4X

Weekly eXchange #157 – Year Four, Let’s Begin!

Join Nate, Troy and a surprise guest as they bring you all the important information on all of your favorite 4X and strategy games! This week they talk about Endless Space 2, Polaris Sector, Children of the Galaxy, Galactic Civilizations 3, Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars, Galaxial, Stellaris, Predestination and much much more. As well as continued coverage for your other favorite 4X and strategy games!

Music for eXplorminate by Mangadrive

Show Notes: 

  1. Endless Space 2 Halloween update – 2:14
  1. Polaris Sector Lumens Update – 5:39
  2. Children of the Galaxy Update – 7:38
  3. Galactic Civilizations 3 update – 8:47
  4. Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars – possible update in the works (posts 3087-3089) – 11:36
  5. Galaxial Update – 20:28
  6. Stellaris update – 21:56
  7. Predestination Update – 30:31
  8. Total War franchise update – 33:15
  9. Phoenix Point update – 37:39
  10. Battletech is coming to you! – 41:32
  11. Surviving Mars dev Diary #1 – 44:09
  12. In rogue-like news, Spelunky 2 has been announced – 46:56
  13. Star Citizen update – 48:09

Latest Poll results for „Which Space Game Has The Best Tech ‚Tree’?“ – 49:49

  1. Stellaris 38%
  2. Sword of the Stars 1 22%
  3. Endless Space 2 16%
  4. Civilization: Beyond Earth – Rising Tide 10%
  5. Galactic Civilizations 3 9%
  6. Star Ruler 2 3%
  7. Stars in Shadow 1%

Games played – 53:29

  1. Aven Colony Steam page
  2. Cities: Skylines Steam page
  3. Super Mario Oddysey (Switch)
  4. Endless Space 2 Steam page
  5. Eador: Imperium Steam page
  6. World of Tanks

23 replies »

  1. Hey, good show. I found it a little odd that at one point you’re slamming Stellaris for adopting a mechanic that is similar to other games, yet later you speak in glowing tones about someone who points out that multiple games can be similar and still be successful.

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      • Well I was talking to all three at large really since there seemed to be agreement across the board. At least that’s how it came across to me.

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      • Multiple games can be similar and be successful. Yes. Stellaris is at it’s best when it’s doing things that are different than other games. Are those statements contradictory? I suppose, but to me one statement doesn’t necessarily cross out the other.

        Can you have games like MoO:CTS and Stars in Shadow in the same marketplace and have them both be successful? Absolutely. There was a time when both Torchlight and Diablo were out and they filled very different niches.

        But that doesn’t mean Stellaris (or, for that matter, any game) should strive to be similar to other games already out there. Stellaris is interesting because it’s trying to be something new and the more they force it back into the ‘expected’ box the less it interests me as an experience.

        Hope that helps explain the thinking. Thanks for listening!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Your comparisson between Polaris and Stellaris is spot on. Polaris is published by a wargame company and their focus is on tactical gameplay. You can not sit and “watch” Polaris like you can do with Stellaris.Polaris is more abstract, you have to use your brain about what to do in your turn like in a puzzle game. Stellaris is so streamlined that even if you hit play and walk away from your screen you won’t die.

    Children of the Galaxy, and I’m the only person out of 110 Steam friends (who generally like this genre) owns the game. This game is so abstract that you actually watch a spreadsheet and have to use your fantasy to create a world around it yourself. In my first comment to the developer, since it’s an EA title, I mentioned that as a positive and unique feature. But the very few times in the game the player really see some artwork have to be spot on and it isn’t. The first time I zoomed in to my planet to release my first spaceship the spaceship was rendered within the planet. Not above it or next to it, just merged with it. So the first time you see some artwork is a planet with partly visible wings from your ship around it.
    Not as a bug, but just in design. The placement of UI elements is somewhat improved since last update (don’t have to went from lower right, to upper left part of the screen for every menu), but it’s still not friendly for the amount of micromanagement you have to do.
    You have to zoom in to planets regulary and the mouse behaviour (zoom speed, scroll speed etc) in the zoom in and zoom out view is different. That means you have that awkward moments in the overview map your scroll speed is so fast compared to the zoomed in planet view you constantly end up in the edge of the map.

    This together with a lot of smaller issues should to be aknowledged and worked on before adding new features imho. But the forum on Steam is very low on activity, the patches coming out once a month and focus on the roadmap only and is not adding user suggestions.

    It’s still EA, I think the team is very small (maybe just one or two person) and the playerbase is very small. I really hope some players who really like to shape and test games will step in and give it a shot. There is something abstract and unique under the surface. Maybe with more player input the devs makes the right choices for the future.

    Thanks for the show guys! You are doing great!

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  3. For me, the changes they made to the spies caused the game to be unplayable. Spies can do too much and can wreck a planet, you spend most of the game building.

    Spies are often too strong in games. An option to enable or disable it as they have in Space Empires and others would put it back on my play list.

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  4. Oh..So the show notes are just when you talk about which game.
    That still leaves me with having to load/buffer 40 minutes (with a fast-ish internet) if the entire pod is 1 hour and the game is at 20 minutes in. My bandwidth cap cries.
    I was hoping for some sort of transcribed notes.

    Still, good on you for for doing that.
    Makes it easier for those only wanting a certain piece to join in.
    Personally, I’ll pass.

    Or what about a segmented/edited version(s) for each game, maybe!?
    Doesn’t take so long, each can listen to what they want.
    Not that hard on bandwidth and saves listener time.
    Just a thought!

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    • I do not want to speak on behalf of Nate, but this is a rather specialized request, that is above of what Nate and Co. have time for.
      As per the player – I believe you can click on the embedded player’s timeline to jump to the given time, without pre-loading the previous content (but never measured the actual bandwidth usage during that).
      As per transcribed notes – simply not possible, given the amount of information and it being 1h long (even a 15-minute discussion would take… “ages” to transcribe without a real benefit).
      And as per segmenting the podcast to multiple MP3s – again, this is rather out of scope I guess. Yes, for a long book you get individual chapters, but I have never seen any podcasts split into multiple files by subject…

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      • “Real benefit” is an interesting place to discuss, as it depends on what your goals and scope is. For example if increasing audience engagement is important it does provide benefit. I for one never listen to the Weekly Exchange or video reviews from anyone. What I do is scan comments made after the matter to find out what the content was, and this can be highly skewed by reader bias.

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      • To be sure, that is your prerogative. But during years and years of listening to various podcasts from vastly different fields I have never come across a single one being transcribed, nor one segmented by topic discussed (here pointers are mostly done only via timed Show Notes, if ever). The only exceptions are perhaps two World War 2/World War 1 podcasts, but these are essentially prepared in text and then read aloud, so that is done the other way around (and only the WW1 one provides transcribed text besides the MP3). If you only scan comments, you unfortunately do not get much of what was spoken about on the podcast.
        A podcast is essentially a much faster version of a written post. It would take much and much written text to get the subject matter delivered to the readers/listeners, hence the podcasts save us all much time. And Nate and Co. would not be able to bring a weekly podcast, maybe not even a bi-weekly one. The show notes then provide that bridge between the spoken word and the relevant webpages, where the interested listener can find out more, if he wishes.
        What is your internet bandwidth cap, just out of curiosity?

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      • Bandwidth speed is decent 30Mbps. No idea for the data cap as I’ve never hit it even with Netflix being watched by someone in my family every day.

        From my perspective it isn’t about tech limits, its about brevity and control. I absolutely understand your point on transcription, it is painfully time consuming (I usually do it at about an hour per 15min), to little benefit unless it is academic for learning purposes.
        I think what I like about written reviews is I can read at my pace versus a video/podcast I am limited to the creators. I totally can see why creators like it (it’s easier to create), but as an audience I dislike it because I am locked into someone else’s schedule. Skipping through is clunky (even with time cues) and doing comparisons is frustrating unless summary stills are provided.
        What this reflects (I think) is creator and audience expectations. As an audience who wants a result/opinion/review I want to get it quickly and visually, easy to refer to. In these instances I am not looking to be entertained, but informed. If the goal of the content creator is to entertain however, then a podcast/video is completely understandable (and the better choice) as personalities come out far more in live delivery. In that event I am just not the audience for them.

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      • Troy, you mean audio transcription? Well, that is yet quite far in the future I am afraid. Yes, for clear language the results can already be so-so, but the engine would have to be trained to your specific voices etc. etc… Let us wait 10 years and maybe we will already have some universal translators working :)

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  5. What I like with the Stellaris tech tree is the weighted randomness. You don´t always pick the same techs in the same order every game, like you do in most other games. But you still have enough choices since there is three fields with at least 3 techs to chose from in each. And their “weighted randomness” that makes the crucial techs that you do need to pick every game comes up often and in the “right” order works fine so that you don´t get stuck. Also the “Epic” techs and the “quest” techs that you can discover that you don´t get every games helps a lot to make each game more special. The science leaders is also adding another dimension.

    I haven´t played Sword of the stars but I haven´t played another game which I like better than Stellaris. even the old MoO2 tech system was better than the present games. New MoO could rely used more special racial techs that could have made the races more varied. Endless space 2 and beyond earths tech wheels are a bit messy and usually I pic techs in about the same order and it does not help me feel that each game is special.

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