Sword of the Stars demo

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Daveybaby
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#76 Post by Daveybaby » Mon Oct 16, 2006 10:09 am

Zanzibar wrote:But it could be a game you like ;)
Heh, well... so could any game if theyre willing to change enough of it :P
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#77 Post by Moriarty » Mon Oct 16, 2006 6:40 pm

marhawkman wrote:Seconded. The basic idea is GREAT! But the implementation falls short. the randomization is more annoying than anything else
I suspect this is becaue they don't _seem_ to have that many techs.
You've got four types of each weapon, a couple of industrial upgrades, Couple of engine upgrades and 3 levels of power generator.
Zanzibar wrote:But it could be a game you like
I am actually in the KP forums and have been for a couple of weeks. But I still dont' believe this game will ever become one I "like". The devs design choices just don't mesh with mine.

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Zanzibar
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#78 Post by Zanzibar » Tue Oct 17, 2006 3:53 am

version 1.1.1 Demo with cruisers!!

All the changes made in the current patch, and a chance to see cruisers.
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#79 Post by marhawkman » Wed Oct 18, 2006 1:01 pm

I guess I'll try it out....
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#80 Post by grinningman » Thu Oct 19, 2006 6:06 pm

:( 3D map renders the strategic game (paper thin though it is) virtually unmanageable. I wouldnt mind, but since all combat etc takes place at stars, the 3d map doesnt add any strategic depth at all.
Just out of interest, How do you find it unmanageable? Is it too hard to select planets and fleets, too hard to find blinking enemies, too hard to work out which stars are the closest? I really like the 3-d strat map. Small rotations show you the relative positions of stars and adjusting the view and zooming in allows you to select close planets and fleets. It gets easier to use as you play more. Flatter maps like a spiral are better if the sphere/rift maps are too unpleasant.
:( Despite the utterly pointless 3d elsewhere in the game, space combat, the one part of the game that wouldve really benefitted from being in full 3D, takes place entirely on a 2D plane. Having said that, the player's control over their fleet is so appallingly cack-handed that its probably a good thing they stayed with 2D. Its as if, having worked on homeworld, they took every good idea that game had, along with every bit of good UI design, threw them in the bin, and then implemented what was left. WHY CANT I MOVE THE CAMERA AROUND? WHY?
The camera controls aren't intuitive. When I first played, I expected to be able to pan and was frustrated when I couldn't. However, I found that after playing a couple of games you get used to the controls, and the controls that are present (after the first patch) let you do everything you want to do. I think that 3-d combat along with the Newtonian ship motion would have made things very hard.
:( How come my ships start firing at enemy ships before i can see them on screen, and before they appear on the radar map? I take it the enemy ships are 'cheating' in the same way when i get hit by missiles and i cant see who shot them yet.
They don't (?). AFAIK, ships with missiles will always auto-fire on enemies as soon as they enter sensor range. The exception is planet missiles which 'seek out' enemies; they can be fired without enemies being in sensor range. If you've researched the right tech, ships share sensor information.

I don't know how to explain your example of your ships firing on defence platforms that were out of sensor range. As far as I know this isn't possible :-/
:( If i want to queue up more than 1 turns worth of ships to build, i have to pay for them all now, and pay a bucketload of interest on the loan. Great. So i have to go round all of my production planets each turn and order 1 turns worth of ships, every turn. Its almost as if they were trying to make the game as unpleasant to play as possible, on purpose.
Yes, I don't understand why they did this. It would be better to take the money out the turn construction begins. Maybe they were worried about clueless players getting themselves into debt?
:( Loading times. What is it doing?!?!?!?!?
These are supposed to be improved in the next patch, but I suspect not enough to make you happy. At the moment they seem comparable to RTW loading times.
My guess at prioritisation of jobs on SotS:
Highest Priority
3D Graphics
Big explosions
Weapon Effects
Glowing things
Bump mapping
Multiplayer. It HAS to have multiplayer. Marketing said so.
Particle effects
Backstory
That flashy animated bit showing the company logo at the beginning
Website design
Tactics
Strategy
Marketing
Box design
Office christmas party
...
Gameplay controls
Presentation of useful information to the player
Lowest Priority
I think multiplayer was high on the priority list, and it does work pretty well (as long as you don't mind occasional waits while other players are fighting battles). I think the poor gui is a result of a very small development team that didn't seek feedback from many other people before releasing the game.

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utilae
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#81 Post by utilae » Thu Oct 19, 2006 6:41 pm

grinningman wrote:
:( 3D map renders the strategic game (paper thin though it is) virtually unmanageable. I wouldnt mind, but since all combat etc takes place at stars, the 3d map doesnt add any strategic depth at all.
Just out of interest, How do you find it unmanageable? Is it too hard to select planets and fleets, too hard to find blinking enemies, too hard to work out which stars are the closest? I really like the 3-d strat map. Small rotations show you the relative positions of stars and adjusting the view and zooming in allows you to select close planets and fleets. It gets easier to use as you play more. Flatter maps like a spiral are better if the sphere/rift maps are too unpleasant.
The 3d map. Hmm well it's basic idea is unmanageable, since a 2d map will always be better, easier to see and faster to use. Plus, it gets very annoying trying to find anything in that mess of stars. Your trying to find a ship as it travels along a starlane, but since it is 3d, there are other stars and starlanes directly behind or in front of the starlane you want to look at.

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#82 Post by Impaler » Thu Oct 19, 2006 10:18 pm

I've also tried this Demo and concure with the group opinion on most of these things. I found an inability to click on fleets in deep Space to be madiningly frustrating, it seems clicking directly on the little mono-crom SD ship is wrong, your suposed to click the INVISIBLE title bar thingy which only becomes visible when zoomed in (which is ofcorse a pain when your view is locked on being centered on the thing you currently have selected).

What the game galaxy map needed was

0 - PANNING!
1 - Way more variety in shape and color of the star art so their would be SOME means of visualy reqocnizing them when the name titles are supressed.
2 - Assuming you have done #1 stop replace the Star with a planet to indicate its explored (instead add some tag like some concentric rings of planets or a dot or a Halo) just dont junk the players existing existing pattern
3 - A means of displaying the distance between any two stars, I'm thinking I select a star and press a button and see a series of consentric shells around the starr with all the other stars labeled with distances.
4 - Some kind of reference Grid that I can re-orient too and highlight, like a North Pole viewing point, infact several such view points that I can save a switch between woul be helpfull

As for the "big fat down payment" and subsequent dept, couldn't they simply have 2 buttons (or a slider) "Buy outright" vs "Get the lease" with the later amortizing costs over some period of time. Have any of these people ever bought a car?

The one screen I did like was the Pie graph of Goverment spending, but even it needed to have Percentages after all the raw numbers.

The #1 selling point of the game is the fact each race has a different propulsion system (which makes the desision to include only half of them in the Demo rather odd), I played as the Gas Guzzling Monkey-lizards and did have quite a bit of trouble with fuel, I would make plenty or Tankers but because combat was so uterly uncontrolable I could give a simple "Tankers stay back, Cruisers go and Engage" comand they would bet blow up needlessly. And why is their no "No Weapon" option for a turret when designing a ship I could realy use something to bring down the cost of thouse Tankers.
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#83 Post by Daveybaby » Fri Oct 20, 2006 8:32 am

grinningman wrote:Is it too hard to select planets and fleets
Actually, its nowhere near as easy and reliable as it could be.
too hard to find blinking enemies
No, but its far too easy to miss them. I shouldnt have spend most of my strategic game turn peering at the 3d map trying to see if any enemy fleets (or planet killers etc) are incoming - it should be obvious at a glance.

I ended up playing the strategic game entirely through the Sitrep. Unfortunately, while that gives you a report every time a ship passes a star while en-route somewhere else entirely, it neglects to mention minor details like "a fleet of 50 enemy ships is 1 turn away from your homeworld".

So, i still have to have to search around the map looking for incoming enemy fleets. This would be slightly less tedious if the AI didnt have a habit of sending fleets which run out of fuel half a dozen turns from your planets, and which then just sit there for half the game looking like dangerous incoming fleets. Or if hivers didnt suddenly choose to send a couple of ships to every planet in your empire from halfway across the map - with ETAs ranging from 40-50 turns.

Playing the game just becomes too much like hard work. Its a chore, and i dont actually think the rewards are enough to justify the work.
I think that 3-d combat along with the Newtonian ship motion would have made things very hard.
Homeworld managed just fine, and was in fact much easier to control than SotS. And its not a newtonian model - theyve just added a bit of inertia to ship movement. Ships still have a maximum speed.
They don't (?). AFAIK, ships with missiles will always auto-fire on enemies as soon as they enter sensor range. The exception is planet missiles which 'seek out' enemies; they can be fired without enemies being in sensor range. If you've researched the right tech, ships share sensor information.
If theyre inside sensor range, then they should appear on the sensor view, right?
I don't know how to explain your example of your ships firing on defence platforms that were out of sensor range. As far as I know this isn't possible :-/
Its my defensive ships firing on incoming enemy ships. The enemy ships dont appear on the sensor screen until my first barrage of ship missiles is halfway there. This happens every time, until i research deep scan, at which point sensor range > missile range anyway.

I might have another look when the next patch comes out, but unless there are drastic UI improvements listed in the readme i doubt i will even install it.
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#84 Post by grinningman » Fri Oct 20, 2006 9:35 am

Playing the game just becomes too much like hard work. Its a chore, and i dont actually think the rewards are enough to justify the work.
Fair enough.
I think that 3-d combat along with the Newtonian ship motion would have made things very hard.
Homeworld managed just fine, and was in fact much easier to control than SotS. And its not a newtonian model - theyve just added a bit of inertia to ship movement. Ships still have a maximum speed.
Yeah, not strictly speaking Newtonian. But it has inertia, which Homeworld didn't have. They devs decided to include this along with component targeting and ship sections that can be individually destroyed. I think you'd argue that this was a bad decision and they should have just stuck with the Homeworld model. But given they had already decided to put in inertia, I think going 2-d was a good choice.
They don't (?). AFAIK, ships with missiles will always auto-fire on enemies as soon as they enter sensor range. The exception is planet missiles which 'seek out' enemies; they can be fired without enemies being in sensor range. If you've researched the right tech, ships share sensor information.
If theyre inside sensor range, then they should appear on the sensor view, right?
Planet missiles are the exception to this rule. Call it a game balance thing.
I don't know how to explain your example of your ships firing on defence platforms that were out of sensor range. As far as I know this isn't possible :-/
Its my defensive ships firing on incoming enemy ships. The enemy ships dont appear on the sensor screen until my first barrage of ship missiles is halfway there. This happens every time, until i research deep scan, at which point sensor range > missile range anyway.
But AFAIK it's not possible for your ships to fire missiles at targets unless they are on the sensor screen (= in sensor range, except for planet missiles). They fire as soon as the first red pixel appears on the sensor screen.

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#85 Post by Moriarty » Fri Oct 20, 2006 10:32 am

grinningman wrote:
:( 3D map renders the strategic game (paper thin though it is) virtually unmanageable. I wouldnt mind, but since all combat etc takes place at stars, the 3d map doesnt add any strategic depth at all.
Just out of interest, How do you find it unmanageable? Is it too hard to select planets and fleets, too hard to find blinking enemies, too hard to work out which stars are the closest?
Yes.
- It is too hard to select planets - the selection area for a planet is miniscule, You have to hit the planet dead-centre to select/centre/zoom in on it.
- It is too hard to find blinking enemies - It should have a message telling you about their detection which should allow you to zoom in on them. Scrolling around the map for 30 seconds looking for "enemy swarm detected" should not be necessary.
- It is too hard to work out which star is closest unless you're really zoomed in - there is no real discernable difference in the star size.

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#86 Post by Zanzibar » Fri Oct 20, 2006 12:01 pm

Try left clicking on a star, and dragging your mouse to the next one. Distance issue solved, Val'konar!!
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#87 Post by Daveybaby » Fri Oct 20, 2006 1:07 pm

grinningman wrote:But it has inertia, which Homeworld didn't have.
I may be remembering incorrectly, but i couldve sworn HW had inertia. I certainly remember that if you hit a capital ship hard enough you could knock it backwards. Might not have been a complete inertia model though.
But AFAIK it's not possible for your ships to fire missiles at targets unless they are on the sensor screen (= in sensor range, except for planet missiles). They fire as soon as the first red pixel appears on the sensor screen.
Theyre definitely firing before anything appears. Try it - play as humans, build Armour DE's loaded with missiles, then watch what happens when your planet is attacked. First volley definitely goes off before anything is visible.
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#88 Post by grinningman » Sun Oct 29, 2006 7:45 pm

Daveybaby wrote: Theyre definitely firing before anything appears. Try it - play as humans, build Armour DE's loaded with missiles, then watch what happens when your planet is attacked. First volley definitely goes off before anything is visible.
I did try this, and they do sometimes fire before the enemy appears on the sensor screen of the ship you've selected, but everytime this was consistent with the enemy appearing on one of my ship's sensor screens (just not the one I had selected). Once you get the tech that lets you see the sensor data from all your ships simultaneously, this shouldn't happen anymore.

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#89 Post by Zanzibar » Sat Mar 31, 2007 10:14 pm

You might have only heard about it when Tycho was raving about it last year, or in a few of the reviews cycling around the internet, but Sword of the Stars is about to get a whole new set of toys, with the release of the Born of Blood Expansion.

Sword of the Stars is a twist on the classic 4X genre, attempting to replace spreadsheets and statistics with visual cues and physics. The game has a turn-based strategic map, where you control the basics of your empire, including fleet movement, colony maintenance, and the like. When your fleet hits an enemy, you take over in a real-time tactical battle. At first, when you only have a handful of very unspecialized ships on the battlefield, your choices are limited - close to attack, shoot at range, run away. Whatever. As you climb the tech tree however, you open up new ship sections and ship classes, and controlling your fleet becomes much more satisfying - especially once your weapons accuracy starts hitting the point that when you target an enemy turret it goes flying off into space.

SotS is a highly visual game - you won't see health bars, but you will see sparks turn to smoke, smoke turn to full on flame, and flaming sections burst into charred wreckage. You won’t be able to tell what your enemy’s packing by looking at a text block, but as you play the game, you’ll know whether you’re looking at a harmless colonizer or a heavily armed death machine.
The original release featured four visually distinct races, each with their own drive system, strengths, and weaknesses. The research tree is dynamic to a large degree, and even after eight months in the hands of players, there is still no optimal research path to victory, as circumstance and available technologies demand shifting strategies for survival.

The game’s developers have given the game a great deal of attention, releasing several content patches since its release. Patches have brought with them new ways to view the battlefield, control ships, and of course, have advanced the storyline piece by piece.With the arrival of a full blown expansion, Kerberos has opened the floodgates, bringing new technologies, the advent of interstellar trade, and the introduction of a fifth race.

Perhaps the biggest testament to the developer’s attention to detail can be seen at the game’s official forums, where a developer dropped screen-cap of a new turret is enough to cause waves of excitement and speculation. With the expansion only a month away, new details on the technologies, weapons, and other features are leaking into the community.

Expansion Features from publisher media release
• 1 new race - the Zuul - with 80+ ship sections and Tunnel Drive FTL technology.
• Massive Zuul slaver disks allow them to take slaves and use them to boost production on Zuul fortress worlds.
• Over 15 new weapons to battle with including Boarding Pods!
• Over 25 new technologies to research and deploy.
• New diplomatic Data and Comm systems. Make demands! Ask for help in attacking specific targets. Warn players off from the worlds you have yet to claim!
• More Intelligence technologies allow you to keep track of enemy ships, tech and battles.
• A new trade route system making economic control and output even more vital for military success. Star freighters ply the trade routes making money for the player but are also vulnerable to raiders. Active piracy and escort battles enter the SotS universe with a bang.
• Details combat results and status graphs allow you to track the rise or fall of your empire over time.
• A variety of new ship sections for the original races to help meet this new threat.
• More tactical combat options.
• New combat arena as ships are called upon to battle in the dangerous depths of Node-space.
• New random menaces / exploration threats.
• 2 new Scenarios (for both single- and multiplayer).
• 5 new galaxy types.
• Various GUI and multiplayer enhancements.

Learn more about it at the official game website.
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#90 Post by utilae » Sun Apr 01, 2007 1:51 am

Ok, cool.

It is good that they are making a new race. Tunnel drive doesn't sound very unique though. I'd like to know more.

Maybe I could try this game when the expansion comes out.

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