Stars in Shadow

So Stellaris has gotten me back into space 4X, but I’ve sort of stalled out on it until Heilein comes around in October.

The new MOO really sounds like they dumbed it down for the masses, but I was doing some research and came upon Stars in Shadow

This is currently in closed beta, but it plans on releasing in about 2 weeks. I’m hearing it’s very good, but does anyone have some experience with the beta?

@BrianRubin had the devs as guests earlier this year.

So he could probably opine on the state of the game.

What’s ‘Heilein’?

He missed an “n” in there. It’s the name given to the next big patch for Stellaris.

This game looks very interesting. Has the resident space aficionado commented on this one lately? I really like this art style – what if some weird, indie pixelated game breaks out and becomes the new space 4x strategy game?

The game released on Steam yesterday as Early Access. Cost is $19.99, discounted 20%. Dev says Early Access period to last 10 - 12 weeks. Early reviews are positive. It looks like a fun new addition to the space 4x field.

Does it bring anything to the table that the other 4,378 space-based 4X games on the market don’t (other than the artwork, which I have to admit has some charm to it)?

I’m liking this paragraph from the dev blog:

The emphasis on tactics over strategy is a big part of how I’m hoping keep game times in check. Heroes of Might and Magic maps tend to play much more quickly than Civilization scenarios; and I suspect there’s a fundamental reason for that. When city management is the core of gameplay, each new city added to your empire tends to increase the time it will take to finish a turn. As a game designer, there are some things you can do to mitigate that escalating complexity. You can add mechanics like Civ 5’s happiness value, forcing players to pick and choose a small set of cities that they’ll actively control. Or you can find a way to limit the amount of micromanagement that’s allowed during a given turn, a Koei does in Romance of The Three Kingdoms. But fundamentally, you’re fighting against the natural consequence of a game design that emphasizes city management. When the focus of the game is tactical battles, however, there’s no longer a necessary link between how powerful a player is, and how many different things they need to keep track of. In a tactics-focused game, expanding over the map at a steady pace becomes far more natural.[/quote]

The ability of the game to scale without burying the user in minutia is a giant problem in 4x games and it’s a good sign that they are at least aware of it.

Edit: Another good bit from the same page:

One of the big things I always regretted about MOO2 was that so many of the most interesting technologies were stuck up at the top of the tech tree. Inevitably, by the time you got to use star gates or cloaking devices, the game was essentially over. Give a carefully chosen selection of game changing techs to specific races in the early game, however, and you can make the distinctions between the different factions a lot more interesting. A hugely successful example of this in SOTS is the Hiver’s design. Give the Klackons stargates at the start of the game, and you get some really extraordinary implications, both in terms of world building and gameplay.[/quote]

I am so getting this.


I’ve only played a few hours but so far I’m liking it a lot. I’m playing the Orthin. Techno sea roaches that evolved near thermo hydro vents in a sub-surface ocean on an ice world.I renamed my home world ‘Orkin’.

I am struggling a bit with the UI. It took me a bit to realize that to move a ship you have to hit the fleet/move icon first. I was trying to select the ship and click on where I wanted to go. Once you hit the ship button than it will work. Not sure why they have the extra step.

Not a big deal; maybe there is a reason for this functionality that will make itself clear further along.

I just move ships the way I moved them in MOO2. Left click on the ship you want to move to select it and then right click on the system you want to move it to. I’ve never messed with the fleet move button.

Ah, I tried this but it wouldn’t work until I hit the ship icon. I will give it another attempt. Thanks!

not buying until @BrianRubin checks in. this is a real failing on his part. this thread is three weeks old already!

I just got the key a couple of days ago GOD. ALSO:

GEEZ. ;)

That’s from January! That’s like four years ago.

You’ll watch your video AND YOU’LL LIKE IT.

Ok so I’m intrigued by this, whats the consensus? I already have gal civ 2 and 3, and Stellaris. Is this different enough to be worth picking up?

Unlike those games, this one has deep, turn based tactical combat very similar to MOO2, ship boarding included. There’s no ship stacking like in MOO games, however. No stacks of 500 small bombers here. There’s planetary bombardment and invasion (abstracted). The planet management is somewhat streamlined as you usually have 5 to 8 slots or so to fill with planetary buildings and defenses. You can scrap one of them and rebuild with something else if you want, though.

There are lots of native races, minor factions, pirates, slaveholders and the like to run into and deal with. The planets you find can contain these and various other interesting things. 2 of the major factions are still being worked on and can’t be played as human at the moment but can and will be played against you by the AI.

Humans are kind of interesting in this game. They are not recommended to be played by a beginner because they get no starting system at all. They begin as a vagabond race looking for a home. A kind of Battle Star Galactica start, if you will.

If you enjoyed MOO2 at all, I think you’d very much enjoy this. If you didn’t, and don’t like TB tactical combat, then maybe not so much (though it does have auto-battle). I played it all day yesterday and I love it. Then again, I loved MOO2.

It seems very stable. I had no crashes or issues at all in about 8 hours of play yesterday. I did run into a few minor placeholder situations where they were still working on stuff but it didn’t affect game play. The AI seems decent. I’m very happy with my purchase.

That sounds really good, thanks for the write up. One more question. What’s the diplomacy like? Can you make friends and alliances or is it a battle to the death in every game?