Stellaris Dev Diary #205: Announcing the 3.0 ‘Dick’ Update

Hello everyone!

I hope the word about the release date for Nemesis has already reached you, but in case it has somewhat eluded your perception, here is a refresher:

Nemesis will release on April 15th, and here is the second story trailer:

As per usual, our expansions are released together with a significant free update, and this time is no different!

We’re happy to announce that Nemesis will release together with the 3.0 ‘Dick’ Update on April 15th! The update is of course named after author Philip K. Dick, famous for works which inspired, among other things, movies like Blade Runner and Total Recall (which also happens to be one of my favorite movies!).

Why 3.0?
We felt that the changes introduced with the new Intel system and the reworked First Contact system has enough impact on how different the game feels to warrant the change. Early- and mid game feel quite different now, in a very positive manner. Alien empires feel so much more mysterious, and charting the entire galaxy is no longer so easy. Changes like the pop growth system and the addition of industrial districts also felt impactful enough to want us to make the change.

Going forwards, we’re also gearing up to be able to be a bit more agile and deliver updates to the game a bit more frequently. I don’t want to make any grand promises quite yet, but 2021 is looking to be a very good year for Stellaris!

3.0 ‘Dick’ Features:
  • New Intel system
  • Reworked First Contact
  • Reworked Pop Growth
  • New Industrial Districts & some changes to production of Alloys/Consumer Goods
  • New Espionage system & Gather Intelligence Operation (other Operations will be a part of Nemesis)
  • Numerous bug fixes & improvements

Espionage Update
The Espionage system has undergone some changes since the Dev Diaries that previewed them. Based on playtesting and qualitative feedback, we simplified a few of the systems that seemed to be adding unnecessary complexity or were difficult or awkward to understand. The way Encryption, Decryption, and Counter-Espionage all interacted were one of these points of frequent confusion, so we decided to scrap Counter-Espionage entirely, renamed Decryption to Codebreaking, and apply standardized rules when using them:

Encryption is always used as "Espionage Defense"
Codebreaking is always used as "Espionage Offense"

In earlier iterations, which modifier was being referenced varied based on the exact circumstances, which muddled the stats a bit and made it difficult to tell which one would help you more when you're attempting to infiltrate an empire. We renamed Decryption in order to further reduce confusion. Relative Encryption is used often in the system, and will now always compare the "offensive" Empire's Codebreaking with the "defending" Empire's Encryption.

1616066569235.png

Relative Encryption tooltip. In this example, our Codebreaking is lower than their Encryption and their Codebreaking is higher than our Encryption.

1616066587607.png

The refined Operations UI. Envoy on the top left, Infiltration Level (current/max) as progress bar & value. Intel categories in the top-right.

We've streamlined the Operations UI significantly, reducing the sheer amount of numbers associated with a network and the Operations themselves. As part of this streamlining, we've removed the concept of spy power and bandwidth, so it's no longer possible to run multiple simultaneous Operations on a single Empire simultaneously - you'll have to run them one at a time. This change also alleviates a problem we had where it wouldn't always be immediately perfectly clear which mission random events were affecting, so the "mental burden" of running Operations is lower.

Upon completion, Operations will now almost always cause a significant hit to Infiltration to represent lost contacts and heightened security. Operations also used to have varying difficulty per chapter - we've standardized them so we can now list the Operation difficulty on the UI, and let you know if you have an Asset that is especially good at this one.

First Contact Update
Although not much has changed with the system itself since we first showcased it in dev diary #193, there’s still some changes that can be interesting to see.

1616066605514.png

The finished first contact UI. The silhouette in the bottom-right is supposed to be generic, and will reveal a portrait once you’ve progressed far enough into the first contact chain.

Early hostilities can now lead to pre-contact conflicts as well. If you anger a neighboring alien civilization, there’s the chance that they will come and visit you.

More aggressive empires like fanatic purifiers or devouring swarms are also less likely to take your encroachment into their lands very kindly early on.

1616066627081.png

Abducting aliens is no longer a risk-free undertaking.

1616066643790.png

It seems like they weren’t too happy about our abductions…

Outliner Update
We’ve added some small quality-of-life improvement to the outliner. One of these improvements lets you reorder planets in the outliner.

1616066662736.png

Planets will be reordered within the sector listing or planet listing, depending on which option is active.

1616066679716.png

The outliner can also be toggled to show the icons for the designations instead of the icon for the planet class.

With these two options it's now possible to list all your planets as you wish, and to show the designation icons. Our product manager, Simon, can now finally list his Mining 01, Mining 02, Mining 03 etc. planets in the correct, and fanatically organized, order.

---------

That’s all for this week folks! I hope you’re as excited for the upcoming Nemesis release as we are!
 
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I wonder if this was actually a plan at some point, to have pirate bases spawn from hidden, possibly unclaimable, systems in between empires, or maybe inside nebulae (essentially the central 'star' would be some kind of deep space asteroid with an Omega style pirate city).

Bummer they're not using it, that would be an amazing idea.

One thing I hope this leads to is more build up to the crisis over the length of the game. Rather than abruptly dropping them on us as soon as the end game year hits, it would be cool if there could be smaller events and dig sites that lead up to it, giving a deeper sense of dread and build up to when the galaxy finally gets hit.

Absolutely. It's always odd to me. We spend so much time talking about how MOOII was the high point of space 4x games, but never pay attention to one of that game's best design elements. The Antaran narrative was absolutely essential to making MOOII as clever and engaging as it was. They were a constant, growing threat that gave your game a sense of story and purpose, and that was in part because they were part of the game from the very beginning. The same is true here. I completely agree, the Crisis should be part of your game's entire narrative, not just a sudden Final Boss you have to fight.
 
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The Antaran narrative was absolutely essential to making MOOII as clever and engaging as it was.
Eh.

The Antareans were something that showed up, harassed you for a bit, and then you got to the point where you could afford enough tractorbeam + trooppod ships to immobilize frigates, swamp their crew in bodies, and roll the dice on their self-destruct not firing.
 
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One thing I hope this leads to is more build up to the crisis over the length of the game. Rather than abruptly dropping them on us as soon as the end game year hits, it would be cool if there could be smaller events and dig sites that lead up to it, giving a deeper sense of dread and build up to when the galaxy finally gets hit.
We do get this a bit with the Ghost Signal, but I'm torn on whether I'd always want it, it might reduce the sandbox feel of the game and give it more of an atmosphere that encourages preparation for the Crisis over just playing in the moment, and I think there's also something to be said for the sudden onset of the Crisis making it feel more like a desperate scramble for galactic survival rather than just a big dangerous thing you've already been getting ready for and aren't too phased by.
 
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I'm really hoping this update with its reorganisable planet list might be a sign of other things to come with the same mind set of making organisation our empires easier, for example undoing the 'removale of micromanagment' and giving us back the ability to decide what systems go in a given Sector, instead of just being forced to have the arbitratily generated auto one, which causes alot more micromanagement when you want to create a vassal and the game isn't oblidging enough to just give you the choice of what systems to give them...
 
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I mean, it all depends on just how complex we want to make it. (And where the balance would be between complexity that makes the game more fun, and complexity for its own sake.) But like above, the first step is that this stuff needs to start appearing on the galactic map instead of just operating as modifiers on a spreadsheet.
Absolutely, and I would *love* to be able to creat Neutral Zones between myself and other empires, or federations. Having actual trade ships that move through those areas could provid great pretext to hostilities with the other side as well, and with the espionage system, theres a ogical argument that you have to track down pirate stations instead of instantly knowing where they are. That would make needing to patrol your trade routes even more important
 
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Absolutely, and I would *love* to be able to creat Neutral Zones between myself and other empires, or federations. Having actual trade ships that move through those areas could provid great pretext to hostilities with the other side as well, and with the espionage system, theres a ogical argument that you have to track down pirate stations instead of instantly knowing where they are. That would make needing to patrol your trade routes even more important
I really hope we get the ability to make Neutral Zone agreements too, for one thing I think that kind of quasi-border friction would reduce the current feeling that once every decent system is claimed the map gets a lot less dynamic & interesting.
 
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One thing I hope this leads to is more build up to the crisis over the length of the game. Rather than abruptly dropping them on us as soon as the end game year hits, it would be cool if there could be smaller events and dig sites that lead up to it, giving a deeper sense of dread and build up to when the galaxy finally gets hit.
This would be cool. We already know there are events that happen before the Contingency, and being able to access the Shroud where beings reside implies the existence of other dimensions where life could exist.

The Prethoryn could have an event like that one extra-galactic visitor thing that involves a time loop. Maybe they sent a scouting eye to scope out galaxies with the potential of harboring sufficient materials and biomass? Then they depart their current galaxy as soon as the eye sends the signal, which we inadvertently allow to happen. Now we have a massive eyeball that's constantly watching us while in captivity, unless we decide to dissect it. The knowledge is pretty wasted until the end-game year, but once the Prethoryn arrive maybe it will provide us with an advantage against it?
 
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We do get this a bit with the Ghost Signal, but I'm torn on whether I'd always want it, it might reduce the sandbox feel of the game and give it more of an atmosphere that encourages preparation for the Crisis over just playing in the moment, and I think there's also something to be said for the sudden onset of the Crisis making it feel more like a desperate scramble for galactic survival rather than just a big dangerous thing you've already been getting ready for and aren't too phased by.
I mean, it kind of depends how it’s handled of course, but a lot of players already play with the prepare for the crisis from the outset mindset. I’m not one of them though. It doesn’t have to be a dramatic narrative series over 40 pages of texts, I just feel like some loosely strung together events and dig sites could improve the overall feel of things by quite a lot. Take the early country event where your scientist disappears. It’s already makes the Unbidden much more likely to spawn and it gives you a sense of foreboding; there’s forces out there you don’t understand. Having some build up doesn’t mean that you’re in constant crisis mode; it can be purposed to help deepen the mystery.
 
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This would be cool. We already know there are events that happen before the Contingency, and being able to access the Shroud where beings reside implies the existence of other dimensions where life could exist.

The Prethoryn could have an event like that one extra-galactic visitor thing that involves a time loop. Maybe they sent a scouting eye to scope out galaxies with the potential of harboring sufficient materials and biomass? Then they depart their current galaxy as soon as the eye sends the signal, which we inadvertently allow to happen. Now we have a massive eyeball that's constantly watching us while in captivity, unless we decide to dissect it. The knowledge is pretty wasted until the end-game year, but once the Prethoryn arrive maybe it will provide us with an advantage against it?
For the prethoryn it could be something similar to the tyranids in 40k, where you meet a few proto-genestealers that have been sent ahead to scout before the swarm reaches the galaxy and there's a sense of dread and "oh god there's something coming that we'll have to deal with isn't there?"
 

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Hello everyone!

I hope the word about the release date for Nemesis has already reached you, but in case it has somewhat eluded your perception, here is a refresher:

Nemesis will release on April 15th, and here is the second story trailer:

As per usual, our expansions are released together with a significant free update, and this time is no different!

We’re happy to announce that Nemesis will release together with the 3.0 ‘Dick’ Update on April 15th! The update is of course named after author Philip K. Dick, famous for works which inspired, among other things, movies like Blade Runner and Total Recall (which also happens to be one of my favorite movies!).

Why 3.0?
We felt that the changes introduced with the new Intel system and the reworked First Contact system has enough impact on how different the game feels to warrant the change. Early- and mid game feel quite different now, in a very positive manner. Alien empires feel so much more mysterious, and charting the entire galaxy is no longer so easy. Changes like the pop growth system and the addition of industrial districts also felt impactful enough to want us to make the change.

Going forwards, we’re also gearing up to be able to be a bit more agile and deliver updates to the game a bit more frequently. I don’t want to make any grand promises quite yet, but 2021 is looking to be a very good year for Stellaris!

3.0 ‘Dick’ Features:
  • New Intel system
  • Reworked First Contact
  • Reworked Pop Growth
  • New Industrial Districts & some changes to production of Alloys/Consumer Goods
  • New Espionage system & Gather Intelligence Operation (other Operations will be a part of Nemesis)
  • Numerous bug fixes & improvements

Espionage Update
The Espionage system has undergone some changes since the Dev Diaries that previewed them. Based on playtesting and qualitative feedback, we simplified a few of the systems that seemed to be adding unnecessary complexity or were difficult or awkward to understand. The way Encryption, Decryption, and Counter-Espionage all interacted were one of these points of frequent confusion, so we decided to scrap Counter-Espionage entirely, renamed Decryption to Codebreaking, and apply standardized rules when using them:

Encryption is always used as "Espionage Defense"
Codebreaking is always used as "Espionage Offense"

In earlier iterations, which modifier was being referenced varied based on the exact circumstances, which muddled the stats a bit and made it difficult to tell which one would help you more when you're attempting to infiltrate an empire. We renamed Decryption in order to further reduce confusion. Relative Encryption is used often in the system, and will now always compare the "offensive" Empire's Codebreaking with the "defending" Empire's Encryption.

View attachment 694377
Relative Encryption tooltip. In this example, our Codebreaking is lower than their Encryption and their Codebreaking is higher than our Encryption.

View attachment 694378
The refined Operations UI. Envoy on the top left, Infiltration Level (current/max) as progress bar & value. Intel categories in the top-right.

We've streamlined the Operations UI significantly, reducing the sheer amount of numbers associated with a network and the Operations themselves. As part of this streamlining, we've removed the concept of spy power and bandwidth, so it's no longer possible to run multiple simultaneous Operations on a single Empire simultaneously - you'll have to run them one at a time. This change also alleviates a problem we had where it wouldn't always be immediately perfectly clear which mission random events were affecting, so the "mental burden" of running Operations is lower.

Upon completion, Operations will now almost always cause a significant hit to Infiltration to represent lost contacts and heightened security. Operations also used to have varying difficulty per chapter - we've standardized them so we can now list the Operation difficulty on the UI, and let you know if you have an Asset that is especially good at this one.

First Contact Update
Although not much has changed with the system itself since we first showcased it in dev diary #193, there’s still some changes that can be interesting to see.

View attachment 694379
The finished first contact UI. The silhouette in the bottom-right is supposed to be generic, and will reveal a portrait once you’ve progressed far enough into the first contact chain.

Early hostilities can now lead to pre-contact conflicts as well. If you anger a neighboring alien civilization, there’s the chance that they will come and visit you.

More aggressive empires like fanatic purifiers or devouring swarms are also less likely to take your encroachment into their lands very kindly early on.

View attachment 694380
Abducting aliens is no longer a risk-free undertaking.

View attachment 694381
It seems like they weren’t too happy about our abductions…

Outliner Update
We’ve added some small quality-of-life improvement to the outliner. One of these improvements lets you reorder planets in the outliner.

View attachment 694382
Planets will be reordered within the sector listing or planet listing, depending on which option is active.

View attachment 694383
The outliner can also be toggled to show the icons for the designations instead of the icon for the planet class.

With these two options it's now possible to list all your planets as you wish, and to show the designation icons. Our product manager, Simon, can now finally list his Mining 01, Mining 02, Mining 03 etc. planets in the correct, and fanatically organized, order.

---------

That’s all for this week folks! I hope you’re as excited for the upcoming Nemesis release as we are!

I like dick
 
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EU3NOOB

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"'Dick' Update..."

Why must I have such an immature sense of humor?! Why?!



Also, I know why it's called "Dick", you don't need to tell me. I'm just a little immature troglodyte.

I like dick

Why must you say that? :D
 
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gigabytemon

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Why must you say that? :D
He likes Dick! As in, you know what I mean. That's the *snickering* long and short of--PFFFFF HAHAHAHA I'M SORRY, I CAN'T
 
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EU3NOOB

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He likes Dick! As in, you know what I mean. That's the *snickering* long and short of--PFFFFF HAHAHAHA I'M SORRY, I CAN'T
I like playing with Dick, but it's really long and hard...
 

Azar

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While Stellaris has lots of options, only warfare ever seems to really matter. I think one of the biggest reasons for this is that you play the game on the galaxy/system/planet maps, but warfare is the only way that you interact with other empires on these maps. Diplomacy is almost entirely abstract and behind the scenes. Your GC resolutions and commercial/research pacts combine with all your other stat bumps, and the result is your overall economy. It's all very out of sight, out of mind.

I 100% agree. Only with warfare can you actually gain more space for example. Most other options are too abstracted for players to really enjoy. Slightly affecting numbers involved in ruling an empire, but thats it. If you don't pay attention, nothing meaningful changes.

I tend to ignore galactic community, since very few of those decisions actually have an impact. Most are just sanctions reserved for those who have left the galactic community, meaning as long as Im in the community, I dont need to pay attention.

If the other options (diplomacy, espionage, galactic community/council) actually could result in something meaningful (like stealing a technology entirely, stealing a leader, acquiring someone elses solar system etc) then those options would be far more interesting. For as long as its just numbers going back and forth, it doesnt feel engaging.
 

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Only with warfare can you actually gain more space for example.
This statement is false.

Diplomatic vassalization (and subsequent diplomatic annexation) does, in fact, exist in Stellaris.
 
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