Perhaps if by 'shabby' you mean 'doesn't coat everything with a mirror effect'. I think SotS looks quite good - better than Sins imo, since the glossy-everything design seems rather poor. It's also two and a half years older than Sins, yet started development at the same time. SotS made my 'best game ever' list after a few hours of play, back in 2006, and has only gotten better since (two expansions, and each patch adds content). It's a 4X with RTS battles, similar to Total War in space - or EvR with immediate turns (a few minutes in MP games, generally).CurseUppl wrote:I checked out Sword of the Stars and... well, it looks a bit shabby.
It also has one of my favorite game features, designable ships. There are dozens (hundreds across all 6 races) of sections that you combine in threes (command, mission, engine), and you can select whatever weapon for each turret. Add to this per-poly collision detection for weapons and ships (compared to Sins' die-roll weapons) and Newtonian physics, and it's the best tactical space combat I've seen, too.
For comparing graphics, you can take a look at the screenshot thread on the official forums, or the recent expansion's trailer. Here's a few good, recent screenshots:
A mid-tech Tarkan Dreadnought firing it's heavy lasers
Several human drones firing beamers
A small Human task force firing on a Zuul planet, backlit by the local star
Closeup of a ship from the recent expansion, AMOC
A Zuul cruiser being pursued by a Human fleet
It certainly has excellent gameplay. LAN is available, and generic Internet games with a built-in matchmaker. There's a good, if small, MP community. We use xfire to set up games, mostly, but I can be reached by many methods.For what it lacks in graphics it makes up for in gameplay? Is there LAN?
And what do you mean by "tactical battles lasting a few minutes"? Is that longer or shorter, a good or bad thing?
The standard tactical battle is 4 minutes, but can be adjusted. I was using that as a comparison to Homeworld, in which the whole game is a tactical battle - so, HW has longer battles. 4m battles work quite well for how SotS is set up to play, but a similar 2.5D battlefield might not work so well for longer battles.
In any case, I highly suggest you at least try the Collector's Edition Demo (from Gamershell or my site). I also have several videos of both the tactical and strategic game.
Sorry for the off-topicness of this post, but I hate to see my favorite game being degraded - it gets little enough press as it is, being developed by an independent studio, and the publisher not spending much on publicity.