Why do people say MOO was better than its sequel MOO2?


Yeah, sure. What I want from a game is that it doesn’t waste my time with loads of busywork. I don’t want to go through each city (or colony) and order the construction of a temple (or atmosphere processor). I don’t want to move 40 individual units across a map divided into tiny tiles to wage a war across 100 turns. It doesn’t mean that those kinds of games are necessarily “bad” in my opinion (Alpha Centauri is pretty great, I think – and like MOO1, it has randomized tech trees!), but still.

MOO1 is streamlined: you play the role of a space emperor and all you do is allocate planetary budgets, engage in research, construct ships and amass large fleets (MOO1 stacks are glorious), and engage in some trade, espionage, and diplomacy, without any aspect really requiring more time than is strictly necessary. Essentially, what I want from a game is something that is honed to perfection, focused on doing what needs to be done, while still being thematic and engrossing.

Age of Wonders 3, for example, I thought was a bit of a step down compared to Age of Wonders 1, what with the build queues in cities. A build queue is like automatic exploration – the moment that a designer adds a feature like that is the moment where their design goes off the rails (note: build queues are valuable in real-time games). When you have to add AI governors, build queues, and various (other) forms of automation, it means that you anticipate that part of the game is going to be a chore for players. I’d say, why not remove that nonsense from the game entirely? But I appear to be in the minority where this is concerned, since 4X game designers only seem to be interested in making the game more complicated simply for fear of players not having anything to do, and players appear to be lapping up this kind of everything-and-the-kitchen-sink style of design.

To be honest, I wish there were more games that were really tightly focused on giving players a particular experience. You can play a full game of MOO1 in a couple of hours, and it gives you essentially the same kind of experience as a 20-hour game of GalCiv or Civ6. Last time I experienced something similar among 4X-like games was with Star Trek: Conquest (2007), and that was essentially an arcade game rather than a proper 4X. I’d like 4X developers to go smaller instead of bigger (edit: perhaps better – more focused). But there doesn’t seem to be much interest as far as that is concerned. The new MOO comes close, but you’re still constructing individual buildings, etc.


So does anyone here have access to a robotic scanner at work who wouldn’t mind scanning the Prima strategy guide if it was mailed to them? In the Classic Game Club thread for MOO @rezaf said he would scan a copy if someone sent them theirs. However that was over two years ago and @rezaf hasn’t replied to my PM.

My copy arrived from eBay a few days ago and it’s a superb strategy guide but unfortunately mine reeks of cigarette smoke. It’s so fucking nasty that I can’t even kick back in bed to read it. In my experience eBay sellers do a good job of describing the condition of their items but they always fail to mention that they smoke 2 packs a day and that thing they’re selling smells like their damn house. It’s so fucking nasty I had to put it in a ziplock baggy to keep it from stinking up my room.

If I have no takers then I guess I’ll use an X-acto knife to cut he pages out and scan them one by one with my 1950’s Cannon flatbed scanner but that’s going to take time.


Add baking soda to that bag, then fan it out and get it all over the book.

I have started sending messages to any ebay seller I’m buying from where I tell them I’m allergic to smoke (actually true, but irrelevant) and point blank ask them if they are smokers, if anyone in their house smokes (even outside), or if the item has ever “lived” with or been regularly near smokers.

I either get no response (about 20% of the time) or a response affirming the item’s smoke-free status. I’ve never gotten a response from a smoker, and I’ve never gotten a smoked up item since I started this.

I’m all for whatever drugs you want, but would happily ban smoking forever in all contexts if I were made ruler of the world.


I’ve complained in the Stellaris thread about how they introduce tile and building mechanics in the early game to give the player something to do, then need to automate it away once the player’s empire reaches a certain size. It is like having one set of feature programmers dig a hole that the AI programmer then has to fill in. Adopt more abstract and scaleable mechanics from the start and you save a lot of player and developer time!

Someone made the point on the Hearts of Iron IV forum that game has gone from building corps, to building divisions to specifying the division composition at the brigade level to specifying composition at the battalion level. Each step has amounted to a larger and larger player bonus as the AI becomes less and less competent at building an effective force and responding to player innovations.

I am starting to think it is very difficult to successfully adopt detailed mechanics that don’t operate at the main level of the game. Each “game within the game” that you have tends to end up increasing player workload. If the work is interesting, then it risks giving the player an advantage that can trivialize the AI, and if it isn’t interesting then it’s meaningless. If you make it interesting AND a competent AI, then you still have to avoid forcing the player to do it too often and avoid having the “game within the game” break the strategic level in subtler ways.

Yet, I still love ship design and tactical combat in a space 4x. Cold dead hands, etc.


From my extensive experience and waste of time reading Steam reviews and browsing Steam forums - if that doesn’t make me an expert! -, it seems sadly that instead of actually doing the job of designing a game, as some dreamy writers like to say, a lot of developers are giving what their audience asks, that is to have an exponential number of play hours/dollar, and that Strategy genre might be the worst culcript on that front. I never could understand, nor probably ever will understand, this attempt to make a game “worth the money”, as if often said in those lands, but sadly the streamlining some of us are so fond of goes the opposite way of a lot of people who seemingly feel guilty for spending their money on their hobby, as they apparently want to justifiy it in a strange relationship by sacrificing a lot of time to them, as some sort of anti-salary to an anti-job?

Well, that makes me wonder if some of the people going to the movies are basing their decision on the length of what is being projected.


Sure. I think MOO1 – again – showed that you can insert that kind of level of detail as long as you don’t heap similar detail into the rest of the game’s systems.

Yeah, as per Skyshine’s Bedlam and the retooling of Chaos: Reborn. Both were deliberate efforts on the parts of the developers to garner more favourable reviews of players (and, by extension, shift more copies). Not sure the developers actually improved their sales, though.


I prefer MOO1 over MOO2 but I’m glad I played both.

One thing I could do without in MOO1 is the “name that ship” copyright protection bit. Is there a simple way to mod that out?


The GOG and Steam versions let you just pick whatever and continue on.


Ha! And here I was congratulating myself for having a good memory. Bubble…popped.


In games with so many layers of complexity it’s hard enough for me as a player to understand what the results of my actions are. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to design an AI that could do it.


Nemesis and Warhawk were definitely two of the correct answers. Beyond that, I got nothing.

Also, is it weird that the font itself (from the manual) gives me the feels? Because brrrrr it’s so good.


I like MOO2 better probably because I played it first. I suspect most people like whichever game they played first.


Inspired by this thread, I played a game of MOO recently. It’s pretty interesting, and has a lot to recommend it. I was amazed at how fast and generally unfiddly the game felt, especially compared to NuMOO. The space battles were generally pretty quick as well. Ship stacks seems like a gross oversimplification at first, but in practice it works pretty well.


It has worked quite well for Heroes of Might & Magic and King’s Bounty, too! It’s an older way of handling tactical combat, and one that seems to have fallen to the wayside in the pursuit of “moar realism” [sic]. I miss it.


I loved HOMM, but I can’t say I miss games where I have to worry about 900 archers stacked together to create a massive killing machine - where if they have the initiative you’re screwed.


I thought of HOMM3 too. If you can’t get the AI to play the map perfectly, just give them stacks of doom.


There was a response to that review as well.



I came here looking for the moo4 thread and saw this and immediately was OUTRAGED. I was going to reply that THOSE PEOPLE are crazy and moo2 is the best 4x space game ever made. I then read the thread and it made me want to try moo1 again. I recall playing it after moo2 and not liking it but that was a long time ago. Moo2 is one of the rare games I continue to play to this day off and on (like Sacrifice and PS:T).

Is the GoG Moo1 fine for modern PCs? I vaguely recall reading the moo4 Collectors Edition actually had the old versions included as remasters or are these basically the same as the GoG/Steam versions?

Finally, what is a modern equivalent of moo1 if any? I feel that moo4 is close enough to moo2 that, that itch has now been scratched.


Some people seemed to think that the recently Stars in Shadow was more inspired by MOO1 than MOO2. And apparently being able to finish a full game in a single evening was an explicit design goal. This is all hearsay though, it still hasn’t got out of my backlog.


SiS seems to take ship combat and design mostly from MoO2 (individual ships, facing, PD, etc) mostly from MoO2. IMO, the economy is also like MoO2, but fairly simplified (limited building slots and building types, don’t assign population to specific tasks). So it’s like MoO1 in that doesn’t take a lot of econ micro, but the way it gets there is different (and not as satisfying IMO).