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. Zoom – have 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