Stellaris Dev Diary #164 - Summary of the Year 2019

Stellaris Dev Diary #164 - Summary of the Year 2019

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grekulf

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Hello everyone!

Christmas is fast approaching, and before the team disappears for some well-deserved rest, we thought it would be good to sum up the year and share some thoughts.

2019 has been a challenging year for us, with many different challenges that we’ve had to tackle. The year began with an extended period of patching, which had us starting on a bad footing. We had a lot of issues to address, but we also had plans for the year, plans that included small side projects as well as developing new content for the game.

The year made it clear that we need to slow down and refocus our efforts, because we’ve been running at a high pace for too long now. We are working hard with Federations to make sure we have time to address any outstanding issues, and to make the expansion a great release.

Our communication hasn’t been the best during the year either, and a lot comes down to us not having a lot to communicate (as we were busy working on things), and that we decided to use PDXCON for all our announcements. Next year we hope to be better, and as mentioned previously, we will be starting 2020 with a bunch of Q&A dev diaries related to different topics each week. The schedule for the Q&A will be posted next year, with our first dev diary on January 16th. Our plans for 2020 are looking very good, and we’re very excited for the future.

In dev diary #141 I outlined some of the concepts that I wanted to explore for the game. Let’s take a look at some of the things we’ve achieved:

  • Pop growth: Look into how immigration/emigration works, try to make base growth across multiple planets less powerful, make habitability matter more again
  • Sectors & automation: Allow players to nudge which sectors planets belong to, reduce micromanagement by improving sector management tool.
    A lot of work has been done with this, such as creating sectors, manual designations and planet automation. All work isn’t finished however, and we want to add more improvements.
  • Backgrounds: Split up some civics into backgrounds, and add more backgrounds.
    This is being implemented as Origins, and we’re very happy with how much value this adds to the game.
  • Civic flavour: Spend more time on making the civics feel more unique and fun.
    We’ve done some work towards this, but we don’t consider it finished yet. There are still a bunch of Civics we would like to make more fun.
  • Institutions: Define which institutions make up your empire’s internal departments (such as Diplomatic Corps, Xenology Bureau etc.), and their funding, size and power.
  • Espionage: Intel to determine how much you know about another empire, spy actions, cloaking, sabotage & general mischief.
  • Religion & Cults: Similar to factions, cults could appear in your empire during certain circumstances. Spiritualist empires would most likely have “imperial” cults. Worship of powerful entities etc.
  • Archaeology: Explore the ruins of ancient civilizations.
    We added Archaeology in Ancient Relics, and we’re very happy with how the system allows us to tell stories in chapters.
  • Subject contracts: Allow overlords to better customize what type of subjects they have, tribute levels, benefits to subject etc.
  • Federation depth: Allow federations to level up, have different election types, taxes etc.
    This will be done with the reworked Federation system coming with the 2.6 update next year.
  • Galactic Council: Create a sort of a ‘space UN’ with galactic politics and diplomacy.
    This will be done with the Galactic Community coming with the 2.6 update next year.
  • Primitives: Allow for more interactions with primitive pre-FTL species
With everything we’ve been working on during 2019, we will be adding a lot of depth and customization to Stellaris. We are especially looking forward to when you all get a chance to play with Origins and the Galactic Community.

And because we can’t have a dev diary without some sort of sneak peak, we will show you this:

upload_2019-12-12_14-39-30.png

The previous design that we outlined in dev diary #158 showed Strongest (Economy) and Diplomatic Weight as two succession types. We weren’t entirely happy with that, so we have separated the Strongest Succession Type from which category is used to determine who is the strongest. Setting Strongest as the Succession Type now requires High Centralization. The cool thing is that this now allows you to have a Research Cooperative federation that is led by whichever empire has the best technology.

Producer Switch
And now a message from @Jamor:

Hi all. Firstly, I want to wish you all a happy and safe holiday season. Play lots of video games, spend time with your loved ones, and start 2020 in the best style.

I became the producer (called Project Lead back then) of Stellaris back in February 2017. While I wasn’t new to the games industry, for me it was an amazing moment to finally work on the sort of hardcore, deeply nerdy strategy games that I myself played at home (having started with Paradox games in 2007 with HOI 2). I look back upon the starry-eyed character who wrote this, and reflect upon the journey so far: contributing to three full expansions, three story packs, and two species packs, seeing the title through absolutely massive changes, and all in all patching on 37 separate occasions - some great, some not so hot (I’m sure some of you remember the great dawning of galactic peace that arose from the 1.6 patch, by the simple expedient of making the AI actually incapable of declaring war). All in all it’s been the most intense and memorable era of my career in this crazy industry.

The only constant is change, however, so now I’m moving over as producer to Imperator: Rome. They are a great bunch of folks who are bringing out the immense potential of that game more and more, in the classic Paradox style. It is my honour to lead them forward as the game continues to grow and evolve.

Of course that means I’m leaving my beloved Stellaris team. After sharing so many experiences, some magic, some tragic, it is not without emotion that I do this. But ultimately, you cannot keep doing the same thing forever, and I’m eager to get started on this new challenge. I want to thank my guys, who have so fearlessly and loyally pushed on towards the objective no matter what. I also want to thank you, the fans, without whom there would be no Paradox, and as a fellow fan reaffirm my commitment that I’ll always do the best I can, on whatever team I’m in, to uphold our Special Secret Thing (™). We’re Paradox, we’re different from everyone else, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it. @Obidobi will take over leadership of the Stellaris team, and he has my complete confidence.

And now, I set down my laser, and gird on my gladius. LETS GO PDS!


A message from @Obidobi:

Hello everyone!

I'm Obidobi, some of you may have seen me around as I've been working at Paradox (and Stellaris for that matter) for the past 5 years. I started my journey as a newcomer to the gaming industry as a Paradox QA in 2014 where I saw Stellaris in its pre-alpha stage and I've been on this spaceship ever since. In 2018 I joined the producer team helping @Jamor on Stellaris and some other projects, including the Console Edition of Stellaris. Stellaris is basically running through my veins at this point, and I don't think I'll know what to do if I ever move projects. So as my dear mentor @Jamor leaves for more ancient lands, like any proper Shounen Protagonist, I will have to pick up the mantle of Hokage and become stronger than ever before (Look forward to these kinds of references).

I'm really looking forward to see where the team and I can take Stellaris going forward and I'm truly excited about getting an opportunity to hold the steering wheel. I hope you guys will accept me with open arms as you did with @Jamor!

I hope you’re all as excited as I am for the future, but for now I just want to wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year!

---

That is all for this week and the year! We will be back again on January 16th!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

upload_2019-12-12_14-40-21.png
 
Last edited:

Spaceception

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Merry Christmas! I'm looking forward to the Q&A diaries. And welcome @Obidobi !!

But uh, one question, weren't subject contracts coming in 2.6/Fed as well, or did I have a brain fart?
 

Bankipriel

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As a space-junkie, I'm sad to see you leave, Jamor. This game has undergone some epic improvements over the past few years.

At the same time, as someone with high hopes for Imperator : Rome, I'm happy to hear you will be working with that team now.

Congrats on the new position, Obi, and best of luck!

All you guys at Paradox really do provide the best DD's and best community interaction of anyone in the industry.
 

Big Dead One

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Merry Christmas! I'm looking forward to the Q&A diaries. And welcome @Obidobi !!

But uh, one question, weren't subject contracts coming in 2.6/Fed as well, or did I have a brain fart?
There hasn't been any mention of subject contract so far, so it likely won't come with Federations. Which is a shame, because subject interactions right now are boring.
 

House Centipede

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Roadmaps are always good to have and share. I'm gonna miss @Jamor but welcome @Obidobi. I'm happy to see fresh blood and new takes from new people in my favorite strategy game.

Now I know that Subject Contracts are something that could be worked on I'm excited. The conquering empire that sends others to do their bidding is my favorite empire to play, but it's a bit limited by the AI at the moment. My braindead subjects aren't much help.
 

A2ch0n

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There hasn't been any mention of subject contract so far, so it likely won't come with Federations. Which is a shame, because subject interactions right now are boring.
Maybe we will see this alongside with a really cool espionage system coming up with the next Expansion "Stellaris: Conspiracy" ;)

Happy Holidays to the Dev Team and everyone else!
 

Paradoxon

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I just hope that doesn't rule out a future Jamor Voice Pack for the AI advisor.

Anyway. Yeah, 2019 was a rough year for Stellaris/PDX, and I'm not going to lie, there's still some way to go before the damage is fully fixed. So let's all hope that 2020 starts on a much healthier basis, in every sense of the word, and that we can finally go back to our old routine of you making great games, and us playing the heck out of them. In the meantime, get some rest, even though we the players and you don't always see eye to eye, I think we can all agree you deserve it.

And, obviously, good luck to @Jamor and thanks for all your great work here, and even better luck to @Obidobi for having to fill these big shoes of yours.
 

House Centipede

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Oh em gee there is espionage in the backlog! This is the best news
Even just keeping Fog of War past contact. Not seeing someone's entire empire, the resources in their systems and their fleet's destinations all for only meeting them would be a huge improvement in my book.

I always thought it was weird for Xenophobic Empires to let you in on everything their doing and their boarders the moment they see you.
 

Pale Blue

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No words on a pop growth asjustment :(. I hoped someone would have started to look into it allready.
 

Everstill

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Welcome @Obidobi . Really liked your anime references.

Hope you guys do a good job next year. Would be good if you could talk about how you will lead Stellaris, what your focus and objetives you have to the game.

And Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
 

Ffc

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Welcome Obidobi !

>Religion & Cults: Similar to factions, cults could appear in your empire during certain circumstances. Spiritualist empires would most likely have “imperial” cults. Worship of powerful entities etc.

> Subject contracts: Allow overlords to better customize what type of subjects they have, tribute levels, benefits to subject etc.

This looks very promising !

> Sectors & automation: Allow players to nudge which sectors planets belong to, reduce micromanagement by improving sector management tool.

And this looks pretty necessary
 

Tibi088

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Good luck @Jamor and welcome @Obidobi!

But I just realized if any anime references newer than Naruto are used I most likely wont understand them. It is in moments like this that i feel im getting old...
 

Everstill

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Even just keeping Fog of War past contact. Not seeing someone's entire empire, the resources in their systems and their fleet's destinations all for only meeting them would be a huge improvement in my book.

I always thought it was weird for Xenophobic Empires to let you in on everything their doing and their boarders the moment they see you.
But Wiz already talked about this in the past. This is the first thing they tested. But they changed to reveal everything because it was not a great experience.
 

House Centipede

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But Wiz already talked about this in the past. This is the first thing they tested. But they changed to reveal everything because it was not a great experience.
Really? How long ago? And I mean, sure most empires probably would show you everything as a show of non-hostilities but it's still odd you can look at an enemy fleet's destination.

What does "Not a great experience" mean? Just "not fun"?
IMO It would make trading for people's maps, and building sensor outposts to spy on others cool features.