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Sins II: Dev Journal 13 - Gameplay Trailer Breakdown

Published on Monday, May 6, 2024 By Blair Fraser In Sins II Dev Journals

We thought it might be helpful to point out some details in our gameplay trailer that illustrate some key differences between Sins 2, Sins: Rebellion, and other strategy games (especially of this scale).

You can view the full video below:

The Planner

This scene shows how planets orbit and phase lanes change. The speed is accelerated to exaggerate the feature but it actually occurs very slowly giving players time to plan their defensive and offensive strategies.

Planets close to the star tend to orbit faster than planets further from the star. On this particular map it takes about 1 hour for the innermost planet to orbit and 3 hours for the outermost. This may seem slow, however the network of interactions of planets moving at slightly different speeds and positions makes for very interesting map changes without descending into chaos. Defensible trench lines still exist, but they slowly change.


The blue bar just below the top bar is showing that the author of the video is using the ability to scrub into the future to see where planets and phase lanes will be up to an hour in the future. This enables players to plan far ahead.

The little blue arcs next to each planet indicate the direction and speed of the planet orbits. Most planets move in the same direction just like in real solar systems. This is called 'prograde'.


However, note that some planets in the video move in a retrograde direction - this opens up some really cool strategies.

The Mobilizer

The aggressor in this video is the red Vasari player. The scene shows the new look of the War Year 35 designs of the Vasari and two of their new units which I admit are difficult to see. We'll make them more obvious in the future.


Near the left wing of the titan is the new "Kortovas Oppressor" which is a heavily armored cruiser. It features a number of actuating turrets designed to engage multiple light targets from multiple directions, making it useful to drive into a horde of less armored frigates. It also has point defense to help counter missiles that are designed to penetrate its armor.

Near the right wing of the titan are a few "Jusotra Fabricator" cruisers. The Vasari are a very mobile race so the new Fabricators allow them to construct corvettes and frigates while moving with the fleet. Fabricators also collect combat debris for resources to fuel their construction abilities. Finally, they also operate as mobile retrofit bays which allows players to customize their capital ships and titans on the fly (instead of having to return back to a planet with the appropriate structure). This is a brand new and very important feature. I'll dive into more detail at another time.

The Defender

This shows the TEC defender who is preparing for a potential attack from the red Vasari player. There is a lot to unpack here so I'll just hit a few points.


First, it shows the TEC ships in War Year 35. There is a mix of new units and refinements of the Sins: Rebellion units. The refinements reflect how the units needed to adapt to the deeper combat model and new strategic factors. I'll just point out a few examples.

The Kol has swapped out its single fixed gauss cannon for two giant dual gauss turrets (one on top, one on bottom). These can rotate to engage targets as the Kol moves into an optimal position or to engage units trying to get around him. However, as heavy hitting weapons, they rotate slowly and are unable to track fast moving targets, leaving him vulnerable to certain ships. With fully simulated turrets it's very important to consider your position and firing arcs, and to take advantage of your enemy's limitations.

We can also see a few new units (Harcka Cruisers, Retrofit Bays, Autocannon Defense Platforms) and a variety of refined familiar units. The familiar units have been substantially updated for integration into the new tactical gameplay; and a number of them have radically new strategic functions as well. I'll speak a bit more about that in a later scene.

The blue and yellow coloring reflects the ability of the player to choose his primary and secondary hull colors before beginning the match. Players who prefer less color paint on their ships can select the 'minimal color' option when they choose their logo and portrait. This is closer to the Sins: Rebellion style.

The Influencer

Sins 2 introduces a new currency called "Influence". Influence allows players to convince minor factions into doing your bidding.

At the beginning of the game a random selection of minor factions populate the galaxy. The number is dependent on the map size. At first you have no idea which ones they are, but you can either scout to find them or pay Influence to informants to reveal one minor faction at a time.

You generate Influence in different ways but the primary method is through culture. Once you've accumulated enough, you can use it to increase your Influence level with a minor faction, giving you access to better offerings. These could include anything from special items, reinforcement fleets, or even gambling.


In the video you can see the player has 1 level with the Viturak faction and 4 levels with the Aluxian faction. As they move the mouse cursor they are evaluating what minor faction offering they want to spend Influence on.

There is a lot more to minor factions such as auctions, markets, destruction, and more but I'll cover those at another time.

The Empire Builder

This scene shows the player building some structures, building a ship, zooming out to see the empire, and some other unique features I'll describe momentarily.

The first goal here is to show new players the scale of Sins 2. You can build stuff at a planet and then you zoom out to see an entire empire of planets to build at.

Now let's dive into some new stuff. We mentioned earlier there are structures with radically new functions tied to new strategic systems. Much of this new functionality isn't demonstrated in the video whatsoever but I'll summarize nonetheless.


First, the Retrofit Bay (far left). This is used by the TEC to customize their ships by building items on them. You can queue these up to be built at any time, but they will construct really slowly unless you are in the gravity well of a Retrofit Bay. Retrofit Bay’s also serve as repair stations with research upgrades. More on items shortly.

The transparent structure being built is the Tradeport. While having a Tradeport is nothing new relative to Sins: Rebellion, its function is quite different. All races now have a unique Empire System. The TEC's Empire System is 'Trade' which leans heavily into their lore and is quite different than Sins: Rebellion. The other two races cannot use this and have their own exclusive Empire Systems.

Each planet type is good at producing / exporting something. For example, you can get a lot of metal from a volcanic planet and unlock metal trade capacity by building Tradeports there. However, your overall trade throughput is limited by export points, which are acquired through various means such as specialized planet items like warehouses. You can dynamically allocate these export points between your traded resources at any time in a specialized window. As a result, the TEC has an extremely flexible economy.

There are a lot of neat strategies that emerge from this, but our favorite is to build a metal trade network and then kill off the minor faction metal market so other players are deprived of that flexibility without harming our own. Economic warfare is very much part of Sins 2.

One downside of trade is that your trade ships are vulnerable to attack, but you can research 'trade escorts' that autonomously protect your tradelines and don't affect your fleet supply.

Moving on from trade, in the upper right is a refinery which by War Year 35 the TEC has converted into an Exotic Refinery. I'll discuss the new Exotic system below.

Next there are some ship factories for use with the new Sins 2 Garrison system that is unique to the TEC Loyalist sub-faction. This feature will be discussed at another time but if you want to turtle, this is the ultimate new toy - and with orbiting gravity wells, it can also be used creatively as an incredible offensive tool.

The scene then transitions to the shot of a Marza exiting the factory. We showed this because in Sins: Rebellion a million players asked us to make the ships literally come 'out' of the factory. Sins 2 now does this so please stop asking. (tongue)


After the zoom out, the player clicks a button to open the Fleet Supply window. This window demonstrates two things: a.) a massive quality of life improvement and b.) a distinguishing new gameplay feature.


The quality of life improvement is the ability to manage the ability upgrades, autocast state, and check the status of every capital ship, titan, and starbase in your empire all in one place. No need to hunt them all down or lose where they are.

More importantly the right side buttons show all the custom items that each ship has retrofitted. Items are used to provide new functionality to each ship and opens up new tactical options or plug gaps in your fleet composition. They can be purchased by selecting each ship one-by-one in the main view, but this screen makes it easier to do it holistically. Some of the titan and starbase items will even change the appearance of the unit reflecting their new powers.

There is a similar system for managing planets as well including both orbital development and the new surface development. This customization of planets is much deeper and a very important part of your empire building. More details at another time.


The final section of this scene shows the Exotics window. Exotics are new rare resources that are used to build the most powerful units, items, and research subjects. At the beginning of the game you can find them by excavating your planets or by capturing them from the new derelicts you find at random gravity wells. Eventually, these sources will run dry and you'll want to build Exotic Refineries to produce them on a reliable, on-demand schedule. Their build time is extremely slow, so it's worth building a few refineries to have multiple exotics building in parallel.

The Backstabber

Next, the Vasari player has moved his fleet to a retrograde asteroid. Using the Future Orbit tool (see above) he saw that it was going to fly behind one of blue's important planets at a specific time. Blue has no recent intel on the asteroid as it only just became connected to his territory. When the phase lane connection is made, red phase jumps in from behind and bombs the crap out of blue's planet. The possibility of this scenario is completely unique to Sins 2.


The Body Blocker

This scene illustrates a cool event that occurred in a developer game and is unique to Sins 2. Yellow's fleet showed up at blue's home planet before blue could get his main fleet back to defend. However, yellow couldn't finish off blue without taking out the starbase that was providing a shield around the planet.

The best way to take out a starbase as TEC is to use the Ogrov torpedo cruisers (think space catapults). Blue needed to buy just a little more time for his main fleet to return and luckily he had his titan nearby. As yellow's Ogrovs fired at the starbase, blue moved his titan to 'body block' the massive torpedoes to protect the starbase (and indirectly saving the planet) while firing at the Ogrovs at the same time.


Unlike Sins: Rebellion, Sins 2 missiles and torpedoes are fully simulated (not just effects), and just one part of a much deeper combat model that allows for a lot of really fun and creative tactics.

The Missile Screen

A group of vulnerable yellow ships are being torn to pieces by enemy missiles. Yellow then places a wall of Garda flak frigates in front of the vulnerable ships using a 'wide' formation to get maximum coverage. They proceed to start picking off all the incoming missiles rendering the enemy long range cruisers useless.

If you watch the close up you can see how fast the four point defense turrets rotate and fire to take the missiles down. This is a nice contrast to the big slow gauss turrets I spoke about earlier.

The Sins 2 Garda not only has tighter integration with the combat model with its simulated flak turrets, but it can also be upgraded to have a light autocannon turret to help deal with corvettes.


In the previous scene blue's titan could have purchased a custom item to add point defense guns. These would have helped him handle at least a few of those torpedoes (although they are much tougher to take down than missiles) without having to take as much hull damage.

The Last Stand

The red Vasari fleet has finally arrived at the blue TEC player's home planet. As blue brings his fleet around the planet you can see a battle already raging in the distance. Blue finally brings his fleet into range and engages red in a small/medium sized battle, destroys him, and even takes down his titan.


Sins 2 combat offers all the pew-pew you could ask for: dynamic lighting, more weapons fire, customizable units, deeper combat mechanics, and more. Best of all, combat runs super smooth - that's the benefit of a 64-bit engine that can use every CPU core you have.


Sins 2 provides players with new and exciting gameplay moments and experiences that they can't get anywhere else, including Sins: Rebellion, and it does this without ruining a winning formula. This trailer break-down is only the surface of the detail of what makes Sins 2 unique. We'll be diving into more detail over the next few months.

For more gameplay information you can check out more details here: