Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion overhauls engine

Stardock and Ironclad Games have launched a surprise update for Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion [official site], their sparefaring RTS from 2012. The update brings engine improvements to let the game use more memory so it can crash less, it reduces stuttering in large battles, fixes AI bugs, supports modern high resolutions, adds options for higher-quality textures and shadows, and it generally makes Rebellion better. Not bad for a game that’s almost five years old. Rebellion is on sale for a few days too, with a hefty 75% discount.

Stardock point these out as the highlights of version 1.9:

Memory Optimizations
Concern yourself with space battles instead of space restrictions! Previously, Sins: Rebellion’s 32-bit process was unable to exceed 2 GB of RAM usage. New adjustments in v1.9 allows the game to use up to 4 GB of RAM, which reduces crashes and lets modders focus on their creations instead of worrying about hitting the 32-bit limit. Any mods that already exist will benefit from the engine improvements with an overall better look and performance.

Graphics Optimizations
Sins: Rebellion gets a face lift in v1.9! The improvements to the memory system have allowed for a new “Extreme” texture setting that makes the game look better than ever. The difference is noticeable in everything from the ships and the planets all the way to shadow rendering. The UI will look incredible on 4K monitors now thanks to user interface scaling.

Late Game Optimizations
Reduced stuttering and lag during late game battles let you focus on the fight! The Iron Engine has been improved so you can enjoy large fights without worrying about issues. The game’s AI has also received some updates, making for more interesting challenges and gameplay.

Good stuff! The full patch notes for update 1.9 are over here.

Stardock released new DLC for Rebellion in 2016 so it’s not entirely surprising to see them revisit it. However, seeing as some recent ‘HD’ re-releases have changed about as much as this update yet been sold as separate games, this is great.

Rebellion is discounted on Steam to £7.50/10,00€/$10.00 until Friday.


  1. Eraysor says:

    Nice Borg Cube you’ve got there

    • ColonelFlanders says:

      Ha, I also came here to say that. Curious that you guys would use ST: Armada 3 mod screenshots, kinda makes it a little unfair on those amazingly talented modders to credit that to Stardock.

      • oWn4g3 says:

        To be fair Stardock used screenshots of several mods on their announcement as well. link to

        After all it is supposed to improve performance and graphical fidelity of said mods.

      • barelyhomosapien says:

        To be fair, the Star Trek Armada 3 mod is so much better than base Sins, it’s hardly surprising they’d use it for a screenshot

        • QSpec says:

          That’s, like, your opinion, man.

          • barelyhomosapien says:

            Yes, yes it is!

            I did/do like the base game enough to have owned every iteration of it before ever looking at the mod scene so I’m not saying it’s bad.

      • Alice O'Connor says:

        Oh is it! That’s just what they sent me, the scamps.

        • ColonelFlanders says:

          Ha fair enough, the little blighters! All is absolved and you are vindicated of all accusations forthwith.

  2. Bull0 says:

    I’ve never been able to like this game. Not for want of trying, I play every new version, it just doesn’t click and the presentation is SO flat.

  3. titanomaquis says:

    I think that Screenshot is actually doing Stardock a favor. I’m way more interested in buying this now that i know there is a mod for a “star trek: armada 3” experience.

    • titanomaquis says:

      In fact, I just picked it up on steam. It was $10 USD.

    • barelyhomosapien says:

      link to

      Enjoy! There’s no mention of the updating the mod for the new patch, so I don’t know if it’ll work or not with the latest version, be a bit weird if it didn’t given the heavy focus on Mods in the official announcement

      • titanomaquis says:

        It looks awesome, Thanks! And the developers of the mod are still really active apparently, so if there is no support for the new patch now, I think it won’t be far behind.

    • Vandelay says:

      I already own it, but certainly makes me tempted to download it again. I was only reading the article in passing until I noticed that those ships looked suspiciously Federation like.

      The base game I found to be just okay though. It was a bit of an average RTS and an average 4X.

      Also, usual comment whenever Trek gets mentioned here, but where is our new Star Trek game? Seems ideal time with a new series approaching.

      • titanomaquis says:

        I have been trying to get Start trek voyager: Elite force to work on windows 10 for like 2 weeks now. I can get the sequel working. I would love to see those released on GOG or something, and maybe a third entry. But that seems unlikely. But a new Star trek VR game is coming out. I think it’s some kind of bridge commander type game. Maybe the new CBS star trek will lead to some good games. I really don’t understand why Activision just abandoned Armada and Elite force. They could be making money off of digital sales for basically no effort.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    “However, someone recent ‘HD’ re-releases have changed about as much as this update yet been sold as a separate game.”

    Is that supposed to be ‘somewhat recent’? Trying to work that out.

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      Who even knows, maaan.

    • left1000 says:

      I think hd re-releases of pc games on pc are basically theft.
      Any game popular enough to get the treatment already has a resolution fanpatch.

      Doing these upgrades free is the way to go IMO.

      my only worry is, does this patch break the star trek or star wars mod?

  5. Telkir says:

    Don’t think I’ve tried this one, mainly because the RTS aspect puts me off. I’ve squinted at some of the screenshots but can’t see – is there a way to pause the action and think, or is time constantly moving forward?

    Given the good reviews I’m tmepted to try it regardless. It’d be nice if they discounted the game on GOG as well though…

    • Ent says:

      You can pause / 2x speed / 4x speed any time, and before the game start you can also modify the general speed for things – fleet movement speed, tech speed, culture spread speed, etc.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      It might be in real time but it is very slow, no millisecond micromanaging here and as Ent said, you can pause to issue orders if you need to.

  6. Solidstate89 says:

    This honestly fantastic. I could never finish my games, because I’d play on the biggest map, and the late game fleet battles were unbearable. The frame rate would slow to a crawl, even on my 1070 SLI system. It just couldn’t handle that much going on at a time.

    Giving the game the PAE flag to access 4GB of memory isn’t nearly as useful as a true 64-bit upgrade, but I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. No sir. I’m fucking excited for this. Especially since a sequel for Sins of a Solar Empire looks less and less likely by the day.

  7. OpT1mUs says:

    If they haven’t fixed the fact that the engine is using only a single core, every other “fix” is pointless.

    • ThatTaffer says:

      Reprogramming an engine to be multithreaded is so monumental a task than you had might as well just make a new engine/game. It is a huge undertaking requiring a total rewrite of the logic and flow of the program than can have bugs that seem impossible to solve.

      Better to polish what is there and work on a new project besides. As I understand it, that is exactly what is going on.

      • soulage says:

        I like the game and I’m ready to pay, let them use a kick-start for example and create a separate mod.

    • pistachio says:

      How can you be sure it is pointless? The devs themselves say that end-game lag was caused by memory issues caused by the 32-bit limit.

      Also, just recompiling on a 5 year newer compiler WILL benefit most software.

  8. Von Uber says:

    Lost many a happy hour to this, one of my favourite RTS’s.
    That Vasari space station was just immense.

  9. Korakys says:

    Cool, but I will wait until the DRM-free version on GOG is similarly discounted to check this out.