Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Space Empires V - 6/20 hours

Well, there's been a lot of clicking "next turn." And, inexplicably, Space Empires V repeats Space Empires IV's godawful "click again to confirm you really want to end your turn" policy. Damnit, SEV, if I wasn't sure I wanted to end my turn, why did I press the fucking button? The confirmation coming up when I have unspent research points or ships with remaining movement is good. Very helpful, and I appreciate it, truly. But the utility of the "feature" in every other circumstance is dubious at best. I suppose, theoretically, that I may forget to perform some action at a higher level of strategy than the game is capable of detecting, like designing a new ship or scrapping some of my old building to refocus a particular planet's mission, but even in that situation, it's more likely that I've gotten so used to double clicking as my standard end-of-turn ritual that I'd just glide past the confirmation and make the exact same mistake the confirmation was implemented to prevent.

Ah well, enough grousing. The Space Empires series has a terrible UI. If that were a deal-breaker, I'd have given up on it long ago. You know what I really like? That's right, optimizing my construction and research orders! And Space Empires V definitely delivers in the tedious micromanagement department (readers who are new to the blog might assume this paragraph is sarcasm, but I assure you, I mean it as the highest of praise). Six hours in, I haven't made contact with any of the AI empires, and I'm utterly engrossed.

See, this game has the biggest and most complex tech tree of any game I've ever played. There's dozens of different technologies, each of which can have up to a hundred different levels (though they run the gamut - some have only one level). And unless you are familiar with the trees beforehand, there's no telling when a particular tech will end, or when it will unlock a totally new facility or component or when it will branch off and give you a completely new technology to research. What is certain is that each level of every tech will at least give you something. All of the buildings and components have their own levels, increasing in effectiveness as you rise through their associated technologies (but you don't get the boost until you manually upgrade the stuff, resulting in yet more micromanagement). What's more, you can actually divide your research up among technologies as finely as 1%, and while I certainly wouldn't recommend trying to research 100 different techs simultaneously, it's nice to have the option.

The only downside to this technology and infrastructure paradise I find myself in is that I'm becoming increasingly convinced that going through the full tech tree on my own will do little to help me in the "real" game. Yes, I'm getting a feel for the general "shape" of a civilization's development, but there are so many branches and paths that I'm not sure I could make the necessary tradeoffs or manage the inevitable risks that would come with having aggressive AI neighbors.

Still, I have a long way to go before I get to the end of the tech tree (seriously, in terms of research points to spend, I think I may be about halfway there - and that's with the research cost set to "low"), and so maybe I'll reach 20 hours without having to give it serious thought.

No comments:

Post a Comment