Recently I wrote about Supernova's new features: Supernova New Features - A Detailed Look » Forum Post by Stalker0 (galciv4.com)
And a long while ago I wrote an indepth look into GC IV basic: GC IV - A very indepth look » Forum Post by Stalker0 (galciv4.com)
I note these as they can be useful reference points for further thoughts.
With supernova still in its infancy, I wanted to dig in on some areas of the game I want to highlight for adjustment and polish. I'm not going to focus on balance much with everything still up in the air, but dig in to concepts that are working and ones that are not.
My Overall Summary
Having started as one of your pre-buyers for GC IV and now coming back to Supernova...my biggest impression is.... "has anything actually been done in that time?"
That is very harsh and I'm sorry to start out that way, but candidly there is a LOT of problems, UI issues, and lack of polish that was present in the early days of GC IV, and still carries on to this day.
I recognize that you are still in early access for Supernova....but most of the mechanics of the game have existed for years and years now....so it is disheartening to look back at my old notes and see so many of the noted problems from back then still at the forefront now.
Ultimately approval is still superior to manu/research buildings the vast majority of the time (unless the planet is really tilted towards one resource). I would also like to see that 96% cap removed, please just make it 100% for the OCD crowd. It makes the math ugly and for no good reason.
Right now the explore ships kind of go in a circular pattern, but when I explore early on, the first thing I do is beeline to each and every star. that immediately tells me what planets and resources are nearby. I think auto-explore ships should do the same, move to each star until you can see the star and get its stats, then move to the next one.
There is a decent amount of control options but I still think there is a lot more interesting things to do here, such as recharging artifacts or using it to change nebula and things. Again its a cool idea that just seems to have been forgotten after a while.
This is partly because of the Galactic Bank problem (see below), but I don't find crime that big a deal in most cases, especially once the minister of justice is online. Its too easy to correct to the point where its not a major factor for me.
I really hope this gets some love, it was a great concept in the base game....that honestly has had little done with it since then. Part of the problem is its easy to spam a lot of events at once. I can often just build all of the special building ones at the same time, the war ones I can often just build a fleet, have everyone fights me, and claim 2-3 objectives. There is no sense of "progression" its more a "oh hey yeah I should do some galactic events, let me bust out 5 of them really quick".
This is another mechanic that is just "there" but doesn't have much interaction. Unless my loyalty is so low I get penalties, I just don't care about it most of the time.
Minister of Finance / Galactic Bank
I would argue that in terms of "non-wonder" type buildings, the Galactic Bank is one of the strongest in the game. Its a weird design right now, every game my goal is to pick one money world, build a bank surrounded by as many financial adjacencies as I can get....and suddenly I go from poor to scrooge mcduck. And there is almost no point to building more finance worlds, the galactic bank bonus is just that overwhelming.
Further, the minister of finance unlocks the Galactic Bizaar.....which basically gives you access to every wonder that people didn't immediately build in the early game. Special resources go from whispers and legends to just a money number, and so people that rush this tech often get a major advantage over other players.
This mechanic still suffers the same problem its had since Day 1: Its too easy to swap policies. This is especially abusive with the HP modules. I can literally go from a society with -50% hp on my ships to +20% the second someone declares war on me, meaning the -hp mods are often no real penalty at all. Similar to things like prototype defenses.
I also feel the policy balance is all over the map, and has been since Day 1. Heart of the Empire for example is terrible, its not that the bonus is bad per say....but its the opportunity cost. When you compare it to things like genius grants or planetary stimulus, I'm never taking it.
At its core, I think population is still missing the mark. The problem is that it provides the same bonuses as buildings do, and so its always just a simple calculation of: which is better at what time? Is it better to get 5% manu now with a building, or 7% manu with a pop in 10 turns, etc etc.
The system is also very UI intensive, as I have to look at the stats of each citizen to decide how best to optimize. And while that might be fun for the full gear heads in the audience, it very quickly loses its appeal when your repeating it a dozen times.
My suggestion: Population should provide RAW values rather than %, which is based on 2 things:
So for example: Lets say that all Iconians provide +.1 raw technology, and workers provide +.1 raw mineral resources (forgot the technical name). So an iconian worker gives +.1 tech and .1 raw mineral. Maybe humans provide .03 in tech, manu, and money..... scientists provide +.1 tech, etc etc. This does several things:
- Now pop and buildings work together instead of directly competing with each other. Pop provides the base which is then augmented by building multipliers. Each one helps the other, so its no longer about X > Y, its about what combo of X and Y gives me the best bang for my buck.
- Racial identity becomes both important and simple. We all know iconians are smart, I don't need to look at each stat to find the "smartest iconian", I just know that a planet full of iconians is going to produce some science. This removes a lot of the UI burden.
- Players can now better tailor their planets to their desires rather than the whims of the planet's resources. Right now a high manu, low research planet is just a factory, its a waste to consider science no matter the terrain. BUT....if I can make all of my guys scientists and bump up the raw technology while utilizing a lot of blue tiles on teh planet, well then that is really fun and interesting. This lets players play the way they want to play, rather than the way the map forces them to play.
As a second note, I think we need to reconsider how growth works. Its been a long standing tradition in civ games that the more pop in a city, the more effort it takes to grow the next one (even though in real life we know its the exact opposite, the bigger the pop, the faster it grows). But unlike many Civ games, GC IV's pop is very fluid, its easy to send pop out and expand heavily, and so its weird that the best way to growth is just constant expansion. We should give benefits to those tending to their nice planets by allowing pop to accelerate if they are willing to commit to the less constructors and colony ships. That should have real benefit, whereas right now due to growth there's almost no penalty at all.
- Starbases should have an auto-production toggle. Right now I can mimic this by putting supply ships on infinite build and then setting a rally point to the core world.... but that's a lot of needless clicks.
- I want to be able to see how a building levels up when I hover over it. Right now, i have to set a building down in a spot to give it some levels to see what its bonuses are, and that is a silly waste of time. Instead when I hover over the building it should show me: "+3% manu per level" or something like that.
- When a planet is full, I still need to see the stats of buildings in the building queue. Right now the only way to see them is to destroy a province. And sometimes I do want to do that because a new, better building has come along, but its silly that I have to do this and then auto reload just to see what the new building bonus will be.
- Please provide a feature that turns off the little arrow on a starbase if only "non-core" modules are available. The vast majority of the time, I want to invest modules for a starbase on its core functions (influence mods, mining mods, etc etc). Normally defense mods are saved for a select few key starbases. Right now that little "you have modules available to build" arrow is worthless because I will always have modules I'm not building.
- When I build an asteroid base, I want all asteroids built to automatically go to the nearest core world. Right now they go through the colony and then you lose value with decay. Only navigators actually deal with distance decay for asteroids, so 90+% of the time I have to manually select each little asteroid and send it to a core world for optimum gains.
- Rally points are in an odd place, and I should be able to rename them right from the rally point screen, instead of going to another screen.
- Communication starbases use the same term for "Influence going to a core world" vs "influence provided by the starbase itself". It would be good to differentiate that.
- I want to be able to rush buy multiple things on the same turn. Its fine if they only build 1 turn at a time, but I don't want to have to keep coming back to rush out 3 ships.
- I want to able to lay down a terraform building AND the building I want to build at the same time. Its very annoying having to come back everytime to choose my building.
- The Faction Screen: I want something at the top of each bar that quickly tells me what the bonus and penalty is. Further, it would be great if I'm sliding a leader over the faction that it gives me a popup telling me what the changes to my bonuses will be if I leave the leader there.
What's in a name?
Orbital Research Centers (which is provided by the Orbital Research labs tech). Does it provide you a starbase module or a something to put in a planet's orbital slot? (Answer: A starbase module, the orbital research lab provides the orbital slot....but doesn't come from the orbital research lab tech).
If you didn't know that right off the bat....you've just experienced the problems with names in the game. Names are all over the place, there are so many components in the game (ship parts, starbase modules, planet buildings, orbital slot buildings)....and there isn't full consistency.
A name that starts with "Orbital" should either be an orbital slot or a starbase module....full stop.
A defensive starbase module should say "Starbase Durantium Composite" so I don't get it confused with the ship armor of similar name.
All mining starbase modules should start with "Mining", etc etc.