Stellaris

Gigastructural Engineering Dev Diary: Aeternum, the Fallen Empire at the Galactic Core

stellaris 1 - Gigastructural Engineering Dev Diary: Aeternum, the Fallen Empire at the Galactic Core
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Greetings! It is I, the "Gigastructures guy" of questionable sanity. I've been wanting to make dev diaries for a bit, so I decided to try it out, as it might be useful to get some good feedback on upcoming content. Plus, it'll be useful if people are ever confused about the new features.

Now, let's get to the cool stuff. One of the most common complaints I get about Gigastructures is that, well, it is overpowered and makes the game too easy. While a lot of players do enjoy the "power-trip" given by the mod, a significant proportion of the Stellaris playerbase just doesn't like it when the game is made even more trivial than it already is. And I fully agree!

This is why I've decided to amp up the mod's "difficulty" by adding new crisises and threats to the player (that can all be disabled if you don't like them, of course), so that building planetcrafts and systemcrafts doesn't feel like a "win more" button and will actually help you overcome these new threats.

Therefore, the next addition to the mod will be none other than Aeternum, a civilization residing in the Galactic Core. Now, how will that work, you may ask? Well, right after opening the Galactic Core, there's a chance to find, well…that's it's
unknown - Gigastructural Engineering Dev Diary: Aeternum, the Fallen Empire at the Galactic Core


already inhabited!

These precursors will reside in their
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little cluster at the galactic core, which consists of an ancient
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Birch World surrounded by systems filled with ruined megastructures, and guarded by
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relatively powerful fleets, with one such fleet in each of their system.

Now you might think that's pretty scary, but fortunately, they're still a FE and thus won't care about the rest of the galaxy for a long time.

That doesn't mean you should sit idly, though! One of the core mechanics related to Aeternum is the
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Aeternite Intelligence Agency, which will be created a few years after Aeternum shows up. This Agency, accessed via a button at the bottom of your screen, will enable you to collect
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Aeternite Technological Intel. This Intel represents your understanding of Aeternum and its technologies, and will increase the damage your ships inflict to them.

Now, for the better part of midgame, there will be a few opportunities to gather this intel (including buying it from…someone), but you won't really be doing much with it, as actually accessing or fighting Aeternum will be far beyond your reach.

The fun will start a few years before endgame, where you will get a somewhat alarming notification that
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Aeternite activity is increasing. To nobody's surprise, yeah, they are
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indeed awakening. And when they have 20 to 30 million fleet power, that might be a tad worrying. You'll be able to track just how long you've got using the
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Agency.

But don't worry! They are old and decrepit, so they've got glaring flaws that a clever civilization can exploit in order to
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delay their awakening. You will now be able to undertake
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Special Projects to exploit flaws in Aeternum's technology, which will impede their awakening efforts and effectively delay it.

These projects will grant you some intel, and most importantly, allow you to undertake
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Operations, that, once completed, will
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delay the awakening by a set amount of time (not final numbers, by the way). It'll also inflict some maluses on them.

But sadly, they can't be delayed forever, and eventually they're bound to
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Awaken. When that happens, they'll declare war on the
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entire galaxy at once, including any other FEs, AEs, and the angry cats, if they're somehow not dead by then.

Now, that's when your intel will come in exceptionally handy. Provided you've got enough, you will be able to
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reverse-engineer some of their stuff, and even acquire their Planetcrafts if you manage to blow them up. Acquiring intel is pretty straightfoward, each Aeternite ship has a 1% chance of
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giving some.

Aeternum will receive a bunch of extra ships when awakening. Actually declaring war on them before they are completely ready will force them to awaken immediately, and will reduce the amount of ships they get.

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Aeternum will use
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Psykofabricators built around Shrouded Worlds to produce more ships, and their Birch World will slowly make more as well. You may recognize that the ships are from Garyx's
?id=2130588320 - Gigastructural Engineering Dev Diary: Aeternum, the Fallen Empire at the Galactic CoreAscendant Shipset, which I have used with permission, and I highly recommend you check it out.

Now you've got a few tools to deal with them (including bringing down the giant shield around the Birch World), and hopefully you will be able to eventually push their fleets back, and
capture their juicy
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Birch World. Doing so will destroy whatever remains of their empire (they will not have other planets, as they will turn all worlds they conquer into Shrouded planets)

And is that it? Do you now have an overpowered precursor Birch World ready for you to use?
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Of course not! This Birch World is no regular Birch World, and it'll take time and effort to properly understand how to use it. From now on, Aeternite Intel will be capped at 70 (instead of 30), and will no longer provide combat bonuses as Aeternum is gone.

You will have to collect more intel in a variety of ways in order to learn about Aeternite technology, and slowly remove the negative modifier on the Birch World. One way to do so is by clearing
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Decaying Hyperstructure blockers on the Birch World, which will also remove that nasty modifier once it's all fixed up. You also have a 30% chance of gaining 1 intel per year as long as you control the Birch World.

But the best way to get Intel will be by conducting what is known as Expeditions. Because, as is turns out, the Birch World is
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gigantic and Aeternum only occupied about a percent of it.

As such, you'll be able to mount these
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Expeditions to survey the Birch World's surface and try to learn more about it. You will be able to
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customize the expedition's composition, which will affect how well it performs.

Expeditions on the Birch World will always bring at least some intel (depending on its size), but they can also run into a
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variety of things, from lost civilizations to giant oceans.

Their statistics will determine how well they fare against these random encounters. Encounters can have a "Complexity" value, which determines how hard investigating is, and having higher "Practicality" will help increase the likelyhood of succeeding.

Similarly, some encounters will have "Resilience", which represents their effective offensive capabilities, countered by packing a lot of "Strength" on your expedition.

Integrity simply represents the "health" of the expedition, and will naturally decay by one every month. Some encounters might
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decrease your integrity, and if it drops below zero, the expedition will be forced to return, only bringing back a fraction of what it was supposed to find.

As you do more expeditions, you'll gather more and more intel, allowing you to progressively remove all the penalties on the Birch World, and eventually
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completely remove them.

And well, that's basically it for Aeternum. Once you manage to fully understand it, you'll have complete access to the Birch World's capabilities, which is undoubtedly a valuable asset.

I can already hear the players who use ACOT and other powerful mods snickering at the thought of crushing Aeternum like a bug, but worry not! Much like our favorite feline friend, they come with
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difficulty options, so if you're one of those people that stack way too many OP mods on top of each other…
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yeah, have fun!. Of course, that's the highest difficulty, they're much more reasonable with their default settings, with only about 20M starting fleetpower.

As added teasers, here are custom UIs for the
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Stellar Particle Accelerator and the
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Lunar Speculorefractor, which will enable greater customization and flavor for these megas.

And well, that's all for today! If you have any feedback regarding these upcoming features, feel free to let me know. The update should come in within the next week or so.

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