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Stellaris Dev Diary #40 - Heinlein Patch (part 1)

Hello everyone and welcome to another Stellaris development diary. This is the first in a multi-part dev diary about the 'Heinlein' 1.3 patch that we are currently working on. As I mentioned in last week's dev diary, Heinlein will be a patch focusing on addressing community feedback, tentatively planned for release sometime in October. As such, you can expect a large number of interface and quality of life improvement, too many for me me to list here precisely what we have planned. However, we do also have some larger changes planned, and this dev diary is here to give you an overview of what to expect.

Auto-Explore
Exploration is an important part of the Stellaris early game, but towards the mid and late game, it can get annoying to have to manage your science ships while also trying to run a sprawling interstellar empire. We've said previously that we don't want the automation fully automated away, so the compromise we've settled on is to introduce a technology that will appear after your empire grows to a certain size that allows science ships to be automated (it will also grant some other bonuses so to be useful to the AI). Though we know that there are are people who want automation options from the very start, we believe that there is always a cost involved in automating core parts of the game experience. You will of course be able to mod the game to permit you to have it enabled from the start, if you so wish.

Rally Points
One of our most requested features since release has been a better way to manage newly built ships. After discussing the various options (such as a fleet designer) we decided to settle on adding Rally Points for your fleets. In Heinlein, you will be able to mark any planet or star in the galaxy as well as any warfleet owned by you as a rally point. When a new warship is built in your empire, instead of remaining at the planet that built it, it will look first for a fleet marked as a rally point. If it finds such a fleet, it will travel to that fleet and automatically merge with it. If something happens to destroy that fleet while the ship is traveling to it, it will abort and return back to its point of origin. If you have no fleet rally points, the ship will instead use the nearest planet rally point, traveling there and merging with any fleet present around that planet. In addition to changing how newly built ships behave, rally points also alter the 'return' order given to ships - instead of returning to the nearest spaceport, they will return to the nearest spaceport marked as a rally point. If no spaceport is marked as a rally point, they go to whichever one is closest, as before.

oEYp0kf.png


Expansion Planner
Another highly requested feature that will be coming in Heinlein is an expansion planner - an interface where you can see planets that are available to colonize or build resource/observation stations at. It is currently planned to be a tab in your empire screen, where you can filter by what you are looking for and easily see the best candidate planet for whatever it is you are looking to do. More details on this will come in a future DD.

Strategic Resource Rework
An area of the game that we feel didn't really work out as planned is strategic resources. They are at once too rare and too common, too varied and too bland. Most of all, we feel that they are far too fiddly to interact with, requiring you to keep track in your head of which spaceports have which particular modules. As such, we currently have the following changes in mind for strategic resources:
- Split strategic resources into strategic (living metal, lythurgic gas, etc) and local (betharian stone, alien pets, etc) resources. Local resource will only be found on colonizeable planets and will allow you to build a specific building (such as a Betharian Power Plant) only on the tile where they are present.
- Add more types of local resources to colonizeable planets, making certain planets more desirable for that powerful special building you'll be able to build on it.
- Have strategic resources have clearly defined civilian OR military use, instead of each being a mix of both.
- Make their bonuses purely global, either via the construction of unique buildings or simply by providing a passive bonus.
- Require you to have only a single unit of a strategic resource to get its full benefits, so the excess can be traded away (terraforming resources will likely be an exception here).

That's all for today. Next week we'll continue talking about the Heinlein patch, specifically about the big rework coming in it: Fleet combat overhaul and dedicated ship roles. Note that as I said, there will be a *lot* of bug fixes, UI improvements and QoL changes coming in Heinlein, so I will not be able to answer every question about which exact ones will and will not make it, but if you have something you feel should be addressed for Heinlein (and it isn't a major feature addition/overhaul), feel free to mention it here.
 
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Good! A step forward! Love to see that this patch will be composed of the players ideas!
 
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looks nice
 
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Of these changes I think the strategic resources revamp will finnaly make them relevant and something to be fought for. I'm used to not to aim for strategic resources when I'm expanding - doesn't mean I will not take its benefits.

Anxiously waiting for the next patch!
 
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Thanks for the development diary once again. Really like the split of the strategic ressources. More content is always welcome and as promised – though with a week delay due to real life circumstances – here is a collection of mods that feature content I’d be overjoyed about if Paradox decided to add it to Stellaris somehow – be it via DLC or otherwise. A lot of it is into the feature/overhaul territory (If you want QoL improvements, click here), but I figured it might be a neat little collection for some anyway:


https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=712991814 "Special Systems": Exploring and the early game are the strong sides of Stellaris atm and this mod enhances both in a great way by providing both interesting, yet dangerous modifiers that affect combat and exploration. The technologies to combat said dangers are also great for immersion imho.


https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=694492075 "The Belt"

Colonizing asteroids is a nice fantasy trope and colonization in general a big part in the early game; I always enjoyed it and I feel this could add a pretty nice new aspect to Stellaris if a similar system could be implemented. There are also mechanics for this in the

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=704063182 "AlphaMod"

Atmosphere generators, exo systems, ice rigs and the late game possibility of terraforming even better would be quite welcomed. It also features quite a few extra technologies, which is another thing that needs to be worked on: Make ethos and government matter a lot more by having lots of technology that is just available for certain combinations of those or maybe just create a few “fluff only” technologies that only unlock certain anomaly chains or building/planet/ethos/whatever related events.


Speaking of new technologies…

https://steamcommunity.com/workshop...edfileid=0&browsesort=textsearch&section=home “CoFH – Stellar Expansion”

- https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=718529178 “Stellar Expansion (Main)”

- https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=718508159 “Stellar Expansion: Embassies(Add-On)”

- https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=719802418 “Stellar Expansion: Terraforming(Add-On)”

- https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=733386004 “Stellar Expansion: Terraforming Extreme (Add-On)”

These mods do an extremely good job of adding new technologies to Stellaris:

Reestablishing embassies as a limited features to improve the relations with some empires – putting it a bit closer to Eu4 mechanics – is a good reintroduction and the rest of the mod features a myriad of fun techs that can enhance early, mid and late game: Terrasforming Gaia, barren, etc. planets (once again: late game!), technologies for xeno interaction to improve diplomacy, techs that improve hyperlanes and give them the same attention as Wormholes or Warp engines, more unique buildings for each ethos, etc.


Another thing I'd enjoy are superweapons, titan/leviathan ship classes and other lategame combat stuff along with a generally improved combat. I really enjoy this mod, makes the game feel a lot more scifi:

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=693447055 "Improved Space Battles [Balance]".

- https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=720237457 “ISB Standalone: Doomsday Weapons & Ships”

- https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=723219794 “SBS – Micro Jump”

Super carriers, plenty of crazy doomsday weapons, things that can literally destroy systems, etc. – I’d gladly pay a for a DLC that includes all of these things. The amount of amazing features in this mod is just insane and I can’t even begin to describe how awesome that is. Most of it is endgame, but I am pretty sure a lot of people agree with me when I say that this si where the scifi should really shine through!

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=719712462 “Megastructures”

Another mod that enhances the scifi feel and could make tall empires a more viable playing style (Along with the already planned feature of ringworld construction, of course ;) ): The ability to construct advanced mega structures like Habitat zones, space elevators, etc.


And now for something less mechanic and model intensive:

http://steamcommunity.com/workshop/filedetails/?id=730333661 “Interstellar Immersion Series”

- http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=730326563 “Interstellar Essentials”

- http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=735686700 „Interstellar Options – Kel-Azaan & Paridni“

Roleplaying is a lot of fun in Stellaris, but we need more mechanics to build upon it. For now, I think more options for prescripted empires (When will you finally add the Blorg to prescripted empires, paradox? ;__; ), flags, namelists, etc. would help a lot (I mentioned this on the first page of the last DD already). This mod, however, really takes the immersion aspect and wants to ramp it up a few notches which is very commendable. In the longterm I think we should be able to set not only our own messages at the start of the game, but also “forbidden” or “attractive” techs, policies, etc. for our created races, maybe even custom greetings and some other standard messages – Immersion is key and this would really enhance the roleplay aspect!



And that’s it for my collection of mods which I would like to see in the vanilla game in one form or another. I don’t think we will ever see all of the big community ideas in the game since human imagination is an infinitely vaster space than even our universe and Paradox simply cannot please all of the 500k+ scifi fans with their very distinct ideas and expectations of what scifi is and how a game like Stellaris should look. However, we can try to raise awareness for ideas that get a lot of community attention and keep supporting Paradox, who have shown us that they are long-term champions who vastly improve their released product over time – or is there anyone here who prefers 1.0 CK2 and EU4 to their current iterations?


Last, but not least, here are a few personal wishes I have regarding future content that aren’t really expressed by mods yet:

1) A deepened spaceborn alien gameplay: More technologies related to them, (late game) possibilities to uplift them and turn them into pops, a few more spaceborn races in general. Maybe have a pool of 6-9 spaceborn races and randomize them at the start of each galaxy.

2) More events and stranger encounters in space:

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=727000451 „More Events Mod“

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=721416416 “Extra Events”

Mods like these are a start and I certainly would like it if every patch got at least a few extra events, but those barely even scratch the surface. Where are the single, planet-eating, 100k+ strong entities that may or may not roam space? Where are special parts of the galaxy that make it necessary to research for maybe decades until you are able to explore them? Are there living ocean entities like in Lem’s Solaris? As I said before: There are no limits to our imagination and space should be even more wondrous than it already is.

3) If some of the mods I outlined above indeed make it into the game somehow I’d like Fallen Empires to appropriately way to punish you in ways that fit with both their technological superiority and attitude. For example: Fanatic isolationists may just send over a death star and turn that sweet colony next to their influence space you just settled on into another "The Mistake". Or Holy World Guardians terraforming your capital planet into a less suited enviroment as punishment for taking one of their gaia worlds.

4) Middle game crisis and events that are depending on your ethos and trait to trigger. For example: Plagues that may be harmless to normal races, but have devastating effects on physically "weak" races. Or political crisis that specifically happen in certain political systems like "the rise of a demagogue" for direct democracies.



PS:

I also found the quite extensive suggestions from Reddit user iehava useful. He made 3 very big posts that have a lot of good ideas in them:

https://www.reddit.com/r/Stellaris/comments/4s9vwm/after_250_hours_my_thoughts_on_what_needs_to_be/ What needs to be changed part 1

https://www.reddit.com/r/Stellaris/comments/4seshy/after_250_hours_my_thoughts_on_what_needs_to_be/ What needs to be changed part 2

https://www.reddit.com/r/Stellaris/comments/4sm9r3/after_250_hours_my_thoughts_on_what_needs_to_be/ What needs to be changed part 3

Plenty of discussions can be waged over these posts, I leave discussing the merits of his suggestions to the community though.
 
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To bodly go where no patch has gone before
 
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And somewhere out there some A-hole said we weren't getting this.I knew my faith in paradox is justified, buying the plant pack to show my support.
 
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I can only imagine what the scope will be when this patch is finally done
 
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Is the "empire colour picker" bug in the race creation screen that is appearing for AMD users going to be resolved?
 
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Eustreptospondy

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tentatively planned for release sometime in October

So that'll still be quite a while away. Can we expect minor improvements and bug fixes along the way or do we have to hold out until October?
 
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but if you have something you feel should be addressed for Heinlein (and it isn't a major feature addition/overhaul), feel free to mention it here.
FIX XENO INTEGRATION
 
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Wizzington

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So that'll still be quite a while away. Can we expect minor improvements and bug fixes along the way or do we have to hold out until October?

There will be at least one more hotfix coming (for Xeno Integration among other things), but no major patches until Heinlein.
 
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dangerogre

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Thank you for the DD, it looks great.
I have a suggestion for a small immersion feature - I would like to be able to name / re-name species that I uplift or modify.
 
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MAHak

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I don't think Alien Pets should be a local resource confined to a planet where you can build a Alien Zoo. Isn't the whole purpose of a zoo, that you can see exotic animals who are not native to the place the zoo is in. Just keep it as it is now, where you can make a strategically decision of which unruly planet who gets some comfort pets.

Oh and remember to make an option for transferring influence to sectors so they can build special buildings that requires it.
 
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Tim_Ward

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I like the new ideas about local resources, should bring some life to planet management
 
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big rework coming in it: Fleet combat overhaul and dedicated ship roles.

This change is what im most interested in, thank you for putting it in Heinlein!
 
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