SEB: Nemesis goals and what's to come of the Crisis | Dev Diary 206


Hey gang, welcome back to another episode of the Stellaris Emergency Broadcast! In this week's episode, Starke and I talked about Dev Diary 206 and some meta discussions that came out of it. We spoke about the "Box Concept" theme and the arcs that come with them, the goals behind the Nemesis expansion, and a possible future for the "Become the Crisis" system.



Relevant links:

  1. Listen to the past episode (at your leisure. our episodes can be enjoyed out of order)

  2. Stellaris Dev Diary #205: Announcing the 3.0 'Dick' Update | Paradox Interactive Forums

  3. Stellaris Dev Diary #206: Directing Nemesis | Paradox Interactive Forums

  4. Buy Stellaris with our HumbleBundle link to support us AND a dog rescue at no extra cost!

  5. Become a member of the network! Ad-free podcast feeds coming soon!

  6. Make sure you join us on Guilded to game together! We have a SEB channel and everything!


From 206: Design direction discussion (Daniel Moregård)

  • Box concept

  • Theming content based around a concept and then working out from there.

  • This is a pretty common concept, but it’s interesting to see it expressed here, especially given how abstract these boxes are.

  • There’s a contrast between this and a dev like Bethesda (BGS), where they’ll take a theme and then stick very close to it, where this is far more abstract.

  • Ex: “Utopia was about internal politics and customization, Apocalypse was about warfare, Megacorp was about the economy, and Federations was about diplomacy.”

  • Interestingly, Federations and Nemesis are both pulling from the “Diplomacy box,” which illustrates how much flexibility Paradox has brought to these concepts.

  • ‘...so Federations focused more on “good” diplomacy, whereas Nemesis focuses more on “evil” diplomacy.’



  • Goals

  • More opportunities for a balance of power to shift

  • continue with the idea of the custodian and how power can corrupt

  • continue the trend of different types of crises that can occur in the galaxy

  • The Galactic Imperium (and a possible rebellion) was still intended to very much be considered a diplomatic crisis of sorts.

  • Espionage

  • It has been a goal for them as a designer

  • I wanted information gathering to be a large part of it. Espionage systems are hard to get right, because they can feel too predictive or boring, and you also have to constantly be considering the experience of the one being targeted by espionage.

  • Something we also have to consider when adding a new system like this is that the player only has so much capacity to interact with existing systems. We need to create a system that is fun and engaging when you choose to use it, and be aware that it's quite risky to add new systems that the player is forced to interact with

  • Cognitive load is definitely something that is tricky when designing for GSG games. I feel like the espionage system has hit a good mark with not being mandatory to play the game, but also being fun and interesting when you want to use it.

  • Overloading the player - pros and cons when the AI does it

  • Narrative through systems, rather than progress bars.

  • Become the Crisis

  • We originally had ideas for the BtC feature to come in multiple shapes (ranging from a destructive force like an end-game crisis, to a subjugating force like the marauder, or a manipulative force that preys in the shadows), but due to time constraints we had to make the choice of either making one fantasy stronger and more engaging, or to have multiple versions that felt more watered-down.

  • Implicit vs explicit

  • Within game design, explicit challenges are those that are posed directly to the player (like a quest), while implicit challenges are those that the player can make up themselves (like befriending all other empires as the Blorg).

  • The Blorg are a fanatic xenophile race (with Militaristic). Their AI is, “Fanatic Befrienders.”

  • Custodian and Galactic Imperium

  • “With the risk of sounding like a broken record, I want to highlight how much I enjoy the cycle of electing a custodian to fight a crisis, and then for the custodian to take power and become a new, diplomatic crisis. It’s very thematic, and it's a fantasy that we’re very aware of from popular culture (and to some degree, history).”



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