Master of Confusion... errr Orion... 3

Whoever is in charge of displays at Electronics Boutique in the Manhattan Mall should be promoted because Master of Orion 3 was an impulse buy I made on my way to pick up Splinter Cell.

I’ve heard good things about all of the MOOs and this one is supposed to be the most in-depth and intricate incarnation. Apparently that’s true because I have no idea what the hell is going on.

I guess the people at Infogrames figure 99% of MOO3’s customers will be well-versed in MOO and MOO2. Both the manual and in-game help screens tell you what each screen is for, but there is no tutorial. There’s no “let’s get your n00b ass started on something simple” walkthrough like, say, Civ3.

Can anyone tell me what my first steps should be? What to keep an eye on? Where to go? What to do?

Well I tried to find a good walk through on the net, but was bombarded with about 20 pop ups from the first site I went to. My friend, you’re on your own.

I think I “kinda sorta” have a grip on what I’m doing. There’s an official message board linked to in one of our other threads here in which one of the moderators (one of the game devs?) lays out a “simple” plan to start off. This plan takes about a three Vb posts, all at apparently maximum length.

Heck, email me and I’d be willing to start over and share what’s going on and what I thought I was doing when I did it(not multiplayer, but just a general strategy [or a look into the mind of someone just as clueless]).

Of course, in my current game I have 5 other races; three of them are at constant war with me, and I’m playing the ‘nice guys’ so there must be something I’m not doing too well. I am, however, amassing the AU’s like they’re going out of style.

They really made an attempt to get rid of all the micro-management in this version, which over-all is a Good Thing, IMO. It allows for some truly vast, inter-stellar empires late in the game that don’t take half an hour of work per turn to keep running. However, it does mean that there’s simply not a lot to do in the first few turns.

Mostly, you’re going to be working on exploration right now. You started out with three spaceships: two Scouts and a Colony ship. Send them down every available star lane. When you get to a new system, check out the planets in it. The first thing you want to look for is desireability, which is color-coded. Sweet Spot is the rarest, and the most amenable to your species. Green is good, yellow is tolerable, but you won’t be able to do any farming and your population will be limited until you can terraform the planet. Avoid red class planets right now. Many planet will have Specials, such as rare gems, or electromagnetic fields. Some of these are good, some of these are bad. Unfortunetly, short of colonizing the planet, the only way to find out what these specials do is to look them up in the Readme file on the disc.

The first part of the fame is, as usual, a land grab. Keep building colony ships and colonizing new planets. Try and get a colony in every system you find radiating out from your home system. If a star only has Red class planets, put an outpost on one of the planets so your race has some claim on it, until you have enough tech to make colonies of Red planets viable. If you find a really sweet planet, but don’t have a colony ship yet, use the Send Colony command. (From the system view, click on the planet you want to colonize, click on the Forces tab on the bottom of your screen, and click Send Colony) One of your colony governors will build a colony ship and send it to that planet as soon as possible.

Your home system will usually have a bunch of good planets, too. Build a few SysColony ships (cheaper colony ships that don’t have a warp drive, and can’t leave the system they were built in) and start colonies on the better planets at home.

Your colony governors usually are pretty good at choosing what to build next, but if you need a specific ship as soon as possible (usually a colony or troop transport), you can change it yourself, although it’s a pain in the ass: double click on a star on the galaxy map. Double click on one of the planets. Click on the Economics pop-up menu, then click on the Military pop-up menu. This’ll let you set your own build queues. Until you’ve gotten a better handle on the game mechanics, you’ll probably be better off letting the computer handle this.

The only other thing I can think of that you really need to worry about first turn is espionage, and then only if you start off as a member of the Galactic Senate (which is randomly determined at the start of the game) If you’re a member of the Senate, on your first turn click on the Personnel tab on the bottom on the screen, select Espionage, and build a bunch of spies. Your opponents’ll already be trying to infiltrate your empire, and unchecked spies can do a lot of damage.

Hope that helps. If you’ve got more specific questions, I’ll be glad to do my best to answer 'em.

Regarding the lack of in-game documentation on planetary specials: a poster on the MOO3 message board has released a patch that adds information regarding planetary specials and magnate civilizations (and some other things, though I can’t recall what) to the in-game encyclopedia galactica so you don’t have to colonize a planet just to find out that “hostile flora” is a bad thing. It’s pretty cool, actually; within days of game launch, people are already taking the initiative and producing useful patches for the community. One guy has already started producing an entirely new interface “skin”, something the developers claimed would be quite a feat.

On the topic of habitability, it should be mentioned that 1 is better than 2; that is, “Green 1” is preferable to “Green 2” is preferable to “Yellow 1.”

Sadly, as I’ve said in another thread, I just couldn’t get into the game. I really wanted to like the game, but I think somebody on the MOO3 board put it best when he called the game Administrator of Orion 3.

If only I could figure out how to make colony ships. Alphagene, I played MOO and MOO2 for months on end, and this game has me baffled.

I have my game and strategy guide all packaged up for return to the store tomorrow.

Your standard colony ship is a Frigate class, IIRC. I’m not about to boot it up to look, because I can’t spare the three hours.

This means that you have to upgrade your shipbuilding capabilities before you can make 'em. The home planet can build them already, but your others will have to put up the “Basic Systems Module” and I think one more upgrade before they can even look at a Frigate size ship. You’re welcome to tinker with the shipyards to see if you can cram a colony bay into a smaller ship. I haven’t tried that, although a cruiser with 2 colonies lets me settle a Yellow planet in one swoop - once it gets there.

System colonies don’t have warp drives, so they’re only good for colonizing other planets in the system in which you build them.

You can’t send a colony out from another system besides home base unless you get a “Mobilization Point” built.

The same goes for Outposts, but those are usually smaller, cheaper, and eventually turn into Military DEA’s when they get settled in, which takes a bit longer.

Don’t take it back…it’s better than any of the previous MoO games once you get used to it.

Normally, the smallest hull class you can build a colony starship in is a light cruiser, and a colony system ship can fit in a destroyer hull (since it doesn’t need warp engines). HOWEVER, you can go into the Engine tab on the ship design and reduce the maximum speed of your ship to free up space, which allows you to build a colony starship on a destroyer hull and a system colony ship in a frigate hull. I make all the designs that you start with obsolete immediately and build these.

The first 50-70 turns is usually really slow - you aren’t really developed enough yet to attack other race’s worlds, and there’s not much to do other than explore. Things pick up later.

BTW, one of the important things to pay attention to, and sometimes micromanage, is the DEA arrangement on various worlds. There is no sense at all in putting mining DEAs on worlds that are low in minerals - just fill it up with industry, research, military, farming, etc., and import the minerals from a mineral rich world that is mined heavily. Of course, when your planets get more developed and bigger, you will want to remove some of the DEAs and replace them with different ones - for instance, if all you do on a planet is mine, you are going to have unemployment problems when the planet grows in population, and you’ll want to replace some of the mines with DEAs that employ a larger number, like recreation, research, or manufacturing.

Oh yeah, that reminds me, go to your Empire tab and change the Regional Zoning to specialized, otherwise the AI will try to make every world self-sufficient, which is inefficient and not necessary if you have a good variety of worlds.

Experiment with Dev Plans, they are really useful as well.

Argh. You don’t understand; HOW DO I MAKE SHIPS? I’ve figured out, sort of, how to design them. Now how the holy hell do I get a planet to build them and not change the build orders?

How do I import minerals?

How do I set up DEAs? I can’t even figure out what icons to click.

The problem isn’t the concept. It’s the interface. Nothing in the instruction manual or any online guide I’ve seen yet explains HOW TO DO THINGS. And of course there’s no tutorial in the game; God forbid anything be explained.

RickJay, allow me to quote one of my favorite authors of all time: myself.

The tricky part is that, after building a ship, it does not appear on the Galaxy Map. After construction, all ships go into your reserves, where they wait for assignment to a task force. All ship control is done on the task force level, not on the indivdual ship level. To deploy a task force, single-click on your home system. a small window with two buttons should pop-up, showing what task forces are in that system. The two buttons are Create Ground Forces and Deploy Task Force. Click on Deploy Task Force. Choose the size of the task force, which can range from detachment (one to three ships) to armada (fifteen to eighteen ships). Choose “Detachment.” You only want to send out the one colony ship. Next, choose the function of the task force: in your case, Colony. Add a colony ship from your reserves to the task force, and click accept. It takes one turn to assemble the task force, and then it’ll appear in orbit around your home system.

Minerals are imported automatically from other colonies you control that have a mineral surplus. If you’re consuming more minerals Empire-wide than you produce, you need to make more Mining DEAs. Go to the colony view of one of your colonies and click on the Planetary Infrastructure tab. This’ll bring up a window that shows you what DEAs the various regions on your planet are zoned for, as well as what structures or specials exsist on the planet. From here, you can add new DEAs, but only two per region.

Incidentally, has anyone figured out how to build DEA-specific improvements on colonies? I know how to set up a DEA, but once I’ve zoned a region for mining, but can I tell them to build me a Deep Core Extractor in that DEA, or do I have to wait for the colony governer to decide to build one for me?

Finally, there is an in-game tutorial. When starting a new game, turn on the “Master’s Notes” option. This’ll give you a pop-up box describing how each screen in the game works as you access them. You might also be able to turn this on in-game from the Options menu. The notes are very complete, which means they’re a bit over-whelming at first. But everything you need to kow about the game is in there.

Thanks, Miller. Having read it a second time I think I understand it. The rather illogical nature of the process confused me.

I guess my next complaint is “boy, what a convoluted, stupid process for doing something so simple,” but that’s a different complaint. Why it’s that complex to do something that in MOO@ took one tenth the effort I will never understand. At least now I get why ships weren’t appearing.

Oh, and once I find the build queues, how do I change them? I tried, to no avail. When I went back, they’d changed back.

They should not change back - the viceroy won’t override what you enter into the build queue, and never had for me. How long did you wait? It could be that they finished what you told them to build - as the queue goes down, it will frequently fill it in.

I agree that they really screwed up with accessing the build queues. You ought to be able to do it from the system view, at the very least. However, I like the Task Force idea, which requires that you build different sized ships for different functions, rather than just making endless Titans or Death Stars loaded with the best weapons you can afford. I just wish they’d been able to allow you more ships in combat. According the the instruction manual, Armadas orignally consisted of as many as sixty-four ships, but I guess they scaled it back at the last minute.

They did that for multiplayer, apparently having armadas that large was causing problems. People have already figured out how to increase the size of TFs though, if you look on the official forums in the Modding section you can find out how. There’s also some fixes for the AI building too many troops and such. At the rate people are going, we may not need an official patch in a couple more weeks.