Distant Worlds is a vast, pausable real-time 4X space strategy game. Experience the full depth and detail of turn-based strategy, but with the simplicity and ease of real-time, and on the scale of a massively-multiplayer online game.
User reviews: Very Positive (314 reviews)
Release Date: May 23, 2014

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Recommended By Curators

"The definitive version of the best space strategy game I’ve ever played"
Read the full review here.

Recent updates View all (6)

September 19

Patch 1.9.5.8 is now available!

The most detailed 4X title gets another major update! As of today patch 1.9.5.8 is available for download through all major channels. This update adds new customization features for ship designs and also further increases the modability of the AI, giving you more control than ever over your copy of Distant Worlds, allowing you to tailor the game to your liking. Other changes includes new AI tweaks, and weapon balances.

If you own the Steam version of Distant Worlds: Universe, you patch will be applied automatically when it is available. All other users can run the updater tool on their launcher or download the patch manually here.

Click here to find out more about Distant Worlds: Universe.

V1.9.5.8

CRASH FIXES
- fixed rare crash when detect pirate smuggler docking at base
- fixed rare crash when ships in combat

BUG FIXES
- fixed bug where race-specific diplomacy mood music was not working in a theme

SHIP DESIGN
- AI ship design process now automatically adds extra energy collector components to match static energy requirements of design (similar to the way reactors are added)
- AI ship design now increases size of Carrier designs (beyond default design template) when construction size allows (like Capital Ships already did)
- added medium and large freighter designs to AI ship design shrinking process (attempt to fit within current maximum construction size)
- fighter firepower now listed in ship design detail screen (Weapons panel), to allow better comparison of military designs (firepower and fighters listed separately)

MODDING
- now optionally allow setting battle tactics, invasion tactics and fleeWhen settings for designs in design template files. To do this, for any design template file for any race, use the following entries (Entry name with possible values after the colon):
o TacticsWeaker: Evade, Standoff, AllWeapons, PointBlank
o TacticsStronger: Evade, Standoff, AllWeapons, PointBlank
o TacticsInvasion: DoNotInvade, InvadeWhenClear, InvadeImmediately
o FleeWhen: EnemyMilitarySighted, Attacked, Shields50, Shields20, Never

OTHER
- increased hold-off range for tractor beams on spaceports against enemy troop transports (i.e. prevent colony invasions)
- increased the maximum per-resource cargo space at spaceports and other bases from 30000 to 120000
- ship decision whether to use tractor beams to pull or push a target now uses optimal attack ranges defined by battle tactics, e.g. when set to Point Blank then will pull within close range, when set to Evade will always push. Spaceports defending a colony will push when enemy troop transport gets too close in an attempt to prevent them from dropping invading troops at the colony
- idle automated AI fleets and troop transports will now unload troops at colonies that have pirate facilities but insufficient troops to clear them

8 comments Read more

August 13

New 1.9.5.7 Official Update Available!

Distant Worlds: Universe is now updated to 1.9.5.7.

The six major updates since release, including the newest 1.9.5.7 released today, have included fixes for most of the issues reported since release (over 100 in total)! Additionally, more than 100 improvements to game balance, AI and user interface have been made, as well as some additional tutorial tweaks and the addition of an "Introductory Game" mode to get new players started more easily.

The user interface improvements include significant adjustments to support larger font sizes on larger monitors and allow more of the interface to scale. In addition, game performance optimizations have nearly doubled performance since release.

Also included are several new modding features, which lift the limitations on race-specific technologies as well as improving modding in a few other areas. If you wish, each faction can have a much more detailed and fully unique tech tree now. The AI's research path can also now be specifically set to optimize each faction exactly the way you want.

The AI in Universe has improved significantly with each update, both in fleet coordination, exploration, research strategy, ship design, construction and pre-warp strategy.

Finally, we've included a host of fixes for pirate gameplay as well, if you prefer to seek your own fortune among the stars.

This update will automatically install when you restart Steam, as long as you are on the non-beta branch.

This build has the following changes from 1.9.5.5:


CRASH FIXES
- fixed crash when evaluating designs
- fixed rare crash when drawing ships
- fixed crash when giving monetary gifts to other empires
- fixed crash when sorting ships in fleets
- fixed crash when ship attacks target
- fixed crash when reviewing pirate character traits
- fixed crash when fighter evaluates enemy threats
- fixed crash when empire declares war
- fixed crash when opening Construction Yards screen
- fixed rare crash when applying sun shadow graphics on planets in low-memory conditions

BUG FIXES
- character energy savings bonuses now properly reduce energy consumption instead of increasing it

GAME BALANCE
- counterespionage strength adjusted - slightly less chance of intercepting enemy intelligence missions
- reduced chance of empires switching to Corporate Nationalism government type when available
- altered empire military strength measurement to better account for fighters (affects diplomacy and AI empire evaluations)
- independent colonies now recruit more defending militia troops
- AI now gives higher preference to mining station build locations that are closer to space ports, colonies, etc
- strategic resources used in construction (for components) now weighted slightly higher when considering stockpiles at spaceports and elsewhere

SHIP DESIGN
- AI ship design now properly adds damage control components when repair bots are unavailable
- further optimized AI ship design process to allow shrinking designs with maximum construction size while still ensuring critical components are present (e.g. weapons on military ships)
- Fighter Bay components now considered as weapons in military ship designs (i.e. can have military ship designs with no weapons except for Fighter Bays)

PIRATES
- pirate factions now pay maintenance for any non-pirate raider troops (once have proper colonies)
- pirate faction flags retain pirate symbol in top-left corner when edited in game editor
- pirate faction flags propery update in galaxy view when edited in game editor
- pirate factions can now build normal planetary facilities and wonders at fully owned colonies using right-click pop-up menu and action buttons

MODDING
- now allow per-race modding for user interface in a theme (add subfolders named by race under images\ui\chrome folder to mod most chrome images, e.g. customization\THEMENAME\images\ui\chrome\human)
- custom characters with '?' appearance order now never appear at game start
- allow including GameText.txt from a custom mod (i.e. read from theme folder)
- altered images\units\creatures folder to be read from the mod (if present) instead of the root game folder
- allow modding MP3 files in sounds\EFFECTS (not just WAV files)
- fighters now properly use WeaponImageIndex value in fighters.txt to allow customization of fighter weapon effects
- allow customizing diplomacy mood music to be race-specific (music played when open Diplomatic Contact screen). Will play race-specific music when named race subfolder present under Customization\THEMENAME\sounds\effects (e.g. Customization\MyTheme\sounds\effects\human). Mood music filenames as follows: diplomacyMoodNeutral.mp3, diplomacyMoodAngry.mp3, diplomacyMoodHappy.mp3, diplomacyMoodMenacing.mp3
- increased maximum number of components from 170 to 300 (components.txt)
- added optional ship design template files for planet destroyers in themes. To use, place a custom ship design template named "PlanetDestroyer.txt" in the appropriate race folder
- added new super weapon types, allowing different types of planet destroyer weapons: in addition to the default super beam weapons can now also have super torpedos, super missiles, super rail guns, super phasers. Any of these can be set to be planet destroying weapons when damage is 10,000 or greater (weapon component Value1). Particularly useful in conjunction with new planet destroyer ship design templates mentioned above. To add these new super weapons to a custom theme, use the following values in the components.txt file (Type): 62=SuperTorpedo, 63=SuperMissile, 64=SuperRailGun, 65=SuperPhaser. You can also focus an empire's tech efforts to these new areas using the following new values in the race policy files (ResearchDesignTechFocus1-6): 30=SuperTorpedo, 31=SuperMissile, 32=SuperRailGun, 33=SuperPhaser

OTHER
- slightly improved game performance
- can now build bases in disputed systems if your empire has a colony in the system
- decreased chance of counterintelligence intercepting enemy intelligence missions, especially when targeted enemy agent has high mission skill level (i.e. harder to catch)
- fixed display of game difficulty level in Achievements tab of Empire Comparisons screen (was previously sometimes mislabelling difficulty levels)
- AI ship design now better at shrinking mining ships when maximum construction size is low
- AI ship design now better at shrinking military ships with fighter bays when maximum construction size is low

12 comments Read more

Reviews

“Distant Worlds: Universe is my favourite space strategy game. Not my favourite space strategy game released this week and not my favourite space strategy game released this year. It’s the definitive version of the best space strategy game I’ve ever played and I want to share the excitement with everyone”
Rock Paper Shotgun

“Distant Worlds: Universe is perhaps the finest 4x Space game in a generation, certainly since Galactic Civilizations 2. It's a challenging and complex game packed with features that allows you to choose just how you want to play it, while accommodating a wide variety of play-styles and strategies.”
9/10 – Strategy Informer

“Its enormous, complex and - above all - fun.”
4.5/5 – Digitally Downloaded

About This Game

The Universe is Yours!
Distant Worlds: Universe is the newest chapter of this critically acclaimed sci-fi series, adding incredible new features and an exciting new storyline.  Universe is also the ultimate collector’s edition, the first time all previous Distant Worlds releases have been included in one package, along with an updated manual and greatly expanded modding support.  

Distant Worlds is a vast, pausable real-time 4X space strategy game. Experience the full depth and detail of turn-based strategy, but with the simplicity and ease of real-time, and on the scale of a massively-multiplayer online game.  

Vast galaxies are made to order: up to 1400 star systems, with up to 50,000 planets, moons and asteroids. Galaxies are so deep, fun and immersive that you won’t want to finish the game.  Build, expand and improve your empire while playing through one of the storylines, with victory conditions or in an open-ended sandbox mode.

Each galaxy is packed with life and activity. Encounter other empires, independent alien colonies, traders, pirates and space monsters. Explore star systems, asteroid fields, gas clouds, supernovae, galactic storms and black holes. Discover evidence of civilizations long since past, uncovering secrets about the galaxy's troubled history...

Best of all, you can play the game your way: enjoy a quick, intense game in a crowded sector of space or take your time in an epic game spread across a vast galaxy! 

Distant Worlds: Universe contains all of the following:


Features:

  • Truly Epic-Scale Galaxies: play in galaxies with up to 1400 star systems and 50,000 planets, moons and asteroids. Vast nebula clouds spiral out from the galactic core, shaping the distribution of star clusters in the galaxy
  • Private Enterprise: the private citizens of your empire automatically take care of mundane tasks like mining resources, transporting cargo, migration between colonies, tourism and much more. This frees you from micro-management and instead allows you to focus on a macro-scale
  • Diplomacy: interact with other empires, discussing treaties, making trade offers or just giving them a piece of your mind. Talk to pirate factions, tapping into their underground information, or paying them to do your dirty work for you...
  • Choose your Playstyle: Start with a single planet and sub-light ships, or as an established space-faring civilization with warp drives.  Play as a Standard empire or as a Pirate faction, with many adjustable victory conditions and gameplay choices depending on your actions.
  • Intelligent Automation: automate the various tasks in your empire, so that you can focus on the areas that you enjoy most. Or have your advisors make suggestions in different areas like colonization, defence or diplomacy – helping you learn the best tactics and strategies
  • Explore: explore the vast galaxy, discovering valuable resources, potential colonies for your empire and making contact with other empires. Uncover secrets that lift the veil on the galaxy’s mysterious past...
  • Colonize: send out colony ships to found new worlds for your empire. Develop your new colonies by keeping them well-supplied with a steady stream of valuable resources
  • Defend: patrol the outlying areas of your empire to protect from raiding pirates or dangerous space monsters. Construct defensive bases at your colonies. Build up your fleets to defend against enemy empires. Recruit troops to invade enemy colonies and conquer the galaxy!
  • Espionage: covertly seek out information about other empires, or even disrupt their progress with acts of sabotage
  • Research: develop new technologies for use in building your own unique ships and star bases
  • Characters:  including Leaders, Admirals, Generals, Ambassadors, Governors, Agents and Scientists, all with defined skills and traits and the opportunity to advance and improve
  • Design and Build: A very flexible system allows you to design and build the ships and star bases in your empire. Construct mighty military ships ranging from escorts to carriers and dreadnoughts at your space ports, or build mining stations, research installations or secret monitoring facilities at remote locations throughout the galaxy
  • Built-in Game Editor: fine-tune your own galaxy, adding or removing star systems, planets, asteroid fields, ships, star bases, space monsters or anything else. Modify the attributes of any empire in your game
  • Extensive Help: exhaustive, built-in, context-sensitive help is always only a single key-press away. Press F1 at any time for a detailed explanation of the current game screen, your currently selected item, etc
  • Tutorials: in-game tutorials familiarize you with all of the game elements and tools

New to Universe!

  • The entire Distant Worlds series in one package! Universe includes the Original Distant Worlds, Return of the Shakturi, Legends, Shadows and the new Universe expansion!
  • Comprehensive Modding and Customization Support: Allows adding/removing/changing most items: resources (including new colony-manufactured resources), ship components, planetary facilities and wonders, fighter designs, alien races and race families, diplomatic dialog, empire policy, custom characters, ship and base design templates, governments, plagues, research tech trees and more
    • Can customize most of the images used in the game: ships and bases, fighters, alien races, planetary facilities and wonders, characters, troops, components, resources, ancient ruins, planets, stars, asteroids, animated in-game effects and more
    • Use a previously saved and editor-customized game as a map for a new game (instead of generating a new galaxy)
    • Powerful new event system accessible from a considerably-upgraded Game Editor. Set up your own storyline in a custom map with triggered events and custom victory conditions
    • Add story triggers on specific in-game objects or events, executing one or more actions on other in-game objects (either immediately or delayed)
    • Can replace most of the user interface icons and sound effects
    • Add your own custom help files to the in-game Galactopedia
    • Switch between different customization sets with a couple of mouse clicks from the main game menu
    • Comprehensive 99-page Modding Guide that outlines how to make Mods and explains all of the settings in detail
  • A new official storyline built using the new modding capabilities, covering the first war between the Freedom Alliance and the Shaktur Axis, in which you have access to the tech required to build your own planet destroyers, establish the Ancient Guardians and research and deploy the Xaraktor virus.
 

 

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP SP3, Vista, Windows 7 or 8
    • Processor: Pentium 4 @1.5 GHz
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: minimum 1024 x 768 resolution, 32 bit
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Hard Drive: 1 GB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX 9 compatible
    • Additional Notes: Requires Windows Media Player, Internet Explorer
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows Vista, Windows 7 or 8 (64-bit)
    • Processor: Dual Core CPU @ 2.0 GHz
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: minimum 1024 x 768 resolution, 32 bit
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Hard Drive: 1 GB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX 9 compatible
    • Additional Notes: Requires Windows Media Player, Internet Explorer
Helpful customer reviews
784 of 830 people (94%) found this review helpful
49.6 hrs on record
Beware as you are just looking at the best 4X game that is.

Don't look at my played time here, this game was available for years already from a very unheard of distributor BUT now is available on Steam at last for the people to see it already.

Maybe you are wondering why it costs so much. Well it has 4 expansions build in it already so that's why. But believe me IT'S WORTH IT. If you like 4X games, this is just a must have.

The cons:

1. The game is not turn based. Everything is done in real time. You can pause the game and speed it up or slow down at your own liking. This may be a + for someone though...
2. It's not as shiny as some other 4X games so if pretty graphics are what you prefer you may be disappointed.
3. The game can be demanding even on high end PC's if you run really large galaxy.
4. Unfriendly UI. If you run huge resolution you will have problems to read the text.
5. The learning curve... you will spend hours getting into the game. But don't be afraid, huge automation can be set up to help you.
6. No multiplayer. I don't mind it but maybe you do?

The Pros:

Everything else. It's the most complex, never ending fun 4X game I have played. Just the way how the AI is done hooked me up. But to make it fair here are some picks for you.

1. Huge amount of races that actually play in character. It's not like in other games where every AI plays the same way but has different stats. Here the AI behaves in the ways how they are described. They play in character like in RPG game.
2. HUGE galaxies. Trust me you never saw something like this before in other 4x games. Each game can last for dozens of hours if you want.
3. Set up your game to the last possible thing you can imagine. The start up set up is just incredible.
4. Automation ... don't like research, or ship design, or diplomacy, or anything else you can imagine? You can automate it. You can focus only on the one thing you like the most!
5. Pirates ... you can even play as one.
6. Mods ... do you want 10 more races or to play Star trek 4x? ... You can have it.
7. Micromanagement ... it can be endless.
8. The complexity, you can spend hours in design tables that make sense in comparison to Moo3 for example.
9. Battles, there is very few games that can simulate such large scale engagements over the whole galaxy.
10. Play it your own way. You can win the game without any battle if you want. On the other side waging wars is FUN.

Do you need to know more? Watch some videos on YouTube from Das24680. He has also full tutorials for those who would need them.

*Update - I have added more Pros as this game deserves it and I have forgot to mention them.
Posted: May 23
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261 of 298 people (88%) found this review helpful
35.4 hrs on record
Distant Worlds is the best 4x available today. It's combination of depth and accessibility is unmatched in this genre.

How, you might ask, does it accomplish this feat? Variable micromanagement. If you want to nurture your colonies from day one, to design every strut and gravatic beam weapon on your ships, and ensure that the right espionage agent ends up on a mission to steal operations maps from your dreaded enemy, you can. On the other hand, if you want the AI to deal with all the micromanagement and to instead cruise around the galaxy in your prototype hyperdrive rocket, look at the ruins of ancient civilizations and run from giant space lobsters, you can do that instead. You can even combine the two -- more or less -- and tool around in the rocket while occasionally changing tax rates, build orders, and spy/diplomatic targets.

Unlike most 4x games, DW is built on the back of a fairly intricate economic simulator. But wait - simulator - does that mean I can't control it??? Not directly. The civilian economy, all those little freightors, gas mining ships, and tourist vessels... that is almost entirely out of your hands. You can set up your military/industrial base to encourage good civilian use, but the civies decide for themselves whether they want to pick up a load of Cason gas and move it to where you need fuel for your next military campaign.

DW:U brings better pathing, improved AI, and expanded mod capabilities to an already great game.

Cons: The game resolution is set to your desktop resolution because it runs in a borderless window. Consequently, the font can be small and hard to read. If this is a problem for you, one solution is to lower your desktop resolution before launching the game.

*This review is based upon many hours of DW:Legends gameplay. Universe brings 2 additional expansions worth of gameplay to the table and I look forward to getting to know it well.
Posted: May 23
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174 of 222 people (78%) found this review helpful
145.9 hrs on record
The collection of Distant Worlds and all of it's expansions + a lot of extra stuff including tons of modding support.
Those who are my closer friends know I'm a huge fan of this game due to the constant talking about it for soon 4 years.
I would recommend it to any and all strategists who enjoy playing a 4x Space Empire Simulator Strategy game.

Officially my Top game of all time.
Posted: May 23
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146 of 185 people (79%) found this review helpful
38.2 hrs on record
If you ever thought Master of Orion 3's paradigm of a 4X game designed around macromanagement instead of micromanagement was a good idea that Quicksilver and Atari horribly bungled, this is the game for you. Even if you didn't, this is probably the best space 4X released in the past several years.

The key difference here is that CodeForce, unlike Quicksilver, managed to pair that paradigm with a more streamlined design and an AI that can actually handle whatever tasks the player chooses to delegate to it - from diplomacy, to infrastructure building, to research, to strategic or tactical fleet combat, while largely staying out of the player's way and providing a wealth of information, or helpful suggestions, to help the player make decisions in those areas the player chooses to take on themselves.
Posted: May 23
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140 of 182 people (77%) found this review helpful
0.2 hrs on record
been playing since shadows realease.

The best 4x game i have ever played and i have played them all. huge to small maps, smart A.I., HUGE learnig curve, you will most likley never finish a game thats how big one map can be! lots of customizable options, you can be a valiant ruler and ensure the happiness of your empire. or you can rule threw force, enslaving or exterminating all those who oppose you, or a mix of whatever you want and like to play. custom design ships, pick weapons, armor, tractor beams, emp cannons just to name a few. fight against or ally with dozens or a few of other species and empires. play as a pirate and rule the stars threw subterfuge, stealing,hijacking ships, raiding,intimadation and just being a pirate. the game can be played however you want. THIS GAME WILL KEEP YOU WANTING MORE time and time again. if you even some what like the genere this is the game for you.

Rakilonn
Ok I will add a cons : old graphics which may be improved with mods. For the rest, it's awesome.
Posted: May 23
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