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News in category "Stellaris"

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When we first covered G-Man's New Horizons Star Trek mod last year, the Stellaris total conversion boasted an impressive 38 pre-scripted races with canon starting positions, and five playable factions and their ships, among a host of other neat mechanics and features. It's now dropped its Alpha 0.9 update which lifts that number of races above 50, and adds a load of new ships and weapons to boot.

In preparation of its eventual Beta 0.1 stage, Alpha 0.9 also introduces new mechanics which allow players to customise their ships, spaceports and empires; while also adding re-designed edict and policy trees, an overhauled ground combat system, and larger star bases. Of the exhaustive list, this particular addition sounds great:

"More Espionage! As the federation grows stronger, the secret order of the Romulan Tal Shiar plans its downfall… a new espionage and sabotage mechanic has been developed, allowing the Romulans to do harm to their enemies from afar. Will you destroy their fleets? Or go after their infrastructure? Of course, the Tal Shiar are not the only organization… and the Obsidian Order is about to teach those pointy-ears how it’s done."

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Categories:  Star TrekStellarisVideo Games

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Paradox Weekend | Humble Store 

Ready for a weekend of epic gaming? We’ve got you covered. Get deals up to 80% off during Paradox Weekend, including titles like Cities Skylines, Stellaris, Pillars of Eternity, and more!

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Categories:  Paradox InteractiveShopping TipsStellarisVideo Games

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Stellaris is the new Humble Monthly early unlock game!

Get it right now for just $12, and then play while you wait for the rest of your mystery bundle to unlock on the first Friday of June!

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Categories:  Shopping TipsStellaris

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Hello everyone and welcome to another Stellaris dev diary, being written while I am at home with fever and a ruined throat. Still, I felt we had missed one too many DDs lately and felt OK enough to take one for the team. The topic of today's dev diary will be some changes coming to genetic modification in the 1.8 'Čapek' update.

Genemodding Templates
A frequent complaint about the genemodding mechanic has been that it's hard to keep track of your modified species: Though two species with the same name and portrait are treated as the same species, they are still displayed as entirely separate entries in the species list, even if they have the exact same traits. What's more, because identity is tied to species name, we are forced to disallow renaming when modifying species, as you'd end up with a species that might be 95% identical to its parent species but still treated as though they were horribly alien to them.

Our solution to all of these issues is templates. Templates are species genemodding configurations that you can create, edit, save and then apply. You take the desired base species, hit 'Create Template', and then set the species up as however you wish it to be, including the ability to rename the modded species to whatever you want. Once the template is created, it is saved and will be displayed in the species list as a subspecies of whatever the original species of the parent species is. In other words, if you take regular old Humans and turn them into Arctic Humans, and then modify the Arctic Humans into Desert Humans, Desert Humans and Arctic Humans will both be shown as distinct subspecies of Humans, and will be recognized as part of the same broader species. If multiple species share the same name and portrait at the start of the game, whichever species spawned first will be considered the parent species of the others.

Once a template is created, you can apply it. By hitting Apply Template, you can then choose which pops in your empire will be converted to that template. Selection is done for all pops of the same parent species at once, so you do not have to do a separate special project for each subspecies you want to turn into the new subspecies. To continue our example from above, you can turn Human, Desert Human and Arctic Human Pops into Super-Human pops all at once. All pops that have a template applied to them become part of the same subspecies, no matter when they were converted, so you should never have several subspecies with the exact same name and traits unless you explicitly set it up to be that way. It is possible to edit a template freely up until the point where it applied to some Pops, after that you will have to split off a new template from it.

Along with these changes, there are also some balancing changes:
The base cost of genemodding projects has been increased, so even modding a single Pop is quite expensive. Cost per Pop was reduced to compensate, meaning that it's more efficient to modify large numbers of Pops at the same time.
A cost (equivalent to 3 trait points) was added for swapping out a Pop's habitability trait. This cost only applies to the cost of the special project and does not take up actual trait points.
Some traits had their costs and effects rebalanced. The advanced traits from Biological Ascension, in particular, were made cheaper.

All in all, these changes should serve to make genemodding a much more intuitive and user-friendly experience and give you a much easier way to organize and categorize the different species in your empire.

Next week... well... I can't actually tell you about next week yet, but the name of the author chosen for the 1.8 might offer some hint. See you then!

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Category:  Stellaris

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Hello everyone and welcome to another Stellaris development diary. Today's dev diary will be about changes and new additions for Fallen Empires in the 1.8 'Čapek' update and its accompanying (unannounced) Story Pack, about which we cannot currently provide any information except what's in this dev diary (there will be info about other features in the pack coming in later dev diaries). We also cannot currently provide say anything about the release date for the update other than to say that it's not coming out anytime soon. After what happened with 1.6, we want to take our time with this one and make sure we get it to you in a good shape.

Ancient Caretakers (Story Pack)
Those with the Story Pack will be able to encounter a brand new Fallen Empire - the Ancient Caretakers. The Ancient Caretakers is a fallen synthetic civilization that appears to be the remnant of some great conflict in the distant past. From what they tell you, they appear to have been part of something called the 'Custodian Project', an initiative to construct and maintain a number of ringworlds as a refuge for biological sapients fleeing some unknown menace. Their erratic behavior and speech, however, suggests that something may be very wrong indeed with this Fallen Machine Empire.

The Ancient Caretakers have a new attitude called 'Enigmatic' and an obscured opinion score to represent their bizarre and unpredictable nature. They may help you with gifts of ships of technology, request your assistance with tasks that may make little apparent sense, or even make demands of your empire that you would be unwise to ignore. They do not awaken like a regular Fallen Empire, but instead have a particular 'triggering event' that, if it happens during the course of the game, will automatically awaken them... though they will not always awaken in the same way. All in all, they behave quite differently from the other Fallen and Awakened Empires, and have their own backstory to explore, as well as unique interactions when dealing with other synthetic civilizations.

Fallen Empire Tweaks & Changes (Čapek Update)
In addition to the Ancient Caretakers, there are also some changes coming to the current batch of Fallen Empires. First of all, because the Ancient Caretakers also make use of ringworlds, we decided that you'd end up with just a few too many ringworlds to conquer and restore kicking around. Thus, for those with the Story Pack, we made a new initializer for the Keepers of Knowledge with a more traditional Fallen Empire setup of Gaia Worlds and outlying colonies, including some unique features and buildings to suit their archivarian ways. The old initializer with its three ringworlds still exists, however, and will spawn for those that do not have the Story Pack, so those without do not have their Fallen Empire ringworlds taken away.

Other than that, the following changes were done to the existing Fallen Empires:
- Keepers of Knowledge were changed to have their behavior (Hatred of AI) no longer directly conflict with their ethos (Materialist). Both their Fallen and Awakened variants no longer hold a grudge against AI, but instead have doubled down on their obsession with collecting and hoarding knowledge. Satellites of Awakened Keepers of Knowledge are no longer required to ban AI, but will have to contribute a major share of their research to their overlord.
- Holy Guardians were changed to be a bit more interactive, and are now able to offer tasks and give gifts to the younger races, though they will mostly only deign to do so to fellow Spiritualists. They have also taken over some of the Keepers of Knowledge's hatred of AI, and you can expect their Awakened variant to offer no quarter to synthetic civilizations.
- Militant Isolationists and Enigmatic Observers have mostly been left unchanged, asides from some updates to their initializers and ship designs, such as removing the Synths previously used by the Militant Isolationists and giving them to the Keepers of Knowledge instead. They will now also start with more trait points for their species than the other Fallen Empires, to represent their focus on the biological.

Finally, a change was done to the way you establish contact with Fallen Empires. Previously, unless you had done something to anger them (for example colonize a Holy World) FEs would open communications only when you directly entered their space. This has been changed so that Fallen Empires will now instead contact you when your ships enter any system adjacent to their space. This should make it harder to accidentally colonize next to Militant Isolationists and also make it so that your exploring science ship isn't immediately hurled back to your capital just because it happened to take a wrong turn after Omicron Persei.

That's all for today! Next week we'll be discussing some changes coming to Hive Minds and Devouring Swarms, as well as the addition of Dynamic Tradition Swapping in 1.8 'Čapek'.

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Hello everyone and welcome to another Stellaris development diary. Today's dev diary will be about some more changes coming in the 1.8 'Čapek' update, with a particular focus on Hive Minds and Traditions.

Hive Minds
Hive Minds was a feature in Utopia that we were not unhappy with, but felt we could have done more on. While it works fine from a gameplay perspective, offering a different mode of play for those who do not wish to concern themselves with internal politicking and just want to get on with building their glorious empire among the stars (and eating those that stand in their way), Hive Minds ended up somewhat lacking in the flavor department, and suffered narratively from gameplay text that does not fit a Hive-Minded society, such as early exploration events.

For 1.8, we've decided to make a major push to improve Hive Minds, both narratively and gameplay-wise. Many events have been changed, disabled or rewritten to fit Hive Minds and their unique societies. We've also tried to address a number of non-event related narrative breaks, such as replacing the 'Sprawling Slums' starting planet tile blocker with a unique tile blocker only found on Hive Mind homeworlds. A new system for relocalising technologies based on government authority types was also created, and a number of technologies will now have different, more suitable names for Hive Minds (such as renaming Administrative AI to Synaptic Enhancers). Some new, unique interactions were also added to the game to emphasise the inherent psionic nature of Hive Minds.

We've also changed the way Hive Minds interact with non-Hive Mind pops. While we still do not want non-Hive Minded Pops to be regular citizens of Hive Minds (for numerous reasons, the main one being keeping Hive Minds distinct from regular empires in how they are played), we have added the option to keep them around as Livestock instead of simply being processed or displaced. AI-controlled Hive Mind empires now also vary in how they treat Pops of other species, with some preferring displacement and others making use of livestock or processing. Livestock/Processing have been buffed from 3/6 food per Pop to 6/8 respectively, and a number of fixes have been made to ensure that Pops that are kept as livestock do not incur building maintenance or similar issues.

Devouring Swarms
In addition to the changes to regular Hive Minds, we've also devoted some more attention to the Devouring Swarm civic that was added in 1.6. Devouring Swarms have had their bonuses increased to be more on par with their Fanatical Purifier non-Hive Mind variant, and a new government type and AI personality was created for Devouring Swarms that you encounter while exploring the galaxy. They also have a few new flavor texts and unique interactions.

Assimilation
Finally, we've improved the process of assimilating non-Hive Minded Pops into the Hive. Instead of having to genetically modify the project (and complete said project before the Pops are eaten or forced out), Hive Minds now have access to a new type of citizenship species right, that is unlocked once they unlock the Evolutionary Mastery ascension perk. This citizenship type, called 'Assimilation', will convert non-Hive-Minded Pops into a Hive-Minded variant of that species, allowing them to be integrated seamlessly into your Hive Mind empire. The process is gradual, with a certain number of Pops converted at regular intervals rather than all being modified at the same time. Non-Hive Minded Pops will of course be quite upset by this, selfishly holding on to their individuality rather than simply surrendering to the glory of the collective. This new method of assimilation was also made available to Synthetic empires, and can be used to convert Pops to cyborgs (if partway through Synthetic Ascension) or upload them into robot bodies (if fully Synthetically Ascended). It can also be used to by non-Hive Mind empires that have unlocked Evolutionary Mastery to de-assimilate Hive-Minded Pops.

Tradition Swapping
Another issue both gameplay and narrative-wise that affects Hive Minds, but is not unique to them, is that certain traditions simply do not fit certain kinds of empires. When creating the tradition trees, we tried to keep them as broad as possible, but ultimately you're never going to be able to design seven full trees that fit perfectly into every possible society and playstyle. It's for this reason that we have created a new system that we call 'Tradition Swapping'. Tradition Swapping allows any Tradition Category (such as Diplomacy) or individual Tradition (such as Trans-Stellar Corporations) to be set up with a number of potential 'swaps'. These swaps have conditions and weights for each individual empire, and can be anything from a simple name and description swap to a full replacement of name, description, icon and effects. A number of such tradition swaps have been created for empires with specific playstyle, such as Hive Minds and Fanatical Purifiers. For example, Hive Minds have replaced 'Trans-Stellar Corporations' (Private Colony Ships make very little sense in a Hive Mind...) with Warrior Forms, a tradition that reduces army upkeep. They also have the entire Diplomacy tree replaced with Adaptability, a new tree focused on growth, habitability and genetics.

Though Tradition swaps may appear to be completely different from what they are replacing, they still occupy the same 'slot'. This means that the system is able to easily handle any change in the empire that would affect the tradition trees - if a Fanatic Purifier has the Purity tree (replacing the Domination tree) filled out and stop being Fanatical Purifiers, they will not lose their unlocked traditions and ascension perks, instead they are simply swapped for whatever variant of the same slots are valid for the empire - in this case reverting the Purity tree back to being Domination. While this may seem slightly strange, we felt it is nonetheless the preferrable way of handing such switches, as all sorts of issues would arise from simply yanking a number of unlocked traditions from empires that could no longer fulfill the conditions for them. By keeping the system as robust and dynamic as possible, it allows us to make far more adjustments to individual traditions for different playstyles than would be otherwise possible. The Tradition Swapping system is, of course, fully accessible to modders.

That's all for today! Next week we'll be talking about voices. Or hearing voices? At any rate, voices will be involved for sure, so stay tuned!

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Category:  Stellaris

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Hello everyone and welcome to another Stellaris development diary. This week’s diary I’m taking charge and going to write about Voice Over’s for the (unannounced) Story Pack coming alongside the 1.8 ‘Čapek’ update! We still can’t tell you any further details about the name or release date of the Story Pack, but stay tuned for future dev diaries!

For the upcoming Story Pack we felt that we wanted to experiment with VIR, our friendly advisor, see how it would feel to have different set of VO cues depending on your Empire’s ethic. A VO Cue is a term that we use to describe a Voice Over line that triggers at a certain point in the game as for example “Hostile Fleet Detected” or “Research Complete”.

We started with a test case in-house to try it out and we concluded that it was a great experience! From then on we moved on with the process and allocated time to write unique script for each role, character description, casting, auditions and finally recording sessions. It has been personally a long and hard process but in the end I’m really pleased to finally show of 3 samples out of 10 Voice Packs!

There will be a automatic settings for the VO Packs in the game so that the VO will switch depending on what Ethic you start with in the game and also switches while you're playing if you decided with switch Ethic's in your campaign. If you're not into that you will be able to select with set of VO Cues you want to play and you will always be able to switch back to the original VO if you desire.

Now that you have heard some of the results you might ask yourself how the whole procedure works with recording VO? So I’ll describe to a certain detail how the whole process goes by. :)

First of you need to write a script and if you have talented Content Designers. and we do have in our team, there is no problem to get good a script. Once the script is complete and approved it gets handed to me and I take it to the next step: Casting!

Casting of it’s own is also a long process which takes time. With help of a Casting Director you can get in touch with several possible Voice Actors that can help you to deliver the best result out of each script. When you have picked out potential actors that you think will suit for the role, you bring them in for a audition. In an audition you let the actor read a certain part of the script which usually depict the character the most and also give the best material for the Voice Actor so that they can perform as good as possible. After all the auditions are done you pick the actor that suited the best for the role. Sometimes during auditions actors comes for a certain role to read but during the session you realize that the actor would be more fitted for another role and that happened to our Militarist! We brought her in to do a audition for another role first but while she was reading the part for the first role I heard that she might be better suited as a angry general, so I asked her to try out for the Militarist and it was a really good fit! So good that we ended up with her as the Militarist.

With all the casting/auditions done you move on to the actual recording session, get as much possible material from your actors. It is important that you’re there to act as a “director” for the actors so that you can give the instructions and guidelines so that they can give you all the right emotions and takes that you require for your character in the game.

As soon as the recordings were done I moved on to editing. There is a lot of editing when it comes to VO since it is not only about how the recording equipment sound but also the sheer amount of assets you need to go through..

While editing you usually “zoom in” really close in the waveforms of the recordings to mess around/cutting noise such as clicks and pops. So yes, we Sound Designers tend to get really nerdy when it comes to VO editing:

After you have done all the editing which is removing “clicks” and “pops”, ugly breath takes, add fade in/out, you move into adding “effects” to the VO so we can get that cool Robotic style. For each VO I gave them something else than just using the same settings as for “Default VIR”.

So in short terms that is how you record VO!

That's all for today! Next week we'll be talking about robots and robotic modification.

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Hello everyone and welcome to another Stellaris dev diary. Today we'll be talking about some changes coming to robots in the 1.8 'Čapek' update, including the ability to modify Robotic pops. All changes mentioned in this dev diary are part of the free update.

Robomodding
In the 1.8 update, it will now be possible to create different 'models' of Robot, Droid and Synth pops through a system similar to genemodding. By researching the 'Machine Templates' engineering technology, you will get access to robomodding and a single robot trait point. More robot trait points can be gained through further engineering research. Using these points, you can create templates with different configurations of traits. Rather than using the basic biological traits, robotic Pops have their own set of traits, some of which are not available to the more basic robotic types. Once a template is created, it is immediately available to be used when building robotic Pops on a planet, and existing robotic Pops can be converted into that template through a special Robomodding project that uses Engineering research.

In addition to adding robomodding, we've also added support for switching Pop portraits into the genemodding and robomodding systems. If set to be permitted for a particular species class, that species class can have its portrait changed to any other portrait in the same species class as part of the template creation process. This system is also fully accessible to modders. But more on that in a later dev diary.

One final note: Since the addition of traits to robotic Pops will make them, and Synthethically Ascended empires, stronger overall, we're going to be doing a balance pass on them and possibly making changes and/or buffing the other ascension paths before 1.8 comes out.

Robot Building
We've also made some improvements to how you build robotic pops. Robotic pops are now built through their own 'Build Pop' interface in the planet view, which lets you select what robotic model you want to build and also has the option to start building several Pops at a time. If this option is checked, you will be able to build robotic Pops on any number of tiles with one simple click each, massively cutting down on the clicking needed to fill up a planet. Note that this is only a UI change, and does not in any way change the mechanics of how robotic Pops are built.

AI Policy & Techs
The way the AI policy works has always seemed inconsistent: Outlawing AI prevents you from building dumb robotic workers, but does not prevent researching Sapient AI or installing it on a spaceship. To address this issue and open up for more varied use of robots, we've changed the AI policy to be about sapience rather than about robots, and reworked some related technologies. The Sentient AI technology has been renamed Positronic AI, and is no longer a dangerous technology in itself (its effect has also been reduced to +5% rather than +10% research speed). The AI policy will not appear until this technology has been researched, as it's simply not relevant up to that point. Once it *does* appear, it has the following effects:
Outlawed: Sapient AI is outlawed. No effect on robots and droids. Prevents research and use of sapient combat computers. Synths can be researched and built, but have their sapience removed, removing their ability to feel happiness and essentially making them into slightly upgraded droids.
Servitude: Sapient AI is allowed, but Sapient AIs are considered property and have their free will restricted. No effect on robots and droids. Synths can be researched and built, but have slight penalties to energy and research production as a result of these restrictions. They also cannot join factions.
Citizen Rights: Sapient AIs are given full individual rights. No effect on robots and droids. Synths have citizen rights and can join factions, but some traits that depend on Synths being property (such as Domestic Protocols, which increases happiness for owner Pops) lose their effect and can no longer be added to new templates.

Manual Disassembly
Finally, since outlawing AI no longer purges robotic Pops, we've added back the option to manually disassemble them. This can be done to Robots, Droids and Synths without citizen rights, and works the exact same way as a regular 'extermination' purge, killing the Pop(s) off in a relatively short time.

That's all for today! Next week we'll be talking about combat balance, ship components and the changes we're doing to put some clothes back on those naked corvettes.

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Category:  Stellaris

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News in category "Stellaris"

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