Andro 50 Diary

I’m playing seriously again for the first time in years, and am going to log my thoughts here as they come to me. Feel free to add yours as well, but please no fighting over in-game conflict. This is for thoughts about the game itself.

I’ll transcribe this later to individual #ideas threads if need be, but none of this is any commitment to development work; it’s just documenting my thoughts so that I don’t forget.

This is more of a player’s diary than a dev thing, although I’ll add dev thoughts where relevant.

Joining a family that “will die”

I joined literally the bottom ranked family before the round started, and at the time had only 1 other family member. I joined in reaction to a conversation in Discord about some other player “holding out” because they saw no point in playing in a bottom family. In their words:

That’s us there at the very bottom.

I questioned their reasoning for not joining because to me, as a player, my favorite rounds have been as an underdog. Being at a disadvantage isn’t a reason to not play: it’s a challenge. It’s playing the game on hard mode while others play on easy. It’s an opportunity to test your skill. That’s not to say that the game isn’t imbalanced, but rather that playing in a bottom family is only as futile or rewarding as you choose to make it.

So, I joined as a Rev in #7684 not knowing how much I actually planned to play. I landed with BigTexas, voted him as leader, and got on with some initial CF builds.

BigTexas went inactive, I took leadership and eventually removed him. As a side note, the Inactive Handling Updates work quite well if I do say so myself. :ic_winky: This is my first time actually benefiting from this feature and I’m happy that we made this change.

Anyway, I got another family member who unfortunately also shortly went inactive, and I removed them too. I was prepared to just go the whole round solo, doing my best and trying to avoid stepping on anybody’s toes. A key part of this is paying attention to where other families explore, and using that information to mitigate risk in my own expansion efforts.

As I got on with my explo strat I was very happy to find that IC is still incredibly fun to play. The core game loop holds up very well, although there are obviously some pain points, both in terms of game balance and in terms of the website interface. This is nothing new but playing is always useful to see it “on the ground” in the same way that players do.

Although my fam is still ranked near the bottom in NW, I was able to get us to top 10 in size at one point. Although that isn’t as impressive as it once was, for a family that “will die” we’ve held up decently so far half way into the round. I at one point made it to top 5 in size, and am still actually not doing too bad. If I were to get raided and killed off right now I could honestly say I had a good round, even in a bottom family.

As a side note, #7678, the other “doomed” family is doing even better and currently ranked 10th in NW as I type this. This happens all the time; families that are a “sure thing” crumble and families that have “no chance” rise.

Players make a big fuss about equal starting numbers, and I do get that on the surface it seems very important. Yes, of course we want equal starting sizes, but we’re struggling with player count and that isn’t always a guarantee so we have to do what we can with what we have.

With that said, numbers themselves aren’t necessarily the key factor in this game. A highly active duo can absolutely destroy a semi-active trio. Even a skilled solo empire can take on a larger family and make a difference in the round. They won’t necessarily win #1 in nw or size, but what they get out of the experience is 100% up to them as it is for all of us.

I’ll say it again: numbers aren’t everything, and IC’s legends are legendary specifically because they fought against the odds where others weren’t willing. Any challenging scenario is ultimately an opportunity.

I’ve since had 2 more empires join my family and am now happy to have some teammates to help out, which has given me even more reason to play. If nothing else I can take the time to prepare newer (or rusty) family members for future rounds.

If you’re only playing for rank, you’re missing out on all the depth the game has to offer. Yes, we all play to win at the end of the round, but the best part of IC has always been what happens during the round.

Anyway, that’s my rant for today. I have a bunch of other thoughts I want to share but I’ll spare you my further ramblings for now. :ic_happy:


I especially like this part- perhaps a good mentorship deal would be a bonus to IC’s growth.


Only “slightly” rusty…
Seriously though, I hardly remember anything but the fun playing it in the past and playing in bottom families was always a nice challenge and incredibly rewarding if you got semi active or inactive players to start working together and rise to the top

Edit: man, i have too many aliases here


The is the first time I’ve played this game in years. I used to play this game quite a bit in the day so I still know what I’m doing. I joined this round about a week ago and I think it’s quite fun. I joined the round late, but I had help from my leader which really helped kickstart it for me.

So far we have not been attacked and we are both growing steadily. I’ve got no complaints.

I play this game purely on mobile and it feels pretty good. Initially I was hoping I had a couple more favorite tabs at the top, but I’m getting used to only having 3. My main issue is that I wish I could see more information on the planets page all at once. It would help me out with planet management a lot, but honestly still feels fine to play.

Theres so much quality of life stuff like being able to toggle unexplored planets on the map, mass expoing, having the one time race change, being able to see when fam members last logged in, all really helps with the experience. Kudos to pie for all the upgrades.


So like a few others, this is my first full round back in like 18 years. When I started the round, I had setup some of the family stuff but forgot the need to vote for myself (i think back in the day you automatically voted for self so never checked). While I was asleep right before the round started, a second player joined and voted themselves Leader and built some stuff and prepped a couple Expo ships to go out. Typical start until they never logged in again. So here I was stuck in a family with an Inactive leader thinking to myself the round was just starting out crap. Finally after I started an SS build I had a 2nd active player join me. I wiped out the inactive leader and got a nice gift for doing so :slight_smile: After about a day we managed to decide on banker and RSS role and got kinda settled into those positions.

Everything seemed to be getting better for the round. Turns out the “rss player” was actually at best a semi active player which was slightly disappointing. So here we are fighting down in the bottom couple ranks, trying to grow but easily outpaced by other alliances so making no real headway.

Then joined our new attacker and to my happy surprise, hes as active as I am. So now we start actually making real headway. Boosting revenue and income, portals, laser traps, troops, etc. Now we are closing in on the top 5 and are hoping to finish there. For an alliance barely in the rankings for “May Survive” we are pushing for a solid position and continuing to surge forward while keeping an eye out for an active attacker to join us next round so that we can have a solid returning to IC round (both myself and current attacker are returning after extended round)

Overall it has been an enjoyable round but hopefully we can keep forging forward while preparing for an even better round next round. Looking forward to it :slight_smile:

1 Like

Turn your phone sideways…


1 Like

Since my last post, I’ve started working more with my new family members, which has shown me some obvious shortcomings with the game’s user experience.

IC requires too much communication for mundane tasks

I don’t think the issue here is necessarily related to forums or chat either. Those sound like obvious places to think about but I think there’s something deeper than that: giving players better means to communicate non-verbally.

As an example, right now if a family member wants to build some units but doesn’t have enough resources, this is what the whole experience looks like for the family:

  • Requesting Empire

    1. types out the units they want

    2. sees that they can’t afford them

    3. copies and pastes the full resources they need, or manually does the math for only the remaining cost

    4. messages individual players in the family (or messages family Discord) saying that they need aid

  • Sending Empire

    1. sees the message for aid request

    2. goes to the family page

    3. goes to the aid sub-page

    4. chooses an aid recipient

    5. manually types an amount for each resource type

    6. clicks “Send Aid”

Here’s what it could look like:

  • Requesting Empire

    1. types out the units they want

    2. sees that they can’t afford them

    3. clicks a “request aid” button that creates an aid request specifically for the remaining amount

  • Every Family Member

    1. sees in their HQ a notification that “Hey, your family member ___ is requesting x, y, and z”.
  • Any Family Member

    1. can click a button to help fulfill the request in part or in whole, with a single click.

That’s half the number of steps to perform a basic and common game task.

There would be no need to send a message ingame, in forum, or on discord. It could all happen directly within the game. There are similar improvements that could be made for planet trades, coordinating infra builds, and all kinds of other things.

As a player I find it frustrating that so much of the time I spend playing IC isn’t actually playing at all: it’s managing communication overhead for things that should be supported directly in the game. These ideas for improvements aren’t groundbreaking, but all this time spent adds up in a huge way.


One other area I think requires way to much communication is “Hey Pie, how much rss you got on hand and what are you building”.

It would be nice if this information was provided a beat neater so that me as a banker can see what everyone has to either send aid or prepare a jump schedule without having to wait for my rss or attacker to get on to fill me in on what they are doing with their day and the money i send them. We see what they produce, why not what they actually have.

Part of the reason I have a channel in our fams server just for uploading a spreadsheet with details which depending on the player may become annoying to them (I just filled out details on 120 planets all at once and it was a bit tedious (going to see if i can streamline from a copy and paste.

1 Like

… We see what they produce, why not what they actually have.

I agree that it would be nice to have a neater view of what your fam members are currently holding. But just wanted to surface this in case you weren’t aware:

If you go to your Family Council page, you can reverse engineer how much each of your family members has of each resource (except for perhaps one very narrow edge case - e.g. <99).

Take any of the bureaucracy or decay values and multiple by 200. Then add current tick net income of that gc / res. Barring any aiding, destroy ops, or spending that tick, you will have a rough estimate on what that family member is sitting on.

This is how I know when and how much to aid my attackers if we need to upkeep their fleet for any reason without being asked.

Still, removing that calculation step would be a user friendly move. :partying_face:


That is actually hilarious. I always lock the rotation on my phone and I didnt think to rotate it. Thanks guys!


Additionally to this, is it worth looking into a mechanism that allows those planet trades intra-fam to happen easier; without the need to beat someone’s defences.

E.g. just like with the DPAs, you could select planets for trade and this would automatically recall stationed units and disable any lasers/portals; which would mean i could send 1 tran 2 solds to my attacker’s planets that they have marked as “for trade” and then the lasers are activated for me, without me having to build bombers etc to preserve lasers.

This could be open to abuse perhaps, I can’t think how but someone will think of something haha.

1 Like

Actually I wasn’t necessarily meaning the rss they have but rather what they have fleet and buildings (built and building) wise like you can see on your council page. Would be more beneficial as it is a bit harder to tell what someone has built rss wise while trying to take into account planet bonuses and tech (if anyone actually ever researches rss tech)

The round is over in about a week, and I’ve been hit with a sense of apathy. I haven’t had a bad experience by any means, but with modern rounds being shorter it feels like we’re only just getting started before it’s about to end (more thoughts on round/tick length in a different post).

I’m also feeling the limitation of our family’s size. Although it’s far from “pointless” to play I can very much understand why people lose interest. Even if I’m not winning, I still want to feel like I’m making an impact in the game universe, and right now it doesn’t really feel that way.

This makes me question some things about how IC works at its core. Why do I feel so “stuck” even while I continue to explore and grow?

Why can’t I freely and formally work with any empire I want?

The family system isn’t a bad thing, but I think it is limiting. Why can’t I formally join forces with whoever I want? Why can’t I send an aid package to a friendly empire across the galaxy? Why can’t I send support units to a smaller empire to help fend off a larger attacker?

These types of things would give players additional purpose. I’ve been watching #7676 sitting most of the round underneath us, presumably inactive. I can’t help but wonder what happened. They were coordinated enough to get a theme together, but then what? Could I have helped any of them at some point, either with aid, military support, or even a practical way to give them temporary bases as either safe havens or strategic portals?

IC is a military strategy game, not a sports game. Limiting player groupings to starting teams strikes me as a limitation worth questioning. Our old formal alliances helped with this, but even then why limit it to just alliances between families? I should be able to play with whoever I want, however I want.

What we have now is an unnatural restriction and I think it’s part of the reason that players can feel so hopeless.

The game is designed in a way that makes it practically impossible for small players to receive any support, and I think it has always been this way.

Why don’t I have more control over my empire’s abilities?

IC has a lot of features that are strangely designed but seem normal to us now. The most clear example to me is the speed bonus: why is it a race bonus? It makes no sense that speed of travel is based on any biological factor that I have to commit to for the whole round. Travel speed should be a research bonus.

While we’re at it, why are ops race based at all? Wouldn’t it make more sense for something like “Place Nukes” to be a part of some tech tree? Same for droids and tax offices.

Sure, we have custom races which helps a bit, but it’s a pretty big bet to guess at the start of the round what you think you’ll be using despite not knowing what will actually happen during the round. Having the option for an evolution solves this somewhat, but it would be so much better if empires could incrementally adjust as the round goes on.

Abilities should be learned, not predetermined. Not having control over this is super frustrating because I feel stuck with a race I needed at the time and my only option now is to replace it entirely instead of building upon my empire’s existing abilities.

Why aren’t there more balancing forces in the game universe?

We need more galactic events with a wider variety of impact. If large families can’t be reasonably challenged by smaller families, then we should at least all be equally challenged by a more hostile game universe.

The power disparity is far too large.

We should also make more of the math involved in the game variable between rounds, so that the players who benefit from hyper-activity and tight coordination aren’t just running the same strategies ad infinitum. This will help level the playing field and foster more competition between old players, new players, and rusty players alike.

It’s not that the game should force an equal outcome either. Rather, the game right now is rewarding players who can play most actively and communicate most effectively, which sounds like a good thing but is happening to an extreme.

I’m coming across players who know how to play the game but can’t compete because they don’t have an active enough family. On the other side of that, it’s possible (if not likely) that some players are doing well because they’re able to be online throughout the day to execute a plan that somebody else came up with.

If you’re lucky enough you can “win” in this game by just being online and being told what to do, without ever having to make any decisions for yourself.

I don’t say this as an insult to any players either: I’ve been in those families too. In the rounds where I ranked my best it was largely because we were able to be online more than other families. The game has been flawed in this way ever since players figured out how to min/max family race strategies. The decline of self-sufficient play brought with it the rise of hyper-activity over skill.

If IC is to survive in the long term, it absolutely needs a counter-balance to this situation. We can’t force people to be online more, but we can and should negate some of the benefits of hyper-coordination. That’s not to say we should eradicate or even discourage teamwork, but we need individual players to have more power if we want players to stick around. We need to reduce the power gap.

It’s just not viable to compete as a player that is new, rusty, or not lucky enough to land in an active family.

I don’t think these problems are due to the declining playerbase either. I think the game has always been flawed, we just used to have the luxury of having enough players to hide the symptoms.


I was thinking the other day that been able to see what other players have would be a good idea, so I can see how much iron or GC the family currently has.

But then I thought maybe it would just cause a lot of arguments / fall outs / disagreements and control within the family, such as.

Hey you know I’m jumping why have you not sent that 200k Iron?

Hey you know I’m jumping why have you held back that 1m GC?

Hey last tick you have 500k Iron now you only have 450k what have you built?

Hey 2 ticks ago you logged on why didn’t you send the aid you had then?


1 Like

Happy to see my comments around activity related success is being considered in a way I couldn’t initially think about.

I think, as a whole your entire post is 100% leaning towards the radical changes I mentioned in another thread in order to help advance and change the game.

One of the issues is that the main premise of the game was thought up and designed like 25 years ago now (which is insane if you think about it). There are seemingly outdated practices and ways of playing the game which we should easily be able to fix or even; reimagine entirely whilst borrowing from other successful games.

For example; the AOE and other game tech tree idea is good. Also, why can’t I use the portals of my family members or allies? Make them more expensive but anyone can use them… that kind of idea. It’s also like the idea of having family banks made an official feature; making your like society economy. Obviously it could be abused and one person could just decide to take everything but we could figure something out.

What about the idea of advancing ages which unlock certain technologies. E.g. you start at like; the dark ages (in relative space terms) and you evolve by doing certain things… maybe exploring or researching etc; and go up the ranks in terms of evolving to new “ages”. Just something radical to shake things up.

BUT - this all takes a huge amount of time, planning, consultation and dev resources which you don’t have so; I don’t know where we could possibly go with this unless it’s incremental changes to reduce the reliance on success = activity.

1 Like

That’s true about dev resources. I’m ignoring that for now and trying to think mostly as a player, but after this round I’d like to revisit all of this and see what can reasonably be chunked out.

The key will ultimately be in prioritization.

On a related note, I am recruiting for paid dev help again. Fingers crossed. :crossed_fingers:

1 Like

A quality of life for me would be being able to automatically station units after they are built. Then I can auto station figs so they dont get run down when I cant login in time.

Also I remember we used to post enemy infiltrates on the fam forum. How do we share that info now (I havent infiled yet so I dont know if anything changed)

1 Like

I was thinking this, it would be cool if you could almost choose which planet your units are built on.

Or rather than centralised building of units, like in other games and platforms you build a “infantry centre” that builds infantry; or you build a “hangar” that builds air units - stuff like that.

Expanding the types of units would be cool too. So like

Heavy military e.g. tanks or mad Star Wars style walkers
Different types of infantry (long range)
Drones (ooh political)
Guided rockets
Recon ships for scoping out cores or entire systems defences/buildings… like an advanced Planetary Infra

These would vastly change the conflict experience and also the defensive setup of planets. add a bit more strategy to it all.

Probably just going off on mad tangents but there’s so much potential for stuff to do and change

1 Like

I definately think there is alot of things that could grow the game and I will definately keep an eye out for any posts on those to be active in the feedback and will make some myself, but that said, if pie has some time for some quick changes, I think we definately need to focus on if there is some quick code changes (editing a variable type thing) that we can implement before the next round starts.

For sure I think some of the following:

  • An alteration to pop growth or larger initial pop on planet
  • alteration to building times and costs to reflect a 33% reduction in round length is a good idea to look at
  • Tick length is also a potential option to reduce instead of alterations to building times. This would also allow less active players to do more when they are actually online. Only issue is it still leaves the same activity divide as players online more will be able to do more as fleets and buildings will go faster.
1 Like