Stellaris Dev Diary #21 - Administrative Sectors

Stellaris Dev Diary #21 - Administrative Sectors

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Doomdark

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Hi again folks!

Today I am going to talk about one of the great pitfalls of strategy game design; dull micromanagement. That is, features which require too much player attention. The trick, of course, is determining how much is “too much”, but it’s useful to consider how central the feature is to the core gameplay, how well it scales between small and large states, and how repetitive it gets with time.

In Stellaris, one feature which risked causing bad micromanagement was the planetary tile system; assigning Pops to tiles and deciding which buildings should go where. It is a fairly central feature and it is fun to use… but if you had to worry about 20, 50 or more planets, it would scale poorly. The obvious solution to this type of scaling issue is automation; you can let the AI handle it for you. This is indeed what we did in Stellaris, but not in a “traditional” fashion... Instead, we opted for something a little bit more akin to the vassals in Crusader Kings through something we call Administrative Sectors.

stellaris_dev_diary_21_02_20160215_edit_sectors.jpg


A Sector is an administrative region under the control of a Sector Governor. You can control a few planets directly (your “core worlds”), but once you go past the limit, you will start suffering penalties to your Influence as well as Empire-wide income. The exact limit for how many planets you can control directly depends on various factors, like your government type and technologies, but, as with the “Demesne Limit” in Crusader Kings II, it will never be a huge number. At this point, it is best to start dividing your territory into Sectors. You can decide the Sector capital and which planets should belong to it (but they must all be connected to the capital, i.e. form one cohesive sub-region.) You are also allowed to name your Sectors, for fun.

Unlike proper Vassals, Sectors remain an integrated part of your Empire, but they will handle development of planets and the construction of mining stations within their region for you. You can give them a focus (Industry, Research, etc), an infusion of Minerals or Energy Credits to help them along, and decide if you want to tax them for Minerals and Energy Credits. Sectors do not possess any military fleets of their own, nor do they perform research (they have access to the same technologies you do, and their research output is all given to you.)

stellaris_dev_diary_21_01_20160215_sectors_list.jpg


While Sectors and Sector Governors cannot demand more autonomy, or directly rise up in revolt (things I’d love to explore in an expansion), over time their population tends to diverge ideologically from that of the regime, and create their own identity. Like-minded Pops will tend to migrate there if allowed to. In the same way, aliens of the same species will also tend to coalesce in the same Sectors. Thus, when Factions form, they will often tend to have their main seat of power in a specific Sector. And Factions can demand autonomy and achieve independence. However, this is something that warrants its own dev diary...

That’s all he wrote folks. This time. Next week, I plan to talk about Alliances and Federations!
 
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Seems like a very sensible approach to administration of an Empire.
As long as it isn't Master of Orion 3, it'll be fine. You couldn't make a game with more tedious and confusing empire management than that if you tried ;)
 
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Grand Moff Tarkin, you have been appointed to govern the Alderaan Sektor, for this you get this new Battlestation...
 
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You know, this is exactly the feature I was idly imagining would be implemented in my ideal Victoria III. For colonies, that is.
 
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A better choice would have been to let the player decide if he wants to micromanage 20-50 planets or not.
I don't agree. It's a very common scenario that people do things that aren't fun but give them some advantage. A player that is willing to micromanage a large number of planets will always be able to squeeze out some advantage over a sector governor. You don't want optimal play to be boring.
 
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You are also allowed to name your Sectors, for fun.
It might've been mentioned earlier (then I've missed it), but are we able to rename planets as well?
 
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The only thing I am dissapointed in is the lack of a sector police force (Small local fleets) other than that awesome.
 
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So sector governors only handle mining and planetary buildings? They don't touch colonization, spaceport construction and upgrading? Are the build queues for these things separate? What if they want to mine a planet that I want to colonize?
 
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I really like it when companies manage to take an idea to the next level. I feel like "Stellaris" will be an amazing game, worthy successor of the "Master of Orion" series, as "Elite Dangerous" has been a worthy successor of the "Privateer" series.
 
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hmm, still don't know what to think of this. Doesn't sound too bad, but would have liked the choice.
 
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Doomdark: "Today I am going to talk about one of the great pitfalls of strategy game design; dull micromanagement. That is, features which require too much player attention. The trick, of course, is determining how much is “too much"

That's true, but I was hoping that I could define it (=how much is too much) by my self :(

For me it's not allways dull and (at least so far) I have done it better than any game AI I have met.
 
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looks fun
 
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I see you're going for the abstraction with pops, just an idea it would to so much for immersion if they were better quantified in the game universe. Just putting an M there - and instead having a planet colonized with 2 people with questionable reproductive security, it would be 2 million. There's no technical or gameplay reason behind it, it just feels less abstract. There's no need for fractions or detailed numbers like in Vicky (not to say it wouldn't be neat).
 
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Hapchazzard

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Another great, unique feature! One question - does the personality of the governor have an effect on how the sector is managed, apart from the bonuses and maluses from the traits themselves?
 
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Darustet

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Holy crap, this pretty much topped all my expectations, since I played with the idea of sectors, governors and sector identities couple of days ago in the forums and it ended up just as I hoped a dream scenario could be.

Also, love the ability to rename your sectors, adds nicely to role-playing.
 
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