Jobs Store Support Register

Stellaris

+
Stellaris

Stellaris

I am getting extremely excited about this game. Stellaris is an upcoming space exploration, colonization and intergalactic diplomacy/war/development themed grand strategy game being developed by Paradox Interactive (of Europa Universalis, Hearts of Iron and Crusader King's fame). I didn't get really pumped about it until I read the Developer Diaries about the game. Catch an archive of the Diaries here https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/index.php?threads/stellaris-developer-diary-archive.882950/.

I wanted to give a (semi) brief overview of the developer diaries. I have paraphrased some of the original language and changed the PoV from 1st person to third person for ease of reading (forgive me for omitting brackets and the like as I feel that makes it tedious to read).

On the overall vision of the game:

Paradox wants to make Stellaris the most replayable of all of its games. Stellaris diverges from all of our other games in certain key respects: [1] It is not historical; [2] It features a symmetrical start; [3] You start out small; [4] Most of the world is unknown.The early game is characterized by exploration and discovering the wonders of the galaxy. We have put a lot of effort into making this part of the game feel fresh and unique every time you play. Then you start coming into contact with rival space-faring races and soon you reach the mid game, when there is not much left to colonize and your easy expansion grinds to a halt. At this point, the map stabilizes into the Stellaris equivalent of the world map in Europa Universalis, and the stage is set for a classic Paradox Grand Strategy experience...
On the art style of the game:

Establishing the art style we of course rummaged through all the Sci-fi imagery we could think of, from classical Sci-fi like Ralph McQuarrie and Star Trek, to the latest productions like Mass Effect or Halo … A theme that soon emerged in the references we liked, that we felt reinforced our vision the best, was images with high contrast, and strong colors … Though we embraced the darkness of space and a galaxy full of fallen empires, we did not want sadness. And though we very much wanted realism, we wanted to avoid gritty and dirty Sci-fi.
Clean art can be really hard to make since it easily ends up looking like plastic toys. This was one of the things [Paradox] very much wanted to avoid... One of the things that really helped out here was [Paradox] adding [Physically Based Rendering] to our engine. [This allows Paradox] to get more detailed and realistic looking ships by having a large range of material properties to the surface…



[T]he combat is not just some pretty light show while the game crunches numbers in the background. The lasers and missiles you see are the same ones the game uses to determine the outcome of the battle. So if a laser misses its target, you can see that it goes past it, and the last missile to hit, really was the one that landed the final blow.

Here is an example of the Sol system.



For the alien creature designs Paradox wanted as much variety as possible, and for the player to find many new aliens each new session they played. Paradox have tried to make them as varied as possible, but there are of course some constraints. For instance, they all are sentient creatures who in the end were able to one way or another develop tools, technology and finally spaceships. So they probably have some sort of extremities with which to grab items, be it tentacles or fingers, but it is rather hard to get around this of you want to escape your planet. You can of course be a mind controlling parasite which has farmed a slave race to do your bidding, which we do have, but those are not in the majority. Another constraint was that we do need the races to participate in diplomacy, and have leaders and populations, so they did need to fit a certain format. That said we have done our utmost to avoid the Star Trek of just having different foreheads.
On the creation of Galaxy Maps to play on:

When you start a new game you can specify the size and shape of the galaxy as well as the number of (normal) AI empires. Sizes currently range from 200 - 1000 stars. The amount of AI empires only affects how many AI controlled empires that are generated from the start, a lot more will spring into existence during your game. Currently we have three different types of shapes for the galaxy; spiral, elliptical and ring. When we generate the stars we also decide what class each star should be. Most stars will be star classes with the different spectral types B,A,F,G,K,M. Some star systems can however be more special, like a black hole, pulsar or a neutron star.

We also generate some galactic features other than stars. One of these are nebulas. Nebulas are visible on the galaxy map and often contain a bunch of interesting star systems with special rare resources.

We generate a lot of interesting special content in the different systems, including the ones that no empire is controlling. This content ranges from debris to ships of unknown origin, that could be friendly or not so friendly...
Regarding types of FTL civilizations can use to travel between systems:

The galaxy is a pretty huge place and to get anywhere in a timely manner you’ll want to travel faster than the speed of light, or use FTL-travel for short. Stellaris will have three methods of FTL that players can use; Warp, Hyperlanes and Wormholes. They all have distinct advantages and disadvantages when it comes to the strategic movement of ships and fleets causing expansion paths, diplomacy and wars to be quite different depending on the method used.

Warp requires each ship in the fleet to be equipped with a Warp Drive which allows unconstrained travel to any system within a range.

Some species prefer to open up a temporary wormhole that a fleet may use to instantly travel to a distant system. These wormholes can only be generated by a Wormhole Station. The station may only generate a single wormhole at a time, forcing all ships and fleets to wait while one is being prepared. Constructing and maintaining an efficient network of Wormhole Stations is vital to any species using wormholes, as it will allow sending huge fleets from one part of the galaxy to another in very short time. This great strength can also be a great weakness, as fleets are left with no means of further offense or retreat should the network be disabled through covert attacks by enemy strike-fleets.

The galaxy in Stellaris has a hidden network of hyperlanes connecting the systems, only visible for those who know where to look. Ships that are equipped with a Hyperdrive can access these lanes and use them to traverse the galaxy at incredible speed. They are however bound by the preexisting network, and has to path through each system connecting their current location and target.

All methods of FTL-travel can be improved by researching more advanced technologies. While their exact effects differ some they all improve the speed, range, efficiency or cooldown of FTL-travel.
On the various civilizations you can play as:

We have created a great many (ca 100) unique, animated portraits for the weird and wonderful races you will encounter as you explore the galaxy. These portraits are mostly gameplay agnostic, although we have sorted them into six broad classes (Mammalian, Arthropoid, Avian, Reptilian, Molluscoid or Fungoid) which affect the names of their ships and colonies, for example. To give additional visual variety, their clothes may sometimes vary, and when you open diplomatic communications with them the room they are standing in will appear different depending on their guiding Ethos.

Speaking of Ethos, this is no doubt the most defining feature of a space empire; it affects the behavior of AI empires, likely technologies, available policies and edicts, valid government types, the opinions of other empires, and - perhaps most importantly - it provides the fuel for internal strife in large and diverse empires. When you create an empire at the start of a new game, you get to invest three points into the various ethics (you can invest two of the points into the same ethic, making you a fanatic.)

Collectivist - Individualist
Xenophobe - Xenophile
Militarist - Pacifist
Materialist - Spiritualist

Your Ethos will limit your valid selection of government types, but there are always at least three to choose from; an oligarchy of some kind, a democracy or a monarchy. They all have their advantages and disadvantages. Other examples that may be available include governments like Military Dictatorships. Of course, both ethics and government types usually also have direct effects on the empire.

It is natural for individual Populations to diverge in their Ethics, especially if they do not live in the core region of your empire. This has far reaching consequences for the internal dynamics of empires; how Pops react to your actions, and the creation and management of Factions, etc.


On the Characters that populate the empire:

First off, this game is not character based like Crusader Kings, so do not expect a complex web of rivalries and friendships to develop between rulers and leaders with dynamic portraits and genetics. In Stellaris, the real stars of the show are the Pops, with characters acting more like the advisors, generals and admirals in Europa Universalis (though they do have certain personality traits that can affect what options they get in scripted events, for example.) With that out of the way, let's examine the different types of characters:

Scientists can be put in charge of one of the three research departments (Physics, Society or Engineering.) They can also be assigned to captain the Science Ships you use to explore the galaxy. They are also valid ruler candidates in technocratic societies (government types).

Governors can either lord it over a single planet or an entire sector. They are a very useful way of keeping the populace happy, or increasing the efficiency of a rich and powerful planet even more. Governors are valid ruler candidates under many government types.

Admirals, though they are not mandatory, can give a clear edge to your military fleets, which is pretty straightforward. They are valid ruler candidates in militaristic societies.

Generals lead your armies in defense of your planets against invasion, or when invading the planets of your enemies. Like Admirals, they are valid ruler candidates in militaristic societies.

Rulers give bonuses to entire empires, and, since other leader types can be elected ruler, they typically have a secondary skillset as well. Ruler type characters can also lead Factions; such characters are not recruited by you and cannot be ordered around. Factions and their leaders are, again, something we'll cover in detail later on.

Most leader types are recruited using Influence (a type of diplomatic "currency" in the game) and there is a cap on the total number of leaders you can employ, so you will need to weigh your need for Admirals against that for competent Governors, etc.
On Science Ships:

These bad boys are necessary to survey unknown planets and other objects in space, finding out which resources they contain and making sure habitable planets are actually safe to colonize. Although a Science Ship can operate without a Scientist character as captain, it is strongly discouraged because skilled Scientists are required to research many of the strange anomalies you will find out there...
The way this works in the game is that when a Science Ship completes a survey, it might uncover an Anomaly of some sort. Each Anomaly has a difficulty level, so you often want to delay researching some of them until you have a Scientist with a high enough skill. Researching an Anomaly takes time and may result in success, failure, or, sometimes, catastrophic failure… For example, if the Anomaly consists of some strange caves on an asteroid, the Scientist could find out their origins and learn something of value, come to a wrong conclusion (the Anomaly would then disappear forever), or accidentally trigger a fatal explosion which might knock the asteroid out of orbit and put it on a trajectory towards an inhabited planet.

There are other important tasks for Science Ships as well; they are required for many special research projects and for analyzing the debris left behind after a battle, perhaps managing to reverse engineer some nifty technologies.
On Special Projects and The Situation Log:

As you play the game and venture out into the galaxy, you will eventually come upon Special Projects. These projects can be triggered by anomalies or by other events. They typically represent a specific action that can be performed by the player, and in that respect they function a bit like the decisions you might find in some of our other games. Most projects are centered around a location (often a planet, but it could also be an object in space).
While the cost of some projects is only a time investment, others will require research efforts within a particular field, such as physics, to complete. Technology research progress is diverted to the project at the expense of your current technology research in that field, temporarily halting all progress.

A few examples of Special Projects could be boarding and investigating a derelict space hulk, performing an archeological dig on the homeworld of a dead civilization… or perhaps fishing something out of the atmosphere of a gas giant. Projects can also appear on your colony worlds, and they may be time sensitive. From the project you might get an advanced alien warship, or a new technology, or any number of other bonuses and advantages. Sometimes the reward might simply be staving off an imminent disaster on one of your colonies.

To help players keep track these projects, we have added something called the Situation Log to the game. This screen works like a quest log in many ways, and you will find all currently available Special Projects here. You can also follow your progress in certain event chains, with various Points of Interest listed that can be visually tracked on the map. A Point of Interest could be a strange signal emanating from a distant star system, which will remain in your log until you send someone to investigate.
On planets and resources:

Celestial objects come in many different sizes and shapes, and planet modifiers are a part of what can set two planets apart. Each habitable planet has a number of tiles on its surface, representing the planet’s size. When the galaxy is generated, each tile generates a random number and checks if a deposit will be spawned there. A tile can be worked by having a Population placed in it.

Buildings can be constructed in tiles, and they often have adjacency bonuses for the resource they are producing. Therefore it will be advantageous to construct your power plants in proximity to each other, to achieve optimal efficiency.

Resources are generated as deposits and they spawn on planets depending on the type of planet, and which modifiers can be found on the planet. All resources cannot appear on all planets, and some planets have a higher chance of hosting certain resources. Asteroids are very likely to have minerals on them, for example.
Planets that cannot be colonized do not use surface tiles, but they can still generate deposits. Each planet has an orbital resource slot that can be worked if a Mining Station or Research Station is built in orbit around that planet. Sometimes you encounter planets that you could potentially colonize, but that is not habitable enough for you to want to colonize it. In those cases you may also want to construct an orbital station.

The Basic Resources
Food is a requirement for Pops to grow. If there is plenty of Food, Pops will grow faster. If there is a lack of Food, Pops will be unhappy. Minerals are used to produce most things in the game. If Minerals represent matter, Energy Credits represent work. Energy Credits represent all liquid assets and energy produced by our Empire. Actions, such as clearing tiles, cost Energy Credits to perform. This resource is mainly used for upkeep, and although it can be hoarded, that might not be the best way of handling it. Physics Research, Society Research and Engineering Research are used to advance technologies in different fields of science.
On Spaceports:

Spaceports are permanent off-world installations that, depending on size, may support thousands of crew and inhabitants, acting almost as a city in itself. As the main hub for anything moving planetside it becomes a natural focus for interstellar trade and production as well as a vital strategic point in any conflict. All types of ships are built and serviced in the spaceport, from smaller vessels like science ships to enormous battleships. When finished, the spaceport orbits the planet offering basic off-world defenses and the ability to construct and repair ships. The spaceport starts out small and can be upgraded in steps, a total of five times, where each upgrade adds additional toughness, damage output, the ability to build larger ships and most importantly additional module slots.

Modules are attachments that can be added to spaceports, allowing further specialization or utility. Their effects can range from additional defenses (Reinforced Hull Structure for added toughness, Fighter Squadron to combat raiders), benefits to economy (Hydroponic Farms to grow additional food, Solar Panels to gather energy) and ship support (Crew Quarters for lowered upkeep of ships while docked) as well as refining and utilizing different rare resources. This all comes at a cost of course. A fully upgraded and equipped spaceport is a huge investment and the loss of one may alter the course of a war.
On technology trees:

There are three types of technology: Physics, Society and Engineering. Each one has its own research track, and each department is headed by a scientist character. You normally research three technologies in parallel.
However, the game does not have a “tech tree” in the classical sense. Instead, each time you start up a new research project, you are presented with three semi-random choices. This is a bit like drawing three cards from a deck of cards, picking one and returning the other two to the deck. What happens in the background is a complex weighting of various factors, like the ethics of the empire, the traits of the scientist character in charge of the department, the techs you already have, etc.

Certain technologies are considered rare or very rare, and these are clearly marked so that you know you should probably pick them lest you never see them again... There are also “tech cards” outside the deck (this card metaphor is really useful!), that can only be drawn in special circumstances, like when researching certain Anomalies, investigating debris, etc.

Of course, there are only so many normal technologies to research, so you will eventually have most of them. To keep things interesting even in a very long game though, there are also many procedurally generated “improvement technologies”. For example, techs that improve all types of laser weapons by a small degree. These technologies are a bit like the “Future Technologies” in Civilization except that you can start getting them long before you’ve actually run out of scripted technologies.

As with any game like this, techs get progressively more expensive, meaning you cannot neglect building research labs and stations lest you fall behind the other empires of the galaxy (however tempting it might be to use your precious real estate to produce more Minerals and Energy Credits…)

On policies and edicts:


Policies and Edicts are directly corresponding to Laws and Decisions in our historical games. The general idea is to give you some additional control over the rules that define your Empire, usually with some trade-offs. Your initial choice of guiding Ethics will play a huge part in which of these Policies and Edicts are available, of course.

Policies are essentially laws. They are Empire-wide and remain in effect until directly changed by the player, or as the result of a Faction demand. For example, there are Policies regulating slavery, migration, voting rights and orbital bombardment. As the bureaucratic machinery of a galactic Empire grinds ever so slowly, there is a minimum time the player has to wait before changing their stance on a Policy again.

Say that you are playing as a Xenophobic empire. This will prevent you from passively studying any pre-FTL civilizations you might find, or sharing your technology with them; you can only study them aggressively (abducting and experimenting on them) or invade them outright! In a similar vein, Pacifist empires are not allowed to orbitally bombard planets in support of their ground forces, for fear of killing civilians.

This brings us to Edicts, of which there are two kinds; Planetary or Empire-wide. Edicts usually have a cost (Energy Credits or Influence) and an instant or temporary effect that expires after a certain amount of time. For example, there are Edicts for propaganda campaigns and production targets.
Basically it sounds like an awesome science fiction grand strategy game. Here a halfway decent summary by ign. http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/12...gy-genre? hub page (front page)&utm_content=2
 

Attachments

Last edited:
Nice work summarizing the dev diaries.

Really excited by the vision of the game. But I'm also afraid Paradox might !@#$ it up. The lead designer is the former lead designer on Crusader Kings 2, and let's just say I don't agree with every decision he made.

Gameplay video and a few screenshots.


 
Last edited:
Paradox' "grand strategy" theme might be a really good addition to the 4X strategy genre. Hopefully it will be good. I have been waiting for a high quality, good 4X game for a while now (I know there are lots of really good indie ones, but - mostly because of their budgets - they are not "high quality". A bad UI always spoils my 4X enjoyment :) )
 
@arkhenon What's fun about "grand-strategy" as opposed to 4X is the in-depth diplomacy. As someone who really liked diplomacy in Civ 5, I'm really looking forward to seeing that gameplay element merged with the 4X genre to an even greater degree.

btw, Paradox has said Stellaris will start out like a 4X and turn into a "grand strategy" as the game goes on. Sounds fun to me ;)
 
Last edited:
What's fun about "grand-strategy" as opposed to 4X is the in-depth diplomacy. As someone who really liked diplomacy in Civ 5, I'm really looking forward to seeing that gameplay element merged with the 4X genre to an even greater degree.
I think this article explains it well:

http://www.pcworld.com/article/3007...ek-game-than-any-official-star-trek-game.html

Specifically this sentiment -
Stellaris will enable me to play a science fiction game the way I’ve always wanted: Peacefully. Or, at least, with the best of intentions—like the crew of the Enterprise, off gallivanting around space on a mission to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before. Cue inspirational music—but keep the photon torpedoes handy in case something goes wrong.
In my deepest dreams I'm hoping is starts off like Star Trek exploration and ends up essentially being something akin to The Citadel Council from Mass Effect where you try to peacefully coexist with other like minded species while protecting each other from the dangers of the galaxy.

The lead designer is the former lead designer on Crusader Kings 2, and let's just say I don't agree with every decision he made.
I liked Crusader Kings 2 pretty well. Especially with the Game of Thrones mod, that thing was awesome and I lost a lot of hours in it.
 
Last edited:
In my deepest dreams I'm hoping is starts off like Star Tech exploration and ends up essentially being something akin to The Citadel Council from Mass Effect where you try to peacefully coexist with other like minded species while protecting each other from the dangers of the galaxy.
The thing I'm most excited for in Stellaris is how they say it's not just one sci-fi universe, it's intended to emulate every sci-fi universe out there. At one and the same time, a campaign of Stellaris could be Star Wars, Star Trek, Warhmmer 40K, or Mass Effect. It all depends on how the campaign evolves. And they basically accomplish this via a lot of randomization and the end-game disasters system.

I liked Crusader Kings 2 pretty well. Especially with the Game of Thrones mod, that thing was awesome and I lost a lot of hours in it.
I've put something like 500 hours into CK2. And I own a lot of the DLC. Overall, I like the game, it's a unique concept. But I think it's poorly executed. There's a lot of problems in the game that have existed for years and never been addressed despite the fact that they release 2 - 3 new DLCs per year. IMO, that's just pathetic.

I blame this on the game's director because as soon as he left to work on Stellaris a lot of the problems were addressed. And that surprises me, because it shows there was never any constraints preventing them from fixing them. They just didn't want to.

It's ironic because many of these problems have been fixed by CK2's modding community. Yet Paradox has never taken any of the fixes created by modders and implemented them in the main game, despite the fact that they legally own every mod hosted on Paradox's website (which is basically every mod, because Paradox forces modders to host their mods on the website or be banned from the forums).
 
Last edited:
@Rawls @arkhenon Yeah.... I watched some of that Stream.

Have either of you thought at all about the empire you'll play as?

I've come up with an idea for a "Golden Dragon" race that ended up being pretty similar to LOTR Dwarves.

Race: Reptilian
Homeworld: Desert
Ethics: Militaristic, Spiritual, Individualistic
Gov: Religious Oligarchy
Traits: Long lifespans, strong, resilient, slow breeders.

I've also been working an idea for a race that'll migrate to other empires really quickly and be a royal pain in the butt to govern. Basically a species of ntelligent rats :p
 
Last edited:
I dunno ... I may be super boring and play as humans to start. I really want to live out my Star Trek / Mass Effect fantasies in my first empire. Build a coalition of species to bring order to the galaxy and such. Earth as home planet. I think I would go Individualist / Xenophile / Militaristic ... or maybe Materialist. Indirect Democracy. I haven't thought about the traits too much yet, I'll wait till I can look at them all in detail.

I've also considered an Avian species that is militaristic / xenophile / spiritual with some form of theocracy. Sort of a birds of prey theme. Tropical planets.
 
Video does a pretty good job summarizing the features. Graphics look good too!

I'm having second thoughts about Stellaris. I've been burned by Paradox in the past. I'm thinking about picking it up and approaching it like a stoy-driven game. I'll play it once, get my 40 - 100 hours out of it, and call it good.

Of course, mods will add a lot of replayability. Star Wars, Warhammer 40K, Mass Effect, and Star Trek. The first three are already in the works. :D
 
Last edited:
I'm having second thoughts about Stellaris. I've been burned by Paradox in the past. I'm thinking about picking it up and approaching it like a stoy-driven game. I'll play it once, get my 40 - 100 hours out of it, and call it good.
I'll play through at least one base game and one ME Mod game. Once Blood & Wine comes back I'll take a break from it and then come back later in the summer. But Paradox games have always been games I go back to and play years later. After I play it a couple times I'll probably wait until several of the expansions come out ans see what's worth anything. I'm actually getting a new computer for it.

Dell Inspiron i7559-763BLK Laptop

  • Intel i5-6300HQ 2.3 GHz Quad-Core (6M Cache, Turbo up to 3.2 GHz)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 4GB GDDR5
  • 8 GB DDR3L / 256 GB Solid-State Drive
  • 15.6-Inch FHD IPS, Wide-Angle, Anti Glare Screen.

I was going to go cheap originally but I decided to go mid-grade. So I'll definitely play it a few times over the next few years.
 
Stellaris preorders are 25% off on GMG. Paradox confirmed on reddit that GMG is an authorized seller. Use Code WATCH25 at check out.
http://www.greenmangaming.com/ones-to-watch/?utm_medium=email utm_campaign=20160408_newsletter_email

Normally I don't like promoting preorders. But if you can save money, then that is different. ;)

---------- Updated at 04:00 PM ----------

I'll play through at least one base game and one ME Mod game. Once Blood & Wine comes back I'll take a break from it and then come back later in the summer. But Paradox games have always been games I go back to and play years later. After I play it a couple times I'll probably wait until several of the expansions come out ans see what's worth anything. I'm actually getting a new computer for it.
Yeah... I've never been able to replay a full campaign of CK2. My first campaign was as France. That was three years ago. Since then I've played a couple campaigns, but they only lasted a few centuries. In one, I played as Norway, and got bored after I conquered Britain, Scandinavia, and Russia. In the other, I played as Ethiopia and tried to restore Coptic Christianity to prominence, but I got bored after I "liberated" Eastern Africa, the Holy Land, and the Arabian Peninsula.

It saddens me because that first campaign of CK2 was one of the best gaming experiences I've ever had, and I can never have it again :(

edit: lately I've been trying out CK2+ and HIP. I'll probably play one of those the next time I play a campaign.

  • Intel i5-6300HQ 2.3 GHz Quad-Core (6M Cache, Turbo up to 3.2 GHz)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 4GB GDDR5
  • 8 GB DDR3L / 256 GB Solid-State Drive
  • 15.6-Inch FHD IPS, Wide-Angle, Anti Glare Screen.
Nice. :D I'm looking at upgrading my PC too, but not for this game.
 
Last edited:
Yeah... I've never been able to replay a full campaign of CK2. My first campaign was as France. That was three years ago. Since then I've played a couple campaigns, but they only lasted a few centuries. In one, I played as Norway, and got bored after I conquered Britain, Scandinavia, and Russia. In the other, I played as Ethiopia and tried to restore Coptic Christianity to prominence, but I got bored after I "liberated" Eastern Africa, the Holy Land, and the Arabian Peninsula.
I've always found the most rewarding games are ones that start as counts. It's fun to try and work your way up. My favorite campaign started as a Count in Scotland and ended up as Emperors of Britannia.

EDIT: I hope some future expansion of Stellaris allows for the development of more traits for your various leaders. Maybe through education systems or something. I liked CK2's whole raising kids to become future rulers thing. It was fun for me.
 
Last edited: