Stellaris Dev Diary #157 - Things That Rock

Stellaris Dev Diary #157 - Things That Rock

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Eladrin

Stellaris Game Designer
Apr 4, 2019
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www.paradoxplaza.com
Hi everyone!

I’m Eladrin, Game Designer on Stellaris, and I’m one of the newer members of the Stellaris team. I joined the team during the development of Ancient Relics, and it’s been a blast. It was awesome meeting so many of you at PDXCON, and getting to hear so many ideas and excellent stories directly from you.

Back in Diary 152 and Dev Diary 153, Grekulf mentioned some of the Summer Experimentation that we did - but in today’s dev diary I wanted to talk about one of the things I worked on during the summer - game mechanics for the Lithoids.


The Lithoids Species Pack is very sedimental to me. When I wanted to dig deeper into the systems and get my hands dirty in the code, I looked at the “wouldn’t it be cool if…” list, and saw “...Lithoids ate minerals instead of food?” up near the top. This seemed like a solid foundation to start with, and a gneiss stepping stone to get my feet on the ground that fit my apatite - it seemed like a pretty simple change after all.

Okay, I’ll stop with the rock puns.

There are fifteen Lithoid portraits (and one new machine portrait), some of which have appearances that resemble some of the other phenotypes so you can do some interesting things with Syncretic Evolution.


Look at me! I'm a sparkly space unicorn!

The ships use a beautiful asymmetrical crystal design. Remember that the colors of your ships reflect your flag. You can use this to your advantage to make a pretty sweet looking fleet.


This is my favorite Titan in the game.

There’s also a Lithoid Advisor Voice. I may have stopped with the puns for now, but there’s no force in the universe that can stop the Lithoid Advisor.

Changing the Lithoids to consume minerals was simple enough, but we also wanted to embrace the sci-fi trope of slow growing rock beings living in inhospitable climates. We started by giving them a massive boost to habitability which they still retain today, and a much larger pop growth penalty than they eventually ended up with. For flavor they receive a bonus to Army Health, and we increased their leader lifespans (but have their leaders start somewhat older as well).

Every little change leads to several more, however. If a species eats minerals instead of food, their homeworld should start with extra mining districts and no agricultural districts built. In fact, if a species evolved to eat rocks, their homeworld should probably by mineral rich and food poor. But wait, what about if they’re a Syncretic Evolution species, or if a Rogue Servitor wants to start with pet rocks? What about if they want to be a Devouring Swarm?

Many minor changes came along with what started as a simple economic change. Just a few examples include the Lithoids being tragically unable to be declared the most delicious species in the galaxy if there are any alternatives, loosening restrictions a bit on Bio-Reactors, modifying the Fleeting trait to be -25 years for Lithoids instead of -10, and a handful of Tradition changes. We also added a few Lithoid specific traits that allow them to generate small amounts of special resources every month.



After many rounds of qualitative feedback and a huge number of playdays, we ended up with the following as the Lithoid species trait:



The large habitability boost that Lithoids receive allow them to colonize worlds that would be marginal for other species, allowing them to work around their slower pop growth speed. Empires with a Lithoid primary species also begin with Lithoid Monolith blockers on their homeworld that can be removed at a large mineral cost for an additional Lithoid pop. (A Lithoid specific Origin in Federations modifies these a bit, and… we’ll talk more about that in another Dev Diary.)


So very sleepy.

The Lithoid trait is automatically applied to any species that uses a Lithoid portrait. For the Xenophiles out there, Half-Lithoids generated by Xeno-Compatibility follow this rule as well, so if the portrait is a Lithoid it will consume minerals instead of food, produce minerals when purged, and so on.

We’ve exposed this ability so modders should be able to similarly add phenotype forced traits to species they create by adding trait = "trait_lithoid" to the species class entry. (Replacing the Lithoid trait with their own custom species trait, of course.) I look forward to seeing what you do with it.

As for the Lithoid Devouring Swarm… They don’t have precisely the same motivations as a regular Devouring Swarm. While they will still press organics inhabiting the worlds they take into nutritive paste for the Bio-Reactors, their hunger is a bit more ambitious. Renamed Terravores, they operate largely the same way as a regular Devouring Swarm, but once off their homeworld they have an additional planetary decision to consume the habitable worlds of the galaxy, leaving devastated husks in their wake:


Are you going to eat that?

Terravores are barred from Terraforming (and thus do not have access to Hive Worlds) and cannot clear the devastation they leave behind, but other empires can clean up after them, though it takes a major effort.

Modders will now be able to change the name and description of a civic out for another based on species class, similar to how traditions can be swapped.

civic_hive_devouring_swarm = {

>snip existing stuff<

swap_type = {
name = civic_hive_devouring_swarm_lithoid
description = "civic_tooltip_devouring_swarm_lithoid_effects"​

trigger = {
local_human_species_class = LITHOID​
}​
}​
}

I’m quite pleased with how the Lithoids turned out, I think they're a real gem. I hope that you all enjoy it just as much.

In a few hours the free 2.5.0 patch will be up and the Lithoids Species Pack will be available for shale, so pick it up, rock out, and leave the galaxy gravelling at your feet!

#################################################################
######################### VERSION 2.5.0 ############################
#################################################################

###################
# Balance
###################
* The Pop Growth Reduction for Bio-Trophies now actually reduces their growth rate. Driven Assimilators now apply their organic growth penalty as a multiplier the same way as Rogue Servitors do, and is now also 50%
* Defensive Platforms placed on Outposts now provide 2 points of Piracy Suppression for their system. The Great Game tradition from the Supremacy tree now also reduces the cost to build Defensive Platforms by 33%


###################
# UI
###################
* Shift+clicking on ship count in the Fleet Manager now adds ships up to the nearest unit of ten, using ctrl fills up to the template max size (for realzies this time)
* The Shared Burdens civic will no longer appear by itself in the civics list when you select Gestalt Consciousness ethics but have not yet selected Machine Intelligence or Hive Minded authority
* Added a notification when one empire guarantees the independence of another

###################
# AI
###################
* Automated building now checks that upkeep cost is covered by income

###################
# Bugfixes
###################
* Fixed wrong save file being loaded from the resume button in the launcher, caused by a conflict between local and cloud saves
* Fixed the game complaining about mods not being in UTF8-BOM3 for no good reason
* Fixed a potential crash in AI when evaluating market values
* Fixed cases where planetary events could fire multiple notifications
* Odd Factories no longer sometimes block pops from getting purged, because you monsters should be free to purge whatever you want
* Mod load order is now the same as the order in which the mods are displayed

Known Issue: Lithoids are currently affected like other biological pops when there is a food deficit, instead of being upset by mineral deficits. They’re very empathetic.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Methone

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Every little change leads to several more, however. If a species eats minerals instead of food, their homeworld should start with extra mining districts and no agricultural districts built. In fact, if a species evolved to eat rocks, their homeworld should probably by mineral rich and food poor. But wait, what about if they’re a Syncretic Evolution species, or if a Rogue Servitor wants to start with pet rocks? What about if they want to be a Devouring Swarm?

Many minor changes came along with what started as a simple economic change. Just a few examples include the Lithoids being tragically unable to be declared the most delicious species in the galaxy if there are any alternatives, loosening restrictions a bit on Bio-Reactors, modifying the Fleeting trait to be -25 years for Lithoids instead of -10, and a handful of Tradition changes. We also added a few Lithoid specific traits that allow them to generate small amounts of special resources every month.
I am absolutely ecstatic to hear this and similar situations have been thought of! Well done.
. For the Xenophiles out there, Half-Lithoids generated by Xeno-Compatibility
Something something 'get your rocks off'.

Eager to get my hands on it!
 

Me_

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Can we expect more unique portrait-related effects in the future (e.g. energy beings or gaseous ones)?
 

klingonadmiral

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In a few hours the free 2.5.0 patch will be up and the Lithoids Species Pack will be available for shale, so pick it up, rock out, and leave the galaxy gravelling at your feet!
I marble at your ability to come up with those gneiss puns.

Also regarding the traits that have your pops produce rare resources, is their output affected by general pop production modifiers? So if I go say full slavery with massive bonuses to slave resource production, will those also apply to the rare resources those slaves excrete?
 

Krelian91

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I am so happy to see that Lithoid farts have a gameplay use. 10/10 dlc, it rocks.
 

Eelectrica

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You've done well. I love that this species pack has some game unique mechanics as well as the graphical art work

I guess my weekend is sorted and is gonna rock.
 

Methone

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I am so happy to see that Lithoid farts have a gameplay use. 10/10 dlc, it rocks.
Fart-powered energy shields. The Unbidden won't know what hit them!
 

klingonadmiral

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Also another question:

Will effects that reduce pop food upkeep like the Harmony Opener affect Lithoid mineral upkeep?
 

Emperorheinrich

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Any chance for Lithoid Fanatic Purifiers or Terravores to get relations bonuses for other Lithoid empires, kind of like how Determined Exterminators can get along well with other robot empires?
 

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A Rock Solid diary that makes it all crystal clear to me!
 

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Look at me! I'm a sparkly space unicorn!
Not quite what I wanted, definitely what I deserved. I approve of this appeasement.


B U T I A M S T I L L H U N G R Y

Does this mean we get biological sparkly space unicorns next patch? Or this patch? Or last patch?

;_;

You have done your Emperor a great service pushing for space unicorns though.
I am proud of you, Eladrin. Here are 5 paradox credit points.
 

Surimi

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Do lithoid pops consume 1 mineral each by default (like organic pops consume food) or is it reduced to compensate for the fact that miners only produce 4 minerals?

Otherwise, loving this. The increased modding functionality is a welcome surprise.
 

Chaines

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Yeah this is great, a lot of nice pics. At least i now know for sure PDX doesn't care at all for their players. Not a word on AI, not a word on perfs, really ? Great job.
 

sortulv

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Okay, I’ll stop with the rock puns.
In a few hours the free 2.5.0 patch will be up and the Lithoids Species Pack will be available for shale, so pick it up, rock out, and leave the galaxy gravelling at your feet!
I tuff you wad stopped punning, but it seems you lack shale, so rock on, I gneiss...
 
Last edited:

Methone

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Yeah this is great, a lot of nice pics. At least i now know for sure PDX doesn't care at all for their players. Not a word on AI, not a word on perfs, really ? Great job.
I don't know where to start.