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NOTE: this is a work in progress. I expect this to be added into the FAQs when complete.

Unexpected Differences

Many newcomers understandable assume that FreeOrion will be very much like their favorite Masters of Orion game. However, for various reasons, this project has chosen to do some things differently.

The following is a list of many of the differences that newcomers who want to contribute to the design process should be aware of.

  • Lots of things are abstracted that were distinct micromanage-able objects in MoO2.
    • Planets don't build very many buildings. The player has only rare, significant buildings to place, something like Civ's "wonders". The kind of routine buildings you had in MoO2 are abstracted away into a "infrastructure" meter.
    • One species per planet
    • Supply ships are totally abstracted away. You don't build them or worry about them. Supply just flows unless there is a blockade.
  • Planets don't build ships. Shipyards (rare, expensive structures) build ships. This creates a stragetic focal point, and saves the micro-managment of dealing with dozens or hundreds of planetary ship building queues.
  • Empire != species
  • Governments will not be part of species pics, but will be alterable under certain conditions
  • Each species prefers one of the many planet Types. "Good" and "bad" planet types are in the eye of the beholder. Planetary specials, like "Mineral Richness" are however the same for everybody.
  • Ships travel only via starlanes, they can't go "offroad" to travel between two arbitrary stars.
  • We want to avoid mechanics that effect AI empires, but not human-controlled empires, like the Human races "charismatic" trait. Trying to have an even playing field.


Can ships travel freely between stars, not on starlanes?

A: Other than wormholes and special events, no. In the current design, most travel is on starlanes between specific stars, and ships never travel through empty space. Wormholes are also between two specific endpoint stars, a

Why not?

A: Aquitaine wrote: No offroading was in one of the first public reviews we had. A lot of people wanted it, actually, but it came down to the fact that a strict, simple set of rules about galaxy movement means only one set of rules that the AI has to follow; offroading is one of those things that a player can take advantage of but not an AI. Without offroading, the AI can deduce strategic choke points and defend things appropriately; with offroading, it would be trivial to do an end-run around the AI's Krak de Chevaliers and go straight to the chewy nougat center.

I believe our caveat when we passed it was that, if (one day) after we make Slashdot or become famous or whatever, we get some brilliant AI programmers who want a challenge, we would add this feature, since there certainly is demand for it. But until then, it is indeed the case that offroading is out.

Are starlanes mandatory, or will the game be playable without them?

A: Starlanes are mandatory. This follows from the decision that all travel is on starlanes. Without starlanes, it would be impossible to move ships.

Will there be an option to have starlanes connecting all systems with all other systems, possibly with the lanes invisible?

A: No. Having starlanes between all stars is effectively the same as having no starlanes for the AI reasons mentioned above.