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Stellaris Dev Diary #193: Signal Discovered

Hello everyone!

This week we are going to talk about something new that we’ve been working on - namely improving first contact and extending the exploration aspects of the game. All of this is work in progress and may not accurately represent what the game will look like once all of this work is finished. A lot of UI is very much work in progress, so don't pay too much attention to icons or such.

Exploration has always been one of the best parts of Stellaris, and it is perhaps what sets us apart from other games that follow similar themes. Looking back, Stellaris has mostly revolved around the physical exploration of space, discovering an ancient galaxy full of wonders. We believe that exploring and uncovering the galaxy is such an important and fun aspect of the game that we really want to dive deeper into those experiences. We intend to take the next steps by improving the means by which you can establish communication and make the process of learning more about alien civilizations a part of the exploration gameplay.

In this dev diary we will be outlining some of the changes and additions that we are currently working on, so that you can get an idea of what to expect from our next big update.

First Contact
The first steps we are taking is that we are changing how first contact works. First contact is now a much more engaging process with interesting choices that are supported by great narrative.

When you first have an alien encounter you are able to set a policy for what your approach will be. First Contact Protocols is a policy option that lets you dictate your stance when it comes to dealing with newly discovered alien civilizations. Each option has different effects that should suit different types of diplomacy.




First Contact Protocol Policy options.

First Contact Investigation
In order to establish communication with the alien contact, an Envoy will need to be assigned to the First Contact Investigation. The investigation will then be able to begin, and it will run through stages and will contain events similar to an archaeological dig site. The reason why we chose a system similar to archaeology is because its a great way of letting a process run over time in a way where it can also deliver some narrative along the way. The difficulty of the first contact investigation will be affected by things like how friendly the target is, or how difficult it is to translate their signals.

Since First Contact now uses an Envoy, that also means that it no longer pauses Society Research, and it is possible to run multiple first contact investigations simultaneously as long as you have the Envoys required.

(Envoys do still currently not have traits or levels, but it is something we are actively discussing.)



The events that you can get depend on the type of empire you are, and on the type of alien you are trying to contact.

There are friendly/peaceful paths as well as ... less so.

As a xenophobic empire with an aggressive first contact protocol it is possible to secure a couple of specimen for a closer look.




The choices you make during first contact can also have long-term effects on your relationship with the alien empire. Choose wisely and decide which trade-offs you are willing to make. Are you perhaps a materialistic and xenophobic empire that values scientific progress above all?



Stay on your side of the galaxy and all can be well.


Let’s agree to disagree.


That is all for this week! Next week we’ll be showing you some new features that allow you to explore maps like the one posted here below.

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Ooooo this is really nice, I have always wanted more flavor and RP in talking to new contacts, and saying stuff on first contact makes a difference
Great job!
hmmmm interesting interface....


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I don't have any envoy with Inward Perfection so ?...

I'm also curious about the impacts on purifiers...
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A short but interesting diary, this improvement is good. New contact events before is too simple, organism can say "Hey bro, how are you today" to XT-489 as usual, they seems don't care about the toaster with their tomb origination. Hey, why doesn't the xenophobic empire hide their true purpose to get more advance to against their future slaves/livestock? It seems very cool.
But compare to some diaries before, it is too short to satisfy my curiosity. And I thought this week will talk about intelligence, as the end of last diary. Or something about modding(at least I wish that)
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Very intriguing. Interested to see more!
Also, I very much am for the idea that Envoys also should be treated like Leaders in general (meaning having levels, traits, etc). Exception being that they still cannot be hired.
I think that would add more depth to it.
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(Envoys do still currently not have traits or levels, but it is something we are actively discussing.)
100% pro having envoys as full leaders. Bonus points for a few flavor events, like mutual grievance when they die after serving at a friendly foreign empire for decades, or rookie mistakes when you hire a new one.
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Hmm intel, I wonder what that could be, since Stellaris definitely doesn't have espionage or anything like that. Oh well, no point reading anything into it. :p
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So, quick question, once we establish contact, will we finally no longer be blocked from discovering anomalies in systems already claimed or surveyed by others?
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Envoys do still currently not have traits or levels, but it is something we are actively discussing.
Well... my suggestion is:
  1. Do a test build with envoy traits and levels.
  2. Play it.
  3. Concede I was right.
Everything else looks great!
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I really like how your contact message now has an effect on your initial relationship!

Do envoys need a ship, or do you assign them through the situation log?
On that subject, have you guys considered adding more tabs, or a way to filter through it? Because it can get quite long nowadays (Internal Empire projects - Diplomatic projects - Post anomaly events - Archeology sites - Anomolies (like now)). Same with dismissing sites in other Empire territory.

Will we be getting a Civilian border stance?

EDIT will there be more ways to increase envoys?

And will part or all of the Diplomatic power be hidden like the rest until you know more about their Empire beyond things like "Unknown fleet strength"? Because it's a roundabout way to get a gauge on them anyway.
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Will there be a difference between aliens you have physical contact with and once you learn of from other empires? Those event chains are a nice a few times with your neighbors, but going through them for the whole galaxy could become a bit tedious. And also not thematically fitting because they are far away
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Very intriguing. Interested to see more!
Also, I very much am for the idea that Envoys also should be treated like Leaders in general (meaning having levels, traits, etc). Exception being that they still cannot be hired.
I think that would add more depth to it.

It's easy to see how envoys could be fun, but its also easy to see how it would be really annoying to have to manually adjust which envoys are working on what. Especially with a re-assignment cooldown. I think a better option would be to be able to specialize your foreign office somehow. No promises! :)
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