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Strategic Sage
Jan 22, 2017

And that's the way it is...



This LP comes to you courtesy of the viewers of my YouTube channel, who selected it in the first Viewer's Choice vote back in April . Distant Worlds was released in 2010 by Matrix Games, with three expansions culminating in the Distant Worlds: Universe compliation in 2014. It is a largely unique blend of 4X and simulation, with heavy emphasis on player freedom. This here is a lot of game, big, dense, with a learning cliff that not many titles have exceeded. The intro cinematic is worth watching, not included in my videos for technical & copyright reasons.

Is It Any Good?

When it comes to options and complexity, the whole kitchen sink is present which is both and pro and a con. Some elements that are typically abstracted for sake of relative simplicity are much more involved here. A phrase that's been used to describe AI War is even more appropriate in this case; it's the kind of game that makes you say 'wow' and 'I just need to lay down and take a nap, this is an exhausting experience' at the same time. The UI is old, and not good even for it's time - responsiveness is an issue in parts and I'm playing on reduced resolution to make it as viewable as possible. Higher modern resolutions make parts of it completely unreadable, though some have found this 4K 'fix' to be of use . Overall I find the game to be ambitious and mostly impressive, but it does suffer some under it's own weight. Steam reviews reflect that, coming in at a pedestrian 72% positive.

I think it's pretty good if you're willing to spend the time learning it and coming to grips with all the options customizing the experience to what you are looking for. The variety of options and the typical inability of the competitors to use them as well as a human player will means that there are many ways in which to exploit matters for your own advantage if you so choose. Getting a handle on Distant Worlds will likely mean a dozen or more trial runs of varying lengths for many strategy gamers, which has led to it being a title that really divides people. Some say it's a roadmap for what every 4X should be, others that it's way too dense and complicated for it's own benefit.

LP Specifics

This will be in my typical edited VLP style, with some time-skipping to avoid part of the tedium. We'll be starting with almost all automation off - Distant Worlds is fully capable of playing itself if you set it up to do so - but turning some of it on as we progress. It'll be a largely tutorialish run, in the second of the three galactic ages, the Age of Shadows (pirate-heavy, pre-warp) playing as the Ikkuro.

Whether this is a one-off or the first of multiple playthroughs will depend on interest in the project. I plan on typically weekly episodes of the usual length, approx. 20 minutes each in most cases.

Tales of Distant Worlds

The Journey So Far ...

Intro & Design Basics (23:48)
Starships & Pirates & Space Slugs, Oh My!! (18:55)
Characters, Construction Ships, & the Private Sector (23:28)
Ruins, Derelicts, & the Path to Warp Drive (25:47)
Transitioning to Early Warp (30:53)
Research Deep Dive, Resorts, & Research Stations (25:30)

Strategic Sage fucked around with this message at 18:18 on Jul 26, 2021

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Strategic Sage
Jan 22, 2017

And that's the way it is...


Intro & Design Basics (23:28)


The usual blather about what I'm doing with the series, and then we get into it with a few initial steps, a brief hop into research basics, and then diving into the glorious mess of components & statistics that is the Design screen. Our journey down this rabbit hole has only just begun.

That Italian Guy
Jul 25, 2012

We need the equivalent of the shrimp = small pastry avatar, but for ambulances and their mysteries now.

I think this game was recently mentioned in the latest Aurora LP, so I'm going to follow it closely!

Veryslightlymad
Jun 3, 2007

I fight with
my brain
and with an
underlying
hatred of the
Erebonian
Noble Faction


I'll watch this one with interest.

I think the one time I played this game to completion/victory I played as the Gizureans (the particularly stupid bugs) and found a bunch of colony pods (I think? Maybe it was early colonies.... Distant Worlds has something that gives you another species for basically "free") that had Atuuks (the even more particularly stupid rodents) and dominated the galaxy with my beautiful friendship alliance of the two dumbest species in the galaxy.

Is it forbidden to speak of these things? I can edit this post.

Strategic Sage
Jan 22, 2017

And that's the way it is...

Spoilers are fair game in this thread. Use your own judgement on whether to use spoiler tags. I think that's a hilarious story about your game though.

Strategic Sage fucked around with this message at 13:53 on Jun 21, 2021

Deadmeat5150
Nov 21, 2005

OLD MAN YELLS AT CLAN


Oh boy! I love this game so much, Im glad to see someone else sharing the love.

Veloxyll
May 3, 2011

Fuck you say?!

Just remember not to accidentally a whole planet

Strategic Sage
Jan 22, 2017

And that's the way it is...

Accidentally ... what ... a whole planet?

my dad
Oct 17, 2012

this shall be humorous


Strategic Sage posted:

Accidentally ... what ... a whole planet?

GreyHunter's infamous "whoopsie" incident during his let's play of this game.

By mistake, he included a planet destroying spaceship in a scout group. And he, uh, accidentally a whole planet.

Slaan
Mar 16, 2009

I GAIN POWER FROM EATING PEOPLE, JUST ASSUME I'M ALWAYS VOTING TO EAT PEOPLE





That planet was coming straight at him after burning an orphanage for adorable space puppies

Strategic Sage
Jan 22, 2017

And that's the way it is...

I've read a good part of that epic thread but didn't get the reference. Grey Hunter's was ... quite the adventure.

Dirk the Average
Feb 7, 2012

"This may have been a mistake."


Veryslightlymad posted:

I'll watch this one with interest.

I think the one time I played this game to completion/victory I played as the Gizureans (the particularly stupid bugs) and found a bunch of colony pods (I think? Maybe it was early colonies.... Distant Worlds has something that gives you another species for basically "free") that had Atuuks (the even more particularly stupid rodents) and dominated the galaxy with my beautiful friendship alliance of the two dumbest species in the galaxy.

Is it forbidden to speak of these things? I can edit this post.

Yeah, the bugs grow super fast, so you can basically just saturate the galaxy with colonies and after a few years of terrifying budgetary problems you suddenly have an absolutely booming economy as the planets come online and the populations go up massively and quickly.

Veryslightlymad
Jun 3, 2007

I fight with
my brain
and with an
underlying
hatred of the
Erebonian
Noble Faction


I believe the Atuuks also breed, uh, fairly rapidly. So yeah, I basically laid down colonies everywhere between the two of them.

Libluini
May 18, 2012

I gravitated towards the Greens, eventually even joining the party itself.

The Linke is a party I grudgingly accept exists, but I've learned enough about DDR-history I can't bring myself to trust a party that was once the SED, a party leading the corrupt state apparatus ...


Grimey Drawer

Oh yeah, this game!

One of my favorites, though due to me being incredibly stupid, I haven't had time to continue my own modded game for nearly a year now. (I think I stopped during my 2nd Great Crusade against the Pirate Menace. To give context: Even though I severely weakened pirates in my options, my space vermin still had to basically create a full fleet every time I added a new colony, just to keep the pirates at bay.)

One day I hope to have the free time to go back to my old save and see what I was doing at the time.

Falcorum
Oct 21, 2010


my dad posted:

By mistake, he included a planet destroying spaceship in a scout group.

It was just the space equivalent of a steiner scout lance

NHO
Jun 25, 2013



Update!
But it's a bit too.. small bite-sized update.

Strategic Sage
Jan 22, 2017

And that's the way it is...


Starships & Pirates & Space Slugs, Oh My!! (18:55)


Taking a look around the Kurbus system, doing our first ship design means dealing with engines and range and *some* of those darned pesky laws of physics, and we open up the treasury to avoid hostilities. Actual exploration will commence next time.

Strategic Sage
Jan 22, 2017

And that's the way it is...

NHO posted:

But it's a bit too.. small bite-sized update.

Probably good news if you weren't super-bored before the end of it. I find some people's eyes tend to glaze over if 'tutorialish' videos go past 20 minutes. *shrug*. The next project I'm planning I actually intend to keep them under 10 *shots fired*

Veloxyll
May 3, 2011

Fuck you say?!

What benefit do you get from making the home base a Large space port rather than a small? Since you're going a minimalist design anyhow.

I usually throw fuel cells on space ports to make sure freighters keep fuel on them. Because there's nothing like having a squadron of ships come in and have no fuel there.

Strategic Sage
Jan 22, 2017

And that's the way it is...

Mentioned it a bit in the first video, but the point of having large for the spaceport is so freighters will use it as a resource hub. I think that makes sense for the homeworld. Small spaceports are lower priority ofc so they will run short of fuel a lot and just stock the bare essentials - I'm experimenting with using mediums in key spots which in theory should get enough resources brought to them. Making the private shipping economy not suck is very much it's own little mini-game.

AtomikKrab
Jul 17, 2010

Keep on GOP rolling rolling rolling rolling.


My strategy is basically a huge pile of missiles on my home system asap because the pirates will run from that.

Strategic Sage
Jan 22, 2017

And that's the way it is...

How do you deal with the fact that if you don't pay them off they just blow up and/or capture all your mining bases anyway? I can see how that would work if it was just a matter of protecting the planet.

Deadmeat5150
Nov 21, 2005

OLD MAN YELLS AT CLAN


Strategic Sage posted:

How do you deal with the fact that if you don't pay them off they just blow up and/or capture all your mining bases anyway? I can see how that would work if it was just a matter of protecting the planet.

More missiles, of course.

Veloxyll
May 3, 2011

Fuck you say?!

Strategic Sage posted:

Mentioned it a bit in the first video, but the point of having large for the spaceport is so freighters will use it as a resource hub. I think that makes sense for the homeworld. Small spaceports are lower priority ofc so they will run short of fuel a lot and just stock the bare essentials - I'm experimenting with using mediums in key spots which in theory should get enough resources brought to them. Making the private shipping economy not suck is very much it's own little mini-game.

Ah, I didn't realise there was a preference even when its your only starport. actually I assumed the classification was just for personal preference, so will be interesting to learn actual game mechanics.

I prefer rail guns if we're going the drive people off route - they do component damage quicker (they have armour or shield pierce IIRC) than other kinds of weapons as I recall
Though this may be outdated knowledge. But early game eh, Cheaper and easier just to pay the pirates off till you have at least hyperdrives.

Strategic Sage
Jan 22, 2017

And that's the way it is...

Deadmeat5150 posted:

More missiles, of course.

If you turn every mining base into a missile fortress you will very soon have no money, and the private sector will go broke with the maintenance.

Veloxyll posted:

I didn't realise there was a preference even when its your only starport. actually I assumed the classification was just for personal preference, so will be interesting to learn actual game mechanics.

To clarify, I don't think it actually matters when you only have one starport - if there's only one place for resources to go, that's where they'll go. I was more referring to how things will transpire after we get more colonies. I.e. I could have made it a 'small' and retrofitted to a 'large' later on with no issue - I just figured why do that when I can just call it a large one right from the start if that's what I'm going to want it to be later anyway?

my dad
Oct 17, 2012

this shall be humorous


The early game has this weird dynamic of "find pirates and offer them tribute before they find you and demand even more tribute"

Strategic Sage
Jan 22, 2017

And that's the way it is...


Characters, Construction Ships, & the Private Sector (23:28)


Several topics covered this time around, and we begin exploring Kurbus and start getting more specific about exactly what we're looking for. Next time the explorations will continue, which will include figuring out how we're going to get out of the pre-warp phase of the game and exploring the ruins/investigating derelicts, getting our initial research projects completed, and so on. There's still much of the rabbit hole to be descended into, but we're starting to get a firm foundation.

OddObserver
Apr 3, 2009


... Was that "traits: Foreign Spy" on the scientist?

Veloxyll
May 3, 2011

Fuck you say?!

OddObserver posted:

... Was that "traits: Foreign Spy" on the scientist?

It is absolutely a trait they can roll. It lowers your defence against enemy tech stealing as I recall.

Strategic Sage
Jan 22, 2017

And that's the way it is...


Ruins, Derelicts, & the Path to Warp Drive (25:47)


Finishing up surveying Kurbus, dealing with the derelicts & ruins, and getting a few early upgrades on our initial designs from the first research tasks. Next up will be a critical transition from Pre Warp to Early Warp, opening up more possibilities.

Strategic Sage
Jan 22, 2017

And that's the way it is...

OddObserver posted:

... Was that "traits: Foreign Spy" on the scientist?

It is. I'll eventually talk about that when we get into doing a deeper dive on research.

Veryslightlymad
Jun 3, 2007

I fight with
my brain
and with an
underlying
hatred of the
Erebonian
Noble Faction


The new branch of pirates you found had three distinct species in their ranks.

1)Does species matter on Pirates?
2)Does Pirates having certain species in their ranks mean empires of those species are more likely to be nearby?

Strategic Sage
Jan 22, 2017

And that's the way it is...

I'm no expert on pirates, but having said that;

1) - It can matter, because they can eventually take over colonies of standard empires. I doubt it actually matters at this stage of the game though.
2) - Not really. Pirates tend to range *very* widely, so unless it's super-early on a huge galaxy - this one is more moderate size - a single faction will likely have access to a large portion of the galaxy. We'll see more of that when we get into looking around beyond Kurbus. There is still so very much to get into yet.

Strategic Sage
Jan 22, 2017

And that's the way it is...


Transitioning to Early Warp (30:53)


Longer than usual, but even at that I left quite a bit out that I'll have to get to in the next episode. Just lots to cover with all the new possibilities warp travel affords. We get a hint of 'larger forces' at play in the galaxy, our first combat with a new space creature, more ship redesigning, a quick look at putting our ships into fleets, and a snapshot of where we are in the galaxy. Important new station types, traveling beyond Kurbus, and a proper look at the planetary + galactic economy are among the priorities to get to soon.

Mr Darcy
Feb 8, 2006


Is there any way to change the text resolution to something approaching readable on a modern monitor? My eyesight is bad enough as it is without squinting at teeny text.

Strategic Sage
Jan 22, 2017

And that's the way it is...

Not that I know of. That's why I'm playing at reduced resolution, it's worse if it is scaled up higher. There is a link in the first post of the thread that might be of use if you are on a 4K monitor. You can try adjusting the Windows DPI settings, but the bottom line is the UI is pretty blurry by default and the background colors don't help that in some places, and scaling just makes it much worse.

It's generally considered one of the game's largest flaws from what I've gathered.

Veryslightlymad
Jun 3, 2007

I fight with
my brain
and with an
underlying
hatred of the
Erebonian
Noble Faction


Did the new Scientist you spawned come with anything good?

Also, the AI designs early warp surveyors really poorly. I'm blown away by the range on your ships.

I also fired this up briefly, and my start was comparatively abysmal. You have other stars in your empire's influence even as you haven't explored. Is that based at all off ship travel speed, or did I just get really hosed? My closest star is like, once again the radius of my opening influence.

Strategic Sage
Jan 22, 2017

And that's the way it is...

I hadn't looked at the scientist. They are unfairly good. Ultra Genius (+20% empire-wide research output) is just an absurdly strong trait to get this early in the game. Energetic (+5% to all existing skills). 16% Weapons and working on increasing that. So basically we're having a weapons research focus whether we like it or not.

Ultra Genius is just ... it's unfair of me to get that. I'm not sending that scientist back though.

Good point on the AI designs, I forgot to show those. 0.57 sectors. Yeesh.

On the distance to other stars, my best guess is the galaxy density and type you chose. I picked irregular to minimize that. Downside is other factions will also be able to expand a lot more freely and you tend to not get really good starts either. What galaxy type did you use? On most of them it can vary a lot more.

fucking love Fiona Apple
Jun 19, 2013

samus comfy so what



This game is so incredibly interesting and also kind of a pain to play. I have high hopes in Different Works 2, even if it just the first game with improved UI.

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Strategic Sage
Jan 22, 2017

And that's the way it is...


Research Deep Dive, Resorts, & Research Stations (25:30)


The bag of tools gets expanded a little more with Resort & Research Stations, and a little more planning on our research path commences. Our immediate concerns in Kurbus are now nearly finished, and we'll be looking beyond it moving forward. That'll likely mean getting into the complex rabbit whole that is the galactic economy soon. Brace yourselves.

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