Video Game / Distant Worlds

Distant Worlds is a vast, pausable real-time, 4X space strategy game. Experience the full depth and detail of large turn-based strategy games, but with the simplicity and ease of real-time, and on the scale of a massively-multiplayer online game.

Vast galaxies are made to order: up to 1400 star systems, with up to 50,000 planets, moons and asteroids. Galaxies are so deep, fun and immersive that you won’t want to finish the game... Build, expand and improve your empire endlessly. The galaxy is packed with life and activity. Encounter other empires, independent alien colonies, traders, pirates and space monsters. Explore star systems, asteroid fields, gas clouds, supernovae, galactic storms and black holes. Discover evidence of civilizations long since past, uncovering secrets about the galaxy's troubled history...

Enough of the sales pitch, Distant Worlds is a 4X game that innovates by using a macromanagement system allowing the AI to take control of as much of the game as the player wishes. It has three expansions (Return of the Shakturi, Legends and Shadows), each which improve the game so much that playing without them is like night and day.

An Updated Re-release titled Distant Worlds: Universe was released on Steam on May 24th, 2014. This release includes the base game and all of its expansions in a single package, as well as modding support and a historical scenario of sorts that covers the first war of the Freedom Alliance with the Shaktur Axis, made as an example of what can be created with the game's modding tools.

Distant Worlds provides examples of:

  • A.I.-Generated Economy:
    • The universe contains a vast and thriving private economy that the player cannot control. This economy does many things that other games abstract out. Examples include the transport of resources from one point to another (be this within your own economy or trade with other civilizations) and tourism. These are then taxed by the player's government. Therefore, it is financially beneficial to arrange things so that a private economy develops, even if you can't control the details. In addition, one can delegate large swathes of gameplay to the AI which will automatically manage it, or so that the AI will make suggestions of the player, asking for only a thumbs-up.
    • A major source of income comes from private entities using your unused spacedocks to build their starships. Interestingly enough when things go poorly and pirates and enemy factions start ripping into your empire, the constant need for private fleets to replace their losses can be a huge boon to your treasury. That is, until your economy starts to suffer for it.
  • All Planets Are Earth-Like: Averted. Many Planets can't ever be inhabited.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Most actions from fleet combat to invasions will result in many deaths. Not that you'll notice...
  • Artificial Brilliance: Distance Worlds is rather unique in the fact that you can have AI take over the entire game if you wish, and they tend to do pretty well.
  • Artificial Stupidity: That being said they tend to make quite a few dumb choices when it comes to high level strategy.
  • Asteroid Miners: Lots of mining stations will be built in the game and can easily become a source of conflict.
  • Barbarian Tribe: Space Pirates will appear if turned on. They can be bribed for information and protection among other things.
  • The Battlestar: It's possible, while accessing the ship designer, to add fighter bays to your ships that are larger than a frigate or turning your carriers into dedicated assault platforms, but at the cost of leaving less space for your equipment. This could likely result in a case of Crippling Overspecialization (see below).
  • Beam Spam: A large variety of beam weapons will insure this.
  • Big Bad: The Shakturi in the 1st expansion
  • Big Good: The AI in the 1st expansion.
  • Character Alignment: Your reputation affects diplomacy a lot (ranges from diabolical to heroic)
  • Civil Warcraft: Can happen to you or to computer players when a revolt occurs.
  • Comically Small Bribe: Can occur in diplomacy quite often due to the fact that AI limits their bribes to 20,000 max.
  • Command & Conquer Economy: Averted. The presence of a thriving, real (seeming) economy outside of player control is this game's biggest selling point.
  • Conflict Ball: The tensions between the races which hate each other (bugs vs humans) can seem like this
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Rather easy to do with the ship designer if you don't know what you're doing.
  • Death Ray: Appears as a superweapon obtainable from ruins and access to it can greatly shift the balance of power among races as you now can easily destroy ships with a One-Hit Kill weapon.
  • Deflector Shields: Every ship has a shield, unless it is designed very early (before shields are invented) or very badly.
  • Design-It-Yourself Equipment: Thanks to the existence of the ship designer system. Leads to a Lensman Arms Race.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The weapons that can do this are a Lost Technology installed in some desolated space hulks. During the modded scenario depicting the first war against the Shakturi, you can build them.
  • Easy Logistics: There is no unit limit to anything, except being able to pay for them.
  • Enemy Civil War: Can occur for a number of reasons, or directly caused by espionage.
  • 4X: But of course.
  • Galactic Conqueror: Naturally how to win a military victory
  • Glass Cannon: Very easy to do in the designer, just load up on things that go boom, and leave no room for shields.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: The Securans.
  • Gunboat Diplomacy: Other races will send you bribes even if they hate you, if your army is large enough.
  • Humans Are Diplomats: Humans get nice boost to espionage, diplomacy, and research.
  • Humanoid Aliens: Some races fall into this.
  • Imported Alien Phlebotinum: Lots of ships and other goodies can be found while exploring.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Very easy to pull off with enough money or resources.
  • La Résistance: Planets revolt if unhappy. This is more likely to happen if your government is autocratic, such as Military Dictatorship and Despotism. Also likely to occur if you enslave or exterminate other races in your planets.
  • Lensman Arms Race
  • Lost Superweapons: You can discover these game-changing weapons from ruins and have them reverse-engineered to fit into your bigger ships in order to prove your technological superiority.
  • Lost Technology: Precursor artifacts and temples.
  • Naming Your Colony World / Settling the Frontier: Once you have a colony ship settle an actual habitable world, you can name it to your personal liking.
  • Non-Entity General: Averted as of the expansion Distant Worlds: Legends, where civilization leaders can be interacted with much like other characters.
  • Pacifist Run: Can be done depending on the goals, in fact some races goals nearly require it.
  • Random Event: Many from exploring or just from normal play.
  • Single-Biome Planet: Besides the uninhabitable worlds such as the Gas Giants and Barren Rock worlds, the game has six habitable planet/moon types: Continental, Marshy Swamp, Desert, Ice, Ocean, and Volcanic. These follow the Star Wars example.
  • Space Pirates: If enabled, these can become troublesome factions that the player must contend with. They conduct the usual actions that pirates are known for: raiding, boarding, smuggling, etc. However, they can be bribed to provide protection for your empire and can be hired as mercenaries. If left on their own devices, they can eventually grow into an empire of their own and become an N.G.O. Superpower. You can also start the game by playing as a pirate faction yourself.
  • Tech Tree: Three of them researching at the same time.
  • 2-D Space
  • Universal Translator: Oddly enough everyone seems to start with them.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: Sort of. You can choose to play the game with all victory conditions disabled to maximize the immersion factor.
  • Worker Unit: Colony ships, freighters, constructors, and miners.