Stellaris Development Diary - Heinlein patch (part 3)

By Austin Phoenix, 1 year ago
Stellaris Development Diary - Heinlein patch 1

Hello everyone and welcome to another Stellaris development diary. This is the third part in a multi-part dev diary about the 'Heinlein' 1.3 patch that we are currently working on. This week's dev diary will be about more miscellaneous changes and improvements coming in the patch, currently planned for release sometime in October.

Federation/Alliance Merger

When Federations were given the ability to vote on invites and wars, alliances became a bit of an odd duck in the Stellaris diplomacy. A middle layer between the 'loose' diplomacy of defensive pacts and joint DOWs, they ended up as little more than a weak form of Federation that's usually swapped out the moment the latter becomes available. In Heinlein, we've decided to retire alliances altogether and have Federations be the only form of 'permanent' alliance. When you unlock the technology for Federations, you will immediately be able to invite another empire into a Federation with you, 4 empires no longer being necessary to start one. Once a Federation has been formed, the technology is not required to invite new members or to ask to join it.

Federation Association Status

Another issue we ran into with the changes to diplomacy in Asimov is that Alliances and Federations had trouble bringing in new members - since non-aggression pacts, defensive pacts and guarantees were no longer possible with outside powers, building trust is difficult and you have to mostly rely on large bribes to get new members to join, something that just didn't feel right. To address this, we're adding a new diplomatic option to Heinlein called 'Federation Association Status'. This works similarly to an invite to the Federation in that it can be offered and asked for with any member of the Federation, but must be approved via unanimous vote. A country that has Federation Association Status is not actually a part of the Federation, but has a non-aggression pact with all Federation members and will gain trust with them up to a maximum value of 100. Revoking association status can be done via majority vote, or on the part of the associate at any time they like.

Stellaris Development Diary - Heinlein patch 2

Planet Habitability Changes

The planet habitability wheel is a mechanic we were never quite happy with - it makes some degree of sense, but it's hard to keep track of how each planet relates to your homeworld type, and it ends up nonsensical in quite a few cases (Desert being perfectly fine for Tropical inhabitants, or Arid for Tundra, etc). We found that most players tend to intuitively divide planets into desert/arid tundra/arctic and ocean/tropical/continental, and so we decided to change the mechanic to fit player intuition. Instead of a wheel, planets are now divided into three climate groups (Dry, Wet and Cold) and two new planet types (Alpine and Savanna) were added so that each group has 3 planet types. Habitability for the climates now works as follows (numbers may be subject to change):

• Habitability for your main planet type is 80% (as before)
• Habitability for planets of your climate is 60%
• Habitability for planets of other climates is 20%

As such, you no longer have to keep track of anything other than which climate your planet type has to know whether a particular type of world is suitable for your species.

Stellaris Development Diary - Heinlein patch 3

We also felt that the number of habitable planets in the galaxy was too large overall, but that we couldn't really decrease it so long as the player only had access to 1/7 of those types at start, which would now become 1/9. We also felt the colonization tech gating could be rather arbitrary, particularly if you had a species suited to a particular planet type but still couldn't colonize it due to lacking the tech. As such, we've done away with the tech gating on colonization, and instead instituted a 30% minimum habitability requirement to colonize a planet. You will also be unable to relocate pops to a planet if their habitability there would be under the 30% minimum. With this change we've also majorly slashed the number of habitable worlds in the galaxy, though if you prefer a galaxy lush with life you will be able to make it so through a new option outlined below. We are, of course, looking into and tweaking the effects that having less habitable worlds overall will have on empire borders.

More Galaxy Setup Options

There is an old gamer's adage that says 'more player choice is always better'. We do not actually agree with this, as adding unnecessary/uninteresting choices can just as well bog a game down as it can improve it, but in the case of galaxy setup in a game such as Stellaris, it is pretty much true. With that in mind, the following new galaxy setup options are planned to be included in Heinlein:

• Maximum number of Fallen Empires (actually setting a fixed number is difficult due to the way they spawn and how it's affected by regular empires)
• Chance of habitable worlds spawning
• Whether to allow advanced empires to start near players
• Whether to use empire clustering
• Whether endgame crises should be allowed to appear

Sector Improvements

Since barely a day goes by without a new thread on the topic of sectors and enslavement, we would of course be remiss not to deal with this particular bugbear. We intend to spend a considerable amount of time on the sector AI for Heinlein, but I'm not going to go into specifics on bug fixing/AI improvements but rather on a series of new toggles that we intend to introduce to give the player more control over their sector. In addition to the current redevelopment/respect tile resource toggles, the following new toggles are planned for Heinlein:

• Whether sector is allowed to enslave/emancipate
• Whether sector is allowed to build spaceports and construction ships
• Whether sector is allowed to build military stations (this will replace the military sector focus)

We're also discussing having a sector toggle for building and maintaining local defense fleets, but we don't think we'll have time for it in Heinlein.

That's all for today! Next week we'll be talking about Fallen Empires, how they can awaken, and the War in Heaven.

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Austin Phoenix
Written by Austin Phoenix
Site moderator and Newshound here on TSA. Walkthrough Supervisor and Site Help Editor over on TA. Space Cowboy in my free time.