Plasmagasm: Endless Space Disharmony DLC Out

By Craig Pearson on June 27th, 2013 at 9:00 am.


Step one to making a nice space game: make space. Step 2.: make things that fight in space. Step 3: decide on the genre. Step 4: DLC! Lovely 4X Space strategy series Endless Space has already gone through the first three steps of that plan, but as everyone knows nowadays games aren’t complete without a scab of DLC forming on their flawless skin, and Endless Space is particularly pretty so it’d be highly noticeable. It’s characterful to have scars, and today is the day that Amplitude Studios launch the Disharmony DLC to scrape up its good looks. A trailer explaining what and why is below.

It introduces the community-voted on crystalline “Harmony” race to the game’s warmongers, a race that are attempting to eradicate Dust from the universe: it’s a plague to them, but a unit of currency for other factions. I would like to know people who are allergic to money, as I’d selflessly offer to take it off their hands.

I’ve only just found out that the race were selected by the community, who not only vetoed another race from the expansion, but also get to guide the game’s development roadmap. All the other add-ons have been free, but this is the first paid-for. Have they tempted you into buying it?

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44 Comments »

  1. RedViv says:

    I have not purchased this yesterday and played until two in the morning, not at all, especially not because bombers and improved direction of invasions make the game far better than before.

  2. Chalky says:

    I’ve only just found out that the race were selected by the community, who not only vetoed another race from the expansion, but also get to guide the game’s development roadmap.

    Although this sounds amazing in theory, it doesn’t seem to work very well in practice. The community constantly chooses shiny things over important gameplay mechanics (such as razing systems) and although maybe that’s what they think they want, they’re not game designers and they don’t really know best.

    Something like this could probably work well if done a little differently – the designers certainly either need the freedom to overrule the votes or at least work on things that don’t require a vote because not working on important features because some shiny crap gets more votes is mad.

    I found the game itself really rather fun, although many have found the combat system disappointingly shallow. I guess this DLC doesn’t improve that a whole lot.

    • frightlever says:

      I was under the impression that combat was something that received some attention in the DLC.

      I never played ES much beyond the Beta – was constantly put off by negative comments about the AI getting no better. This DLC feels like paying for an AI upgrade that should be in the base game. Or something.

    • Dominic White says:

      The developers are the ones who pick what items go on the polls in the first place, so they’ve clearly got a list of things they COULD be working on next, but let the community prioritize for them.

    • Jomini says:

      “The community constantly chooses shiny things over important gameplay mechanics (such as razing systems)”

      Are you naming razing systems as a example of important gameplay mechanics here? Because that ‘s one of the things the DLC adds.

      “Something like this could probably work well if done a little differently – the designers certainly either need the freedom to overrule the votes or at least work on things that don’t require a vote because not working on important features because some shiny crap gets more votes is mad.”

      The three choices people can vote on in the G2G votes are still made and choosen by the devs, and often just have minor differences between them. It’s not like people can tell them what to do freely.
      And the community never has a say in the vast majority of choices the devs make, the votings are usually just for minor details.

      “I found the game itself really rather fun, although many have found the combat system disappointingly shallow. I guess this DLC doesn’t improve that a whole lot.”

      Combat is the main focus of the expansion.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      Why the need for more races? I, Horatio, am already perfect.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      Yeah the communities in most video game forums are way way too obsessed with bling and not interested enough in gameplay mechanics.

      To the extent where even though the re-playability and enjoyment of the game is almost entirely determined by the AI and balance issues gamers will scream if an expansion fixes only those things, but be fine if it only covers stupid new races anyone can mod in.

      That said Endless Space has been very solid, so I think they are being smart about it.

  3. Heliocentric says:

    Space aliens hate dust, I’m going to take that literally for now.

    • cpt_freakout says:

      They’re probably allergic to cat fur, too. Who needs XCOM when all you have to do is throw cat hairballs and old English furniture at them?

  4. leQuack says:

    Does the DLC add any non-combat stuff? For a 4x game, the trailer shows an awful lot of space-shooting

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      Endless Space’s strong point (other than its charm and presentation) is its planetary/solar system management. The expansion seems to be addressing its weaknesses, which are mostly combat related.

      What I’d personally like to see though, is a ship cap – fleet spam is the #1 problem with this game IMO.

  5. WarderDragon says:

    I’d love to get into Endless Space, but I find the UI terrible both in aesthetics and functionality. Is there a way around it? Perhaps a mod or whatnot?

    • Sakkura says:

      A touch of brain surgery? Seriously, I find the UI to be the crowning achievement of Endless Space.

    • Faldrath says:

      Of all the complaints I’ve ever heard about ES, this one is certainly the weirdest.

    • Vexing Vision says:

      That is a super odd complain. Can you elaborate? I find Endless Space’s UI design not only sexy but genuinely groundbreaking, to the point where I constantly refer back to it when talking about UI design (which recently comes up pretty often, strangely enough).

      • JamesTheNumberless says:

        Maybe it just doesn’t scale well to my 30” monitor but I’d like more summary info on the main screen, so that I have to switch to the empire overview less often, I’d like more feedback about trade routes both on system screens and on the map and I’d also like them to completely overhaul the way you create, merge, split (etc) fleets because the fiddly little collection of boxes in the bottom left of my screen is painful to use. Furthermore, I think it should be a requirement for all 4X space game designers to read one or two novels by Iain M. Banks and hence stop putting arbitrary bloody character limits on names of fleets/ships! I would say that the only part of the UI design in E:S that’s intuitive is the system management screen. fortunately it’s where you spend most of the game. Still on balance it’s better than most 4X games!

      • Laurentius says:

        Managing and especially moving fleets is pita , the rest is kinda cool, system management is sleek.

        • JamesTheNumberless says:

          Things that I think would be nice helpful additions are the ability to see trade routes on the map (perhaps when you mouse over your systems) and the ability to see summary info on systems (including FIDS) on the map at a more zoomed out level. Otherwise that side of the game is better and more enjoyable than any other 4X I’ve ever played. I can’t say I’ve ever played a management game where micromanagement has been this rewarding or this much fun.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      I kind of see what you mean about the UI. It takes a bit of getting used to and could do with a better tutorial system that properly takes you through the game and introduces the UI bit by bit. A lot of 4X games suffer from UI overload and ES tries not to but ends up making it less than obvious how to do certain things, and what things you can actually do. Overall the presentation is slick and once you’ve played it a bit, it all makes sense. but I do remember having to have a certain amount of determination to get through the UI when I first played it, and some parts are definitely nicer than others. Planetary management is nice but managing fleets and designing ships is definitely not as much fun, or as intuitive, as it should be.

      • WarderDragon says:

        Yes, that describes my general feeling about the UI very well. It seems like such a good game, but when I’ve tried it out I’ve felt like the UI is a barrier to get over rather than guide towards what I want to do. Maybe it gets better once I’ve figured it out? I just wish it was intuitive enough that “figuring it out” didn’t have to be a big deal.

        • JamesTheNumberless says:

          It does, and it’s worth it but most of the time I’m like you with regards to game design. The best games have a learning curve but that should relate to the game itself, and not extend to the control system or the UI. It’s a bit easier in a turn based game. I forced myself to persevere with this game because I found the theme and lore interesting, and it’s the first 4X game in a long time that’s brought back memories of the original PC version of Ascendancy – which for all its flaws has the most charm and atmosphere of any space 4X I’ve ever played. I really wish Sins of a Solar Empire was turn based.

    • Cytrom says:

      I thought a fucking terrible UI is a genre requirement for 4x space strategy games. This one actually tries to do something more than an excel spreadsheet simulator.. in space.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      Single best UI in this genre I have seen. So I am not sure what you are getting at.

  6. Spookvogel says:

    Ever since i got my hands on StarDrive my interest for Endless Space has decreased, StarDrive is absolutely the better game. In fact, it might be the very best 4x game i’ve ever seen. Shame it didn’t get the attention it deserved after launch… was a bit surprised there was not even a Wot I Think on it on RPS *sadface*

    Oh yes, and broken as it might currently be, this potentially wonderful game is all the work of one guy. Which is obviously very impressive. Internet rumor has it that he had a babby, hence the lack of updates. He’s back now though, and there’s a second dude involved. So that’s awesome.

    • Joshua IX says:

      I can only agree. StarDrive is one of the most wholly underrated games I’ve ever seen. Reviewers were very, very cruel in their assessment and I don’t think their ‘scores’ particularly reflect how deep and enjoyable that game is. I was hoping RPS would do a WIT on it to expose how excellent it is to a wider audience, perhaps they still will…

    • Laurentius says:

      i liked this bit when my population were dying from starvation and game decided to finally inform me about this critical situation only when everyone was dead. Generally game was at launch totally sparse at giving cruicial messages in comparison to other big real time strategies like EU or HoI.

      So at least at luanch it was totally underbaked for me, maybe now it’s patched up but kinda give it up now.

    • Sardonic says:

      Stardrive was pretty eh, great visuals and races, bad gameplay. Imperium Galactica 2 did realtime 4x the best.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      Stardrive was even after release mostly unfinished, and as far as I know still is. Lots of big bugs, holes in the AI and a UI from hell. It has a ton of potential, but right now it is just that potential. I have it marked down in my (check back in after a dozen more patches or expansion) bin.

      I don’t regret buying it, but I would rather play other more polished/complete games, like Endless Space.

    • Arcanon says:

      Stardrive was a beta (and it pretty much still is)……only the Steam page didn’t say that. I paid 30€ for an unfinished, unpolished, imbalanced mess with a lot of good ideas poorly executed.

      I feel ripped off.

  7. SuicideKing says:

    Well, that’s an interesting take on the usual “ancient race returns to destroy us”.

  8. Jimbo says:

    Combat was by far the weakest aspect of the game when I played it, but I don’t feel like paying £8 to get it where it should have been in the first place.

  9. Trum says:

    If only it had hotseat :(

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