Endless Space is a 4X simultaneous-turn-based strategy game developed by Amplitude Studios. It was released July 4 2012 for the PC, and August 25, 2012 for the Mac. The game was available for play from an alpha state, and players were able to track the game's progress and give feedback to the developers through the GAMES2GETHER initiative.
The first intelligent life in the universe was the Endless, and no other race grew as large or traveled as far as them. Through the millions of years of evolution and advancement, the Endless developed self-replicating nano-machines to aid them and maintain their society. This is known as Dust. The Endless rely heavily on Dust, creating information networks, infrastructure, and even entire spaceships and habitats out of the ubiquitous machines. After the Endless disappeared, the knowledge of the creation and manipulation of Dust was lost, but their powers remained. Dust thus became a rare and valuable resource, sought after by the races of the galaxy for its many uses. But as these races grow and develop, the secrets of Dust might return to the universe...
In Endless Space, players control one of up to eight different factions to expand into space and achieve galactic dominance. Using faster-than-light technology to travel between star systems, players colonize and develop planets, meet other factions, trade or battle with them, and finally achieve victory through warfare, economics, science, diplomacy, expansion, or score.
Planets are the center to an empire in Endless Space, and each system can have up to six planets. There are five tiers of planets, based on livability and colonization potential. On top are Class M planets that do not require additional research to colonize, while at the bottom are Gas Giants and Asteroid Belts that are uninhabitable without major work. Colonization options are unlocked through research, and lower tier planets can only be colonized when the required technology is discovered (except with the Sowers, who can colonize any type of planet from the start, albeit with a penalty). Later in the game, empires can research terraforming options which can turn poorer planets to better ones.
Planets can also have either positive or negative anomalies that improve or hinder the planet respectively. Negative anomalies can be reduced or even eliminated through Anomaly Reductions, which are made available when the requisite technology is discovered.
Economy and Approval
Dust is the currency of Endless Space and is used to maintain the player's empire, pay off allies (or enemies), and buy ships and improvements. An empire's Food, Industry, Dust, and Science (FIDS) production comes from its owned systems and planets. Each planet type produces a certain amount of FIDS per population point on that planet, and can be improved through planetary exploitation and system-wide improvements. The system's total FIDS production comes from all colonized planets and any bonuses from the system improvements it has.
FIDS production is also affected by system and empire-wide approval. Happy systems gain percentage bonuses to FIDS, while unhappy systems receive penalties. System approval is governed by empire tax rate, availability of luxuries, planet type (worse planets suffer from happiness penalties), happiness improvements, and empire expansion. Empire approval is an average of each system's approval weighted by population.
Research is essential to an empire's growth, and is affected by Science production from the empire's systems. There are four independent research trees in the game. The Exploration and Expansion tree unlocks better colonization and terraforming options, the Applied Sciences tree boosts research and unlocks Strategic Resources, the Diplomacy and Trade tree improves empire economy and gives more diplomatic options, and the Galactic Warfare tree unlocks better weapons and system defenses.
At the end of the Applied Sciences tree is an expensive technology, "Pan-Galactic Society," that is required for the scientific victory. The cost of the technology can be reduced with three other technologies, each at the end of the other trees. Each technology research reduces the cost by 30%, to a maximum of 90%.
Spaceships in Endless Space travel via Cosmic Strings that link systems together. Movement speed is based on the ship's hull and engine module (if any), and can be further improved through research and hero abilities. There are also Wormholes that require additional research before ships can pass through, but travel time is instantaneous. Later in the game, empires can research technologies to allow ships to travel outside of Cosmic Strings, but at slower speeds.
Players can customize their ships, picking the hull class and adding modules within its weight limit. There are 6 hull classes in the game, and all factions get the same hull types, albeit with different names:
The bigger ship hulls are unlocked through research, and provide additional hitpoints and higher weight limits. All ships can carry all modules within its weight limit.
Ships cannot be intercepted while traveling between systems, and all battles occur in a system. Combat in Endless Space is real-time, but instead of controlling the ships, players choose from a set of tactical cards to play in three phases of battle: long-range, medium-range, and melee. There are five types of cards: Offense, Defense, Engineering, Sabotage, and Tactics. All card types have a counter that counters another type of card. All factions start with the same cards, and new cards are acquired either through research or attaching specific types of heroes to the fleets.
There are three types of weapons in the game, each with their own defense counterpart. Kinetics are countered with Deflectors, Beams with Shields, and Missiles with Flak. Each type of weapon is also most effective in a certain phase of combat; missiles in long-range, beams in medium-range, and kinetics in melee.
System invasion is handled abstractly, with invading fleets taking down a system's hit points per turn based on fleet strength versus system defense. Fleets have to be in invasion mode for invasion to occur, and are blocked by the presence of enemy fleets in that system. When the system's hit points reach zero, the system's ownership is transferred to the occupier, with no change in system improvements and colonized planets. However, the system will be in revolt for a few turns, giving massive penalties to FIDS production.
Heroes are special characters that are used to administer systems and command fleets, and provide bonuses based on their specialty. Each hero has 2 classes of specialization (out of 5 total), and gain experience either governing systems and engaging in combat. The 5 classes are:
- Administrator: provides food and industry boosts
- Adventurer: provides fleet and system sensor boosts
- Corporate: provides system trade and research boosts
- Commander: provides fleet combat and invasion boosts
- Pilot: provides fleet movement and combat boosts
Each hero has a set of starting attributes, which determine the amount of bonus they provide to their system or fleet. Labor improves food and industry, Wit improves Dust and Science, Offense improves fleet weapons, Defense improves fleet defense, and Melee improves fleet invasion potential. When heroes level up they gain a skill point which is used to unlock new abilities and attribute boosts.
In addition to the 8 base factions provided with the game, players can also create their own faction for use in any game. A faction requires use of 1 of the 8 base faction's affinity (which also determines the leader portrait and ship design), but any other traits can be picked and switched at will. However, the combined traits of the custom faction must be within the point limit of 65.
The Amoeba are a race of ocean-borne cellular organisms, with high mental capabilities and emotional intelligence. They are able to separate their consciousness from their bodies, and are primarily seekers of self-fulfillment and intellectualism. Amoebae are unusually open to other alien races, and seek to control their environment through the delicate art of persuasion and diplomacy.
The Amoeba gain bonuses to diplomacy and alliances, and have no major weaknesses. They are most suited for a diplomatic victory.
A locust-like race that consumes world after world, Cravers were created by the Virtual Endless to destroy the Concretes. They are purely hunter-gatherers, with no concept of agriculture and domestication. Cravers seek only to extract all nourishment from a planet, sucking it dry before moving on to another. Their primary goal is to feed their hive, anything else does not matter to them, even other races.
The Cravers gain bonuses to combat and resource exploitation but can never engage in diplomacy with other factions. They prefer to win via militaristic means.
The Hissho are a proud warrior race, descended from avian ancestors. Evolved largely on their own, they are a hardy and aggressive people, with a long history of warfare and domination. The Hissho value honor and valor in combat above everything, and are quick to draw swords against opponents that insult them. Their innate sense of flight gives them unparalleled ability in dogfights and space travel.
The Hissho gain major bonuses to combat but suffer from weak research capabilities. They like to win through military power.
A sole United Empire trillionaire, tired of everything, left on a colony ship to to a newly discovered world. There he discovered ancient Endless cloning technology on the planet's moon, which he used to create an entire race of servants and followers in his image, Horatio. Still unsatisfied and slightly deranged, Horatio decided to spread his glorious and beautiful image to the rest of the galaxy.
The Horatio gain bonuses to food and population but their ships are more expensive to build. They aim to win via expansion and wonder victories.
Initially called the Resistance, the Pilgrims are a group of intellectuals and explorers that split from the United Empire and created their own society with the help of the Sophons. They worship the Endless and their long-gone civilization, and wander the galaxy in search of the Endless homeworld, Tor, hoping it will provide answers to their origins and the meaning of the universe.
The Pilgrims gain bonuses to trade and hero experience while suffering from weaker ships. They are most suited for a diplomatic or military victory.
A race of inquisitive scientists and philosophers, the frail Sophons value knowledge above even their own lives. They evolved independent of Endless genetics and their rate of evolution is higher than normal. Sophon society thrives on scientific progress and seeks answers to their questions through careful analysis and surveys throughout the galaxy.
Sophons gain bonuses to science and ship movement but have higher improvement costs and poor system defense. They seek to win via scientific means.
Created by the Endless to terraform a planet, the Sowers spent thousands of years transforming a barren, unlivable rock to a lush paradise. When they finished the Endless had disappeared and, left with no further orders, they decided to terraform the rest of the galaxy in anticipation of the return of the Endless. They will continue on their Calling, ignoring whatever population that might already be living on that planet already.
The Sowers gain bonuses to industry and colonization but travel slower than other factions. They are most suited for wonder or military victories.
The humans of the United Empire are aggressive industrialists and businessmen with great knowledge of economics and industry. Ruled by Emperor Maxmilian Zelafas, their interests are dictated by Corporations who seek money and profits, often at the cost of human lives. They see the galaxy as something to be exploited, and are happy to do so with military and economic force.
The United Empire gains bonuses to Dust production and ship HP but uses more Dust for hero abilities. They are most suited for economic and military victories.
Under the GAMES2GETHER initiative, Amplitude Studios plans to engage the community and allow them to steer the game's development. Users gain GAMES2GETHER points by signing up to their community and purchasing the game on Steam. These points are then used to vote on game design choices put up by the developers or the priority of features put into the beta. The more points a person has, the more their votes count. Developers also track their development on the Endless Space website, and occasionally discuss design choices with the community through its forums. Users could also play early alpha and beta versions of the game and give feedback to the developers.
|PC Minimum||PC Recommended|
- OS: Windows XP SP3/Vista/Windows 7
- Processor: Core 2 Duo Processor or Equivalent
- Memory: 2GB RAM
- Graphics: 256MB DX9 Compliant
- DirectX: 9.0c
- Hard Drive: 2GB HD space
- Sound: DirectX 9 Compatible Audio
- OS: Windows XP SP3/Vista/Windows 7
- Processor: Core i5/i7 or equivalent
- Memory: 2GB RAM
- Graphics: 512MB DX9 Compliant with PS 3.0 support
- DirectX: 9.0c
- Hard Drive: 2GB HD space
- Sound: DirectX 9 Compatible Audio