Saturday, March 16, 2013

Review StarDrive

So this is a indie Space x4 game, 4x games seems to be popular for small indie companies, it might be it's easy to makt, but I think it's because it lets a new company be very creative.
This is I think 3rd or 4rth indie X4 space game, and I'm not complaneing I love this gerne,
The biggest success story is Endless Space made by a small french company, it had become quite a success, having now sold over 300 000 copies. The makers of Endless Space listened to the fans, made changes and even took votes. They have released lots of free stuff to the game, and continues to improve it. When I saw the pictures of this game I was kinda not sure, the diffrent races are kinda silly/childish, you have space bears, space wolfs and space plants, but the game just looked to cool not to try it. The game is real time, but you can pause, and the game does pause when you go into certain info pages.

The game is very complex, i tried 4 times with failed games untill I kinda made it on the 5th try, you have to juggle, cash, industry and food, all plantes have diffrent stats, you have fertility, richness. fertility says how much food you can easly make, richness how much industry it can make, you also have a max population.
Cash is made primaraly thought industry and taxas, so a planet with high population and industry can be a cash cow, how ever if you do not go into pluss on the food production the population will starve and dwindle, however you can fix this by making freighters to ransport food.

In the first failed games, I colonized small planets with no food ect, I just colonized all the plants I came over, this led to massive sortages of food and money. So after reading some helpfull hints like only colonizing plantes with 2 or more in fertility,To get a new colony up and running, you need to shuttle colonists with freighters, and normaly food and production. it can take quite some time to get a single colony up and self sustaning. So expanding to fast is a killer. It's better to have 4 really good well done planets then 10 bad ones, or even 2 good ones and 8 bad ones. And once you get a planet running, you only need like +0.5 in food and the rest can go to science and production. You generaly need 1 or 2 planets that produce lots of food, to ship out to new colonies.  So thats the colony part, you generaly start with very little stuff, a single fighter and a colony ship, thats it, everything els has to be researched and made. and there is ALOT to research, the game is kinda standard, you make science from planets, so you have to juggle, food, production and science. So more science you make, the faster you resarch stuff. the early research stuff is prety low, like 80 or 150 points to research the first stuff, but like now I'm researching a titan, and thats 3000 science points. There are LOTS of weaopns to play with, you generaly have ballistic weapons, so old school cannos, and railguns. and huge hoonking space guns. Then you have powered missles, rockets, emp missles. You have energy weapons. like puny lasers to phased plasma beams. To ion beams that suck energy out of enemy ships. But guns aren't all you need shields, armor, powerplants, engiens ect.

One if the first things I found was that there is no point in making ships untill you have researched shields, it makes even small ships much harder to kill. There is a complex ship building part of the game, as you resarch new guns you get new ship avalable to make, but you can also make new custom ships, and that is very fun, you place all you need on the ship plans. You have to juggle ALOT when making ships.

Each ship has sevral things you have to think about, power, everything needs power, small ships need a few very small nuklear plants, or one medium powerplant. bigger ships might need oh 16 powerplants. you can ofcourse research better powerplants like antimater reactors ect.
Weapons, shields, engiens all use power. But thats not all you have to think about, energy weapons use the energy from the powerplants, but ballistic weapons and missles also use ordinace, so you need ordinace storage, another of my big first mistakes was making a powerfull fighter with LOTS of small cannons, but I had not made a single ordinance storage and so after just a couple of strafes, it was out of ammo and got murderd. But verything weighs stuff, so for each thing you put on the ship, you need engiens to move it, and the more stuff you got on it, the more powerfull and more engians you need. if not, the ship will just drift and not even be able to turn. You can resarch and add enertial dempners. to help that.

So lots to think about. All ships unless you are using them for planet defence need both regular engien and warp engien. Ships range in size from Fighter/large fighter-frigate-cruiser-heavycruiser/battleship-Titan.
Naturaly the bigger the ships the more power and more/bigger weapons you can get on them.
My frigates have like 4000 shield, and 6000 hull, while my cruisers have between 20 000-30 000 shields, and 20 000 hull, my heavy cruiser got 50 000 shields and 40 000 hull/armor, you can make lots of diffrent types of ships, you can resarch fighter bays, and make carriers. As I said you can run out of physical ammo, even with lots of storage you will run out of ammo, so you can research feel resuply. This give you two things.

Ordinance converter, this converts enegry from the ship to physical ammo. You also get resuply bays, letting ships send shuttles with ammo to other ship therby resuply them with out having to send ships back home to the shipyard. With smaller ships, you generaly have to use all the space you got for powerplants, shields and weapons. but my big heavy cruiser was so big I could actualy get the ordinance converter in it, so it will be able to resuply it self.

So thats the tecnical stuff, we also ofcourse have diplomacy like all 4x games have, it does seem random wether another race likes you or not when you start a new game, I've had in one game a race like me right away, then in aother game the same race hates you, they also seem to either like or not like you from the start, I have not been able to win over another race that has not liked me from the start. The graphics of the races is very cool, lots of characer, and they got their own way of talking to you, some are very childish in the way they talk. But that I think has something to do with how the "translater" works, you can resarch lingustics and mabye the dialog changes then? I have not tried it yet. You can also buy and train speies, that you can send to do espionage, or even steal technology.

So this got very long, sorry for that, here are some pictures

 The graphics are very cool clean yet very detailed.

This is my heavy cruiser/battleship, the biggest ship I got right now.

Here is the floor plan of my battle ship, it's a monster. Phaser plasma beem in the front, flanked by 2 missles tubes and 4 railguns, then 2 more railguns on the side. So it's front heavy, does not have any weapons that fire to the side or back. So it will probebly need fighter suport or firgate suport to cover it's back. Other then the weapons it got 19 powerplants, lots of engiens, 5 medium shield generators, a ordinace converter two fighterbays.
8 ordinance storage, the yellow tiles are internal bulkheads, the silver tiles are steel armor.

Here is a heavy figrter, to show a smaller floor plan.
It got 2 powerplants, one small shield generator, 6  missles lauchers, 2 missle battery, so this is sinply a missle fighter, with no other close dogfighting capablity. it also get 4 small ammo storage bays.

This is a tiny part of the galaxy map, I've played this game for 8 hours and still have only met 3 out of 7 other races in the game, so this is a BIG map, you can ofcourse choose the size of the galaxy how meny oponets.

This is my empire with all the planets I have, it shows all you need to know, shows the storage of food and industry, if I'm building a ship of building, how much food I make, how much production and science I make and how much cash I make on each planet.

This is the researched tab, 7 categories, each with sevral lines of resarched.

I recomend the game with all my heart.

PS. this is still in beta, so you can buy it now, and help them imporve the game the last few weeks before it's finished, and it's on 17% sale.

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