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Saros
Dec 29, 2009

Its almost like we're a Bureaucracy, in space!

I set sail for the Planet of Lab Requisitions!!





Have you ever wanted to fight brutal wars of attrition against dino-riders in an airless desert using militia in hastily cobbled together envirosuits alongside ancient combat walkers? How about despairing as the (not quite for copyright purposes) War boys from Mad Max appear from nowhere to tear into your unprotected hinterlands? Or watching in horror because you pissed off your secretary too much and they raised a regiment of rebels who cut the aterial road through the alien megajungle that connects the two cities of your empire causing your finely balanced logistical system to grind to a halt.

All of this happening on a hugely detailed, procedurally generated alien world that can range from an airless asteriod to a death world hellhole.

If so then Shadow Empire might be the game for you!

Come play MP games with goons via discord Here

Shadow Empire is the latest release from one man studio VR Games. Previously known for innovative hex & counter wargames like the Decisive Campaigns series said one man band has turned out a unique take on the 4X and wargaming genre's that can only be described as a mashup of Alpha Centauri and a turn based wargame in some sort of freaky Crusader Kings/Frank Herbert's Dune crossover universe. Alternatively it has a similar feel to Dominions in MP with the same extreme diversity in potential playstyles.

Confused yet? Basically like the title says the theme is Alpha Centauri and Mad Max had a baby and that baby was a really good strategy/4X game.

I'll level with you, this isn't the prettiest game in existence, a lot of your time will be spent staring at a screens like these vvv and the graphics are (intentionally-ish) extremely 90's-tastic.



The core gameplay loop wil be familiar to fans of Civilization/Alpha Centauri, you start with a city in a post apocalyptic wasteland and have to explore, expand and conquer your way to world domination. The twist is that it is also a proper wargame so things logistics, supplies, morale, unit experience are all modeled in high detail. There is a further layer with leader management reminiscent of parts of Crusader Kings or VR designs previous title Decisive Campaigns: Barbarossa.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8XAh8Wii4k
Oh god I am sorry I pulled this video from the publisher's page and it's extremely cringe but does try give a once-over on the games main features.

But if you are still here and haven't been scared off Shadow Empire is an excellent game with a lot of replayability due to the procedural nature of how all the content is generated. Everything from the planet you are contesting to the weapons, tanks, equipment, alien flora/fauna, enemies is different for every game. Planets themselves can vary from molten hellholes with rivers and lakes of lava to frozen planetoids without any free water to low-gravity alien jungles full of deadly monsters and much more. It's tough to describe everything in the game without filling pages with text but I would encourage you to look up some of the streams/LP's if you are on the fence.


Reviews!
Emergent Mage
Explorimate
Wargamer
Strategy Gamer


Those of us who have followed the game development over in the Grognard thread are hoping there will be an ongoing MP scene like dominions has generated.



FAQ

Goon Grognard games discord - Use to find MP games and a whole lot of goons thirsting to answer your obscure Shadow Empire questions.

How much does it cost? - £34 or probably forty American buckaroo's.
Steam? - Not yet, the game will apparently have an exclusive period on the Matrix Games store before being available on steam. Matrix will provide steam keys to everyone who purchased it when it does go to steam.
Is the AI any good? - Yes it actually is, while no AI will ever compete with a human player tactically in a game as complex as this it will put up a very convincing fight and it's not uncommon to lose games to agressive AI.
Does the AI cheat - Not for important things apart from playing with slightly different logistics rules, more detailed explanation here.
Is there multiplayer? - Yes there is PBEM (play by email) multiplayer in IgoUgo format. The game really shines in MP.
Where are my fortifications/planes/boats/water worlds?! - Coming in a post release patch or DLC.
Is there an editor? - No, one may be released at a later date.

Ingame/UI FAQ

Wait did I just find a functional one megaton nuclear missile launcher in the desert?!? - Yes you did, enjoy!
When building a vehicle you can mouseover the engine power or weight to see a tooltip of all the weight you have added to the design so far!
Why are there so many AI built roads? - The AI gets to build dirt roads for free and has unlimited logistic range. It's a required crutch at the moment but the developer has indicated he wants to move away from it.
Hex perk connection - No road is needed! They just need to be able to track any path to your SHQ via owned hexes.
Why did weird XYZ thing happen between turns? - Probably you had decisions you did not respond to, if so your secretary or relevant cabinet member will try make them for you but it won't always be what you want!
How do I refill my units? - Build replacement troops through the SHQ the units are assigned to. Itís a button in the right panel at the top maked 'replacement troops.'
Why is there an option to spend political power to resign, which ejects you from the game the turn after you do it? - For multiplayer, it turns your empire over to the ai.
What do the council settings at game start do? - Council unlocks various function in your government. For example, without economic council you can't discover and research economic related tech tech. Without model design council you can't create new unit model. Most councils have multiple functions though, like economic also handles finding resource deposits in your zone.
I don't have any metal, help! - Get prospecting through an economics council! Alternatively you can get some by scavenging ruins hexes.
How do I make more troops? - "Raise formation" button, top right hand side.

What the gently caress are logistics? - Basically you make LP (logistics points, LIS) at truck/rail stations and they flow outward like water. Press L for what logistics points you have left this turn and P for next turn's projected logistics points points and 6 for showing how far supplies can 'off-road'. Also learn to love Traffic signals (hotkey T) to guide the flow of Logistics where you need them.
What are "LIS" - Logistics points. You need 100 of them per building level to a building/asset for it to function fully.
My railways don't work - You need a rail station or railhead in a hex to load/unload.
Trucks? - The level 1 truck station makes 1000 Logistics points and 100 Truck AP. The Truck AP means that out to 100 AP along a road (dirt roads are 10/hex, sealed roads are 5/hex) you get 100% of the logistical point flow, it degrades fairly quickly after that. Supply Depots add 50 truck AP to any logistical flow going through them, i.e. extending the range you get 100% LP flow with no degradation along dirt roads for an extra five hexes.

Useful links

Goon Grognard games discord - Use to find MP games and a whole lot of goons thirsting to answer your obscure Shadow Empire questions.
Come play MP games with goons via discord Here
Get the game HERE
Official Forums
Manual in pdf format


LP's and Tutorials

I have a screenshot based LP running here with extensive mechanics explanations.
https://forums.somethingawful.com/s...hreadid=3922608

And another MP game which is a hybrid Video/SSLP in the same thread.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoitGFD6Z-E
(Audio for the first two videos is rough as hell due to a busted mic but it gets better!)

Youtuber DasTactics has a good tutorial series so should be your first stop.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BivVweJ5-iA
DasTactics Tutorial
DasTactics beta MP with Tortugapower
Rocky Planetoid
Planet Generation preview

eXplorimate also has a useful tutorial.
Tutorial
Lava planet (beta)

Youtuber Tortugapower has been doing videos from the beta onwards.
Dune planet game
Multiplayer beta v DasTactics
Earth-like world

Grey Hunter, SA's very own strategy games maniac has a series of Beta previews and ongoing games.
https://www.youtube.com/user/greyhunterlp
4 player MP game
Outside the Cradle game
Grey Hunter Screenshot LP


Also for peak Shadow Empire observe the following.

Saros fucked around with this message at 22:07 on Jun 21, 2020

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Drone
Aug 22, 2003

Incredible machine.




I watched a bit of DasTactic's beta series and drat if this game doesn't look good (for an unabashed grognard game).

Hnnnngggggggggg I'm tempted.

Also: does the game have its version of DC:Barbarossa's train nazi?

Edit: fuckit, I bought.

Drone fucked around with this message at 15:18 on Jun 4, 2020

Saros
Dec 29, 2009

Its almost like we're a Bureaucracy, in space!

I set sail for the Planet of Lab Requisitions!!



All the leaders are different for every game so it can! In my LP linked above I am having endless problem with my Secretary but can never spare enough political points to dispose of them (officially or otherwise).

GOOD TIMES ON METH
Mar 17, 2006




Fun Shoe

Any vague rumor or anything about the Matrix store exclusive period? I want to check this game out but not to the extent of not waiting until it is on Steam or GOG or something

Saros
Dec 29, 2009

Its almost like we're a Bureaucracy, in space!

I set sail for the Planet of Lab Requisitions!!



Probably 3 months from what I have seen. Like I said in the OP when it releases on steam it likely won't be any cheaper and Matrix give you a steam key when they go to steam anyway so doesnt seem like that big a deal to me.

Drone
Aug 22, 2003

Incredible machine.




For me it's more about the convenience of not having to worry about manually downloading game patches like this is ninteen-loving-ninety-eight.

Still bought it though because I'm a mark.

Saros
Dec 29, 2009

Its almost like we're a Bureaucracy, in space!

I set sail for the Planet of Lab Requisitions!!



Aren't we all.

Some people however, are not!


(from the official forums)

HerpicleOmnicron5
May 31, 2013

How did this smug dummkopf ever make general?


Just bought the game. Haven't played ATG or DC:B, and that tutorial series hasn't really gotten to the meat of the game yet. Are there any quick tips for newcomers, like important hotkeys or concepts that are slightly different from more common use?

DrManiac
Feb 29, 2012


I have no experience with war games and I'm already deeply confused but the planet generation is the best I've seen in any video game.

Saros
Dec 29, 2009

Its almost like we're a Bureaucracy, in space!

I set sail for the Planet of Lab Requisitions!!



HerpicleOmnicron5 posted:

Just bought the game. Haven't played ATG or DC:B, and that tutorial series hasn't really gotten to the meat of the game yet. Are there any quick tips for newcomers, like important hotkeys or concepts that are slightly different from more common use?

For logistics L will show you logistics points left for the turn and P the projected ones for next turn. There are also bottleneck and other views available through the right hand side of the interface. 6 will color code the map to show how far your logistics can 'offroad' to your units.

Generally though it's hard to be on the attack early without greatly superior numbers and attacking from multiple directions. Early units are far superior on the defense so it's important to stack every advantage you can.

Otherwise read some LP's and maybe look at some more preview vids but it's a good game to just learn by doing, you'll find yourself in tricky situations and figuring out how to get out of them is half the fun.

Saros fucked around with this message at 20:42 on Jun 4, 2020

Lotti Fuehrscheim
Jun 13, 2019



I think getting water, food and metal production started is important, and in the right order, as I seem to have put myself already into an economic deadlock by starting to construct things without sufficient resources.

Saros
Dec 29, 2009

Its almost like we're a Bureaucracy, in space!

I set sail for the Planet of Lab Requisitions!!



Generally you want some more sources of metal first before going for industry because industry costs an enormous amount of metal. You can usually squeeze in a BP building (office) before you find a metal mine or more ruins to get metal income up then go for an industry.

Often though it can be more fun just to start on the level 4 techs so you have all the basics from the start.

HerpicleOmnicron5
May 31, 2013

How did this smug dummkopf ever make general?


Ok but why is there an option to spend political power to resign, which ejects you from the game two turns after you do it?

SIGSEGV
Nov 4, 2010


Is that really in the game? That owns.

V for Vegas
Aug 31, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Saros posted:

Aren't we all.

Some people however, are not!


(from the official forums)

It gets better - in reply to the guy who has "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent" in his signature


SlyFrog
May 16, 2007

KAWAIIII~~~


In the game's credit, I love an actual, lengthy manual.

But come on, I'm 16 pages in, and it's pretty clear the thing was barely proofread even by an amateur. I don't get it - grognards are so loving whipped they would do stuff like that for free. Or they could, you know, like give someone with an English degree the game for free for doing it.

Why do they fall down on such easy things?

Stairmaster
Jun 8, 2012




what do the council settings at game start do?

pedro0930
Oct 15, 2012


Stairmaster posted:

what do the council settings at game start do?

Council unlocks various function in your government. For example, without economic council you can't discover and research economic related tech tech. Without model design council you can't create new unit model. Most councils have multiple functions though, like economic also handles finding resource deposits in your zone.

I think the bigger problem with the manual is that after 16 pages you are still reading the developer's fanfic.

pedro0930 fucked around with this message at 00:07 on Jun 5, 2020

SlyFrog
May 16, 2007

KAWAIIII~~~


pedro0930 posted:

I think the bigger problem with the manual is that after 16 pages you are still reading the developer's fanfic.

I'm a sucker for "In the grim, dark future there is only war," stuff.

I only wish in the grim, dark future, they did not confuse "where" with "were."

The manual as a whole is a noble effort, but just poorly written. Enough so that it is helpful, but bad enough so that things are actually confusing to a degree.

I hope the game menus, etc. don't suffer from the same occasionally inscrutable writing/design.

Stairmaster
Jun 8, 2012




pedro0930 posted:

Council unlocks various function in your government.

yeah thanks

next question: how come no matter how much i reroll i cant get a planet iwth more than 0.4g

e: NVM ITS DEPENDENT ON MAP SIZE

Stairmaster fucked around with this message at 00:16 on Jun 5, 2020

Squiggle
Sep 29, 2002

I don't think she likes the special sauce, Rick.



Soiled Meat

SlyFrog posted:

But come on, I'm 16 pages in, and it's pretty clear the thing was barely proofread even by an amateur. I don't get it - grognards are so loving whipped they would do stuff like that for free. Or they could, you know, like give someone with an English degree the game for free for doing it.

Why do they fall down on such easy things?

I know, right? The Dominions 3 + manuals were all written by somebody who just loved the previous games, and those things are god's greatest manuals.

Pirate Radar
Apr 18, 2008

You're not my Ruthie!
You're not my Debbie!
You're not my Sherry!


Stairmaster posted:

what do the council settings at game start do?

Basic councils are (Iím 90% sure) Economic Research, Military Research, Model Design, and Interior. You can start with those already formed so you can start doing that poo poo from the jump instead of having to form them. The advanced councils do other, more advanced stuff.

Gimmick Account
Dec 18, 2002


SlyFrog posted:

I hope the game menus, etc. don't suffer from the same occasionally inscrutable writing/design.

I, uh, have some bad news for you...

VendoViper
Feb 8, 2011

Can't touch this.


Only had a chance to roll up a planet and play one turn and I can already tell I am going to love this game. Excited to get in on some MP and do terribly.

Squiggle
Sep 29, 2002

I don't think she likes the special sauce, Rick.



Soiled Meat

As near as I can tell, every ounce of text was written by Victor. I kind of pray it gets some passes from native speakers...Decisive Campaigns at least has a historical context to corral the writing (and had a second person responsible for most of it anyway), but with the sci-fi setting and RPG elements of SE he's kind of unfettered.

Squiggle fucked around with this message at 01:29 on Jun 5, 2020

Gimmick Account
Dec 18, 2002


Squiggle posted:

As near as I can tell, every ounce of text was written by Victor. I kind of pray it gets some passes from native speakers...Decisive Campaigns at least has a historical context to corral the writing (and had a second person responsible for most of it anyway), but with the sci-fi setting and RPG elements of SE he's kind of unfettered.

Judging from the type of spelling mistakes Vic repeatedly (but not reliably, which just underlines my point even more) makes, I'm starting to doubt more and more that him not being an English native speaker is the main cause of his troubles in grammarland. That recent interview he gave to a website showed pretty clearly that he has a good grasp of the language, at least when it comes to the spoken word.

SlyFrog
May 16, 2007

KAWAIIII~~~


Squiggle posted:

As near as I can tell, every ounce of text was written by Victor. I kind of pray it gets some passes from native speakers...Decisive Campaigns at least has a historical context to corral the writing (and had a second person responsible for most of it anyway), but with the sci-fi setting and RPG elements of SE he's kind of unfettered.

Yeah, that's normally what a publisher does. In no way would I blame someone who is writing in a non-native language for this.

I would, however, happily blame someone who gets money for publishing a polished product. I know, I know, queue the "labor of love, Matrix only makes $.50 total on each title they publish,' responses.

Well, enough bitching about the manual from me for the moment. It sounds like some people really do love the game, which is the main thing.

SlyFrog
May 16, 2007

KAWAIIII~~~


Squiggle posted:

I know, right? The Dominions 3 + manuals were all written by somebody who just loved the previous games, and those things are god's greatest manuals.

Yes! They should be studied and emulated as great manuals, I agree.

uPen
Jan 25, 2010

Zu Rodina!

I've got the dominions 3 manual on a bookshelf somewhere, super useful for playing that game.

SIGSEGV
Nov 4, 2010


I don't find the dom 5 manual in the associated steam directory, so I suppose it's a download, somewhere.

pedro0930
Oct 15, 2012


Do I need to build replacement troops to reinforce losses?

Are milita spawned for free from zone militancy or does it takes up resources that can otherwise go into private economy?

Pirate Radar
Apr 18, 2008

You're not my Ruthie!
You're not my Debbie!
You're not my Sherry!


You build replacement troops through the SHQ the units are assigned to. Itís a button in one of the side panels if I remember right.

To the other question Iím not sure.

Saros
Dec 29, 2009

Its almost like we're a Bureaucracy, in space!

I set sail for the Planet of Lab Requisitions!!



Yeah militia are free they don't take anything from your private economy.

Pirate Radar
Apr 18, 2008

You're not my Ruthie!
You're not my Debbie!
You're not my Sherry!


Saros posted:

Yeah militia are free they don't take anything from your private economy.

Do you know if they take pops who would otherwise be workers or recruits, though?

Saros
Dec 29, 2009

Its almost like we're a Bureaucracy, in space!

I set sail for the Planet of Lab Requisitions!!



If they do its not accounted for anywhere, you can select the militancy button to see how many were recruited that turn and then the population and there is no corresponding decrease for people joining the militia.

Gimmick Account posted:

Judging from the type of spelling mistakes Vic repeatedly (but not reliably, which just underlines my point even more) makes, I'm starting to doubt more and more that him not being an English native speaker is the main cause of his troubles in grammarland. That recent interview he gave to a website showed pretty clearly that he has a good grasp of the language, at least when it comes to the spoken word.

The inconsistency comes from the manual being proofread on a voluntary basis by beta testers. Why Matrix games as the publisher is unable to perform this fairly simple task is beyond me.

Saros fucked around with this message at 07:50 on Jun 5, 2020

Generation Internet
Jan 18, 2009

Where angels and generals fear to tread.


Bought this instantly because I love all of Vic's games and man there's a lot of meat on this bone. So far I've spent more time generating planets than actually playing.

But that might also be a lie because I've also been reading the manual in order to be able to play, some of the ingame tooltips are alright but they're inconsistent.

Kibbles n Shits
Apr 8, 2006

burgerpug.png




Fun Shoe

One of my favorite war games is AT:G. The OP say the AI can put up a convincing fight, but how is it compared to AT:G? Does it just get insane production\unlimited resources, or is a little more intelligent this time? I'm not expecting perfection but since I don't play MP I'm hoping it's at least good enough to keep me engaged for a while. Swatting down the AIs hordes of armored cars and light tanks in AT:G got boring fast.

Edit: I guess the more pertinent question is not if the AI is "good" but if the AI is "fun".

Kibbles n Shits fucked around with this message at 14:53 on Jun 5, 2020

pointsofdata
Apr 25, 2011



I like how there is real pressure to find a source of metals early, rather than it just being a nice to have. Not sure what the best order for councils is yet - I'm tending to get applied science, economic and model design early but that's just guessing

Saros
Dec 29, 2009

Its almost like we're a Bureaucracy, in space!

I set sail for the Planet of Lab Requisitions!!



Kibbles n Shits posted:

Edit: I guess the more pertinent question is not if the AI is "good" but if the AI is "fun".

It's competent and fun, it's worth noting that Regimes behave differently depending on what type they are and all the major regimes are different based upon their government types. It's nothing like the ATG AI Vic has clearly come a long way as a programmer since.

Vic posted:

I also had to compromise on the AI design. What I tried to do is make the AI play by different rules where-ever where making the AI be able to play by the same rules would require excessive coding time with minimal gain for the player experience. What has always remained important to me is that the core rules that actually decide defeat or victory (combat & economy) the AI plays by exactly the same rules. For example: If you take its Farms the AI will have a problem feeding its Troops. If the AI does not have a Water Mine it will have to build bloody expensive Wind Traps to get Water to its Farms. If you encircle the AI its Troops will starve. Etc...

The exact rules the AI plays by are in the back of the manual. It does not get anything free with the exception of unlimted logistic range along roads and free dirt road construction.




pointsofdata posted:

I like how there is real pressure to find a source of metals early, rather than it just being a nice to have. Not sure what the best order for councils is yet - I'm tending to get applied science, economic and model design early but that's just guessing

Depends on the situation but I find applied science is safe to leave for last. Military and Economic councils are where the useful techs live and economic gives tax raises and prospecting which is key in the early game. Applied science is just incremental improvements on stuff (it's very powerful improvements but safe to leave for later). Staff is another important one as it generates leader management cards and OOB's. Finally Model is important for implementing military tech improvements. Foreign/Secret service can be slotted in when you need them depending on the situation.

Saros fucked around with this message at 15:55 on Jun 5, 2020

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Stairmaster
Jun 8, 2012




what the heck are LIS points and why dont I have any

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