Game overview :
- 4X space game
- Browser based, only runs in firefox
- Closed Beta status
- Basic 2d graphics
- No action, not a RTS
- Strong focus on grand strategy & diplomacy
- Role play possible
There is an emphasis on diplomacy.
Much effort has gone into creating organic "situations" that evolve into diplomatic crisis. These come about from conflict between several realms of influence. These being political relationships, trade, military actions, resource access and a feudal hierarchy.
Trade is encouraged by a mechanism where the number of types
of minerals governs the efficiency of your refineries and thus your limits to production of assets. Since only a few mineral types are found locally you must trade with other areas to gain more mineral types.
The manoeuvre element is the fleet. Fleets move between stars by an instantaneous jump, but then must wait while the jump engine re-charges. This slows down the pace of the game, giving you time to plan. It creates the feel of a turn based game, even though it is a persistent universe.
The game is not played in "binges" (hours in a session) but in short play sessions. Think of a normal 4X that has its play session sliced into bits. This is by design, so that those with real lives may fit it into a busy schedule (or a fanatic gamer can play a session between all those other games). This time element also creates anticipation as your emotions have time to build.
Fleet movement may be automated. Patrol routes may be created to look for enemies. Gathering routes take minerals to stars with a refinery. This works kind of like railway tycoon. Other routes may be configured to move new ships to the front, return the battle weary for R & R, etc.
Fog of war is constant. If you have no ship or spy at a star you do not know what is there, you only know what was there last time you visited. This permits a "cat & mouse" situation, where cunning can win out.
Building assets takes a long time. This creates pressure to plan, as you cannot react immediately to a new threat by "popping out" fleets of new ships at a moments notice. You can build & assign additional builders to speed up a project, but there is cost there as well.
A large selection of technologies are available that affect all aspects of the game. There is no "tech tree" you just research the areas you want an advantage in. you may choose to be mediocre in all or focus on a few that complement your overall strategic direction.
There is a robust economic model that provides many ways to gain income and many ways to lose it. Taxation, tribute, piracy, export contracts, asset support, salaries are some of the factors.
In the beginning you manage all aspects, but as your empire grows you can do less micro-management and automate repetitive tasks.
The game progresses though stages, exploration, buildup, contact and then the core game play begins with diplomacy, trade & conflict.
There is a play through of a typical 1st session on the website. Note that the game begins slowly as you are only exploring outward. This is intentional as the game is complex and is designed so that a new player is not overwhelmed and has time to get his bearings.http://www.starlords3k.com
We need a few more play testers, pm me if interested.
All feedback is welcome.