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Stellaris

Hello everyone and welcome to another Stellaris development diary. Today is the second week of post-Synthetic Dawn 'filler' dev diaries, as mentioned in dev diary 87.

This dev diary is really just an update on the 1.8.1 beta that we put out last week to fix the major issues reported in 1.8. We have gotten a lot of good feedback from it both externally and internally, and we are now in the process of putting together a 1.8.2 update that contains all the fixes from the beta, as well as fixes for some issues introduced in 1.8.1 and some additional issues that were previously missed. 1.8.2 is currently in internal testing, and we hope to roll it out as soon as it clears QA. Once 1.8.2 is out, if no further critical issues are discovered, we will be wrapping up the 1.8 post-release support and fully move on to future development priorities.

Here is a list of the fixes and changes in 1.8.2 compared to 1.8. Note that bugs that were introduced in 1.8.1 but fixes in 1.8.2 is not included in this list!

That's all for today! As with last week, I leave you with another screenshot of the internal Stellaris development build, presented without context or explanation.

Source: 1 ]

Category:  Stellaris

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Stellaris

Hello everyone and welcome to another Stellaris development diary. Today is the third week of post-Synthetic Dawn 'filler' dev diaries, as mentioned in Dev Diary 88. Regular dev diaries return on October 26th.

As we don't have anything in particular to talk about this week, I'm just going to give you another brief update on 1.8 post-launch support: We released the 1.8.2 update yesterday, with all the fixes from the 1.8.1 beta as well as some additional fixes and tweaks.

There has been a couple of script issues reported in 1.8.2 related to Devouring Swarms, Exterminators and Purifiers (missing tooltips and opinion modifiers) that we are going to look at and likely publish a fix for, but other than that we feel like we have now addressed all important issues reported in 1.8 and 1.8.1 and so will be wrapping up 1.8 post-launch support if no other critical issues are found in the live build.

As before, I'm going to sign off this dev diary with a screenshot, this one taken on the galaxy map in the internal development build, where everything clearly looks the same as it always has and there certainly aren't any significant changes being prototyped that I can't yet talk about. See you next week!

Source: 1 ]

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Stellaris

Hello everyone and welcome to another Stellaris development diary. Today's dev diary marks the start of dev diaries about a major upcoming update that we have named the 'Cherryh' update after science fiction author C.J. Cherryh. This is a major update that will include some very significant reworks to core gameplay systems, reworks that we have been prototyping and testing for some time. Right now, we cannot say anything about the exact nature of the update or anything at all about when it will be released, other than that it's far away. Normally, we wouldn't be doing dev diaries on an update at this stage at all, but there's simply so much to talk about that we have to start early. Cherryh will be a massive update, the largest one we've done to date, and there are many new and changed things to talk about in the coming weeks and months.

Please bear in mind that screenshots are from an early internal build and will contain art and interfaces that are WIP, non-final numbers, hot code and all that business.

Border Rework
We've never been entirely happy with the border system in Stellaris. While it generally works fine from a gameplay perspective, it has some rather quirky elements, such as being able to claim ownership of systems that you have never visited and indeed have no ability to reach and making it hard to tell what the exact border adjustments will be when planets are ceded or outposts are built. For this reason, we have decided to fundamentally rework the Stellaris border system to be based on solar system ownership. Each system will have a single owner, with complete control of the system, and borders are now simply a reflection of system ownership rather than a cause for it to change. In the Cherryh update, who owns a system is almost always based on the owner of the Starbase in said system.

Starbases
A Starbase is a space station orbiting the star of said system. Each system can only have a single Starbase, but this can be anything from a remote Outpost to a massive Citadel with its own 'fleet' of orbiting defense stations. Starbases can be upgraded and specialized in a variety of ways (more details on this below), and is the primary means of determining system ownership. This means that wars are no longer fought for colonies controlling a nebulous blob of border that may not actually include the systems you really want, but rather for the exact systems you are interested in, and their starbases. This change of course would not be possible if we kept the wargoal system that exists in the live version of the game (just imagine the size of that wargoal list...), but more on that in a couple weeks.

As Starbases now determine system ownership, it will no longer be possible to colonize or invade primitives outside your borders in the Cherryh update, but if a system contains a colony and no starbase, it will still count as being inside the borders of the colony's owner. These restrictions are moddable. Since Starbases now cost influence to construct (see below), we have removed the influence cost for colonizing and attacking primitives.

Starbases entirely replace the old system of Frontier Outposts.

Starbase Construction
With borders from colonies gone, empires now start only owning their home system, with a Starbase already constructed around their home star. To expand outside their home system, empires will have to construct Outposts in surveyed systems. An Outpost is a level 'zero' Starbase that has only very basic defenses and cannot support any buildings or modules, but also does not count towards your maximum Starbase Capacity (more on that below). Building an Outpost in a system costs influence, with the cost dependent on how far away the system is and how contigous it is to your empire as a whole, so 'snaking' or building starbases to ring in a certain part of space will be more influence-costly than simply expanding in a natural way. Starbases do not cost any influence upkeep, just an up-front cost when first building one in a system. As this change makes influence far more important in the early game, there will also be significant balance changes to empire influence generation in the Cherryh update.

As an aside note, because we felt it made very little sense to have a home system with a fully built Starbase but no surveyed planet, empire home systems will now start surveyed, with a only slightly randomized amount of resources, and mining/research stations for some of those resources already in place. This should also help make player starts a little less random, ensuring that you are never *completely* without resources in your home system.

Another thing we have been wary about when working on this is making sure that building the Outposts for each system does not simply feel like adding tedium. Right now, between the fact that which systems you choose to spend your limited influence on is an extremely important choice, and various tweaks and interface improvements we are making to ease up the process of developing your systems, we are confident that this will not be the case. We've also made it so that there are no entirely 'empty' systems (systems with no resources at all), as we discovered during playtesting that spending influence to claim such a system felt extremely unrewarding.

Upgrades and Capacity
Each empire will have a Starbase Capacity that represents the number of upgraded Starbases they can support. There are five levels of Starbases:
Outpost: A basic Outpost that exists only to claim a system. Costs no energy maintenance and does not count towards the Starbase Capacity, and cannot support buildings or modules. Outposts will also not show up in the outliner or galaxy map, as they are not meant to be interacted with at all unless it is to upgrade the Outpost to a Starport.
Starport: The first level of upgraded Starbase, available at the start of the game. Supports 2 modules and 1 building.
Starhold: The second level of upgraded Starbase, unlocked through tech. Supports 4 modules and 2 buildings.
Star Fortress: The third level of upgraded Starbase, unlocked through tech. Supports 6 modules and 3 buildings.
Citadel: The final level of upgraded Starbase, unlocked through tech. Supports 6 modules and 4 buildings.

Regardless of the level of the Starbase, so long as it is not an Outpost, it will use 1 Starbase Capacity and will show up on the map and in the outliner. Overall, the design goal is for the vast majority of Starbases to be Outposts that you never have to manage, with a handful of upgraded Starbases that are powerful and critical assets for your empire. Going over your Starbase Capacity will result in sharply increased Starbase energy maintenance costs. Starbase Capacity can be increased through techs, traditions and other such means. You also gain a small amount of Starbase Capacity from the number of Pops in your empire. If you end up over Starbase Capacity for whatever reason, it is possible to downgrade upgraded Starbases back into Outposts. It is also possible to dismantle Starbases entirely and give up control of those systems, so long as they are not in a system with a colonized planet.

Spaceports and Ship Construction
Starbases fully replace Spaceports in the role of system/planet defense and military ship construction. Spaceports still exist, but are no longer separate stations but rather an integrated part of the planet, and can only build civilian ships (Science Ships, Construction Ships and Colony Ships). To build military ships you will need a Starbase with at least one Shipyard module (more on that below). Starbases also replace Spaceports/Planets in that they are now the primary place to repair, upgrade, dock and rally ships, though civilian ships are also able to repair at planets.

Modules and Buildings
All non-Outpost Starbases can support Modules and Buildings. Some of these are available from the start of the game, while others are unlocked by tech. Some modules and buildings are only available in certain systems, for example Trading Hubs can only be constructed in colonized systems.

Modules are the fundamental, external components of the Starbase, and determine its actual role. Module choices include Trading Hubs (for improving the economy of colonized systems), Anchorages (for Naval Capacity), Shipyards (for building ships, duh), and different kinds of defensive modules such as gun turrets and strike craft hangar bays that improve the Starbase's combat ability. There is no restrictions on the number of modules you can have of a certain type, besides the actual restriction on module slots itself. This means, for example, that you can have a Starbase entirely dedicated to Shipyards, capable of building up to 6 ships in parallell. Modules will also change the graphical appearance of the Starbase, so a dedicated Shipyard will look different from a massive defensive-oriented fortress brimming with dozens of gun turrets.

Buildings represent internal structures inside the Starbase proper, and typically work to enhance modules or provide a global buff to the Starbase or system as a whole. Building choices include the Offworld Trading Company that increases the effectiveness of all Trading Hub modules, and the Listening Post that massively improves the Starbase's sensor range. You cannot have multiples of the same building on the same Starbase.

Defenses
One of the fundamental problems with the military stations in the live version of the game is that they simply do not have enough firepower. Even with impressive hit points and shields, a station with at most a dozen or so guns simply cannot match the firepower of a whole fleet. An another issue is the ability to build multiple defense stations in the same system, meaning that no single station can be strong enough to match a fleet, as otherwise a system with several such stations will be effectively invulnerable. For this reason we decided to consolidate all system defenses into the Starbase mechanics, but not into a single station. Starbases come with a basic array of armaments and utilities (gun and missile turrets, shields and armor, etc), with the exact number of weapons based on the level of the Starbase. These are automatically kept up to date with technological advances, so your Starbases won't be fielding red lasers and basic deflectors when facing fleets armed with tachyon lances.

Additionally, Starbases (with the exception of Outposts) have the ability to construct defense platforms to protect them. Constructed defense platforms will form a 'fleet' around the Starbase, supporting it with their own weapons and giving Starbases the firepower needed to engage entire fleets. The amount of defense platforms a Starbase can support may depend on factors such as starbase size and modules/buildings, technology, policies, and so on. The exact details here are still being worked on, but the design intent is that if you invest into them, Starbase defenses will scale against fleets across the whole game rather just being completely outpaced in the late game as military stations and spaceports currently are in the live version.

One last note on Starbases: For a variety of reasons (among them to avoid something like the tedious rebuilding of Spaceports that happens at the end of wars) Starbases cannot be destroyed through conventional means. They can, however be disabled and even captured by enemies. More on this in a couple weeks.

... whew, this was a long one but that's all for today! Next week we'll continue talking about the Cherryh update, with the topic being Faster than Light travel...

Source: 1 ]

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Star Trek: New Horizons (Stellaris Mod)

Playing as federation I conquered a big problem. I were at war with the klingons and the husnock and reached 100% war exhaustion and they forced peace. The problem is, i can't demand claims as federation, but my members (Gorn) do. So we've conqured ~ 15 systems. Each belongs to a member of the federation - not to the federation. how to get the systems? Trading does not works, because the members don't want to transfer systems. (-1000)

I hope there will be a solution for this, until then I can not play the way I want to play the federation.

my ideas:
- federation members can't make claims and all claims of them will be deleted.
or
- an option in the federation council to collect systems from members.
or
- federation members worlds accept system trades to the federation.

Categories:  ReviewStar TrekStellaris

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Stellaris


YouTube Source:  RepublicOfPlay

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Stellaris

Hello everyone and welcome to this very special triple digit Stellaris development diary! Today's dev diary marks the start of talking about the Apocalypse Expansion that will be accompanying the 2.0 'Cherryh' update. We still can't give you an ETA on the release of either, and there's a fair bit to cover in the expansion before then, but we're getting closer. As this is the start of talking about paid features, I just want to take a moment to reiterate that everything talked about in dev diaries 91-99 (with the exception of Dev Diary #95 which was about Humanoids) were about the Cherryh update and all features and changes mentioned in these previous dev diaries are part of the free update, NOT the expansion. Everything mentioned in this dev diary will be part of the paid Apocalypse expansion, however. Please note that some of the screenshots in this dev diary feature placeholder art and icons.

Planet Destroyers (Apocalypse Feature)
As mentioned all the way back in Dev Diary #50 and again in Dev Diary #69, Planet Destroyers have been on our wish list for quite some time, but wasn't something we could make work with restrictive nature of the old warscore system. Now that this is no longer a concern thanks to the new war system we talked about in Dev Diary #93, we finally have our chance to implement this beloved sci-fi staple.

Planet Destroyers come in the form of a new ship class called a Colossus. Though nominally a military ship, the Colossus has no actual fleet combat capability, but is instead a single massive weapon solely dedicated to the purpose of laying waste to enemy planets. To build a Colossus, you must first already know how to build Titans (more on those below) and then take the Colossus Project Ascension Perk, which unlocks a special project to research and design your first Colossus. Each Colossus mounts a single World Devastator-class weapon, and during the course of the project you will be given the option to choose which such weapon you want to focus on, with five potential options to choose from:
World Cracker: Shatters a planet, leaving behind a broken debris field that can be mined for resources. Available to non-Pacifists.
Global Pacifier: Encases the planet in an impenetrable shield, permanently cutting it off from the rest of the galaxy. A research station can be built to study the planet afterwards.
Neutron Sweep: Destroys most higher forms of life on the planet but leaves the infrastructure intact for colonization. Available to non-Spiritualist, non-Pacifist empires.
God Ray: Converts all organic Pops on the planet to spiritualist and destroys all machine/synthetic pops, as well as massively increasing spiritualist ethics attraction on the planet for a time. Available to Spiritualist empires.
Nanobot Dispersal: Assimilates all Pops on the planet, causing it to defect to your empire with its newly cyborgized population. Only available to Driven Assimilators (and thus requires Synthetic Dawn as well).

Additional types of World Devastator weapons that are potentially available to your empire can be researched as rare technologies after finishing the Colossus project. Once the project is complete, you will be able to build a Colossus at any Starbase with a shipyard where you have the Colossus Assembly Yards building built. Once built, the Colossus functions similar to a civilian ship, in that it is own fleet, and cannot be merged with other fleets. Each empire can only have a single Colossus active at the same time, but can build a new one if their active one is destroyed.

Colossi have no conventional armaments (though we are discussing a few medium/PD turrets to them), and their real purpose is to target enemy planets. When a Colossus is ordered to target a planet, it will travel straight towards it, ignoring enemy ships entirely even if they fire on it. The Colossus will travel to the planet, take up position and begin charging its weapon. The weapon takes quite some time to charge, giving enemy fleets a chance to try and destroy the Colossus to stop it from firing (though Colossi naturally can take a great deal of punishment, they are not invincible). Once the weapons is fully charged, it will fire, executing its effects (as described above) on the hapless planet. The Colossus is then free to continue on to the next planet if you so wish. Most Colossi weapons can only target planets owned by empires you are at war with, though some of them can target primitive worlds and the World Cracker can be used on uncolonized rock-type worlds (but will not always generate a mineral deposit in that case).

The system for creating World Devastator weapons is fully scriptable, and modders will be able to create their own planet-destroying/changing effects.

Titans (Apocalypse Feature)
Titans are another new ship class available in the Apocalypse expansion, but unlike the Colossus they are much more like conventional warships. Titans are researched through a regular tier 5 technology, and can be built in any Starbase with a shipyard and the Titan Assembly Yards building. Titans are massive flagships that come equipped with an array of heavy long-ranged weaponry and layer upon layer of shields and armor. Their front section has a single Titanic-size slot that can fit weapons even stronger than XL weapons, such as the immensely powerful Perdition Beam that can fire across a whole system and potentially destroy a battleship in a single shot. Titans also have an aura slot that can fit a single offensive or defensive aura that can buff friendly ships in the same fleet or debuff nearby enemy ships. Titans are intended to be the flagships of your fleets, and as such are limited in number: You can always field at least one Titan, plus an additional amount dependent on your overall naval capacity.

Ion Cannons (Apocalypse Feature)
Finally, there is one last Apocalype feature to talk about for today: Ion Cannons. Ion Cannons are stations that can be built as part of the defense platform fleet of a Starbase. Each Ion Cannon is essentially a single massive gun emplacement that mounts a single Titanic weapon, allowing the Starbase to engage enemy fleets at massive ranges and greatly improving the Starbase's ability to deal with enemy Battleships and Titans.

That's all for today! Next week we'll continue talking about Cherryh and Apocalypse expansion, on the topic of Marauders, Pirates and the Great Khan.

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Stellaris

Hello everyone and welcome to another Stellaris development diary. Today, we continue talking about the Apocalypse expansion and 2.0 'Cherryh' update, on the topic of Marauders and Pirates.

Marauders (Apocalypse Feature)
Marauders are a new type of non-playable empire that those with the Apocalypse expansion can encounter in the galaxy. They are essentially nomadic FTL societies that have eschewed planetary living in favor of living on ships and stations in and around a handful of resource-rich systems, subsisting largely on raiding each other and extorting tribute from settled empires. Being born spacefarers, they are hardy warriors and expert ship crew, able to muster impressive fleets despite their relative lack of technology compared to other older civilizations (such as Fallen Empires). Marauders are always hostile to regular empires, but will generally not attack them unless you attempt to enter their home systems, or they are in the process of raiding them.

Marauders will occasionally set out to raid settled empires they have established contact with. Before raiding, they will offer said empire a chance to pay them off with a hefty tribute of minerals, energy or food. If you refuse, they will send a fleet to that empire's territory, pillaging stations and raiding planets for slaves, stopping only when they are either destroyed or satisfied with the amount of booty they have amassed. While in the process of raiding, they can still be bought off with tribute, but the price will be raised significantly from if you just agreed to pay them off from the start. Settled empires can pay a Marauder empire to conduct a raid on one of their rivals, both diverting their attention from yourself and potentially weakening that rival's military and economy. A Marauder empire can be wiped out by destroying all stations and ships in their home systems, but these systems are well defended and will take a powerful mid to late game navy to deal with.

Settled empires can also enlist the aid of Marauders as mercenaries. At the start of the game, it is possible to hire them as Generals or Admirals with a high starting skill and special traits, and after a certain amount of time has passed, the option to hire their fleets will also be unlocked. Marauder fleets cost a large energy payment up-front, and consist of a fixed-size fleet that cannot be split, merged or disbanded, with a leader that cannot be reassigned. The fleet does not count towards your naval cap and will not cost any maintenance, but will only serve you for a period of 5 years, after which you will have to renew their contract by paying the full cost again.

Horde Mid-Game Crisis (Apocalypse Feature)
Also new in the Apocalypse expansion is something we're calling the Horde Mid-Game Crisis. This is an event chain that can trigger after the first 100 years of the game, where one of the Marauder empires unifies under a Great Khan. Once this happens, the Marauder empire becomes a Horde, and will begin expanding in all directions, claiming empty systems and sending fleets to destroy the Starbases of any empire that will not submit to the Khan. At any time, it possible for a regular empire to submit to the Khan and become a Satrapy, a type of subject that has to pay part of its income and naval capacity in tribute to the Khan, but is otherwise left to its own devices. The Horde will grow stronger for every system it conquers and Satrapy it acquires, but it is a fragile construct, held together only by the personality of the Khan. If the Great Khan is killed in battle, or falls victim to disease or assassination, the Horde will collapse, at which point one of several things will happen to the Horde and its Satrapies: It may dissolve into a myriad of squabbling successor states, or a new, democratic Federation may form out of its ashes. Regardless, the appearance of the Khan and the Horde is sure to shake up the galactic scene of any game in which it makes an appearance.

Pirate Rework (Cherryh Feature)
Finally, though not directly related to Marauders, we wanted to mention that we have made some changes to pirates in the 2.0 'Cherryh' update. Back in the dev diary about Starbases, we talked about discouraging 'snaking' and leaving empty systems inside your borders by adjusting the influence costs. This turned out not to work so well in testing for a variety of reasons, and so we decided on a different solution, by expanding on the concept of pirates. Now, once the Birth of Space Piracy event has fired, Pirates will be able to spawn in empty systems bordering your empire. These pirates will attack your systems and pillage your stations until they are destroyed, and will grow stronger and more numerous over the course of the game. They are especially likely to spawn in systems that are fully surrounded by your borders, making any empty systems in the middle of your empire into potential hotbeds of trouble that you are likely going to want to take control of sooner or later. As part of these changes, we have removed most of the static pirate spawns in the galaxy, leaving only their home system with the Pirate Galleon.

That's all for today! Next week we'll continue talking about Cherryh and the Apocalypse expansion, on the topic of Edicts and Unity Ambitions.

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Stellaris

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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Stellaris

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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Stellaris

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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