I finally managed to work in a few game of Sins. I think I’ve played enough times to be able to say that this is not going to be one of my enduring favorites. It has all the right ingredients, but this particular formulation of those ingredients just isn’t doing it for me. I need to give this more thought.
I often get Google searches for people looking for tutorials or help in various games. They arrive here only to find long-winded analysis and opinion without any real information.
But here is an actual walkthrough for the opening stage of Sins of a Solar Empire. I do not claim this guide is optimal. This is merely a guide for lost newcomers frustrated with the school of hard knocks which most Sins players attend. This is what I wish I had handy on my first game.
Here are my opening actions for a new game. Once you’re done with this you should have a pretty good idea of your next move. For your starting game, I suggest turning pirates off. It’s just another thing to worry about while you’re trying to learn. I also suggest playing against an “easy” AI on a small or medium map. Once you have the basics down you’ll probably want to play on a large map with smart foes and active pirates, but if you’re reading this I’m assuming it’s because you don’t want to learn through repeated defeat:
- The first step is to build the metal & crystal extractors for your home system. As with any other RTS, getting your economy going is step #1.
- Build three scout frigates. (If you’re on a really big map, consider making one or two more.) As they emerge, right-click on their auto-explore button and they will begin filling in the map for you. (If you left-click, they explore once, which means they will go to an adjacent system and sit there until pirates kill them. Not that I did anything stupid like that. I’m just saying I heard it happened to a guy once.
- Build a Civic Research Station. Even if you want to focus on military research in the long run, you want to do a little civic research first, because it will improve the rate at which you mine crystal and metal.
- Build five or six Light Frigates, followed by a colony frigate.
- Time to expand. Thanks to your roaming scouts, you should now have an idea of what nearby systems hold. Note that it’s generally easy to grab a mining-only area (no inhabitable planet) first, because you can grab those resources right away without worrying about colonizing a planet first. They will be lightly defended and your small group of frigates should be able to clean the place out for you. Once it’s yours, send the colony ship over and “capture” the mining stations.
- Having picked up a new source of income, bring up the research panel (F2) and get started on improving your metal gather rate.
- Now you need another planet. Things to note when choosing which planet to claim:
- The usual 4X strategies apply, in that you’ll probably want to expand towards the enemy and grab the good stuff first, then fill in the less valuable systems later once you’ve secured the borders.
- Terran planets are very valuable and you should make it a priority to grab those before your enemies.
- Make it a priority to grab the “choke point” planets leading into your empire.
- You can’t grab volcanic or ice planets right away. You’ll need research before you can claim them.
- You can’t colonize gas giants or clouds, ever.
Once you have a planet picked out, look at whatever force your scout identified on his way through. Build something larger than that, and take the system. Send in your colony ship to claim it. As soon as you have the resources, upgrade the planet quality.
By now you should be ten minutes or so into the game (depending on map size and game speed) and you should have your homeworld, a mining-only location, and a second planet. How you proceed from this point depends on your desired strategy. Just note that you need planets, because each planet can only hold so many orbital improvements. You’ll want civic stations for doing civic research. Military stations for doing military research. Broadcast stations for spreading culture. Other structures for building frigates and cap ships. Designing your empire means planning when and where you build these structures.
As you expand, I suggest scuttling ship production facilities on the inner planets of your empire and replacing them with research stations. Build new production facilities on the edge of your empire or at the choke points so your ships won’t have to travel very far to reach the action. Moving between systems takes a while, and you don’t want your ships to spend most of their time simply traveling to the front.
That’s it. Not expert advice, to be sure. Don’t expect to beat any humans, but this should be enough to get you rolling. Good luck.
Revisiting a Dead Engine
I wanted to take the file format of a late 90s shooter and read it in modern-day Unity. This is the result.
Quakecon Keynote 2013 Annotated
An interesting but technically dense talk about gaming technology. I translate it for the non-coders.
What did web browsers look like 20 years ago, and what kind of crazy features did they have?
How to Forum
Dear people of the internet: Please stop doing these horrible idiotic things when you talk to each other.
The game was a dud, and I'm convinced a big part of that is due to the way the game leaned into its story. Its terrible, cringe-inducing story.