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Stellaris Dev Diary #214: Announcing “The Custodians” initiative and the free Lem Update

Greetings!

Today I am here to announce some very good news! Stellaris is not slowing down, but rather picking up the pace! We at PDS Green are very happy to announce our new “Custodians” initiative as well as the next free update, coming sometime after summer.

The Custodian Team
Stellaris as a game has been very exploratory, and the game has seen a lot of big changes over the years. I want to start by giving some insight into why we’ve chosen to focus on this initiative.

As we’ve released more expansions we’ve had to take longer and longer between each release, as we’ve needed to spend more time on focusing on quality, making sure each release is as stable as possible. Paradox Development Studio also looks very different today vs. how it looked just a few years ago. Things take longer, there are more processes in place, and there are a lot more people involved. Because each release is now further apart, it makes it harder for us to address some of the outstanding issues that might be affecting the community between DLC releases.

As we’ve added more content it's also been harder to polish and maintain all of the amazing existing content that we’ve added over the years. We want to keep creating new cool experiences for Stellaris, but we also want to be able to maintain a high quality for the base game itself, and for older content.

What we have done now is that we’ve staffed up, and split the Stellaris team into two teams that focus on different aspects of the game. One team, that we call “the Custodians” team, will focus on free updates that we aim to release every 3 months, while the “expansion team” will focus on creating new content for the game.

Examples of what “The Custodians” could be working on:
  • Tweaking game balance
  • Adding new content to old DLC
  • Polishing existing content
  • Bug fixes
  • Performance improvements
  • AI improvements
  • Multiplayer stability
  • UI and quality-of-life improvements

This does not mean that the game will suddenly “be fixed” or done (whatever that means). Together with you, the community, we now have a better opportunity than ever to keep improving the game. In fact, I think working with the community is going to be crucial to really make this work well. We are going to need to improve how we communicate with each other, so that we can better understand each other.

What “The Custodians” initiative is not
It is very important that you understand that “The Custodians” initiative is no magic bullet or quick fix. We’re in this for the long run, and we hope you are too.

We will need to manage our expectations and small, incremental improvements with more regular updates should be our approach.

Honoring Stanislaw Lem
The first free Update, the Lem Update, will be named in honor of the Polish sci-fi author Stanislaw Lem, whose 100th anniversary is being celebrated this year. Stanislaw Lem is famous for works such as Solaris, which has already inspired the Stellaris you know today. The Lem Update is currently scheduled for release sometime after summer.

To set expectations more clearly, the Lem Update will be a bit more ambitious and larger in scope compared to what you can come to expect from “Custodian” updates in the future. The reason is that we’ve had a longer time to work on it than what is planned for future updates. It’s also important to note that as of now, the Lem update is scheduled to be a standalone free update, and will not be associated with a paid DLC.

The Lem Update planned features:
  • Buffing the Backlog: We’re reviewing some old DLC to revitalize them with some new content. Humanoids Species Pack and Plantoids Species Packs will now feature some new gameplay features. By the way, did anyone say Necrophage Hive Minds?
  • Selectable Traditions Trees: You will no longer be locked to the same 7 tradition trees, but you will instead have 7 slots that can be filled with a tradition tree of your choice. The number of tradition trees will be expanded, and previous tradition-tree swaps will be broken out into their own trees (Adaptability will no longer be a swap of Diplomacy for example). Some new tradition trees will also be added to existing DLCs.
  • Balance Pass: We will be doing a balance pass on some existing gameplay systems and features.
  • And more..!: Quality of life improvements, bug fixes, AI improvements...

We will go into more detail about these features in future dev diaries, but for now I will leave it at that. We’ll be back next week to talk a bit about some thoughts regarding game balance.

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No longer will your empire have to suffer the mediocrity of artisans.
 
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Primarch Victus

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Strange. That feature was working in my PC yesterday -- and I use Steam too.
 

fourteenfour

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Yeah, guess I am unlucky. I cleared every director including those under Steam and no dice.

oh well it appears you have to be randomly selected and I am random but not selected
 
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SilverBurst23

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I am definitely looking forward to this, especially the expanded tradition mechanics. It always felt weird having to pick traditions that often rewarded contradictory playstyles. Having a team focused solely on balance and "quality of life" changes should also help straighten out some mechanics which don't always play nice with one another. It is also nice to see previously released DLC getting some love and attention.

This is awesome, and hopefully it cuts down on the endless litany of naysayers that seem to plague every single gaming community.

I know it probably won't, though
It never happens. Some People will always throw tantrums because the game isn't designed tailored to their own personal preferences. Happens in pretty much every consumer - oriented industry, much more so gaming where a lot of people are simply unaware of the complexities of software designing :(

This is such a nice step in the right direction, however. Keeping an eye on the existing base to avoid feature creep is something that should be standard of you wanna go for a DLC model :)
 
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Xenohive

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Thank you for honoring Stanislaw Lem very much! He's one of my favourite authors.
Read Solaris @ Play Stellaris!
 

ReshyShira

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While you're retooling old stuff, could you see about fixing a modding issue any time someone tries to add a new shipset or race it duplicating them across all parts even if they're empty (Eg. I install a shipset, and it generates a racial-type into the game as well, and vice versa). It makes modding a bit messy.
 
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Ragna915

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Great news!
Polishing and fixing existing features is a good thing!
I wish the bug/problem with fleet reinforcement will also be fixed (i mean the one when you engage combat with a fleet that is being reinforced, all the single ships suddenly appear as separate fleets and stop their movement towards the main fleet).
 
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