Verdict: Sins Of A Solar Empire

By Jim Rossignol on April 4th, 2008 at 10:31 am.


Kieron: Ready?
Jim: Ready.
Kieron: Okay. I stick on Mogwai Fears Satan, as it’s the most piece of SPACE WAR music I have to hand. And let’s consider Sins Of A Solar Empire, the game people are literally calling “Sins Of A Solar Empire”. It’s a Space-based RTS from some guys who we mainly know for Homeworld Cataclysm, published by the guys who made Gal Civ 2. As the lineage may suggest, it’s an enormous Space War game which mashes a load of Gal-Civ-esque elements into a more traditional RTS. I’ve played it since the Beta. What about you, Jim?
Jim: Hmm, well I tend to go for more Lustmord when in spacewar. I like that alien-thunder in the depths of space vibe, plus I’m secretly a goth from Manchester. Anyway, I’ve been playing the game since it arrived on my desk a few weeks ago.

Kieron: Alec – how long you been playing it for? And what about you Walker?
Kieron:
Jim: There’s something wrong
Kieron: There is.
Kieron: Something’s missing.
Jim: WHERE ARE THE OTHER MEN
Kieron: In Space-RTS chats, no-one can hear John Walker and Alec Meer scream. Let’s just presume they’re being shy. Or perhaps realise that their opinions are pretty worthless compared with our own. And carry on. Did you like it, Jim?
Jim: Their opinions are nothing compared to… yeah it’s good. The fact that I’ve just embarked on a second giganto-map session testifies to that. It’s going to take about twelve hours to defeat. In fact I’m not sure quite why this game hasn’t come along before. It felt remarkably natural to sit down and play for ten hours at a stretch.
Kieron: Yeah. That’s always kinda testament, innit.? I know we’re going in too deep, too quickly, but… Do you think that’s anything to do with the bit of your head that plays Eve for every waking moment?
Jim: Well it’s a possibly. But Eve has become about playing the game with a proficient bunch of highly-sarcastic gentlemen. Sins is about hours alone, managing, planning, waiting.
Kieron: Mining.
Jim: I’ve dodged mining in Eve for quite some time now. (And guys it’s not that I don’t want to contribute to corp upkeep, I’m just very busy…)
Kieron: Don’t lie. You hate Corp Upkeep.
Jim: Sins has quite a different beat to it though, there’s a continuous, elongated need for concentration. Eve is usually bursts of action followed by a lot of sitting about discussing how spaceships are a bit like penises.
Kieron: Yeah – it’s a big game, and it feels naturally like that. The problem with me – and it’s a reason why I tend towards playing Medium/Small maps – is that it’s still got that bit in a strategy game when it’s clear one of you is going to win. I hated it in Kane’s Wrath when I’m having to find and destroy the last man or whatever. And that’s a game whose maps take 10 minutes to win. But in Sins… well, it can be clear you’re going to win, and there’s still an hour of mopping up to go. At least.
Jim: Yeah, it’s a classic problem for this kind of game. Needs specific victory conditions outside that Last Man thing. Isn’t that being patched?
Kieron: Yeah – the AI surrender now, so it’s less of a problem. Which is the other thing that’s always agreeable with Stardock games – there is this general post-patch support.
Jim: Isn’t that basically just essential for all PC games now?
Kieron: Well, I meant better. Better than average.
Jim: It is better than average, which is kind of the surprising thing about Sins all over really. Even the explanatory pop-ups in the game are better than average. Which is lucky, because the one thing that is below average is the tutorials. They’re rubbish.
Kieron: Yeah. Openly terrible.
Kieron: I believe on the V1.0 they had problems with the scripting which was fixed very quickly. But it’ snot an easy game to get into.
Jim: It would actually kill John, and he knows it.
Kieron: Which kind of leads me to something else which is a nagging problem with the game – and this will be my last whine before going onto raving about the bloody thing, honest. I remember being on a train with Walker somewhere, and I was reading the Gal Civ 2 manual.
Jim: Sexy.
Kieron: Because I was reviewing it. And at the back, there was a fomula for something to do with the economics. A proper, multi-element scary-looking formula. I showed it to John, and his tiny little brain just went hiss. Bless him. That’s why he likes Point and Click. You point. You click. And that’s it. He’ll probably like C&C
Jim: He’d like World In Conflict. I’ll take my copy round and forcibly install it.
Kieron: Er… what I wanted to say that while there’s some great stuff in the pop-ups, it also manages to obscure information which is absolutely central to playing *well*. I mean, I’d won games before I even understood the damage system. Look at this: http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=p7xc_snd9Cc-6o2UwvPEWUg&gid=1
Jim: Ooh, that’s useful.
Kieron: Yeah, but look at the maths of it
Jim: Looks simple enough!
Kieron: It’s just absolutely counter-intuitive!
Jim: Giant blocks of numbers aren’t exactly helping people feel comfortable getting into these kinds of games. I guess I’m used to it after explaining falloff and tracking to people in Eve so many times. That said, we both won games in Sins without worry about this stuff.
Kieron: Well, yeah.
Kieron: But… well, what did you think Fighters were for?
Jim: I mean, you know you need a balanced fleet, and so you guess your way in. Probably need capitals, and fighters, and those Kodiak cruisers. Fighters were for killing fast stuff
Kieron: I kind of presumed the fighters were for taking down Bombers.
Jim: Well, the fact that one of the best planet defences in Sins was the hangars told me that they were for killing the planet-bombers, which is evidenced by that table.
Kieron: Well, the planet defence hangars you had the choice of fighters or bombers.
Jim: Oh yeah. I don’t think I ever built bombers with them.
Kieron: See!
Jim: Hmm. ANYWAY.
Kieron: That’s my reservation with it – it’s a strategy game where you have trouble really knowing if you’re making a good decision or not. It’s all there, but it’s counter-intuitve. Compared to something like Armageddon Empires where every decision is crisp (There the UI confuses. Here, it just keeps so much stuff under the hood)
Jim: Yeah, there’s a distinct lack of feedback. And things like figuring out how to deal with a giant swarm of the planet bombers before your population was evaporated is really frustrating.

Kieron: Oh – and I stress, the pop-ups have been improved since release to get some more of this stuff in front of people.
Jim: So, all that aside, why has the game been so popular?
Kieron: Well, it’s a bit on the awesome side, really. To be an internet-person…
Jim: I think I was surprised at how quickly I grasped it, but I don’t know if that’s why it’s popular. I wonder whether people are actually gasping for massive-scale RTS games and we just don’t know it. I mean, while playing it, I thought: there could be a game of this scale with normal dudes, across entire countries, continents even. You could call it “Mega Captain”.
Kieron: I would play Mega Captain to death.
Kieron: Okay, putting aside its qualities – being a novel game which simultaneously isn’t absolutely alien to the player – it makes me suspect there’s an audience for that sort of thing. I think it’s also profited from being the only REAL PC game of the year so far. As in, completely unadulterated.
Jim: That’s kind of Stardock’s claim, isn’t it? “We made the PC game, therefore people actually bought it.”
Kieron: Yeah. I think they’re probably right. It’s a game with no shame about what it is.
Jim: I was thinking about this the other day: do other people use games as sort of experiential antidotes? Like if you overdose on one experience does it leave your in need or something else? I say this because I came away from a week of Sins wanting to play Half-Life 2. And conversely, if there’s been a year of not-PC strategy, are people just pent up with RTS urges?
Kieron: I think there’s a bit of that. I mean, look at the Witcher last year. Putting aside the Witcher’s quality, there was a decent-budget PC RPG and it found an audience.
Jim: Yeah, again with the Wardell agrument, are people just not finding the PC markets that will buy the games?
Kieron: God, we’re just paraphrasing the PR line. How embarrassing.
Jim: Yeah, but at least his PR line isn’t “our game is funner than it was in 2006″
Jim: I wonder if you could do a survey to prove his ideas. Does anyone pirate ArmA, or Total War games?
Kieron: I probably should do the Yarr-ts again.
Kieron: Absolutely. But I suppose the question has to be less Total War, and more… Well, Europa Universalis or Combat Mission or… those guys. Sins and Gal Civ is kind of between the pair of them.
Jim: So yeah. Getting back to the game, are you actually recommending it to people?
Kieron: Yes.
Kieron: I mean, I’m on the record with a 9. There’s nothing in the review I’d change. I think it’s one of the strongest RTS games of recent times. Also, enormous.
Jim: It is enormous. Enormous!
Kieron: Heh
Jim: That’s a word we don’t use enough.
Kieron: Actually, question for you – does the lack of any structure annoy you?
Jim: Not in the slightest.
Kieron: In the game. Not life.
Jim: Oh, in the game. Er, that’s fine too. I mean, I’m generally anti structure. I’d rather Stalker had *just* been wandering around by some old sheds. However, I’m also not chiming with your opinion that linear campaigns are a bit rubbish, or whatever it was you said.
Kieron: Heh
Jim: I would absolutely love to play a brilliantly told Homeworld 3 campaign.
Kieron: I’d love to play a brilliant Homeworld 3. God – we’re PC fanboys today.
Jim: For Sins though, it was more like I was playing Space Ultra Chess 5000. Pick a galactic board and plunge in.

Kieron: Yeah. I mean, as you say, it’s a 15 hour mega map thing. That’s more than every FPS I’ve played in the last year. I’m not sure I could bear more of a structure. I wish opposing AI had more character but… well, I wish that in almost every strategy game.
Jim: I was fine with it. I actually really like the simplisitc diplomacy systems. I found the inevitable backstab process incredibly satisfying
Kieron: There’s some neat stuff in the diplomacy system, but it’s not QUITE there yet. I do like the Pirate bidding. Stabbing abstract friends secretly is fun. And in the game, etc.
Jim: There’s a T-shirt slogan. (Would YOU buy an RPS T-shirt, readers?)
Kieron: And a way of life. Okay – since we kind of agree on the main topics, they’ve announced the add-on. What would you like to see in it? Bar Horace the Endless Bear.
Jim: An endless bear in the depths of the Cosmos *would* make the game.
Kieron: It’ll make any game. I mean, it’s interesting we’re saying we don’t care about the campaign, and that’s what they’ve announced.
Jim: I’ll definitely play the campaign. But I think I just want a slightly richer world. Perhaps more tiers to trade and planet-building. I never really felt like i was leading my people to victory. You’re just a intergalactic fleet-factory.
Kieron: Yeah, me too. I want to see what they’ll do with it. I think you could do with some more exploration bits and pieces. The exploring the planet stuff never really felt integrated properly.
Jim: I mean, I didn’t care about the campaign, but I’ll be glad to have it. Especially if it breaks some of the waverers who haven’t played it yet. There could be a couple of layers of exploration. Finding things in the system, as well as on the planet, that sort of thing. But really I feel like the expansion will just be an excuse to spend more time with the game, which is enough.
Kieron: Yeah, it’s the sort of thing I have in my head as “I’ll inevitably be reviewing that for someone, and it’ll be a lovely chance to spend more time with it”.
Jim: Okay last thought: most of the people reading this verdict will probably have played Sins already… right? At least the demo?
Kieron: I dunno. 50% of RPS hasn’t played it. That implies there’s a lot of people who really need to give it a shot.
Jim: True, true. But would the people who aren’t interested in the game even read this far down the page? And if they have made it this far, what should we say to them? “SCREW YOU SPACE-SCEPTICS?”
Kieron: “Thanks for reading RPS! Please Click on our adverts”?
Jim: Man, our adverts are amazing, aren’t they?
Kieron: I love them almost as much as I love Sins of a Solar Empire.
Kieron: Actually – final point: Great name!
Jim: Yeah, in a year of names, that one stood out as a better name than average.
Kieron: Okay – what I’d honestly tell someone who got this far is kind of basic. You’ve heard a lot about this game. You really need to try it, if only because it’s one of the few games which tries to find its own place. And, if you’re anything like Walker in his “RTS hasn’t changed in 10 year” mode, you triply do.
Jim: I’d like to see what the average name would be, if you put all names into an averaging machine.
Kieron: Wasn’t there a game called Average War? Ordinary War?
Jim: Original War? That was the game we refused to believe was good because it had bad looking tanks and time-travel, or something. But I hear it was actually okay. Anyway, let’s wrap it up. For the love of Space Week.
Kieron: Make it so. … I’m sorry.
Jim: You idiot. Verdict?
Kieron: I say purchasitude
Jim: Yes, buy this game.
Kieron: Alec? Walker? . .. Let’s take that as an abstention.


Our verdict: SALE!

Jim: The format dictates that we talk about something after the Optimus Thumbs
Kieron: Yeah, we need a topic.
Jim: Would you rather be twice as tall, or twice as wide?
Kieron: I would rather be twice as tall.
Kieron: We could just be rude about Alec and Walker some more. Who would you rather caught a nasty disease? Alec or Walker?
Jim: That’s a trick question, they’re both monstrous plague beasts.
Kieron: (It’s Walker) And you say Alec, so we can get them both wiped out.
Jim: Ah nice. Perhaps they’re both already rotting in a septic ward, hence their absence here?
Kieron: Let’s hope not. Otherwise we’ll have to talk Tim and Quinns into posting more. And I hate those guys too.
Jim: Right, I’m off into space.
Kieron: Bye.

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64 Comments »

  1. Seniath says:

    I would most certainly buy an RPS tee.

    Also, I’ve yet to play this but made it to the end all the same; I may consider picking it up post-exams of doom in May.

  2. John Walker says:

    I DO have the plague. Pouring out of my nose and down the back of my sore, sore throat : (

  3. Andrew Doull says:

    The problem with an RPS tee is that it makes this site less of a respite from the rest of the Internet…

  4. phuzz says:

    I think the main thing that’s putting me off Sins, apart from the loss of hours of my life, is the lack of any defined goal. For some reason not being told what I should be doing tends to leave me slightly bored. I guess I’m just institutionalised.

    An RPS tee? Only if it was ridiculously obscure, but at least then I wouldn’t feel bad for using Adblock…

  5. Jarmo says:

    I’m still wavering on Sins of a Solar Empire. I’m not sure I’d like it (not being a 4X person) and not yet interested enough to try the demo. Maybe they’ll win me over with the campaign. From the same guys as Homeworld Cataclysm, you say? That’s a big plus, as I loved that game.

    I’d buy an RPS T-shirt as fast as I can click. I would be extremely proud to wear it. In fact, I’m getting somewhat desperate to give RPS money. Please make it possible ASAP. Something as good as your site HAS to be rewarded.

    EVE gold seller alert in your header ad space! Edit: Gone already.

  6. Raskolnikov says:

    “I stick on Mogwai Fears Satan”

    Good choice!

  7. rb_lestr says:

    “Kieron: Okay. I stick on Mogwai Fears Satan”

    I nearly cried with joy.

  8. itsallcrap says:

    More of this kind of article please. Seeing a discussion between two non-idiots about a game I’m playing at the moment (not literally, obv) was really interesting.

    Erm, although it did seem to be for the eyes of people who haven’t played it yet, who would have probably felt alientated and stopped reading pretty early on.

    Hmph.

    BTW, I’d be more likely to buy a RPS t-shirt than one from any other games website, but that likelihood is still only roughly 0.02…

  9. AbyssUK says:

    Adblock is good but to truly not give any money to RPS you must run noscript too. Shame on you RPS for so many advertising scripts..

    Everybody does t-shirts.. how about something different like hankies or y-fronts… or an RPS branded monocle! I’d buy that.. I have enough t-shirts.

  10. Chris Evans says:

    I want an RPS T-shirt…right now :D

  11. Chaz says:

    Must give the demo of this a whirl to see how it runs on my PC.

    As for the RPS tee, I’m not sure I could stand the huge amounts of ridicule that would go with wearing one.

  12. Freelancepolice says:

    Sins is excellent, good discussion

  13. Alec Meer says:

    I’m going to edit very unpleasant things into any comments that use the phrase “shame on you RPS” from this point on. It crops up far too often.

  14. Jim Rossignol says:

    Yes, shame on us for making barely enough money to buy four of us a beer once a month.

    Also: if anyone does see a currency-selling ad, right click on it and send me the address from its properties. That way I can block it immediately.

  15. Seniath says:

    Shame on you RPS for needless comment editing!

    /bait

  16. Kieron Gillen says:

    Shame on you, RPS poster.

    I think any of our top-bar phrases would make a splendid T-shirt slogan. Especially the ones which make no sense.

    KG

  17. Chris Evans says:

    The debate arises then Kieron, do any of them make sense?

  18. Myros says:

    To be honest ‘Sins’ didnt really do it for me. It seemed more like half a 4x merged with half a RTS with the whole not amounting to a full anything. I enjoyed it for a short while but it lacked anything to hold me longer.

    But, I’ll pretty much buy anything Stardock releases just to support a company with such a good attitude and support philosophy. So my verdict would be ‘buy’ also.

    Myros

  19. Kieron Gillen says:

    Some make more sense than others. Some are even guessable, like the ones which respond to stuff that’s just happened in the comments thread. “We love PC Games more than we love Grammar”, or whatever the Polish Games Journalist ones.

    “Aruba’s favourite PC Games website (Probably)” may be a tad more mystifying. The Horace The Endless Bear stuff is right out, etc.

    KG

  20. Seniath says:

    I did manage to track the birth of Horace down actually. Google is a wonderful thing. As is FYP induced procrastination.

    What about ‘PC Gaming Since 1873′? That’s about the only constant.

  21. Chris Evans says:

    You present some very valid arguments…I will accept that some phrases here on RPS make some sense.

    I will get my cane and hat and bid you farewell!

    Tally ho!

  22. Chaz says:

    How about a tee with “Your game is nothing compared to Starcraft 2! Nothing!”, that would actually be pretty good, and quite obscure to your average Joe too.

  23. Kommissar Nicko says:

    I vote yes on t-shirts, but I’d also vote yes on anything more unorthodox. I’d buy an RPS-branded Gavel. You could call it The Verdict®.

  24. Guido says:

    There are ads on this site? If you have NoScript, you don’t need AdBlock anymore really :) I see not a single banner on this site, and it makes my browsing the great content all the more enjoyable.

  25. Alec Meer says:

    And our writing of it all the more bitter and futile.

  26. AbyssUK says:

    I made a t-shirt design because I was bored at work..

    http://bayimg.com/pajAPAaBf

    Also it may make people with some actual skill try

  27. lungfish says:

    RPS T-shirts (or other assorted merch), yes please, allow me to throw my meagre amounts of cash at you.
    Also haven’t yet tried Sins as have been preoccupied with graphic designy stuff on my mac.

  28. TreeFrog says:

    “Kieron: Okay. I stick on Mogwai Fears Satan”

    Surgeon remix? That’s a gargantuan tune. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything that sounds bigger.

  29. Kieron Gillen says:

    Treefrog: The original. It’s an epic track. Turning into an old-indie-kid, but seeing Mogwai in 1998 was ludicrously epic.

    KG

  30. Ging says:

    This is one of the few sites that I actually whitelist in the adblocker – just so I can provide a bit of support (hurray for 0.03 cents per click!)

    I only really run adblocker to stop the hideous flash ads that make noise and are rubbish, I don’t find things like google text ads offensive in the slightest.

  31. Frosty840 says:

    Another sad vote for RPS being the site I’d most likely buy shirts from, with the warning that I’m still not going to buy shirts from a website.

    I’m just not a readable-clothing sort of guy.

    Now, if Walker wanted to print off some Brian shirts…

    (… I still wouldn’t buy them but, hey, Brian shirts. Come on!)

  32. much2much says:

    Myros first point I agree with.

    Sins is boring. Tech decisions that aren’t incredibly meaningful. Just an Age of Empires upgrade it all kind of structure. Forces that get to a size where you simply have a bit of each in there and you are sorted.

    Stardock are making their product extremely accessible which is great. But to buy a game that isn’t good because they are champions of a cause is ridiculous. As Mr Wardell says it is in their best interests to make it this accessible.

    Has anybody asked how much of the initial sales figure consisted of pre-orders?

  33. Pete says:

    Chaps, any chance you could post these as an audio convo too?

    “Eve is usually bursts of action followed by a lot of sitting about discussing how spaceships are a bit like penises.” Truth.

  34. TreeFrog says:

    I’m going to see Mogwai later this month. Not seen them in years, and now they’re out of the Rock Action fallow period I’m really looking forward to it. Glee!

    Vaguely On-Space-Topic: someone needs to remake Exile.

  35. Malibu Stacey says:

    I already asked this on the other Sins article but it’s almost off the front page so this is attempt #2.

    Any UK people know where to buy it on this side of the pond or will I need to have it shipped from the US? I’ve checked the usual suspects (amazon.co.uk, play.com & gameplay.com) but no luck. Even google’s product searches don’t fill me with confidence.

    Being an unashamed EVE addict I want to give this a go.

  36. Kieron Gillen says:

    much2much: As far as I know, no. Why you interested in those numbers?

    Malibu: No, still unavailable in the UK. Can purchase from Stardock though.

    KG

  37. Jim Rossignol says:

    Perhaps a bit pricey given that you don’t get the box or anything, but you can buy the game digitally here: http://www.sinsofasolarempire.com/store.aspx

  38. Acosta says:

    About ads, I try to come daily and I click on a few ads (I would click more, but for my knowledge on this issue, that stuff doesn´t fly). And I do with pleasure because even RPS writing looks so fun and relaxed, I know how hard is to make a personal commitment for something you don´t know is going to work while you keep navigating through the oceans of videogame journalism trying to make a life of it (I don´t know how you guys are there in UK, in Spain is terrible right now).

    And yes, lots of “shame on you RPS”, but when the crew decides is not worth the time and close the site we will come crying and saying they were the best and how unfair is they close.

    About Sins, like GalCiv 2, I am bit intimidated by it and even if I have it from day 1 (bought the limited edition with the right to download it), I still has it on stand by. However, I have the feeling there is an interesting discussion in the lack of a campaign and how that can generate a feeling of disconnect between the player and the universe. Go back to the (brilliant) RPS Warhammer 40,000 lore entry and you can notice how there is a vivid discussion and a sense of identity of players with armies and their stories. Of course, when you are playing you just think on stats and tactics and so, but that backgrounds adds to the general experience in a positive way, while just choosing an army with no background and no story makes you feel as, yes, a chess game.

    And I want a Homeworld 3 too, but this time without Deus Ex Machina solutions for the plot please.

  39. kalain says:

    Played the demo the other day and enjoyed it, even though it took me around 5 hours to complete.

    not sure on the Digital price though. $44 (£22) is a fair bit of cash to dish out, or I might wait till it appears on steam sometime in the future.

  40. Tim says:

    It’s not out in Australia yet either last I looked, I bought it from Stardock direct. It is sooo good and I’ve only really had time to sit down and play it once, that was my easter.

  41. Cigol says:

    If you want money, let us donate. I’ve white-listed the site under adblock (I actually didn’t know it were possible but you can using it’s drop down menu on the toolbar).

    A T-Shirt sounds okay, but really it’s going to need some sort of artwork commissioned for me to be even remotely interested. You could have a lot of fun with the title of the site (rock, paper, SHOTGUN) and it would be ambiguous enough to work I reckon.

  42. Gurrah says:

    You must buy it boxed because it looks so pretty. It’s bevelled and embossed, just like that cheap Photoshop-filter, but in a cool way!

  43. Jim Rossignol says:

    Cigol: we’re having a bit of a think about money issues. More news on that soon.

  44. Roosterfeet says:

    So if SW Empire at War was the only RTS that I ever really liked, would I like sins?

    Stop looking at me like that.

  45. SwiftRanger says:

    Original War is a great game and euh.. yeah, ‘original’ for its time as well (contrary to WarCraft III or Warlords: Battlecry OW actually had some meaningful roleplaying influences, like choices and consequences in its campaign mode). Lots of click-click/microing to do though, just like its ‘spiritual predecessor’, War Wind II. Anyway, despite its obscurity, OW still has an active community, latest fan patch came out in December last year. I even got my avatar from a wallpaper of that game. :)

    About SoaSE; I think it’s fair to say it’s the PC strategy game you have to buy at this moment now (if you are able to of course). For me SupCom was a bigger shock and a more impressive technical achievement in the beginning of last year than SoaSE is now but it’s pretty good nonetheless. The game has a lot of room for more additions too (Armada/Empire at War-like nebula’s that drain shields, more miscellaneous events, and just more 4X stuff in general).

    EDIT: @Roosterfeet: SoaSE does feel a bit like the EaW space part, especially how the spaceships enter a gravity well. Combat isn’t as exciting though (no hardpoints or much tactical things to do, fighter and bombers are a bit too small to fully appreciate them and ship turrets aren’t actually animated) but the huge size of a fleet and the managing and logistical choices you need to make compensate that.

  46. Thelps says:

    Many of Sins’ elements were born in SupCom, which might explain why I love both games so much. Have to agree that SupCom had the bigger ‘revolutionary’ impact on me, personally, but Sins is a real delight of a game. I just wish you could improve your allies’ opinion of you in other ways than just completing their arbitrary missions. Given you only get about 15-20mins to do a mission, and the game’s snail-like pace of play, it’s more-often-than-not impossible to complete their tasks, so your allies end up turning on you 6 hours into a game, unexpectedly, usually coinciding with a pirate raid you didn’t notice turning on your empire at the last moment. Have had to end countless Sins games all because my ally decided to set 4-5 impossible tasks in a row (Destroy 10 civilian structures…. that’s like 3 planet’s worth within 15mins!) and then turned on me, coinciding with my fleet being engaged with one of our mutual enemies.

    If the whole diplomacy thing is altered and made more flexible (donated 20,000 credits to my ally, his opinion of me didn’t shift 1%…) then this is a truly great game. As it is it justs frustrates me that odds are my 6-10hours of gameplay will be wasted when I fail to notice a piurate raid, or my ally decides he’s fed up with me, without warning.

  47. yoho says:

    hey kalain, SoaSE will not likely ever appear on steam as stardock is building an alternative.

  48. much2much says:

    @Kieron yeah I’m not sure if the first figure of I think the first five weeks sales includes preorders or what not. That would be interesting to me as there are the borderline pirates (particularly when it comes to a multiplayer game) who will buy it early if it means they can play it already (Sins had the multiplayer beta IIRC).

  49. DigitalSignalX says:

    SoaSE is without a doubt a superb shot in the arm for companies who may be looking at making a PC only game. It can be done, and done well – selling gobs and gobs.

    “I’d love to play a brilliant Homeworld 3.” me too. Sigh. me too.

  50. Radiant says:

    Do you guys not have at least a business chap that deals with the day to day?

    I know the common theme is: ‘blog’ = freeness but you needn’t turn RPS into a flash advert monster page of Gamesmaster Magazine.

    Seriously if you’re not using somebody already [I'd be shocked if you weren't] then /please/ look at ‘hiring’ somebody [who doesn't work for a rapacious web ads company] .

    I like reading RPS because of the Zapp 64 ness of it and I’d hate for you guys to have to stop because you were building a shed without a plan.
    [you should read this article about how penny arcade was dragged over the coals by web ad companies http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2002014618_pennyarcade25.html

    but whatever sorry if I'm being over familiar.
    --------------------

    With Sins I got the impression that Stardock takes for granted that a lot of the people who would buy it/play it know what everything does coming into the game.

    Or maybe they are purposely obfuscating all the inner workings to let peoples' imagination take over?

    Which [imagination] is a big part of the appeal of Sins; a lot of the detail of the game you fill in yourself as it’s not actually there.
    Hence no campaign and a very loose structure.

    The problem, for guys like me, there is that when we pick up the game we get past the tutorial and we go “ok now what?”.

    The tutorial told me to build fighters and I went “what about these bombers?” and I had no idea what the difference between the two was ["Why would I need a bomber anyway!?! I'm in space ffs"].

    I felt the same way when I played Homeworld 2.
    I started building ‘corvettes’ because they sounded cool; was I right? I never knew and never stayed around long enough to find out.

    Same with Sins; it was so aimless after the tutorial I left it alone.

    Then my pc deemed the sins icon as an unused desktop icon and it disappeared into that particular game graveyard.