Sins of a Solar Empire is often described as a 4XRTS game, or a game that tried to merge the action and tactics packed gameplay of a Real time strategy game with the deep, complex, empire wide strategy of a 4X turn based game. It's up to debate whether Sins succeeded in this goal, but I think all can agree that of the 4Xs of "explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate", Sins is much more focused on the exterminate than on the others. This mod seeks to give more depth to the other 3Xs of the game by adding additional game elements or refining the existing ones to reward players who give more strategic thought to the non-combat side of the game. Combat will still be the center point of the game, but players will find that the non-combat options available will be much more rewarding. Spying, exploring, sabotage, diplomacy, culture, and economic development have all been added or changed in innovative new ways. Regardless of what you think Sins is, this is the 4XRTS it should have been.

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Developer Explains: Phase Probes (Mods : Enhanced 4X Mod : Forum : Advice : Developer Explains: Phase Probes) Locked
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GoaFan77
GoaFan77 Master Modder
Jul 10 2012, 12:20am Anchor

Phase Probes were introduced in the Diplomacy and Espionage patch of Enhanced 4X Diplomacy. Basically they are meant to let Envoy Cruisers act as a type of unit Sins did not explicitly have: Spies in the style of games like Rise of Nations.

Phase probes are essentially modified mines used for observation rather than warfare. Like all mines, after being deployed from the Envoy cruiser at a choice of your choosing, they will be vulnerable to weapons fire for several seconds as they start up, so its best to deploy them away from hostile forces, especially flak frigates. Once they go online, phase probes will enter phase space and act as a "Remote Censor", allowing them to get all details of the planet they are at unlike every other mine in the game, including planet details like income and allegiance. Also unlike the TEC scout's probe, phase probes do not expire, they will last the entire game reporting on your enemies if they are not removed by a scout like any other mine. This can make them more efficient than constantly fielding scouts to observe crucial worlds, and also improves the scout's auto explore ability if deployed on planets you don't want them to visit (if you can manage to get one deployed at a pirate base you'll never lose a scout to them again).

While in Diplomacy the AI would sooner or later get around to removing the probes, phase probes often work best against human players. If put on the edge of an unimportant planet they are very hard to notice and many players maybe too busy to bother remove them even if they are spotted. I once had one of my friend's entire empire revealed through phase probes deployed by my envoy cruiser on its way to use espionage abilities on his homeworld, which allowed it to do a much better job as I had an early warning of when he was sending ships to try and get rid of it as well as possible escape routes.

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