The changes sound good. I'm up to the Pinwheel galaxy and finding it pretty easy to just keep building battleships. I'm ready for more of a challenge.
WIP: Choices, Choices, Choices
Increstellar is far too linear for a 4x - ultimately the fault in the game having only one way forward - fleet to fleet combat - but partly also because diminishing returns on exponential function makes specializing inefficient, and if you can't specialize in anything then everything becomes, tactically speaking, a grey mush.
There will be large and small changes to cope with this. The most immediate is the implementation of different cost functions, to tie together the pricing of facilities - i.e you buy a lab and prices for production center, labs and services facilities all increase - as well as implementing a similar system for ships, still keeping the unlock system but increasing the price of every hull when you improve one. Of course base prices of everything will be slashed appropriately across the board, so that getting 4 level in fighters early on doesn't push the battleship in the millions.
Of course these choices need to resonate with the longer term strategy, hence a trait system will be introduced to provide complementary or multiplicative bonuses to supplement your play style.
Once the set pieces are in place, raid and bombardment will be changed so that they will be alternative ways to conquer sectors, one happening against space stations, the other on planets. A parallel tech tree will allow to specialize your ships for one of the three actions, things like atmospheric thrusters or focused attack patterns and of course to avoid overspecializing and repeating the same action over and over again aliens will gain traits specific to resist certain actions - like using space elevators so that attacking station is not viable to curb their production or being nomadic and not having settlement worth bombing on planets.
What do you players think about these changes? I really hope it'll add the needed depth to make the game more interesting to play.
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I'm a little tangled up in the real life job but I'm at least defining the new tech tree that will complement the new operations, I'll outline that in a devblog shortly and hopefully I'll have the hand free to deal with them at some point in early December