Two new articles about Distant Worlds 2

The Galaxy Lives On! Distant Worlds, the critically acclaimed 4X space strategy game is back with a brand new 64-bit engine, 3D graphics and a polished interface to begin an epic new Distant Worlds series with Distant Worlds 2. Distant Worlds 2 is a vast, pausable real-time 4X space strategy game. Experience the full depth and detail of turn-based strategy, but with the simplicity and ease of real-time, and on the scale of a massively-multiplayer online game.

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Retreat1970
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RE: Two new articles about Distant Worlds 2

Post by Retreat1970 »

Just to argue (and I love to argue because I learn so much), aren't all games "king of the hill" games? Militarily, economically, diplomatically, etc...? I don't think I've ever played a game to be second, but that does give me a scenario idea where I'm a larger powers vassal. I do love the role play.
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RE: Two new articles about Distant Worlds 2

Post by beyondwudge »

I think DWU is a fun game. Often, I let the AI just play for me and watch what it does. I think for any game that has a built-in one-click game editor / cheat menu in main functions bar, I'm guessing the developers want me to have a blast playing with the system.

Anyways, if you guys think the game is about competition or fine-balancing, then be my guest, knock yourself out trying to game it. :) I can remember when I used to do that sort of thing.

Be sure to post pictures of what you guys find out. I'm sure a lot of people would enjoy it.
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RE: Two new articles about Distant Worlds 2

Post by Jorgen_CAB »

ORIGINAL: Retreat1970

Just to argue (and I love to argue because I learn so much), aren't all games "king of the hill" games? Militarily, economically, diplomatically, etc...? I don't think I've ever played a game to be second, but that does give me a scenario idea where I'm a larger powers vassal. I do love the role play.

That is the thing.. it is not... you just assume that people play to just "win"... there does not have to be a single person "winning" not in a game like this. Not if you treat it as an empire simulation game which you can use it as such.

So no... king of the hill... is not a good judge for ultimate strategy as it produce artificial competition that often produce gamey behaviours in empire decisions such as diplomacy that are not "realistic"... all because there ultimately need to be a "winner".
There is a big difference between playing as this is your only real life, in life you only get the one chance to do it right if your life is at stake. That is the difference between competition and real life and if you treat the game as a simulation that is how you treat your decision making... that it the difference between role-play and competition... in competition you always get a second chance, a next game.

Very simply put... is your main goal to play the journey or the destination?
In competition (king of the hill type games) it is the destination... I would only ever play with friends that treat the journey as the main goal of playing the game which produce the most interesting tactical challenges and it is as "competitive" but in a different way that in my opinion is more dynamic. There also don't need to be a winner and you can play in a much bigger galaxies and games can span over allot more time as the point is producing a fun story. Problem is to organise such multi-player games is allot harder.
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RE: Two new articles about Distant Worlds 2

Post by beyondwudge »

And think just how much effort it is for the developers to listen and cater for all the different ways people play their game. I think they've done a great job so far.
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RE: Two new articles about Distant Worlds 2

Post by Retreat1970 »

ORIGINAL: beyondwudge

And think just how much effort it is for the developers to listen and cater for all the different ways people play their game. I think they've done a great job so far.

No kidding. I haven't played any other game for 10 years even MMO's. Kudos.

To Jorgen: I guess for me it's both the journey and destination, but there has to be an end eventually or there are no new beginnings. Multiplayer would work if there was some sort of lobby where someone would host a game with his rules and people could accept the rules and join. something like: "2 player 700 star co-op vs 8 AI no tech trading no Quameno" or whatever you get the idea. Then you could play with friends the way you want. Game speed would be adjustable by consensus and windows wouldn't pause.
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RE: Two new articles about Distant Worlds 2

Post by Webbco »

ORIGINAL: Jorgen_CAB

ORIGINAL: Retreat1970

Just to argue (and I love to argue because I learn so much), aren't all games "king of the hill" games? Militarily, economically, diplomatically, etc...? I don't think I've ever played a game to be second, but that does give me a scenario idea where I'm a larger powers vassal. I do love the role play.

That is the thing.. it is not... you just assume that people play to just "win"... there does not have to be a single person "winning" not in a game like this. Not if you treat it as an empire simulation game which you can use it as such.

So no... king of the hill... is not a good judge for ultimate strategy as it produce artificial competition that often produce gamey behaviours in empire decisions such as diplomacy that are not "realistic"... all because there ultimately need to be a "winner".
There is a big difference between playing as this is your only real life, in life you only get the one chance to do it right if your life is at stake. That is the difference between competition and real life and if you treat the game as a simulation that is how you treat your decision making... that it the difference between role-play and competition... in competition you always get a second chance, a next game.

Very simply put... is your main goal to play the journey or the destination?
In competition (king of the hill type games) it is the destination... I would only ever play with friends that treat the journey as the main goal of playing the game which produce the most interesting tactical challenges and it is as "competitive" but in a different way that in my opinion is more dynamic. There also don't need to be a winner and you can play in a much bigger galaxies and games can span over allot more time as the point is producing a fun story. Problem is to organise such multi-player games is allot harder.
For me it's the destination. I work with young people all day long which is all about the "journey". Therefore when I come home and want to relax I want something which will have a clear beginning and end where I win, even if the ending comes several days later!
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RE: Two new articles about Distant Worlds 2

Post by Jorgen_CAB »

ORIGINAL: Webbco

For me it's the destination. I work with young people all day long which is all about the "journey". Therefore when I come home and want to relax I want something which will have a clear beginning and end where I win, even if the ending comes several days later!

I have to also state there is no right and wrong in these two approaches, just that mixing players who expect different things probably is a bad idea.
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RE: Two new articles about Distant Worlds 2

Post by zgrssd »

ORIGINAL: Retreat1970
This is wrong thinking and I'll try and explain. Someone else could probably do better. It's the quantity vs quality argument. Which is better? Well for example if I have 1 ship at lets say 500 power (better shields, speed, an weapons) and you come at me with 5 100 power ships it sounds even, but it isn't. As my 1 ship destroys your ships 1 by 1 my power stays 500 (granted less shields but undamaged) while your power decreases by 100 for every ship lost. At the end I may have a damaged ship but I still have a ship and you do not. Also it's hyperbole that your economy would be "leagues more robust" than mine. Better, maybe, leagues I think not.
This would be a good argument. Except DW1 had component based damage. And I asume DW2 has too.

You get a bit of mileage from shields and armor having to be overcome first. But afterwards, your weapons, jammer and sensors will fail from damage while my 3 ships still have full firepower.

In fact, you might be at a disadvantage as you have to retarget on a new ship, overkill ships with a slow firing weapon, etc.

ORIGINAL: Jorgen_CAB
It is probably going to be different enough that you can't just point to DWU for any particular strategy in detail, for that you will just have to wait and see.
Exactly what I am trying to point out. It just does not seem to reach.

ORIGINAL: beyondwudge

And think just how much effort it is for the developers to listen and cater for all the different ways people play their game. I think they've done a great job so far.
And that was with them being limited by the design debt in DW1. 64bit and a modern UI design can be such a game changer.
DW2 Poll:
"Should the Civil and non-Combat Ships loose all or most of their weapon slots?"
https://www.matrixgames.com/forums/view ... 1&t=382690
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RE: Two new articles about Distant Worlds 2

Post by Jorgen_CAB »

ORIGINAL: Retreat1970
To Jorgen: I guess for me it's both the journey and destination, but there has to be an end eventually or there are no new beginnings. Multiplayer would work if there was some sort of lobby where someone would host a game with his rules and people could accept the rules and join. something like: "2 player 700 star co-op vs 8 AI no tech trading no Quameno" or whatever you get the idea. Then you could play with friends the way you want. Game speed would be adjustable by consensus and windows wouldn't pause.

Well, there really don't have to be an ending if the journey is all you care about. Personally I NEVER play games like this to the end... I usually get bored of my empire long before that happen and just start a new game.

When I think I reached my goals to the degree I like that is it, time for a new game and new challenges.

This is what happens in many other games with my small dedicated MP group of players when we play strategy games as well. When we think the game have given us the enjoyment enough it is more interesting to start a new game than play it to its eventual conclusion, even if there is no clear winner... probably one or two potential winners... but that is not important and is not important to everyone.

Just don't conflate competitive or difficult with these different play-styles, they are equally difficult and competitive, just with different rule sets. We don't play Cooperative play, we just don't need one person to win... there can be more than one person to claim that at the end or not, nothing is declared from the start, no teams or anything. Sure... if you play a WW2 strategy game there are no real freedom of diplomacy so sides are set and it is a different thing. But a sandbox game like DW is not set in stone.
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RE: Two new articles about Distant Worlds 2

Post by beyondwudge »

It seems to me that there are at least three basic kinds of wargame flavour. Games that focus on certainty. Games that focus on fun. Games that focus on logic. Games that focus on certainty often do well with systems of quick and exact measurement, using squares as a fundamental unit of space. Games that focus on fun often do well with simple, concrete, uncomplicated systems of measurement, favouring literal points, lines and circles as fundamental units of space. Games that focus on logic do well with systems that handle irregularity and imbalance between elements, favouring triangles and hexagons as the basic unit of measurement.

However, it also seems to me that there is only one kind of commercially successful wargame. Games that give you a mix of all three flavours.

The market for wargames is simply too segmented to amass enough players for a single flavour. Indeed, the 'war' in wargames makes it extremely difficult to represent all the elements of war with one flavour. '4X' games are simply wargames that are deliberately trying to give a better mix of flavours in each playthrough than older campaign or scenario driven titles. I think the commercial success of 4X games compared with older games offers some credibility to my conclusion: if you don't give a variety of flavours you will lose players to other games with more ambition in this area.

I think Distant Worlds is a game of real ambition, as is Shadow Empire and a number of other new wargame titles in the last decade. I also think that many of the player-bases that are trying these ambitious titles out are colliding with each other because they used to games being much more specific in flavour. They are used to not needing to accomodate anyone that plays the game differently.

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RE: Two new articles about Distant Worlds 2

Post by beyondwudge »

For example, take a game like Valor and Victory. I just started playing it. From what I have seen of the most basic scenario, with the most basic units, is it is a logic game. It has hexes signifying the unevenness of the mechanics and factional balance. It seems that good performance from my play relies upon in-depth knowledge of how each mechanism works, including of the turn counter and its victory conditions.

There are a few ways to approach a logic game. One of them is to sit and read extensively, working through each mechanic and what its possible outcomes are and weighing them in your mind until you formulate a winning strategy, this we could call by theory. Another one is to sit and try something simple, see how it works by sheer repetition, give weight to the tactic and then try something new, this we could call by experiment. A third way might be to read a forum or game-guide and see what other players have worked out through experience, this we could call by community.

Right now, I am trying an experimental approach. It relies upon repetition. The game's user-interface is starting to irritate me, because it has put in numerous dialog boxes (that I have to click through every turn) and delays (usually for sound, that I must wait for to end with minor visual feedback). However, I use irritate in a technical fashion, like a rough surface irritates the skin on your hand. Is it the game's UI that is the problem or is it my approach, refusing to seek out the manual or the help of a community? Am I just rushing because I'm impatient, or is do I have a personal aversion to the sheer randomness of the gameplay?

Indeed, look at my emotional language as I start to talk about the game. Look at the adjectives I'm starting to use, the describing words giving a particular tilt to the observations I'm making. I'm not being very impartial. Logic games aren't something I easily enjoy.

However, the reason why I am playing the game isn't really the point. Whether I enjoy it or like it's mechanics aren't the point. My reaction though is and that can be generalised to many other games, like Distant Worlds. Should I get on the Valor and Victory forum and beginning lobbying for changes that fit how I want to play the game? Is my irritation really that important -- compared with the fun all the other people are having who are fine with it? Maybe I shouldn't be trying to experiment so quickly, or indeed, be using an experimental approach at all. Then I'm not irritated anymore and I might enjoy the game more. I really can just play the game differently and try the experimental method with some other game more suited to it.

I think players are complicated as all people are and it isn't easy to always work out what they want or what, more curiously, will actually satisfy their needs and resolve their problems.

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RE: Two new articles about Distant Worlds 2

Post by Jorgen_CAB »

Well... I agree that we all seek different things in games, that is just the nature of personal choice and preference.

A game such as Distant Worlds obviously is a hybrid between fun and a logical game and you probably will embrace both of these approaches to enjoy the game. How much you enjoy the fun versus the logic is obviously different for different players I guess. I do feel bad for the people that skip on the fun part though and just stick to logic... but I can't say it is wrong. I do think though there are better games out there if you are a logic junkie. If you completely ignore the logic part of the game I think is less problematic but again not wrong, but I do think you get more out of game like DW going for the Fun angle rather than the Logic angle. Games like these often have unbalanced elements in them by design (that is the fun part) which will limit the logical choices in the game to some degree. We also quite often see the Gamers who rely mostly on logic complain on those elements. Too much balance often produce less fun... such as making it more bland or simply too much rock/paper/scissor type balance.

That is at least my opinions on the matter... personally I'm about 1/3 logic and 2/3 fun focus in games such as DW... I also happen to really love pure logical games and board games especially. But I want such games to be pure logical with a nice theme (theme is always important to me as that touches the fun gene in me), but I need those games to be pure logic.
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RE: Two new articles about Distant Worlds 2

Post by beyondwudge »

Well, here is an interesting question. In DWU, when you construct a ship on a planet with all the necessary resources, is the build time variable or constant? That is to say, is the build time different each time you click 'build' or does it always take the same amount of time?

Another question, when you have some process in the game like mining that happens every X days, is the number of days for each mining cycle the same or does it differ each time?

You might delve a little deeper and find a whole lot of squares hidden away in the mechanics of the game. A lot of certainty and a lot of predictability. On the surface, there are logical questions like "each tech at a particular tier is uneven in effect, which one of these should I get first" and fun interactions like multiple fleets all warping in from different directions into one fight, each ship coming in one by one in a literal manner from the direction they enter the location from at the exact frames (time) the game engine calculates they'd arrive on. However, under the hood there seems to be a lot of very regular, certain interactions between the game elements that makes those logical and fun elements happen consistently.

If you messed with those certainties, you might find the logic and fun parts would start to break or at least, become so difficult to follow that you'd be left confused by what is going on most of the time.
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RE: Two new articles about Distant Worlds 2

Post by Jorgen_CAB »

In DWU it is very difficult to make absolute prediction on most things as almost everything is at some point dependent on some random roll somewhere. You might be able to predict how much resources you get from a mining station but you can't accurately predict when and where that resource will be available for construction. The same goes for building a ship, it can be difficult to know if a certain place will have enough resources at the right time to build what you intended, this could unexpectedly extend the time it takes to build something.

Even if you have some mechanic that are predictable they are so dependent on other more unpredictable elements it is really hard to make accurate prediction in that sense. I think, for the most part, you play the game more from a macro scale rather than micro scale, at least in terms of long time planning. You try to minimize the random element as good as you can, but it is really difficult to eliminate the unpredictability in the logistic system for example.

The same goes for the order in which you research technologies as well, I think this is as much a decision in fun as it is logic, it is almost impossible to know which are the best technology to research at any given point.

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RE: Two new articles about Distant Worlds 2

Post by beyondwudge »

How well do have you explored the underlying mechanics? I mean, I'm still working them out so perhaps you have more knowledge than I do. Are you sure they are dependent on random rolls?

Complicated systems aren't unpredictable by default. In fact, even systems that rely upon pseudo-random number generation can exhibit predictable trends. There is a gross distinction between "you can't tell how many resources will be on a planet at a given time" and "you can tell how many will probably be there, within a given plus or minus range" to "you can't be sure the exact number but there will always be more than enough for the given magnitude of request".

For instance, it might not be easy to determine when a rim world planet will receive what it needs for a project but it is easy to determine that a core world with an enormous stockpile can handle a certain class of requests of a certain order of magnitude. Likewise, it might not be easy to determine when a rim world receives certain resources, but that if you send in a certain number or type of request, that under peaceful circumstances (no blockades for example) that you could plot the probability of resource fulfillment vs time and establish an upper and lower bound, to some level of accuracy such as 95%.

What I mean is this, you could break down a lot of the 'random' parts of the game into various common classes of situation and test them numerically and statistically to establish within a good degree of certainty what will happen. This is how the very computer you are using works. Electrically, there is a phenomenal amount of complication but by dividing the problem up into numerous parts and working through them one by one you have CPUs that can operate at a few billion arithmetic cycles per second.
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RE: Two new articles about Distant Worlds 2

Post by LordMM »

It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly, than to live somebody else's life with perfection.
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RE: Two new articles about Distant Worlds 2

Post by beyondwudge »

Looks great. :)
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RE: Two new articles about Distant Worlds 2

Post by Jorgen_CAB »

ORIGINAL: beyondwudge

How well do have you explored the underlying mechanics? I mean, I'm still working them out so perhaps you have more knowledge than I do. Are you sure they are dependent on random rolls?

Complicated systems aren't unpredictable by default. In fact, even systems that rely upon pseudo-random number generation can exhibit predictable trends. There is a gross distinction between "you can't tell how many resources will be on a planet at a given time" and "you can tell how many will probably be there, within a given plus or minus range" to "you can't be sure the exact number but there will always be more than enough for the given magnitude of request".

For instance, it might not be easy to determine when a rim world planet will receive what it needs for a project but it is easy to determine that a core world with an enormous stockpile can handle a certain class of requests of a certain order of magnitude. Likewise, it might not be easy to determine when a rim world receives certain resources, but that if you send in a certain number or type of request, that under peaceful circumstances (no blockades for example) that you could plot the probability of resource fulfillment vs time and establish an upper and lower bound, to some level of accuracy such as 95%.

What I mean is this, you could break down a lot of the 'random' parts of the game into various common classes of situation and test them numerically and statistically to establish within a good degree of certainty what will happen. This is how the very computer you are using works. Electrically, there is a phenomenal amount of complication but by dividing the problem up into numerous parts and working through them one by one you have CPUs that can operate at a few billion arithmetic cycles per second.

It really does not matter... pretty much everything in the universe is predictable when you get down to it... you just are not capable of calculating everything... the same is mostly true of complex game systems such as the ones in DW. They are sufficiently difficult to calculate so for all intents and purposes they are unpredictable.

There also are a fair amount of randomness in many elements of the game so it is enough to impact the whole game experience.
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RE: Two new articles about Distant Worlds 2

Post by beyondwudge »

Well, I'll quite happily model the game and use the results in my play. I don't find gambling particularly fun.
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RE: Two new articles about Distant Worlds 2

Post by Jorgen_CAB »

ORIGINAL: beyondwudge

Well, I'll quite happily model the game and use the results in my play. I don't find gambling particularly fun.

It is not really possible though, there are too many factors and enough random rolls you can never do that... I also don't see what gambling have anything to do with anything?!?

Random is a simulation of unknown factors that is NOT modelled in the game, it is the fact that not everything is modelled so you can't make perfect predictions. This is the simulation part of the game, otherwise we might just play Chess if every move was perfectly predictable.

We are also modelling intelligent beings with wants and flawed logical thinking that is not always going to do what you like but rather what they like, that is the role-play or the simulation part of a game like this. This is the FUN part of simulating a living civilisation. You can never really know for sure when and how the civilian part of your empire will act at every turn, that is near impossible to do. You can guide and mould it but never really tell it what to do and in what order they do something, there are allot of randomness involved here to reflect simulation. You also need some randomness so the AI don't get stuck in endless loops too often, either that or you need neural net AI which I'm pretty sure they don't have.
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