comparision between MOO2, SiS and Star Drive 2

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comparision between MOO2, SiS and Star Drive 2

Postby enpi » Sun Apr 26, 2015 8:00 pm

Please forgive me, its quite a long post. (its Sunday so I have time to write something about my fav genre ;) )

The last few days I played 3 4x games, SiS Beta, SD2 and today classic MOO2.

I have to say the oldest game of the 3, MOO2, was inferior in graphics and screen resolution but it blew the other two out of the water. Most fun ever! Second best was SiS and SD2 was last. I would like to compare my experience of the 3 games what I liked and what not.

Graphics and music - in this SiS wins outright (its grahics are phantastic and a real piece of art), then comes SD2 which graphics are good and workable and of course the 3rd place goes to MOO2 which graphics are antique.

Economical system comparision
Star Drive 2: its economical system is 90% like that of MOO2. You have little people icons which you can put on science, industry and agriculture production. You can put them on freighters and carry them to other planets. 1 Population cost 1 freighter till it arrives on the new planet Its like MOO2. You have a production line on every planet and alot of different buildings you can buy. Unfortunately SD2`s version does not feel that as well designed than MOO2. SD2 lacks its balance and precision. Many planets have different planetary specials (like helium or spice) which are so many that you dont remember them where they are, so this little deviation to the MOO2 rules contributes rather to the chaos than bring much interesting choices.

SiS: well its quite abstract and very simple. You have only 3 types of buildings, (factory, labs and defenses) but can build them multiple times. In the beta this system is workable but it does not seem to give many interesting choices for advancing your colonies. It fades into the background. I am not sure if the dev intend to bring more buildings and specials like mineral rich or lowG for planets in a later version. (I hope so) But one new rule is great in SiS: its possible to send freighters to trade which brings immediately money. Thats a very good idea.

Race construction

MOO2: the classic and best way to create races with a negative and positive pick system and a transparent description how they effect the race ingame.

Star Drive 2: its like that of MOO2 a, simple 90% copycat only with different race names.

SiS: there is none. Maybe we will see a system one day.

Tech system
MOO2: again well designed. It has a classic tech system where you can choose one out of 3 techs in one area and the other two are lost. Very simple and elegant. Also it is transparent and has good short description what each tech does. Addtionally you always can look what comes ahead so you can plan several steps in advance. Tech system at its best!

Star Drive 2: again its a 90% copy cat of MOO2 but badly implemented. Intransparent nebulous descriptions which dont give a hint what the tech does is normal. Very unfun.

SiS: it has a different approach to technology. I confess that I like that of MOO2 better. For me SiS tech is quite a mess and not very transparent. To plan ahead is diffcult, the descriptions are lacking. Everybody seems to have the same techs in the end because everybody have access to everything. Where is the strategic subgame in this? It seems that this system could be better if portrayed grapically as a clear "tech tree" like that in Civ and not like a line where one have to permanently scroll to look the specs for a specific tech.

Ship design system
MOO2: You have max. hull points and systems/weapons which each cost a certain amount of these points. If you have 30 hull points and include 2 mass drivers with each 4 points and a shield 2 with 12 points, 10 hull points are remaining. Again this is a great system, but a little bit more complex than most people like. (not me of course)

SiS: SiS has a VERY good ship design system. I really love it and I like only that of MOO2 slightly (but not much) better than that of SiS. Its simple and very well thought out. It does a wonderful job. You can drag and drop modules into predefined slots. Each ship class has its own slots. So far the best improvement I saw in SiS!

SD2: well at the first glance its quite good. You drag modules of a certain shape in a ship hull and fill out the rest with pd cannons, energy and small armor modules. Very grapical. Not bad but alot of unnecessary micromanagement. Nonetheless its maybe the part which I found in SD2 most interesting.

AI, Diplomacy, spy:
MOO2: phantastic and classic. Nothing beats the moment the Darlocs steal a high technology from you every 10 turns because you had no spy defense. :) The AI is quite good for such an old game and makes surprising diplomatic efforts. The ship design is not as good as your own, but sometimes could still whip your ass till the late game if you are not attentive.

SD2: AI is mediocre to bad after you got your empire running you will not have much problem to kill the enemy defenses. Spies are for purchase but really not necessary- at least not in my games. Not very convincing.

SiS: In my beta game there have been not much resistance from the AI. AFAIR there has not been a spy system. I fought and destroyed a couple of cheap enemy destroyers and cruisers and then I won. But its beta. I hope it will be better in the final game.

Ground Combat/bombarding:
MOO2: short but nothing special. A simple subsystem, but well designed and integrated to rest of the game.

SiS: also very short and simple. I really like the Bombard button and the Invading button. But its not perfect because it has no feedback. An improvement could be to kill also attacking soldiers not only defenders. In my test game I never build more than 5 or so troop transporters and never refilled them because it was not necessary.

SD2: what a crap ground combat system. You play on a square grid like xcom. But its a crappy, tedious and laggy version of old xcom. If you press auto you loose half of your troops. If you fight the combat you loose nearly none. Addtionally you have to equip EVERY single soldier you have. A micromangement nightmare. I hated it.

Space Combat:
MOO2: The classic combat system for 4x space games. A dozen ships against a dozen ships. Great explosions, turnbased. What else to say? :)

SiS: Its like a 90% copy of MOO2 but with much better graphics. I love it of course because I love the original also. Well done, devs!

SD2: its so bad that I dont want to write about it. its real time and automated and you just have to look what your designs are doing. Of course noone does know why the ships are doing this or that. You have no control about one of the central elements of a 4x space game - the space combat. What a crap! :cry:

MOO2: Again very good. Simple to manage. In the late game it could be quite tedious to manage all these colonies, though. For this the colony managenment windows has been developed. It helps alot. Unfortunately the shipyard button is a little bit hidden.

SD2: Planets, galaxy and button are beautiful to look at, thats true. But you have to scroll in a slow way permanently from one edge of the galaxy to the other to do you colony stuff, which quickly becomes tedious. The rest is quite standard and workable, but nothing special.

SiS: super interface ideas but not fully ready for play in the current beta yet. Very easy and intuitive to work with. I can see that this is superior to the one in MOO2. And the graphics are really a piece of art and a please to look at. I would wish for more relevant information about the planets. I am not interested in the average temperature and solar day. I have not found this impacting the industrial output of a planet. you should not freely mix such irrelevant informations with important ones like the planet type. Thats confusing. Also the buttons in the building menu are too big. Everything in the building selection should fit on a single screen layout without the need to scroll down. In the moment the player has to scroll constantly down till he gets to the lower buttons. Thats time consuming and unnecessary. The rest is great (I really like the question marks in the middle of a planet - super idea)

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Re: comparision between MOO2, SiS and Star Drive 2

Postby luciderous » Mon Apr 27, 2015 7:36 pm

Great post, enpi! Some points are up for debate, of course, but all in all, I find this comparison rather interesting. I hope you don't mind if I move this thread to the General Forum, so that more people can follow the discussion.

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Re: comparision between MOO2, SiS and Star Drive 2

Postby rattle » Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:31 pm

Seeing things quite similar, one has to admit that SD2 is an early public beta at most, maybe it's up to date for comparison when this game is nearing release state. ;)

I've played most 4X games I could get my hands on and MoO2 is the only game I came back to for the 100th time.
I would not call the graphics outdated but atmospheric and done right. Resolution or glow shaders are the least important to me, but a proper color arrangement is worth a lot more IMO. I think all three games game got this right, even though I'd like to see a darker galaxy background for SiS. The sprites definitely sold it!

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Re: comparision between MOO2, SiS and Star Drive 2

Postby JohnnyW00t » Tue Apr 28, 2015 2:06 pm

Here are some things that I REALLY like about SiS over MOO2 so far:

1. No spies! Spies always felt like cheating in MOO2. Playing the spymaster was an easy way to win, and a lot less work. Getting thrashed by a spymaster was always annoying as hell. At the point that the thrashing started it was usually too late to do anything about it because the enemy had so many spying bonuses that his spies cut right through yours.

2. The technologies are incremental rather than big leaps. This is a HUGE thumbs up from me. In MOO2 it would drive me crazy when I built a bad ass fleet of battleships, only to get crushed by a similar number of smaller ships that happened to have slightly newer tech. In SiS you older ships stay relevant and still able to contribute. And it adds some excitement to the battles - you need to figure out how you are going to win with the ships that you have then and there, i.e. sacrifice that old heavy cruiser with the lasers to give your old missile cruisers some breathing room.

In my most recent game I had a couple of fleets of older / smaller ships in the rear protecting against invasions that leapfrogged my more modern front line element. And they were getting quite a workout! This mirrors what happened in WW2 - older ships were forced to fill the gaps out of desperation (i.e. Leyte Gulf). In MOO2 the older ships were worthless and usually got scrapped because of the command point limitation. Which leads me to:

3. No command points. I love being free to command as big a fleet as I want to. You are already paying a cost to build them, and you are taking a gamble falling behind tech wise as that production could have been spent on research. This frees the player up to play the game the way he likes.

4. The AI leapfrogs the front line to invade more "attractive" planets in your rear. From a strategic standpoint this makes little sense for the AI, but it does add some fun when you are scrambling to protect your rear. I hope some of this stays in the game, maybe as an occasional facetious "tee hee I am going to go crush his unprotected systems in the rear" kinda way.

5. Simplified production management. I don't miss having to juggle the population between food, worker, and researcher in MOO2. Letting a planet fall back to research by default is perfect.

6. I had an epic battle last night that would never have happened in MOO2. I was bombarding an enemy planet with three escort cruisers and two missile cruisers when the enemy dropped in with two cruisers and about 20 destroyers. I ran out of missiles and fighters but ended up winning the battle. The end came down to me targeting ships in the center of his groups with my PD weapons. PD was all I had left. Their reactors going nuclear did most of the damage for me. My remaining fleet limped away and had to repair and come back to finish the job.

From a high level standpoint, SiS is giving me all the big, epic space ship battles that worked so hard to discover in MOO2. I am having a lot of fun, keep up the good work!

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