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 (430 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"
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Recent updates View all (8)

December 8, 2014

New Distant Worlds 1.9.5.10 Update and One Week Sale!

We're happy to announce that Distant Worlds: Universe has been updated again, which makes two updates in the last two weeks! This new update, 1.9.5.10 is the tenth free update since release and brings the number of fixes, changes and improvements into the hundreds. This latest update focuses on improvements to Pirate gameplay, but also adds a few other nice improvements and fixes.

In addition, to celebrate this update and the holiday season, we are pleased to offer Distant Worlds: Universe at a discounted price again (equal to the launch discount). This is a limited time one-week sale, so if you've been waiting to jump on board, there's no better time on the horizon!

Here's the full change list for these two recent updates since the 1.9.5.8 update:

CRASH FIXES

- fixed crash when viewing newly conquered colony
- fixed rare crash when calculating spaceport income
- fixed rare crash when ship performing fleet tasks
- fixed rare crash when inflicting damage on target
- fixed rare crashes in some race events

BUG FIXES

- fixed bug where games would not start when more than 256 components defined
- ensure characters with random appearance order now work properly, even when many custom characters defined and many random appearance orders used
- ensure Shakturi always properly use custom design templates when available
- bases built at planets/moons/asteroids no longer detach when built by improvised construction ships (e.g. Exploration ships) that use a subrole other than 'Construction Ship'
- ship captain characters now have their skills and traits revealed after their first battle

PIRATES

- pirate bases with Gravity Well Projectors will now properly stop all enemy ships, not just other pirates
- pirate income from controlled colonies is now never negative, even when colony has negative revenue (i.e. colony maintenance upkeep greater than income)
- maintenance costs for each troop unit now properly shown in Troops screen when playing as pirate
- in pirate missions panel in Empire Navigation Tool, now properly show Defend missions when "Showing Available Missions" and "Showing All Missions Types" (when playing as pirate)
- pirate factions now properly process *owned* colonies so that the following activities occur: troops recruited, population growth rates vary, luxury resources ordered, population race bonuses applied, etc
- pirate resort bases now properly cleaned up when destroyed

OTHER

- Ships and Bases screen now remembers last filter setting
- added troop strength summary to hover tip in Selection Panel when Colony selected and hovering mouse over 'Troops' line
- AI now more careful about selecting location for characters with demoralizing trait, may dismiss character (when characters automated)
- increased range at which spaceport tractor beams will push away invading troop transports. Spaceports will now also push away transports even when not primary target

SHIP DESIGN
- added new flee when setting: Armor 50% or Shields 20% (also supported in design template files: use setting Armor50 for optional FleeWhen)

MODDING

- increased maximum number of research projects from 1000 to 1500
- increased maximum number of components from 300 to 500


The new 1.9.5.10 update will automatically install when you restart Steam.

10 comments Read more

December 1, 2014

Distant Worlds updated to 1.9.5.9

Distant Worlds version 1.9.5.9 is now available. The patch brings new bug fixes and increases the stability of the game, as well as further expanding the modding limits. Last but not least, the AI has also been tweaked further. Please keep the feedback coming, as the developers are eager to continue supporting the biggest 4X game out there!

If you are using the Steam version, the update will be downloaded automatically.

V1.9.5.9

• CRASH FIXES
o Fixed crash when viewing newly conquered colony

• BUG FIXES
o fixed bug where games would not start when more than 256 components defined
o ensure characters with random appearance order now work properly, even when many custom characters defined and many random appearance orders used
o ensure Shakturi always properly use custom design templates when available

• SHIP DESIGN
o added new flee when setting: Armor 50% or Shields 20% (also supported in design template files: use setting Armor50 for optional FleeWhen)

• MODDING
o increased maximum number of research projects from 1000 to 1500
o increased maximum number of components from 300 to 500

• OTHER
o AI now more careful about selecting location for characters with demoralizing trait, may dismiss character (when characters automated)

increased range at which spaceport tractor beams will push away invading troop transports. Spaceports will now also push away transports even when not primary target.

1 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
109 of 125 people (87%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
175.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 19, 2014
First I want to say this is the best 4x game I have played, and I have played, Civs 4, 5, Sins all of them and modded, Pandora, galtic civs 1 and 2, sword of the stars 1 and 2. It has better depth than civs 4, better 4x than Sins, the most realistic solar systems I have seen in a 4x game.
That said, dont expect to just jump in and be the master of the game. If all you have played is Civs 5 then you will have a huge learning curve. Since in Civs 5 can be won really no matter what you do. I see in alot of these reviews for this, people get overwhelmed with all the stuff. I will say this, dont try to understand everything at once. Most of the people writing bad reviews, seem to be trying to controll 1400 star map, and do everything. While you can control everything manually, it makes it rather time consuming. The computer ai, does a great job of controlling the stuff you dont want to.
I skipped this game for the longest time due to the price, and 2d graphics, but I def regret that. This game has been one of the few i have bought, that i didnt feel i needed to have a mod running to enjoy the game. I have added some mods since I started, and they just make the game alot better.
I just want to address one thing though. I am not really sure why people are having such a hard time with the UI. Everything in the UI is customizable to what you want, I mean everything. Also everything is there easy to access, you can make your own ships, see all the aliens, see all colonies, ect. There isnt anything different really from the other 4x games. I found this UI alot easier to use than Civs 4.
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64 of 75 people (85%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
15.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 4, 2014
The Distant Worlds franchise has proven to be an unusual exception for me. When it comes to games these days, I am rarely an "early adopter." Rather, I wait for other, more adventurous gamers to gamble their time and money before I stick my toe into the water. But with Distant Worlds it was different for me from the get-go. I was intrigued from the first moment I saw the low-fi 2010 announcement pitch from a then unknown New Zealand development team by the name of Code Force. There was just something about it that suggested ambitious innovation from the get-go. As I was reviewing games at the time, I requested a review code for the original DW game to check it out - really, more out of curiosity than an actual eagerness to play the game. Long short: I quickly became hooked, as you can read here:

http://www.gamesquad.com/review/distant-worlds

Right off the bat it got a solid 8.0 from me!

Well, Code Force wasn't done yet! They proceeded to take the community feedback and wishlist items and incorporate a lot of it into subsequent expansions. As you can see by my subsequent reviews, they did not disappoint:

http://www.gamesquad.com/review/reviewed-distant-worlds-return-shakturi

http://www.gamesquad.com/review/reviewed-distant-worlds-legends

With the release of Legends the game had already earned a "9.0" from me. Impressive!

Of course, since then Code Force has released two more expansions, so the game has only improved (especially in light of the Universe compendium that FINALLY brought the game to Steam!). If I was to review this title today, it probably would top out around 9.5 or better!

Now, why do I say that? What is it that makes Distant Worlds so special? Simply, it is this:

Unlike most other space-based 4X strategy games, Distant Worlds isn't some sort of chess-like static experience where nothing happens unless a player makes it happen. Instead, DW is more like Sim City or Europa Universalis, or even Crusader Kings 2, where the player immediately understands that he is but one small cog in a very large, very active galaxy where all sorts of things are happening that are outside of his control. Part of this is due to DW's real time environment (again, like EU or CK2) where there is constant activity on the map from the various other factions that share the galaxy with the player. But the biggest contributor to all this activity is the game's "Private Sector." Unlike every(?) other 4X game out there, DW deliberately limits the player's action to the "State" sector of his empire, which includes the military, diplomacy, tax rates, and so on. As with the real world, the private sector - the citizenry, merchants, miners, traders - are outside direct control of the state. While the player can influence their actions with policies, their day to day activities are completely autonomous. This is where DW brilliantly succeeds as it is the private sector that brings so much life to the galaxy. In fact, this is why I often compare DW to Sim City because it can be so much fun to watch "the little people" go about their lives in a very dangerous galaxy as you do your best to protect and shepard them. For example, I recall one game some time ago where a passenger ship was attacked by a space monster (or was it pirates?) while on route to a tourist destination. The ship was badly damaged and left adrift. As the supreme ruler, I had to send out a repair ship to save them, which was really cool. Of course, I had to detail some military vessels to protect them while the repair ship did its work. THAT is the type of unique, micro focus that DW offers that so many space games just completely overlook.

I also find DW to be like Crusader Kings 2 because, with the arrival of the Legends expansion, DW now has its own cast of characters - diplomats, scientists, spies, and more - who are randomly generated and acquire unique personality stats. As with CK2, this really adds a sense of personality to your empire (and yes, far in excess of the under-cooked characters in Endless Space). And while these characters don't engage in the sort of interpersonal skulduggery that is common to CK2, they can be assassinated and killed by events. Just yesterday I had a talented energy researcher assassinated when his research base was destroyed by a sabotage-induced explosion!

Do you see how I mean DW is less like your typical chess-like 4X strategy game, and more like a science fiction Sim City / CK2/ EU4 hybrid? There is just nothing like this game on the market at the moment, something that fully justifies its somewhat pricey cost (trust me: it is worth every penny!).

In short, if you like turn-based, by-the-numbers, 4X strategy game where you have total god-like control over everything, this might not be for you. But if you are the type of gamer who loves real time grand strategy games that works with you to tell your own story in a sandbox environment - again, like a Crusader Kings 2 or a Europa Universalis 4 - this is DEFINITELY what you have been looking for. You don't so much play DW as you experience it. And, as with Crusader Kings, when the game is done, boy will you have some tales to tell!

Highly recommended!
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48 of 57 people (84%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
71.8 hrs on record
Posted: October 7, 2014
I can’t believe I haven’t played this game earlier. DWU is an enormous 4x strategy game set in space. On first sight, it can look overwhelming… but thanks to the developers, you can set almost everything into “AI controlled”. This is great, because if you just want to see a living universe in front of your eyes, you basically set all to “automated” and just see everything fold in front of your eyes. Other people preffer to micromanage every aspect of their Empire… and the game allows them to do it too! Personally, I am in a middle ground, I like to micromanage, but I do not want to micromanage all the details of this game. One simple example, early in the game I manually send my explorers to the neighboring systems to see what is out there… but once I have a solid base around me, I just don’t care anymore and I set them to “Ai controlled”… the AI can manage very well the task of jumping from system to system all the time. There are dozens of features in the game that I like and I think that are very well implemented, but I think that one to mention is the simple “ship designer”: You can basically design whatever you want in there adding components to your ship (that you research on the tech tree obviously). You do not like the basic Frigate design? No problem, just edit it, add more torpedoes and lasers… and then retrofit it to your entire fleet!! Awesome!
I highly recommend this game to all the people that love strategy games in space, you will surely not regret it!
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48 of 58 people (83%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
139.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 28, 2014
Distant Worlds Universe is the greatest 4x ever produced.
Pros:
-Cool looking Death Star like things
need I say more but I will
-ability to dictate how much micromanagement you wish to do
- As a race of hippy blue people you can exterminate every other race in the galaxy with your snazzy Death Stars
-There are quite a few mods available, with a very good community
Mix:
During late game wars things can get pretty hectic especially due to the RTS system, you can't just sit back and watch the havoc unfold
Cons:
The interface is a little clunky at times
Personal Rating: If unable to get this game, sell unimportant body parts or family members until able to get this game.
Traditional rating: 9.2/10
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30 of 40 people (75%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
80.5 hrs on record
Posted: September 30, 2014
If you want the short story: A game which has a third of my gaming hours hooked, and pleases the sci-fi and strategy parts of me by a long way!!! 8/10

If you want the long story, then i suggest you take a good seat, have a good brew and listen close. :)

I have always had some undying thirst for games like these, though what has always put me off them is the fact i end up diving in the deep end and not realising HOW DEEP it is. But the developers i think have cleverly thought this out, with automanage features in the options menu (and which you can set in game too so your not having to restart from scratch). Meaning you can concentrate on the parts you, the player, want to focus on.

You can even do a kind of mini-game if you will like a 2D version of EVE online :P, and set everything on auto-manage while just manually ordering 1 ship to be built and personally customised by you via the ship design screen, after it is built, you can go with it on adventures across the galaxy and (if your a hardcore roleplaying kind of person) make up your own story. Aside from having your little RPG fun on a supposed 4x RTS game, you can set it to your liking as i mentioned earlier.

Do you want to just focus on the intel part of your empire and be an intergalactic James Bond? then go do that! Just set everything on auto manage except the intel parts of it and have fun! Or if you just want to be the man with the iron fist and go on a mad quest to conquer the galaxy you can do that too. If i had to pick one reason i love this game, it is the fact that it can be tailored around your play style. As the game motto is..."The Universe is Yours"

I would like to remind that afterall, this is mean't to be a grand strategy game, but all these little details in what you want managing and what you want to control with your own mouse and keyboard help tailor the game towards your own playstyle.

I also love the diplomatic relations on the game, where you can form alliance pacts to trade agreements, initiate sanctions and declare war, all the usual stuff. But what i like about it is that you can check another empires relations with everybody else and not just yours. It is really useful to keep in check over the ever shifting diplomatic web of relations to give you a rough picture of who to trust or not.

I have noticed with most game modes you start with, you will have 1 empire that is akin to your race. It bugges me a bit but after a while i can ignore this and simply create some sort of back story. Say they were some sort of event that made the two forget about eachother as time went by and only happened upon eachother in modern times. The real reason this happens though i think is so you can get a jump start and have some sort of support (and maybe even a friend among the empires) so you are not completely alone, though there is the matter of finding them first, and if they end up starting in the same system as you, expect an solar civil war to take place within that system.

What will also keep you hooked is that there are plenty of races to choose from, 22 in fact counting the guardians and shakturi in a fully customisable game. But what i also like about them is that each race has its own charicteristics, and that the victory conditions are set in a way that is more attuned to a said race. This allows for a more role play game and can introduce a fresh way of approach, so your not going in with exactly the same goal as everybody else and using the same strategy.

The victory conditions are divided into 4 sub conditions. Economy, Territory, Population and Race Specific (already mentioned). The economic, territorial and population is mostly the same but the race specific ones help create more of a diverse way of achieving those goals. But since the galaxy, as big as it is, is not unlimited, and that there will be collisions with other empires conditions, the victory benchmark is set to 80% of your total victory conditions, meaning you don't have to achieve 100% of what everything is set for you to win.

One thorny issue i have noticed is that the dialogue can be a bit user unfriendly at times and you may get spammed with messages from other empires. (especially true when you are part of an evershifting web of pacts and you end up with a seemingly intergalactic NATO vs Warsaw conflict. It is also the disadvantage of when you set the auto manage to advisors, where you get asked permission if your empire can build this and that or a new set of ships or fleet.

I have however come to terms with these issues and in the long run can be a fun game, but it does lose some of its magic after a while. As even with a standard 20 races to choose from (not counting the ancient guardians and shakturi of a fully customisable game), you eventually get to learn what they can behave like. The insectoids for example are your more angry bunch of races, some of which will just declare war on you and others just for the fun and giggles, while other races behave in a loose cannon and are just simply unpredictable, one point being all, sup, and you have no relations (but they have no beef on you so its mainly mutual), to suddenly, "we declare war on you, because we just feel like it, mad bro?" or at least thats how i see it, though usually they go less severe and just sanction trade with you instead, but it still dampens the mood with diplomatic relations. The Haakonish Race are seriously notorious for this, everytime i now see them im expecting them to piss 80% of the galaxy off with conflicts and sanctions.

So, in summary:

Pros:
Plenty of races to choose from so you are kept on your toes for a good while with new playstyles.
The diplomacy panel is actually quite easy to understand when you get used to it.
Completely customisable games.
Can set certain tasks to auto-manage so you are not overwhelmed with info, and also allows you to play your way.
Can even play as pirates. :P
Different storymodes to make a new game from.

***Cons:
Races can become predictable (even though government types can alter the factor).
Late game can be unfriendly userface wise.
Isn't exactly WOW factor with graphics, but you wouldn't mind too much given the scale of the game.
REALLY steep learning curve. but that is what the auto-manage is there for).
***Can be demanding with all the info it is gathering and processing, and in my case the Saves get overthrown and not recognised, but it doesn't happen everygame. To counter this I just use 2 saves so i can load on the previous one if the later one crashes.
***Can be demanding mid to late game when empires become large and there are many fleets going about their business.

***(probably due to the PC i use, it isnt exactly something for gaming but it can handle some, you will probably be better off though).

Overall, if your a strategy fan and a sci-fi lover, this should at least take a few months of your gaming calendar. Maybe after then it becomes a bit predictable with what may happen (such as an insectoid race declaring war on you as they are like that, nothing personal on you :D) but the fact it runs deep and there are a wide range of play styles to choose from, you shouldn't get bored any times soon and there are plenty of events that can interestingly occur that will get your curiosity spiking.

8/10
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19 of 27 people (70%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
78.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 14, 2014
In my opinion this IS the game I have wanted for a very long time.

Watch the videos if you are having a difficult time getting started.

Try your best to stay away from automating activities. You will will enjoy the game more the more you do yourself.

If you have a ship that you have a specific task for learn how to use the Editor to rename that ship appropriately. For instance I use a few Construction Ships to do nothing but build Defense Bases so i rename them "Defense Builder One,... Two, etc."

This helps me keep track of what I have intended them to do.

It will be years before this one will gets old for me.
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22 of 35 people (63%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
109.1 hrs on record
Posted: February 25
tl;dr: functionality does not match the high price (worth $25 US imo); many features are complex, mysterious and frustrating; too much AI

My apologies, this is going to be a long review because DW:U is a complicated game.

Pros
  • A ton of features and complexity
  • A ton of automation
  • If you like 4x gaming, you could get a lot of hours out of the game (bang for the buck)
  • Vast galaxy size and many races
  • Many things can be modded

Cons
  • The AI will often override your settings and actions. For example:
    - in settings, say you set minimum number of troops on a planet to 4
    - in settings, you set minimum population for troops to 1 million inhabitants
    - let's say you have 20ish planets and many have huge populations (greater than 1.5 billion)
    - let's say you are at peace and your economy is growing. Cash on hand is 300k (top number...upper right), cash flow is 5k (middle number...upper right) and bonus income is 30k (bottom number...upper right)

    You will scroll through your planets and see that many do not have 4 troops. The reason is because the AI believes you do not have the cash flow to support 4 troops per planet. The AI also believes that lower populations do not warrant 4 troops. So....even though you set 4 troops for planets with any population...the AI decides otherwise.

    You could even manually place recruit orders for 4 troops on all the planets. You will later review those planets and discover that the AI cancelled those recruit orders or got rid of the troops.

    A typical game would let you live with the consequences of your settings. Not so in this game. If there is an income level involved in deciding to build troops then that income level should be a setting. It is not, you must live with it and the enemy will often capture your planets because you have no troops defending them. TONS OF FRUSTRATION (and not fun)
  • None of the hidden rules are published and there are a ton of them. Every time I have weird or frustrating behavior, I need to go to the forum. Often, people state how they "think" it works.
  • To bypass the AI frustrations you would need to go 100% manual. I've found AI quirks in nearly every aspect of the game. Due to the complexity of the game, a fully manual game will take hundreds of hours to complete and is not a realistic option IMO. Even on manual, you will still need to work around some quirks (e.g. removing low fuel ships before issuing a move command for a fleet).
  • The developers do not seem to be active in the community
  • The game starts to feel like cat herding and trying to trick the AI into doing what you want. Often, the solution is the go completely manual. A completely manual game will take forever to play (at least hundreds of hours)

    For example: A fleet will fly at 1/3 speed if any ship is overly damaged or is low on fuel. They will also consume more fuel at lower speeds over long distances, compouding the problem. So...every time...before sending a 50 ship fleet to a destination you need to review the status of ships in the fleet, remove ships that will slow down the fleet and then automate or scrap the ships you just removed.
  • Some user interface features are cool but other common tasks can require many clicks
  • Very small community (dead game)
  • Overly complex user interface (e.g. some right click options are only available at certain zoom levels)
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27 of 45 people (60%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
70.2 hrs on record
Posted: December 21, 2014
I really wanted to like this game. Having played Sword of the Stars just before this, I was very much looking forward to not micro-managing things due to the automation. The problem is that the automation doesn't work well.

The automatically created ships designs include will include a troop compartment on everything that is destroyer class or bigger. Never mind that there is dedicated troop transport and troops are useless in space battles, I suspect this is because the AI controlled empires wouldn't be able to conquer planet otherwise, as the fleets the automation creates don't make a lot of sense. In one game I got a strike force (4 ships) with four cruiser in it, and fleet (15 ships) with no crusiers or carriers in it. Troop transports will get mixed into both strike forces and fleets. Nevermind that for an invasion to be most successful the troop transports need to massed and attack the planet at the same time, and it is necessary to move the troop transports to a planet enmasse, wait for them to get positioned, and then attack. Otherwise some of the troops won't participate in the invasion.

The automation for the civillian ships can't be turned off and it breaks down hard if you build to many star ports. The automatic queueing for building mines also can't be turned off, so to avoid having mines built on poor quality resources and/or in locations you don't want to defend, its necessary turn off automation on all of your construction ships. That means you have to micromanage them, including somtimes telling them to refuel. Definitely not what I was lookin for.

And fricking fuel. The automated designs don't include nearly enough fuel storage, which is just one of many reasons you'll need to manually design your ships. Ships can also get completed and be empty on fuel and have to limp slowly somewhere else to get fueled up. This happens because the civillian ships aren't transporting enough fuel to your star port(s). The same can happen for other resources and caused the building of your ships and bases to stall for extended periods.

When ships are completed their shields typically aren't charged and they only charge up at the regular and slow rate (relatively very slow later in the game). You can mitigate this by ordering your the components of your ships in specific way so that shields will actually charge while remainder of the ship components are being built. However, achieving this order requires creating most of the design when better refactor, fuel cell, or shield components come available. This is because the when a new component is added it always added at the bottom of the list, and those items need to at the top for the shields to charge. So its not just micro-management but just tedium in the user interface as well.

Didn't find the planetary facility automtion useful at all. It frequently wanted to build wonders on worlds were they would be very slow to build, and also build regular facilities to early in a colonies lifetime given the value of the colony vs. the cost of maintaining the facility.

Loading and saving is also quite slow with the top performing SSD currently on the market. Given the save files aren't all that big, it seems likely its software algorithm issue rather than a throughput issue.
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15 of 23 people (65%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
177.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 8, 2014
This game is absolutely fabulous. It takes some mastering and learning from from various sources such as youtube and online guides.

This is a 4X which even has a story line to it, a complex but yet simple interface structure. The best way to define this game would be to take 'Star Trek Birth of the Federation' and to expand on that principle to an entirely different level all in real time.

The whole experience can be customised to your preference along with the scale. I just cant stress how good it is. It does have a few bugs but it doesn't really stop the game play. I would say the graphics could look better but its that for a reason when you are immersed in the gameplay.

If you like Civilization, Alpha Centari, Age of Empires, Birth of the Federation and all such games in that league then I am sure you will enjoy this game as a stratagy game that builds on such games to a new level.

I have personally found me playing an empire and learning from trial and error to get better and better. Do put in the time and effort and you will love it.

This is a MUST BUY!
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14 of 22 people (64%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
34.4 hrs on record
Posted: October 20, 2014
A deep, complex and rewarding space strategy game, where it is your job to manage your very own space empire.

Colonize planets, invent new techs, build your ships and wage war or use diplomacy. Basic stuff, really. But one thing makes it stick out to me: the civilian fleets. Every faction has their own civilians scooting through space. The galaxy feels alive because of this. You have no control over them, but you need them to generate revenue for your economy.

You can also extensively customize your starting options and generally define what kind of game you want to play. Make a peaceful galaxy for a more trade/diplomacy oriented game or ramp up the pirate activity and aggressiveness of the other factions for a more war oriented game. Other options like how advanced your faction is compared to the others, the scarcity of recources or the the size and composition of the map will make it easier or harder for you.

Graphics are outdated, the user interface is quite a mess and sound is basic. But still this is one of the best 4X space games out there.
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7 of 10 people (70%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
12.3 hrs on record
Posted: January 27
Hey everyone,

For those who read this: I want to start by saying that i love the concept of this game. Its features are really amazing, and it is a lot of fun. The possibility to build a large empire with a huge fleet and 1000+ ship battles is a lot of fun. The ai that helps you run the empire is really solid and reliable (and i love to use it). Sure its 2D but the grapics really arent bad. The combat animations really look quite cool. No complains here. This game is awsome.

So then... why the negative advice?

Well, unfortunetely the greatness of this game is overshadowed by a massive game breaking problem: once you got a larger number of planets in your empire and a larger number of ships (lets say about 100 planets and 700 ships, this is after about 3 hours of gameplay if you are lucky) the game begins to lag/freeze at the higher running speeds (2-4 times game speed) and the problem becomes worse once you get more ships.

I understand that the devs of this game are currently looking into bugs and are still releasing patches for this game and i really hope that they will be able to fix this issue. However in the mean time i must conclude:

I cannot, in good faith, recommend the current version of this game to anyone. The performance issues simply make the late game unplayble and unstable. Once this issue is fixed i will gladely adjust this review however in the mean time i feel obliged to warn possible buyers of this issue. 55 euros is after all, a lot of money for anyone to pay for a game that really doesnt work properly.
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14 of 24 people (58%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
11.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 21, 2014
Best sci-fi\space 4X. The civilian economy system is designed very well and makes the universe much more alive. Very immersive.
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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
349.7 hrs on record
Posted: March 9
I write this review shortly after it becoming my most-played game on Steam.

It's difficult to summarize what is- without question- the best space 4X that exists.

With all my hours, I've never even really played past the midgame. There's so much replayability just in restarting galaxies with different settings. I constantly got somewhere in the midgame and realized there was a setting I wanted to change.

You'd be surprised how much some of those galaxy generation settings make a difference. Things like pirate amount, pirate strength, colonization range, galaxy size, colony influence range, and even the generic difficulty setting.

I constantly toyed with all of them. Trying less but stronger pirates. More but weaker pirates. I finally found the balance I like.

Colonization range matters. Too large and empires jump over each other's borders. Too small and you run out of in-range planets you can colonize.

Galaxy size, in relation to star amount. You can do 15x15 with 1400 stars, or 10x10 with 1400 stars. The difference of course is the density of the entire galaxy.

Influence range. Colonies project "influence" and these influence circles are considered your territory. This is a setting typically not thought of- just set to the recommended setting- but this matters too. For example I'm experimenting with having it set to the minimum setting- 10%- and this is all kinds of interesting. The influence circles basically don't extend beyond their respective solar systems, leaving the vastness of space permanently unclaimed. Multiple empires can have mines within a single solar system, and not ♥♥♥♥♥ at each other for having mines in the other's territory.

The difficulty setting. I played on Normal for the longest time. But I began to notice that towards the midgame, I would have like 16 colonies and every other empire would have like 3 or 4. I was vastly ahead. Bumping the difficulty up to Hard allows the AI to keep up with me, and it's common for a few to stay ahead of me as well. An extremely welcome change, to not just breeze through the entire game.

I apologize for focusing so much on settings but this really has almost been my entire focus with the game. Moving on though.

Ship design is amazing. I love unlocking new components and building ships from scratch. Testing them out in battle. When they wreck face, I feel like it's because I designed them well.

Lots of people describe the game as a space opera and it really is. The stories it creates, the politics that unfold, are amazing.

I guess I'll stop here. My review is different I suppose. Almost entirely about settings.

I really hope you guys found this helpful. Comments are greatly welcomed!
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
95.2 hrs on record
Posted: March 9
Galactic genocide simulator

10/10
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9 of 16 people (56%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
32.1 hrs on record
Posted: March 1
First of all, everything advertised about this game is incorrect. Leaving your affairs to the AI is a great way to get bombarded by bad decisions (I think they got Wheatley from portal to do that job). The Private sector freighters are easily confused, and it is a common sentiment that players wish they could control that aspect of the game directly to avoid such bad decison making.

And the worst sins of all are that the game's graphics look like they're rendered on an Atari, and that would not be so bad if the game itself did not stutter and lag like a mechanicus adept with a stroke. I am not the only one with this issue. These developers should be ashamed of themselves. Do not buy this for $60. Do not buy it for $10! Seriously, you are just wasting your time. There are MANY better games on steam to try.
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11 of 20 people (55%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
10.9 hrs on record
Posted: February 24
The regret is real. Price is just insane.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
5.2 hrs on record
Posted: March 24
Don't look at my Steam play time - I had this game long before it ever was on Steam.

Yeah, I know it's expensive. And it's worth EVERY PENNY.

It's simply the best 4X space game out there, far better than Gal Civ, Endless Space or any other title you can think of. It's that good with that much "flavor". This is the only space 4x game where you could control everything or maybe just even direct one little scouting ship while leaving the empire to the computer AI.

The learning curve is STEEP. You will need to watch some Let's Plays. The interface is...not good. But the gameplay is AWESOME. So if you're willing to invest the time to learn the game, you won't be disappointed. You'll get HUNDREDS of hours of fun if you give it a chance.

Look, I know the price makes it seem expensive. But it's the base game and like 4 expansions. Buy it, learn it and you may not be playing anything else for the next 6 months. So what are you waiting for? BUY BUY BUY!!! :)
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
84.1 hrs on record
Posted: October 4, 2014
Game is probably on of the most in depth and detailed 4Xes I have ever played to the point that they suggest you start off messing around with just one ship in your empire before working your way up. You can have almost everything automated, so there's that. Has many customization options as well. Want to build a galactic empire? Go for it? Want to build up a massive mercenary/pirate organization? You can do that too. While I enjoy it, I dont believe its worth the price its currently at on here. Wait for a sale, unless your a diehard fan of these types of games and are willing to put up with a steep learning curve
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
22.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 6, 2014
A truly excellent game and a unique achievement in the 4x genre. Not only do you have the complete power to micromanage every aspect of your empire, from the tiniest ship to major policy decisions, you have the option to let the computer handle any aspect you don't want to control. This creates a lot of flexibility for the player in experiencing the parts of the game that are the most fun for them and reinforces the idea that the empire is a living system that you direct through influence rather than a series of chess moves.

It controls in real time, and the resource, economy, military, and political systems are all very complex and there is always something to do. Each expansion has added tons of content, and with all of them available now, it stands out among other 4x for trying to innovate a stagnant genre. My only real criticism of the game is that it's very hard to understand the consequences of certain things, and diplomacy is pretty derivitave. If you are a fanatic of 4x space strategy games, I can actually reccommend this at full price. For anyone casually interested in the genre, I'd reccomend it on sale.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
17.1 hrs on record
Posted: December 3, 2014
Suprisingly good 4x space strategy. It is realtime, and the AI takes care of most everything for the new guys.
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