Developer Ironclad Games and publisher Stardock Entertainment have teamed up to bring you the first micro-expansion pack to Sins of a Solar Empire.
Right now, we plan on doing 3 of these micro expansions and then rolling them together as a single traditional expansion pack. The intro pricing for each micro expansion is about $10 so you get a ton of new features for a tiny price.
Based on sales so far, it seems gamers do like the idea of being able to pick up expansions in bite-sized pieces. Entrenchment, of course, adds an immense amount of new features to the game.
So what is a game of Sins of a Solar Empire – Entrenchment like?
Starting it up I typically go 1 of 2 ways. Either single player or I go to Ironclad Online.
If I choose Ironclad Online I get the chat area and can get a game going:
If I opt for single player I see this:
Switching to 4 player FFA:
When I set up the options, one of the things that’s new to the Entrenchment expansion is the Quick Start option. We basically found that people tend to do the exact same moves at the start of the game which eats away about 8 minutes of start time. So the quick start just does that for them. I love this feature.
Now to start the game. The computer AI in Entrenchment is significantly better. But the real advancements are subtle because it’s in the unit AI (the stuff that happens automatically) where the artificial intelligence has really been improved.
As both a gamer and a developer, I love the fact that Sins of a Solar Empire is an RTS with thousands and thousands of units in the game that you can zoom in this close to a single ship and then smoothly zoom out to this:
And I’m doing this on my Lenovo Thinkpad (definitely not a gaming laptop) and it’s totally smooth.
The early part of Sins is about exploring the star system. I tend to play random maps so I don’t know where the best planets are. What’s nice about Sins is that you can set your scouts to automatically go out and explore.
Of course, the one screen that provides the most obvious new features for Entrenchment is the new Defense tech tree:
Here players can research star bases, mine fields, deep space constructors and lots of other goodies.
How much this changes the game play for the better in Sins of a Solar Empire can’t be understated.
I remember in Star Trek 3 we first got to see what a Federation starbase looked like and it was awesome. All those years of seeing how big the Enterprise was and then seeing it tiny against a starbase was cool.
Sins of a Solar Empire: Entrenchment gives me the same feeling. The starbases are huge and you can spend all kinds of time improving and enhancing them to be incredibly powerful.
The new torpedo cruiser does very bad things to structures. I love it!
And of course attacking a starbase can be quite gratifying too!
I just love the size difference between the massive capital ships and the even massive star bases. You have to zoom quite a ways out just to see them. If you zoom in on this picture, you can see the exhaust trails of the fighters but not the fighters themselves because they’re so small.
Here, I’ll zoom in on 1 of those fighters:
For people who haven’t played Sins of a Solar Empire, imagine an RTS game that truly feels epic. In many RTS’s these days, you’re directing a tactical battle really. But in Sins of a Solar Empire, you are really directing an interstellar war and while you can go in and tell each fighter what to attack, you don’t need to and can have confidence that the computer is going to be intelligent with those units.
Battles can be occurring across the entire star system (and in Sins of a Solar Empire, you could have many star systems going at once too).
Now, with the scale of Sins of a Solar Empire, one of the issues that came up was that of fleets. It was simply too easy for players to flank another player’s fleet and go after key worlds in the rear.
What Entrenchment does with star bases and other such improvements is that players can build interesting structures that can then be built up to counter a particular player (or group of players) strategy.
Through a combination of economics, military strategy, technological research and a host of other elements, the fate of your empire rests in your hands.
You can learn more about Sins of a Solar Empire and its first micro-expansion, Entrenchment at www.sinsofasolarempire.com.