A new Starpires game instance, Alpha Sector is open to new empires. It is a fresh game install with some minor game mechanics adjustments. Additional game instances, some with very different game mechanics and goals will be opened up in the near future.
To access Alpha Sector just login to your account as normal and click on the server box (top/left) to access the command center which will allow you to create empires on other game instances.
We make periodic changes to Starpires to help improve game balance. In particular large coordinated groups of players have been able to exploit the protection mechanisms and certain special operations to pass resources to gain an unfair advantage. It has also been too easy for larger empires to “bully” significantly smaller empires, despite the use of in game penalties and sanctions.
The following game changes will be pushed live within the next 24 hours to help solve game balance issues.
The “Take Hostages” special operation is being replaced with a new “Crash Stock Market” special operation that allows you to destroy an opponents reserve credits but not steal them.
A special operation is being added which allows nuclear stockpiles to be destroyed.
During invasions the number of planets gained by attacking smaller empires (in planets size) will be incrementally reduced, lowering the gain from attacking significantly smaller players.
The cutoff for how much smaller of empires (based on planets) you can attack is being raised. Relying simply on sanctions/penalties to enforce this didn’t work.
The protection mechanism is being significantly adjusted to disincentivize allies purposely putting each other into protection to gain an advantage. Global protection will not be offered to empires a formula determines are trying to “game the system”
The criteria which qualifies empires to go into both individual protection and global protection is being adjusted to be more fair and lessen the chances of manipulation.
“Rebuilding Credits” provided to empires who have gone into global protection now are distributed each turn that the empire is in protection instead of all at once.
Planetary upkeep costs are being adjusted upwards for empires with very large numbers of planets. The effect will be minimal for empires under 1M planets.
An update was just pushed live that adds 14 additional boosts to Starpires. These include boosts such as Warped Time which speed up how fast turns are accrued. There was modifications to some of the existing boosts to adjust pricing (downwards) in both research credits and reward points. The Body Armor boosts was also modified to make it more powerful based off of player feedback.
Music and sound affect production for Starpires is currently under way with a target of having it integrated into the game by months end. I thought that I’d share a preview of the new background music for Starpires.
Last week the new Starpires “boost” system was launched. Boosts are temporary enhancements for you empire that may last a specific number of turns, battles, or amount of time. Some boosts are extremely powerful yet short lived, while others maybe long lived but not so powerful.
Boosts can be acquired in several ways in the game including purchased with research credits, reward points, and as rewards from the Galactic Council. They are stored in an inventory and can be activated when needed to give your empire a little bit of a power up.
This is a notice to players that a major algorithmic change affecting the top 20-30 empires, less than 0.2% and will go into affect within the next 24 hours.
The formula used to compute research affects for researched over level 10 is going to be changed. In it’s current state it’s creating a situation where empire growth among these large empires is becoming exponential due to it’s affects on planetary income. Without the change the game will quickly become unsustainable and cease to be playable for these players.
What this will mean is a drop in planetary income for planet types with a research level above 10. The higher the research level the larger the drop on a percentage basis. For the top few players who have research levels in the 15-20 range this drop will be substantial.
A chart showing the percentage change in planetary production at a given research level due to upcoming algorithm change.
Yes, it will cause some cosmic upheavals to a few empires which will have to adjust. But these are the same empires who’ve also benefited greatly from the existing algorithm. This also affects research effects on Anti Pollution, Government and Urban Planets which can cause some flux in population migration, civilian mood, air quality, etc. This may require things like lowering tax rates or increasing the quantity of these planets to bring it back into balance.
I have tried to limit making large algorithm changes like this but without these changes a reset of the game would be required. Though there are still plans to spawn up additional Starpires servers in the near future.
Now that I’m able to devote my full effort to developing Starpires, there’s lots of features, enhancements and game play adjustments in the pipeline. Here are some of the recent and upcoming ones. Going forward there will be much more detail on this blog about newly launched changes to the game.
Dozens of bug fixes and game balance adjustments, most based off of player feedback.
Complete overhaul of the player messaging system making it easier to coordinate with allies. a) You can now start message threads between multiple players. b) There is a send messages button directly on the message console, bottom right corner of the screen. c) There is now an option to report inappropriate language is messages if you block a player from sending them.
Re-implemented the in game player profiles, you can now view attack histories, as well as any message threads you’ve had with the player.
New top players lists.
Battle simulator – To give players more insight into what determines the outcome of a particular battle.
Updated game FAQ’s, Wiki and Forum – To provide players with more insights into the intricacies of Starpires and create a better community.
A completely overhauled boost system. There will be a lot more of them and they can be acquired and utilized in more ways. Boosts will be able to be saved and traded, similar inventory in an RPG style game. This will add substantial depth and strategy to combat in Starpires.
Multiple Starpires “servers” creating fresh games for players to join.
Deep space exploration – Send fleets to discover new planets, or mine asteroides.
Better server stability – There has been a few outages in the past few weeks.
I started work on Starpires nearly a year and a half ago as a fun project to resurrect my favorite BBS game from the early 90′s. Since then it has now grown to over 25k total signups with nearly 10k players active in the last month.
Due to other obligations (earning a paycheck), updates to the game, the blog and it’s documentation have been spotty through much of this time. As of a couple weeks ago I made the decision to pursue building Starpires as a full-time business and now have 100% of my attention devoted to it.
This means game updates and bug fixes have began to pick up pace and will continue to do so going forward. I’m also making a commitment to resurrect the blog and start making sure game documentation/FAQ’s are updated, and start to better support the community of Starpires players.