Today, Stardock and Mohawk Games released the Conspicuous Consumption DLC, a prestige pack of cosmetic upgrades for select buildings. Players can add “flare” to their game with the custom art, animations, and audio for each version. Learn more here.
Stardock Game News
To Boldly Go
Why Stardock Loves Space Strategy
Stardock has a long history of strategy games set in space. Starting with the original Galactic Civilizations back in CEO Brad Wardell’s college days all the way to the more current Galactic Civilizations III, Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation, and Offworld Trading Company, we have continued to bring the stars to 4X fans everywhere.
But, why is outer space so alluring to our Michigan based studio? It’s a question we're asked a lot, one our devs are more than happy to answer.
“I think people like the idea of being out there in space,” said Paul Boyer, the lead designer for Galactic Civilizations III. “They just want to go out there and explore. And when you find that great world, that perfect planet that you uncover...that’s what [you would] call a ‘second of fun.’”
Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation lead designer Callum McCole says that making games set in space is “very useful for designers.” The flexibility to make units feel different to each other as well as visually intuitive is possible because while some things in science fiction are influenced by reality, there is plenty of room for creativity and application of the imagination.
While some designers enjoy the wide possibilities offered by pure sci-fi, others prefer an approach that’s more familiar to people. The CEO of Mohawk games and lead designer for Offworld Trading Company Soren Johnson got his start with games based in history (Civilization IV) and tends to stay a little closer to proven science. “I’m not really super comfortable as a designer making up this brand new fiction from whole cloth,” Johnson said. “I wanted Offworld to be - even though it’s set in the future - pretty grounded, which is why we set the game in the solar system. It’s attached to things that people know.”
“Sometimes it’s a question of ‘how can we fill a role that the game needs?’ but we also want something that’s unique and isn’t just a larger version of existing units,” said McCole. “That is the good thing about sci-fi is that you don’t always have to think about the physics or the realism. You can do what you want and what’s good for other parts of the game without having to stop and think about whether it’s realistic or not.”
All of the designers at Stardock agree on one thing, though: it’s all about what makes gameplay fun. While some level of realism is considered when determining what kind of resources are required to build something within the game - for example, needing thulium for certain types of weapons in Galactic Civilizations III - ultimately those types of design decisions are of secondary importance to the question of, “is it fun?”
Stardock has been making space strategy games for over 20 years and we're not stopping anytime soon. We continue to release DLC for our most popular space titles and we're also working on Star Control: Origins, a long anticipated continuation of the beloved Star Control series.
So the team is starting work on the next major expansion pack. But we also want to keep an eye on the base game.
Right now, the recent Steam reviews for GalCiv are pretty awful with most of the people reviewing it doing so because they don't like some of the changes in v2.5. So if there are changes you would like in 2.7 and beyond, this would be the place to ask.
The Steam review system is something I have and will continue to complain about because frankly, it absolutely destroys games. When it's less than 70, a game might as well not exist. So I'll be explicit, if you want us to keep working on GalCiv III, please leave a Steam review. If not, don't. If you already have, thank you!
As many of you know, I am AI biased. But I know I'm in a minority because there is another space strategy game outselling GalCiv III and, suffice to say, AI is not its focus.
It is clear that narratives in games matter. GalCiv has a quest system ala Fallen Enchantress/Sorcerer King. But we have tried to avoid doing that because we don't want the game to be a series of scripted narratives. We don't plan to change that position in the base game but we are looking at releasing DLC that will do that if players want it.
Now, the next major expansion pack focuses on politics and government. So we'll set all that aside for now. Otherwise, it's all open. What would you like to see?
It's been a year since we posted the last big public update on the new Star Control.
Last year, we began the Founders Program! Thank you all that joined. In the next two weeks, we will be ending the Founder's Program as we prepare for a public Beta program. If you want to join the Founder's Program it's not too late yet.
A new tier
Right now, we have Founders and Lifetime Founders. Both get access to our internal vault of stuff. Lifetime Founders get everything we ever make for Star Control: Origins. Those who are standard Founders get Star Control: Origins and everything we release for a year after.
Our original release date was going to be November 2017. That's exactly 25 years from the release of Star Control 2 (The Ur-Quan Masters). Some design changes we made have extended the development time (which I'll be talking more about soon) but we will be releasing the Super Melee beta in time for the anniversary.
Super Melee in action
In engine, animated, voice synced conversations with aliens and of course the commander of Star Control.
Design your own ships, share them, and fight with them either against the computer or your friends online or on the same PC.
The writing team, led by Cracked.com's Chris Bucholz, has a compelling sci-fi story that is also very much in the style you expect from a Star Control game.
We are working on a host of tools that will make it easy for people to create their own universes to share and play in.
Explore worlds for minerals, Precursor artifacts, hidden bases, and more.
We will have a lot more information in about two weeks!
From the desk of Sam Moreno
Manager, Reclamation, INC.
I always thought that working with a bunch of people mired in debt would be one of those jobs where I ended up hating everyone and just went home to the bottle every night. These people were supposed to be degenerates who had to pay back society so that they could have their lives again. I was supposed to look down on them.
It's been a very busy past couple of weeks for us, between the launch of the new Juggernauts in 2.5 and the Steam Publisher sale we had last weekend. On a personal note, the Agamemnon and Eye of Darkness were the first two units I designed, so it was a great experience starting them from scratch and seeing them develop into the final end result!
The other day I came across this Steam user review:
It's wonderful to see people appreciate the friendly community that has grown around the game. I want to give a huge thank you to everyone who participates in discussions, events and offers help to players on any platform. I think we have a great community and it's a pleasure to work and game with you. The Ashes discord has been rapidly growing recently and has featured a number of improvements lately. If you haven't done so already, you can join it here.
In part 3 of this video series, Stardock CEO Brad Wardell plays against civilizations created by the players.
From the desk of Ezra Hoang
CEO, Penrose Collective
Many hands make light work.
I think of this saying often. It makes me miss my mother, even as I smile at her wisdom. I must often remind myself that I am not the only one who suffered dear losses during the war. We must all look to the future together if we hope to foster a healthy one.
Stardock CEO Brad Wardell has a two-part video series on Humans vs. Multiverse in Galactic Civilizations III!
We are having an all day stream marathon starting off with Stardock CEO Brad Wardell! We'll be streaming games all day until 10pm ET tonight.
Be sure to check out the stream on Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/sale/stardock