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General Category => Stars Beyond Reach... This World Is Mine => Topic started by: Velihopea on November 04, 2014, 10:39:31 AM

Title: eXplore, the first of the X's
Post by: Velihopea on November 04, 2014, 10:39:31 AM
Just heard about the game from RPS and joined to ask something that was not touched in the info:

Is there any eXplore aspect in this game? Most 4x do this by the way of units. If there are none, is there no exploration, wildlife, nature?
Title: Re: eXplore, the first of the X's
Post by: x4000 on November 04, 2014, 10:57:09 AM
Cheers, and welcome!

Yes, there definitely is exploration, and it works much the same as you'd expect from most 4Xs.  The "no units" thing can be kind of confusing for sure, but basically you start out with a single scout point, and you can construct buildings that give you more scouting points.

During each turn, you can choose to scout by simply clicking on any area that is near enough to areas you've already seen.  You then see a visual of one of your spy planes (each scout point represents one of these) flying out to the location and then back home.

So the "no units" rule can be confusing, because sometimes you are giving orders to units, ostensibly.  But the thing is, there isn't a specific spy plane that you have to worry about health with, or individually manage, etc.  Instead they are based out of buildings, which is the sole thing you have to manage the health and so forth for.  The unit and the building are part and parcel.

This game actually has two levels of exploration!  Overland exploration is fairly straightforward because you are using planes, not barbarian scouts or whatever.  So water and so forth doesn't block you, which means that you have a lot more freedom to explore specific directions on the map if you so desire.

BUT there is also sonar exploration of the ground underneath the surface tiles.  This is how you find a lot of the resources, particularly minerals and oils.  It's also a way that you can find Thoraxian tunnels.  Sonar scouting is a lot tougher, because the crews can't go as far and there are some other limitations.  So you have better-than-average ability to scout overland, but then underground the scouting is harder than in most 4Xes.

Regarding scouting/sonar, if you have any unused points at the end of your turn, then it automatically uses them there, trying to expand as evenly as possible around your buildings.  So the extent of your actual need to micro scouting is far less than in, say, Civilization.  If you have a reason to go and explore in some direction, then you can immediately marshal all your scouting points and send all your planes in that area at once.  You don't have to worry that one is stuck way off on the other side of the map like in Civ.  And at the same time, the auto-scouting doesn't run any risk of you accidentally getting a scout killed or having scouts get stuck on one little continent or whatever.  Much less management that way.

Any other questions on that, please do let me know. :)
Title: Re: eXplore, the first of the X's
Post by: Velihopea on November 04, 2014, 12:13:19 PM
Great to hear, the system sounds good. If you are willing to part with further info: What are the rewards of exploration (other than those mentioned of sonar)? Does exploring the wild uncover lore, tech, resources or other benefits and does it further the story?
Title: Re: eXplore, the first of the X's
Post by: x4000 on November 04, 2014, 12:15:47 PM
That's actually not something I'm fully ready to comment on, just because things aren't nailed down and I don't want to create an expectation of something that might not make the cut for whatever reason.  But it is my intent that exploration is a rewarding part of the game, at least. :)
Title: Re: eXplore, the first of the X's
Post by: Velihopea on November 04, 2014, 12:27:02 PM
Thanks for the replies
Title: Re: eXplore, the first of the X's
Post by: x4000 on November 04, 2014, 12:53:26 PM
My pleasure!
Title: Re: eXplore, the first of the X's
Post by: Tridus on November 04, 2014, 01:41:45 PM
Regarding scouting/sonar, if you have any unused points at the end of your turn, then it automatically uses them there, trying to expand as evenly as possible around your buildings.  So the extent of your actual need to micro scouting is far less than in, say, Civilization.  If you have a reason to go and explore in some direction, then you can immediately marshal all your scouting points and send all your planes in that area at once.  You don't have to worry that one is stuck way off on the other side of the map like in Civ.  And at the same time, the auto-scouting doesn't run any risk of you accidentally getting a scout killed or having scouts get stuck on one little continent or whatever.  Much less management that way.

Awesome. I really love this part. Not having to babysit this part will be great. I usually wind up throwing my explorers in Civ on automatic explore anyway, because driving the ship around an entire continent is super annoying.
Title: Re: eXplore, the first of the X's
Post by: x4000 on November 04, 2014, 02:27:04 PM
I feel exactly the same way.  At the same time, if I WANT to look at something, I want to be able to marshal my scouts quickly and not have to wait like 15 turns.  Plus not having to babysit them around barbarians or whatever.
Title: Re: eXplore, the first of the X's
Post by: Mick on November 05, 2014, 07:29:57 AM
I felt exploration was something that felt missing from Last Federation (even though that wasn't strictly a 4x game), so I'm glad to see it will be a part of this one. It's often my favorite phase in most 4x games. Hmm, some 4x game needs to find a way to retain the exploratory element all the way to the end. Infinite map size?
Title: Re: eXplore, the first of the X's
Post by: x4000 on November 05, 2014, 09:04:54 AM
I felt exploration was something that felt missing from Last Federation (even though that wasn't strictly a 4x game), so I'm glad to see it will be a part of this one. It's often my favorite phase in most 4x games.

It's true, that was something that was not cultivated in TLF at all.  It is something that I like, too, though.

Hmm, some 4x game needs to find a way to retain the exploratory element all the way to the end. Infinite map size?

You know how a little bit of some awesome food treat is amazing, but if you have a ton of it it starts to taste kind of ordinary -- or worse, kind of gross?  I think that's the way with the exploration bits.  It should be meaty and fun, and then it should end before the players get tired of it.  Being left wanting more is always better with that sort of thing versus running it into the ground in my opinion.  :)
Title: Re: eXplore, the first of the X's
Post by: Tridus on November 05, 2014, 12:52:03 PM
Hmm, some 4x game needs to find a way to retain the exploratory element all the way to the end. Infinite map size?

You know how a little bit of some awesome food treat is amazing, but if you have a ton of it it starts to taste kind of ordinary -- or worse, kind of gross?  I think that's the way with the exploration bits.  It should be meaty and fun, and then it should end before the players get tired of it.  Being left wanting more is always better with that sort of thing versus running it into the ground in my opinion.  :)

Also seems like the second layer of exploration (the sonar part) will keep it going for a while even after the first wave is done.
Title: Re: eXplore, the first of the X's
Post by: x4000 on November 05, 2014, 12:54:36 PM
That's true -- that's a layer that, at the moment at least, you have zero hope of ever actually finishing.  You find what you find, but you'll never find it all and that's okay.
Title: Re: eXplore, the first of the X's
Post by: Velihopea on November 06, 2014, 01:19:27 PM
I felt exploration was something that felt missing from Last Federation (even though that wasn't strictly a 4x game), so I'm glad to see it will be a part of this one. It's often my favorite phase in most 4x games. Hmm, some 4x game needs to find a way to retain the exploratory element all the way to the end. Infinite map size?
I agree in that I think that infinite exploration would be a great thing (although not necessarily infinite map.)

That's true -- that's a layer that, at the moment at least, you have zero hope of ever actually finishing.  You find what you find, but you'll never find it all and that's okay.
Great to hear. I've felt that the model where  once you have walked over a tile it's explored -system thats used by most 4x's is not enough. It makes the world feel small and eventually empty. The more realistic model and IMO the more interesting would be that there is always something to find in a hex, just smaller chance of doing so.
Title: Re: eXplore, the first of the X's
Post by: x4000 on November 06, 2014, 01:24:44 PM
That's a good point!


On a semi-related note, at the moment I'm not doing any sort of "visual fog of war."  What are folks' thoughts about that?  I feel like it is a needless thing in this particular game, and like the complete-blackness "unexplored fog of war" is all that is needed.  Having to maintain line of sight on enemies really matters mainly because of troop movements more than anything else (although building construction is also relevant).

I feel like in a high tech society, having some insight into what is being constructed by your potential enemies is fine.  It's not like you can see their detailed population stats or exactly where their troops are positioned inside their town or whatever.  That stuff is pretty obscured in general until you get over near them.  Maybe spies, I don't know.  To some extent you can infer a lot, but it's kind of like looking at satellite photos of a country versus looking at their ledgers and their census.
Title: Re: eXplore, the first of the X's
Post by: nas1m on November 06, 2014, 01:38:23 PM
That's a good point!


On a semi-related note, at the moment I'm not doing any sort of "visual fog of war."  What are folks' thoughts about that?  I feel like it is a needless thing in this particular game, and like the complete-blackness "unexplored fog of war" is all that is needed.  Having to maintain line of sight on enemies really matters mainly because of troop movements more than anything else (although building construction is also relevant).

I feel like in a high tech society, having some insight into what is being constructed by your potential enemies is fine.  It's not like you can see their detailed population stats or exactly where their troops are positioned inside their town or whatever.  That stuff is pretty obscured in general until you get over near them.  Maybe spies, I don't know.  To some extent you can infer a lot, but it's kind of like looking at satellite photos of a country versus looking at their ledgers and their census.
Sounds reasonable to me. I am really starting to look forward to this :D.
Title: Re: eXplore, the first of the X's
Post by: Draco18s on November 06, 2014, 01:39:50 PM
Re, fully explored tiles and Never Again:
Yeah, "discovering" new resources in Civ 4 and having those deposits automatically show up anywhere I've sent units before (even in the stone age!) doesn't make any sense.

Per fog, there's no unit movement so maintaining visual presence isn't important.  I could be OK with that.
Title: Re: eXplore, the first of the X's
Post by: Velihopea on November 06, 2014, 01:52:12 PM
at the moment I'm not doing any sort of "visual fog of war."  What are folks' thoughts about that?
Fog of war is interesting when there are units that are hidden in it: It creates tension of the unknown and can be used to make surprise assaults on the unwary and provides tactical depth to the game.

Since there are no units, I don't see the point of fog of war. Seeing what the enemy is building once you have located them sounds ok.
Title: Re: eXplore, the first of the X's
Post by: x4000 on November 06, 2014, 01:57:47 PM
 :D
Title: Re: eXplore, the first of the X's
Post by: Toranth on November 06, 2014, 03:20:48 PM
If you were willing to add the complication, a distance-based time delay might be interesting.  No fog of war, so you'll always find out what your opponent is building - but if his city is 10,000 miles away, your info will be a few turns behind.  Then having trade routes, or some form of faster travel to-and-from could reduce that delay.
Title: Re: eXplore, the first of the X's
Post by: x4000 on November 06, 2014, 04:25:28 PM
That's intriguing, but I see a lot of interface problems with it and "bug reports" from players when things pop into view fully constructed when they approach, when the things weren't even visible under construction prior to that, heh.
Title: Re: eXplore, the first of the X's
Post by: doctorfrog on November 06, 2014, 05:08:29 PM
I'd be sure to have a plausible in-game explanation for not having fog of war, because that's the kind of thing that certain folks will kvetch about. Low-resolution sats would do this well enough.

Alternative, for the heck of it (not because I think it's an amazing idea): The need to maintain a spy satellite network (technology accessible from the beginning of the game). But nothing that requires much work or takes too long to re-enable. Just something that causes, or allows you to cause, temporary blind spots, by destroying or losing the controlling buildings.

I'm really looking forward to seeing how this title develops. Skyward Collapse didn't grab me, but I've been hoping that Arcen would take another stab in the nX genre direction.
Title: Re: eXplore, the first of the X's
Post by: x4000 on November 06, 2014, 07:31:33 PM
Yeah, I've thought about having to maintain a satellite network, too, but it is one of those things that seems like it would either be too powerful or too fiddly.  Not sure.

Anyway, I'm not 100% absolutely ruling out the other level of fog of war in the first place.  I'm not sure that it's warranted, but just graying out tiles is pretty straightforward to do and would look fine enough.  My main gripe isn't a technical one, it's that I'm not sure it really adds anything for this game.  I could be wrong, though -- the sense of the unknown really might be something that is helped by having that in a positive way, so we'll see.

Skyward Collapse definitely isn't something I consider 4X, by the way.  It's a very experimental god game in my opinion.  In a 4x you need a lot more direct control over things.  Anyhow, thanks for the kind words. :)
Title: Re: eXplore, the first of the X's
Post by: screamingpalm on November 06, 2014, 09:21:08 PM
Some people get hyped for new releases based on pretty graphics and screenshots. I find myself drooling over reading Chris Park's ideas for a new game.

So hyped! <3

:)

(Whoops meant to post this in the announcement thread :D)
Title: Re: eXplore, the first of the X's
Post by: doctorfrog on November 07, 2014, 02:33:17 AM
Skyward Collapse definitely isn't something I consider 4X, by the way.  It's a very experimental god game in my opinion.  In a 4x you need a lot more direct control over things.  Anyhow, thanks for the kind words. :)
I think what I wanted to say was "game what plays on a map," but I got lazy. : :)

Also I'm probably going to circle back to Skyward Collapse one of these days because the concept is still worth trying out, but the early concepts for this game are very tantalizing. I enjoyed about 2/3 of the Civ 4 games I played, until it got down to moving giant stacks of units around, and then it got kind of tiresome. It's a model that deserves being shaken up--and it was in Civ 5 a bit, but not quite enough for my interests.

You got my attention, Arcen, but then again, you always do!
Title: Re: eXplore, the first of the X's
Post by: ElOhTeeBee on November 07, 2014, 12:36:51 PM
Your scouting ships leave microsensors seeded in their wake that, while harmless aside from the intel they gather, are impractical to clean up due to their tiny size. It'd be like finding a needle in a thousand haystacks, over and over again.

There, an explanation for why you can't see stuff you haven't scouted but you can always see stuff you have.
Title: Re: eXplore, the first of the X's
Post by: x4000 on November 10, 2014, 11:22:41 AM
Your scouting ships leave microsensors seeded in their wake that, while harmless aside from the intel they gather, are impractical to clean up due to their tiny size. It'd be like finding a needle in a thousand haystacks, over and over again.

There, an explanation for why you can't see stuff you haven't scouted but you can always see stuff you have.

Nice!  That is absolutely perfect. :D
Title: Re: eXplore, the first of the X's
Post by: Nodor on January 16, 2015, 05:26:08 PM
I think one of the most annoying things about Civ:BE is that you land on a planet, you didn't bother to scout it from space, and while you can launch satellites, you can't see over a hill...

Sometimes, even in a 4x; exploration can be dumb.