Hey everyone, it's been a while since I posted anything
Usually when I'm taking part in any form of early access I'm keeping my mouth shut for most of the time, especially when the development seems to be heading in the right direction. Obviously, this is also the case for Star Ruler 2.
However, I've been playing a few other 4X games for a bit (i.e. Master of Orion I, StarDrive), to get some perspective and inspiration. So I was asking myself a few questions along the way: What is fun about those games? Why is it fun? Could and should it be applied to SR2? What does SR2 better? That kind of stuff.
Before I go crazy with suggestions, however, I would like to offer some general feedback. It's no secret that SR and SR2 are both very close to my heart... And because of that I am going to be completely honest, no matter if I like or dislike a particular feature.Modding Tools
Holy shit, batman, I did not see those coming! I've only dabbled with them for a bit to see how they worked, and I think it's great these are being offered. Sure, doing more
crazy stuff still requires working with angelscript outside the modding tools, but I am sure these tools will get many more people started with modding. And once you've started... There's no going back.
Combined with Steam workshop support modders and players alike just could not be asking for anything more!
Well done, BMS, well done!Pixel art and icons in general
Good work on the new planet biome graphics. These look much better and more organic now.
As for the buildings, these are looking better as well (even if some - or most? - are still to be considered temporary art).
I also absolutely adore the pixel art for the subsystems. They look great, and it's rather easy to distinguish one from the other. However, the new weapon subsystem art (which I assume is pre-rendered from 3D models) looks absolutely atrocious. None of these fit in with the other subsystems as they stick out like a sore thumb. My suggestion? Get rid of them and go for something more simple (pixel art!).
And I guess you could drop the different perspectives and go for a top-down look instead. That way only one image is needed even for rotating subsystems.Secret research
Like I said above, I've been playing StarDrive for a bit and one of the more interesting things I discovered was that as I had destroyed a few Remnant ships, I got a message saying that doing so unlocked a new branch of research labelled "Secret". It hadn't been visible before, and I thought it was cool that the research unlocked several slightly more advanced subsystems (such as ancient shields, fuel cells and reactors) among other things.
Now here's what I am thinking: To make every new game more interesting and unique, a bunch of extra techs (or just improvements) could be hidden throughout the research tree. And once you do certain things - i.e. destroy a particular remnant fleet, scan a certain anomaly or activate a rare artifact - you unlock a random one of these. It gives more incentive to actively explore the galaxy, since no one else would get access to the same research (although they probably got their own share of unique extra tech!).
Time to think big
The following two suggestions are rather big and complex, and I've spent a fair bit thinking about these mechanics. The idea is to add certain features not for the sake of just adding stuff, but branching out in terms of tactical options.
Example: You got lots of time? Besiege a planet. Got lots of money and population? Send troops to conquer a planet. Don't care about your enemies gaining leverage on you? Bomb the shit out of them! Got a lot of pull in the galactic senate? Start a petition to gain ownership of your desired planets.Ground troops and planetary invasion
- In addition to spawning support ships, planetary bases created by defense pressure also convert civilian population into troops at a rate of 100k/min per base. Launchpads convert at a rate of 150k/min.
- The maximum amount of troops per planet is 1 million troops per base. The maximum ratio of civilians:troops is 4:1.
- Troops still count as population for all purposes except colonization. When colonizing new worlds, only civilians are sent off via colony ships.
- To invade a hostile planet, both parties need to be at war with each other. The invading party sents their troops via dropships, which carry 100k troops each.- Launching troops costs 25k of § per 100k troops to properly train and equip them, and is paid upfront. (so no spamming your enemies with troops just for the lulz unless you are filthy rich)
- Dropships have more acceleration than colony ships, but can be shot down all the same.
- If there are no defending troops present, the planet changes ownership once 1 million invading troops have landed.
- Conquering a planet via invasion resets planet loyalty to 0.
- A siege is canceled when troops land on the planet. As long as there is fighting on the ground, it is impossible to besiege a planet.
- In case of multiple allied invaders attacking a planet, the claim goes to the attacker whose troops first set foot on the planet; if all attacking troops are defeated, ownership remains with the defender and the claim resets after 2 minutes so another player may claim the planet.
- If the invader conquers the planet and more troops are remaining than bases present (if any) can sustain, troops will turn into civilians at a rate of 200k/minute until the number of troops reaches the limit of sustainable ground troops. Should no bases be present, all troops will be converted into civilians. If the number of civilians and troops combined after a successful invasion exceeds the maximum planet population, troops will first vanish at a rate of 200k/minute before they start to convert into civilians. Leftover troops may, however, be transferred to other planets; both relocation to friendly worlds as well as invading hostile ones is possible.
- The rate at which opposing troops are killed and kill each other is dependent on various factors, i.e.: Research, racial traits, planetary conditions, loyalty. Generally speaking, the rate of fighting is higher the more troops are present; if one or both sides have significantly less troops than the other, fighting will slow down (think guerrilla warfare).
- The more ground troops involved, the higher the chance that each "round" of combat also kills a number of civilians. Smaller conflicts may end without a single civilian dying.
- Both the attacker and defender may send additional troops during or after the invasion to reinforce their presence.
- Flagships may be used for planetary bombardment in two different ways:
Regular weapons (laser, railguns, missiles) may be used with or without friendly ground troops present. However, these weapons do not discern civilians and combatants, and there is also a chance to hit friendly ground troops. Using these will also damage or destroy buildings.
Bombardment weaponry deals less damage, but has a much smaller chance of hitting civilians or allied ground troops. These weapons are also much more unlikely to hit buildings except for defensive structures; if any are present, these are targeted first until destroyed.
- When orbital bombardment is used without ground support, the planet needs to be re-colonized once all population has been killed.
- In case that all civilians are dead but the attacker has less than 1 million troops remaining, the planet is considered unowned and additional troops (friend or foe) or civilians (friend) need to be sent to capture the planet. As long as the planet is unowned, the troops will remain on the ground but decay at a rate of 200k/minute.
- When ordering an invasion, the amount of troops to send is set at 1 million since it is the absolute minimum required to capture a planet. However, it can be increased or decreased in 100k steps (less is possible so multiple planets could send a few hundred thousand each to one destination and still conquer an undefended planet if 1 million is present on ground at the same time).
- Protect planet card also prevents planetary invasion as well as orbital bombardment in addition to siege.
- Using bombardment to kill off an entire planet's population grants one leverage card (against the attacker) to the planet's owner.
- Civilians may be transferred between any two established, friendly colonies. They are sent via colony ships just when colonizing unowned planets. The minimum amount to send is 1 million which can be increased in steps of 1 million each. If the difference between the current and maximum population on the destination planet is less than 1 million, the option to send additional colonists is unavailable. (Also more than 1 million population needs to be present to be able to send off any colonists, obviously.)Fleet groups, positioning and supplies
- Multiple flagships can form a fleet group under the following condition:
One ship needs to be designated "fleet group leader". Once that is done, its support command can only be used to coordinate other flagships instead of support ships. However, flagships count as twice their own size towards the support command limit.
- All other flagships get to keep their own support ships, but these will position themselves in the fleet around the core of all flagships instead of just one flagship alone.
- The flagships always form the core of the fleet group. They stick together closely, with the fleet group leader surrounded by the lesser flagships.
- Only one fleet group leader is allowed per group; stacking of fleet groups together is not allowed.
- All support ship designs get a setting for "positioning" inside a fleet or fleet group. These are possible: Default/dynamic (fill in where needed), vanguard, rearguard, flanks, center (surrounds core of the group in a circle formation), roam (may spread out further from the group), swarm (gets into close range of the target and attacks in circling and strafing patterns). Alternatively, make positioning available via check boxes (i.e. allow positioning in flanks and rearguards, but never as vanguard, etc.).
- When a fleet group is formed, all available supplies are pooled together.
- If a flagship is destroyed, its support ships are distributed among the other flagships if possible. If not enough support command is available, the supports are removed from the group and try to get to the nearest friendly planet.
- If the fleet leader is destroyed, the fleet group dissolves.
- When two allied fleets are close, one may transfer supplies to the other. The amount of supplies on the receiving end may not exceed the maximum supply capacity of the fleet/group. No special equipment is needed to do this, all flagships can transfer supplies between each other.
- FTL rules for fleet groups: When using Hyperdrive, all flagships in a group need to be equipped with one. The FTL speed is then limited to that of the slowest ship. For Fling and Hyperdrive purposes, subordinate flagships only need to pay 25% of their normal FTL cost, only the fleet leader costs the regular amount to FTL. Gates and Slipstreams function as normal.
Still there? Good! Guess I should give awards for reading through all that!