Monthly Archives: December 2016

Astronest Review

While playing Vega Conflict, I saw an ad for another game – the oddly-named “Astronest: The Beginning“. That was before the brains behind Vega Conflict stopped offering coins in return for watching ads.. but that is another story.

I gave the game a whirl, and was delightfully surprised. While the initial concept looks similar to Vega Conflict, the execution is far different. For one thing, building ships and research are instantaneous, but use up a number of turns (called Access Points or AP), which accumulate over time. The player’s AP limit depends on the level of their “nation”.

Your Nation is a collection of colonized planets, Heroes (people that you recruit) and fleets. Each planet has facilities that generate Gold, Minerals, Research, Energy, Fleet Production and Cosments. Each facility can be upgraded for the requisite amounts of AP, Gold and Minerals. Upgrades are instantaneous, but AP takes time to accumulate, which amounts to the same thing. There is also one other currency – crystals – that cannot be mined, but may be received as a reward for missions or purchased.

Each planet may have a Minister – one of your heroes whose Governing skill gives the planet a bonus. Other heroes can be assigned to fleets (Destroyers, Cruisers, Battleships or Motherships). A planet can be operated without a Minister, but a fleet cannot go into battle without a commander. All heroes level up with experience.

The Good: Compliments

  • Boots fast – under twenty seconds, far quicker than Vega Conflict or Star trek timelines.
  • Runs on lower-end hardware than VC, and does not require a persistent internet connection.

The Bad: Criticisms

  • The game does a good job of explaining the basics of combat, but leaves the player floundering when it comes to Trons, training, LDs, cosments, colonizing other planets and lots of other stuff.
  • All of the female heroes (heroines?) are slim and pretty. I am not sure how I feel about this. I despise political correctness as much as anyone, but when you say “female head of a planetary government”, I think Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel or Madelaine Albright, not some gorgeous Blonde babe. Having said that, I do not want to see old, unattractive women introduced to the game for the sake of political correctness, but at the same time I don’t want to see people who don’t look the part. There are some who may consider that attitude sexist; I don’t care – and that will be reflected in my purchasing decisions.
screenshot_2016-12-29-07-34-07Hi. I’m Kayla. You can like, take me to bed, or, like, put me in charge of your planet. Like.
  • On a similar note, half of the men look effeminate or gay. These are the less experienced officers. The other half, the most experienced S-class heroes – have the mature, grizzled look that one would normally associate with experienced fleet commanders.
screenshot_2016-12-29-09-51-04My Gaydar is going off. And the guy in the middle looks like George Lucas.

The Ugly: Errors, mistakes, and Bugs

  • Poor Grammar: e.g.: when fitting out a fleet, it says “Equipping” instead of “Equipped”.
  • Spelling errors: Nuff said:

 

screenshot_2016-12-29-11-59-28This. Should. Not. Happen.
  • In the Heroes screen, a Planetary Governor is erroneously described as a Fleet Commander.

Bottom line: A highly enjoyable game that I will continue playing, at least for the foreseeable future. Whether it will supplant Vega Conflict is yet to be seen.

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The Blame Game

Or: Why your side lost

I take no pleasure in gloating, but yet again, I forecasted the outcome of the election several months out. A month before the election I listed the reasons as to why I could not vote for Hillary.

As I said before, the biggest losers have been the media. How did they manage to get it so wrong? They did not see this one coming because they put their faith in polls instead of the American people. I can’t say that I blame them; it is difficult to see see Main Street USA from Fifth Avenue, New York, New York, but it was obvious to me.

Six weeks on, we have only seen more of the same. Bill Clinton, who went up three notches in my estimation when he said that Obamacare was “the craziest thing in the world“, went three notches back down again when he blamed the election result on “Angry white men“; these are presumably the same “Angry white men” who handed the house majority to the Republicans in 1994. So deeply do they believe in their ideology that it never occurred to them that any sane person would rationally disagree with them. Even now, with the writing on the wall, they are still in denial.

hillarys-fake-news

Hillary, and the Democratic party in general, have blamed the election on everything else. But this is not the case. There is a simple reason that the Democrats lost.

They fielded a poor candidate.

This is nothing new; the Republicans fielded poor candidates in 2008 and 2012, and lost. The Democrats fielded a poor Candidate in 2006 and lost.

Elections are not won, they are lost

I have already articulated why I could not vote for Hillary; nobody has yet shown up to refute my arguments. I rest my case.

Vega Conflict: Timing is Everything

Vega Conflict is not a game for the impatient. Ships take days, or even weeks, to build. You can only build or refit one ship at a time. High-level fleets can take months to put together. Most of the top players have been in the game for years.

Similarly, base modules take time, and you can only build or upgrade one module at a time. Fortunately you can also equip another module at the same time. None of these items can be queued; new build/upgrade/refit operations have to be queued manually.

Fleet Bay 11-12.png

Planning is crucial. Here are a few hints and tips to help you:

  • While one ship is being built, no other ships can be refitted. Make sure that you have all refits done before starting a long build. It would be a shame to waste time and resources by stopping a ship build in order to do a quick refit.
  • Always plan ship builds and refits so that they end when you can quickly start off another one.
  • Always know the next thing that you are going to do with your fleet bay, and time builds and refits so that they end at a time when you will be in the game.
  • All operations but ship repairs will have a 10% alliance help reduction; if you are in an alliance,
  • Watch for Ship build/refit/repair “discounts”. These are usually found during events and civil wars, and usually only last for a short period of time, sometimes only hours. Any operations started during that period usually get the discount until they are finished or canceled. For instance, if there is a 25% discount on ship builds, a ship that takes ten days to build will only take 7.5 days. The 10% Alliance Help discount will then knock off another 18 hours, bringing it down to 6 days 18 hours. Saving you more than three days time on the build. This is the one time when building a ship fully-fitted is a good idea, as you will get the discount on the whole lot, while subsequent refitting will lose you the 25%, as it will not be available when you refit.
  • Set an alarm if necessary.