Paradox Development Studio are making a space game and I couldn’t be happier. Stellaris is the developer’s take on the future-space age, taking their proficiency for incredibly detailed systems as seen in the likes of Crusader Kings 2 and applying it to the colonisation of the galaxy. If you plucked a game idea fully formed from my head, it would look something like that. What I’ve just discovered is that weekly development diaries have been coming out from Paradox, giving details on everything from the initial vision for the game to the art direction and various alien races.
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There’s a full archive on the official forums, but here’s some highlights from the posts which go out every Monday.
The very first diary, titled The Vision, includes a description of the game’s mission statement – “The galaxy is ancient and full of wonders.” This inspired the way the game become similar to a more traditional 4X, with all players starting very small. The focus from there will be on exploration, letting the game introduce concepts more slowly than the legendarily difficult to grasp Crusader Kings does. Of course, after that you’ll meet other races and get into massively complex political, social and literal wars with them. Hooray!
Galaxy generation and FTL travel were covered in two seperate diaries, but are intrinsically linked. Three main methods of travel will be available, governed by your choices. Some are more useful than others in different galaxy types and parts of those galaxies. Pregenitor race-built hyperlanes are good in packed star systems, but can’t cross large empty spaces. Warp Drives give freedom, but are very slow and could be ambushed at the other side. Something present in all the diaries is a focus on moddability – all this can be changed by the inevitably large groups of amateur devs who will create their own universes.
Finally, races and how they’re lead were also a pair of diaries. Each faction will have a certain Ethos, governed by three points they can invest in a number of different social tracks. Two points towards militaristic and you’re a Klingon-like set of warriors. One in Xenophobia and your people are more likely to accept poor treatment of conquered enemies. Meanwhile leaders are not as characterfied as in Crusader Kings 2, but serve roles in ground assaults, ship battles, research and governance.
Hopefully we’ll get to see more of Stellaris moving soon. In the mean time, here’s the hauntingly beautiful announce trailer.