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The true story is long and fairly complicated. As it turns out, Stars! is part one of a trilogy. In Stars! Supernova you will learn much more about the true nature of the universe and your place in it. The final answers and possible solutions will have to wait for Stars! Apocalypse.
Since the Fledging Admirals serial is aimed at beginners to lower intermediate as well as rusty oldtimers, I'll email around some hints & tips from time to time. Some of those emails I'll also post in here. Those hints & tips are quite basic ones but will hopefully help you a bit to boost your early career at the Space Fleet Headquarter, let's say on your way from cadet to 3rd mate.
>This is a small request for guidance, I have already spoken to Art over this and am getting slightly better at race design, but how do I break 30/50/70/100k resources after 50-70 years?
Well, let's shoot for 30k in 50 years Acc BBS first, ok? :-)
I recommend you try to do that with a fairly simple race, not too jazzed up. The idea is to learn how to run the empire-building phase, and see what really matters in getting the performance. It is a lot easier to tweek a way of doing things you know with a more complicated race than to discover everything with one.
In the interests of largely theoretical stars race design considerations, but perhaps of some real interest too, I submit for consideration the following race design and testbed results. The question the design sought to answer was - how playable are low-growth HPs, particularly those leaning in the direction of spike's emphasis on late-game minerals? How low can the PGR be pushed and still get you viable speed to midgame?
There is a lot of variety among playable race designs - but naturally only a small fraction of the *legal*/possible designs will fit the bill. Things designs differ over include resource timing (lots early, or slower on that score but more later?), econ vs. tech focus (many resources but exp tech? Works if you manage to get enough planets paying the fixed tech costs; can hurt if you don't), mineral-gathering ability (total minerals usually determine *long-run* fleet strength; but resources determine *how fast* the fleet grows in size up to its mineral limit), fast-spreading ability or lack thereof (things like IFE, ISB, IT PRT, cheaper prop tech, some other PRT things like IS fuel transports and freighter pop-growth). And all of those involve trade-offs - you can get more on one of them by giving up some of another one. ...Why race design is the key factor in Stars!
One important technique for Stars ship design is the art of designing a ship type specifically in response to a known enemy ship type. This process is called ship counterdesign. Knowing how to counterdesign, and how to avoid making your own designs have easy counters, is an important part of stars expertise.
There are a great number of methods of counterdesign. This article is a discussion of some (most?) of them. But first, some detail on the guts of stars; understanding how some of these details work is necessary to understand why a method of counterdesign works.
The key scored Stars! element toward winning a game is resources. No, it's not the most important point-wise, or the most impressive necessarily, but if a player in your game starts getting a substantial lead in resources over you, and you don't have a good reason to expect your own to rise substantially, you should start to worry . . . A LOT.
As a general rule, in Stars! you don't ever _lose_ resources, just occasionally have them go somewhere you hadn't planned on. The only exception I can think of is taking Generalized Research, and then maxing out a tech level. You might as well write off that 15%, as I haven't been able to conclusively prove it goes anywhere else. The trick, then, is to have your resources go where you want them to, when you want them to, in the most effective manner.
Stars! 2.6's graphing function is more than just something pretty to look at, folks. Among other things, you can track the progress of major wars (by watching for dips in capital ship production, and planet #/resource #s), and get a better idea on who the top cat will be in the next ten years or so.
But the most useful function is the graph of resources vs. time. It's been argued whether or not resources are THE defining factor in a winning race, and personally I'm inclined to agree with this. But arguing this point is not the purpose of this article... this article is about using the resource graph to help design a successful high-production race.
I have a friend that I can always beat at chess. He has a critical weakness; if he loses his queen he panics and plays bad chess. I know that and so when I want to beat him I concentrate on taking his queen. Even if taking his queen will cost me greatly I know that I can do it and still beat him. The same thing applies in Stars! if you know your enemy you can predict his actions, and if you know him well you may be justified to take great risks or even losses to put him into his weak spot. If you always play with a few friends you can quickly come to know them and use this knowledge against them. However, most Stars! games are played via e-mail against people you've never met, or maybe you know one or two other players at most. So our goal is to glean as much information about the other players as possible, and use it against others.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Class of 2399: Build Defences. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, defences would be it. The long term benefits of defences has been proved by testbeds, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own, meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.
Ok Bi-Immunity cost lots but it gives some pretty big advantages too, like alot of 100% or very high value worlds which means each of you worlds will get heaps of resources ( no measly 10% worlds with only 200 factories ) and all most of your worlds will grow at max growth rate....
This is one of those that seems TOO obvious to me. That is, it is obvious that there are a large number of times when negotiating serves no useful purpose and yet I see other players engaging in these pointless dialogs. I suppose it is the opposite of the guy who negotiates with no one, the "I'll kill you all" fellow...
When I'd completed my first 2 pbem games I signed up for a third which would be force generated for 100 years before play began. Both the other games had finished after 100 years, and I was just getting to like commanding BBs with Doomsday missiles . It soon became apparent, however, that race design for force-gen games needed a completely different approach to normal race design...