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Stellaris Dev Diary #42 - Heinlein patch (part 3)

Hello everyone and welcome to another Stellaris development diary. This is the third part in a multi-part dev diary about the 'Heinlein' 1.3 patch that we are currently working on. This week's dev diary will be about more miscellaneous changes and improvements coming in the patch, currently planned for release sometime in October.

Federation/Alliance Merger
When Federations were given the ability to vote on invites and wars, alliances became a bit of an odd duck in the Stellaris diplomacy. A middle layer between the 'loose' diplomacy of defensive pacts and joint DOWs, they ended up as little more than a weak form of Federation that's usually swapped out the moment the latter becomes available. In Heinlein, we've decided to retire alliances altogether and have Federations be the only form of 'permanent' alliance. When you unlock the technology for Federations, you will immediately be able to invite another empire into a Federation with you, 4 empires no longer being necessary to start one. Once a Federation has been formed, the technology is not required to invite new members or to ask to join it.

Federation Association Status
Another issue we ran into with the changes to diplomacy in Asimov is that Alliances and Federations had trouble bringing in new members - since non-aggression pacts, defensive pacts and guarantees were no longer possible with outside powers, building trust is difficult and you have to mostly rely on large bribes to get new members to join, something that just didn't feel right. To address this, we're adding a new diplomatic option to Heinlein called 'Federation Association Status'. This works similarly to an invite to the Federation in that it can be offered and asked for with any member of the Federation, but must be approved via unanimous vote. A country that has Federation Association Status is not actually a part of the Federation, but has a non-aggression pact with all Federation members and will gain trust with them up to a maximum value of 100. Revoking association status can be done via majority vote, or on the part of the associate at any time they like.
h4Xxg1d.png


Planet Habitability Changes
The planet habitability wheel is a mechanic we were never quite happy with - it makes some degree of sense, but it's hard to keep track of how each planet relates to your homeworld type, and it ends up nonsensical in quite a few cases (Desert being perfectly fine for Tropical inhabitants, or Arid for Tundra, etc). We found that most players tend to intuitively divide planets into desert/arid tundra/arctic and ocean/tropical/continental, and so we decided to change the mechanic to fit player intuition. Instead of a wheel, planets are now divided into three climate groups (Dry, Wet and Cold) and two new planet types (Alpine and Savanna) were added so that each group has 3 planet types. Habitability for the climates now works as follows (numbers may be subject to change):
  • Habitability for your main planet type is 80% (as before)
  • Habitability for planets of your climate is 60%
  • Habitability for planets of other climates is 20%
As such, you no longer have to keep track of anything other than which climate your planet type has to know whether a particular type of world is suitable for your species.
tAcBgqB.png


We also felt that the number of habitable planets in the galaxy was too large overall, but that we couldn't really decrease it so long as the player only had access to 1/7 of those types at start, which would now become 1/9. We also felt the colonization tech gating could be rather arbitrary, particularly if you had a species suited to a particular planet type but still couldn't colonize it due to lacking the tech. As such, we've done away with the tech gating on colonization, and instead instituted a 30% minimum habitability requirement to colonize a planet. You will also be unable to relocate pops to a planet if their habitability there would be under the 30% minimum. With this change we've also majorly slashed the number of habitable worlds in the galaxy, though if you prefer a galaxy lush with life you will be able to make it so through a new option outlined below. We are, of course, looking into and tweaking the effects that having less habitable worlds overall will have on empire borders.

More Galaxy Setup Options
There is an old gamer's adage that says 'more player choice is always better'. We do not actually agree with this, as adding unnecessary/uninteresting choices can just as well bog a game down as it can improve it, but in the case of galaxy setup in a game such as Stellaris, it is pretty much true. With that in mind, the following new galaxy setup options are planned to be included in Heinlein:
  • Maximum number of Fallen Empires (actually setting a fixed number is difficult due to the way they spawn and how it's affected by regular empires)
  • Chance of habitable worlds spawning
  • Whether to allow advanced empires to start near players
  • Whether to use empire clustering
  • Whether endgame crises should be allowed to appear

Sector Improvements
Since barely a day goes by without a new thread on the topic of sectors and enslavement, we would of course be remiss not to deal with this particular bugbear. We intend to spend a considerable amount of time on the sector AI for Heinlein, but I'm not going to go into specifics on bug fixing/AI improvements but rather on a series of new toggles that we intend to introduce to give the player more control over their sector. In addition to the current redevelopment/respect tile resource toggles, the following new toggles are planned for Heinlein:
  • Whether sector is allowed to enslave/emancipate
  • Whether sector is allowed to build spaceports and construction ships
  • Whether sector is allowed to build military stations (this will replace the military sector focus)
We're also discussing having a sector toggle for building and maintaining local defense fleets, but we don't think we'll have time for it in Heinlein.

That's all for today! Next week we'll be talking about Fallen Empires, how they can awaken, and the War in Heaven.
 
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yay good changes,

with the change to colonization to get my species altered in a way that they some of them can live on all worlds, one must find a Gaia world to change them to an other climate or a planet with hab+10 mod or colonize a hab +5 with an other species and build a frontier clinic and put one of your pops on it to change them?
 
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Interesting. A few questions, though:

1) Will Alpine Worlds ahve different graphics from Arctic worlds when it comes to the city window in the final patch?
2) I always liked embassies and would enjoy them being readded in some restrictive form. Are there any plans on re-adding them and having them as a minor function (with a small influence upkeep that allows you to gain 20-30 trust over a logner time, for example)?
3) How will Tomb World colonization and other stuff fit into the new climate system?
 
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Greatly impressed with these very major changes. With new planet types, changes to colonization, federations and sectors, this is a really great Dev Diary.

One question though: will these new planet types: Alpine and Savanna have their own unique graphics and tile-blockers?
 
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Interesting. A few questions, though:

1) Will Alpine Worlds ahve different graphics from Arctic worlds when it comes to the city window in the final patch?
2) I always liked embassies and would enjoy them being readded in some restrictive form. Are there any plans on re-adding them and having them as a minor function (with a small influence upkeep that allows you to gain 20-30 trust over a logner time, for example)?
3) How will Tomb World colonization and other stuff fit into the new climate system?

1) Yes.
2) No, embassies are gone.
3) You will be able to colonize tomb worlds from the start so long as you have something that can live there.
 
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Greatly impressed with these very major changes. With new planet types, changes to colonization, federations and sectors, this is a really great Dev Diary.

One question though: will these new planet types: Alpine and Savanna have their own unique graphics and tile-blockers?

Unique graphics, yes. Tile blockers, maybe.
 
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So how will Federation politics work? As soon as I ally with another member, will my control ping-pong between them every 10 years? Or will that only happen once we have a third or fourth member? Or has the round-robin presidency gone away?

I like alliances because I can suggest wars at any time. As much as the perks of Federations are cool, they seem to work best only in multiplayer. There's still a lot of AI balancing that needs to happen for Federation fleets, round-robin presidency and voting for me to consider them a drop-in replacement for alliances.
 
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All good stuff! Regarding sectors I hope they will be capable of building unique buildings one day. I longingly look at the planets at the edge of my empire and wish they would build a Symbol or Unity or other Happiness/Ethics divergent buildings, you know where they would be the most beneficial.
 
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Uhhh... I hate federations.

I still want the ability to declare war with an ally (and split things up) without giving up my nation sovereignty.

A federation is basically one member take all and you are FORCED to join a war where you get absolutely nothing writhing in return until you are president again.
 
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You'll be able to propose wars/invites at any time in a Fed.
 
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We still have the "not-aggression pact" possible with an empire, without entering in a full federation ?
Do you plan to change (in 1.3 of course ) the rules for the Federation presidentship ?
 

EnvyDemon

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You'll be able to propose wars/invites at any time in a Fed.

I'm confused.

Can't the president just force though a war where he can take everything without giving anything to anyone else?

(to clarify to those who disagreed with me, in Stellaris 1.0, a Federation President would be able to declare wars at will with no regards to what the other factions in a federation wanted. I thought that was the case still.)
 
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