Stellaris

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Stellaris

Postby Cralis on Sat 14 May 2016 16:10

Has anyone tried this one yet? I've been told that some parts of it (like combat) remind them of Starfire...
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Re: Stellaris

Postby Xveers on Sun 15 May 2016 01:07

Bought it on release, having a lot of fun with it.

If you're curious more about it, I'd suggest watching https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TI9tzLD8WQ&list=PLs3acGYgI1-sMt6B-eD7xWgIFAkm223pK&index=1. Quill18 is a good guy to watch. Does a good job explaining the game without driving people nuts. :)
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Re: Stellaris

Postby Whitecold on Sun 15 May 2016 12:48

I'm thinking about buying it, I'm not sure if I have time to actually play it, so maybe I wait until the next Steam sale for buying it, but I quite enjoy Scott Manley's game which I watch.
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Re: Stellaris

Postby Cralis on Sun 15 May 2016 16:47

That's my problem... not enough time. I think my kids use my Steam account more than me. But I've heard good things about the game and thought I'd ask if any of you have tried it.
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Re: Stellaris

Postby Xveers on Mon 16 May 2016 02:50

Cralis wrote:That's my problem... not enough time. I think my kids use my Steam account more than me. But I've heard good things about the game and thought I'd ask if any of you have tried it.


The developers/publishers are Paradox. They're the only studio I'd even think of paying for a pre-order game nowadays, which says something to begin with.

Now, is it a good game? Yes. It's probably one of the best 4x games that's come out in a long while, mainly because while it doesn't do everything (yet), it dosen't really do anything WRONG. There's a good, solid foundation that shows a lot of different ideas taken from previous Paradox grand strategy games that have been rather neatly melded together into a single fairly coherent mass. And as a bonus, since it's a "start from scratch" game, you don't have to deal with all the game mechanics instantly (a problem with most of their other games, since they're historical. You can't really start as Spain in 1444 with only one province, after all).

Note though I said that it doesn't do everything. This is sadly true. The diplomacy options are damnned light for a Paradox grand strategy game. "Victory Conditions" are pitifully light (though in fairness, earlier Paradox grand strategies never HAD them to begin with). Outside of tit for tat trade deals, there's no underlying trade mechanic for resources or economy (like the CFN in Starfire). There's no espionage. No dreadnoughts or planet killers, no major "wonder" style constructions. And there's a host of places there the UI could get improved.

But I still love this game. Why? Because I know everything that I had previously mentioned will eventually get improved, iterated on, fixed and expanded. Paradox's last big game, Europa Universalis IV (which runs from 1444 to 1812), got an expansion released two months ago. And it was released three YEARS ago. And it's gotten so far eight major expansions, each that iterated on a new section.

Ah you say. DLC. There is the scam. I will admit that Paradox games have plenty of DLC. Not Train Simulator bad, but there is a good bit out there. But in its defence I will say three things:


1) Plenty of the DLC is entirely cosmetic. Different 3d models for troops, additional music in the background, and additional character portraits are some of the key examples. They keep the requisite departments busy, but they're entirely optional.

2) Each Paradox expansion also comes with a free update patch that's launched at the same time that provides a lot of basic improvements, adjustments, and expansions. So even if you never buy a DLC for the game at all, you're still going to get an improved and expanded game.

3) If you play multiplayer, only the host needs the DLCs for everyone to play with them.

4) Ha, I lied. There is a fourth thing. DLC tends to get pretty heavily discounted on Steam after a little while. I've seen the first five or six Europa Universalis gameplay DLCs discounted upwards of 75% off, which isn't too shabby.
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Re: Stellaris

Postby Cralis on Mon 16 May 2016 12:04

Xveers wrote:
Cralis wrote:That's my problem... not enough time. I think my kids use my Steam account more than me. But I've heard good things about the game and thought I'd ask if any of you have tried it.


The developers/publishers are Paradox. They're the only studio I'd even think of paying for a pre-order game nowadays, which says something to begin with.


Except for SOTS II, which was absolutely horrid. And not just the "charlie foxtrot" of a launch, but the design was horrible and they don't support (aka improve it) it anymore. Also Paradox.

SOTS is probably my favorite 4X game of all time but SOTS II was so badly unfinished at start and the design decisions turned it into a tedious, illogical, frustrating nightmare. Which is made even more frustrating because it included changes that, had they been implemented in SOTS, would have made it nigh irreplaceable for... well forever.

That and EU III has _never_ run on my machine. The old one or the new one. Crash to desktop on load. Too bad I bought it before Steam's refund policy.

Enough about what I think of Paradox.

Now, is it a good game? Yes. It's probably one of the best 4x games that's come out in a long while, mainly because while it doesn't do everything (yet), it dosen't really do anything WRONG. There's a good, solid foundation that shows a lot of different ideas taken from previous Paradox grand strategy games that have been rather neatly melded together into a single fairly coherent mass. And as a bonus, since it's a "start from scratch" game, you don't have to deal with all the game mechanics instantly (a problem with most of their other games, since they're historical. You can't really start as Spain in 1444 with only one province, after all).

Note though I said that it doesn't do everything. This is sadly true. The diplomacy options are damnned light for a Paradox grand strategy game. "Victory Conditions" are pitifully light (though in fairness, earlier Paradox grand strategies never HAD them to begin with). Outside of tit for tat trade deals, there's no underlying trade mechanic for resources or economy (like the CFN in Starfire). There's no espionage. No dreadnoughts or planet killers, no major "wonder" style constructions. And there's a host of places there the UI could get improved.


I do hear that it has the ability to do dozens of AIs and players... that's a bonus. Our online gaming group can be up to 9 players and so far no 4X game can accommodate "us vs AI" because of it.

And I also hear that they've copied SOTS's end game uber-alien invasions.

One friend also told me thay have fairly complex sysgen but you are really limited in how much you can interact with the planets, moons, and asteroids. He estimates the average player is allowed to interact with 25% or less of system
bodies.

Sounds like a mixed bag. Of course, I've yet to see a perfect 4X game :)

But I still love this game. Why? Because I know everything that I had previously mentioned will eventually get improved, iterated on, fixed and expanded. Paradox's last big game, Europa Universalis IV (which runs from 1444 to 1812), got an expansion released two months ago. And it was released three YEARS ago. And it's gotten so far eight major expansions, each that iterated on a new section.


True. Except for SOTS II. They are letting that game rot.

Ah you say. DLC. There is the scam. I will admit that Paradox games have plenty of DLC. Not Train Simulator bad, but there is a good bit out there. But in its defence I will say three things:


DLC only bothers me when you have to buy it at game launch to get all the features, or when they release a bunch of micro-DLC with features you need so they can collect more money than releasing as one DLC.

1) Plenty of the DLC is entirely cosmetic. Different 3d models for troops, additional music in the background, and additional character portraits are some of the key examples. They keep the requisite departments busy, but they're entirely optional.


Never had a problem with DLC like this.

2) Each Paradox expansion also comes with a free update patch that's launched at the same time that provides a lot of basic improvements, adjustments, and expansions. So even if you never buy a DLC for the game at all, you're still going to get an improved and expanded game.

3) If you play multiplayer, only the host needs the DLCs for everyone to play with them.


Now that's a cool way to do DLC.

4) Ha, I lied. There is a fourth thing. DLC tends to get pretty heavily discounted on Steam after a little while. I've seen the first five or six Europa Universalis gameplay DLCs discounted upwards of 75% off, which isn't too shabby.


That's true of almost everything on Steam. What I hate is when you leave a game for a while only to come back and find you need a half dozen DLC or re-buy the "gold edition" with everything, but for less than the cost of the original game. That pissed me off because I don't need or want multiple copies of the original game (do you hear me Firaxis???).
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Re: Stellaris

Postby Xveers on Mon 16 May 2016 19:04

Cralis wrote:Except for SOTS II, which was absolutely horrid. And not just the "charlie foxtrot" of a launch, but the design was horrible and they don't support (aka improve it) it anymore. Also Paradox.

SOTS is probably my favorite 4X game of all time but SOTS II was so badly unfinished at start and the design decisions turned it into a tedious, illogical, frustrating nightmare. Which is made even more frustrating because it included changes that, had they been implemented in SOTS, would have made it nigh irreplaceable for... well forever.

That and EU III has _never_ run on my machine. The old one or the new one. Crash to desktop on load. Too bad I bought it before Steam's refund policy.

Enough about what I think of Paradox.


I went and checked, and with SOTS I and II, it was published by Paradox, not actually developed by them. So there's a bit of a difference there (Stellaris, EU, etc are developed and published by Paradox). I've also heard through third hand that Kerebos wasn't... the best development studio out there, and things went rather sideways with what they tried to do with SOTS II. But that's neither here nor there.

I'll also note that one of my other games they published but not did was Cities: Skylines. Good game, but the developer dropped the ball on continuing to iterate core gameplay and put out some DLC that were, frankly, kinda garbage. It's a decent game, but not as good as it could be. Anyhow.

Cralis wrote:I do hear that it has the ability to do dozens of AIs and players... that's a bonus. Our online gaming group can be up to 9 players and so far no 4X game can accommodate "us vs AI" because of it.


Two weeks ago they did a livestream with I think 22 people in the same multiplayer game with no desynch or other issues. And I can say from experience that the hot-join in Stellaris works just fine. So if someone does drop, you just pause the game and re-invite. Then you're back in business.

Cralis wrote:And I also hear that they've copied SOTS's end game uber-alien invasions.

One friend also told me thay have fairly complex sysgen but you are really limited in how much you can interact with the planets, moons, and asteroids. He estimates the average player is allowed to interact with 25% or less of system bodies.

Sounds like a mixed bag. Of course, I've yet to see a perfect 4X game :)


Didn't know that SOTS had that end-game thing, but it's a good idea to copy. System generation is also pretty complex. About the only thing missing at the moment is binary+ star systems, but I'm willing to bet that'll come along eventually one way or another (I can think of one or two ways it could get fudged in). That percentage is about right, roughly speaking. On an initial visit to a system with a survey ship, you scan all the planets and interesting asteroids for resources and the like. I'd say about 1/4 of them have something valuable. The rest ends up being scenery (for now anyhow. Modders have already demonstrated you can have it set up to make ANY body colonizable).

As it being a mixed bag, pretty much yeah. I'm not going to say it's perfect by a long shot :D

Cralis wrote:True. Except for SOTS II. They are letting that game rot.


Dunno how much of that is Paradox and how much of it is internal to Kerebos Productions. Like I said earlier, I've heard stuff going both ways on that.

Cralis wrote:DLC only bothers me when you have to buy it at game launch to get all the features, or when they release a bunch of micro-DLC with features you need so they can collect more money than releasing as one DLC.


That thankfully has never been Paradox's style with DLC. I know that Colossal Games (the guys who did Cities Skylines) didn't exactly do good on their last two DLC's that they did, however. I don't think Paradox really mandates their style to those they publish.

Cralis wrote:That's true of almost everything on Steam. What I hate is when you leave a game for a while only to come back and find you need a half dozen DLC or re-buy the "gold edition" with everything, but for less than the cost of the original game. That pissed me off because I don't need or want multiple copies of the original game (do you hear me Firaxis???).


Based on everything I've seen, it looks like Paradox is going to be in "patch and iterate" at least for the next three months. They've posted a new developer's diary here: https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/index.php?threads/stellaris-dev-diary-33-the-maiden-voyage.932668/

That details the next series of updates and patches that are provisionally planned out for the next three months, with some fuzzyness on exactly what is going in where. I'm not sure, but I expect they'll probably do their first expansion DLC sometime just before Civ 6's launch date (or afterwards, somewhere in that timeframe). What is in that patch is hard to say, but my bet's going to be on a general expansion to combat (possibly new hull classes, weapons, additional supporting tech).

Edit:
Just wanted to mention that at present there IS an issue with performance on the maximum size of the game map (1000 stars) where performance goes right into the tank for some reason. Player and dev testing are looking at it being a factoring issue, not just a "choking on all the starships" issue. People have done tests and with a modded game found that if you have a VERY beefy machine the game is capable of handling up to 5000 stars (though it was hobbled by the same technical glitch as in 1000).
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