Version 1.601 is refinement on a number of fronts. Perhaps my favorite improvement is one that was suggested by jaxxa and which lets us see both the Basic and Detailed Info tabs at the same time on the solar map on screens that are 1440px or wider. This cuts down on a lot of clicking back and forth on screens that can fit it, while not changing the experience at all on smaller screens.
There are a bunch of fixes to the armada management window in this version for betrayal mode, so you can really play that mode a lot more like it was intended to be played, now. Sorry about those!
The last two Obscura ship bullet pattern designs are now in place thanks to Misery, and boy are they doozies. These introduce the concept of "bosses," which I think is pretty cool, and something we will likely explore even further as part of a theoretical future expansion. For now it's a really nice sub-component of the Obscura, in any case.
There are also a number of fixes relating to defending various kinds of planets against invader armadas using your own flagship. These affect all modes of the game. Oh, and the Pirate Raven flagships now should be harassing pretty much only you, not flying about after other ships like crazy. So this is something where their extreme speed should no longer cause "I can't chase them" issues. The idea is that they come for you and you pretty much have to fight them broadsides for a bit until they speed off and then return.
Let us know how things are looking, if you have suggestions or bug reports, etc!
More to come soon. Enjoy!
This is a standard update that you can download through the in-game updater, or if you have Steam it will automatically update it for you. To force Steam to download it faster, just restart Steam and it will do so.
Click here for the official forum discussion about this release.
Version 1.600 is gargantuan, and aptly named. This addresses a lot of the longest-standing balance/clarity requests for the base game... all at one time! This was kind of an all-or-nothing proposition, and it took a bit longer than I expected. Still, it's done now, and I'm super proud of how it turned out.
60 very-boring-somewhat-confusing techs were removed from the tech tree, a ton of techs were changed quite substantially, and 19 all-new techs have been added. The way that research happens is more balanced now, and proceeds at a more interesting pace. Science Outposts have more of a clear and present purpose, and holding on to them can be key for both you and the AI to a degree that was never the case before.
Previously, the concepts of shipbuilding (for ships) and manufacturing (for buildings and outposts) were separate, and it was really confusing. These have been merged together in a sensible way, and also completely rebalanced from the ground up, just like the science stuff was. Manufacturing Outposts are also now more valuable, for you and for the AI, which again is great.
Ground combat is something that could get absolutely bonkers out of balance in the late game, mainly because it was using multiplicative math instead of additive math. This was the problem with the other areas that are being rebalanced here, too. The ground combat is now balanced a new way, and much more sensibly. In the early and middle game, the results are pretty close to what they used to be, although there is more variance now in terms of decisions made during gameplay having larger effects (mainly in terms of which techs are or are not researched). And in the late game, the ground combat stays sane.
Space Combat Power
This was a huge thing to rebalance, and really important. Previously there were a lot of things that were really unclear, and those 60 "mark level for specific ship" improvements were a big part of that. In general there was just a lot of decentralization and special-casing here, so that it was incredibly difficult to tell what was going on at a glance.
But even more than that, the general feel of the progression of this has changed. There are now distinct jumps in power, rather than a slow small increase in power that is hardly noticeable. I spent a lot of time working on making the jumps in power something that were noticeable, but not so severe that they were frustrating or game-ending. I think I hit a good balance, but let me know what you think.
Why does it matter that the jumps are noticeable? Well, it helps with tension, honestly, and makes it so that it MATTERS if you are behind on techs. The new system also rewards you a lot more than before for unlocking more flagship abilities, too. The way that races handle the space combat power upgrades is now entirely different in terms of their tech research, and it can make science play a much larger role in space battles than it previously did.
Overall what this does is create desperate swings in power at various times, so that you have a chance to suddenly seize a temporary opportunity or you have to compensate for a poor oversight. You have a number of years before this really becomes a factor, and the computer adviser already tells you about this in no uncertain terms, so new players should be fine. But there were some players who previously just kind of ignored these techs and yet were still successful... I don't think that will be possible anymore, which is certainly by design. But at the same time, I believe the "this is so complex and also so incremental that I don't care to look into it" feeling that was causing the players to ignore these techs has been resolved.
Better Insight Into Ground Power And Space Power
And on the racial power grid and at each planet's details screen, you can now hover over the ground power number and see a breakdown of WHY the number is what it is. That's understandably been a longstanding request, and it was something we had already done in the past for manufacturing and science.
On the racial power grid, you can also see this same breakdown for the ship power multiplier. This is something that is completely centralized, so there's nothing needed anywhere else. For ground power there is a local component for defenders, hence being able to see it in both places.
Military Outposts have a completely different function, now. They buff the space multiplier and the ground troop multiplier, end of story. They don't produce armadas or anything like that. This plays a lot nicer with Betrayal mode, which is good. But it also just makes more sense and is more clear with the AIs, too. Even in the standard federation-formation mode (or Invasion mode, for that matter), you can use military outposts gifted to the right races to really help shore up their weaknesses. Or ones for yourself to help increase your own flagship's power.
The AI for how the races deal with outposts in general, and what they prioritize building, has been completely reworked. The races are much better now at trying to shore up their weaknesses with the use of outposts, or to in general stack onto their primary goal (aka Thoraxians with space power). Previously it was a bit more generalized, not as good.
Invasion Mode Updates
In the prior version, Invasion mode was basically "you die now" mode. I had fixed the AI for the Obscura, and they were then just running amok. In looking at how to fix that, I was realizing that I really needed to go ahead and switch to the additive model for the space power and science and all that jazz. So hence the long foray into all the great base game updates that make this release so huge. Anyway, with all of those things in hand, I also did a bunch of balance work on Invasion mode.
This mode is still quite hard, but how hard depends on the strategic difficulty you choose. On normal, the Obscura tend to win within 60 years, typically. They don't lose. ;) On Easy, they'll still tend to win within 60 years, but sometimes they'll lose even in observer mode. Rare, but it happens. On strategic difficulty modes higher than normal, the situation gets increasingly dire increasingly fast. So basically you need to wipe out the obscura pretty quickly, or else you're frankly going to lose.
In general when it comes to invasion mode, if you get into a long stalemate, you'll eventually lose. On the higher difficulties for this mode, the only way to win is to basically play a "rush" style of game, in the Starcraft sense, where you deny them resources and expansion power, and just cut them off before they get started. Any way you play it, though, the strategies required for invasion mode really are incredibly alien to that of the main game mode.
(This post is so long that it has to be continued in the comments! Sorry...)
“For fans of space-faring simulation games, it's more or less a must.”
8/10 – Richard Nolan, Strategy Informer
“Arcen Games nailed it with this game.”
TotalBiscuit, The Cynical Brit
“A revolutionary twist on the 4X legends of yore.”
8/10 (Editor's Choice) – Jonathan Lester, Dealspwn
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