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Distant Worlds – A new Real-time, 4X Space Strategy Game

By on January 27th, 2010 8:25 pm

Distant Worlds is a new real-time 4x space strategy game being developed by CodeForce and to be published by Matrix Games. The game beta phase is now almost finished and although the official game release date is not yet announced  the game is expected to be released in the first quarter of 2010.

Distant Worlds happens in Real-Time

Distant Worlds is a real-time strategy game. In contrast with turn-based games like Master of Orion 2, Galactic Civilizations or Armada 2526, in DW the player can be surprised at any time by new events or by enemy attacks which requires the player to make decisions on the spot in a continuous gaming experience. The player is allowed to pause the game at any time though.  Space combat and ground combat also happens in real-time.

Less Micromanagement on an Epic Scale

One of the flag features of DW is that it will provide immense size galaxies with hundreds of systems and thousands of planets. To navigate thorough all that space the game offers several tiers of zoom focus: Galaxy, Sector, System and Planetary views. To switch between these views the player may click on the different focus buttons or zoom in and out smoothly (supposedly using the mouse wheel), something similar to the Civilization 4 style of focus, for the ones that know this popular game.

Galaxy View Sector View Planet View

The other flag feature of DW is the ability for the player to set several levels of game automation. Several areas of the game experience can be set to automatic. These include: colonization, ship building, ship design, attack enemies, treaties and tax set.

Another aspect of the game mechanics is that some tasks are automatically managed by what DW calls the “private citizens”. Some of these tasks include: mining resources, transporting cargo, migration between colonies and tourism. We’ll only fully understand what they mean when we play the game but judging from this and from the extensive use of automation options, Distant Worlds seems to put itself among the type of games that offer grand scale / high-level strategy that requires less micro-management to be done by the player.

With this respect DW mechanics seem to be more similar to games like Sins of a Solar Empire, Sword of the Stars or the original Master of Orion. Other games put more emphasis on low-level micro-management, among these games are Galactic Civilizations 2, Armada 2526 or Master of Orion 2. There is not right or wrong approach here, there simply are different types and levels of micro-management that different types of players seem to enjoy more.

Special emphasis in Exploration and Expansion

Distant Worlds promises to put more emphasis on the eXploration and eXpansion phases (see What are 4x Games: a Definition and links to Games for a definition) and less on the eXtermination phase. One proof of this is that the player must explore other systems using special exploration ships specially designed to explore new star systems.

Distant Worlds - Exploring a new Planet
Distant Worlds – Exploring a new Planet

The player must use these ships to obtain relevant info about planets like for example which resources are  available in the planet. With exploration ships the player may also investigate ancient ruins and abandoned spaceships.

Other important features

The game offers all the standard features of 4x games: diplomacy, espionage and research. It also offers spaceship design and star-base design capabilities which is always a popular feature among fans of this genre.

Spaceship Design
Distant Worlds – Spaceship Design

Where the game seems to have put a lot of effort was on game help and assistance. There are lots of tool tips available throughout the game, tutorials and even a Galactopedia with all sorts of game info and help.

Some more Screenshots (click to enlarge)

screenshot1 screenshot2 screenshot3


Video #1: Distant Worlds – Introduction

Video #2: Distant Worlds – Exploration

Video #3: Distant Worlds – Game Controls

Current Status

As soon as I can get my hands on Distant World I’ll make a detailed review about this interesting game so stay tuned.

There is no demo available yet. Open beta seems to be about finished but there is no official data yet announced.

In the mean time you can get more information regarding Distant Worlds from the official developer: CodeForce, the publisher: Matrix Games or in the official game forums.

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  1. Procent Podatku says:

    I find myself coming to your blog more and more often to the point where my visits are almost daily now!

  2. Brian says:

    Adam you should review the new expansion.

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