Part 3: Turns 7-20Turn 7
Aaryn has completed the ships of the 4th Survey Fleet. Led by Lord Rithasak the Bonecrusher, they're sent off to survey Argelius.
Note: I can name pretty much everything except admirals; clearly it was too contradictory to the lore for Kerberos to allow admirals to be named Super Bob or similar. Will put Captain Foo and President Ark in line for the next command ships to be built.
Our astronomers have informed us that there are three planets at Argelius, one of which is a gas giant - you can tell by the little line running through Argelius C. Gas giants can have moons, which themselves can be colonised.
We've started to make money again, as the colony at Aaryn begins to mature. Its Climate Hazard (CH) is now down to just over 400. Grabbing colonies in your starting systems quickly is highly useful for both supporting more ships and increasing the scope for trade once we get the tech.
Aaryn is down to 350 and now looking like much less of a hellholeEdit: Irfanview seems to dislike taking pictures of planets. Imagine a more grey-looking Earth.. Of course, because we're Zuul, once it's fully terraformed we'll commence turning it into a hellhole once more.
Hyperion is surveyed, and has one very attractive planet.
Medea is a pretty awesome system. In fact, I'm going to cancel the order we've given to our colony fleet to support Aaryn (since it's nearly done anyway) and send it off to grab Medea 2. Because it's positioned towards the centre of the galaxy, it'll make a good forward base.
One of the best things about SOTS 2 is the voice responses to commands. If you cancel an order previously given to a Zuul fleet, it'll come back with something like, "I WILL CONTAIN MY DISAPPOINTMENT, LORD".
Lord Windy has finished the survey of Pentacon, revealing that there's no planets there. Non-node races normally ignore systems without planets, but Pentacon provides a useful stepping stone into the worlds beyond. The 3rd Survey Fleet heads to Octans. The 1st and 2nd Survey Fleets return to Kaprica for resupply.
Argelius is surveyed, and has a very nice world indeed. With all these worlds popping up that don't require lots of ships to colonise, I'm going to build a small colony fleet of one command ship and one colony ship to grab them quickly. The 4th Survey Fleet heads to Kreelar.
The Captain Foo rolls out of the Kaprica docks.
Our Medea colony is founded. This world is so good that I'm going to leave it on the default production of 50/50 infrastructure & terraforming, as it'll be developed pretty quickly regardless.
Having a forward base of operations means that's there's finally something for our construction fleet to do:
There are five types of stations. The first four (Naval, Science, Tribute & Breeding) can be built in any system, although you can only build one of each type per system, and systems with smaller populations support fewer stations. We can only build stations in systems in which we have a colony until we discover Deep Space Construction. We're building a Naval Station at Medea, which will allow us to station more ships there, vital for pushing out into the galaxy. I'll cover each type of station in more detail when we build them.
The colony at Medea can already support up to six cruisers, and our 2nd Survey Fleet, newly resupplied at Kaprica, contains six ships. We're going to use a Relocate mission to transfer this fleet to Medea. This is a fancy way of saying 'Move the bloody thing', but necessary given the Mission System.
Our second colonisation fleet is born, and heads off to Argelius to pick up that sweet world. Kaprica starts building two more colony ships in anticipation of its return.
Lord Windy finishes surveying Octans, which has three habitable worlds - albeit three that are going to take quite some work.
Aaryn 2 is nearly done, so I adjust the sliders to allow some infrastructure to be produced.
The 1st Survey Fleet has completed its resupply, so it's sent to survey Dorsai using the tunnel it created on its first mission to save supplies.
Another fantastic system, we'll be grabbing Kreelar as soon as possible.
In even more exciting news, we're back in the black after our initial round of shipbuilding and colonisation, and can now start researching.
Trading will now take 14 turns to complete, rather than 39, thanks to our initial worlds having had time to grow and our new colonies starting to provide a trickle of income. About half our income is now being spent on research, which leaves some room for another colony fleet to be built at Kaprica.
Captain Foo has established a colony on Argelius. Again, we're going to leave these sliders alone.
President Ark now leads our third colonisation fleet, captained by Master Varti the Insatiable. It's sent to colonise Zoraster 2.
Medea no longer requires any support, which is greeted by your Zuul underlings with the phrase "THE NEW COLONY NO LONGER REQUIRES CODDLING". The 1st Colonisation Fleet is sent to colonise Salusa.
The naval station is built at Medea, and the newly arrived 2nd Survey Fleet is sent even further into the darkness, to survey Corvus. Closer to home, we've colonised Zoraster and we need to manage the development of our new naval base.
In SOTS 1, starbases were end-game projects that provided a range of benefits as soon as they were built. In SOTS 2, starbases are a total faff. Each starbase you build requires specific modules before you can send your construction fleet back to upgrade it to the next level, and those modules need to be selected manually. Each starbase has five possible upgrade levels, each of which requires you to go back in and select modules, and by the end of the game you'll have dozens of the things. The forums are full of suggestions for changes, all of which have been ignored. So here we go.
You might think you'd access stations by the Station Manager, the little space station icon on the main screen. This is possible when you only have one or two, but later on the badly designed menu makes using this screen a complete chore. The best way to do it is to right click on the system you want to fiddle around with and click Station Manager there, as it'll only bring up the stations for that particular system.
Each module type does different things:
Command increases the number of system defences you can deploy. We'll get to these in a little while.
Dock increases the efficiency at which the station builds ships.
Sensor increases strategic & tactical sensor ranges, as well as providing a chance to detect cloaked ships.
Repair helps repair ships after battle.
Warehouse increases the number of ships that system can support.
Now, picking between these upgrades would be a difficult choice, so rather than having the player make interesting decisions, all of these modules can be on the same station and all of them have to built to allow the station to upgrade to the next level. You can skimp out on warehouse modules if you want, but you'd be a fool to as increasing the number of ships you can base in the system is a big reason for building a naval station in the first place. We're going to max out each of these as it's highly likely we'll want a better naval station at Medea in the future.
Salusa is colonised and Argelius is self-sufficient. Salusa jacks up our colony costs again, but we can absorb the cost for now. The 2nd Colonisation Fleet is relocated to Aaryn in order to be in range of Kreelar. The 4th Survey Fleet is relocated to Medea for additional range, and Lord Windy is relocated to Kaprica in anticipation of Salusa growing enough to support the fleet.
Normally by this stage you've had at least one combat to show off, so I apologise on Kerberos's behalf for having made a game that doesn't perform well under pressure. However, as a teaser for the next update: