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Project Space Sector Dev Diary #3: Research

By on January 30th, 2017 10:25 am

Hi everyone!

After a short break during the holidays we’re back on to releasing more dev diaries for Project Space Sector!

This time we propose to discuss Research.

In case you missed the announcement, Space Sector is developing a turn-based space 4X strategy game, which will be a spiritual successor to Master of Orion 2. You can find all dev diaries and other news regarding the development here.

Motivation and Rationale

We believe that a solid tech system is the backbone of a good 4X game. The number of technologies available in the game, the order at which they are picked and the pace at which they are unlocked are all crucial factors for a fun and fluid 4X gaming experience.

So, above all, we want the research system to offer a lot of choices, but also to be clear, easy to use and offer some surprises!

The Tech Tree

Technologies are organized into contextual fields of study. These fields can be considered different branches on a single tech tree. For example, a tech that unlocks a weapon will be found within the "Weapons" research field, while a building that influences the economy will belong to the "Economics" field.

The tech fields are (subject to change): Weapons, Defenses, Propulsion, Economics, Planetary Engineering and Construction.

Techs are organized into levels, usually with 2 to 4 techs each. To research techs in the next level, the player must first unlock at least one tech from the level before. The level of a given technology may vary slightly from game to game.

The tech tree is randomly generated from game to game and even between races within a particular game. So, different races will have different techs in each game. The frequency at which certain techs appear will vary. Certain key techs (a significant amount) will always be present. Other important techs will appear quite often, but some techs will appear far less often. This system aims to increase replayability and enjoyment without introducing frustration due to the lack of a key progression tech.

The game will allow players the option to hide or reveal what their future tech choices will be, from no future techs shown (player sees only the techs they can research at the moment), to a restricted amount of levels ahead they may see, or to seeing the entire tech tree. This would be configurable at game start.

To make the tech tree even more interesting from a strategic standpoint, the game will present four big research decisions (or paths) to the player throughout the game, linked to when the game’s strategic resources are revealed. These will be major decisions, almost like different choices for a particular era, that will have a significant effect on how the game is played.

Research Decision | Project Space Sector

Acquiring New Techs

Each tech will unlock a single achievement, ability, building or gameplay feature.

While many techs will be available through standard research, there will also be exotic super techs that can only be found while exploring ancient ruins and possibly on an unique world.

Artifacts can be found while exploring ancient ruins that can provide a number of benefits to research among other things.

Leaders can enhance the speed in which techs are acquired in a few ways. Some can provide an early breakthrough chance. Also, as suggested by our community, some leaders will be able to unlock new techs and/or provide certain “blueprints”, to boost certain techs’ research.

In addition to research, techs can also be obtained in a number of alternative and non standard ways. They can be traded via diplomacy (with limitations), obtained while invading a rival’s world, stolen through espionage, or even snatched while boarding and salvaging an enemy ship.

Where we are now

Everything is already implemented to a good degree apart from the artifacts, the leader blueprints and the acquiring of techs via invasion and espionage, pending on ground combat and espionage mechanics further definition and implementation.

Now please let us know your impressions on the official forum thread for this post (or here if you prefer), as for what your ideas and suggestions for improvement may be.

Thank you all!

Project Space Sector is a spiritual successor to Master of Orion 2, the turn-based space 4X strategy game from the 90's that we love so much. This will be a faithful successor, that is true in spirit to the series. We believe that by sticking to its fundamentals we will please the fans who want to feel the atmosphere and that “feeling” of Master of Orion 2, but also want to experience something new and fresh, with all the complexity and depth of a big and complex 4X game. You can join the discussions here.

Note on SpaceSector.com (the site)

The plan is for Project Space Sector (the game) to branch off onto its own website at some point, and SpaceSector.com, as it is, will be shut down (effectively stop being updated).

In the meantime, we suggest that you look for other sites that have been doing, and are doing a great job covering space & sci-fi strategy games, and 4X games, like Explorminate.net, SpaceGameJunkie.com and SpaceSimCentral.com for your news and reviews fix. You’ll be in good hands with these folks.

We are very happy with what SpaceSector.com (the site) managed to achieve over the years. However, we felt that we were ready for a new adventure, that we hope you want to share with us! :)

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6 Comments


  1. Mythox says:

    when can we test this masterpiece ??? =)

  2. npu3paka says:

    Please dont fail at the tactical combat system, as all other companies fail. RTS in tac battles in this genre is fail (SE5, MOO4…). Hundreds spaceships not stacking in tac battle is fail (MOO2). Stacking units is ok (MoOO1,HOMM, KB:L). Or make single ship/unit to be valuable and can sustain many battles, refits, crew change (Ascendancy, BSG TV show), but can be build few…

    • Adam Solo says:

      Don’t you worry, the tactical combat is turn-based, and we addressed the issues you raise about the micro hell in our design.

      If you liked MoO2’s combat system, then you’re gonna love this! :)

      Again, our goal is to capture the feel of Master of Orion 2 and still manage to offer something new, never sacrificing what made MoO2 special in the first place.

      Help us make it right! Join the discussions here.

  3. dayrinni says:

    Looking good!

  4. NoldorElf says:

    I’ll be honest – I’m not the biggest fan of the “decision” making present in MOO or Stardrive 2 – my personal favorite has always been the tech tree system of games like Alpha Centauri with its Secret Projects. Exploring alien wonders for unique technologies is cool though.

    I always thought that each race should be distinct in its own way. Starcraft was interesting in that regard in what technologies could be researched.

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