Published on November 6, 2013 By Yarlen In Sins Developer Journals

I haven't written a developer journal in ages, but with the release of the Stellar Phenomena DLC for Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion today, I thought I'd give it a go. This DLC adds a number of elements to Sins that I've long thought of, so seeing it come into being has been a blast.  As with everything Sins, I worked closely with Ironclad in designing Stellar Phenomena, as did the rest of the team in creating it.  I love getting to work with Ironclad on this stuff, so the past couple months have been pretty sweet.

When we made Forbidden Worlds, our goals were pretty simple:  we wanted to add a little more specialization to planets, increase the types of planets in the game, and add in some more planet bonuses. Revising the planet textures during this process was a bonus, as was being able to more than double the number of planet bonuses available as a way to flesh out the Sins universe. Did you know that if you select a planet with a bonus and then hover your mouse over the slot in the lower left center of the UI that an Infocard will give you lore info on it?  Honestly, I didn't for a long time, but there's some cool stuff in there!

After the success of Forbidden Worlds, we started to think a lot on what we could do next in the Sins universe and we went back and forth brainstorming with Ironclad. As many Sins players know, we're very limited in what will safely 'fit' into what's left of our 32-bit (2 GB) memory limit, plus what will overtax the simulation and what we can actually accomplish with the time we have.  It's actually the #1 consideration we face right next to making sure we stay true to the Sins universe. 

One thing that we've always felt Sins needed more of were special, non-habitable gravity wells that had some kind of strategic significance on gameplay. To address this, we went in two directions by adding three new types of stars (Black Hole, Pulsar, and Neutron Star) and six new types of gravity well in the DLC (Comet, Antimatter Fountain, Radiation Storm, Ship Graveyard, Shattered Dwarf, and Ice Field). Each of these new areas has some kind of effect on passing vessels, or in the case of the Ship Graveyard, is a resource rich area to hold via its special outpost.

Another new feature we added in the DLC was random events. This is a feature that we've talked about for years as a way to force players to deal with situations they couldn't entirely foresee. Of course, since these events are potentially very...shall we say...disruptive, we've made this a gameplay option (enabled by default). Some of the events you may encounter are quite beneficial like the Economic Upturn that gives all players a big boost to income and trade; however, others may bite you if you're not careful. One of my favorites is Partisans, so you'd better watch out if you're going to lose a planet to culture!  Not all events are global or stationary either - some may move around the map, forcing you to re-evaluate your strategies. 

I and everyone at Stardock and Ironclad hope you enjoy Stellar Phenomena!


Comments (Page 1)
on Nov 06, 2013

Any ETA on Steam availability?

on Nov 06, 2013

Should be out at 2pm ET (15 minutes).

on Nov 06, 2013

Poised over the mouse...  ready to click...

 

My only concern is my Sacrifice of Angels mod.  

 

backs out of the room slowly...  (oh Great Bird of the Galaxy hear my plea)    

on Nov 06, 2013

Did you know that if you select a planet with a bonus and then hover your mouse over the slot in the lower left center of the UI that an Infocard will give you lore info on it?  Honestly, I didn't for a long time, but there's some cool stuff in there!

Same here, I had to ask why the devs (and myself) even bothered to write descriptions for these things in the string file before I found out.

on Nov 06, 2013


Did you know that if you select a planet with a bonus and then hover your mouse over the slot in the lower left center of the UI that an Infocard will give you lore info on it?  Honestly, I didn't for a long time, but there's some cool stuff in there!

Now I do.

Some nice things in there, but at the same time I wonder about the grammar in there sometimes after looking at 4 planets with bonuses. For some reason they just feel...wrong.(If you want I can write some down that I am wondering about)

 

on Nov 06, 2013

Im curious with the DLC will more achievements be added for the game like forbidden? 

on Nov 06, 2013

Sounds pretty awesome.  I will definitely get it once it's officially out on Steam.  I'm glad the devs are adding more to the game,  but the question is, should they continue on cool little addons or start on a Sins 2 (the introduction of the Vasari's nemesis along with a campaign/storyline compatible with both single and multiplayer, perhaps)?  

Gotta love brainstorming....

on Nov 06, 2013

upsurper

Im curious with the DLC will more achievements be added for the game like forbidden? 

No, no additional achievements were added with this one.

on Nov 06, 2013

KSSSWM
Sounds pretty awesome.  I will definitely get it once it's officially out on Steam.  I'm glad the devs are adding more to the game,  but the question is, should they continue on cool little addons or start on a Sins 2 (the introduction of the Vasari's nemesis along with a campaign/storyline compatible with both single and multiplayer, perhaps)?  

The people who would make Sins 2 is probably Ironclad, it seems they're helping a bit this time but I was under the impression most things since Rebellion have mainly been made by Stardock. So just because we get the DLCs doesn't mean those people would otherwise be making Sins 2.

on Nov 06, 2013

Looks like a good DLC.

 

Im looking forward as well to a 64 bit sins 2, where creativity and development isnt limited by that pesky 2GB ram limit that plagues so many a game.

on Nov 06, 2013

Developers, you keep surprising me. In most pleasant ways.

 

--> Bought!

on Nov 07, 2013

I, for one, will be happy to wave goodbye to 32-bit gaming. It is soooooooo frustrating to be hampered by RAM.

on Nov 07, 2013

Is it worth 5 bucks? Havent played sins in ages but this looks so awesome. I will get at at the Christmas-sale because I have no money on my Steamaccount left. Damn you Halloween!

on Nov 07, 2013

For 5$, I would say hell yes.

Most games release DLC's like these at double or more of the price. And with the amount of hours I played in SoASE:R I would buy it anyway(504 hours, though haven't played in a long while).

 

And yarlen I look forward to a day where sins(2) gets a 64 bit as well, I can fully understand how hard it must be to be hampered by limitations in software/hardware rather than imagination or people's capability.

Unless we suddenly hear something about a sins 2 I think it will have to wait for a bit.(Rubs his chin wondering if these DLCs are actually content developed in sins 2 but released already for us)

 

 

 

on Nov 07, 2013

This DLC provides what i wishing for in Sins2 When Rebellion was still a rumor. Random Events that change the whole gameplay dynamic.

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