Sins of a Solar Empire: Beta walkthru

For those of you who are interested, I’ve posted a fairly in-depth walkthru of the upcoming beta to Sins of a Solar Empire.

Sins is being dubbed a “RT4X” strategy game – real time but plays a lot like a 4X strategy game where players build an interplanetary empire on a very very large scale (i.e. imagine Homeworld but with not just multiple planets but multiple star systems).

The gameplay is a bit like GalCiv mixed with Total Annihilation with a Homeworld feel to quite a bit of it.

The beta is due out next month with the final released around the end of summer.

Here’s a link to the walkthru:

I’d be very curious to hear what you guys think of it. As some of you know, we do open early betas in order to nail down the game mechanics and play balance before release as well as we can.

How do we get in on this soon to be arriving beta?

2006-2007 sure has been great for 4x space gamers.

Oh, and nice walkthru!

If you’ve pre-ordered the game you’re in the beta, just like GCII.

I spent the last of my original total gaming tokens on the pre-order, so my question is when! You can’t just drop a bomb like this and leave it at “upcoming”.

Looks very cool. I really like the direction you guys are taking with empire management. A few questions, though:

[ul][li]How do you take over planets? Build transports and soldiers and send them off? Do you build troops at all, or is it all abstracted with troopships?[/li]

[li]Can you build structures on planets, or is it all orbital? From this screenshot, it looks like there might be build locations (the X’s)? 16/40?[/li]

[li]Is this the whole Combat tech tree, or how many techs are we talking? It looks like a lot of the Level1/Level2/Level3 stuff we saw in GalCiv2, which is fine as long as there is variability. I understand that you don’t design your ships, so it probably has more to do with unlocking types of ships and making existing types more effective.[/ul][/li]
Thanks, interesting stuff.

I’m “cautiously excited” about this one, but I’ll refrain from pre-ordering,
because I’ve already got entertainment overload :)

Hope it stays in beta as long as it needs to.

Sins sounds like a great game and I’m really looking forward to trying it, I have a couple of questions though if you’re at liberty to say.

-Is the beta going to be download only, or will there be a pre-order version in stores? If not, will the final game be sold in Brick and mortar stores? I’m stuck on dial-up :-(

  • Also will Sins utilize dual-core processors for better A.I. Like in Dark Avatar?

Great Walkthru BTW!

Brad, I see a lot of stuff that I like in there. Particularly the Empire Tree, which reminds me a bit of the interface from ParaWorld (in a good way). I like that sort of thing because it eliminates one of my #1 RTS annoyances: bobbing for apples. That’s what I call it when the chaos of battle makes it hard to find and click on specific units.

The scaling stuff is neat. Is that something you roll the mousewheel to do, or is there a series of specific zoom levels that you click through? I also like units being replaced by icons at high zoom levels. That worked well in GalCiv II, and looks to be a bit more sophisticated here.

Are all of the random solar systems in the game like the ones in your walkthrough? They seem to have a LOT of planets.

I know that you say that you don’t have to micromanage battles, but I’m curious how this works in practice. Is it analogous to Kohan, where you can make high-level strategy decisions (the composition of your army, where to engage) and trust the troops to handle tactics once the battle is joined (yes, I know that in Kohan you are forced to leave tactics to the AI, but you get what I’m saying)? Or is it more like the Total War games, where you can leave the battle to your commanders, but it’s not something that you’d want to do unless the odds are strongly in your favor. I ask because a lot of games say that you don’t have to micromanage combat to fight effectively, but in practice that almost never ends up being true. Usually, if a game lets you micromanage, it’s because there is a benefit to be gained by doing so. I’m just curious how Sins approaches that issue.

Eek, lots of questions:P Brad will have to handle some of those and I’m sure his perspective on some of those will translate better given my proximity to development.

1.“How do you take over planets?”
You take over planets by sending down ships that contain your colonists/stooges/agents of governmental enforcement. If the planet is controlled by another faction, you have to eliminate their controlling infrastructure (bombs, other means) first. Hopefully using a means that minimizes civilian casualties.

  1. “Can you build structures on planets, or is it all orbital?”
    No more building on the surface, we wiped it in favor of more cool 3d stuff in orbit. Planets are now upgraded through levels and the level is capped by the planet type. The X’s are one type of planet elevator. As the planet surface/orbit stuff grows more of these will appear on the planet and the low-orbit traffic will also increase. The traffic is a bit hard to tell in that low-rez debug shot. A high level planet will look very busy and should remind you something of Coruscant.

3.“Is this the whole Combat tech tree?”
No, that is an old combat tree. It is a bit larger now. It is also misleading because a lot of the icons are reused (art not complete). Each node can be upgraded multiple times unless it unlocks something. In both the combat tree and empire tree for each race, there are subjects that unlock new ships, unlock structures, unlock various new functionalities and improve existing things.

  1. “Is that something you roll the mousewheel to do, or is there a series of specific zoom levels that you click through?”
    Zooming is done via the mouse wheel and is fully continuous. If you don’t want do it that way there are hot keys to zoom in and out continuously and also 3 keys that select combat/planetary/solar system distances that will jump you directly to the appropriate zoom level.

  2. “Are all of the random solar systems in the game like the ones in your walkthrough?”
    No, you can customize the size of galaxy or just use the small/medium/large defaults. The example in the walk-thru is fairly large. The final sizes will be subject to feedback from the betas).


Real good stuff their Blair!

I have a few more questions if you don’t mind. :-)

-Can Space stations be build to exert a zone of Control and/or help defend a planet, if so are they upgradeable?

  • Are there cultural boarders and are there modifiers that allow it to expand? If so whats the benefits of expanding you’re boarders?

  • Do planets offer different advantages by there native resources or do you customize each one to suit different economic and military needs based on how you level each one up?

I have a lots more but these are a few that I’m really interested in.

Thanks for any replies in advance!

I didn’t ever really get into GalCivII (dunno why, just never clicked, although I adored the style of copy protection), and I probably will not purchase this one if it is incredibly similar.

So what I’m really curious in is what sets Sins of a Solar Empire apart from GalCiv in terms of play.

Well, for starters, it’s real time whereas GalCiv is turn based. So basically, everything.

Cool, thanks Blair.

Uh, did you even look at the Walkthrough? Because anyone familiar with GalCiv is going to know pretty much immediately the answer to that question.

Hmmm is sose more like a clickfest (aka command and conquer)? or more like europa universalis (with hopefully muchbetter ai) in playing style?

No reason to be angry at simple questions (like Aeon221’s).

This game reminds me of an old game that had a bunch of promise but was never actually fixed/bug free/complete: Pax Imperia.

I assume you mean Pax Imperia II, since the first Pax Imperia was complete, unbuggy, and a great game. And also turn-based.

I’m asking a simple question to find out what, exactly, Brad finds to be crucial differences between the two.

I found all sorts of superficial differences, but I’m more interested in major design differences between them. For instance, I’d like to know what, exactly, is the difference between the bit about designing fleets as opposed to ships in this one, and the previous model where I designed ships and then designed fleets. Another possibility is the difference between whatever espionage system is included in here, and the one in GalCiv.

I really don’t know if you were being obtuse or simply reacting negatively to my post. I’m sorry I didn’t really like GalCiv. To compensate, I hated Planescape, I think WoW is tedius and full of whiners and weirdos, and Half Life is the most boring shooter I’ve ever played. And Social Security sucks too.

I’ve hit all the sacred cows, is my question now neutral enough?

No reason to assume I was angry.

That looks pretty interesting. Will it support multi-player?

There were some issues that bothered by with Gal Civ and I hope you can address in this game.

  1. When you got a ‘new’ planet it would be very far behind your other planets. In fact, a lot of planets would ‘nothing to do’ and so their economic production was wasted or just turned into credits. It seemed to me that I should be able to use the industrial power of these planets to upgrade new planets. For example: New planet needs a shipyard, a media center, and a factory. There is no reason that other planets can’t manufacture these things and simply ship them to that world.

In other words, if my empire can produce 10,000 civilian production per turn, that a lot of that could not be used to build stuff for other planets. Even today in our time, if you have noticed, big industrial buildings are almost coming in kit form. Giant structural pieces are made at some factory somewhere, shipped to the construction site, and assembled.

  1. Utilization of inhospitable worlds. Maybe some planet is rich in minerals, but isn’t suitable for living. That doesn’t mean you can’t build robotic factories and mining operations on them. In Gal Civ, if you could not live on the planet, it was useless. I would like to see a way to exploit these worlds, so the game is more then just finding all the high planet rating worlds. It would require decoupling richness with environment. Maybe some worlds will be a lush Paradise but be mineral poor. They could serve some purpose, maybe as a good tax base or so.

No reason to respond in writing like an angry person then, even if on the inside you were sunshine and lollipops.

Or, to follow this up, no reason to be a dick about it.