Polaris Sector

Polaris Sector is a sci-fi 4X game that offers exciting exploration, detailed resource management, unique research mechanics and intense tactical combat.
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Senior Corporal - Destroyer
Senior Corporal - Destroyer
Posts: 115
Joined: Sun Dec 17, 2017 7:43 am

Re: Polaris Sector

Post by Cassini » Sat Sep 26, 2020 4:51 am

This game has more or less left in its current state since the last patch came out almost 2 years ago now. There are rumors about more 'activity' on a separate Russian language forum - I haven't bothered to check this since I don't read Russian.

Research... it depends if you are playing the original game or have the Lumens add-on. Assuming you are playing the original game with 1.06g patch... you are going to have to 'fiddle' around with the research tree a bit. You should start off by moving the top slider to 75% 'Applied Sciences' and make sure you select the only available option at game start. It will take time, but you will eventually get 'Floating Platforms' (whatever they are called - necessary for Oceanic colonization), then a bit later you will get 'Domes' to allow colonization of Desert and Frozen planets. At this point, the 'Fundamental Sciences' (what you have left at 25%) will have brought in options for other fields and you will need to switch to one of those (un-select Complex Design, then select one of the newly available fields). This will start to bring in some weapons, turret and armor options you will NEED pronto.

As you expand grabbing every 'Earth-like' planet you can get a colony ship to, you will need to get those planets working fast to develop 2 initial factories and a couple of mines. On thing you can do to kick start development is to create what I call a 'Passenger Ship' that has a passenger module, range of at least 12,000 units, and maxed out with engines (should be speed of about 3.3). Use this to shuttle the extra population from your start planet to the newly found worlds to get population to fill all those facilities you will be building.... including RESEARCH facilities (those 5000 population will REALLY help to 'kickstart' development. You MUST start building a research building on the earth-like planets once they have population of about 12,000 or so and having 3 factories (start with one research facility). Once the planet has about 18,000 population, I build a 4th factory (later on once the planet reaches near full capacity it will be scrapped); then once a population of 25-30,000 is reached, build an orbital shipyard (that 4th factory helps reduce the construction time for this monster)... BUT ONLY if you have reasonable protection from pirates. Having a shipyard go up only to have a pirate fleet move in and destroy it is a huge waste of resources. Once you have a shipyard in, start filling up the earth and oceanic worlds with research facilities until you hit 10 facilities built (balance this with farms to keep the planet self-sufficient and to provide a surplus to feed the domed worlds). You will need to build 2-4 mines on the earth worlds and 2 organic mines on oceanic worlds to help keep your mineral situation from going into serious deficit (these will later be dismantled once domed worlds come up to speed with mining).

To defend against pirates, you need a fleet of three corvettes, minimum - two that have one hanger each and another that is what I call a 'Gunboat' (no hanger, but equipped with 2-4 ion guns). Initially the range of this ships will be limited (4,000 units if human), but you will be able to kick it up to about 5,500 units before you gain Frigate construction. The corvettes with a single hanger each (along with 10 fighters in each of them) are used to deal with pirate fighters and hopefully be able to deal with the pirate 'Gunboat' (equipped with a large number of ion guns) - by using torpedoes... have one 4x4 turret with torpedoes on the upper deck (gives you 6 torps) and make sure you have the 'overkill' selection for missile firing - to get those 6 torpedoes fired quick against the pirate Gunboat. Then YOUR Gunboat will deal with the pirate hanger equipped vessels (they are armed with lasers and plasma missiles). If it has 2-4 ion guns, it can stay out of range of the pirate missile boats and pick them off easy.

In the 'hangered' corvette, I have a scanner in the upper 6x6 turret slot (no room 'inside' for it), a hanger in the bow of the corvette, and 2 4x4 turrets with double lasers, one 4x4 with torpedoes and one 4x4 with plasma missiles (to deal with pirate fighters that get through yours). Put plasma missiles in the wing 3x3 turrets (remember to orient your ship so that one of these side turrets are facing the pirate fighters should they blow through your own fighters). The 'Gunboat' has a reactor replacing the hanger, then twin ion guns replacing the 4x4 torpedo turret. Having lasers in your ships makes sure they can deal with pirate missile and torpedo attacks, and be able to deal with pirate fighters that get in close enough (repeated laser hits).

Initially your corvette designs will have a single engine in them (making for speed 3.3 or so), Once you get some better fuel tanks, you can get two engines into your corvettes (assuming you are playing 'human'), and get their speed up to about 5.5. This is CRITICAL to enable you to control the battle by staying out of range of pirate missiles or QUICKLY getting into torpedo range of the pirate Gunboats then getting back out of range - hopefully the torpedoes will have all hit and the pirate gunboat is destroyed. You MUST ALWAYS strive to have faster ships than your opponent - you can engage and disengage at will this way. If your ships are slower, they can be overwhelmed individually and you will pay a dear price as a result.

As far a 'different techs compare'... there isn't really what I'd call 'alternative' tech pathways... you merely build as many research facilities as you can, as fast as you can and then switch back and forth between the applied sciences to obtain the next 'cheapest' tech available to grab. You don't want to focus on obtaining a tech that has expense of 4000 research, when there are a dozen or so scattered across the applied sciences that can be had for the same expense.

There are some spreadsheets on the forum that cover the space available in each of the different species vessels, but focusing on that is a waste of time in my opinion. The program AI CHEATS and does so bad - the AI is very poorly designed, so there are many cheats the computer player uses to try to stay competitive against the human player. One of the cheats is that the computer players don't need food for their population, so that gives them a slight edge in planet development (the computer doesn't have to allocate space to farms). However, should you invade a planet, you must feed all of that population... just one way the program AI is poorly written to try to deal with the human player.

This program had a lot of promise, but the underlying design flaws really hold it back. I was hoping that the economy would've been massively redone, and the AI improved to enable many of the computer sides 'cheats' to be removed - but this never happened. The ground combat model was clearly 'layered over' as an after thought and is frankly pathetic (no technologies to change ground forces). If some of the concepts from Distant Worlds would've been implemented, this would've been a better product. Another MAJOR flaw is the hydroponic facility as implemented is a complete waste of time to construct - it produced NO NET FOOD. I did a edit to the info file for this facility to change its productivity to 1750 up from the stock 1000 (I think that is what is stock game). There is also a bug with saving the game with research facilities in the build queue. Have a research facility in the queue, make note of the amount of work needed to complete it and then save the game and exit the program. Reload the saved game and look at the queue for the planet in question - the work needed for completion has been cut by half. You can repeat this save and reload process and each time the work needed for facility completion will be cut in half each time... Now.... I did do an edit to another data file (regarding the expense for speeding construction on a planet), this may have created this issue - so if you can replicate it with stock game, then it is a flaw in the game and not caused by my editing a file.

This program had a lot of promise, but has been left more or less dead by the developer for the last 2 years (cutting his losses regarding poor sales maybe????). Why Slitherine charges $39.99 USD for this product is a mystery to me - it is only worth about $10 in my opinion. Have some fun with it, but you will be left disappointed in the end.

Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
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Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:21 pm

Re: Polaris Sector

Post by Darvin3 » Sun Sep 27, 2020 12:47 am

kepiluna2 wrote:
Fri Sep 25, 2020 4:28 pm
Trying to get into the game but there is almost no information available... Trying to determine what I should do with research... what should I shoot for etc... How do the different techs compare etc.
Economically you want to get to the four techs necessary to colonize all planets (floating platforms, plus the three types of atmospheric domes). The exact position on the tech tree varies from one race to the next; typically Impossible Construction or Complex design is where you will find your floating platforms and basic domes. Once they're researched, you should be able to see the other research options appear. In terms of military tech you want to get a good energy weapon and a good laser weapon. The default techs you start with at the beginning of the game are completely insufficient; they simply don't have the range to actually fulfill their purpose. Generally you want either heavy lasers or concentrated impulse lasers for anti-fighter support, and either the heavy ion cannon or the fireball accelerator (not to be mistaken for the ion cannon and fireball emitter, which are useless trash). All races get either get the heavy ion gun or the fireball accelerator (except for the Drill, who get both) and it will pretty much be your bread and butter for much of the early-mid game due to the combination of reasonably good combat stats, low energy cost, and low resource cost. Especially for fighters, keeping costs down is a huge part of ship design. Once you have those, you can start building decent military units to defend yourself. If you end up in a war before you have those techs, you're kinda screwed.

Generally I would fast-tech for the military techs first; delaying the ability to colonize other kinds of planets hurts, but having a military tech advantage this early means you can just take any planet you want from rivals, which allows you to establish good defensible borders early on. Overall I find it to be much safer to have a strong military that can take what you want, even if your economy is delayed, over just going pure economy and hoping your start location is good. I would also suggest modifying your scouts to have refueling modules so they can escort colony ships and military ships out to more distant locations. Not every race can manage it, but 50k units of fuel is the ideal for best early-game scouting results.

A lot of what Cassini says is a good idea, but I disagree with him strongly on a few points. The first is his ship design recommendations. For carriers, I would not bother with radar or with weapons; if enemies are getting close enough to your carriers for those to actually matter, then you screwed up. Radar is completely unnecessary in the early-game since there are no weapons with long enough range to actually take advantage of spotting enemies at a greater distance, and the reveal distance is too short for you to react and reposition. In big fleet battles where you can't protect your carriers effectively, you should retreat them after they've deployed their fighters. Carriers are non-combatants and should be built accordingly. I would include one laser just so they don't lose to freighters on auto-resolve, but that's it. If you want an anti-fighter corvette to support your fighters, something bristling with lasers does an amazing job; heavy lasers or concentrated impulse lasers chew through early-game fighters while also pretty much invalidating missile weapons if you have a few regular lasers. For 'gunboat' corvettes, I wouldn't even bother building them until I have the Heavy Ion Gun or Fireball Accelerator, which are just a massive increase in performance. Heavy Ion Gun and Fireball Accelerator can absolutely shred early-game units on approach; toss in a few lasers (regular and heavy) to guard against small groups of fighters, and this is pretty devastating in the early-game. You can go with heavy armor (sacrificing speed) and just win shoot-outs, or go with light armor and just stay out of range (though this won't work against pirates once they get to fireball accelerators and can match you for range). Throw in a laser weapon or two so you're not completely helpless against fighters, and these things can absolutely dominate the early-game. You can win wars outright with two or three well-equipped corvettes.

Second disagreement is with speed; it's absolutely possible to outgun the opponent with raw firepower. For some races, like the Drill, this is pretty much your only option due to the limitations of their ship designs. Other races, like Magellans or Sharatar, are well-endowed in terms of speed and can easily play the flighty hit-and-run game. If you are building slower ships, you do need to be more cautious, but extra armor and firepower is often worthwhile. I once again reiterate the important of fireball accelerator and heavy ion gun; if you don't have their superior range, you're going to have a bad time.

Third disagreement is hydroponics farms; by taking a food consumption racial bonus, they actually do produce a fairly sizeable surplus and can make small mining worlds completely food neutral or even net food exporters. If you don't have a food consumption bonus they are pretty negligible, though. You can get a little bit out of them with the food rationing edict (it lowers consumption more than it lowers output) and can make barren planets viable as agricultural establishments. With the food consumption bonus, though, hydroponics are very spammable and you can put them everywhere to great effect.

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