Stellaris Dev Diary #34 - Clarke Patch

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Game Director (Victoria 3)
Paradox Staff
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Nov 15, 2007
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Hello everyone! As you may have noticed, there was no Stellaris development diary this week, because the team has been extremely busy working on the first free patch for the game, which we have named Clarke. Clarke is currently undergoing internal QA testing, and we hope to have a beta version of the patch out for you before the end of the week. Therefore, we decided to do a dev diary after all, detailing some of the fixes, changes and improvements coming in the patch.

Please note that the highlights below are just highlights, NOT exhaustive patch notes!

A major target area for Clarke was the UI, particularly in regards to sectors and diplomacy. A few highlights:

  • Sectors can now be managed directly from the outliner.

  • Diplomatic Notifications are now much more detailed.

  • End of Combat interface has received a major face-lift.

  • Habitability icons/tooltips now show you more detailed information, including which worlds in a system you can currently colonize.

Another major target area for Clarke was to address complaints regarding the AI, particular in sectors to sectors and warfare. A few highlights:
  • Greatly improved sector AI handling of pops, buildings, spaceports and mining stations.
  • Fixes for AI in end game crises.
  • Improvements and fixes to AI handling of its fleets.
  • Less restrictions on what the AI will trade and with who, especially in regards to border access.
  • In multiplayer, empires that are player-controlled will have a 'limited' AI for a period of 10 years if the player drops. The limited AI will not make any drastic changes to the empire, such as changing sectors, disbanding ships, declaring wars, etc, allowing a player to rejoin their empire pretty much as they left it.

We've also added a new option in galaxy setup where you can set the AI's overall aggressiveness.

We also took some time to add a pair of highly requested features to the empire builder. Namely, the ability to write a biography for your species and empire, and the ability to customize ruler titles. Ruler titles are customized separately by gender, and will remain even if you change government type, so long as the new government is of the same type as the previous one (so changing from a Monarchy to another Monarchy will not clear your ruler titles, while changing from a Monarchy to a Democracy will).


While balance wasn't our main priority for Clarke, we nonetheless targeted a few major balance issues. A few highlights:
  • War score costs now scale to the size of your target, so you can take more planets from large empires but can't vassalize them in a single war.
  • The ability to stack evasion on Corvettes was nerfed.
  • Strike craft had their range substantially increased.
  • Ethics were rebalanced to make Xenophile/Xenophobe stronger picks, among other changes.
  • It is no longer necessary to control planets to demand them in war, but controlling planets that are set as wargoals are now worth more warscore.
  • Technology cost is now increased both by number of planets owned and size of population, instead of just population. Accordingly, the tech increase cost from population was lowered.

In addition to all this, Clarke naturally also includes dozens of fixes for bugs large and small. A few highlights:
  • Military Station maintenance is now correctly calculated (was far too high previously).
  • Numerous fixes to events, including fixing up the Old Gods event chain.
  • Fixed 'ghost' trade deal entries and trade deals silently failing when you traded above a certain percentage of your resource stockpiles.
  • Democracies that don't allow slavery will no longer get the Slaver mandate.
  • Difficulty settings are now available in multiplayer setup.

With Clarke almost finished, we're now switching over fully to working on the Asimov patch, as outlined in last week's dev diary. Where Clarke was mainly a fix and UI improvement patch, Asimov will target the midgame with new diplomatic features and event chains. More details about Asimov will be released in development diaries over the next few weeks, but if you have any questions about the Clarke patch, feel free to ask and I will do my best to answer.
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No changes to the sector system yet? Ouch. Can't wait to host a big MP session with this patch though :) The tech cost changes seem to benefit tall empires, i'm liking it :)

What do you mean by changes to sector system, exactly? There's various fixes, but no overhaul is planned for either Clarke or Asimov.
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Can't wait for that Sector AI changes. Is it stopped freaking out when pops don't consume food? Pure synth planets need to be a thing!

Yes, sector AI should understand robot-only planets now.
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What about the ethics divergence bug?

Also fixed. Please keep in mind that the bug fixes I posted are *not* an exhaustive list, just some highlights.
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What do you mean by "free" patch? Are the next ones going to be paid? What did you really mean?

Also, could you consider adding a slider to change the research pace? In all 4X games I always prefer playing with marathon-style settings, otherwise by the time the ships reach the front, they risk becoming obsolete.

By free patch we mean there's no accompanying expansion. Of course all patches will be free, even if they are released alongside an expansion.
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And, if you don't mind, any improvements about the late game performance issues?

We have released a number of performance improvements in the hotfixes, and we're continuing to look into it for the people who are still experiencing performance issues, but there are only minor performance improvements in Clarke itself as we opted to put them into the hotfixes instead.
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If you set AI Agressiveness to high will pacifist AI players go to war ?

Only if they have a good reason to. It doesn't change under what circumstances AI will start wars, only how often.
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It seems you can only change the ruler's title for the first ruler's gender. What if the next ruler is of the opposite gender ?

Ex : I set "Ruler Title (Male)" to "Emperor". But what if the next ruler is female ?

Also to nitpick a little, I understand the patches are named after famous sci-fi writers, so should'nt it be named "Clarke" (after Arthur C. Clarke) and not Clark ?

You can set titles for both genders by switching the gender, editing title, and switching back.

Also yes, I fixed the spelling of Clarke.
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Do fleets upgrades still take an obscene amount of time?

Nope! Is now based on size of upgrade rather than size of fleet, and overall much faster.
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Will sector AI finally respect tile resources?
Will it be able to understand planets with specialized pops (i.e put Agrarian pops on farms and Industrious ones on mines, avoid putting slaves and robots in labs, etc)?
Will there be an option to forbid it to replace buildings completely (including farms)?

Yes, yes and yes.
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Does clarke fix the AI never doing any white peace ?
It blocks the game when for instance A is at war against B to take planet X. C also declare against B to take X. C successfully take X and make peace. But A and B stay at war forever, neither AI doing a white peace.

Yeah, this should be fixed.
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What do you mean by "free" patch? Are the next ones going to be paid? What did you really mean?

Also, could you consider adding a slider to change the research pace? In all 4X games I always prefer playing with marathon-style settings, otherwise by the time the ships reach the front, they risk becoming obsolete.

The problem with this is that things like Fallen Empires, endgame crises etc are balanced against the current tech pace. It would be better as a mod than as an option because it requires reworking of those things to not mess hard with game balance.
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So they just nerfed Corvette evasion instead of fixing bug with accuracy cap and broken ship attack computer?

I'm going to repeat this again, in red this time:

Please note that the highlights below are just highlights, NOT exhaustive patch notes!
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Can we lock tiles so the sector AI will not touch certain tiles like unique buildings like stuff in Fallen Empire worlds and that tomb world tile blocker?

No, but sector AI will never replace those buildings anymore.
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Gotta ask, will the beta/patch need a new game or will it work with existing saves this time around? Thanks.

Saves should be just fine.
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  • Fixes for AI in end game crises.
Would it be possible to get a more detailed explanation on this one? Does it mean they will more responsive to these threats? or?

Among other things, yes.
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