Stars in Shadow is a turn-based 4X strategy game and a vivid tribute to the genre classics. Compete with alien factions to explore and colonize nearby starsystems, build fleets to defend against rivals, negotiate or conquer them. Win by unifying the galaxy, through diplomacy or force.
User reviews:
Mostly Positive (182 reviews) - 78% of the 182 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Jan 19, 2017

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Recent updates View all (24)

April 11

Tech Tree Update: 11 April 2017

Attention interloper - heed this recorded message!
This world, Earth, may not be approached for any reason.

Today's Tech Tree Update adds a tree view and improved functionality for the Research screen. Our ongoing effort to improve the game continues, so your feedback and suggestions are important to us. Keep them coming!

Research Screen Tree View

For starters, the behavior of the "Set Research" and "Queue Research" buttons has changed. "Set Research" will now automatically queue any needed prerequisites to the selected tech. "Queue Research" can now be used to queue any number of techs in any order, regardless of prerequisites.

To enter the tree view, click on the tree icon at the top of the technology list in the Research Screen.

In addition to the familiar Queue Research and Set Research buttons, which work the same way as in the List View, the Tree View presents a scrollable pane displaying the technology tree. The tree view pane can be scrolled by using the scrollbars on bottom and right, or with the arrow or WASD keys, or by clicking and dragging within the pane. Left-clicking on a technology node will select it and activate the Info pane for that technology. Clicking "Set Research" or right-clicking on the node will begin research on that tech (or any required prerequisites, which will be automatically queued). You can manually queue techs by selecting a tech node and clicking "Queue Research", or by shift-left-clicking on a node.

Each technology node displays the name of the technology, an icon for the field of research (Physics, Construction, etc.), and icons representing any hulls, components, or special abilities unlocked by that technology. The number of turns to research the technology at current research rates is listed in blue. If the tech is locked (it has unresearched prerequisites), the title will be blue and there will be a lock icon at right. If the technology has additional prerequisites that are not represented by the visible lines, you will be able to see a small icon overlay at the upper left of the node. All elements can be investigated with a mouseover tooltip.

You can return to the List View at any time by clicking the list icon at the upper left, and you can close the Research Screen by clicking the X in the upper right, or the testube icon at the top bar. If you exit Research while still in the Tree View, you will still be in the Tree View whenever you return to the Research screen.

Patch Notes for 11 April 2017 (ver. 20298)

Changes and Additions
  • The tree view of the research screen is now available and can be viewed by clicking on the tree view icon shown at the top of the technology list. You can return to the list view by clicking on the list icon at the top left of the tree view.
  • Clicking "Set Research" in either view will now queue any necessary prerequisite techs.
  • You can now queue techs in any order using either view by selecting techs and clicking "Queue Tech" (or shift-left-clicking in the tree view).
  • The portion of the 'Primary Beams' prerequisite that included 'Turbolasers' now instead includes 'Advanced Turbolasers'.
  • 'Hyperspace Cloud Computing' has been renamed to 'Hyperspace Cloud'.
  • The Yoral Frigate hull is now unlocked by 'Interstellar Expeditions', rather than 'Titanium Construction'.
  • Opening the dropdown menu in the embark population dialog should no longer trigger an exception.
(Click here to view the complete development changelogs, and here to view the development roadmap post.)

This drone now leaves to inform the masters of your transgressions.
You are commanded to remain here and await the arrival of the masters.
Disobedience will be punished.

24 comments Read more

March 17

Development Update: 17 March 2017

We come in peace. Mostly.

Today's update includes a few bug fixes, and some preparatory work for our next big feature, which is the technology tree view. As always, work continues to improve the game, so your feedback and suggestions are important to us. Keep them coming!

Patch Notes for 17 March 2017 (ver. 20026)

Changes and Additions
  • The \Mods\ subdirectory can now be used to install and manage user-created mods. For instructions, please read the MakingMods.txt file in the \Mods\ directory.
  • Unlocking 'Dreadnoughts' no longer requires 'Duranium Construction'.
  • Removed the redundant 'Small Craft' prerequisite for 'Light Carrier'.
  • Removed the redundant 'Graviton Physics' prerequisite for 'Star Gates'.
  • Removed the redundant 'Fusion' prerequisite for 'Plasma Focusing'.
  • Bombardment notifications now contain more information.
  • Added on-hover tooltips for terraforming projects.
  • Fighters and bombers should now automatically upgrade to use the latest available munitions/weapons, without requiring that the mothership be refitted.
  • Strike fighters should now correctly switch between attacking with energy weapons or missiles, depending on their target.
  • Fix for a rare bug that could cause a crash when closing the ship designer pane.
  • Applying an autodesign template to a planet defense design should no longer cause an exception.
  • Fix for a rare bug that could cause fleets to disappear after issuing a movement command.
  • Rejecting the results of a galactic council vote should no longer cause an error.
  • Fix for a gunport animation glitch affecting several heavier Orthin hulls.
  • The 'Ancient Guardians' faction should no longer appear in the faction list.
  • Fix for a bug that could prevent raider units from embarking from low-population planets.
  • Disabling 'advisor suggestions' should now suppress special resource notifications.
  • You should now receive at most 1 special resource notification per resource per game.
(Click here to view the complete development changelogs, and here to view the development roadmap post.)

In the Works: Tree View for Research Screen

Probably the most requested feature (and the most bemoaned missing feature) is a tree view for the Research Screen, and it has been at the top of our list as well. Because our tech tree has a complex set of prerequisite inheritances, and because the tree is different for each faction, figuring out a consistent way to display it took some work. But we think we've got it figured out.

This view will be in addition to the current list view; the player will be able to toggle between the two views at will. The tree view will contain most of the functionality of the list view, including the same technology information pane in a pop-up form. It will also allow the player to queue research items in any order.

Here is a mockup of the new screen's graphical elements:

Here is a test layout of the logical tree structure (Yoral version):

The tree is dynamic in the sense that each faction can have a different tree layout, and nodes can be added to a tree during a game, which will allow the potential for a faction to unlock technologies through gameplay that would not normally be available for research to that faction.

That's all for now. Until next time.

14 comments Read more


“A worthy tribute to the classic Master of Orion games of times past.”
84 – CyberPower PC

“Proper turn-based combat paired with clever innovations.”
85 – Hooked Gamers

“An indie game truly for the 4Xer to revel in.”
90 – Gamewatcher

About This Game

Stars in Shadow is a turn-based 4X science fiction strategy game. Explore the stars, settle distant worlds, and build an interstellar empire. Recover ancient technologies and negotiate with alien leaders. Created by a pair of passionate strategy gamers, Stars in Shadow features streamlined empire management, sophisticated turn-based tactical combat, and detailed world building.


  • Epic Scope:
    Starting at the dawn of interstellar travel, progress through four eras of technological advancement. Discover the science of planetary terraforming, upgrade your infantry battalions to battle mechs, and grow your fleet from a squadron of destroyers to an armada of planet-destroying Dread Stars.

  • Varied Factions:
    7 Playable factions comprising six alien races. Each faction has different research strengths and technology options. Forming alliances, conquering neighboring species, or discovering ancient artifacts may open up additional avenues of research. Choose your race wisely as it impacts which worlds will suit you, what trades or alliances may be offered, and whether or not your neighbors are inclined to trust you.

  • Stylized Setting:
    A distinctive comic-book art style and an original, detailed universe backstory draw you into an immersive game world. Interact with a unique cast of alien characters, make friends and influence people, or crush your enemies and see them driven before you.

  • Focused High-Level Strategy:
    Build a vast and varied empire, taking advantage of the unique traits offered by different alien populations and the worlds they inhabit. Experiments on a slave population might diminish your popularity in the Galactic Council. A streamlined resource and planetary improvement model keeps the game moving even when your empire grows large.

  • Deep Turn-Based Tactical Combat:
    Face off against your opponents in complex 2D turn-based tactical battles. Counter your enemy’s missile barrage using point defense or interceptors, then close to energy weapon range! Stars in Shadow’s tactical engine includes several features rarely seen in turn based games. Multi-ship commands keep even large fleet battles fast-paced, and smart unit behaviors allow tight control with minimal micromanagement. Auto-resolve battles that are a foregone conclusion, while retaining the ability to replay any engagement to see exactly what happened.

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10
    • Processor: Intel Core 2.6 GHz or equivalent
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 4000 Series or better
    • Storage: 3 GB available space
    • Additional Notes: Stars in Shadow requires the OpenGL framebuffer extension. This extension is present on almost all graphics drivers released after 2010, but laptops made before 2010 with vendor-locked graphics drivers may not be able to run the game.
    • OS: Windows 7,8,10
    • Processor: Intel Core Duo 3.0 GHz or equivalent
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA Geforce 400 Series or better, 1 GB RAM
    • Storage: 3 GB available space
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Mostly Positive (182 reviews)
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