Sins of a Solar Empire : Real-Time Strategy. Unrivalled Scale.
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© 2006-2014 Stardock Entertainment

Is it easy to play?

By on February 2, 2008 8:40:16 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Craig Fraser

Join Date 10/2006
+51

Yes. If you are watching massive battles in gameplay videos for the first time and wondering to yourself, "how the hell could I control this" than this post is for you...

There are 8 reasons why this game is very easy to play: 

 

1.     Zoomhave you ever played a game and wished you could just pull out to see the ‘big picture’ without feeling restricted. SINS allows you to pull back as far as you like, allowing you to see as many units, structures, planets, or solar systems as you like!  There is no separate map or mode. Just point and zoom   

 

2.     Icons – Every faction in the game has its own unique icon, up to 10 players, plus NPC units. At the beginning of the game you can pick a custom icon out of a large selection. When you are zoomed in close the icons appear above ships, planets, and structures so you can quickly tell who is who.  When you zoom out so far that your unit can’t be seen in 3D, an icon of the unit (in your player color) appears in its place. You can do everything with these icons as you can with the actual 3D unit.

 

3.     Color – When you are up close in battle you can see colored stripes, lights, and exhaust that help you tell enemy units from your own.  You also have the option of viewing all enemies as red   , friendlies as blue   , and yourself as green   .

 

4.     Empire tree while it may be a new concept to games, the empire tree is basically just a controllable navigation tree on the left side of your screen, sort of like windows explorer.  It allows you to see which ships and structures are at which planets. You can expand or close the tree to your personal preference.  You can select any unit or planet in the tree and give your orders without having to actually be there!  There are some fancy advanced features that will make your life easier too – stacking similar units, a search function (for those pesky ships that get lost) and a ‘pin’ button that lets you choose what you want to keep in the tree.

 

5.     Alt – Press ‘Alt’ on your keyboard and you’ll get a ton of extra information on anything you see on screen – Health bars, rank, planet names, a tactical grid, the range of your weapons, and lines to show you where your ships are moving and attacking.

6.     Low Micromanagement

a.       Auto-attack any unit that can attack and also auto-attack with the click of a button. The unit AI picks targets intelligently based on the ships role, so you don’t need to worry about micromanaging every single ship the whole game.

b.      Auto-abilities – ships and structures know what they are supposed to do, if you order them to do so. Your colony ship with go ahead and colonize, your scout will auto scout, and your siege ships will siege a planet.  Capital ships have powerful abilities, and you want to be careful which abilities you want to automate in battle (so you don’t consume all your antimatter).

c.       Fleets – grab units, click the fleet button and just command the fleet leader. You don’t have to worry about everyone; they’ll stay together AND perform their duties intelligently in the process.

d.      Control groups – Select some ships, press CTRL and any number. Use that number to control the group.

e.       Queuing – You can’t research and build everything at once, but you can give the orders ahead of time! 

f.        Moving in 3D –  this is not near as intimidating as it looks.  Just move as you would in a standard RTS - the game can handle the up and down for you. It isn't hard to get lost because you can always zoom out and see the big picture.  Also, you can easily set multiple paths for your ships to follow.

 

7.     Streamlined Interface
Who wants to play a game with a third of the interface dominating the screen?  We did everything possible to keep the UI sleek and intuitive, so you could have more space for combat!
 

a.     There may be a lot going on in your empire, but there is plenty of warning for key events. Vocal alerts and large event buttons warn you when your empire may be in trouble or experiences an important milestone. At the top of the screen, a large flashing research, diplomacy, or pirate button will let you know if your research is complete, if a player wants to engage in diplomatic relations, or if bounty is placed on your head!  Portraits of other players will also flash on your screen when they have an offer for you. Planet and ship icons will flash red when they are under attack.

b.    The UI is context sensitive, so you only see what is relevent to what you have selected.  If you can’t purchase a ship, a little icon will appear over the button to tell you want you need (ie. A research icon for 'research required' or a coin for 'credits required'.)

c.    You can easily learn about anything in the game by just hovering over it, and reading the ‘infocard’ which pops up in the bottom right corner of your screen.

d.   Single and Multiplayer games can be saved whenever you like.  Single player games can be paused whenever you like.

8.     Learning more

a.   Tutorials – The game comes with some great tutorials to get you started.  They explain all the controls you’ll need to know to play the game (Basic Gameplay, Basic Logistics, Advanced Interface, and  Advanced Logistics)

b.   Tips – Random tips will display whenever you load the game.

c.     Forums/Chat – How many forums do you know of where developers hang out and answer your questions and actual implement your ideas into a game?  Our commitment is more than a great game, it’s a great community. You have skilled wingmen(and women) in our publishing team, our beta testers, and many others ready to help you learn the game.  Once the game is out, you’ll also be able to chat in ICO (Ironclad Online) where you can meet friends and coordinate your games.  

d.    Manual – The game comes with a hefty 80 page Manual. While it doesn't cover EVERYTHING, it will give all the necessary skills to play effectively.  You'll probably enjoy the backstory as well   If you ordered the game online you can find your PDF manual in your game folder:  Program Files\Stardock\TotalGaming\Sins of a Solar Empire\Manual.pdf

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February 2, 2008 9:12:59 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
THIS is an AWESOME post. I Don't see EA doing this. Besides Ironclad/Stardock, nobody is into the gamer as much as Sins' and GalCiv's makers are. I've been into games since the 70's and I don't see this kind of thing very often. Actually almost brought a tear to my eye. This is why I buy these games from these guys. I KNOW FOR A FACT that it'll be worth EVERY PENNY, sight unseen. Signed:A loyal customer . ... . P.S.: Is this in the manual? lol It should be there with the tutorial!!
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February 2, 2008 9:46:34 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
Sins is very easy to learn, but hard to master. Thats the kind of game i like. I'm sure all the beta testers that have been around from day 1 will agree.
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February 2, 2008 11:27:19 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
Excellent write-up. Makes me want it even more
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February 2, 2008 11:40:11 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

THIS is an AWESOME post. I Don't see EA doing this. Besides Ironclad/Stardock, nobody is into the gamer as much as Sins' and GalCiv's makers are. I've been into games since the 70's and I don't see this kind of thing very often. Actually almost brought a tear to my eye. This is why I buy these games from these guys. I KNOW FOR A FACT that it'll be worth EVERY PENNY, sight unseen. Signed:A loyal customer . ... . P.S.: Is this in the manual? lol It should be there with the tutorial!!


Lol. Couldn't agree more matey! Well said.
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February 3, 2008 2:35:57 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
Craig I agree with all of em. One big issue remains. Is the AI challeging enough to have fun playing it. In beta 4 the AI is laughable. Nowhere there is a review rating or mentioning the new gamma AI. I know you have stated it has evolved much since the beta but still so many other gamedevs have said that as well and didnt deliver. I will haunt you if it sucks 2 days left before we know.
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February 3, 2008 3:30:51 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
5. Alt – Press ‘Alt’ on your keyboard and you’ll get a ton of extra information on anything you see on screen – Health bars, rank, planet names, a tactical grid, the range of your weapons, and lines to show you where your ships are moving and attacking.


I actually didnt know that until 2 days ago
Reminds me of Titan Quest

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February 3, 2008 3:35:06 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
I always forget what key it is..... ALT KEY!!!!!!!
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February 4, 2008 5:03:56 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
There are more ALT functions...just can't think of them all right now.
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February 4, 2008 8:50:09 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
If anyone was having doubts about whether they could manage this game, this will alay those fears.

Very nice informative post.
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February 5, 2008 6:35:07 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
*bump*
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February 5, 2008 9:10:54 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
It's difficult to stop playing. It's 6:02 in the morning here.

The dirty Vasarians just overwhelmed my Kol and Akkan forward line with a large group of Skirantra Class Fleet carriers, now they're pouring into the inner worlds and ripping apart my infrastructure, they already sterilied my Homeworld. I thought we could find a way to make peace and prosperity for both races. Those filthy animals don't have a word for peace in their language, but they have over 40 for war. Now we, what little is left of humanity, must flee, taking our largest ships and filling them like cities to preserve what little of the human race we can.

But we'll be back...After we get some sleep, we don't have to work tomorrow thankfully!
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February 5, 2008 10:44:35 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
Honestly, I find some aspects of the game very easy and then other aspects down right confusing. But hopefully just getting a game manual or documentation will help resolve that (see other post by me).

Still enjoyable and very flexible. I like just watching some of the battles, although I'm sure they'd be more fun if I were actually winning!

Later,
~JO
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February 5, 2008 12:17:47 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
It's difficult to stop playing. It's 6:02 in the morning here.

The dirty Vasarians just overwhelmed my Kol and Akkan forward line with a large group of Skirantra Class Fleet carriers, now they're pouring into the inner worlds and ripping apart my infrastructure, they already sterilied my Homeworld. I thought we could find a way to make peace and prosperity for both races. Those filthy animals don't have a word for peace in their language, but they have over 40 for war. Now we, what little is left of humanity, must flee, taking our largest ships and filling them like cities to preserve what little of the human race we can.

But we'll be back...After we get some sleep, we don't have to work tomorrow thankfully!


ROFL That made me laugh since I was in a similar situation last night on my first game (normal) and well a full defeat it was for me.

I'll see if I can get revenge tonight as well.

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February 5, 2008 3:51:55 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
  ...great description verybad.
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February 5, 2008 10:42:40 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
Since I've had a crack at the retails SOASE, i've found it to be easy in some ways and hard in others.

I've found the changed (since beta4) fleet controls confusing.. auto-adding to a fleet but the ships don't show up under the fleet icon.. the difference between fleet control and control groups.. which ship is the leader <-- all seem non-intuitive.

The tech tree layout is more logical, but i find I do more clicking now because of all the extra tabs. So it should be easier to find the right tech if you are new, but becomes annoying (compared to the beta4 screen) once you know where things are.

But the planet dev and logistic and tactical area is still nice and easy to follow.

One thing that isn't easy compared to the old one is the AI! been spanked twice already.
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February 6, 2008 1:44:21 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
The Empire Tree is a huge step forward in game design. It's a realistic implementation designed to make information easier to attain. Starting out, it was very hard to use because I wasn't familiar with the icons. But once I learned which icons represented which units, I used the Empire Tree more than almost any other navigation feature.

I love being able to Shift-click units from a variety of areas into one command group. I love being able to easily locate and upgrade my capital ships. I love being able to track the build progress of five different systems with a glance.

If Sins of a Solar Empire accomplishes nothing else (and it does), it will have contributed two important elements to the future of video game design.

First, as I said above, the Empire Tree is wonderful and innovative.

Second, "Sins of a Solar Empire" is just about the greatest name I've ever heard of for a video game. Major props to whoever came up with it, because it's absolutely fantastic.
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February 6, 2008 4:04:28 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
I Don't see EA doing this.
Oh, EA does this. They just call them strategy guides and they cost $20
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February 8, 2008 10:50:45 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
First, as I said above, the Empire Tree is wonderful and innovative.


I could definitely see other real time games borrowing this idea and running with it. It does make managing an empire, especially given that it is real time (even with pausing and putting it on low speed) much easier.

I think some TBS games could use the Empire tree effectively, too.
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February 8, 2008 8:45:53 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
There was an RTS game from Sunflowers (developers of the Anno economic simulation games) called ParaWorld that had something like the Empire Tree... They called it the Army Controller, listing each units and their levels in a collapsible tree format. Granted, there were no worlds, but it sure did make managing armies and units way easier.
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February 9, 2008 8:33:55 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
Call for a comprehensive and graphical user/community Manual


I see Wikis for some games but little do I see (while the 80 page manaual provided as a .pdf in my download is informative) a truely well designed and thoughtout community compiled manual with USEFUL charts, diagrams, etc... all presented with nice well executed graphics and the like. I truely see an excellent oppertunity to show our passion for the game by making a formatted .pdf that is a compliation of user gleamed expereinces and those things that are NOT evident at the start of play but only become clear after several games. I imagine it will be more then a collection of the best postings on forums, here and at other sites... although I am sure they would be a resource not to ignore and be included in some fashion.

Does anyone have any interest in something along these lines?   

Keep in mind, it wouldn't come out until a few weeks have passed. Or perhaps, it is released by some versioning system, constantly evolving - keeping in step by documenting in a non-historial way changes made to game balance mechanics, etc... a simple example would be the remapping of the menu key to [F10] instead of [ESC] in the recent patch.

One thing that is usually a boon for gamers is the timely updates that Stardock does... and I am sure Ironclad will follow the same format, that is just my guess. With all the changes that were made to Galciv2 (balancing), if you didn't keep up with it all... you felt sometimes like you were lost (at least when it initially came out) so if rebalancing does occur... this might be the document to include it in.

But this pdf would be MORE then just stats and spreadsheets... something more... any ideas? I appologize if my description seems a bit dry, its 7:32 AM in the morning here and I am still sleepy... but I wanted to post this early and get a reaction throughout the weekened.

BTW... SD & IC, excellent game! Nice post/explanation also. Get some sleep!

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February 9, 2008 10:52:34 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
Over at modcraft.net we're hard at work making one Geo -- whats holding us up the most ATM is the inability to read the data files directly. Admitidly, its in a website format, not PDF, but we're close
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February 9, 2008 9:35:02 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Thanks GeoRElrod!  We'll have more goodies as well that will find a nice home with that info

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February 10, 2008 7:06:08 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
Bah Sins is pretty easy to master but then again I feel like I'm playing Darth Vader LOL.

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February 10, 2008 12:20:43 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
lol i think u mistyped.... dunno if its been mentioned yet:
" It isn't hard to get lost "
should be
It's hard to get lost

SoaSE FTW
nothin makes me more satisfied than watchin 100 advent bomber squadrons (with between 7 and 10 bombers each) take out enemy capships in under 10 seconds now THAT is effective swarming
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