Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Published on January 13, 2008 By Draginol In Real-Time

Sins of a Solar Empire is shaping up nicely. An RTS with turn-based level depth that allows users to manage huge empires in real-time without getting bogged down in micro management.

Here are some screenshots from today's play.

ScreenShot_11

Each race gets its own technology tree. Tech trees are a feature from 4X strategy games. RTS's usually don't have them.  To keep micro management down, the techs have a cost associated with them but also require a certain number of labs to be built in your planets.

Building orbital labs requires logistics points which are finite per planet. So choosing to build an orbital lab means not building something else.

ScreenShot_13

The scale of the game is what I find amazing. This is a small map. And if you're playing multiplayer, it lasts probably an hour or so depending on your speed settings.

But you could, literally, play the game in this view zoomed out. That's what makes Sins so amazing as a strategy game.  You can, if you want, zoom in and direct each and every ship on the map and watch them battle it out or zoom out and manage your empire here -- or at any zoom level in between.


Comments (Page 2)
on Jan 16, 2008
Great. Between this and Gal Civ, looks like I might as well give up on ever having a life.  The market is sorely lacking in good RTS games right now (that don't require a Cray machine to play).  
on Jan 17, 2008
Nope, it's both single and multiplayer.


Good. I'd rather be a solo player, as I'd prefer to avoid teenyboppers bellowing obscenities at each other in leetspeak.
on Jan 23, 2008
Well I normally hate RTS games with 2 noted exceptions, The Homeworld series and the Total War series (granted total war is both a TBS (solo unfortunately) and RTS.) All others that I've tried have been nothing but boring clickfest with little time for civilization development. I now usually avoid them like the plague unless they have a TBS element with them. So is Sins of a Solar Empire another boring clickfest or is there a TBS element to it? What game does it mostly resemble in play style?
on Jan 23, 2008
It's most like a cross between GalCiv II and Homeworld. It's definitely not a click-fest.
on Jan 23, 2008
How's the AI? I'm unlikely to ever play the game MP, so it needs to be worth its purchase price for the single player component alone.
on Jan 24, 2008
How's the AI? I'm unlikely to ever play the game MP, so it needs to be worth its purchase price for the single player component alone.


Good question, anyone has answers?
on Jan 24, 2008
Really hoping that SoaSE has room for good micromanagement. I'd love to see a game like Starcraft again, where focusing on micro and taking your attention away from macro would lead to a noticeable shift if your gameplay. Where players could suck at micro but be so good at macro that they could still be victorious, and vice versa.

That's the main reason I'm excited about the game. I see it as a game that's complex enough to get away with such an up to date UI without having the skill-roof be too low. I'm really hoping I'm right Stardock. I think a game like this could really be a smash hit in the competitive gaming industry if you guys play your cards right, and I'd love to see something like that :
on Jan 24, 2008
Ok so there is an over all strategic TBS portion of the game (GalCiv 2). Then when you’re in battle you go to the RTS section of the game (Homeworld?) Well if this is the case then it does sound like the single player version of Total War but in space. If this is the case then I just may have to get htis game.
on Jan 24, 2008

The AI is pretty good, keeping it mind that it's designed for multiple opponents (not 1v1). Also, there's not just a general AI but an "autocast" AI for many elements in the game that make intelligent decisions on when to use special abilities, etc.  Ironclad plans to continue updating the AI after release as well, just as we've done with GC2.

In combat, you can come out ahead if you opt to micromanage - but this comes at the cost of taking attention away from your greater empire. I've often been tricked into spending too much time focused on battles (admittedly just to watch them) and then ended up losing because I failed to spend enough time on the big picture. The opposite can also be true, but is less likely if you're careful.

on Jan 24, 2008
When you say 'multiple opponents' do you mean team games or FFAs?

Basically, does the AI favor the human player as a target (bad) or does it target human and AI equally?
on Jan 24, 2008
The AI is best in FFA situations where there are multiple AIs, so they can form relations with them and the player (both good and bad). It doesn't do so well in 1v1s because that cuts the diplomatic aspect out pretty much entirely.
on Jan 24, 2008
Fascinating. From this thread alone with the last few answers you sold me the game... Kudos.
on Jan 24, 2008
Thanks for the answers. Between that, the random map generator, and the fact that the focus is on skirmish (instead of a campaign I'll play one mission of and then abandon) you've probably got a sale. I may wait for the demo to be sure, but I'd be very surprised if you didn't end up with my money.
on Feb 02, 2008
Here's some questions:

1. What's the economy system like? Do you have to work the majority of your game time doing work, building up your economy by 'playing the spreadsheet' and 'slider micromanagement' as in GC2, or is it something simpler and less of a focus.

2. In GC2, the raw materials are cash(BC), industrial production(MP/SP) and research(RP). In Sins, the raw materials appear to be cash, metal and 'crystal'. Then where's the research?!! Do you just unlock all the techs for a certain level by building a lab of the requisite type, or do you have to build the lab, select the tech, and wait for 'x' number of seconds for it to complete?

3. You get money from population being taxed. Do you get to set the tax rate, and does this have any affect on the peoples' 'morale'? If yes, than in what way does low morale hurt, as in what election will you lose and what population growth penalties will you suffer?

Other than that, this game appears to be a more convincing buy than GC2:TA. Great war system with the tactical, strategic and logistical levels all taken into consideration, and small craft given a fighting chance(something kicked from GC2:DA). Great graphics, nice story, great civs, great(if simpler than GC2) diplomacy. I may get this game in March if it's economics system isn't too strenuous.

As for the story, it's biased in favor of the Advent. The Vasari are stalled in their desperate rush from an unknown but ultra-powerful enemy. The TEC is sandwiched with their entire force holding off the Vasari, and infighting continuing amongst themselves whilst their assets still get smashed by the Advent and the Pirates. The Advent, however, just decided to show up fine day when they thought it would be nice to take their world back.
on Feb 02, 2008
1. What's the economy system like? Do you have to work the majority of your game time doing work, building up your economy by 'playing the spreadsheet' and 'slider micromanagement' as in GC2, or is it something simpler and less of a focus.

2. In GC2, the raw materials are cash(BC), industrial production(MP/SP) and research(RP). In Sins, the raw materials appear to be cash, metal and 'crystal'. Then where's the research?!! Do you just unlock all the techs for a certain level by building a lab of the requisite type, or do you have to build the lab, select the tech, and wait for 'x' number of seconds for it to complete?

3. You get money from population being taxed. Do you get to set the tax rate, and does this have any affect on the peoples' 'morale'? If yes, than in what way does low morale hurt, as in what election will you lose and what population growth penalties will you suffer?


1. Considerably less micromanagement than GC2. If you have the resources you can set up a build list for you planet, set it going, and go on to other things.

2. Basically, yes. Each tech requires a specified number of labs and has a cash, metal, and crystal cost. Build the labs, assemble the resources, select the tech and wait x number of seconds.

3. You don't get to set the tax rate, so income is dependant on total population size. Luckily, most real planets (as opposed to inhabitable asteroids) have improvements that increase pop cap. Morale is a non-issue.
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