Distant Worlds Catch All


I thought I'd create a catch all to bring the Distant Worlds discussions (here and here.) I've seen around here into one place. I'll expand this post as I have time to include links to info and game play clips.

For those who don't know Distant Worlds is a 4x space game developed by Code Force and published by Matrix Games.

Matrix Games wrote:

Distant Worlds is a vast, pausable real-time, 4X space strategy game. Experience the full depth and detail of large turn-based strategy games, but with the simplicity and ease of real-time, and on the scale of a massively-multiplayer online game.

Vast galaxies are made to order: up to 1400 star systems, with up to 50,000 planets, moons and asteroids. Galaxies are so deep, fun and immersive that you won’t want to finish the game... Build, expand and improve your empire endlessly. The galaxy is packed with life and activity. Encounter other empires, independent alien colonies, traders, pirates and space monsters. Explore star systems, asteroid fields, gas clouds, supernovae, galactic storms and black holes. Discover evidence of civilizations long since past, uncovering secrets about the galaxy's troubled history...

Best of all, you can play the game your way: enjoy a quick, intense game in a crowded galaxy or take your time in an epic game spread across a vast galaxy!

Private enterprise leads the way

Your citizens expand your empire’s economy by themselves: colonies grow in size and culture, freighters transport cargo, mining ships and mining stations exploit resources – without any direction from you. Your job as the head of government for your empire is to explore, colonize and protect.

Providing security and stability allows trade and development to flourish at your colonies. But neglecting your defences will see your empire shrink as it is attacked by marauding pirates and other greedy empires. Use a full array of tools to help your empire achieve dominance: diplomacy, espionage and the threat and use of military force.

Do things your way

Automate as much or as little of the game as you like, leaving you time to focus on the game aspects that interest you most. Seamlessly zoom your view from a single ship or planet right out to the entire galaxy – or any level in between. Watch thousands of star ships criss-crossing the galaxy: transporting cargo, mining resources, exploring uncharted regions, colonizing new planets, taming lawless areas.


BadKen wrote:

This "interactive AAR" on the QT3 forums is awesome.

Gameplay videos from Matrix

Patch Info:

Inane comment to track this thread.

Too much on my plate, but I'm always down for some 4x space games. Especially considering this is more like EUIII than Civ.

This post belongs in this thread. Plus it's making me want to buy the game even more:

clever id wrote:

Forgive me for this wall of text that may seem to jump around illogically but, I wrote it over the course of a morning jumping between things...

So I started playing Distant Worlds last night. I didn't get a lot of play time in, but I was able to spend about 1.5 - 2 hours with it. I started with the tutorial to just get a real basic idea of what things did, but I didn't finish it as I prefer to learn through failure. So I restarted a game in a tiny galaxy (which still had 100 or so systems). I went with no pirates, a sandbox game, and no automation just so I could take my time and experiment. I'll point out that my computer is the equivalent of a '85 Yugo (barely meets required spec) and the game still ran well enough.

First let me reiterate that the game is a RTS not turn based. The good news is that it has a pause button so you can pause and spend as much time in menus as you'd like… which I did :). The more I think about it, it feels like a fast Hearts of Iron time management system (more than a standard RTS like Age of Empires).
Initially I thought that the game was very confusing because there were instantly a bunch of ships shooting around doing things that I didn’t order them to do when what I expected was more of a planet just floating in space. Most of the ships were private vessels which you have no control over. Once I took control of the 4 or 5 state vessels that you start with (as defined by my starting settings) I was able to get into the game pretty quick, figure the basics out and actually do some simple things.

It's definitely not as deep as some of the 4x space games around (it’s not shallow either) but the ability to delegate portions of the game play to the AI is WONDERFUL. Personally, the combat is not what I'm looking for so I planned on being the guy who builds the fleet but let's the AI control it. I mainly spent my time last night tinkering around with exploring systems and expanding my empire into 3 systems with a total of 4 or 5 colonies. I like the fact I can queue up ship orders (explore, X, explore Y, refuel, explore Z) and then unpause and burn some time while I sit back and watch events unfold. Last night, I let the AI tell me it thought I should build more military and then I'd approve it and I didn't even mess with research. I didn't bump into any other races yet, so the espionage or diplomacy didn't come into play. I did run into some "space monsters" that harassed my exploratory ships and I sent frigates out to destroy them, pretty standard go there and kill it RTS feel.

As far as the State v. Private part of the game goes, initially I was somewhat discouraged by the expansion of the private sector seemingly without any direction from me. As I explored the game play and expanded my empire with colony ships I noticed the private sector shifted to utilize my expansion and basically acknowledged a new source of resource X . What was happening was that the private sector started utilizing "my" resource mines and spaceports rather shipping resource back to the main colony on its own, not really complex idea but the shift did help me feel more in control. The more I thought about it the more I realized it did have the Simcity feel of independent growth through my action, definition or delegation. Now I really feel like I can set the framework for the expansion of the private half of my empire by paying more attention to the resource demands of my empire.

I'll mention that the game looks great, even on my Yugo of a system. Stars are animated, and planets slowly orbit their stars and their moons orbit them. The expanse of space looks nice as well. Ships and monsters look nice and have Mass Effect “Reaper” look.

I think I'll go back tonight and restart a game with pirates and see how that hamstrings the growth of the private sector. Based on that AAR thread I'm guessing it will only add another bottle neck to the private sector which should help give me more of a feeling of control the private section via military protection, and less of a runaway feeling.

Overall I think Distant Worlds is going to be a pretty good purchase for me. As I play it more I'll get you a little more feedback, but feel free to ask any questions and I'll answer them if I can. Also, If enough people get into this game we might consider creating a Distant Worlds Catch-All (if there isn't one) for Q/A so as not to focus this thread too much and let it focus on the original question at hand.

It looks interesting. However, Sins of a Solar Empire taught me something important: a gigantic galaxy is only a perk if you explore it. Otherwise, it just makes the game huge and impossible to complete.

Maybe it's because I paid full price for Armada 2526 (which is a pretty decent game, but not $40 decent), but I just can't take the plunge on DW yet. Still, the game intrigues me, since it seems to have a lot of features that I've been looking for in a space empire game. A large galaxy filled with planets (instead of like 20 or so), the realization that it's too large for you to micromanage so you need to delegate and let your empire run itself, the ability to customize the hell out of game mechanics. If Spore had this as the space stage, well, I'd still be playing Spore. With that said, I need either more convincing or a demo play to drop a couple of Jacksons.

In other words, inane comment to track this thread.

@BadKen Thanks. I meant to do that but was in a rush earlier. I also added the link to the AAR that you posted in the other thread to the top of this thread. I think that does a nice job of giving some insight into the game (between "add me" requests )

I realize I didn't mention much about the economy which is what makes this game unique from what I've played.

Economy as basically described in the game manual:

The player, though they cannot control the economy or the private sector, must create policy conducive to growing a healthy economy in order to raise tax revenues. State income has four sources: taxes on colonies, fees on transactions at space ports, private citizens purchasing ships for construction at space ports, and bonuses from free trade agreements with other empires. Therefore the player should always try to expand their empire, ensure safe trade routes and open up free trade agreements with other empires.
There are a few basic strategies recommended to the player in raising revenue:
1. Starting new colonies
2. Clearing trade routes of pirates and space creatures
3. Maintaining consistent access to at least 10 luxury resources in order to allow reach 100% development
4. Reducing military size
5. Spreading space ports across the player’s empire at strategic locations
6. Opening up free trade agreements with other empires
7. Changing one’s government type to a more industrious one

As stated you don't directly increase the "number of coins" you get, but you create conditions for economic growth which in turn generates more income. It's a really interesting but simple, economic model.

I'm off to play a bit. Hopefully this discussion can help people get a better idea about the game.

I'll be keeping my eye on this, I'll give it a go once I clear the pile away a bit, or get bored with my pile, or it goes on a nice sale.

Man I'm a whore.

Played more... Also thanks to Yonder for posting so I didn’t DP.
Started a new game with Pirates, tiny galaxy, 2 AI. Definitely NOT the same run away private section feeling I had the other night. The pirates didn't make a big difference slowing down the economy, but I ended up starting close to one of the AI, which was a big different since I didn't have any AI interaction the other night.
So apparently my race and the neighbor race have a dislike for each other built into the games lore so that didn't help the situation and then they were an aggressive race. We both (private sector) moved into a large 10-12 planet system and started mining. Apparently they got there first, and had set up two colonies on marshy swamp moons as well. I had created a small fleet of frigates and a destroyer that was defending mining stations from pirates, but after a little while I started getting threats to move my military forces out of the system from the AI. I decided to comply but I then contracted a pirate group to attack the AI assets in the system. After a while I started getting threats to remove my mining stations as well. I decided not to comply and eventually the AI sent a frigate and started attacking my (private) transports. I opened up diplomacy and threatened them to stop the unprovoked attacks but they refused and I declared war. I knew it was coming so I sent the "5th Fleet" (40 ships, mainly frigates, but 10-15 destroyers) in and started decimating the AI in that system. They shortly offered a surrender agreement with a nice colony in that system as a incentive. I accepted, kept the fleet in that system and they started whining again, so I just went on the offensive and finished converting their infrastructure into space dust. So that was my experience with the AI/War side of the game. I'd say that I enjoyed it more than I expected too.

As far as exploration goes there were a lot less habitable planets and mining locations on this map than I encountered the other night. That combined with the proximity of the AI this time made the game a lot more interesting for me. While I had fun the other night there were no obstacles presented that slowed the private economy in the game or even challenged my expansion. Last night the war with the AI, dealing with eradicating a pirate colony, empty or poor systems, and a large expanse to reach other systems really added to the challenge of the game and made it feel a lot less “runaway”.

Side note: I don't know if it's been mentioned here but the game has a good amount of renaming ability so that can be fun too

Your more recent game sounds much more interesting than the previous one.

I'm really interested in picking this one up prior to leaving for a long weekend tomorrow. Can anyone give their thoughts or comparisons to other space empire games (e.g., Sins of a Solar Empire, GalCiv 2, Sword of the Stars, etc.). I'd like to know what, beyond the scope, differentiates DW from the rest. Also, just how far does the automation go? For example, if I want to play a game concentrating mainly on expansion and economy, can I allow the AI to control ship creation and combat.


Edit: You can have the AI control various aspects of the game.

Manual wrote:

The player can select which, if any, of their leadership functions they would like to automate. The default setting is to automate most major tasks; as the player improves, they can give themselves more and more to manage. Game components which can be automated to various degrees include colonization, ship building, agent missions, and others.
Not only can the player choose which aspects of the game to automate, but they can also choose the level of the automation: something can be fully automated, not automated at all, or the artificial intelligence can merely make suggestions to the player. In selecting to automate certain things, the player can choose to focus on one particular aspect of the game, rather than having to micromanage every detail.

You can have the AI control (on or off):
Tax Rates
Ship Design
Agent Recruitment
Troop Recruitment
Fleet Formation

And you can have the AI control or make suggestions in:
Ship Building
Agent Missions
Attacks Against Enemies
Diplomatic Gifts
War & Trade Sanctions

Addressing MoO2 from another thread...

Robear wrote:

Quintin, I'll put more time in this weekend. But I think the SimCity feel to the expansion part of the game is on the mark. You send explorers out and they investigate systems for you. A quick look will reveal the star and maybe a large planet; it seems like spending more time reveals more. Then when a planet or moon you can colonize is found, it appears in your list of potential colonies (no more having to remember where that uber-rich planet you found in the middle of a war got to). You can click on it and that will automatically build and send a colony ship, and private investment follows.

You can choose where to build your military and government infrastructure and bases, and of course where to station your fleet. But the point I'm making is to me, so far, the feel is fundamentally different from MOO2. I'm sure part of that is just that I'm still in the very beginning, having explored maybe twenty systems. But another part is that the AI delegation and private economy with which you co-exist allows a far larger scale than Moo2 ever could. I'm sure that will come into play soon; I've already met two alien races and a "lost" human colony, as well as two singleton alien colonies (colonies not backed up by an interstellar civ can be taken over to take advantage of their infrastructure, but you might have some trouble with diplomacy after that...)

As I expand, I've noticed that pirate factions harass my explorers, gas miners and the like, so I'm building a small roving fleet to fly to hot spots as needed. I'm considering station a destroyer/frigate combo at one of the frequent targets, and I've destroyed one pirate base so far. You can negotiate with pirates to hire them, buy info, or just buy "protection" for a term of time if you don't feel like hunting them.

So the tasks that take your attention are different from those in MOO2 and similar games. Sure, you can design new ships, but unless I'm missing something research proceeds along essentially outside your control (although I need to read up on that to be sure), so you'll be waiting for new components before re-designing ships or creating new designs.

I'm hesitant to say, but I think DW is possibly more of a literal empire builder than a planetary exploitation sim. So far, it's more top-down than bottom up, if that makes sense to you. More big picture and less detail, designed to allow truly huge games that won't take two years real time to finish. It's a cool attempt. It's certainly not putting me off.

I'll know more when I get some time in this weekend. Right now I'm still in the Kingdom of the Mouse, and I fly home tomorrow. Till then it's the DS for me. lol

How exactly does Matrix Games handle digital downloads? Is it like GamersGate, Direct2Drive, etc where you have an account that lets you redownload at any time, or is it like the EAStore where you only have a limited time period? (Obligatory curses to EA for making it necessary to even ask this question.)

I think you have 30 days to download, unless you pay a $3(ish) fee... then they let you re-download for something like 2 years.

From what I have read, they will let you redownload for free after the 30 days, you just have to contact them to do so. Here is a quote form Erik Rutins (Director of Product Development and Business Relations at Matrix, the publisher) on the Wargamer forums:

"2. How much will DW cost?

The price in US dollars is $39.99 for the Download, $49.99 for the Physical copy. For those who want the physical copy, we recommend the "digital + physical" option which lets you get the download now while the physical copy is shipped to you, same cost as physical copy only.

3. What's this "download insurance"?

This is a small additional fee we are required to add to the shopping cart by Digital River. You are free to remove it. Its purpose is to cover the cost of re-downloads for Digital River and it officially allows you to re-download up to two years after the initial purchase. Otherwise, you officially have 30 days to download. In reality, if you have any issue with re-downloading, just contact us through our Help Desk and we'll take care of it. The main instance where this would be of assistance is if you were unable to reach us or we were unable to assist you, then this would cover your bases with Digital River."


They do have game registration, and usually games that are purchasable for download can be re-downloaded after registering. Not sure if that's always true, however.

Any more impressions?

Also, let's talk aliens. Do we have humans in this game? How many alien species are there, and are they just run of the mill or kind of interesting?

Edit: Never mind, I answered my own question.

Here are two pages from the manual.

There are 20 races from which to choose at the beginning of a new game. Each race has its own unique characteristics, prejudices, advantages and disadvantages over others. The player’s diplomatic relations with other empires will be effected by both their own race and that of the other players. The player’s choice of race, because of its diplomatic and other implications, can deeply effect the outcome of the game and should therefore factor into one’s strategy. For example, if the victory conditions set are to achieve a certain population level, it is advantageous to select a race that reproduces at a high rate. What follows is a brief list of the major characteristics of each race; a more extensive treatment of each is available in the Galactopedia.

Amphibian, reproduce at a 14% rate (default), quite intelligent, very passive, very cautious, quite friendly, very dependable, gifted scientists, master engineers, special technology: TurboThruster ER7 (Main Thrust Engine)

Ursidian, reproduce at 24%, extremely stupid, quite aggressive, extremely reckless, extremely friendly, very dependable, naturally optimistic.

Insectoid, reproduce at 18%, moderately intelligent, extremely aggressive, very reckless, quite unfriendly, very unreliable, warrior class, fierce rivalry, special government: hive mind. Special technology: Shaktur Firestorm.

Insectoid, reproduce at 6%, quite intelligent, very aggressive, slightly reckless, extremely unfriendly, extremely unreliable, fierce rivalry, special technology: Velocity Drive ST3 hyperdrive.

Insectoid, reproduce at 27%, quite stupid, quite aggressive, quite cautious, extremely unfriendly, very unreliable, master engineers, special government: hive mind.

Reptilian, reproduce at 12%, quite intelligent, quite aggressive, very cautious, very unfriendly, cunning schemers, master engineers, special government: mercantile guild, special technology: mega-density fuel cell.

Humanoid, reproduce at 14%, quite intelligent, quite aggressive, quite cautious, quite friendly, very dependable, cunning schemers, gifted scientists.

Ursidian, reproduce at 12%, quite intelligent, quite aggressive, quite cautious, quite unfriendly, quite unfriendly, quite dependable, master engineers, warrior class, natural merchants, special technology: S2F7 RepairBot.

Ursidian, reproduce at 12%, quite intelligent, extremely passive, very cautious, quite unfriendly, extremely unreliable, cunning schemers.

Humanoid, reproduce at 13%, very intelligent, slightly aggressive, very cautious, slightly friendly, extremely dependent, gifted scientists, master engineers, special technology: ShadowGhost ECM 2000.

Reptilian, reproduce at 11%, moderately intelligent, very aggressive, quite reckless, very unfriendly, very unreliable, warrior class, fierce rivalry, special technology: Swift Vector 5000 (Vectoring Engine)

Reptilian, reproduce at 18%, slightly stupid, very aggressive, very cautious, quite unfriendly, quite dependable, warrior class.

Amphibian, reproduce at 9%, extremely intelligent, extremely passive, very cautious, very unfriendly, extremely dependable, gifted scientists, special government: technocracy. Special technology: NovaCore NX-700 (Reactor Hyper Fusion)

Humanoid, reproduce at 23%, moderately intelligent, very passive, quite reckless, quite friendly, very dependable, natural optimists, special government: Utopian paradise.

Reptilian, reproduce at 16%, slightly stupid, quite passive, quite cautious, slightly friendly, quite dependable, natural optimists, special government: Utopian paradise.

Insectoid, reproduce at 16%, quite intelligent, very aggressive, slightly cautious, very unfriendly, very unreliable, warrior class, fierce rivalry, special government: hive mind, special technology: StarBurner XX-12 (Main Thrust Engine)

Rodent, reproduce at 15%, quite stupid, extremely passive, quite reckless, quite friendly, extremely dependable, industrious miners, natural merchants, special government: Mercantile Guild.

Rodent, reproduce at 9%, quite stupid, very passive, very reckless, quite friendly, extremely unreliable, industrious miners, natural optimists, special government: mercantile guild.

Amphibian, reproduce at 12%, moderately intelligent, very passive, quite cautious, very unfriendly, quite unreliable, industrious miners, natural merchants.

Rodent, reproduce at 13%, quite intelligent, quite passive, very cautious, quite unfriendly, slightly dependable, natural optimists, master engineers, special government: technocracy, special technology: Megatron Z4 (Shields).

I was right that technology advancement is not directly controlled by the player. This obviously leads to different gameplay each time, as components available to you will differ. But you can build research units dedicated to certain areas of research, which will goose them a bit.

Tom Chick has a post on Fidgit about the game.

In my first few games I've been playing as a research oriented race (I forget which, sorry) but last night I played as the Teekan. The Teekan are a economic race, and I found the extra money much more useful than the tech bonus as I was able to buy tech off of the AI which I felt like was expanding my tech base at a quicker race. I can't prove that it was or wasn't quicker, but it felt more effective.

I also played in a slightly larger galaxy with 6 other AI and it wasn't as aggressive as the other night which allowed me to really get a feel for the expansion. A few hours into the game I had 3 colonies in my "main" system and one colony in two other systems and a "star base" in a large asteroid field. I had one alien race that was trending negatively towards me, a neutral race, and a race of the same species which was very friendly toward me.

I did run into a point last night where my construction was out pacing the rate at which my private industry was bringing in resources. I had to cut some state ship production to allow private vessel creation which then allowed me (via private collection) the resources from to build a colony ship. That in turn allowed me to create another space port closer to resources and build new resource mines for the private vessels to collect... and so on. Basically, what I'm trying to say is that I had a lot more control over the economy and resource production/collection and I thought. There is a definite balance point for different races.

I don't have any other major revelations about the game last night, but it has been presenting itself in a different light each time I've played which is really quite fun. I wasn't sure how different races would effect the game but the switch to a economic race made a BIG difference money wise, about +200,000 in the same game time frame.

I guess the other thing I mention (again?) is that I'm running a bare minimum spec system (which is the reason for the limited galaxy size and # of AI) but I have yet to run into any problems running the game. The speed is fine, and the graphics are simple but nice.

Well, I just have one thing to say about this game: the text is extremely hard to read.


Look at the word "technology" up there. The user interface does not scale at higher resolutions, and it doesn't let you adjust the resolution. Changing the desktop resolution on my monitor just makes the game more blurry.

I'm not going to get far in this game if I can't read it. $40 wasted.

Same exact problem Badken. Eve has this problem as well I swear its the same font. Although so far it only appears that the tutorial msgboxes use this font the other fonts, while problematic, are nowhere near this bad . I would pull your monitor forward or away to where you can read the tutorial font just right then enjoy the game at regular distance.

The real jam3 wrote:

Same exact problem Badken. Eve has this problem as well I swear its the same font. Although so far it only appears that the tutorial msgboxes use this font the other fonts, while problematic, are nowhere near this bad . I would pull the eyes out of a 6 year old and use them so you can read the tutorial font just right then enjoy the game at regular distance.

Any chance you can just replace the font in the game using trickery?

Eep. Even if I lean in towards my monitor and squint I still can't read that text without blurring. In fact it kind of sinks in and out as if someone was fiddling with my focus knob. Unbearable.

I've gotten used to reading text like that having worked with Microsoft's WPF. They released a service pack to .NET 3.5 to fix their font antialiasing and it's just as bad, just differently bad.

Yeah the rest of the game is really immersive. I am getting frustrated and at the same time sucked back in to playing. The learning curve really appears to be in the design section. Also i found a really interesting way to play, keep stuff on automated and when you want to do something cycle through your ships and add the direct command as a queued order through the right click menu, they finish whatever there doing, do the queued command, then go back to making automated decisions.

Also use the construction window alot and realise that the cranes in the spaceports = number of parallel builds they can do, colonies appear to only have one crane for building constructors, colony ships and starbases. A large spaceport has 8 cranes, also they will be used by civilians to build frieghters (which also gives you money).

The font issue is really bad but its only the tutorial, I would try and get past it to the real game.

So one thing that's not clear to me is whether the AI will prompt you for military ship production. Seems to me I'm expanding, but not being asked to build military ships (except for resupplies). Is that intended to be left to the player? In which case I need to start working.

Robear wrote:

So one thing that's not clear to me is whether the AI will prompt you for military ship production. Seems to me I'm expanding, but not being asked to build military ships (except for resupplies). Is that intended to be left to the player? In which case I need to start working. :-)

In my experience with the game, the AI seems to build up forces for defending what you have. Periodically as I was expanding I would get the suggestion to build a destroyer, a couple of frigates and some escorts. But the fleets suggested by the AI were hardly enough for offensive operations. For that I had to do it all myself...

Nightmare wrote:
Robear wrote:

So one thing that's not clear to me is whether the AI will prompt you for military ship production. Seems to me I'm expanding, but not being asked to build military ships (except for resupplies). Is that intended to be left to the player? In which case I need to start working. :-)

In my experience with the game, the AI seems to build up forces for defending what you have. Periodically as I was expanding I would get the suggestion to build a destroyer, a couple of frigates and some escorts. But the fleets suggested by the AI were hardly enough for offensive operations. For that I had to do it all myself... :)

Seconded. Initially I usually get a lot of automated ship build messages where it wants to build 4 frigates and 2 destroyers and 6 escorts but then it levels off and the requests are usually for 1 or two ships.

No demo? I'm a sad panda... I can't justify a $40 purchase to see whether or not I like it. I did that with A Farewell to Dragons and I've never quite forgiven myself.