Really, the best you could come up with for Humanoid Species Pack Themes was Warhammer 40k?

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I don't agree with categorizing Star Wars as sci-fi. Yes, there are a lot of sci-fi elements in the universe, especially in the EU, but everything in the movie screams "space fantasy", not "science fiction". The science of things is barely important. It is a story full of magical and Just Works™ elements that happen to be set in space, in the past.

I feel like this raises the obvious question of what is Science Fiction anyway?

Traditionally, science fiction writers were often futurists, they were often trying to seriously imagine a future that might exist based on what they understood about science and the trajectory of society. But there's also always been this very strong imaginative, literary and philosophical component to science fiction as well. The inclusion of paranormal and psychic themes in science fiction, for example, is way older than Star Wars. It probably comes from Arthur C Clarke's Childhood's End, which is essentially a story about humans discovering that the universe is not actually a rational place and that there are forces beyond the ability of science to understand.

There are plenty of people out there who think that paranormal abilities or magic are possible and that some hypothetical "enlightened" humans with a true understanding of reality would have figured it out. Part of why Clarke wrote Childhood's End is because he was actually one of those people. Similarly, while it may be set in a galaxy far far away, Star Wars clearly takes a lot of its ideas about the force from things like the human potential movement and the esoteric martial arts craze that began in the US in the 70s. It's not just some random fantasy stuff, it is stuff people did and still do think is real.

I think the divorcing of science fiction from science goes back pretty much to the beginning of science fiction as a genre. Heck, Francis Bacon (the "father of empiricism" himself) actually wrote a piece of "science fiction," it was about a secret island where everyone was Christian because God had revealed the truth to them via a miracle. Make of that what you will.
 
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OP: I feel you are missing something important:
What sort of things are there about humanoids that make them any different than Avians, Reptilians, and Mammalians?

Because that's what it boils down to.
Physiologically speaking, as far as we know, all terrestrial vertebrates have roughly similar body plans, with a main trunk, four limbs, and a head housing the central nervous system. Any explorations like "what would a Humanoid species be like if they only lived in space?" are hardly unique to humanoids.

Now, they could develop generalist gameplay mechanics that could apply to more species classes, but then the species pack might as well be renamed "Vertebrates", and might still bleed over to Plantoids, Arthropoids, etc.
Also given how strongly people identify with humans in fantasy, I believe the best choice is to assume the 'standard' game is being played as Humans, so big overhauls in the way humans are played is a bad idea.

fyi, I'm not an especially big fan of warhammer 40k, but it covers a very broad span of fantasy themes. Plus, you don't have to buy it, it's free if you already have, and the pack's species portraits already clearly feature dwarves, orcs, and hobbits.

Edit: One more thing, I don't agree that 'sci-fi' and 'fantasy' are incompatible things. They are both fictional, just one is more logical and the other more fanciful. Stellaris absolutely features fanciful themes that aren't fully grounded in sci-fi, particularly Spiritualists. Don't neglect that the the Force in Star Wars operates as 'space magic' rather than anything scientific the way most sci-fi does.

This is all true but the void really had to be filled with patching D&D-a-like into stellaris?

It feels lazy. It is seasoning trope soup with more trope.
 
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Honestly what did you expect?
It's a pretty cheap portrait pack that adds nothing but done graphics to the game. It's always been obvious that at least the humanoids have been more or less inspired by fantasy and I really like it that way. Space Dwarfs or elves is a fun concept and for 8 bucks you can't really complain. I even got it on sale for like 1.5.

Having additional stuff added to it for free is great and doubling down on the 40k / fantasy theme is good. The civic preview also seems to be a fun addition and modifying aspects into something we don't have at the moment.
 
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This does seem a 'we'll add to the species packs' declaration and then ideas. I'd still love some really Information Age sf chains if you're looking something new.
 
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We don't need to go all the way to Fantasies. Most Space Opera are built on basically Humanoids. Stellaris is the the odd ball with non-humanoid species being dominant.

Mass Effect, Space Battleship Yamato, Macross series... I guess Humanoid is just too "Default" so sometimes you just forget about the obvious places to look for inspirations.
 
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I feel like this raises the obvious question of what is Science Fiction anyway?

Traditionally, science fiction writers were often futurists, they were often trying to seriously imagine a future that might exist based on what they understood about science and the trajectory of society. But there's also always been this very strong imaginative, literary and philosophical component to science fiction as well. The inclusion of paranormal and psychic themes in science fiction, for example, is way older than Star Wars. It probably comes from Arthur C Clarke's Childhood's End, which is essentially a story about humans discovering that the universe is not actually a rational place and that there are forces beyond the ability of science to understand.

There are plenty of people out there who think that paranormal abilities or magic are possible and that some hypothetical "enlightened" humans with a true understanding of reality would have figured it out. Part of why Clarke wrote Childhood's End is because he was actually one of those people. Similarly, while it may be set in a galaxy far far away, Star Wars clearly takes a lot of its ideas about the force from things like the human potential movement and the esoteric martial arts craze that began in the US in the 70s. It's not just some random fantasy stuff, it is stuff people did and still do think is real.

I think the divorcing of science fiction from science goes back pretty much to the beginning of science fiction as a genre. Heck, Francis Bacon (the "father of empiricism" himself) actually wrote a piece of "science fiction," it was about a secret island where everyone was Christian because God had revealed the truth to them via a miracle. Make of that what you will.
I always remember when I was in the University, we learnt from a course about Sci-Fi that the first ever Sci-Fi is attributed to Mary Shelly for her Frankenstein.

And if you ask me, I don't think using electricity to revive someone was considered a scientific possibility even way back then, even when electrical physics was still in its infancy.

But the main point of Frankenstein isn't just about either "how electricity works" or "yay, possibilities". The main point was actually to examine what kind of social reactions we would get if something like that happens. Sci-Fi is always very heavy on the topic of society. I may even go as far as to say that all SF works are a political statement raised by the author. We are just worried about our society's future so we raise ethical questions and examine different social settings.

And in the end, how scientific something is is never a theme. Society, politics, governments, ethics... these are the main pillars of SF.

So Fantasy or not, it's just a problem of tastes and art styles. It's the same thing many people dislike anime for some reasons. If you ask me, the amount of people not considering Anime as serious SF may be comparable to people who wants a divorce between SF and Fantasy. But then it's still not the point. SF is about society and politics. Full Stop.

Back to Humanoid problem. I think maybe just due to the popularity of Fantasy species like Elves and Orcs, it just seems like they are the most accessible stuff you can think of within like... 5 minutes.

Thematically, Stellaris seems closer to Mass Effect than Warhammer. I think maybe the Devs really need to be reminded of a few more themes by some means instead. Warhammer is likely just something they are asked all of a sudden and then answered after 10 seconds of considerations.
 
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Back to Humanoid problem. I think maybe just due to the popularity of Fantasy species like Elves and Orcs, it just seems like they are the most accessible stuff you can think of within like... 5 minutes

Exactly. It is a bit, "new lore out of the shelf, ready to use on-the-fly"
 

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I see what you're saying, but you're literally getting stuff for free (assuming you own the species pack).
Don't try to bring logic to a forum fight.

As a side note Warhammer 40k is already a strong influence on Stellaris setting, what difference does it make to have a bit more.
I always thought humanoids were inspired by, you know.... HUMANOIDS.
The portraits include elves, demons, halflings, dwarves, orks and cyclopses.
 
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ut the main point of Frankenstein isn't just about either "how electricity works" or "yay, possibilities". The main point was actually to examine what kind of social reactions we would get if something like that happens. Sci-Fi is always very heavy on the topic of society. I may even go as far as to say that all SF works are a political statement raised by the author. We are just worried about our society's future so we raise ethical questions and examine different social settings.

And in the end, how scientific something is is never a theme. Society, politics, governments, ethics... these are the main pillars of SF.
And how much of that do we see in Star Wars movies, especially the 3 original ones? Barely any. EU-aside, the story is a very bland manichaeism of good rebels vs evil emperor. Heck, the first one is, if anything, a samurai movie with a aesthetics of a western movie, that simply happens to be set in space. Everything in it is meant to look old, the small arms being one of the easiest examples to look at. Space combat between fighters is meant to resemble early 20th century dogfights, and space combat between large ships is meant to resemble naval warfare.

Yes, there is a lot of sci-fi in it, it's inescapable, and the EU, followed by the prequels, definitely explores such themes. But at its core, Star Wars is fantasy set in space. It absolutely deserves a place in Stellaris, but I don't consider it a cornerstone of sci-fi.

And regarding Frankenstein, I don't think the possibility of the scientific breakthrough (resurrection via electrical shock in this case, discovery of FTL in Stellaris' case) is relevant. I believe in electrocuting corpses as much as I believe in tachyon sensors. The scientific breakthrough is often the suspension of disbelief, and everything that happens after that is the societal analysis of a hypothetical world in which THAT happened.

Back to Humanoid problem. I think maybe just due to the popularity of Fantasy species like Elves and Orcs, it just seems like they are the most accessible stuff you can think of within like... 5 minutes.
It may be because it's my favorite species in Star Trek, but I'd definitely like to see a Ferengi look-alike added to the mix. I'll concede that a Klingon is the obvious choice popularity-wise, but a Ferengi would fit right in thematically with certain empire type.
 
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Fantasy races and they mythological origins are already a good explorations of people that are like humans but different. Using it as an inspiration is not a bad idea as any question about what makes humanoids humanoids will easily thread similar ground.

What will make or break it will be execution. How well is it done and how interesting will these options be?

All we can judge here is the new Masterful Crafters civic.
The tooltip here is weird, because it can be interpreted as replacing Artisans with Artificers (a mysterious job we know nothing about but can assume to produce CG) and those also get +2 Trade and +1 E-Research in additional production, or that it replaces Artisans with Artificers and the difference between these jobs is the extra trade and research.
What both suffer from however is that the civic is simply not interesting. It makes CG-production better, but as CGs are still a maintenance resource, there is no incentive given so far why the empire with the civic would treat them any different from an empire without the civic: "Keep production positive with some extra for colony ships, selling or distribution of surplus".
 
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I always thought humanoids were inspired by, you know.... HUMANOIDS.
Except the various other portrait sets have humanoids too.

The humanoid pack is those races especially close to humans.
 
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FuriousGreg

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Having additional stuff added to it for free is great and doubling down on the 40k / fantasy theme is good.

As a side note Warhammer 40k is already a strong influence on Stellaris setting, what difference does it make to have a bit more.
I kinda have to disagree with these. Until Nemesis and the truly disappointing Imperial ship designs Stellaris is more on the the Star Wars/Star Trek/Mass Effect/Homeworld side of the spectrum than the Warhammer side. I just think that there is so much SiFi stuff to draw upon that to give up and go full Tolken fantasy, even for just a species pack, is a let down for me.
 
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Dragatus

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1. We'll get civics that are inspired by fantasy stereotypes, but it isn't clear that they will be restricted to being used for fantasy stereotypes. The Masterful Crafters civic they've shown us by itself is a fairly generic one and nothing in the description suggests only Humanoids can take it. We already have the precedent of Necroids civics and origin being usable by any species. And even if the civics and traits were restricted to Humanoids, you could still defy stereotypes and apply the space elf civic to your space orcs.

2. Fantasy races in space is one of the two reasons to buy the Humanoids species pack (the other being the shipset). So creating mechanics for fanatasy races in space is a match for what people actually bought the species pack for.

3. The original Star Wars trilogy is a fairy tale with spaceships. The prequels and sequels are space opera. So is what little I watched of Star Trek. But the edges of what is or isn't sci-fi are rather blurry in general and hard to pin down. The one important distinction I see is between hard sci-fi (which is concerned about scientific accuracy) and soft sci-fi (which isn't), for the rest it all just kind of blurs together into a broad spectrum of speculative fiction.
 
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Alfray Stryke

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I might be mistaken, but I’m not sure how “inspired by traditional fantasy” means Warhammer 40k.
 
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I'm not sure what else paradox could use to make the humanoids more unique tbh. The tropes have been used by many IPs for many years now.

You are just assuming its coming from or being influenced by Warhammer at this point...
 

MathyM

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At some point someone ought to make a topic about how fantasy games are lazy because they are being influenced by D&D, followed by a topic about how fantasy games are lazy because they are influenced by Lord of the Rings, followed by a topic about how fantasy is lazy because it's influenced by Norse mythology.
 
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I might be mistaken, but I’m not sure how “inspired by traditional fantasy” means Warhammer 40k.
Seriously.

I mean 40K orkz would be Fungoids, not Humanoids.

I'm not sure what else paradox could use to make the humanoids more unique tbh. The tropes have been used by many IPs for many years now.
More unique relative to other portrait categories, perhaps?

Yeah there's nothing new under the sun, but replay value might be increased if each portrait category had some unique aspects.
 
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Jamaican Castle

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replay value might be increased if each portrait category had some unique aspects.
The cynic in me suggests that most people would just find the "best" portrait category for how they want to play, and never use anything else.