Let's Play: Star Wars Rebellion

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Juubi Karakuchi
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Re: Let's Play: Star Wars Rebellion

Post by Juubi Karakuchi » 2019-06-02 08:52am

I like threads like this. And I have fond memories of this game.

I have some ideas on how this game might be remade for the better, but I don't want to risk derailing the thread. Is it okay to post them here, or should I start my own thread?

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Re: Let's Play: Star Wars Rebellion

Post by RogueIce » 2019-06-02 09:54am

Juubi Karakuchi wrote:
2019-06-02 08:52am
I like threads like this. And I have fond memories of this game.

I have some ideas on how this game might be remade for the better, but I don't want to risk derailing the thread. Is it okay to post them here, or should I start my own thread?
I'm ok with it. Worst case I guess if it really picks up steam we could ask a mod to split it.
Eternal_Freedom wrote:
2019-06-01 09:47am
I didn't realise you could name the ships yourself, I thought it was an auto-generated list like it is in Empire at War. Good choices though.
They come by default as [Ship Type] #, so Carrack Cruiser 1, Nebulon-B Frigate 3, etc. Not exactly inspiring stuff. But a simple right-click of the unit will give you a context menu that has Rename as an option.
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"How can I wait unknowing?
This is the price of war,
We rise with noble intentions,
And we risk all that is pure..." - Angela & Jeff van Dyck, Forever (Rome: Total War)

"On and on, through the years,
The war continues on..." - Angela & Jeff van Dyck, We Are All One (Medieval 2: Total War)
"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear." - Ambrose Redmoon
"You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain." - Harvey Dent, The Dark Knight

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Re: Let's Play: Star Wars Rebellion

Post by RogueIce » 2019-06-04 08:47am

So as promised, I've decided to expand into the Outer Rim Territories, now that my hold on the Core Worlds is complete and indisputable. For my first foray, I take a couple Task Forces led by Darth Vader and Grand Admiral Thrawn up into the Calaron and Mayagil Sectors. Each Task Force is composed of one Super Star Destroyer as Command Ship, a pair of Imperial II Star Destroyers, four Victory II Star Destroyers, three Lancer Frigates and two Interdictor Cruisers. Fully loaded with TIE Defenders and Dark Trooper Regiments, these are a modern and potent force that would easily outmatch anything the AI is likely to have. For my first steps, I hyper into a staging system and send out nine Imperial Probe Droids to see what's out there:

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I'd previously scouted out the Calaron Sector and dealt with a Rebel infestation there. Unfortunately, they have clearly returned to Akrit'tar as my foiled Reconnaissance Mission indicates. They didn't expand on their holdings elsewhere however, so this is what I have to work with:

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Mayagil is very promising indeed, with several Systems containing plenty of Energy Points and only a couple of Inhabited Systems, which means my expansion can be very rapid. I send Lord Vader and his Death Squadron up to Akrit'tar and discover it is a very minor base, which I quickly destroy and invade the System. I then set the Dark Lord of the Sith about his diplomatic mission to persuade the inhabitants that they really are much better off under Imperial rule. I also bring up a couple of Transport Fleets to begin colonizing the Uninhabited Systems posthaste. While that's going on, a minor nuisance is being felt back in the Core...

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The Alliance has a roving fleet, trying to probe my Core holdings, no doubt in a futile effort to launch an offensive of their own. Which is why I turtle up every System I have with a pair of GenCore IIs and six Army Regiments. Whatever pitiful band they have thrown together will never get through those defenses and they quickly move on. Too quickly, in fact, for me to even bring up the Fleet View and see what they're using; they've moved the Fleet on faster than I can click over. It's a minor nuisance, and if I cared I'd probably assign a Task Force to lie in wait within the Sector they're hopping around to try and trap them. But I'm too low on Maintenance Points to assemble more than the two I have and I need them to secure my expansion. So this Rebel Fleet gets to live awhile longer. Eventually, they'll give up and stop once they realize they can't breach my defenses.

Sadly, a more troubling development occurs, one against which I have no defenses:

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The dreaded Natural Disaster, a long-time bane of the Rebellion community. These damned random events will essentially wipe out the usefulness of a System, taking an otherwise valuable Core World to the equivalent of a barely worthwhile Rim System; Rim Systems, when they happen out there, can be rendered effectively unusable. And as you can see, since it hit one of my mine/refinery Systems, I took a massive hit to my Maintenance Pool, due largely to me running such a razor thin reserve. That's why it is NOT RECOMMENDED to use up all or close to all of your MPs, ever. Because something like this can happen and you'll be screwed. I decommission one of my Advanced Shipyard Systems to get the Maintenance back in the red, and work on stabilizing and restricting several of my Core Worlds to bring it back to usefulness. Of course, as luck would have it, another Natural Disaster happens just over 100 Days later, forcing me to scrap down another ASY System or face Maintenance Shortfalls - and the subsequent losses - of my forces.

Unfortunately, it's all down to the RNG of if - never when - a Natural Disaster will hit, and as far as anyone has been able to discern they're hardcoded and thus there's no means to get rid of them. One of the biggest annoyances in the game, IMO. I would love an option to disable them but alas, LucasArts and Cool Hand were not so kind to us.

While that was going on, I start building my Advanced Construction Yards out in the Rim. As usual, anything travel between Sectors takes forever and a day to get there. In this, the Alliance gets an advantage to early Rim colonization since they'll have a Construction Yard out in the Rim, thanks to their Headquarters. The Empire, unfortunately, is forced to do it the hard way. The same principles apply to the Rim as they do to the Core, with regards to consolidating your Manufacturing Facilities to a single System. For the Rim, I tend not to go full Energy usage though, limiting to 4-6 CYs and TFs per Sector, generally because the other Rim Systems tend to be resource poor so it can be a negative investment in terms of the resources and MPs you get back. I also won't have Shipyards in every Sector for the same reason; those things are expensive in MPs and you'll find yourself running to the limit quickly if you try. Typically, four ASYs every other Sector is sufficient; enough to replace starfighter losses and as a base from which to accelerate the Repair of your Damaged Ships - it's sped up over Systems with Shipyards, but they'll repair on their own eventually - but not enough to significantly drain your Maintenance Pool.

So I follow the usual pattern, picking a System that's more or less in the middle of the Sector and has at least 6 EPs for a minimum of 4 ACYs and a pair of GenCore IIs to ward off roving enemy Fleets. Then I'll pick another System and do the same for ATFs and move on to the next Sector, as at that point the Sector I started off in is essentially self-sufficient and can train and build its own troops and facilities, respectively. So long as I leave at least one Troop transport behind, they can take care of themselves. For this playthrough, I decide I'll only bother with the Moddell, Atrivis, Calaron, Mayagil and Glythe Sectors, which are more or less the "hat" of the Rebellion Galaxy, if you'll recall. While this is going on, an interesting development occurs:

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From out of nowhere, informants provide me with information about a Rebel controlled System on the Rim. This means that one of their three remaining Characters has become a Traitor. Traitors arise when things aren't going so hot for your side, and will do things like provide "intelligence" to your enemy - not much, it literally just tells me it's a Rebel system and nothing else - and will also deliberately fail Missions. The only way to know if you have a Traitor is to put them on a System or Ship with a Force-using Character, who can sense their treacherous ways. At that point you can either Retire them - essentially a Disband option for Characters - or hope your fortunes turn enough that they'll become loyal again. Alternatively, if possible, give them a Command Rank, because Admirals, Generals and Commanders won't betray you.

Once I get Glythe Sector up and running, I dispatch Thrawn and Task Force Guardian down to the Sumitra Sector. At long last, the Empire shall return to Yavin and give it what it deserves. But first, I decide to stage at Tierfon so I can run Reconnaissance against Yavin. No sense flying into an ambush, right? Of course, the Rebels also thought Tierfon would make for a fine base and I encounter resistance:

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Grand Admiral Thrawn trembles in fear, I'm sure.

Needless to say, the A-wings are quickly swept aside and I decide that Tierfon is a good candidate for a Base Delta Zero: that is, using a General Bombardment until every Energy Point and Resource Stockpile is destroyed. I then head over to Yavin and give it a similar treatment. And since this is an LP I'd like to finish at some point and a HQ Victory game, I do something I wouldn't normally do:

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I BDZ the entire Sector. And I decide to do the same to every Sector after that, regardless of whether they have Rebel bases or not.

Normally it's not an optimal strategy; as I said before, a dead world is just as dead to you as it is to the enemy. But if you're playing as the Empire and need to chase the Alliance HQ around the Galaxy, it can be useful as a means of "securing" every System after you leave. The Alliance HQ is still considered a Facility, after all, and requires at least one Energy Point to be based on a System. Destroying all of those means you can leave with absolute confidence that the Rebels won't set up shop after you've moved on. On a Standard Victory game, however, this is actually extremely counter-productive: because Characters don't require Energy Points, which means Luke and/or Mon Mothma can easily hide on one of these dead Systems anyway. Also, you'll anger the Inhabited Rim Systems you bombard in this fashion, giving the two Rebel fugitives even more places to hide with zero effort on their part. In such a game, Reconnaissance and Espionage are your keys to victory, and you'll just have to secure Rebel worlds with your soldiers, not turbolasers. Since I'm playing HQ Victory their fates are irrelevant, but I already have them captive anyway so if this was a Standard Victory game, I could utilize this method if I chose. Unless they (somehow) escape, in which case I'd just be screwing myself.

Anyway, as I go on glassing the Outer Rim, I finally catch up to the Rebel Fleet. And what have they managed to put together for themselves?

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Yeah, not a threat. For some odd reason, the Mon Cal Cruiser Freedom actually doesn't show up when and where it's supposed to on several occasions, so I actually wind up needing to chase it across the Rim a bit before it finally arrives and meets its doom. Not sure if that was a bug or the AI cheating, but it happened.

Anyway, I eventually "secure" (read: leave a burning, charred cinder) the Outer Rim in its entirety. At least those Sectors I hadn't planned on colonizing myself. Oddly enough, I don't find the Alliance Headquarters out there. Curious. Then I remember that I haven't fully colonized my own slice of the Rim, and I groan inwardly. Luckily, I have done enough to give myself enough of a Maintenance stockpile to fully equip three more Task Forces, so I send them to my backyard and, eventually, I find the Alliance Headquarters on what was literally the fourth-to-last System I checked:

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As Darth Vader once said, "I have you now."

So there's a few options I could take. Planetary Bombardment is the most direct, of course. A Planetary Invasion would also do the trick. Heck, I could even run a Sabotage Mission if I felt like it. But none of those options seems fitting, to me. None of them seem...Imperial enough to end the game with.

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Ah, that's better. :D

So I start it building, increase my Game Speed to full and roughly 98 seconds later, my Death Star finishes and is, as they say, fully armed and operational. I send it off to Elrood and after it arrives, I right-click, select Planetary Bombardment and then Destroy System. Game over, Rebel scum.

FYI, the Death Star blowing up a System gets a special cutscene. Destroying the Alliance HQ also gets a special cutscene. And, of course, beating the game gets a cutscene as well. Since I do all three at once, enjoy this extended video to end the campaign on!

Image
"How can I wait unknowing?
This is the price of war,
We rise with noble intentions,
And we risk all that is pure..." - Angela & Jeff van Dyck, Forever (Rome: Total War)

"On and on, through the years,
The war continues on..." - Angela & Jeff van Dyck, We Are All One (Medieval 2: Total War)
"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear." - Ambrose Redmoon
"You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain." - Harvey Dent, The Dark Knight

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Re: Let's Play: Star Wars Rebellion

Post by Juubi Karakuchi » 2019-06-04 03:44pm

RogueIce wrote:
2019-06-02 09:54am
Juubi Karakuchi wrote:
2019-06-02 08:52am
I like threads like this. And I have fond memories of this game.

I have some ideas on how this game might be remade for the better, but I don't want to risk derailing the thread. Is it okay to post them here, or should I start my own thread?
I'm ok with it. Worst case I guess if it really picks up steam we could ask a mod to split it.
Thanks! I’ll try not to go crazy!

I would start by splitting the game into three maps; Galaxy, System, and Planet. The Galaxy map can be pretty much what we got in Rebellion - it does its job fairly well – though EAW’s star map was fairly good too. I suppose it depends on whether or not we want to include Hyperlanes.

The key map, as I see it, is the System map. Inspired by Planetary Annihilation, this map lets you look around the entire solar system you just clicked on; including planets, moons, asteroids, and such. In the vast majority of cases, each system contains only one habitable planet, where the bulk of the population lives, and which gives its name to the system. Other planets, moons, and asteroids exist primarily to provide raw materials, if you spend the time and resources to develop them.

The Planet map shows the surface of a planet or moon; basically anything with a big enough surface to be worthwhile, aka not an asteroid. The map is divided into zones, and shows interesting features like cities and resource areas. To build things, you click on the relevant zone and build if there’s a slot available. The Planet map isn’t strictly necessary, but players may find it helpful.

Space battles take place on the System map, as does blowing stuff up with the Death Star. To invest a planet, simply move the fleet into its orbital zone and give it orders. You can bombard specific points (cities, Rebel bases, etc), launch general bombardments (all military/civilian assets, etc), and BDZ the place, as usual. You can also order fleets to provide Orbital Support, which means being on hand to blast something on the surface (or deploy fighters/bombers) if the ground forces request it.

Ground forces are deployed from fleets; usually to the zone directly underneath. It is possible to deploy forces to zones further away, but this risks interception by planetary defences. Once on the ground, your forces are represented as formation icons (Stormtrooper divisions, etc), which move around and engage the enemy in the manner of Victoria 2 or Hearts of Iron. Being able to directly control the troops RTS style would be fun, but might be a bit much from a design perspective.

The other big issue for me is how the player relates to the game. In Rebellion the player is treated as a character in the game; you fly in on a shuttle at the start, and characters speak to you as if you were present. But in practice the player has godlike powers, able to treat even Palpatine as a mere pawn. While the God approach has the virtue of simplicity, I like the idea of being a character in the universe, even if playing it straight carries risks; such as your avatar getting killed. IIRC, Cryos’ 1992 ‘Dune’ was like this.

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Re: Let's Play: Star Wars Rebellion

Post by LaCroix » 2019-06-05 11:57am

So you want to create a Stellaris mod, with a HOI minigame, right? :)
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Re: Let's Play: Star Wars Rebellion

Post by Steve » 2019-06-05 10:01pm

What the video doesn't show is when the rebels escape and the galaxy again rebels against the Empire, which ends up losing every fight since their ships start spontaneously shutting down just before battles begin. This perplexes everyone since the only thing that seems to be different is that there are repeated sightings of a blue box that appears out of nowhere. 8)
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Re: Let's Play: Star Wars Rebellion

Post by Juubi Karakuchi » 2019-06-07 05:57pm

LaCroix wrote:
2019-06-05 11:57am
So you want to create a Stellaris mod, with a HOI minigame, right? :)
I've never actually played Stellaris before. But I checked it out, and I see what you mean. Oh dear. :oops:
Steve wrote:
2019-06-05 10:01pm
What the video doesn't show is when the rebels escape and the galaxy again rebels against the Empire, which ends up losing every fight since their ships start spontaneously shutting down just before battles begin. This perplexes everyone since the only thing that seems to be different is that there are repeated sightings of a blue box that appears out of nowhere. 8)
As the Cybermen will attest, the owner does little else but interfere. :mrgreen:

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Re: Let's Play: Star Wars Rebellion

Post by Coop D'etat » 2019-06-11 03:45pm

If you were to remake Rebellion, I think the valuable core concept to maintain is how deeply interrelated the military-industrial, covert and diplomatic games are. It takes the game a long ways towards fighting a civil war, were popular support and politics are just as important as throwing you militaries at each other.


If I was looking for a spiritual sequel, I'd like to see the scale reduced from galaxy wide to sector maps so a large number of scenarios can be played.

If I could really design it from the ground up, it would double down as explicitly a political warfare game. You'd play as a sector commander who directly controls a core force from high command which often would be dwarfed by local forces and a big part of the game would be using military force to persuade local factions to back you over the enemy. The idea being to go deeper into the Galactic Civil War being a political war where opinion and politicking is as important as military strength.

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Re: Let's Play: Star Wars Rebellion

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-06-11 05:55pm

Coop D'etat wrote:
2019-06-11 03:45pm
If you were to remake Rebellion, I think the valuable core concept to maintain is how deeply interrelated the military-industrial, covert and diplomatic games are. It takes the game a long ways towards fighting a civil war, were popular support and politics are just as important as throwing you militaries at each other.
This is something I want from more games. I wanted it from Empire at War, and of course did not get it.
If I was looking for a spiritual sequel, I'd like to see the scale reduced from galaxy wide to sector maps so a large number of scenarios can be played.

If I could really design it from the ground up, it would double down as explicitly a political warfare game. You'd play as a sector commander who directly controls a core force from high command which often would be dwarfed by local forces and a big part of the game would be using military force to persuade local factions to back you over the enemy. The idea being to go deeper into the Galactic Civil War being a political war where opinion and politicking is as important as military strength.
That could be interesting, but precludes including a lot of the more iconic heroes and locations, so would probably be a non-starter. Unless you allowed the option of picking from a wide variety of different sector maps and sector characters. Though it occurs to me that in the current continuity, the Lothal sector from Rebels would be a great setting for this sort of story.

The Imperial game would also be more challenging for the player as, while you'd have more firepower to bring to the table from high command, potentially, you'd also have to worry about placating Palpatine/Vader/Tarkin when their orders didn't line up with the strategic realities on the ground. If I was designing it, the most common game over for an Imperial player would probably not be Rebel victory, but getting Force-choked for failing Vader for the last time.
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