Video Blog: Evolution of Sins II Pt. 2 - Game-Changing RTS Features

Published on Wednesday, June 5, 2024 By redskittlesonly In Sins II Dev Journals

Real-Time Strategy (RTS) games are undergoing a transformation, and at the forefront of this evolution is *Sins of a Solar Empire II*. This highly anticipated sequel promises to blend the strategic depth of 4X games with the tactical intensity of RTS, just as its predecessor, *Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion*, did so masterfully. But what exactly sets Sins II apart? Let's dive in.

A Hybrid Masterpiece: RTS Meets 4X
Is Sins of a Solar Empire II a classic RTS or a real-time 4X game? The answer is simple: it's both. This hybrid nature is what makes the game so compelling. By seamlessly combining the expansive strategy of 4X with the real-time tactics of an RTS, Sins II offers a unique gaming experience that appeals to fans of both genres.

In future posts, we'll delve into the new and improved features that transition from *Sins Rebellion* to *Sins II*, examining the four X’s—eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate—one by one. For now, let's focus on how Sins II enhances the RTS experience.

A Steady-Paced RTS
One of the standout features of Sins of a Solar Empire II is its pacing. Unlike many RTS games that demand rapid reaction speeds, Sins II offers a more measured and steady pace, particularly in combat. This allows players to switch seamlessly between tactical battles and strategic oversight without feeling overwhelmed.

Moreover, Sins II is a "Real-Time With Pause" game, meaning that in single-player mode, you can pause the game at any moment to ponder your next move. This feature is a godsend for those who prefer a more thoughtful approach to strategy.

UI & Map Navigation: A Game-Changer
User-interface accessibility is crucial in RTS games, and Sins II excels in this area. The game introduces several upgrades and new features to ensure smooth and satisfying gameplay. Information related to ships and colonies is now better organized, with detailed statistics easily accessible by holding the Alt-key. This reduces information overload for new players and makes it easier to find crucial data at a glance.

One of the most significant improvements is the new customizable Bookmark Bar. This feature allows players to add or remove bookmarked colonies or fleets at will, making it easier to quickly identify and manage your assets. The bar is broken down into different-sized blocks representing various entity types, with larger blocks for buildings or larger ships. Highlighting this bar with the mouse shows more detailed force composition information, and clicking it cycles through what each bar represents.

Complementing the Bookmark Bar is the Selection Window, which displays entities on a tactical level. This window is often the fastest way to select and command units in a battle, providing a more stable and easy-to-read interface compared to the old Empire Tree from *Sins Rebellion*.

Building Ships and Planetary Improvements
Sins of a Solar Empire II introduces an innovative fleet replenishment system, where ships can be constructed at an available production facility and then automatically piloted to the fleet, wherever it is operating in the sector. This eliminates the need to search your colonies for an available facility first.

The layout of various planetary improvements has also been streamlined, allowing for more rapid colony development. Commerce and mining are now integrated into the planetary improvements system, making it easier to boost your economy with fewer clicks. Orbital mining, unlocked later in the tech tree, ensures that claiming mineral-rich asteroids is well worth the effort.

The old Planetary Specializations feature has been replaced with a new system of Planetary Item Slots, allowing for greater customization of each planet. These items can add defensive capabilities, produce the new Influence resource, or grant significant economic boosts, depending on the faction you're playing.

RTS Controls: Modernized and Streamlined
RTS games live and die by their control systems, and Sins of a Solar Empire II has made significant improvements in this area. The game now features a modernized WASD camera control system and a range of remappable hotkeys for common and less common game commands. The arrow keys are also free to remap for left-handed players.

The Selection Window for detailed unit selection tools has been completely redesigned, reducing the need for menu-diving to find critical unit actions. Common ship behavior commands are now integrated into the standard ship command bar, while lesser-used advanced actions have their own pop-out window.

Sins of a Solar Empire II builds upon its predecessor with significant improvements in UI, controls, and overall gameplay experience. These enhancements make the game more accessible and enjoyable without compromising on depth or complexity, seamlessly integrating classic RTS and 4X elements.

Stay tuned for our next post, where we'll explore the first two of the four Xs: eXplore and eXpand.