2022 State of the NuNiverse

(Thanks to Renathras for his note-taking. I’m only here to fix typos. -Editor)

I apologize for any spelling errors, was typing all this live, and formatting errors, since pasting into here from a Word document creates weird formatting paragraph breaks and stuff. Tried to catch them all, but you have my apologies for any I missed.

Without further preamble:

STATE OF THE NUNIVERSE, 2022:

Championship games begin Jan 1, long-format League starts Jan 15.

Principal game format will be Fixed Turn (Champ Turn 140, Very High Standard and High Standard 100 Turns, Standard 80, Beginner 60) OR a player getting 200 planets or 40%, whichever comes first.

GENERAL IMPROVEMENTS:

  • Upgraded Horwasp AI (computer player)
  • 3D Fighter Models (preview on slides)
  • New Race descriptions (see live Race pages)
  • Gigacredits
  • Home Sector system official release!
  • 3D Starbases for every Race
  • 3D VCR’s Alpha – McNimble

GAME CHANGES (2023):

  • AI will now take over dropped positions in most games. It keeps diplomacy unless you downgrade yours; previous player MAY rejoin if they wish to.
  • Horwasp: Protofield infection levels are visible to anyone who can scan a ship.
  • In Standard: No +1 PP for specified destroyers, escorts, and frigates across the Races.

What this means: The 2 minimum PP cost was designed to prevent ship slot filling (for ships <50 mass); as such, specified light military ships (destroyers, escorts, frigates — true military vessels that are produced cheaply) will be exempt, paying 1 PP less. Note the minimum cost is 2 points regardless.

  • Special update on the Fascist Empire! Fascist name changes to: The Hordes of Fury or The Fury (for short).

Point Penalty Reductions:

Destroyers and Frigates that now cost 1 PP less:

  • Feds: Nocturne, Vendetta, Banshee, Arkham, Thor
  • Lizards: Reptile, Vendetta
  • Birds: Bright Heart, Deth Specula (all versions)
  • The Race Formerly Known As The Fascists: D3 Thorn, Deth Specula (all versions), D19b, Saber (but NOT the shield generator)
  • Privateers: D3 Thorn
  • Cyborg: B222 Destroyer
  • Crystals: Topez (but not campaign gunboat upgrades), Sky Garnet
  • Empire: RU 25 Gunboat, Super Star Frigate, Moscow Class Star Escort
  • Robots: No ships at all. Not a sausage. Bugger all.
  • Rebels: Cygnus Class Destroyer, Guardian Class Destroyer, Patriot Class Carrier
  • Colonies: Cygnus Class Destroyer, Patriot Class Carrier
    NOTE: If Ship Stacking is enabled in Campaign, this deduction becomes disabled.

Other Changes By Race:

Birds:

Covert Data Link Change:
– “spy” FC is no longer active.
– NEW: Any FC discovered through Super Spy will CONTINUE TO WORK for up to 10 Turns, even if the player changes it. Older codes have less chance of working. This scales from 100% after 1 Turn down to 10% after 10 Turns.
– When Super Spy is performed, the Covert Data Link is established.
– Any time a ship attempts to use the code and fails, the FC will no longer work, and the enemy will be informed of the location of the attempt. Continuing to Super Spy every turn will keep the code active/keep resetting the 10 Turn timer (provided it doesn’t fail)
– Works on Minefields, beaming up missions (Fuel, Dur, Trit, Moly), on ships and planets with Harmonic Weapon Modulation, AND on Web Mines and Web Drain, even in games where FCs normally do not work on Webs.

Privateers:

Hidden Minefields: (Campaign)
– Lay Hidden Minefield Mission, lays mines that cannot be seen or swept until a mine is hit (then become a normal minefield); cost 2x Torps to lay the field. Cannot be destroyed by other Minefields (countermining) until they are exposed.

Elusive:
– Gravitonic Drive ships are “Elusive” to Quantum Torpedoes (only 10% hit rate)

Cyborg:

Deep Scan: (Campaign)
– Deep Watcher Class Scout now has “Deep Scan” mission which can detect enemy ships as they move, including cloakers, sends a message “a ship has been detected” (not what it is or where it is). Watcher must be out in space (away from “solar system noise”, but is also not visible (scan range of 1 ly), so sort of an improved stealth armor when in this mode.

Empire:

“The Eternal Empire” is now their own official (lore) name for themselves. The other beings of the Echo Cluster call them “Evil Empire”.

Fear:
– Destroy Planet Gorbies (Campaign) now induce “Fear” like the Horwasp Hives (reduced happiness of planets in rage), but only when the EE Commander has the “Destroy Planet” advantage active.

Robots:

Sucks to be you:
– No change, not even from the 1-point refund.

Colonies:

Ship Stacking: (Campaign)
– The Colonies are using the tech they learned from centuries in space to combine some ships into a stack to create different combinations. The “Stack” mission will combine two ships together to create a new ship which is the sum of the properties of the combined ships. The ships available are: Taurus, Cygnus, Little Joe, Sagittarius, Gemini, Patriot, Scorpius (basic hulls only)

— Adds hull mass, cargo space, fuel capacity, and weapons.
— Cygnus combined with a Fighter Carrier treats the Fighter Bays as torpedo tubes. E.g. combining a Cygnus with a Taurus will have 6 beams and 4 torpedoes.
— The ships must be at the same location, choose each other with the “Stack” mission, must have the same component levels (engine, beam, torpedo levels)
— A Cygnus with a Sagittarius would have 6 beam weapons and 5 torpedo tubes, BUT only if it’s done at a SB with the SB having a Torpedo Tube equal to the Cygnus’ level. So a Cygnus with Mark 4 Tubes would need to combine with a Sagittarius at a SB with at least 1 Mark 4 Tube in its inventory. The lore here is that the torpedo tube is installed where the Fighter Bay would have been.
— Caveat: If Ship Stacking is enabled in Campaign, the PP reduction is disabled (so it won’t be too powerful)

Horwasp:

Improved AI.

Ship features and advantage values have been updated.

Mites:
– Horwasp now have the ability to launch Mites. These are Pods which are targeted at an enemy ship.

  • Will chase and intercept the enemy ship.
  • Red Mites will do one Minehit of damage.
  • Blue Mite will increase infection by 27 points.
  • Green Mite “hidden tracker”, think like a tracking device that gives Wasp site/scan from that ship’s location.
  • The faster they go, the fewer Turns before they will expire (if failing to reach the enemy). Launched at Warp 9 only last 1 Turn, Warp 6 10 Turns, Warp 3 will chase the target indefinitely.
  • If a ship is being chased by a Mite, the defending Commander can send a different ship to intercept and destroy them.

WELCOME HOME! – HOME SECTOR

Gigacredits: (GC)

  • Gigacredits are the new “meta currency” of the Nuniverse.
  • They are used to purchase campaign ships and race upgrades.
  • They are earned in all games in the home sector. (more on this next)
  • It is now possible to purchase Gigacredits directly with RL money (US$) if you want to do so faster or contribute to Planets.Nu. Click on the GC amount in your account to see the current exchange rates.

Home Sector:

  • New Single Player experience which provides each player their own home sector in the Echo Cluster
  • Unlock sub-sectors by completing goals and Timeline levels.
  • Acts as a tutorial system for new players.
  • Works in both mobile and new desktop versions, but not the old desktop version.
  • This is for your own fun and enjoyment and creativity. Your Home Sector will never be attacked by other players.

Turn Bank:

  • You can play as many turns in your home sector as you have in your “Turn Bank”. Your Turn Bank fills up over time. As you spend them, you’ll earn more. Cannot stack past 5.

Timeline:

  • All Timeline levels will be reset.
  • Completing a Timeline level unlocks a sub-sector.
  • Gigacredits are required for each Timeline level attempt…

Portal:

  • Every Home Sector has a Portal which is your connection to other Sectors in the Echo Cluster.
  • Fly ships to the portal to send them on Missions.

Fight the Horwasp:

  • The Horwasp are the principal enemy in your Home Sector game: To fund your growing Home Sector, you can help protect the Echo Cluster from the invading Horwasp.
  • Participate in 3 new game formats (2 currently, soon to be 3) by sending them through your Portal against the new Horwasp AI:
    – Horwasp Incursion – Keep a small number of Wasps from taking root (single player) – 50 GC reward
    – Horwasp Invasion – The Horwasp have established themselves in a sector and must be pushed back! (3 player co-op) – 500 GC reward.
    – Horwasp Infestation (coming soon) – The Horwasp have complete control of a Sector and must be pushed out! (6 player co-op) – 2500 GC reward.

A FEW MORE THINGS:

3D Starbases:

  • Coming soon: Upgrades to Starbases such as raising the Tech Level or building Defenses will cause the image of the SB to change.

3D VCRs: (Alpha release)

  • McNimble gave an early preview of the 3D system featuring ships flying towards each other and fighting, concluding with an ominous Gorbie approach and battle against a Starbase.
  • Will keep the 2D VCR “very much alive” for players as well even once the 3D VCR is implemented.

Artwork:

  • Some new character artwork.

2023 ROADMAP:

  • More content for the Home Sector:
    – More Timeline levels
    – Multiple Races in your Home Sector: As you unlock more things, will be able to unlock and play more Races.
  • 3D VCR work will continue.
  • Possible expansion of Mobile onto IOS.
  • League Season 2023 starts in January after the holiday break. Start forming up your League Teams now!

Q&A SESSION:

Q: Covert Data Link: How is this communicated?

A: It’s in the GUI. There will be an indicator next to the FC that shows your “percent of confidence that you have in that code”. 100% means you can use it with one hundred percent confidence, but it will drop over time/Turns. If you know of a code that was not from Super Spy (e.g. one of your planets was taken), you will not see that indicator. No data link was established, so you have no knowledge. It is still possible that the enemy could capture your planet but not change the FC, but that’s the same as today and not related to Covert Data Link. (Percentage display not visible in the old client.)

Q: How does this work with Super Spy and your ships changing the code?

A: As long as you know the code via Super Spy, that locks in the data link. If you fly a group of ships into a degraded code, each of your ships flying through (say a minefield) risks exposing the code. Once one fails and the deception is exposed to the enemy, the rest of your ships will not benefit as Host will treat them post-failure as having a compromised code.

Q: Watcher Scout, is it Cloaked?

A: No. It’s more hidden (like the Hide in Warp Well). A ship flying to that location or within 1 LY can see it.

Q: Can it move while deep scanning?

A: No.

Q: What’s the range?

A: Sensor Sweep range.

Q: Gorbie Fear: Does Fear affect allies?

A: No.

Q: Was there supposed to be a change to Robots to give them fuel economy?

A: That… sounds familiar…

Q: The -1 PP: Does that apply to the Campaign variants of the ships? With an understanding you’ve specifically excluded Gunboats?

A: Unless otherwise specified, it does.

Q: Stacking: Does it apply to the Campaign variants of those ships?

A: Yup. Wait…that I need to check on. Not the Heavy Scorpius and those ones. Sorry, my mistake on that.

Q: Can you stack 2 of the same hulls? E.g. two Patriots?

A: No.

Q: Is it undo-able? Can you separate them?

A: No.

Q: So it has an effect on the ship queue, freeing up slots without giving up firepower?

A: That’s right.

Q: Fighting Wasps, they launch a Mite at me: How do I avoid it?

A: If it hits you in 1 turn, you can’t avoid it. If they launch a slower version or you see it in space chasing you, you can fly away from it/run from it, or you can attack it with another of your ships that it isn’t targeting. (If you can figure out which ship it’s tracking…) You might want to draw them in, stay just outside of their Mite range until you’re ready to attack. It’s expensive fuel-wise (99 to launch) making it expensive for the Wasp.

Q: If you’re hit with a Green Mite, do you know it?

A: No. You will not know it. The Blue Mites, you will see the Infection.

Q: Can Red Mites target Cloaked ships?

A: No. They can shoot one at a Cloaked ship, and it will chase them around, but it will not hit them unless they’re decloaked. It’s like being unable to fight a cloaked ship.

COMMUNITY QUESTIONS:

Q: Are you surprised by the resistance to playing the game with the new UI? It seems most of the top players do not use the new client?

A: I’m not surprised at all. People are resistant to change. But there are a lot of changes we’re attempting to make. The people that still use play.planets.nu is a relatively small percentage of the player population. The Mobile client is still relatively unused, but it’s also pretty new and there’s no expectation by the Devs that people will be leaving the desktop and just playing mobile or something. We want to make sure you guys are happy, too. We would encourage people to try it, and think the learning curve isn’t as steep as people fear. (Joshua’s dad is also Forger, who also resisted the change for a while)

Q: Mursu asks: Will there be a 5 Turn victory countdown when 40% of planets are captured?

A: Yes, it will be a 5 Turn countdown as usual.

Q: Can you make the scroll bars larger on the new client, desktop?

A: We’ve never gotten that feedback…but yes? You can also use your mouse scroll wheel.

Q: Darien Sturmfels: Missing a Rebel Emperor ship, what about that?

A: We need a…Rebel Emperor, right? The last Emperor was Zacha. We haven’t got a ship from him yet. We’ve moved away from the Race you use and are opening it up to the Emperors to decide if they want a ship or an advantage. Some of them are busy people, so feel free to reach out to us with an idea of an advantage or ship for ANY race.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Joshua appears to have forgotten Kelmain’s victory in the Pisces War.]

Q: Erick Merchant: Tradition dictates that I advocate for Empire or Robot changes. Can you provide some insight to why they aren’t getting significant changes to Standard? Are they winning now?

A: The Empire has had a lot of changes in Standard; I feel like we’ve done a lot for them for Campaign. The Robots have a lot of Campaign advantages now, some interesting ones. We’ve looked at them, but haven’t felt certain about any of them to say “This is the one that should go to Standard” for the Robots. The Robots have been traditionally pretty middle of the pack, so it’s not clear there are specifically advantages needed there. Though I’m going to think more on that “fuel in minefields” idea…

Q: Stacking sounds like a huge balance change. Can you comment why such a huge change and what playtesting has been done?

A: Well, that’s what we look to you guys for. It will be a 45 AP cost Advantage, and the Colonies don’t have a lot of those. We wanted them to have something exciting and fun; these are meant to be fun, and hope you’ll have a lot of fun with them and playing with and trying it out.

Q: Will the names show up in the ship list?

A: No. It’s a bit of an unknown. When you see one in space, you’ll have to guess what you think the weight is and all those things.

Q: Can you give those Stacked ships away?

A: Yes, you can.

Q: Do any of those ships have special advantages?

A: No. None of those do; they’re just Vanilla ships with additional configurations.

Q: Are Friendly Codes of Minefields laid AFTER the Covert Data Link affected by it?

A: As long as the Minefield in question is affected by that planet. Minefields will still work based on FCs as today. The game is looking at what FC for the Minefield is (for those that don’t know, this is the planet closest to the Minefield center.)

Q: Will this work with the Universal Friendly Code?

A: No. For this mission, it’s a local effect only. It’s only the Planet the Minefield is linked to.

Q: Will there be any thoughts about changing the ranking and promotion system, and also the badge system?

A: At the moment, no. But you’re able to earn both achievement and rank by playing the Horwasp levels from your Home Sector.

Q: Can the Deep Space Scan ship be towed while scanning?

A: I’ll have to ask/double check on that one.

Q: If it can, it cloaks!

A: I’ll have to check with the team. Guessing he’s thought about it already.

Q: Foundation Aerospace asks: Where can I find the artwork we’ve seen in these slides?

A: Almost all of it is in-game somehow, Timeline levels and so on. We have a lot of stories and characters and things that we’re putting in those things. Go out and play them and you can see them from there!

A: One thing back on that, she’s (sorry, can’t catch the name) been making some for screen saver stuff, so we may make them available for download in the future.

Q: Do Mites move before other ship movement?

A: No, they move after, during the Intercept Phase.

Q: If a Green Mite is on a ship that HASN’T Stacked, will Stacking remove the Mite?

A: Yeah…I don’t know the answer to that. [laughs] We’ll have to see!

Q: Is there a way to remove a Green Mite?

A: No. You don’t even know about it. It ceases to exist when the ship does (die or recycle).

Q: Can I assume it survives change of ownership?

A: Yeah, it does. It stays attached to the hull.

Q: Does its scanning range extend beyond the ship’s immediate location?

A: Yes. Howrasp see everything within 100 ly of it, just like their normal Psychic Scanning range of all their other ships.

Q: Gideon: I feel Robot’s Golems could use a Torpedo Tube or two. It fares too poorly against Starbases or Carriers.

A: [laughs] Maybe we’ll make a special Gideon-Class Gorbie. It is definitely one of the challenges. The Bots seem to feel like they should be a more defensive Race, but I feel they should probably be far more aggressive with their Minefields. Win early! Don’t wait for the end-game.

Q: Foundation Aerospace, What if Natives get so pissed off, they kill off all Colonists, seize the Starbase and all Ships in orbit?

A: And become like an NPC Race? Sounds like fun! That could be interesting. Especially if they were like high government level, maybe they could pull that off…

Q: Are you going to change Achievement Points for fixed tournament games?

A: I…will review it. I don’t know what the result is.

Q: Current League games give very little points vs standard games.

A: We’ll have to look at it. We want those games to feel rewarding.

Q: Are there 3D models with the artwork? Is there a way to retrieve them for something like 3D printing?

A: There are…will have to ask Gugeywalker about that.

Q: End of our audience questions; last one: Considering varieties of visual fighters, is there any likelihood of different Racial fighters with different stats? Do you think they might become more unique?

A: That’s somewhat less likely, at least in the near future; it would be fairly complex from a coding standpoint and a wider game change. Feel like any dial is potentially adjustable, though we’ve kind of stayed within some bounds and haven’t adjusted that one yet.

Q: Will there be awards/badges for Horwasp?

A: Badges yeah… we haven’t added it yet as Horwasp are not typically in most Standard games yet. I think we should add them. Something we’ll look into.

Q: With AIs taking over dropped players, you mentioned the player can return to them. Can a mercenary or sub come in and pick up that Race?

A: We’ve been talking about that. We’re probably going to open, there’s sort of pros and cons to it, the answer is “yes” right now, but we’re debating the pros and cons to it because someone might come in and switch allegiance, which tends to cause frustration to players. The thing you can count on from the AI is that they won’t suddenly attack you. Probably something we’re going to talk about more before we finalize one way or the other. At the same time, people do like taking replacement positions, so there might be a window there or some rules, we’re going to evaluate a little bit.

Q: Is the AI going to kick in the moment they drop?

A: I think we have it on a 1 Turn delay.

Q: So someone could resign with the intent of someone replacing them, and that could work the way it does right now?

A: Yeah.

Q: Once the AI takes the spot, is it locked to anyone joining?

A: Right now, I think it’s like normal. But we’re still debating the final decision.

Q: How is the Timeline difficulty playtested/determined?

A: Well, we playtest all of them. Multiple times, with multiple people. Joshua playtested then gets his 10-year-old son to playtest it. (“Although he’s pretty good.”) Some of them are pretty hard, and those are now going to be pushed out a little bit further in the Timeline now.

Q: Last question from the community: Had asked you earlier about the -1 PP and Campaign variants, is the D19c included?

A: No. The D19c is not included. Didn’t specify because the minimum is still 2 regardless.

Q: Is this going to be on the ships page, or will there be a master list?

A: We are going to specify this adds that value on there in the documentation. We’re going to use the standard ruleset standard of +1 PP, but for these ships, we’re going to adjust that page to not have the +1 number.


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