Friday, April 1, 2016

Star Ruler - Initial Thoughts

About the Game (From the Steam Store Page)

Take command of a vast interstellar empire and safeguard your species from total extinction in a procedurally generated 3D galaxy (with the option to flatten it) from 1 System to 10,000+! Prove your species' ingenuity through a deep and intricate combat system where anything (from individual components on ships to the stars themselves) is a target of opportunity.

Twist other Empires into submitting to your galaxy-class wit with diplomacy and wheel-and-deal your way to supremacy.

Research new kinds of weapons, engines, shields, and more, all of which retain their unique benefits as the game progresses, with a research web whose contents are shuffled every game at your option.

Exploit interstellar phenomena such as asteroid belts and stars and exploit them for yourself or destroy them to deny your foes. Create and destroy new worlds through advanced technological research.

Match your strategy against up to 10 other opponents (online or LAN-linked). Save the game when dawn breaks and boot it back up at dusk. It isn't over until you say it is! Drop in and drop out at any point; disconnecting players will not disrupt the game!

Your weapons, your ships, your rules: Almost the entire game can be modified through Notepad! Easily add new models and particle effects to the game with “out-of-the-box” developer tools. Create new weapons in seconds; create new AIs through scripts! The Galaxy is yours!

Previous Playtime

79 minutes

What Was I Thinking When I Bought This

I got this game back in a period when I was shopping heavily and compulsively, so I didn't really have a great reason for buying it. I'd been periodically following conversations about various 4X games and the Star Ruler series came up in a favorable light several times, so when it went on sale I bought it.

That said, it was one of my more confident purchases. You can build ringworlds! I love sci-fi megastructures and not enough games have them, so I'll pretty much jump on any game that throws them in. It's a real draw for my builder instincts.

Expectations and Prior Experience

I played the tutorial twice. The game crashed about 90% of the way through. Of course, I had no way of knowing that at the time, so I had to start from scratch just in case.

Random bugs notwithstanding, what I saw of Star Ruler has filled me with optimism. The game looks nice and complicated with plenty of planetary development and logistics. My only worry is that it also seems very military-focused and so it might be a situation similar to the Age of Empires series, where I like a lot of the game, but not its overall strategic goals. I want to explore and tinker with planets, and if the game lets me do that without forcing me to constantly defend my borders against one annoyance after another, I expect I'll like it a lot.

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