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 Stars! Race Creation FAQ

 
   
 
 
Stars! Race Creation FAQ


VERSION 1.0
5-24-03

Written by: Superboc (Superboc@hotmail.com)

Copyright 2002, Dave Thomas.  I would very much appreciate it if you contact me
to ask my permission before posting any or all of this FAQ on your own site. 
However, if you're trying to profit from it, or if you intend to change
anything about it, don't bother contacting me.

======================================================================
Version History:

Version 1.0 - First version of the FAQ.  When I send this to CJayC, I intend to
cover the basics of race creation and what each factor does.

======================================================================
Table of Contents:

I. Introduction
II. What Stuff Does
   A. Page 1
   B. Page 2
   C. Page 3
   D. Page 4
   E. Page 5
   F. Page 6
III. Thanks

======================================================================
I. Introduction

This is my...fourth FAQ, I believe.  Third that will be posted on GameFAQs.

I got into Stars! about 4 or 5 years ago.  Great game, really.  I loved how
open-ended the options were.  Hopefully, this will be the first in a series of
in-depth FAQs about the game, because I know there's plenty for me to write
about.

======================================================================
II. What Stuff Does (for lack of a better title)

A. Page 1

Page 1 is the most basic aspect of the race creation process.  You can name
your race and select from various pre-defined races, if you want.  You can also
set a password, choose your race's logo, and select 1 other, hopefully minor,
option.

Race Name: Name your race.
Plural Race Name: What members of your race would be called.  Usually, it's the
same as the Race Name, with an 's' on the end.
Password: Protect your race from being used by others.  Not a really critical
thing, unless you're very serious about your race.
Predefined Races: The first 6 options are races that have been specifically
designed for Stars!.  The 7th option is Random, the 8th is to create your own
race from scratch.  I'll go over the 6 predefined races later, as this FAQ is
primarily focused (for now) on explaining what various parts of the race editor
do.
Spend up to 50 leftover advantage points on: When you're done, if you have
advantage points left over, you can spend them to improve your starting
conditions.  There are 5 options to choose from here: surface minerals, mineral
concentrations, mines, factories, and defenses.
Race Logo: Choose what your race's logo is.  Simple.

B. Page 2

Page 2 determines your race's primary racial trait, which is key.  In theory,
every trait can be played to win, so none of the traits are necessarily
superior.  Notice, also, that various traits cost different amounts of
advantage points.  I'd like to include the exact amounts that each primary
trait costs, but as it's a very complex system, the prices change depending on
what secondary (and other) traits you take later on.  So, instead, I'll give
the prices as they are initially.  This is how much each trait costs in
advantage points before you make any more advanced changes:

Hyper-Expansion     63 pts.     Space Demolition             0 pts.
Super-Stealth       81 pts.     Packet Physics              90 pts.
War Monger          65 pts.     Inter-stellar Traveller    100 pts.
Claim Adjuster      53 pts.     Alternate Reality           80 pts.
Inner-Strength      17 pts.     Jack of all Trades          28 pts.

Keep in mind, costing more points doesn't necessarily make a race superior.  If
you have a good strategy using secondary traits, and can afford those traits
because you choose a cheaper primary trait (which is otherwise irrelevant or
even beneficial to your strategy), then it can easily compete with a more
expensive primary trait, like Inter-stellar Traveller.  Also keep in mind that
certain traits will excel in certain situations.  For instance, a tiny universe
is detrimental to Packet Physics and Inter-stellar Traveller races, which are
also the most expensive primary traits to have initially.  In short, this list
isn't necessarily enough to determine a race in its entirety.

C. Page 3

Page 3 contains a list of lesser racial traits.  Again, must of the minor
traits can be played as a major part of your strategy.

This is a list of what each lesser traits costs so far, assuming you stuck with
the default primary trait, Jack of all Trades.  Keep in mind that these costs
will change somewhat depending on what primary trait you choose.  Also, notice
that some values are listed as negatives; these are secondary weaknesses which
give you spare advantage points, should you need them.

Improved Fuel Efficiency      78 pts.     No Ram Scoop Engines         -53 pts.
Total Terraforming           140 pts.     Cheap Engines                 80 pts.
Advanced Remote Mining        53 pts.     Only Basic Remote Mining     -85 pts.
Improved Starbases            67 pts.     No Advanced Scanners         -95 pts.
Generalized Research         -13 pts.     Low Starting Population      -60 pts.
Ultimate Recycling            80 pts.     Bleeding Edge Technology     -23 pts.
Mineral Alchemy               51 pts.     Regenerating Shields         -10 pts.

More in-depth analysis:

Improved Fuel Efficiency - This is a nice trait to have.  Running out of fuel
is never good.  But be careful; if you're planning on using lots of ram-scoop
engines, this isn't a necessity anyway.  If you do take it, I'd advise taking
"No Ram Scoop Engines" to offset the price somewhat.

Total Terraforming - Worth the price, if you ask me.  Especially if you're a
Claim Adjuster.  If you're playing a short, quick game where you don't expect
to get into high tech levels, move along and take something with more immediate
impact, but if you're a Claim Adjuster or if you're playing a long-winded game,
Total Terraforming can make the difference.

Advanced Remote Mining - This trait is extremely race-dependent.  If you expect
to do a lot of remote mining, it's probably worth it, but if you expect to be
inhabiting most of the planets that you find, or even quite a few, you might
want to pass this one up.

Improved Starbases - Not bad if you're worried about planetary defense.  (Or if
you're Alternate Reality.)  If Starbases play a vital role in your strategy,
this is worth it.  If you want to have nearly impenetrable defenses on your
planet, this is a good first step.  But it's expensive to build such huge
starbases, even with the price cut, so be careful.

Generalized Research - You do get bonus research resources from this, but it's
tough to say if that justifies cutting research on what you want in half.  I've
never played with Generalized Research, but I'd imagine it's best if you think
you really need to research everything (in other words, make sure all that
Biotech research pays off).

Ultimate Recycling - Sure, getting back that many minerals can make a huge
difference.  But at the cost of 80 advantage points, you better really want to
recycle your ships and starbases.  This is great if you really, REALLY hate
obsolete weaponry; if you're willing to work with stuff that's 10, 20, even 50
years old, then you probably don't want to recycle too much.

Mineral Alchemy - This is probably the hardest trait to use effectively.  If
you expect a game to go on for an EXTREMELY long time, i.e. long enough for
every planet's natural minerals to be completely expired, then yes, you'll want
this eventually; if it ever reaches that point, a Mineral Alchemy race will
have a 4-to-1 advantage.  But games running that long are exceedingly rare, in
my experience, and this trait is way to expensive for everyday use.

No Ram Scoop Engines - As I said for Improved Fuel Efficiency, this is probably
best used to offset that trait.  Otherwise, ram-scoop engines are pretty sweet,
and you'll be hard-pressed to find a reason to take this one, even with the
added bonus of the Interspace-10.

Cheap Engines - Not much in the game of Stars! is more annoying than an engine
not working properly.  I'd avoid this trait; engines aren't that expensive,
anyway, and at a 1/10 chance on every ship, think of how many ships will have
problems when you're big and have hundreds of ships!

Only Basic Remote Mining - This goes back to what I said with Advanced Remote
Mining.  This, in my opinion, is a great trait to have if you're going to be
colonizing most of the universe.  If you really count on remote mining for
minerals, this is a bad idea, but that 10% population bonus is a pretty nice
bonus on top of free advantage points.  In the end, it comes down to how much
remote mining you'll be doing.

No Advanced Scanners - I, for one, rely on penetrating scanners a great deal,
both to find enemy fleets and to scout out planets.  They're good scanners, and
you should probably think twice before dropping them completely.  You really
don't get anything out of this except the advantage points, which, though
substantial, may not be worth the trade-off.

Low Starting Population - Don't take it.  Seriously.  Unless you plan on having
a RIDICULOUS growth rate (like Hyper-Expansion allows for), don't even consider
the population cut.  You won't put yourself only 2 or 3 years behind your
opponents, as you may think; you'll put yourself 2 or 3 decades behind them, in
the long run.  This is a substantial weakness to recover from.

Bleeding Edge Technology - This isn't such a bad deal, really.  Especially if
you don't mind using obsolete weaponry.  If you _absolutely must_ have the most
up-to-date stuff, or if you're not willing to sacrifice level 26 techs, you
don't want this.  But if you don't mind being 2 to 4 tech levels behind where
you could be, this pays its dividends gradually.  Also, there are some techs
that you'll use for a long time, and this makes them cheaper, faster.

Regenerating Shields - This is a tough call.  Armor is cheaper generally, but
tougher to repair.  Shields are more expensive, and this makes them easier to
repair, but it also makes armor practically worthless.  You'll be researching
Construction no matter what if you want new hulls, so you'll get the armor
anyway, which is what makes this questionable.  In the end, I suppose it comes
down to how often you expect to get into battles.  If you expect a fight every
turn, this might be worth it.

D. Page 4

Page 4 focuses on habitability; where you can live, how fast you'll grow in
those areas, and so forth.  It has four areas: Gravity habitat, Temperature
habitat, Radiation habitat, and Base Growth Rate.

Habitats: for all three bars, the colored area is what is hospitable to your
race.  If a given planet's condition is in the middle of the colored area, then
it's ideal for your race.  If all three conditions are in the middle of the
colored area, the planet is ideal in general, and you will achieve your Base
Growth Rate; otherwise, you'll only get a certain percentage of that.

The single arrows on the left and right sides of each bar move the colored area
left or right.  The [<< >>] button increases the size of the colored area on
both sides, the [>> <<] button decreases it.  Obviously, the bigger the range,
the more advantage points it will cost.  You can also choose Immunity to any of
the factors, but it's extremely expensive; you'll have a hard time affording
even 1 factor's immunity, and the setbacks it causes could destroy any race. 
Notice that there is a difference between immunity and simply increasing the
size of the habitable area to full.  That is, immunity means that variable is
perfect anywhere, not just in the middle of the range.

Base Growth Rate: How fast your population will grow, given ideal conditions. 
The higher, the better.  At the very least, shoot for 10%; any lower than that,
and you'll be committing suicide.  Realistically, you should make an effort to
get to 17%, even at the expense of secondary traits and other details.  It's
that important.  Also, keep in mind that Hyper-Expansion races can double this
value.

E. Page 5

Page 5 is all about efficiency.  Efficiency of mines and factories, to be
precise.  This is the real meat of the race creation process, if you ask me;
it's the backbone of your race.

One resource is generated each year for every [xxxx] colonists: the lower this
value is, the better, obviously.  But if you drop it below 1000, it gets
expensive really fast, so you probably (almost definitely) don't want to take
it past 900, if that.

Every 10 factories produce [xx] resources each year: the higher, the better. 
The cutoff point here seems to be between 12 and 14, but factories can be very
important to your game.  The more resources you have, the better, so push this
value up if you couldn't push the last one down.

Factories require [xx] resources to build: the lower, the better.  Again,
factories will probably be very important to you, so you want to get them for
cheap.  This one could easily be the most important thing on the page.  The
cutoff is between 8 and 7 resources; after that, the prices get steep really
fast.

Every 10,000 colonists may operate up to [xx] factories: the higher, the
better.  This is nowhere near as important as the last two.  You might consider
taking this value down to 9, if you're desperate for advantage points, but
don't take it too low; you won't get much out of it, and you need to be able to
use those factories.

[] Factories cost 1kT less of Germanium to build: take this.  You'll like it. 
It means you can get 4 factories for the price of 3, which means you'll be 33%
more efficient.  More than that, as the bonus factories will generate
additional resources, making you even stronger.

Every 10 mines produce up to [xx]kT of each mineral every year: this is the
most important mine-related bonus you can get.  The cutoff is somewhere between
12 and 14.  Note that you can get more minerals by increasing this bonus from
fewer mines, and the more mines you have, the faster the mineral concentration
will decrease.  In other words, the higher this is, the better off you'll be,
and you won't be as harmful to planets' environments, which means you'll get
even more minerals in the long term.

Mines require [x] resources to build: the cutoff is between 2 and 3.  If you
plan on building tons and tons of mines, this is nice, but it's cheap for a
reason.  You probably won't need it that much.  It's nice for immediate help,
though.

Every 10,000 colonists may operate up to [xx] mines: the higher, the better, of
course.  It remains fairly constant up to 25, but be careful, because you don't
want to build too many mines too quickly, as it will damage the mineral
concentrations, and you might lose out on some minerals in the process.  Better
to focus on the first mine-related bonus if you can.

F. Page 6

Page 6 deals entirely with research.  For each of the 6 research fields, you
can determine whether it costs the regular amount, 175% of its regular cost, or
50% of its regular cost.  Most races will probably have very little use for
Biotech research, so that's probably the most popular choice for 175%. 
Otherwise, it depends on what traits you chose earlier.  War Mongers will want
cheap Weapons research; Inner-Strength will want cheap Energy.  If you took
Improved Fuel Efficiency, or if you're very focused on engines, you'll want
cheap Propulsion.

You can also set all "Costs 75% Extra" fields to start at Tech Level 4, which
is nice, but not really necessary.  The idea here is that you won't really need
them, so why bother with them in the first place?  At a fairly steep price,
it's better spent elsewhere unless you don't intend to do any research, and you
expect the game to be over in about 30 years.

======================================================================
III. Thanks

Well, this was quicker than I thought it'd be.  There's still plenty more to
do, though, so this should keep me occupied for awhile.

CJayC - for making GameFAQs.  I still enjoy it after all these years.

The makers of Stars! - it's a fun game, no doubt about it.

The reader - as always, I'd like to thank you.  If you have any questions or
suggestions, e-mail me at Superboc@hotmail.com and I'll get back to you. 
Thanks again!
 

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