How to play an Easy Introductory Game in the Pre-Warp Age of Shadows (Full Version)

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Erik Rutins -> How to play an Easy Introductory Game in the Pre-Warp Age of Shadows (5/26/2013 5:03:52 PM)

Hello,

Based on some forum questions, this is aimed at players who are new to Distant Worlds, have the entire series including the Shadows expansion and want an easy game setup to help learn the game. While the Age of Shadows is more challenging overall, the Pre-Warp era allows you to start small and has storyline elements that help you understand each part of your empire as you expand to the hyperspace interstellar empire of the Classic Age. As such, with some adjustments it can actually be a very friendly place for a new player.

The below screens give you the settings, screen by screen, that should give you an easy and relatively peaceful first game so that you can learn and explore in a pretty low stress galaxy.



[image]local://upfiles/9/11E130E2EE2E44BCA9270E3EE4C8BE62.jpg[/image]




Erik Rutins -> RE: How to play an Easy Game in the Pre-Warp Age of Shadows (5/26/2013 5:05:17 PM)

Note that I have changed the Galaxy Type to Irregular, the Galaxy Star Amount and Physical Size, the Aggression, Difficulty, Space Creatures and Pirates, including the Pirate Proximity and checking the box that says destroyed Pirates do not respawn.

[image]local://upfiles/9/DB34622C27AA431AAD651CEB0AE98EC8.jpg[/image]




Erik Rutins -> RE: How to play an Easy Game in the Pre-Warp Age of Shadows (5/26/2013 5:06:06 PM)

I've increased Colony Prevalence, slightly increased Colony Influence Range and turned on Enforce Colonization Range Limits.

[image]local://upfiles/9/0C514937D07A4697B6AF96E0505F8192.jpg[/image]




Erik Rutins -> RE: How to play an Easy Game in the Pre-Warp Age of Shadows (5/26/2013 5:09:52 PM)

I chose the Ackdarians. Almost any race will do, but the Ackdarians are one of the more straightforward to play. Their race victory conditions are not complex and they get better research and reduced ship maintenance. For a first time player, one of the more technologically advanced races (Ackdarian, Human, Kiaidian, Quameno, Zenox) or one of the mercantile races (Haakonish, Teekan, Ugnari) will probably be the easiest start in a peaceful galaxy.

[image]local://upfiles/9/044EC6DA9A354AFB8BF6B2E17C6D0E65.jpg[/image]




Erik Rutins -> RE: How to play an Easy Game in the Pre-Warp Age of Shadows (5/26/2013 5:11:21 PM)

The main changes here are that I changed the Galaxy Starting Location to Edge (being in the middle can be a bit more busy), changed the Home System to Excellent and chose Republic, a fairly forgiving government type.

[image]local://upfiles/9/5F98BEF17F074F4588903A7FEA3860BC.jpg[/image]




Erik Rutins -> RE: How to play an Easy Game in the Pre-Warp Age of Shadows (5/26/2013 5:13:23 PM)

I kept the victory conditions on but set them so that they would give you a very long game. So the percentages were set to 75, the Threshold to 100%, Victory Conditions apply after 99 years and I turned OFF The original Distant Worlds story, the Return of the Shakturi story and Disasters. I left Race events and the Shadows story events (which can help guide you through the pre-warp era) on.

[image]local://upfiles/9/ED8286AC3CA349A79BC2E2F83EF3AF9F.jpg[/image]




Erik Rutins -> RE: How to play an Easy Game in the Pre-Warp Age of Shadows (5/26/2013 5:15:42 PM)

Finally, some suggested beginning automation settings. You can access this screen by pressing the "O" key (for Options).

As you become more comfortable with the game or interested in controlling one area or another, you can turn off elements of automation through this screen and make your own decisions.

[image]local://upfiles/9/8386AD037B324868B4768B3113608919.jpg[/image]




AstroCat -> RE: How to play an Easy Game in the Pre-Warp Age of Shadows (5/26/2013 6:12:22 PM)

Thanks for this, being super new to the series I'll give this a go. What is the difference in choosing Play as Normal in Age of Shadows vs selecting Play as Normal in Classic?

Oh, and after I change all these settings, is there a way to easily get them back to the defaults?




Buio -> RE: How to play an Easy Game in the Pre-Warp Age of Shadows (5/26/2013 6:47:28 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: AstroCat
Oh, and after I change all these settings, is there a way to easily get them back to the defaults?

Someone can correct me if I'm wrong.

I believe the options are saved in the two files in the game data folder of current version.

Press Win + R hotkey and enter this in the dialog and click OK.
%appdata%\Code Force Limited\Distant Worlds\1.9.0.1

Windows explorer appears in the folder "1.9.0.1" and there are two files "automationPrefs" and "defaultOptions". If you remove them the game should reset your settings for options and automations.




AstroCat -> RE: How to play an Easy Game in the Pre-Warp Age of Shadows (5/26/2013 10:29:28 PM)

Thanks for the info, I'll give it a try.




henri51 -> RE: How to play an Easy Game in the Pre-Warp Age of Shadows (5/27/2013 12:00:47 AM)

after trying it out, it seems at first sight that instead of "Pre-warp", it is easier with "starting". When I tried with pre-warp, I had no ships at all, so I created a few constructors; I tried to queue a few explorers, but it seems that I did not have the required materials, so I sent out my constructors, but when they reached nearby planets, they could not determine which resources were there, so they were practically useless. Having nearby colonizable planets is no help because I cannot colonize or exploit them for a long time. So at least using this start, one should first build a couple of explorers to find out what resources are on the system planets.It looks to me like a player could stall his game without recourse if he is not careful with this start.I didn't play long enough to find out if I was really stalled or if my explorers would have come on line eventuallyk (they were not in the list when I quit).

Perhaps Eric you could add a screen or two to show the newbie the first move or so (for example to build a couple of explorers). Another mistake I made was to build a defence base on a colonizable planet before it was colonized, with the result that there were no people to work in the useless thing.

On "starting", the player gets a few ships of each main type, a few of the nearby planets are already explored, and if resources are set to "abundant", one has a good stock of starting resources. I have played this game for a few hours, after watching the first 3 movies of the "micro-management" series that starts off with a similar situation but that uses more difficult settings than I used.Having lots of resources at the start is really a big difference.Like in the video, I could quickly build a couple of fleets with two destroyers and two frigates, and a bunch of small ships to escort mine ships and others. There are enough resources to build a colony ship to colonize the nearby colonizable planets, and the two fleets are plenty enough to take on any pirates that show up.

The above videos (the link is in the videos list thread above) are good to understand the various screens and how to use them, in particular the ship list and the resources list.Although he plays at a more difficult level, this does not make a lot of difference for the early moves.

Henri




Raap -> RE: How to play an Easy Game in the Pre-Warp Age of Shadows (5/27/2013 12:14:45 AM)

Yeah, I think basically you should just build a space port and a couple of explorers, then wait a bit. Eventually, your explorers will discover resources and your private sector will build some mining ships. At that point you should start to get a steady influx of resources, so you can be less stingy with what you build.

Though for the slightly more experienced, I'd probably start out building some research stuff as well. You'll have a lot of untapped research potential at the start of the game, and the sooner you can tap it the better position you'll be in later.




Bingeling -> RE: How to play an Easy Game in the Pre-Warp Age of Shadows (5/27/2013 12:18:38 AM)

Raap is right. In addition, putting everything on suggest, should suggest you through the opening stages just fine. Both with spaceport, explorers, research stations, construction ship... And some military.




peddroelm -> RE: How to play an Easy Game in the Pre-Warp Age of Shadows (5/27/2013 10:41:39 AM)

Age of Shadows Empire start - mini guide/ concepts explained ...


As a newcomer to the franchise I would like to share a few concepts with the other newbies that are trying to get into the game and are completely lost like I was at first ..


General concepts :

Winning requires controlling huge areas of space (will need tons of space-bases (various types), military ships, ground troops ..etc)
NO 1 city/colony challenges a la Civilisation V here ...

Controlling wast amounts of space gives access to enough types of luxury resources your empire will need to function at peak efficiency ..
Building all of those will require tons of resources ... Most of those resources will have to be mined by your empire..
So add tons of mining bases and mining ships to the victory requirements ...And the tons and tons of support ships required to build and shuffle it all around ..

For all those (BOTH state and civilian) YOU (state) will (ultimately) have to be able to pay the initial purchase price (money sink) and ever increasing maintenance costs (huge money sink)..

================

So how do you pay for all that ??

Main income source/generator in the game will be colonies/planets... To the point, early-med game your home-world will provide most of your income...
(later in the game research trading kind a breaks the game with massive cash influx (think they should rebalance it a bit)) ..

VERY IMPORTANT: PLANETARY TAXES ARE A LIE ... NO MATTER THE TAX LEVEL YOU ALWAYS GET ALL THE MONEY YOUR COLONY(es) GENERATES ...
(this should come as a hell of a surprise to most newcomers to the series)...
Take a moment to let it sink in: NO MATTER THE TAX LEVEL YOU ALWAYS GET ALL THE MONEY ... (* late game small portions will be lost to corruption)

So what does the (colony) TAX setting represent ?

The listed percentage of the tax (collected) goes to your pocket (STATE POCKET)...THE REST OF IT GOES TO YOUR OTHER POCKET (PRIVATE POCKET) ...
game call those pockets "state cash in hand" and "civilian cash in hand"

- you use YOUR State pocket to pay for new purchases, tributes, state assets maintenance/retrofits (space-ports, military ships, construction ships, ..etc)..
- you use YOUR Civilian pocket to pay for civilian assets maintenance (mining bases, freighters , etc ...)

(I call it YOUR civilian pocket because you can transfer (all) money from it at will (not very democratic) )
HOW DO YOU MOVE/TRANSFER THE MONEY FROM THE CIVILIAN POCKET TO THE STATE POCKET ?

Every time the civilian sector (forced automated) buys/retrofits assets - CASH MOVES FROM CIVILIAN POCKET TO STATE POCKET..

You cannot control civilian new acquisitions quite directly -> but indirectly you are the main driving factor (by expanding you create the need for more civilian support ships )
BUT YOU CAN more DIRECTLY CONTROL civilian ships&bases retrofits .. obsolete the current model // design a new one - civilians will soon be forced to retrofit(pay you) the old models and scrap&buy the new ones from YOU ...


This is not a very delicate control lever ... HANDLE WITH CARE: IT IS VERY EASY TO BANKRUPT YOUR PRIVATE SECTOR BY INFLATING CIVILIAN MAINTENANCE COSTS (past the initial stages of the game) ... (you can get big $ short term when they buy expensive designs from you but then the huge maintenance cost bankrupts them and ultimately kills you in the not so long run as they start scrapping your infrastructure because they can no longer afford it)

When civilians run out of money they no longer afford to buy new stuff from you ...If strapped for cash they will start scrapping things like freighters ..
Without freighters to shift resources/people around your empire is effectively dead in the water..

Maintenance cost for the civilian pockets is ultimately prayed from your pockets (money spent on ever growing civilian assets maintenance can no longer be repossessed for other purposes)...

------------
Going back a bit EARLY ON -> all the money generated by your home-world goes into your imperial pockets and it makes for most of the income ..

How do you increase your colony's cash output ? There are a couple of complex factors/mechanics not completely clear to me yet game calls colony development and colony culture ..
Without enough cash in the civilian pocket (MORE IMPORTANTLY POSITIVE CIVILIAN CASH-FLOW as you are going to try and repossess most of the excess) -> they cannot support empire expansion ...

What it mostly boils down to early game is population...
GROW COLONY POPULATION -> GROW COLONY INCOME (and research potential) -> OPEN OUT ABILITY TO EXPAND/CONTROL MORE SPACE ..

Population growth depends of course on race, race related events (some races have increased growth cycles), approval,temporary empire events,temporary colony events

Tools available to you early game to increase population growth are
-colony TAX level (LOWER THE TAX (+approval) higher the grow rate) (you'll just have to be good at getting the money back from the civilian pocket)
-few happiness (approval ?) boosting space-port modules (medical/recreation).. Should have at least a stripped down small space-port at every colony for those modules alone ..
-access to special luxuries (early game you either have them or you don't).. As you expand you will get more and more of them


BEST INDICATOR WHEN YOU ARE (ECONOMICALLY) CONSIDERING CAPTURING/SETTLING A NEW COLONY IS THE CIVILIAN CASH FLOW ..If highly positive it means they can afford buying and maintaining the extra infrastructure caused by the new expansion ... If civilian cash flow is negative you're in BIG trouble (see where the biggest maintenance drain is and try to force retrofit/replace with a much cheaper one) ...

/////////////////////////
A few words about research:

There are a few critical techs required to be able to branch out of your home system (when your home-world grows enough and starts to generate enough $) and they are mostly in the energy tab.
(warp engines, bigger ship hulls ,.. ) ..(focus to energy tab early would be beneficial)

IN THIS GAME YOU CANNOT CONTROL RESEARCH FOCUS FROM THE GAME INTERFACE (ex 90% Weapons 5% Energy 5% Hightech)...
Game will split total empire research potential in proportion with build laboratory space for each research branch ..
You can control that by building new labs & retrofits but I feel its a bit of extra micromanagement the game could have done without ..Sliders in the interface would have taken care of that much better/simpler/intuitively from a game design point of view ..










Peter Fisla -> RE: How to play an Easy Game in the Pre-Warp Age of Shadows (5/27/2013 3:14:36 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: henri51

after trying it out, it seems at first sight that instead of "Pre-warp", it is easier with "starting". When I tried with pre-warp, I had no ships at all, so I created a few constructors; I tried to queue a few explorers, but it seems that I did not have the required materials, so I sent out my constructors, but when they reached nearby planets, they could not determine which resources were there, so they were practically useless. Having nearby colonizable planets is no help because I cannot colonize or exploit them for a long time. So at least using this start, one should first build a couple of explorers to find out what resources are on the system planets.It looks to me like a player could stall his game without recourse if he is not careful with this start.I didn't play long enough to find out if I was really stalled or if my explorers would have come on line eventuallyk (they were not in the list when I quit).

Perhaps Eric you could add a screen or two to show the newbie the first move or so (for example to build a couple of explorers). Another mistake I made was to build a defence base on a colonizable planet before it was colonized, with the result that there were no people to work in the useless thing.

On "starting", the player gets a few ships of each main type, a few of the nearby planets are already explored, and if resources are set to "abundant", one has a good stock of starting resources. I have played this game for a few hours, after watching the first 3 movies of the "micro-management" series that starts off with a similar situation but that uses more difficult settings than I used.Having lots of resources at the start is really a big difference.Like in the video, I could quickly build a couple of fleets with two destroyers and two frigates, and a bunch of small ships to escort mine ships and others. There are enough resources to build a colony ship to colonize the nearby colonizable planets, and the two fleets are plenty enough to take on any pirates that show up.

The above videos (the link is in the videos list thread above) are good to understand the various screens and how to use them, in particular the ship list and the resources list.Although he plays at a more difficult level, this does not make a lot of difference for the early moves.

Henri



Hi hneri51,

I'm completely new to Distant Worlds as well though I had a blast this weekend playing the game. I chose the following:

Normal Empire Classical Age
Galaxy = Elliptical
Star Amount = Huge
Physical size = Huge
Expansion = PreWarp
Research Costs = Normal
Aggression = Normal
Space Creatures = Normal
Difficulty = Normal
Pirates = Normal
Destroyed Pirates do not respawn = Checked
Colony Prevalence = Normal
Independent Alien Life = Normal
Colony Influence Range = default
My race = Human
Home System = Excellent
Tech Level = PreWarp
Corruption = Low
My empire = Republic

Victory Conditions
All events enabled except Shadows story events (this can not be enabled since I chose Classical Age)
Victory Conditions apply after 99 years; no other changes on this screen.

I start the game, I let the AI control everything. What I do in the beginning I just simply construct Energy Research Station on my home planet, then HiTech Research Station, Weapon Research Station and few defense stations. Of course at the beginning my empire has very limited resources but I let the AI worry about that...over time the AI will ask you to build Constructor ships, Explorer ships etc and you simply allow the AI to build these ships. The trick is to simply let the AI do the work and you watch and learn. After while the basic construction will start, if you get messages that some resources are not available don't worry about that as the mining ships will bring in more resources soon.

The problem I always had with these 4x space games was that there was just too much micro management by default and I got bored fast. With Distant World, yes there is still complexity but you let the AI handle everything and you just get involved in the things that you like. For example at the beginning I took one explore ship and just went to explored the map around my empire. All I was manually controlling just one ship...gradually over time I can manually control more areas of the game. The most important thing to remember in other games you had to control everything in order to play the game...in Distant Worlds you let the AI handle everything at the beginning and you slowly take control of various things only later as you learn. This makes Distant Worlds a great game for me! (+ the fact that Distant Worlds feels like 4x space simulation than a game...I love this feature as well).

What I like about starting the game in preWarp era, you start with nothing and you slowly see/learn over time how your empire expands. Otherwise I think for the new player the game it's too busy, too many empire/other empire cargo/military ships fly around...

I hope this helps!




henri51 -> RE: How to play an Easy Game in the Pre-Warp Age of Shadows (5/27/2013 6:20:23 PM)

Yes that is one way of doing it. For my case, I find that the easiest way (after playing a bit and watching some videos etc) is to play as Eric recommends with an early tech level and to control everything myself except a few things, so that I can figure out what each screen does and how to do the simple things like explore, build mines, and research. I guess there is more than one way to skin a cat, especially one as complex as this kitty. But it IS fun to learn when one makes it as simple as possible. I do agree that a new player should use one of the two extremes (early tech or everything on auto) to avoid confusion and big mistakes (such as I did when I sent a construction ship to build a mine at an unexplored planet, tried to colonize before I had researched colonization, or tried to send an explorer to a nearby star system before having hyperdrives, or sending a fleet to attack a long distance away where they arrive piecemeal).

Henri





MizzouRah0971 -> RE: How to play an Easy Game in the Pre-Warp Age of Shadows (6/2/2013 9:18:04 PM)

So is Erik suggesting starting with Normal in Age of Shadows or selecting Play as Normal in Classic? Normal in Age of Shadows is highlighted, but the game says n00b's should start in the classic age?




Bingeling -> RE: How to play an Easy Game in the Pre-Warp Age of Shadows (6/2/2013 10:07:28 PM)

It has been assumed that classic age is easier to get into, but new players have given feedback that a Shadows start is nice, as there is less going on at the start.

Erik then wrote this as "how to set up an easy Shadows start". You can use some of the same things if you want a easy classic game for starters.




MizzouRah0971 -> RE: How to play an Easy Game in the Pre-Warp Age of Shadows (6/2/2013 10:32:06 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Bingeling

It has been assumed that classic age is easier to get into, but new players have given feedback that a Shadows start is nice, as there is less going on at the start.

Erik then wrote this as "how to set up an easy Shadows start". You can use some of the same things if you want a easy classic game for starters.


Thank you.




tylertoo -> RE: How to play an Easy Game in the Pre-Warp Age of Shadows (6/4/2013 2:32:48 AM)

Erik, your nice suggested start fails to list how many other empires you create, and with what setting. In other words, the "Start a New Game: Other Empires" screen is missing. Even if we auto-generate opponents, how many should we do?




Erik Rutins -> RE: How to play an Easy Game in the Pre-Warp Age of Shadows (6/4/2013 2:46:10 AM)

Whoops, not sure how I missed posting that!

If I recall correctly, I set it to two other empires and set them to "Distant". It's fine to let the AI decide which species/governments, given the other settings.




tylertoo -> RE: How to play an Easy Game in the Pre-Warp Age of Shadows (6/4/2013 3:56:18 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Erik Rutins

If I recall correctly, I set it to two other empires and set them to "Distant". It's fine to let the AI decide which species/governments, given the other settings.


Thanks for clarifying. Perhaps an edit to add this to the end of post #4 or the start of post #5 (where the missing screen would appear) would help newcomers who stop by this thread.

Just two other empires? I suppose this would give a new player plenty of time to build up an empire without being nagged or hassled. But it seems kind of low given the size of galaxy. I'm still somewhat new, and really want to learn the systems better, so I'm going to give it a try).






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