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[Mod] Enhanced 4X Mod (for Diplomacy 1.37, Rebellion 1.82, updated 6/20/14)

Racial Abilities, Random Encounters, Heroes, Rebalanced Civic Mechanics and More!

By on December 26, 2011 11:53:14 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

GoaFan77

Join Date 10/2008
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Sins of a Solar Empire is often described as a 4XRTS game, or a game that tried to merge the action and tactics packed gameplay of a Real time strategy game with the deep, complex, empire wide strategy of a 4X turn based game. Its up to debate whether Sins succeeded in this goal, but I think all can agree that of the 4Xs of "explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate", Sins is much more focused on the exterminate than on the other three.

This mod seeks to give more depth to the other 3Xs of the game by adding additional game elements or refining the existing ones to reward players who give more strategic thought to the non-combat side of the game. Combat will still be the center point of the game, but players will find that the non-combat options available will be much more rewarding and will need to put more thought into developing their economies. This mod will also attempt to address some other weaknesses of Vanilla Sins where possible, such as increasing race diversity or improving the AI.

Features

Faction Diversity - Exploit all new racial bonuses to crush your enemies.

Hero Units - Lead your race's champions into battle with their powerful new abilities to base your strategies off of.

Random Encounters - Keep your eyes peeled when scouting, new challenges and opportunities await you in the depths of space.

Embassies and Espionage - Friend or Foe, interacting with other Empires will never be the same again.

Ship Upgrades - Customize your capitalships and titans with unique upgrades (Rebellion).

New Planets - Your Empire will never look the same again. Meticulously balanced for competitive play.

New Skyboxes - 12 unique skyboxes provide a fantastic backdrop to your conquest of space (Rebellion).

New Artifacts and Bonuses - The fringes of your Empire hold great power if you know where to look...

New Random Events - For owners of the Rebellion Stellar Phenomenon expansion.

Civics Matter - Almost all civic structures have an impact on your Empire. You must develop your planets wisely to get the most out of them.

Culture Matters - Don't underestimate the ugly stepchild of Sins anymore, its back with a vengeance!

Customization - Play the game the way you want it with a growing library of optional minimods and enhanced mapmaker support!

 

Downloads

WinCustomize (Diplomacy 1.34/7)

Moddb (Rebellion)

Enhanced 4X Mod

 

Latest Version

Enhanced 4X Mod 1.74

 

Credits

People

Axel Dude - For his wonderful planet textures in the Infinite Space mod, most of which is included in E4X.

IskatuMesk - For his awesome library of sound effects released to the community, a few of which are included in this mod, as well as particle forge advice.

SZ0 - A great modeler, several pieces of his work are used in this mod.

Genocyber - For his great looking Repair Drone model!

Sinperium - For making the phase probe mesh and good feedback.

ZombieRus5 - For getting channeling abilities to work correctly (after we ironed out a few bugs) and for his many hours of "experimental" modding that lead the rest of us realizing more things are possible than we thought.

Seleucia - For his thoughtful analysis and for allowing me to use some of his rebalanced abilities.

Ue_Carbon - Intelligent Feedback.

Mods


Maelstrom - Awesome new planet module meshes

Infinite Space - Main source of planet textures and other astronomy related changes, as well as some planet bonuses.

Uzi's Sins Plus - Several planet textures and bonuses have been incorporated from it.

Project Equilibrium - For an awesome set of fun balance changes.

 

Also check out the new Star Wars addon, Star Wars: Interregnum.

Star Wars: Interregnum

 

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December 27, 2011 12:18:02 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I'm going to have to check this out when I get a chance...really looking to see how the culture and trade port changes play out...

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December 27, 2011 12:19:10 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

For some reason the download is not working?  Maybe just bad timing?  

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December 27, 2011 12:35:08 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Will have to look at this as well.

When the SWTOR bug passes.

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December 27, 2011 12:37:22 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Upload at Gamefront, less ads, faster upload/downloads.

Looks good!

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December 27, 2011 12:53:40 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Yeah I didn't test the download first, it was only supposed to be temporary until I found a better place anyways (not used to not having a mod website ).

Myfist recommended WinCustomize, which I completely forgot about as a Stardock ad free hosting option and decided to use that so I don't have to make a new account.

Quoting Seleuceia,
I'm going to have to check this out when I get a chance...really looking to see how the culture and trade port changes play out...

I had UE_Carbon, Boshimi, and ZombieRus test out a beta version of this during our modders ICO game last Friday. Zombie built lots of culture center in the center of the map and almost took out Boshimi an hour or two into the game because he didn't build any culture of his own. He lost two planets to revolutions and would have lost his home world had he not scuttled a lab to build a culture center.

I had been building 1 culture center every two planets or so and that was enough to protect my worlds from any allegiance decrease (save one asteroid that was right next to one of his culture worlds). That's basically a perfect test of what I want culture to do, not a serious threat to well balanced and planned out Empires but quickly able to do some damage to those that ignore it. That plus the economic bonuses make it well worth it now I think.

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December 28, 2011 1:31:27 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Very interesting.  It looks like you addressed some things that weren't implemented very well in default sins.  I really liked the Advent Ai silliness from using homing mines as fighters and not deploying them.  lol

I'll check this out when I get a chance tomorrow.

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December 28, 2011 3:49:59 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Peter1x9,


I'll check this out when I get a chance tomorrow.

Thanks. Above all else trade is the main thing I'd like feedback on. In particular I'm on the fence on what to do about the longest trade route. I forgot to mention this but I increased the trade bonus per longest trade route length to 10%, as I do like this mechanic because it rewards players who plan their trade routes for maximum income. However it also make trade extremely hard to balance as its the only mechanic that can be improved almost infinitely.

Quoting Peter1x9,
It looks like you addressed some things that weren't implemented very well in default sins.

In a nutshell that's the goal of this little project. If I can make it work I'd like to do something with Diplomacy (which despite a whole expansion is still lacking) and the pirates, but these have a lot more restrictions on what modders can do with them. But maybe I'll find a way, we'll see.

Quoting Peter1x9,
I really liked the Advent Ai silliness from using homing mines as fighters and not deploying them. lol

Its amusing the first few times but it really makes you think how much harder the Advent AI (probably the easiest AI) could be if it just built actual fighters instead of mines. Especially as the fighters are free and the mines cost money.

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December 28, 2011 7:48:05 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting GoaFan77,


Its amusing the first few times but it really makes you think how much harder the Advent AI (probably the easiest AI) could be if it just built actual fighters instead of mines. Especially as the fighters are free and the mines cost money.

Not only that but the Advent has the best bomber in the game.  Too bad the original AI didn't use them properly.

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December 28, 2011 8:00:18 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I'll work it with my epic map and see what happens.

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December 28, 2011 10:34:15 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Sinperium,
I'll work it with my epic map and see what happens.

There is two big things this mod will change. The first is that refineries give +25% more resources than normal, so the TEC players may have a bit higher resource income. But the other will be the increased number of neutral asteroids, as each uncolonizeable gravity well will have between 1 and 4. If you really want to optimize it for my mod you might want to diversify the uncolonizeable gravity wells, all of those ionic storms will lead to some amazing crystal extraction rates. 

Oh, and you can also give your pirates phase jump inhibitors with this.

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December 28, 2011 10:37:52 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

No problem I think.  Just speeds up the game some.  Thanks for the clarification.

Maybe we can combine them and see what happens--the phase inhibitors would be helpful and since ya got the mod up already...

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December 28, 2011 11:20:54 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Sinperium,
No problem I think. Just speeds up the game some. Thanks for the clarification.

Maybe we can combine them and see what happens--the phase inhibitors would be helpful and since ya got the mod up already...

If you ever get "finished" with that thing I'd be more than happy to include it with the mod.

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December 29, 2011 12:51:40 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I really like the random encounters you've included in this. A lot.

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December 29, 2011 2:47:38 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

The advent AI is actually pretty decent with this mod.  I wore down a TEC AI that kept sending ships at me and then an Advent AI came in and rushed his choke point, destroyed his defenders, blew his starbase up, and started bombing his planet. 

The random encounters are also done pretty well.  They show up on a few planets and are a decent fighting force.  However, with this mod they don't have insanely overpowered abilities and aren't on every other planet in the map.

I like the new trading system too.  It's no longer a matter of spamming every gravity well with trade ports.  However, I noticed that trade port upgrades on starbases don't reduce the gravity well's trade income like the trade ports do.  Was this an oversight or was it intentional since you can only build one starbase per gravity well?

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December 29, 2011 4:10:59 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Peter1x9,
I like the new trading system too. It's no longer a matter of spamming every gravity well with trade ports. However, I noticed that trade port upgrades on starbases don't reduce the gravity well's trade income like the trade ports do. Was this an oversight or was it intentional since you can only build one starbase per gravity well?

I did think about that, and decided to leave them alone for now. In addition to only having 1 starbase per planet, the trade port upgrade itself is really only used on uncolonizeable planets (to extend the trade chain), as its a lot more expensive than a standard trade port. The limited starbase upgrade slots also mean you're already forced to give up something on the starbase to get that tradeport, so I felt its already fairly balanced. Things could also get complicated with several different players having starbases in the same gravity well, as the trade reduction would affect that planet for each trade starbase regardless of which player owned it. And last but not least it would also take up a limited starbase ability slots that I may wish to put to better use later.

That said, if it becomes clear that its in the players best interest to always use it to get around the trade reduction, I'll certainly fix that.

Quoting boshimi336,
I really like the random encounters you've included in this. A lot.

Thanks, I actually developed that system to make an even more complicated mechanic for Requiem, but it turned out to be pretty flexible even with only vanilla ships and bonus/artifacts.

 

Also, for better or worse I started messing with trying to finally fix the Diplomacy, or at least make it easier to use. Here's a little teaser.

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December 29, 2011 4:19:08 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Do you guys ever play mods online? I have tried many mods and a good number of them are well done like this one. It's unfortunate that the only way practically to arrange multiplayer is to arrange it yourself with probably only 1 or 2 people never the large 5v5 games.

And lol what is an Advent embassy doing around TEC structures? Is it like the envoys where I can't shoot at it and is it deployable as a like a type of SB?

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December 29, 2011 8:03:04 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Rovert10,
Do you guys ever play mods online? I have tried many mods and a good number of them are well done like this one. It's unfortunate that the only way practically to arrange multiplayer is to arrange it yourself with probably only 1 or 2 people never the large 5v5 games.

Sometimes, this was first tested by a group of people online. But yes, you do need to arrange it ahead of time, but with some of the more popular mods like distant stars you can get 3-6 people easily, and on a good day get enough people to at least say they want to do a 5v5. Getting everyone to show up is the hard part.

Quoting Rovert10,
Is it like the envoys where I can't shoot at it and is it deployable as a like a type of SB?

Oh you can shoot at it, but otherwise that's mostly it. The envoy cruisers lost all of their abilities except the diplomatic immunity, which were given to the embassies. The embassies are now what directly improves your relationship with other factions. Its the envoy cruiser's job to build the embassies at neutral or friendly planets. As an envoy can build multiple embassies, basically you can now potentially go through an entire game with just one envoy cruiser and still max out your relationship with all of your allies. It also frees up room on the envoy for many more interesting ways to exploit your opponents.

The hard part is getting the AI to use them but I have a couple of ideas, hopefully at least one of them will work.

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December 30, 2011 6:49:17 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Assuming all goes to plan, what's your ball park ETA for getting the embassies in there?

 

(I've been lurking for a while but I had to pipe up here - your mod's quickly becoming my favourite of all of 'em!)

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December 30, 2011 3:22:04 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting zebramatt,
Assuming all goes to plan, what's your ball park ETA for getting the embassies in there?

Not entirely sure yet, depends on how much I put into the second part of the update, which is what I'm replacing the rest of the envoy cruiser's abilities with. I sadly can't find the article, but I remember reading that the early concept for Diplomacy including plans for embassies and even sabotage and espionage. For various reasons these plans were either changed or abandoned, but I intend on restoring these features, at least to some degree.

That said, I would say a ball park estimate would be no longer than a week. The only thing that might hold it up is that I will be need to get one new model in game and with all the art assets to accompany it, but we'll see.

Quoting zebramatt,
(I've been lurking for a while but I had to pipe up here - your mod's quickly becoming my favourite of all of 'em!)

Thanks, please do pipe up. Makes me more productive if I know people actually using it.

 

Also if anyone has any complaints/issues about the vanilla diplomacy system this would be the time to mention them. I can't do a whole lot about how the relationship modifiers are done or the pact system, but mention them all anyways and I'll try to do what I can to at least improve yet another disappointing civic feature.

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December 30, 2011 4:33:39 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

That's way better than forcing the player to keep ships at every single gravity well of the other players in order to generate a decent relationship.  Like you said, the hardest part will be getting the AI to use them properly since it is already coded to send an envoy to every one of its allies' planets.

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December 30, 2011 5:30:44 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting GoaFan77,
The hard part is getting the AI to use them but I have a couple of ideas, hopefully at least one of them will work.

Envoy's are definitely a bit of a pain mechanic wise (Does the AI build more than 8?). I've dropped the fleet supply to 4 in my mod, plus I've looked at options to create Embassies via star bases on friendly/allied planets as an option too. 

It sorta bugs me that envoy abilities function on Enemy planets and I'd rather take away that feature too so the incentive is gain relationships to get Envoy bonuses after a cease fire agreement is made.

I'm not sure how you'll fair getting the AI to deploy multiple Embassies without some way to control how many of them get built. Good luck and I'll be curious to see what you come up with.

 

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December 30, 2011 5:57:00 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Peter1x9,
That's way better than forcing the player to keep ships at every single gravity well of the other players in order to generate a decent relationship.

I think so, it should allow every player to pursue diplomacy without sacrificing much fleet strength. The fact that you are actually ordering one unit around to do meaningful things instead of giving just 4-8 move orders makes it feel much more like a diplomat unit. And of course the new abilities I'm working on will make them work like spy units too, so hopefully we'll be getting a lot more mileage out of envoy cruisers even though we'll be building fewer of them.

Quoting ZombiesRus5,
Envoy's are definitely a bit of a pain mechanic wise (Does the AI build more than 8?). I've dropped the fleet supply to 4 in my mod, plus I've looked at options to create Embassies via star bases on friendly/allied planets as an option too.

I don't know, but my real problem is 8 is overkill most of the time. You only need 4 envoys to max out 1 player's disposition for all the pacts, and if you are both giving each others pacts you don't need any more. Another reason I like the embassy system is that as they don't take any fleet supply, its best to build embassies on all of your ally's worlds just for the beneficial abilities they give.

The problem with star bases is that the AI doesn't usually build them on your planets and it seems rather overkill for an embassy. Also a lot more expensive.

Quoting ZombiesRus5,
It sorta bugs me that envoy abilities function on Enemy planets and I'd rather take away that feature too so the incentive is gain relationships to get Envoy bonuses after a cease fire agreement is made.

Yeah that's why I didn't give embassies the diplomatic immunity ability and low hitpoints. You pretty much need at least a cease fire otherwise one hangar defense will take care of them. In fact I think embassy destruction will be a valid raid tactic, as it will prevent your opponents from getting the good pacts and stop those beneficial abilities like settlers from taking effect. Likewise that's why you should build embassies next to your allies defenses.

Quoting ZombiesRus5,
I'm not sure how you'll fair getting the AI to deploy multiple Embassies without some way to control how many of them get built. Good luck and I'll be curious to see what you come up with.

I have an idea that I'm pretty confident about, even if it realistically doesn't make much sense. It will have to abuse the AI only research method you came up with to make the deploy embassy ability work differently for AI and humans, but it should work. It just involves taking my current single ability file into a multiple buffs system, but I hear you are pretty familiar with those.

I was going to ask how you manage to get your flagship mod to limit them to one, but it sounds like you just have one structure that auto rebuilds them when they are destroyed. That's not really what I want as I need envoy cruisers to build more than 1 embassy, just on different planets. In the end I might just count on the fact that it makes no sense to build more than 1 per planet, and if you do it has no real impact on the game as the max relationship bonus is limited.

 

 

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December 30, 2011 6:11:23 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting GoaFan77,
I don't know, but my real problem is 8 is overkill most of the time. You only need 4 envoys to max out 1 player's disposition for all the pacts, and if you are both giving each others pacts you don't need any more. Another reason I like the embassy system is that as they don't take any fleet supply, its best to build embassies on all of your ally's worlds just for the beneficial abilities they give.

The problem with star bases is that the AI doesn't usually build them on your planets and it seems rather overkill for an embassy. Also a lot more expensive.

Well, you can force the AI to build star bases is part of the point. And the cost of a star base isn't fixed and could change that for Embassies which was my original plan. As well as potentially upgrade to give defenses to allied planets but not really threaten them with offensive capabilities.

Quoting GoaFan77,
I was going to ask how you manage to get your flagship mod to limit them to one, but it sounds like you just have one structure that auto rebuilds them when they are destroyed. That's not really what I want as I need envoy cruisers to build more than 1 embassy, just on different planets. In the end I might just count on the fact that it makes no sense to build more than 1 per planet, and if you do it has no real impact on the game as the max relationship bonus is limited.

 

I couldn't off hand think of a easy way to chain this together. It might be possible just not presenting itself easily as the target planet isn't owned by the Envoy in question.

 

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December 31, 2011 4:42:09 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Before giving my two cents, I'm going to preface my thoughts up front and say I haven't actually played this mod alone, but rather have been using only certain aspects and testing them...out of principle I generally like to work with only small changes at a time and test them before moving on, so I started with just your changes to culture...

I thought your argument for bumping the allegiance bonus due to culture from +10% to +20% was compelling and I liked the idea a lot...certainly makes culture much more important!  Good call...I'm also fond of the culture techs boosting max allegiance as well...the faster culture speeds is something I've been working with in Equilibrium (I more or less had the same values) and have been pleased with so far, but I haven't messed with max allegiance that much so I tried a game with your changes...

While culture does give a bigger economic boost, I didn't feel like there was a lot of pressure to rush culture a whole lot earlier than I would otherwise...playing as TEC, I basically rushed trade after about 4 planets and got culture only after I had a decent trade route...Advent would have more incentive of course to get culture early but I don't know by how much...

Of course, this was one game against some unfair AIs, hardly a fair test...nevertheless, here were my feelings:

  • The higher base max allegiance (which you have tapering out at 50% instead of the vanilla 25%) makes planetary expansion even more important than it already is, so I did put more emphasis initially on horizontal growth than I would otherwise (so, be wary of the self-fulfilling prophecy)...
  • I felt that basically I had sooooo many more resources than I normally would, and was fleeting up like crazy simply so I could put them to good use...essentially, I felt like I "boomed" too fast and was in the mid/late game earlier than normal...
  • Because of the higher max allegiance, putting up a trade route really early in the game without compromising my fleet would have been easy....too easy in my opinion...and likewise, getting the culture centers up would have been a lot easier too (though that in and of itself is not a bad thing since culture could use some help)...
  • I felt like population and resource techs would be more useful (since allegiance was and would be higher than vanilla)...but, because I had more resources, I felt like the game got, i don't know, rushed?  Like I was already moving on to bigger and better things without time to research the resource and pop techs?

Again, just one game...and, I think I should point out that I was using these changes in conjunction with the changes made by Equilibrium (so, slightly different income rates and logistic structures)...I have played with Equilibrium's changes a lot so I think I do have a good feel for what differences are due to Equilibrium and what differences were therefore due to these culture changes, but nevertheless take my observations and opinions with a word of caution...in any case, my biggest concern was the higher max allegiance in general...however, I liked your changes regarding the max allegiance increases from culture and from culture techs....so, I played some games with these changes:

  • Culture rates more or less doubled like you have them
  • Each culture tech adds 2.5% to max allegiance (for a total of +10% for TEC/Vasari and +15% for Advent)
  • Allure of the Unity was reduced to one level that grants +10% (So Advent essentially have a +15% allegiance advantage over the other two factions once teched up)
  • Culture can increase the allegiance +20% (like you have)
  • The base allegiance levels, starting with the HW, were 80%/75%/65%/50%/30%/5%/etc...this was by far the biggest deviation from your mod...

If you take into account the culture techs and the affect of culture itself, TEC and Vasari are seeing a total increase of +30% to allegiance levels....this happens to put them at the same exact values as vanilla (HW has max of 110%, outlying planets taper out to 35%), and then Advent of course get a +15% bonus on top of this (5% more than vanilla)...so, you basically have the same total max income as vanilla sins but culture is more important in getting you to that level, which is at least my goal with culture....

I'm not going to lie, early game expansion was more difficult with the lower base allegiance levels, but to be honest I liked it...setting up that early trade network simply wasn't a possibility without making huge sacrifices to expansion or to fleet...however, once I had culture up, my economy was fine and didn't feel sluggish at all, which is exactly what I feel like culture should be like...the faster culture rate I think was a big factor too, because it decreases the payoff time for a culture center...I really felt like investing in culture was just as useful as investing in trade...

So, in short, I really like the doubled culture spread rates, and the +20% bonus to allegiance that culture causes is fantastic...I also like the culture techs increasing max allegiance, though I kind of like a slightly more substantial bonus (2.5% per tech instead of 1.25%)...the only thing I really wasn't fond of was the base allegiance levels...the high levels you have I feel significantly increase the amount of resources and create that mid game economic boom that's too early and too powerful....

These are just my thoughts, and I'll again point out I was playing with these changes while using Equilibrium so I'll apologize in advance if it turns out my observations may not be relevant...not by any means trying to say "my mod is better than yours", I'm just trying to test my own WIP while seeing how your changes work out...hope this was useful to you, and I'll definitely be looking at the more exciting changes in the future....really interested in seeing the embassy and how the AI uses that...

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December 31, 2011 10:55:10 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

While not reading through every post, I read enough to see that this project is worthwhile. "If" you can make it work that is. Without going into specific statistical details ill go over the points i agree with.

More Racial Diversity. Sure the factions of Sins are pretty diverse as it is to a point. However this is the first i have seen where specific factions get certain racial bonus's from the get go.

I really like the ideas you have for random encounters. Sins needs this BADLY! and i am in total agreement that after playing a few games you pretty much know what to expect at each planet type. Thus making the "explore" aspect of Sins a moot point, because you already know what to expect.

I also like the culture bonus idea's (racially specific at that). More diversity does not hurt as long as it isnt game breaking

IMO the "exploit" needs more focus on top of the "explore" As was mentioned with the Diplomacy aspect of the game. Perhaps a few good ideas here can go a long way. I cant think of anything useful off the top of my head right now (still recovering from a hard week at work). I saw in one of the screenshots "Advent Embassy" which interested me as in what could a factions "embassy" do to give them an advantage. This would be on top of other "workable" ideas on how to "exploit".

Expand, and Exterminate are way too easy right now. So we wont go into detail about that. The focus should be imo on exploration, and exploitation.

Ill check out what u got so far, and get back with ya.

I definitely see potential here.

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