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 can tell you right now I'm going to absolutely love the Dick update. Once I grab it, I'm going to play a game right away to test out the Dick changes. It'll probably take a few games to truly get the whole Dick experience, but my body is so ready! :D
 
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Oh, and please show whether the system is inhabited SEPARATELY from whether it's occupied. It's currently very hard to find your enemy's planets after you've occupied all their systems, because the flag that normally indicates an inhabited system is overwritten by your occupation flag, for both inhabited and uninhabited systems.
I think a straightforward change would be to gray out the occupied icon, showing you own the starbase, but not the system.
 
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Pachakamaq

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I usualy set tech and tradition costs to x1,25 or x1,5. I like slow paced games and the fact that decisions about resaerch and traditions become way more important and impactful.
Doesn't help. I sometimes set costs to x2,0 and I'm still neck-deep in repeatables before the end of the 2nd century.
 
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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:
Just a random comment, but if you wanted to simplify terminology, isn't Firewall easier to comprehend than Codebreaking Encryption; regarding defense?

edit: got words mixed, just woke up, sorry
 
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Just a random comment, but if you wanted to simplify terminology, isn't Firewall easier to comprehend than Codebreaking; regarding defense?
Firewall is for defense. Codebreaking is for attack.

I agree though, 'firewall' is a better term to use for the Encryption mechanic.
 
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King Harkinian

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Just a random comment, but if you wanted to simplify terminology, isn't Firewall easier to comprehend than Codebreaking; regarding defense?

Codebreaking is offense. Funny that they changed it to lessen confusion, but the new term is more confusing than the old one. There was nothing wrong with "decryption". Firewall as a term is too anthropocentric I think, but so is codebreaking. Why would a hive mind use "codes" in the human sense of the word?

I think counter-espionage would be a better term for the defense power, as it would encompass both encryption and other kinds of measures an alien species might take to defend itself. While offense power could simply be... espionage.
 
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I like the incoming bug fixes, but my remaining pet peeve is the inability to just order all your stations to upgrade. Instead for some reason I have to go through all my stations one by one if I want to upgrade the defense platforms.

Is there a technical limitation preventing you from adding this functionality?
 
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Eladrin

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Oh, and please show whether the system is inhabited SEPARATELY from whether it's occupied. It's currently very hard to find your enemy's planets after you've occupied all their systems, because the flag that normally indicates an inhabited system is overwritten by your occupation flag, for both inhabited and uninhabited systems.
This is actually visible from the occupation flag.

1616075440657.png


In this example, I fully occupy Ydria, but only partially occupy Rabinoc. The little spikes on the occupation flag show the difference.

There was nothing wrong with "decryption".
Both ending in "-cryption" was causing issues.

Is there a define in 00_defines.txt to set this pop cost increase to zero?
Yes.
 
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Hopefully, AI will be able to handle these... eventually.

Are all OPs tothless by design, btw? Things like inciting slave revolts (or railroading them away), opening enemy gateways (even temporarily), releasing self-replicating nano material on their capital world, sabotaging fleets (or planetary defences) was deemed too annoying to fight against?
 
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Unsure that limiting to one operation against an Empire at a time is a good decision: HOI4 also has that and it doesn't feel good, and doesn't make sense either.
 
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So what does trading someone Communications do now? Does it still automatically establish contact with them, or does it let them start on the establishing contact chain of events?

At a certain point of the game, if you have not established contact with the wider galaxy, they almost immediately all find out about you as soon as you clear whatever obstacle that kept you from the wider Community.
 
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King Harkinian

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Both ending in "-cryption" was causing issues.
How about just using Counter-Espionage for defense then, since that's no longer a separate aspect? Then offense can be Decryption or simply Espionage.

I agree with the other guy's confusion in that "codebreaking" doesn't imply offense. Not that this is a big deal.
 
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