.
    Constriction ship builds stuff in space, like defense stations, and also it can build mining and research stations on planetary resources that science ship found. Those can be built on planets that are in your empire's ever-expanding sphere of influence, and they give you big percentage of the very much needed resources.
    Resources in the game can be of a few types. First of all there are credits - those are your money, that you mostly spend on upkeep of stuff. Next there are minerals - you build with those. Third resource is influence - it's quite hard to gain and easy to waste on edicts and galactic laws.
    Next set of resources are 3 science resources. And yes, science is separated in 3 fields - physics, social science and engineering. Each got its own resource ticking towards the progress.

    Also, there's no progress tree for science. Sure, one science can unlock some other, but you don't move linearly through them. When you learn something, you have choice of what to learn next in that field, out of 3 randomized choices. However, right from the start, you can always start learning colonization science, and that's usually what you pick first. Eventually you can learn everything, but it will take a whole lot of time.
    Actually, it would take even more than that, because some special projects require one of other science sphere to stop while that project is going on. For example, when your science ship gathers debris from enemy fleet that you defeated, engineering science halts. However, you can get your enemy tech like that, so it's a fair trade-off.

    While war is one way to deal with your neighbors, it's not the only one. Actually, you can't even properly destroy your neighbors. When you declare war, you actually state what you want from them. And when you lay waste to their fleets and siege their planets, they will give that to you, ending the war. You can ask for planets, for yourself or even for their own internal separatist factions, or you can just make the loser your vassals - making them share their space with you and help you in other wars.
    But you can deal with them peacefully, too. You can trade with people, for alliances, even organize a real space federation, to brave the dangers of universe together. It has its pros and cons, like feeling secure, but actually passing a lot of important decisions to the current head-nation of the federation.

    As the game progresses, it becomes more and more complicated. Eventually you meet space nomads, who bring you news of most galaxy races, so you can see them all on the map. You start learning more weird techs, some leading to unexpected developments, you get intricate quests from anomalies of from random events, you create sectors of your empire that AI will control for you, because you can only control a limited number of "core worlds" without penalties (that actually saves you from a lot of micro-management in later game stages). You can uplift primitives or create artificial intelligence, you can meet older decadent empires and explore ruins of alliances of millions of yours ago...

    In this game you can do a lot, so it really feels like you are trying to control the huge empire, and it's never just as simple as crushing your nearest opponent.

    So yeah, in case that's not clear yet - this game is huge, complex and awesome. Get it right now if you are into it, it's a break-through in the genre if I ever saw one.

  2. #1024522016-05-12 18:25:42Kirn said:

    Well, you can obviously get it at Steam, though I, just as obviously, pirate my games. If you want to pirate it - you should be able to find your own links.

    It's not exclusively single-player, game got multiplayer mode, but since I am not really interested in playing it, I can't say much... I would assume you won't be able to just leisurely pause the game while in multiplayer.

    Also, game does have its own issues, and some bugs, and there's already a mod for it, and developers are patching stuff, making 2 updates already and... I will be updating this thread later with more mid-to-late-game insights and some info on game after-release progress.

  3. #1025572016-05-14 11:34:33Kirn said:

    So. As promised, I am here again to talk about game and its post-release development.

    I watched over a few reviews, and people do have some concerns with the game. Some blame bad interface, some talk about poor AI, some talk about boring mid-game and bugs. Now, personally, I think interface is fine. It's informative, easy to read, even when you set it up for full info... It can be better, sure. Actually, some elements of control on the interface could be better. But still, I think they are pretty convenient.

    Other complains are, however, viable.

    Bugs... are present in the game. Most notably - at time various things may appear in the center of the universe. Like your ships or quest markers. Meaning you effectively lose the ship or can't finish quest. Which is frustrating to no end, yes.
    AI is kinda simplistic. Well, it all boils down to warfare - you war by sending your fleet against enemy, and you have no direct control over battle. If you win - good for you. Usually, if you beat enemy fleet and blockade his planet, he will start building single ships and send them against you one by one, which is really not good strategic solution.
    Then again, that's not all there is to AI. I feel, real interest is how computer acts politically. For example, in one of the games, my vassals deliberately kept bad relationship with me - even insulting me while being forced to help in my wars. So I feel that AI is more interesting and varied on politics screen, which is really subtle to see right away. Still, combat AI is not complicated.
    Now, mid-game... yeah, if you developed very good in early game, mid-game will be boring. At this point you cap your number of directly controlled core planets, and you start making regions. And waiting for them to develop, while having very little control over how they do it... yeah, that can feel tedious, especially if you aren't pressed by some foreign or internal threat. I do feel that there are ways to develop sectors faster and you can have some measure of control, but I am yet to explore that.

    As far as I know, end-game is more interesting with random catastrophic events threatening to wipe out the galaxy... but I am yet to get to that part.

    Now, developers are not leaving the game alone. At this moment they made patches 1.0.1 and 1.0.2, fixing bugs and I think placing quests better. Because before you could get quest markers for some grand quest all over the galaxy - making it certain that you would never really be able to finish that quest. Now they place them more or less close to your home system, which is still hard to get to, but much much more reachable.

    I also hear, they are collecting all current complaints, and are working on some major patch, that will probably fix some mechanics and maybe change things around a bit. No news on that, though, so we'll see.

    And while that is going... people ar already modding the game. Now - to look like, obviously, Warhammer 40K universe. It's just a cosmetic mod, that's also being improved as I write this.

    So that's it for now. Game is living active post-release life.

  4. #1026272016-05-16 20:22:16Kirn said:

    So okay. I found something that pisses me the fuck off. At later stages of the game, if yo uactually survive long enough to have a great big fucking fleet... and you send it against another great big fucking fleet... the game... lags.... like...... fuuuuuck....

    Apparently, during late-game, the game starts freezing up. At times flow of time would get stuck for a second or two. I guess partly it's because of all the nations making political decisions, cause one time I got 2 trade offers exactly after another freeze..
    But mostly, yeah, game freezes up on really epic battles. Seems like every single ship's actions are being processed separately, and it takes a big toll on PC.

    On the brighter side - developers already got big plans for games future updates, which is nice. As I said, they are listening to people's reviews, and making changes. Well, those won't be soon, obviously, as those are some major patches listed.

    Still, at the moment, this is The Space Strategy Game, the one to play if you want to play any kind of space strategy, and further update should make it remain relevant.

  5. #1034202016-06-11 00:23:02Lieutenant said:

    I'm gonna bump this to say that the game is supremely detailed and beautiful. A lot of things to do, it occupies your time like none other and you have to have the ability to multi-task to play (or not, here's the chance to develop them). Other than that, it's like a simulator for you to manage what you can so you may also apply it in real life. I'm just a watcher in this case but I'm already thrilled to see more. It started slow but it gets better when everything gets built up. Good game (Y)

    Seriously @Kirn come on I'm waiting for next video(s) so I'm giving a free bump on this thread

  6. #1065562016-08-30 05:14:15 *Kirn said:

    So, few months in, and the game got quite a few updates. These guys are keeping on with their promise to support the game after release with improvements and new features.

    Currently game had 2 major patches - Clarke and Asimov. In those they fixed quite a few bugs, reworked space fighting system, balanced out the game, added more diplomatic options, fixed sector AI behavior, fiddled with UI... a lot of work was done. I even had to start my games from scratch a few times, just to enjoy all new features right from the start.

    They also made a plantoids race pack - nothing much, just a cosmetic thing that ads racial portrets and ship designs for living trees races. You can now yell 'I am Groot!' proudly into the galaxy.

    Now they are working on the next major patch - Heinlein - which will bring even more changes. They will include auto-exploration functions and rally points - which will help automate some ship management later in game. They will completely rework special resources, which I hope will ne done well. They will rebalance and rework ships again, making every type of ship good for a specific role, forcing players to include more types of ships in their fleets instead of just spamming a single successful design. They are even reworking planet types and their habitability.

    So yeah, a lot of rebalancing is going on, and I will, once again, restart the game when that time comes. Should be worth it, since for now all their patches added pretty good stuffs into the game.

  7. #1077252016-10-22 10:25:31Kirn said:

    It is finally out! Update 1.3 with additional expansion. There are so many things reworked, I can't really mention all of them. Main features do, however, include giant fucking space creature, fallen empires waking up to fuck you up, enclaves and major changes to everything from terraforming to space-faring creatures.

    I have just restarted my own game, but in the first hour of the play, you already get some cool stuff you haven't seen before, so yeah, this is definitely worth it to start playing this again.

  8. #1098252017-04-01 11:17:29Kirn said:

    New patch and new dlc is upon us! Next week, on 6th of April, is the time when it is released, and the game will endure next - pretty goddamn huge - change.
    So, to list the things. they are updating:

    Ethics and empires are totally reworked again, additionally, empires get new Unity resource, which, I think, is liek a culture resource in Civ-like games, and that will let you buy some cool traditions which will work like perks.
    Empires will now be able to go towards one of 3 ascension paths - psionic, synth or biological. Wanted to become a nation of robots or to see the universe from beyond? You can now.
    More updates to populations and factions. Not factions will matter, and populations will have more clear ethics, so I guess you won't be able to avoid divides, and will have to actually watch out for your people. Additionally, on the racial level, you can do all sorts of cool things, and even eat some of the enemy nations. I mean, yes, literally eat.
    Some resources rebalancing, including making food a global resource, which will be huge for later development.
    Mega structures - space habitats, ringworlds, and technology to harvest the energy of the starts.
    And countless smaller tweaks.

    Long story short: game will get even better, and, as always, I will start me a new session to see it all from the start.