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Creating Stellar Phenomena

By on November 6, 2013 11:45:53 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Yarlen

Join Date 01/2005
+224

I haven't written a developer journal in ages, but with the release of the Stellar Phenomena DLC for Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion today, I thought I'd give it a go. This DLC adds a number of elements to Sins that I've long thought of, so seeing it come into being has been a blast.  As with everything Sins, I worked closely with Ironclad in designing Stellar Phenomena, as did the rest of the team in creating it.  I love getting to work with Ironclad on this stuff, so the past couple months have been pretty sweet.

When we made Forbidden Worlds, our goals were pretty simple:  we wanted to add a little more specialization to planets, increase the types of planets in the game, and add in some more planet bonuses. Revising the planet textures during this process was a bonus, as was being able to more than double the number of planet bonuses available as a way to flesh out the Sins universe. Did you know that if you select a planet with a bonus and then hover your mouse over the slot in the lower left center of the UI that an Infocard will give you lore info on it?  Honestly, I didn't for a long time, but there's some cool stuff in there!

After the success of Forbidden Worlds, we started to think a lot on what we could do next in the Sins universe and we went back and forth brainstorming with Ironclad. As many Sins players know, we're very limited in what will safely 'fit' into what's left of our 32-bit (2 GB) memory limit, plus what will overtax the simulation and what we can actually accomplish with the time we have.  It's actually the #1 consideration we face right next to making sure we stay true to the Sins universe. 

One thing that we've always felt Sins needed more of were special, non-habitable gravity wells that had some kind of strategic significance on gameplay. To address this, we went in two directions by adding three new types of stars (Black Hole, Pulsar, and Neutron Star) and six new types of gravity well in the DLC (Comet, Antimatter Fountain, Radiation Storm, Ship Graveyard, Shattered Dwarf, and Ice Field). Each of these new areas has some kind of effect on passing vessels, or in the case of the Ship Graveyard, is a resource rich area to hold via its special outpost.

Another new feature we added in the DLC was random events. This is a feature that we've talked about for years as a way to force players to deal with situations they couldn't entirely foresee. Of course, since these events are potentially very...shall we say...disruptive, we've made this a gameplay option (enabled by default). Some of the events you may encounter are quite beneficial like the Economic Upturn that gives all players a big boost to income and trade; however, others may bite you if you're not careful. One of my favorites is Partisans, so you'd better watch out if you're going to lose a planet to culture!  Not all events are global or stationary either - some may move around the map, forcing you to re-evaluate your strategies. 

I and everyone at Stardock and Ironclad hope you enjoy Stellar Phenomena!

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November 6, 2013 1:42:34 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Any ETA on Steam availability?

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November 6, 2013 1:45:39 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Should be out at 2pm ET (15 minutes).

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November 6, 2013 2:01:03 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Poised over the mouse...  ready to click...

 

My only concern is my Sacrifice of Angels mod.  

 

backs out of the room slowly...  (oh Great Bird of the Galaxy hear my plea)    

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November 6, 2013 2:02:10 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Did you know that if you select a planet with a bonus and then hover your mouse over the slot in the lower left center of the UI that an Infocard will give you lore info on it?  Honestly, I didn't for a long time, but there's some cool stuff in there!

Same here, I had to ask why the devs (and myself) even bothered to write descriptions for these things in the string file before I found out.

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November 6, 2013 2:45:51 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting ,

Did you know that if you select a planet with a bonus and then hover your mouse over the slot in the lower left center of the UI that an Infocard will give you lore info on it?  Honestly, I didn't for a long time, but there's some cool stuff in there!

Now I do.

Some nice things in there, but at the same time I wonder about the grammar in there sometimes after looking at 4 planets with bonuses. For some reason they just feel...wrong.(If you want I can write some down that I am wondering about)

 

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November 6, 2013 3:13:10 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Im curious with the DLC will more achievements be added for the game like forbidden? 

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November 6, 2013 3:22:22 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Sounds pretty awesome.  I will definitely get it once it's officially out on Steam.  I'm glad the devs are adding more to the game,  but the question is, should they continue on cool little addons or start on a Sins 2 (the introduction of the Vasari's nemesis along with a campaign/storyline compatible with both single and multiplayer, perhaps)?  

Gotta love brainstorming....

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November 6, 2013 3:34:17 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting upsurper,

Im curious with the DLC will more achievements be added for the game like forbidden? 

No, no additional achievements were added with this one.

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November 6, 2013 4:09:21 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting KSSSWM,
Sounds pretty awesome.  I will definitely get it once it's officially out on Steam.  I'm glad the devs are adding more to the game,  but the question is, should they continue on cool little addons or start on a Sins 2 (the introduction of the Vasari's nemesis along with a campaign/storyline compatible with both single and multiplayer, perhaps)?  

The people who would make Sins 2 is probably Ironclad, it seems they're helping a bit this time but I was under the impression most things since Rebellion have mainly been made by Stardock. So just because we get the DLCs doesn't mean those people would otherwise be making Sins 2.

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November 6, 2013 5:48:56 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Looks like a good DLC.

 

Im looking forward as well to a 64 bit sins 2, where creativity and development isnt limited by that pesky 2GB ram limit that plagues so many a game.

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November 6, 2013 6:34:02 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Developers, you keep surprising me. In most pleasant ways.

 

--> Bought!

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November 7, 2013 10:44:20 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I, for one, will be happy to wave goodbye to 32-bit gaming. It is soooooooo frustrating to be hampered by RAM.

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November 7, 2013 11:42:22 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Is it worth 5 bucks? Havent played sins in ages but this looks so awesome. I will get at at the Christmas-sale because I have no money on my Steamaccount left. Damn you Halloween!

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November 7, 2013 12:51:26 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

For 5$, I would say hell yes.

Most games release DLC's like these at double or more of the price. And with the amount of hours I played in SoASE:R I would buy it anyway(504 hours, though haven't played in a long while).

 

And yarlen I look forward to a day where sins(2) gets a 64 bit as well, I can fully understand how hard it must be to be hampered by limitations in software/hardware rather than imagination or people's capability.

Unless we suddenly hear something about a sins 2 I think it will have to wait for a bit.(Rubs his chin wondering if these DLCs are actually content developed in sins 2 but released already for us)

 

 

 

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November 7, 2013 1:16:04 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

This DLC provides what i wishing for in Sins2 When Rebellion was still a rumor. Random Events that change the whole gameplay dynamic.

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November 7, 2013 2:47:58 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

No, if/when a Sins 2 arrives, it will be super-awesome spectacular!

See, now I just forced Ironclad to live up to a high standard.

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November 7, 2013 2:56:12 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Yarlen, they certainly created a high standard with Rebellion, so I'm sure sins 2 should not be a problem (Seeing how 64 bit sins would be worth 20 dollars alone   )

 

And after playing a bit, I did notice atleast 1 grammar mistake for certain. In the info panel it states "a open rebellion has begun on planet x"(Or something along those lines) which should be "An open rebellion" for as far as I know.(Though feel free to bash me for that)

And some of the lore-explaining things(Which you pointed out and made me find out about that) got some things that I am wondering about, shouldn't the explorations be written like it has already happend?(IE: "Explores located a system of shelters" instead of "Explorers locate a system of shelters" since it feels more like they are still exploring it, instead of already having done that. Feel free to bash me about it but it sounds more logical to me)

 

 

Edit: Though the new things are very awesome! I haven't seen all of the new stuff yet but I look forward to seeing them!(Economic upturn  )

 

Edit2:

I just played around in dev.exe to check all the new things, and couldn't help but notice that the "ship graveyard" only has TEC/advent ships there. Does this mean you think vasari is OP? 

 

Oh, and the new things are really beautiful! With some nasty effects on them as well.

 

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November 10, 2013 5:51:10 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Im a bit confused here... Ship Graveyard, what is it supposed to do?

"...in the case of the Ship Graveyard, is a resource rich area to hold via its special outpost."

I've played thru a couple small maps, and it just has a crystal or mineral asteroid to mine, and that's it. Am I missing something?

 

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November 10, 2013 6:01:00 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting BIGHORSE1,
I've played thru a couple small maps, and it just has a crystal or mineral asteroid to mine, and that's it. Am I missing something?

The extractors yield more metal/crystal than other extractors given the same allegiance.

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November 10, 2013 6:05:48 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Thanx GoaFan77 !

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November 11, 2013 6:50:19 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

I will try out distance worlds for right now but for later can U comprehensively compare the game stellar to sins of a solar empirre or galactic civilizations for me so I know if I should get this later. I know how ironclad and stardock relate, but can u tell me how these other companies relate to each other business wise,

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November 12, 2013 8:22:55 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Yarlen promise me that when you guys are going to make Sins 2 it will have a spectacular multiplayer system as well . I mean like with matchmaking, quick finder matches, statistics and placements . You know i want this .

 

!PS i definitely will buy the expansion because this game is one of my favourite games . The devs of this game and the people involving it are SPOT ON!

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November 12, 2013 1:44:01 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Well, Ironclad would be making a Sins 2 if/when that happens. I'm sure it'll be awesome all around.

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June 19, 2014 6:45:55 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I've offered a fair bit of my own apologia for the relatively obscure Ship Graveyard (which although basically a planet type was added in SP not in FW) in another thread: http://forums.sinsofasolarempire.com/453893/page/1/#3474159

As for the 2 GB memory limit, that's actually 31-bit address space. There has been a (perennial?) discussion about enabling the /LARGEADDRESSAWARE linker [PE header] flag for Sins (and many other 32-bit games elsewhere), which on 64-bit Windows (Vista+) kernels would provide nearly 4GB user/application address space. And this without the end user needing to mess up with anything his machine's config, unlike the 3GB user space provided by the same LAA flag on the 32-bit Windows XP/Vista/7 kernel which requires a boot time kernel parameter tweak as well. But there needs to be some code auditing to ensure 32-bit (as opposed to 31-bit) compatibility, particularly as pointers (and their differences) are used and D3D9 effects; see http://forums.sinsofasolarempire.com/454494/page/2/#3474077 for some literature. I realize that despite Microsoft's advocacy for LAA, most "32-bit" game engines in the industry stuck to 31 bits app address space.

 

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