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View Full Version : Let's Play Sword of the Stars



Lost Number
06-03-2014, 09:53 AM
Disclaimer - I don't do much in the way of Let's Plays, so this is just me trying to show off a game I've always loved. Have mercy!

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Sword of the Stars is a space 4X (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate) game, published way back in 2006. Since then, it's spawned a regrettable sequel, a roguelike (Sword of the Stars - The Pit) and a tabletop wargame (Ground Pounders). However, for this i'll only be looking at the original game as a sort of "After-Action Report".

What sets SotS apart, however, are two things. First, while the game is turn-based, all combat encounters are handled in real time in a 3D tactical map, so all the awesome ships and weapons we design and research can be witnessed in person.

Secondly, we have the fact that almost every ship you use is designed yourself, based on the tech you have unlocked. For example, here's a ship I made earlier.

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The S.S. Please Don't Hurt Me is a Cruiser-class ship with a Command and Control (CNC) mission section which defines its role, a Battle Bridge command section which gives it forward-mounted weapons at the expense of mobility and a Fusion Void Carver engine section.

In the bottom left you can see its weapons layout - every ship in SotS has various weapon mounts (divided into Small, Medium, Large and Special) which can hold any weapon of that size you've researched, and each mount has a specific firing arc. The position and size of mounts varies by race and section. Our command vessel (which we don't want fighting in close combat) packs several long-range sniper cannons, some missile mounts, and a last-ditch heavy beam weapon.

Every ship design can be named, from colony ships, freighters, defense platforms, all the way up to Flagship CNC Dreadnoughts. So, the best way to leave your mark on this AAR is to suggest names! Suggest any ship name you feel like, and the next time I go to design a new class of vessel, I'll have that in mind.

That's a big wall of text, so to start things off, I'll make an example game. There are 6 races in SotS (4 in the base game, 2 from expansions). For this game, I'll be playing as the Tarkas, large, warlike lizard-creatures who focus on having tough, durable brawling ships. This is how we start out, on the tactical map showing our owned planets in red, with the star indicating it's our homeworld. The bright dots around us are unexplored stars - potential colonies and potential enemy planets. We'll leave off here - next update should cover our first 20 or so turns, early exploration and colonisation.

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See you then.

Galuf
12-27-2014, 12:35 AM
Disclaimer - I don't do much in the way of Let's Plays, so this is just me trying to show off a game I've always loved. Have mercy!
looks like a cool wee game

:lol:
56405

Sword of the Stars is a space 4X (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate) game, published way back in 2006. Since then, it's spawned a regrettable sequel, a roguelike (Sword of the Stars - The Pit) and a tabletop wargame (Ground Pounders). However, for this i'll only be looking at the original game as a sort of "After-Action Report".

What sets SotS apart, however, are two things. First, while the game is turn-based, all combat encounters are handled in real time in a 3D tactical map, so all the awesome ships and weapons we design and research can be witnessed in person.

Secondly, we have the fact that almost every ship you use is designed yourself, based on the tech you have unlocked. For example, here's a ship I made earlier.

56401

The S.S. Please Don't Hurt Me is a Cruiser-class ship with a Command and Control (CNC) mission section which defines its role, a Battle Bridge command section which gives it forward-mounted weapons at the expense of mobility and a Fusion Void Carver engine section.

In the bottom left you can see its weapons layout - every ship in SotS has various weapon mounts (divided into Small, Medium, Large and Special) which can hold any weapon of that size you've researched, and each mount has a specific firing arc. The position and size of mounts varies by race and section. Our command vessel (which we don't want fighting in close combat) packs several long-range sniper cannons, some missile mounts, and a last-ditch heavy beam weapon.

Every ship design can be named, from colony ships, freighters, defense platforms, all the way up to Flagship CNC Dreadnoughts. So, the best way to leave your mark on this AAR is to suggest names! Suggest any ship name you feel like, and the next time I go to design a new class of vessel, I'll have that in mind.

That's a big wall of text, so to start things off, I'll make an example game. There are 6 races in SotS (4 in the base game, 2 from expansions). For this game, I'll be playing as the Tarkas, large, warlike lizard-creatures who focus on having tough, durable brawling ships. This is how we start out, on the tactical map showing our owned planets in red, with the star indicating it's our homeworld. The bright dots around us are unexplored stars - potential colonies and potential enemy planets. We'll leave off here - next update should cover our first 20 or so turns, early exploration and colonisation.

56404

See you then.

Vyk
12-27-2014, 01:12 AM
Huh. Way to resurrect a thread I'd never even heard of. But also kudos. Nothing came of this thread and that makes me feel kinda bad. Better late than never, and it deserved a little attention. Sorry it didn't go anywhere. Sword of the Stars always kinda interested me whenever it pops up on sale at GOG or Steam or whatever. Now I know a little more about it

Galuf
12-27-2014, 01:02 PM
uh yay i some how shared this post but hey if it helped thats cool

Lost Number
07-03-2015, 01:52 AM
Unfortunately, I decided to do the first 20 turns in real-time, so this took a while. This will probably be quite a bit of explaining UI and very little "stuff happening", but the first X in 4X is "eXplore", after all.

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Starting where we left off (differences? What differences?), let's explain the UI. At the centre of the screen is the star map. Unexplored worlds are simply dots of light. Our worlds are denoted by green circles - and our capital by the star. So, we only have our capital, Ka'Saak, to work with right now.

To the middle-left we have the details on the currently selected star. The yellow-ish bar with a dot in the centre represents environmental hazard. As our homeworld, Ka'Saak is perfect for our needs, so we have an environmental hazard of 0. Size is a scale from 1 to 10, and heavily affects industrial output, and how big a satellite you can put in orbit. Resources also affects production capability, but mainly affects the income of a planet.

Imperial population indicates our administrators, officials and such. If our imperial population drops to 0, we no longer control a colony. However, it's possible to wipe out the imperial population and leave some civilian population, which doesn't go away. The population slider indicates the current population as a percentage of the maximum possible (orange segment) and the maximum amount we have set to allow it to grow to (green segment). This won't be terribly important til we begin to develop colonies. Overharvest allows us to increase industrial output by permanently reducing the resources of a planet each turn, and finally we can choose how much of the planets budget is devoted to trade (income) or construction (industrial output). However, excess construction is automatically converted to income, so don't worry too much about this.

Above that, we have our research and savings. The slider determines how much of a turns income is devoted to research, and how much goes into savings for us to spend on new ships. I'll only really be micromanaging this early on, as there's mechanics in place that make micromanaging it less effective. We start with a mere 50,000 savings, and devoting most of our income to research. Along the bottom of the screen is an event ticker, which is quite empty on turn 1.

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With ship names garnered from #eoff, we set about building some Extended Range ships. These are cheap, lightly armoured and expendable. We'll be sending them out as scouts.

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Finally, this is our budget screen. The other tabs will be more useful later, but this itemizes our budget. You can see we've ordered 3 extended range ships, to be produced next turn, using up 9240 of our capitals 16256 available industrial output. Next turn, we'll send them out to explore nearby planets.

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Sure enough, we're starting to send them out. I'll continue to make more scouts turn on turn, until we've explored every planet within a roughly 14 ly range. None of my scouts will arrive until turn 5, so skipping forward a bit...

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We've found our first alien planets. Neither are particularly good, we ideally want much lower climate hazard. We can colonise them, but we'll have to deal with that cost - 80,000 a turn, which is a significant chunk of our income. We'll look for easier targets.

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We've also gone overbudget on research. This means we've invested 100% or more of a technologies "cost", but still haven't got it. This occurs randomly, but you also have a chance to unlock a tech early with at least 50% of its cost invested. It's very aggravating to have this happen on our first technology, but we'll just shift the slider over to mainly savings and hope our scientists work it out quickly.

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Sure enough, next turn they get it. This tech, Waldo Units, provides a basic boost to our economy and unlocks a new nose section, the Hammerhead. I won't go too in-detail to the research tree until we have some proper technology available. For now, I begin research on cryogenic storage tanks in expectation of colonisable worlds.

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Also on turn 6 - enemy contact! This, however, isn't another player. It's an Unknown Menace, a type of random event. In combat, we find out it's a swarm. An asteroid home to a bunch of armed drones. Our scout is quite quickly torn apart by this, so we'll have to leave the world alone until we can muster a force to take out the swarm.

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Some planets are just too harsh for us to colonise. They list their cost as Prohibitive. Some tech allows us to colonise formerly prohibitive worlds, but it's rarely worth it.

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On turn 10 we strike gold. Only 30 climate hazard, size 5, >5000 resources, miniscule cost? My immedate objective is to build some colonisers and a tanker or two to get there immediately. This is perfect colony material. Note that we'll need tankers - most ships barely have enough range to travel between neighbouring planets outside of the Extended Range sections we've been using to scout.

We also find some not-quite-as-high-priority colonisable worlds, typically with a cost of 35k or less. I make a note on them to colonise them, which makes a ! flash next to them on the star map. Another one of our scouts encounters an asteroid monitor, a defense system installed into an asteroid by some long-forgotten race.

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It ends poorly.

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On the bright side, we've encountered some independant colonies who don't shoot down our scouts. However, they're Liir, and we don't speak their language. We need to research it before we can. There are 2 colonies near us, but I don't see it being a very high priority unless I come across the Liir player soon.

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On turn 19, we finally colonise our first planet, Ka'Trulmo. You can see we have some extra sliders, terraforming and infrastructure. Ideally, we'll put most of our effort into terraforming. This is because reducing the climate hazard greatly helps population growth, which will make building infrastructure, which only affects our income and industrial output, easier.

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On turn 21, our colony ships reach Foo, puttin us up to 3 colonies. This is the resulting final ranking. Of our unseen enemies, we are doing the worst economically, and we're 3rd on tech, but we have the most ships and the most population. From that, I can induce that I had the worst luck with colonisation. Regardless, I expect to quickly catch up as more of the worlds I earmarked for colonisation are reached - I have colony fleets en-route to 3 more. In the next update, covering the next 20-odd turns I'll cover research and begin to properly expand my empire, perhaps encountering some of the other enemy players!