So, let's discuss some more mechanics!
First up is the all important resource counter:
Starting from the left, we have the Unrefined Materials (with a picture of the Mine facility), Refined Materials (with a picture of the Refinery facility) and your Maintenance Pool (the wrench thingy). When you start the game you'll have a generous Maintenance Pool - which can go fast if you don't pay attention! - but you'll start off with 0 Materials and have to start building them up from Day 3 onward (the game starts at Day 2 for some reason).
Unrefined Materials (UR) -
these are the raw resources that will be converted into your Refined Materials. Don't worry if you have 0 or a low number here, because that just means you have enough Refineries to keep up! Unrefined Materials are useless to you, until they're converted, so a low number is actually a good thing.
Refined Materials (RM) -
these are what you use to build everything in the game. They'll slowly trickle in as your Refineries do their thing. Obviously, the more the better.
Maintenance Pool (MP) -
this is a critical one, and is increased by each Mine and Refinery pair you have (50 MP per pair) and deducted for every unit and facility you own, with the exception of the Mines and Refineries themselves. You can run low on this really easily if you don't keep up with your M/R pairings, and this is why it's ideal to have even numbers of both.
When it comes to construction, troop training and shipbuilding, you don't actually need all of the required RMs up front, as the Death Star helpfully demonstrates for me
. The game will build the unit/facility over time and take part of the cost as you go. If you run out of RMs, that just halts production until the next day when you get some more RMs and your production facilities greedily ingest them. Obviously, this is rather suboptimal and you should avoid it when you can, because it will
greatly increase your production time, across the entire galaxy. Material shortfalls delaying production are a thing in this game, just as in reality.
What will stop you cold, however, is a lack of Maintenance Points (which also shortens to MP, which is nice). If you don't have enough MP for something, that check-mark will be grayed out and it won't let you build it. Thus, MP is the hard cap on what you can own, and you thusly you should always seek to expand it. If you're running tight, you should definitely consider scrapping obsolete units and facilities. Facilities especially - if you go look at the LucasArts Game Guide I linked earlier, you can see the tech tree for each faction and note that of the various production facilities - Construction Yard (CY)
, Training Facility (TF)
and Orbital Shipyard (SY)
- there are Advanced versions of each, which build things twice as fast. And with the exception of the ASY, they even cost the same in RMs and MPs so there's really no reason not to do a 1-for-1 replacement; the ASYs do cost 7 more MP though, which can sneak up on you, but trust me the production boost makes it worthwhile to replace them. On top of that, the upgraded versions of the Planetary Shield Generators and Planetary Turbolasers actually cost fewer
MPs than their Mk I counterparts, making them especially attractive to replace. Ships, troops and fighters are a bit more situational, however, but we'll discuss those options when my R&D actually starts bearing fruit.
While you can't overbuild into a lack of MP, it is quite possible to wind up with a negative number thanks to enemy action. This will lead to the dreaded Maintenance Shortfall
where the game will start randomly scrapping units and facilities to get you back to 0 or above. Fortunately, it's not instantaneous and you'll usually have a few Game Days before things start going kablooey on you (for some reason the game gives a picture of an exploding ship for those messages). This gives you the opportunity to try and regain your MP before you start losing stuff, generally by retaking the planet the enemy just invaded and/or breaking up the blockade (I'll go into more detail about Planetary Assaults and Blockades when they're relevant). But if you take too long, well, RIP your precious units - RNGesus is kind of a jerk in what He selects. If you hit a Shortfall and don't think you can correct it within 2-3 days, you're probably better off scrapping things of your own choosing before the game decides for you. Even if it's just -1 MP on that counter, Rebellion is quite capable of slagging that SSD forming the heart of your strike fleet because it's a jerk like that.
Next up, I'll go into your Map UI and System Information windows, which will provide most of the information you need. First of all , let us recall the Galaxy Map
. As I mentioned previously, all those stars represent Planetary Systems, and each of them are Grouped into Sectors of ten Systems each. For a Small Galaxy, it's 10 Sectors (100 Systems), Medium Galaxy is 15 Sectors (150 Systems) and a Huge Galaxy, which is what I'm playing on, is 20 Sectors (200 Systems). So as you can tell, the scope of the game is quite large even on the smallest setting, which to me is a definite plus. In any event, the Sector window isn't terribly interesting by itself, as it's basically just a cluster of ten of these:
What you're looking at is a small sprite of the System, the name, the little buttons that open up your Information windows (those icons surrounding the planet) and system details along the bottom.
System Alignment and Loyalty -
the ownership of the system is shown by the color of the name: Green
for Empire, red
for Alliance, blue
for Neutral. Just above the System's name is a bar that will be green or red, indicating how loyal the population is to either faction (there's no "blue" loyalty). Because I chose Coruscant as my example, they are fully loyal to me, hence the bar is entirely green; the neutral system of Averam
is much more divided.
Available Energy -
the white and blue squares immediately underneath the planet tell you how much Energy the System has. Energy determines how many facilities that planet can support, be it for manufacturing or defense. White indicates energy taken up, blue indicates that which is available. So in Coruscant's case, there are 13 total energy points, meaning I can build up to 13 facilities (all facilities take up only one Energy Point); and at the moment I am presently using nine of those Energy Points, which means I can build up to four more facilities. Facilities under construction will immediately "consume" an Energy Point.
Raw Materials -
the red and yellow squares beneath your Energy meter tell you how many Raw Material Stockpiles that System has. These Stockpiles are necessary for building Mines to start gathering up the Unrefined Materials to become Refined Materials. This is a hard limit on the number of Mines you can build, regardless of available Energy, although Refineries have no such restriction. Yellow indicates a Stockpile with a Mine already constructed, while red means it's an available Stockpile. I will note that while the Energy and Stockpiles are often identical on Systems, as you can see on Coruscant that is not always the case.
Clicking on the little icons surrounding the planet will bring up one of the four System Information windows, shown here:
In clockwise order from the top left we have:
Fleet Window -
this is where you can see the Fleets you have above a system. Fleets, as the Encyclopedia notes, are just groups of ships that travel, fight and work together. You can have fleets of over a hundred ships (assuming your MPs can support that) or a "fleet" of a single ship. The little icons below your nice generic Fleet graphic indicates that this particular Fleet has fighters, troops and personnel (Characters and SpecForces) embarked. Over on the right you can see I have the Ships panel selected, which shows you how many capital ships you have, as well as the same fighter, troop and personnel icons to tell you which individual ship happens to be carrying what. Along the top you have the Fighter, Troop and Personnel tabs which you can use to see the overall count of each unit the fleet contains. While ships can transport unlimited personnel, they can only transport so many fighters and troop regiments; selecting each tab
will display two numbers on the top: the one on the left being the current embarked fighters/troops, the right number being the total capacity of that ship. If you double left-click the Fleet icon, it will display the individual ships
where you can access each ship's individual fighter, troop and personnel tabs. One final note: the blue "glob" behind the VSD Venator indicates that this ship is currently in hyperspace, moving to the current location.
Production Window -
this is where you select what to build and where, and you can see the total number of each production facility that System has. From left to right, the tabs are: Active Production, Shipyards, Training Facilities, Construction Yards, Mines and Refineries. On the Active Production tab, you can right click the SYs, TFs or CYs (assuming you have any) to select what you want to Build
as well as select the Destination
which will change the cursor into crosshairs, allowing you to pick the System where the constructed unit/facility is destined to go (by default, they'll build at the current System). You can build to any System you control, just make sure to have the appropriate Sector window open so you can click on it.
Mission Window -
if there are active missions on this System, this is the window that shows them. Right now all I've got running is a Recruitment mission, but any missions I have will be here. If you do Espionage on your own Systems, you'll also see enemy missions being run against you in this window. It's pretty self explanatory: on the left it'll list each mission, on the right it gives the details of the selected mission - the mission's Target (in this case the System itself, though other missions will have other targets; I'll go over these when they become relevant in my game) as well as which Characters and/or SpecForces are assigned. The left tab is for the personnel working the mission, the right tab is for Decoys
which I'll go over when I actually use them.
System Defenses Window -
this is where the personnel, troops, fighters, planetary shields and batteries will be shown. One again, from left to right: personnel, troops, fighters, shields and batteries (turbolasers and the ion cannon). Most of these are pretty self explanatory, however note the Garrison Requirements
on the Troops tab. Tied in with the System loyalty is the concept of Occupied Systems
- planets where the population doesn't actually like you but you maintain control through an iron fist anyway. In such cases, depending on how disloyal they are to you, the Garrison Requirement will increase (to a maximum of six) and you'll need to make sure you have at least
that many troops units stations there. Otherwise, the System will go into Uprising
and that's just bad juju (again, more details when I get there). Fortunately, the population of Coruscant loves me so that's not an issue.
This is just a broad overview of these windows and what they do, as they are where you'll be spending most of your game and issuing most of your orders. I'll go into more details about them in later posts, but for now this will have to do. Because enough boring details, let's see some gameplay!
...not that there's a ton going on right now, because as I've said the beginning of this game can be a little slow. But there are some things going on so let's get into it.
First of all, because there's not much going on, let's speed things up a bit, shall we? Letting the days tick over, I get my first Messages of actual progress on actual things. Yay!
...and all it is telling me that a couple Espionage Droids - SpecForce units, their function should be pretty obvious - have finished training and have been deployed. But this gives me the chance to talk about the Message Index
so prepare for more Infodump! Along the top of it you have the various and sundry categories into which messages are sorted. You know the drill, from left to right we have:
All Messages -
Does exactly what you'd think it does, it shows you all of your messages (except Agent Advice).
Loyalty Messages -
These messages are about when planets shift hands, if an uprising breaks out somewhere, Informants
provide you information and if you're getting any Smuggling Benefits
- or losing materials to them.
Fleet Messages -
Tells you when you Fleets get somewhere, new ships and fighters being deployed, damaged
ships and fighters repairing themselves and pretty much anything else having to do with your fleets.
Mission Messages -
Exactly what it says on the tin. When your Characters and SpecForces have mission progress to report - whether an ongoing check-in, success or failure - they'll tell it here. Also tells you if anything in general happens to them, such as being killed in action (
) or if Luke/Vader detect that they are Force Users
Resource Messages -
When you build a new Mine or Refinery, this is where it tells you. Also lets you know if new Raw Materials or Energy are found on a System, though this is pretty rare. Also the place where you will be informed of the dreaded Natural Disasters
which everyone hates but sadly we're stuck with. As usual, more details on this when (because it's always when, never if
) it becomes relevant.
Manufacturing Messages -
When your SYs, TFs or CYs finish something and are available for new orders, they'll let you know. Also tells you when new construction facilities have deployed on a System. Finally, your R&D breakthroughs will also show up here.
Defense Messages -
When new troops, fighters, shields or batteries deploy on a System, this is the tab that tells you.
Conflict Messages -
If you Blockade
a System - or get blockaded yourself, this is the window for that. Also informs you of Planetary Bombardments
and Planetary Assaults
Multiplayer Messages -
Should you happen to play a multiplayer game, this is where you and your opponent talk trash to each other.
Agent Advice -
Exactly what it says. If you happen to have that option selected, new advice and tips will go here as they come up.
out of the way, let's put my manufacturing to good use! What is Star Wars without ships, right? Let's go to one of my Shipyards and start building the mighty Imperial Fleet!
As is the case with the Construction Yard from last update, having only a single Shipyard really sucks, and RNGesus was not kind enough to give me multiples. As you can see, even the lowly Carrack Cruiser - the cheapest, most basic combat ship I have - is going to take a little over 100 days to build. Fortunately, the TIE fighters are far more reasonable, so I employ each of my three separate SYs to build three squadrons each, which will be deployed to the various Systems I control.
Next up I go to my Training Facilities. Luckily, troop regiments aren't that expensive of time consuming to build, but I don't really need any right now. So instead, as you can see, I decided to build Espionage Droids instead. They're as cheap as it gets and will help me greatly in expanding my knowledge of Rebel activities. I'm building six at a go because I've found that's a good size for a covert ops team to be.
As you can kind of see, I'm tasking my Obroa-skai TFs to build Espionage Droids to send out to Bpfassh (in the Sluis Sector) because the Sector Obroa-skai is in doesn't actually have Alliance-controlled Systems. This is also an illustrative example for a basic tactic: when possible, locally produce
within each Sector! As you can see, the deployment time for intra-sector construction can add a lot to the overall time before your new units become useful, especially when it comes to facilities and troops/SpecForces. Unfortunately, my sole Construction Yard back on Coruscant is still occupied with increasing its own building capability, so I don't have much in the way of options for the moment.
As I advance another couple of days, something actually useful happens:
That Espionage mission I sent Shenir Rix on has borne fruit! And as I mentioned before and can now show you, successful spy missions on enemy Core Systems will also count toward giving you information on another enemy system. So let's see what the Rebel Scum are up to on Chandrila and Byss, shall we?
Ah, manufacturing intel! I love it when I get this kind of data, as it can be used to further increase your knowledge of enemy movements and territorial possessions, as I pointed out last update. Unfortunately this haul isn't that great, as the X-wing squadron is destined for a ship rather than a system, which doesn't tell me a lot. As it happens though, the Alliance Escort Carrier Eagle
happens to be on the way to Byss, so that was some nice synergy (Fleet 5 is just a Corellian Corvette). And as we discovered, Page happens to be chilling on Chandrila at the moment, which opens up some opportunities for me. Finally, we see the Alliance has hit upon the same idea I had of increasing the building capabilities over on Byss.
Another great thing about that Core Espionage bonus is that Byss happens to be in a Sector I don't have any controlled systems in, meaning direct missions to there will take a very long time for my personnel to get there, do their thing, and go back to friendly territory. Luckily, I can still get intel on the local goings-on this way, so that's pretty nice.
We continue our search for knowledge regarding enemy activities, expand through Diplomacy and start recruiting heroes to our cause!