First impressions and lots of suggestions

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First impressions and lots of suggestions

Postby McCloy » Sun Jan 20, 2019 7:19 am

First off, I think this game is great. 9/10. No need to go on about how it's a fun retro homage to the space 4X classics, because we all know it just is. And as much as I want to praise the unique innovations that make SiS its own game too, I'll save that for another thread. Let's just say I'm digging it. 4X-players who are on the fence should just get it from Steam for a crazy low price. I'm glad I bought the game + DLC now just before this neato patch arrived. The January 2019 patch makes diplomacy more interesting, makes the AIs more challenging, and makes a lot of other welcome changes/fixes. I especially like the new events and intelligence briefing charts.

My First Impression opinions of stuff I like, in no particular order:
1. Music and sound effects
2. No star-lanes or warp-lanes. Freedom to move.
3. Aggressive AI. If you get in a war, you have to try hard to win.
4. Mercs and tough pirates, slaves and extortion
5. A streamlined but diverse tech-tree
6. Some complain about how there's no 'Custom Race' option, but I appreciate how the races are really different. I want to role-play them, and I don't want to exploit a flawed Custom Race perk system like other games have.
7. The emphasis on ship-building
8. The basic building system (factory, farm, lab, market, mine, defense) is elegant and logical
9. Combat of course is usually fun. I didn't think old skool turn-based combat would be as fun and panicky as the newer games with their real-time combat. But SiS showed me I was wrong. With more refinement, I think combat could get even better.

Next, here comes some suggestions, small and large, based on my first few games. If a developer reads this, feel free to move them to another thread if you want. I just hope you are able to consider what I write. Thanks!

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Re: First impressions and lots of suggestions

Postby McCloy » Sun Jan 20, 2019 8:27 am


1. Gas Miner (Gas Mining Station)

There's all these great looking gas giant planets around. Instead of only being around to make planetary systems look authentic, I think they should be exploitable via researched technology. The proposed Gas Miner is a large station that collects exotic, rare elements from deep within a gas giant. Each colonized planet within a system that has a Gas Miner in orbit of a gas giant should get +5 factory production (a gas miner working on 1 giant, and another gas miner working on another, should give +10). Gas Miners can only be set up (parked permanently in orbit of a gas giant) in systems where there is at least 1 colony. The rewards are only local.

2. Planetary Bombardment

I noticed the lack of tech when it comes to actual bombs. I recommend a tech that allows for more precise, smart bombing. When you're softening up a planet for ground invasion, but you don't want to obliterate most or all of the population and buildings, more precise bombs are needed.

Also, if there's any interest, wide-scale planetary bombardment could and maybe should be so catastrophic that a target planet could get downgraded. For example, once a threshold of damage is crossed, an Island planet could turn into Ocean or Glacier. A Garden could become Island or Steppe. Etc.

3. Terraforming

I was shocked when I gained the ability to 'upgrade' my less hospitable colonies via terraforming. Why? Because I found out I could BUY the terraforming process from start to finish in just one turn. I think there should be a CAP each turn on the money you can spend to buy terraforming. It all can potentially happen too quickly, when realistically it would be a long process.

4. There should be a new limited, tech for adding a System slot to hulls. Quantum Circuitry or something. There's so much emphasis on weapons and defenses that this would allow players a bit more freedom to mess with the less imperative systems.

5. Stop Anti-Missiles and Point-Defenses from being able to strike planets and large orbitals. I would prefer that anti-missiles could only be made to hit the small moving stuff actually.

6. Do beam vs kinetic weapons need a rethink? I noticed how much better I do with kinetic, from coilgun right to force lance. The shield piercing is apparently much more cost effective in a fight, especially when facing opponents with great shields.

7. Contact Station

This would be a mid to late game tech, only available to some races. For instance, the Gremak, Orthin, and Tinkers wouldn't be interested in building one. The Contact Station is a very large, illustrious outpost station ship that an empire builds and then sends off to park over a neutral, uncolonized planet. Its purpose is diplomatic. One and only one can be built by an empire. It has several hab modules, 1 per existing race in the game. Once parked over a planet, there is an open invite for 1 colonist unit from each empire to live there. They arrive by transport. Just like the old Babylon 5 thing, the point is to increase communication, reputation, and inter-species knowledge. I thought this would be cool to add more diplomatic diversity.

The owner of a Contact Station gets these benefits:
+10% extra council votes
+5 Reputation points per turn, respectively from each race participating on your Station
Every empire that has sent colonists to your Contact Station will have a better diplomatic outlook when it comes to your empire. For example: +15 Rep. "We have benefited from living on your Contact Station."
+2% cash and +2% science points per turn, per participating race, from the general intermingling of cultures.

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Re: First impressions and lots of suggestions

Postby zolobolo » Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:20 am

McCloy wrote:6. Do beam vs kinetic weapons need a rethink? I noticed how much better I do with kinetic, from coilgun right to force lance. The shield piercing is apparently much more cost effective in a fight, especially when facing opponents with great shields.

Yes I agree: Shields need a nerf on capacity and recharge rate on large ships to make lasers viable and ion guns small, medium and large should have EMP effect for them to make sense being used

Railgun has already been nerfed down to a good level: it is still powerfull but not OP in the current stage of he game in my opinion

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Re: First impressions and lots of suggestions

Postby Danath » Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:03 pm

1. Gas miner
I'm also missing the ability to do anything with planetoids, like transforming them in some sort of mining station. Or (small) planet cracker technology?

2. Planetary Bombardment
Agree, I would love to have special ships designed for proper bombardment, instead of this brute force attack. Or even special ground forces that focus on sabotage, weakening militia defenses (is weird that all population helps in the fight. Big amount of civilians should actually become a hindrance for the military forces defending the planet :P )

3. Terraforming
The theme for the next DLC is already pretty set: it's the Gardeners (and aquatic bio-engineering faction) and a terraforming revamp. We just need to formalize the plans for actually getting it done.

4. There should be a new limited, tech for adding a System slot to hulls.
Agree, ship design gives many potential options, but in practice is rather limited to type of weapons, best armor/shield available (unless you want glasscannons), minimum needed generator, and exceptionally you might want to add extra munitions.

5. Stop Anti-Missiles and Point-Defenses from being able to strike planets and large orbitals.
Although it makes sense that short range weapons shouldn't be able to hit planets, it wouldn't really make any difference save very extreme situations.

6. Do beam vs kinetic weapons need a rethink?
Or rather, the effectiveness of shields

7. Contact Station
Reminds me of diplomatic stations from GalCiv2. Basically they generate cultural influence on nearby planets/systems (population from the planet affected likes your faction and might want to defect) and diplomacy booster. There was also merchant stations that boosted the income from trade, but this feature is probably too simplistic on SiS to work on it.
Last edited by Danath on Tue May 07, 2019 4:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: First impressions and lots of suggestions

Postby evil713 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:30 am

I think the issue stems from a lack of modification options.

Games of this type normally have improvements with tradeoffs every step of the way. However in most of those games the ships do not have dedicated slots or fixed numbers of items. Master of Orion would have miniaturization, where researching up the tree would make the weapon smaller (allowing more to be crammed into the same space) and modifications (upgrades that would allow the weapon to gain abilities, change size, or lose negatives at the cost of mass.)

Now Stars in Shadow does not have a mass mechanic as such, it uses energy. This makes a tech cost more power in the higher tiers, and individually if say the accurate mod is installed. However these modifications are only truly in the first era of the game.

Most weapons get access to "Accuracy" example weapons that do not have travel time. Projectile weapons get varing levels of "Shield Pierce" inherently; projectile weapons can get access to "Long Range" and this mod affects all weapons from the beginning mass driver to endgame force lance. Lasers get access to the most modifications, "Rapid Fire" doubles the number of shots, "Armor Pierce" gives them the ability to negate armor, and these upgrades carry over into Turbolasers.

Beyond this there are few weapons that have unique abilities, Rail Gun does not suffer from damage loss due to range, and Plasma Cannon has the capability to hit all four sides of a target (I don't know if this is just shield damage only though or this carries into armor and hull damage). Disrupters can kill crew.

And at this point the mods stop. No shield mods to increase defense or hitpoints or to help siege planets, no missile mods to increase armor or speed or add decoy's, no armor mods for more health, no engine mods for maneuverability or strait direction speed or added dodge chance

My thoughts

1: More engine types
2: More researched mods
3: More limited fire arcs built into ships

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Re: First impressions and lots of suggestions

Postby Dragar » Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:09 am

That list of three is mine, too. It's fairly minimalistic (that does not mean small!) in terms of dev time, and would have pretty big returns on the main part of the game (combat). I really want to have to wince and struggle to decide my ship load out, rather than throw on the best guns with all the mods and call it a day.

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Re: First impressions and lots of suggestions

Postby AMX » Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:25 pm

I agree, different engine types would definitely be interesting; or maybe just engine mods, unlocked by the techs that currently give a flat speed bonus.
Either way, ships would need a new "Engine" slot. (Or maybe "Main Engine", to distinguish it from the extra "Manouvering Engine" module that goes in the System slots?)

Regarding firing arcs, maybe Wing Turrets (able to fire in every direction, except one) would be easier to integrate than Broadside Mounts (only able to fire in one direction)?

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Re: First impressions and lots of suggestions

Postby nathanebht » Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:26 am

An engine mod that provided additional range would be very useful in some situations.

You could also have an engine mod which provides additional warp speed. Something to throw on if you have extra energy in a design. Tactical maneuvering speed seems to matter little in most of my battles.

The AI doesn't even take advantage of missiles properly. It advances when it doesn't need to. Doesn't fire and retreat when it could to extend the fight. New weapon mods or new ships slots that do something fancy may be a problem for the AI's usage.

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Re: First impressions and lots of suggestions

Postby Zyrtach » Sat Apr 13, 2019 5:09 pm


I am new here. I have played this game only a few times, and I like this game. First time I had no idea how to play this game. I had to go to Youtube and watch game play videos, to understand the game, and tactics. But, still, this is a very good game.
I do however have few suggestion and few questions to make.

Questions/My Problems:

1) I ended up fighting Kremak Battleship with 20 Ships. I had destroyers, some heavy/light cruisers and few missile boats. I had difficult time making any damage. Maybe I didn't have enough weapon tech, maybe my missiles were bad, maybe he had too much shields and armor.

For me it felt very frustrating. Are Battleships and AI-controlled Kremak really so powerful?? Anyway to deal with that, apart from developing better guns and better ships?

2) I am having difficult time to hit my enemies with missiles and torpedoes?? Can I make them more accurate or faster?? PD fire feels very effective against them.

3) I am having difficulties to fight harpies. They sometimes have a massive fleets, even on a Easy Difficulty. Someone please give me a good strategy or tactic against that??

4) Is it just me or are the Ashdar Colonials truly so underpowered ?? For me it flees as if the imperials, Phidi and Yoral are better, in every way ??

That is all for the Questions and Problems. Now I have few suggestions and requests to make:

a) I would like to have an option to disable/remove pirates and harpies from my game sessions, in order to make the game more accessible for a new players like me.

b) I would like to have an option to disable/remove certain factions from a random faction distribution, Kremak most of all.

c) Can the devs give us more victory conditions, like Science Victory and Economic Victory, adapted from Endless Space 2 ??

d) I would really like to see an actual in-game tutorial scenario, that teaches how to play.

e) I would like to see gas clouds, space mines, and asteroids on a battlefield, making the combat even more tactical.

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Re: First impressions and lots of suggestions

Postby Alimaeus » Sat Apr 13, 2019 9:33 pm

1) The AI builds a lot of ships so you need to get a dedicated shipyard up and running within your first hundred turns and never stop building ships.
Retrofitting old ships with better tech and scrapping some lighter now useless hulls to save on metal/maintenance may be neccessary.
Always try to use the planet retrofit option that refits for production/wrench to save money/coin early game.
You will also need to specialise mineral rich planets into mining whenever possible to have enough metal.

2) Missiles are pretty useless right now mass torpedoes or go home. Torpedoes have 2.5x health and damage so 10 damage from 1 surviving missile is never going to beat 25 damage from 1 surviving torpedo.

3) The best ways to deal with harpies are missile/torpedoes because they have no point defense.
Also any heavy/artillery weapons out range them Xray(100% armour penetration) Heavy Lasers are a good mid game weapon against harpies.

4) Each faction has different ship types and is good at different things for example Ashdar have great carrier hulls (inc. light and escort carrier)
but suffer from low hull points on their ships Yoral ships are pretty good but Orthin are where the meta is at right now with the power-bus mechanics

a) there should be an option in game setup that allows you to set the frequency of pirate/marauder/harpy events/raids

b) If you don't want a faction in the game you will have to manually choose the factions and not choose them

d) I can only recommend you look for a lets play or AAR by someone who knows how to play the game
how did you get the game if you have it on steam you could look up the steam guides.

And of course don't be afraid to ask more questions ;)

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Re: First impressions and lots of suggestions

Postby VinctLeiter » Sun Apr 14, 2019 3:02 am

I just got my Stars In Shadow a couple of days ago. So far it seems pretty cool.
Thanks so much for sharing these! best pack and play with changing table - best toaster - smart buying
Last edited by VinctLeiter on Sat May 11, 2019 11:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: First impressions and lots of suggestions

Postby Gilmoy » Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:05 am

My suggestions are almost entirely UI-related, to relieve me from the tedium of micro.

1. On system map, a toggle key that shows(hides) all planets with friendly ground troops. This will show the frontier of my latest invasion, but with some lag. Saves me the work of drilling down into every planet I own, every turn (which I do anyways).

2.a) As #1, but for all planets with >250k of colonist race X, for every X in the set of all races. This lets me quickly plan migrations to raise pop caps.
2.b) In Planets list, a sort option to (show and) sort by population of race X, for every race.

3. In planet view, show the sum of all friendly population, and the sum of all hostile population (that would revolt). Saves me the mental arithmetic of doing it myself.

4. Sort all planets by growth rate, to identify those that have stabilized from crowding.


5. (major? change) In general, some quantities are most easily found by sorting, but are best viewed across the map, as if in a spreadsheet, or looking at a histogram. So: a general capability, when sorting Planets list by some quantity Q, to also have Q temporarily superimposed on every owned system on the map, using some visual cue: color-coding, or gradients, or histogram bars, or similar. Then the galaxy map becomes a histogram (on demand, only when the player is interested in viewing Q this way), and we can see things visually.

I'm not even sure if StinSh has a quantity that's complex enough to demand such a view; but I've always thought that a 4X would be the perfect testbed for it (and vice versa). Tactical battles could benefit from this, too, for concepts such as still-has-small-craft, or has-no-engines. It's just visual sugar, but good visual sugar compresses and filters data, and that compression can have great value in reducing cognitive load. Then we could spend our tactical battle time actually targeting and playing, instead of digging through the data ourselves.

Actually, population > 250k of race X would be a perfect example of a Q that is shown visually on the galactic map. Then you'd instantly see your migration source systems (planets) light up, and you can (more) easily see their potential destinations, based on map proximity. That would cut out a great deal of migration micro tedium. Click the hotkey again, and Q turns off (until next turn).

=> Next, we'd clamor to add Q as a start-of-turn notification in the list: Your Wrem are ready to migrate! Click to display |Wr|. When done, click Dismiss :)

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Re: First impressions and lots of suggestions

Postby PrivateHudson » Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:24 am

Gilmoy wrote:3. In planet view, show the sum of all friendly population, and the sum of all hostile population (that would revolt). Saves me the mental arithmetic of doing it myself.

Have you tried Population Report mod (viewtopic.php?f=5&t=759)? Not exactly what you describe, but definitely useful. Also shows troops along with pops.

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