StarDrive - Spacey Action/4X Game

Anyone else playing?

Few questions:

  • How do I stop rebellions? They seem to come out from nowhere. I assume they are incited by other empires, but there’s no way for me to see that something is starting to flare up before it is already over. I have my own agents defending but it doesn’t seem to help much
  • How do I build constructors? I can see them in my ship design list, but they are unavailable in my build queue. When I clicked auto-build projectors on, one constructor appeared, but I don’t from where
  • How do I improve projectors? It is spoken about in the tutorials, but I don’t see anything in the research screen

The game seems like a lot of fun, but there are some obvious balancing problems and poor and inconsistent UI communication from time to time.

I’m kinda scared to ask: How is the AI?

I wouldn’t compare this to Endless Space at all. It is very different.

Take the strategic layer and the diplomacy gameplay of MOO, and make it realtime with similar interface and combat as in Distant Worlds. Except you can take direct control of any ship you want and go Star Control.

It is very cool, and slick as hell. Granted, there are still a number of problems (balancing and UI mainly) that needs to be sorted out

Considering I’m still learning, it seems capable.

Also, I do love the diplomacy portion with other races. It’s like they married Star Control 2 and MOO.

To stop riots from forming, you can assassinate foreign agents or steal cash so that they can’t fund rebellions. I don’t know how effective that would be, so it probably would be easiest to just build some troops to station on your planets to crush the rebellions as they rise up.

For the sub-space projectors, the constructors are just built automatically by the nearest planet when you request the projector build. They seem to be consumed in the process of building the projector? It seems rather abstracted, or I just don’t know what is really going on.

I have no idea how to improve the projectors.

So true. It’s just amazing how MOO1 captured the essence of 4x with just a few screens (6?) and how the tight design both in UI and gameplay has not been duplicated since, not even by MOO2 imo.

I’m on the fence with this as well. I’m looking for Space:Total War - does this come close? The Real Time Battles (The outcomes of wich are heavily influenced by your strategic play) are the most important thing to me.

Space: Total War is Sword of the Stars. Sins of A Solar Empire is also good if you don’t need it to be turn-based.

Get Sword of the Stars. That’s the game you’re looking for.

I tried this some more last night and it kinda grew on me. There is one big thing I don’t know anything about yet, and thats shipbuilding. The text and the ships components and slots are so damn small, and I have no idea what to do here. Is it possible to autobuild the ships somehow?

There are some ready made ships in the ‘load’ section of the shipbuilder.

I must mention, this game has some of the most awesome races I’ve seen, they are just imaginary and cool…

Killer Owls, I’m just loving them, they kick my butt all the time…not to mention the big boobed race that just wasn’t that cute afterall…

Brian -

Your latest preview mentions the “Ascension” game, but I can’t find a way to switch to it from the sandbox mode. It’s the only setup option that doesn’t change for me.

I bought this after seeing the thread, and so far I think it’s great. There are some balance issues that are being sorted out, but it’s already great fun to play.

Any strategy tips? I feel like I’m missing something major because the AI players completely trounce me in economy and science and that doesn’t usually happen to me in these sort of games. How much automation vs manual control do you use? Can the planetary governors be trusted to do a good job or should I be microing all my planetary build queues and sliders?

Among the action icons in the vertical line next to the minimap is one that brings up a projector construction window. I believe you select the planet where you want to place the projector, select the projector model from the construction window, and place it within the highlighted radius around the planet. I haven’t dug too far into the game yet, but I did manage to build a few defensive platforms that way.

The game has a lot of charm, but I think ultimately I can’t get behind the real-time aspect. I think I’ll always the discrete decision space that a turn-based design allows. In a real-time game like this, there’s always the sense that the AI is making more efficient use of its time. I ended up really loathing Paradox’s EU games for the same reason.

I would be right there alongside you on that point if Stardrive and the various Paradox games didn’t allow you to pause whenever you want. That effectively negates any advantage the AI might otherwise obtain, at least in my book. That might not be a good enough excuse for everyone else, admittedly, but it’s good enough for me.

My dabbling with the game so far suggests it’s probably going to have long legs after release, but I still have a few issues with the control scheme that I’m trying to work out. I think better use of the fleet management tools should take care of that, but I have a nasty tendency to issue movement commands that leave my ships too busy trying to get into position to fight off the enemies that are plinking away at them.

Watch out for planets you build on, there is no point claiming barren stuff you cannot build on unless they are strategically important…
Get the economy tech first, that gets you 25% more coins, then hit +1 industrial and +1 tech if you have time.

I always research industrial foundations first up. That production really helps get a new colony up and running more quickly. Then it’s either Interstellar Governance or Agriculture. Those 3 always come first, though. I pop out about 5 scouts as my first builds, and then Marines. If I find an anomaly before I have a marine built, I immediately rush-buy one. Be on the lookout for good planets and grab them ASAP. I micromanage pretty much everything. Ferrying colonists to new colonies is hugely important because of the way population grows. Getting a high population is what will get your research and economy going.

I don’t think it makes any sense to criticise the real-time aspect since you can pause and issue commands. This is not an RTS where you just look-up the correct build order and try to train yourself to maximise APS. It’s a genuine 4X game with a solid real-time implementation. I enjoy watching the spaceships fight each other. I pause a lot, more or less whenever I do anything. Then I watch it all play out until I need to give some more commands, or tweak some more planets.

It’s already a lot of fun to play despite some balance and UI issues, but the game’s author seems really committed to getting it perfect for release. There is an update most days - he must spend nearly all his time on this game.

Have any of you guys encountered the ‘Federations’ mechanic yet?
I just read about it here ( and it sounds like a nice way to add some challenge/zing/zest/kick to the end game.

From the beta impressions/preview:

Federations are a new feature that has just recently been implemented. The basic idea is that you can ask your allies to join a federation, which you will lead, essentially combining your forces. These types of arrangements take time however, and in addition to being more powerful than your ally, you will have to solve any outstanding issues they have and prove yourself as a worthy ally for a long period of time. Once formed, your former ally’s troops, planets, technologies, etc, all become yours to command for the remainder of the game. For example, when I asked my ally to join my federation, he informed me that I would have to eliminate another race he was at war with first. I was pretty motivated to do so, as I had already received word that two enemy races had joined together in their own federation. Eventually, I was able to merge him into my empire, but my opponent also formed a federation with not one, but two other races, and this set the stage for a rather intense showdown.

This seems like an interesting twist on the web-of-alliances dynamic that often defines the mid-late game conflicts in many 4x games. I really like the novel diplomatic components, especially the idea that it turns into a bit of an emergent mission/quest system where you might find yourself pursuing side goals that you’d otherwise have ignored. I can also really buy into the lore/roleplaying of this idea because it fits with my perception of the Federation in Star Trek, with Federation leaders/captains frequently working to resolve problems where they have nothing to gain except that they’re always trying to make new friends in the hopes that they’ll voluntarily join the Federation. This also fits with my play style since I almost always try to befriend some factions in my 4x games (partially because I play a White Knight mentality, and partially because I’m almost always better than the AI at waging war and endless slaughters can be tedious).

Of course this reminds me of the vassal system in Civ IV, which I’ve heard many people criticize because it turns the political landscape into just one or two mega hegemonies. The obvious advantage with StarDrive seems to be that you don’t (just?) create federations through brute force. This seems to resolve the question of what should happen with weaker ‘pet’ allies, and I do hate it when games like Civ or the Total War games include erratic and irrational AI opponents that refuse to be my protectorate superfriends just because I get too powerful.

…On the other hand, the thing I love most about 4x games is the feeling of a sandbox geopolitical simulator. (That’s also why AI quality is of upmost importance for me). So, part of me worries that this system will reduce the (interesting?) complexity of the late-game geopolitical landscape because most of the enemy and allied factions will cease to exist. In Civ 2, when I grew to be a superpower many AI players would band together in alliances that were explicitly intended to resist my dominance. I loved that this was an explicit action since it seemed to mirror human history, and I loved that the factions were united but separate because that gave you the idea that you could potentially sow the seeds of distrust to fracture their alliances, as well as waging focused wars to knock various opponents out of the fight (again, in a fashion similar to human history).

It does feel like a missed opportunity when an allied AI faction lacks the communications skills and strategic savvy to be a useful supporter in wartime, but part of me thinks I’ll miss the (extremely rare) instances when my AI ally actually manages to perform an effective coordinated (or more often–coincidentally helpful) attack or defense with me.