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Masters Of Orion III!

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  • Masters Of Orion III!

    Well, it's finally true, there will be a MoOIII. Seeing Apolyton doesn't have a section for MoOII, or MoOIII, I felt it my duty to let fans know that the Game Designer and the Senior Producer from MicroProse/Hasbro, are both currently asking for fan feed back and wish lists for MoOIII at the MoOIII section of Sid Games.
    Here is the post from the Game Designer Superfreud:

    "Hi all,

    I'm a game designer over at MicroProse/Hasbro. YES, we are currently in the early stages of developing MOO3. And believe me, the team is just as excited about it as all of you are!

    I can't tell you too much about our plans(or they'd have to kill me), but to respond to many of your comments-- like Zefyr's:

    "I have often wondered if the people designing the games ever played them for themselves. I certainly hope that Microprose capitolizes on the wonderful development resource that this place is: direct feedback from end users."

    YES, we are passionate gamers, just like you guys.

    And NO, your suggestions are not falling on deaf ears. We are actively reading these forums, and we are eager to hear your ideas.

    As a start, I'd be curious to hear what people's "top five" improvements to MOO2 would be. It's great to see such a volume of ideas, but if we had a manageable list we could address them much more easily."

    And here is the post from the Senior Producer Bill Levay:

    "Hey y'all!!!

    I'm the MicroProse/Hasbro producer for MOO3. As our esteemed designer has just said, we do read stuff... we are interested in feedback... and we do care about making the best possible MOO3 game. Allow me to tell you that MOO2 is one of my favorite games... it never leaves my harddrive*S*... I also have it on my laptop so I can play it when I go on the road. And I even wrote a saved game editor for the Mac version (I based it on COrion.)

    Now, I'm also going to give you my work e-mail address so you can contact me directly or privately or whatever. It is:

    The good news is that we are still at the paper (design) stage... no code has been written, so MOO3 is an open book. Let me also say that Hasbro is very committed to MOO3, so it won't be a project that just "disappears". The only bad news is that the game is still over a year away from shipping... sorry!

    I have seen some extremely good ideas on this board... and some ideas which just aren't practical, given the state of the software art. But we will all get to know each other... and our limitations.

    Besides what Superfreud is looking for, I am also interested in your opinions of what makes MOO2 more than "just another game" and maybe what really stinks in the game. To give you an idea of what I mean, two things immediately jump out at me: 1) Less is more. MOO2 is not a hugely complex game. It does not require you to micromanage every single nut and bolt you produce. I think this is good, because in my mind complexity tends to get in the way of fun. It also makes the game more approachable to people that wouldn't even have a clue this board exists. 2) The music and art. The way the art carries the theme of space exploration and conquest... the way the music evokes emotions without getting annoying. There's nothing worse for me, as I'm playing a game, than to be reminded I'm sitting in from of a computer, manipulating a mouse and keyboard. MOO2, to me, is so engrossing, that I forget just that... I get very involved in what I'm doing, and maybe for a few seconds I'm really some "Space Emperor" (or more likely some space cadet!) On the other hand, there are some really annoying things in the game, especially when you have 20+ colonies, and you have to go to each one to set some queue parameter... why couldn't there have been a global change ability (like globally putting everything into or out of autobuild.)

    Anyway... your voice is here to be heard... and the game *is* on its way (in your lifetime even!)

    Bill Levay
    Senior Producer
    Hasbro Interactive"

    Now, if this isn't enough to get any MoOII fans out there excited, I don't know what will.
    So if you don't want to join the Sid Games Forum, but you do have your own wish list you would like to contribute, please email Bill Levay at Please keep your wish list concise and well organised.



    p.s. I posted this same thread in the Off Topic section, but trying to be cute, I gave it the title of: For All The Cows, as a pun of the MoO abbreviation. So because I think the subject of this thread really deserves some serious thought and input, I posted it here also. Thanks again.

    p.s.s MarkG or DanQ: any chance of a MoOIII section at Apolyton?
    Voluntary Human Extinction Movement

  • #2
    MOO1 and MOO2 are one of my favorite games,
    and i'm waiting for MoO3 desperately!
    i didn't knew they were even making Moo3, thanks Bkeela for posting this here.

    Never to sidgames...

    So like bkeela said:"any chance of a MoOIII section at Apolyton?"

    ppl="I don't get it..."
    Kropötkin="i sort of said that some newbie must be a lunie. since he was from finland."

    Cthol; your sig just get's lunier and lunier everytime i see it

    ProvostB, are you my sister. .

    HA HA HA HA HA HA H(ãMing 1999, All rights reserved)

    i love ming! ProvostB

    <I>This is...A true example of a signature that is:
    1. Way too long
    2. Complete rubbish


    • #3
      MOO3 is quite different from Civ series games. But I certainly don't mind seeing a MOO section.
      But in this case, they should have MoM first. MoM is MUCH more similar to civ series games.
      If you want to have MOO, you have to have some similar games for this genre for extra favors. Spaceward Ho? Star Control (don't know if this series should be counted or not)
      I bet that Mark & Dan have not played MoO though.


      • #4
        I want it


        • #5
          Another vote for a MOO section in Apolyton - the first two are classics - actually it is interesting to see the arguments about which MOO is better.

          Possible argument for MOO section inclusion:
          The MOO series and Civilization/SMAC series are very much interconnected as both have drawn ideas and concepts from the other - I mean SMAC's unit workshop was clearly inspired by the designable ships in MOO. Also don't forget the MOO series nickname - Civ in space.

          I mean, we have a dinosaur section and that game might be real-time, so why not MOO?


          • #6
            I thought Dinos was a stretch... this is a site dedicated to Civ... having a MOO section would also open the gates for tons of other games that I'm sure Mark and Dan dont really want to/dont have the time to dedicate news pages for.
            "What can you say about a society that says that God is dead and Elvis is alive?" Irv Kupcinet

            "It's easy to stop making mistakes. Just stop having ideas." Unknown


            • #7
              Hi again everyone. Here is another post I have pasted from the Sid Games MoOIII section. It is from Bill Levay, and I thought you might find it interesting:

              To: All
              Subject: MOO3 Q&A w/Hasbro Interactive Producer

              I got an e-mail over the weekend with a number of comments. I thought I would share them and my replies with y’all. If the HTML shows through... I aplogize ahead of time (I want to believe the "HTML is On" note next to the input box!!!)



              Bill: I agree that MOO2 is nearly perfect, and I want to make sure that we don't fix what isn't broken, but still give people a new game as opposed to something like an expensive expansion masquerading as a sequel (the way some other games have done.)

              Comment: The building bonuses (like +1, +2, +3 to industry/science/food) was way over-done. It resulted into too big differences. The bonuses should not be cumulative.

              Bill: I'm not keen on the bonuses, if for no other reason that they are too blunt. They still need to be in there, but in a more sophisticated fashion. Also, I want to see more differentiation within the races... not all races should have available to them the characteristics which would make up the bonuses.

              Comment: Terraforming should have been a single process, not several steps. Just increase the cost.

              Bill: We have a very nice idea for terraforming. At this point, it is not an action you buy, but it is more of a function of a terraforming pool of money. In other words, you can invest money in terraforming. Once a planet is found that needs terraforming, and you decide *to* terraform it, it starts the process. As more planets get put on that list, you either add more money, or all the terraforming slows down.

              For the terraforming display (for each planet,) picture a square box, where the top of the Y axis is gaseous, the bottom of the Y axis is airless, the left of the X axis is cold and the right of the X axis is hot. Each race will have a different "position" on the x/y axis which suits their racial characteristics. That center-point will have a small circle (colored) which is the ideal climate. It will be surrounded by a different colored band which represents a livable climate but only with assistance, such as space suits, re-breathers, hot suits, etc.... The size of this band is determined by that race's life support technology. The more research is done in life support... the wider the band. Finally, that band will be surrounded by one more differently colored band... this is the terraforming capability of that race. A planet would show up as a dot, somewhere on the display. If it is a planet already suited to that race, it would be within the circle. If it is completely unsuitable, it would show up somewhere outside the circle. If a planet shows up outside the last band, it cannot be terraformed until that race does more terraforming research. Today, we might be able to live on the moon by digging into the rock and making air "bubbles". Today we *might even* be able to terraform Mars by introducing certain types of bacteria. Today, we would not be able to live on or terraform Mercury, until our technology is vastly improved. Terraforming is not an overnight activity (unless some technology is developed to speed it up!!!), so what the player would see on the x/y box, is that the dot (representing the planet, would slowly (as you terraform it) drift toward the circle (the ideal climate.) This also allows you to stop terraforming if you need the money elsewhere, or you may stop terraforming once it is within the life support band (but not yet perfect.) The decision is up to you.

              Comment: Little ships didn't have enough maneuverability to make them a valid attack approach. Since they took too many command points, no one built them in later games.

              Bill: I agree... smaller ships are completely useless once bigger ships are available. I want to make sure that smaller ships retain their relevance in some fashion. Much like in today's navies, cruisers, destroyers, patrol boats, etc. all have a place. I'm thinking that different ships will have to have different mission capabilities. Also, to take a page from Star Wars, they correctly stated that the death star wasn't built to fight off fighters. Smaller ships might have some protection due to their small size when attacking very large ships... this would also make escorts relevant again (for example.)

              Comment: Old weapons were useless after about three stages upward. The technology advance should also increase the damage, slightly, to make even the laser a valid weapon.

              Bill: I'm not sure I completely agree... older weapons are older weapons. A WWII rifle wouldn't (and shouldn't) compete well with today's automatic weapons, just on the basis on the amount of lead they can put out, let alone accuracy, speed, and ammunition capacity.

              Comment: The higher tech levels, like Physics V, gave too big a advantages to the extreme weapons. By building a 60 mauler device doom star, with all the improvements, I could kill 12 (no kidding!!!) super doom-stars in a single turn. The high-tech combat should be balanced so that the defense will match the attack.

              Bill: The "higher tech" levels in MOO2 were a bit of a cop out. In other words, they ran out of ideas and simply made the highest tech devices better and smaller. We may have to do the same, as the tech tree can't last forever. However, we may decide to make the technological advances a bit harder to achieve. Also, we can do combinational advances that require different "schools" of technology to be achieved before a new one is started (like Civ and AoE.) We do want to have some technologies be unique to a race, some, like FTL, should be universal. One problem with MOO2 is that the different races were not really all that different once you got past the racial picks.

              We also want to make sure that not all techs are available... meaning that there may be 50 possible "things" that comprise a tech tree for a race. Each game may then randomly pick 20 of them, and that is what you can research for that game. Now, you have to understand that this will require a LOT OF WORK. We'd have to come up with a lot of ideas, some racially unique... figure out how they would affect the game... modify them when they "break" the game... implement them... playtest them... find out they still "break" the game, etc., etc., etc.

              Comment: Diplomacy: MOO2 diplomacy was quite well founded. A few more treaties and options will just about cover it all.

              Bill: There's been a lot of talk about that, in both our design session and your own board. We're still talking!

              Comment: Races: Again, MOO2 really gave a wide variety of races. Not much to improve there.

              Bill: Races should be as unique as we can practically make them. Also, yes, I too would like to have different interface art when you play the different races, again we're talking resources... the art budget for games (and the time it takes to make that art) is one of the biggest items in game development.

              Comment: Space combat: Repetitive MOO2 really gave a full scale of options in it's strategic combat. I would NOT use any 3D combat, or at least a 2D plane in a 3D universe. No need to be homeworld, and say away from the excited children that wants 3D combat. MOO3 is not the place or the time for that. However, try to make ship capturing a more valid combat option. Also, allow specific sub-system targeting, and selecting tactics: evasive, offensive, etc. Keep MOO2 combat approach that each ship is apart, and not MOO stacked combat. Make ships more costly so that space combat will involve considerably less space ships (not 100+ like the AI has on the really late games) to increase strategy. Also, KEEP IT TURN-BASED, no RTS what-so-ever.

              Bill: Space combat is where we will have one of the biggest challenges... both designing and implementing. Everyone on the team has a different idea of what to do... and I get to be referee. It ain't gonna be easy. One thing you said, though, is very important. Space combat *should* be very expensive to prosecute. Having 100+ ships should not be the norm. MOO2 tried to control it with Command Points... but in my opinion didn't do a good enough job. Besides, having two 100+ fleets go into tactical combat against each other is a painful thing to do *or* watch. One thing is clear though... everyone seems to want to have control of each individual ship during combat.

              Targeting subsystems is cool, but very resource consuming from a design/programming point of view... how often will you use that option (especially in large fleet conflicts) before saying... the heck with it. It strikes me (my opinion only) as a gimmick, which you would quickly tire of. Again... we don't have all of the time or money on earth to do this game, so some compromises need to be made (or I get fired!!!) Anyway, I will certainly bring it up (I'm not going to ignore this suggestion) and see what the team says.

              2D, 3D, or a combination... that is the question. We still don't know ourselves for certain. I have to tell you, to the majority out there... and we do have to look at the majority if we want to sell enough to make our money back (for profit, don't forget,) eye candy is very important. Again, here we have to balance compromises. I, personally, am not fond of true 3D for *this* kind of game. It has too much of a stark, sterile quality. Besides, you'd need a hardware accelerator to bring out the full potential. True 2D, however, might date the game. There is a compromise though. We're looking at voxel technology. Essentially, it is 3D done with 2D sprites. No acceleration needed, you can create full, detailed aesthetic objects, and it won't look dated. I'll keep you posted on this one.

              The next point is X, Y, *and* Z combat. What to do, what to do. This is another area of discussion, if for no other reason that whole games exist just to cover this topic. Resources again. I may disappoint some of you, but I see no choice but to go with X and Y axes (like MOO2.)

              RTS or not... more discussion. I really can't comment yet, as we just don't have enough of a concensus on our end.

              Anyway, ships and ship combat is *certainly* one area we are going to be looking at carefully.

              Comment: Ship design: use modules, like Malkari. A much more realistic and easier to use system. Also, it's more logical to have one big cannon that 50 little ones on a battleship. Also, have more weapon enhancement options then the old game, and try to make each weapon have a specific, or a unique weapon enhancement. Therefor, every weapon, even the old ones, would still be useful. Weapons would be different in rate-of-fire, damage, accuracy and range. A note: shields need to be more powerful then the old game.

              Bill: As discussed above... ships design is important, classes of ships should remain relevant, and they should be as racially unique as possible (graphically as well as in their capabilities.)

              Comment: Tech tree: MOO2 tech tree was large, but there is still room for improvement. Increase the tech tree a bit further. Include more futuristic and weird technologies: Dyson sphere, ring worlds, organic ships....

              Bill: Already discussed the tech tree above.

              Comment: Galaxy map: like everyone else, I ask for a bigger galaxy. Yes, it might get out of hand and make TOO big a map. Still, having the option is always useful. I can always selecting a smaller map. There should be considerably more planet types (not 8-10, but around 20-30 different planet types), and a logical, scientific system forming model (taking the ship mass and type). If you can't think of any planet type, trust me, I can give you a full page of them Systems should have at least up to 10 planets, and consider putting moons in. Every race should have it's own best-fitting planet.

              Bill: Bigger is better, eh? Well, I think that "bigness" will be a function of RAM. In the designs we've kicked around, we're looking at the *capability* of more than five planets per sun. However, I'm not sure if that is a good thing. Or perhaps some (many?) of the planets in a system are way out of terraforming range until later in the game (as research goes up) and some not at all. My concern is bogging the player and the AI (don't forget the AI!) with too much micro management. Fewer habitable planets would justify a larger galaxy... and allow the game's databases to function without requiring half a gigabyte of RAM!!!

              Scarcity of habitable planets would also make space combat a bit more relevant. Combat (historically) usually occurs at choke points, crossroads, and key strategic locations. The reason is that they cause the largest effect with the most economical force. Combat in "empty" space, far from a planet, makes no sense... there's nothing to fight for. The only way combat would occur there is if two fleets "blundered" into each other... very unlikely due to the vastness of space and the "logic" of FTL travel.

              Comment: Plot element: enhance the story, and put more custom-made events in the game (like Antarans and Orion). Consider using scenarios and campaigns like Imperium Galatica 2. (on a small note: the guardian needs to be much more powerful, as the Antaran home planet).

              Bill: Yes, this is already on the drawing board. We want to have a story line (actually we already have a bit of one,) and we'd like to have campaigns, as well as the free form style already in MOO2.

              Comment: Winning condition: the three approach system was very good. However, the Antaran way needs to be much harder, and the diplomacy system needs to be more complex and full of politics (many more races then 8 for MOO3). Another winning condition might be nice: solving a puzzle (collecting artifacts from several planets), building a specific wonder, etc.

              Bill: Different methods of winning is also important. And, like other games, you should be able to combine them or not as you choose. *I*, personally, in MOO2, would like to go kick the Anataran's butt, and still continue on to enslave all of the races, change all gas giants and asteroids to planets, put a colony on each planet, build everything on all colonies, and max out all colony populations. I'm kinda anal that way! Actually, I can do all of the above, except deal with both the Antarans and the last colony of the last race. But then I get penalized (point wise) because I took so long!!!

              Comment: Colony management: For this, you can use the only good thing from Birth Of The Federation: put all the different colonies on a system into a unified menu and resource pool. Inter-planetary travel takes an insignificant time-frame as it is. Also very important: keep using the labor pool from BOTF, or something like that. By far more logical and more useful then the three generic worker types in MOO2. Another idea is using Imperium Galatica 2 system that each planet has a labor pool, and each building requires some labor to upkeep it. More developed buildings will produce more with less workers. Have more building types (unlike BOTF), and more planet-specific buildings (like BOTF). Have one-per-galaxy wonders (like BOTF), like Dyson sphere and the like. Very useful and colorful.

              Bill: Colony management is something else which we are looking at very carefully. Again, we're looking at uniqueness between races, and like the tech tree, we have to make sure that unique elements are relevant and don't break the game. Also, and very importantly, since it is one of my pet peeves about MOO2, I want to make sure that colony management can be handled "globally". The idea we're kicking around now is that you can manage each colony individually, you can manage the colonies of a star system "globally", and you can manage all of the star systems, "globally".

              Also, there was an idea on the board that I liked a *whole* lot. And that is to create a "preference" for what to build. As most of you probably do, I like to build certain buildings first. In the middle game, when most buildings are buildable, but I'm not strong or rich enough to let autobuild take over (actually, I have to be in a very big galaxy with a *lot* of colonies before I trust autobuild,) I have to specify *my* order, based on what *I* think is important. I have no idea what autobuild uses to determine priorities, but I tend to disagree... and most of you might disagree with me and each other. You *should* be able to RELY on autobuild (it should be an assistant to take over some of the micro management when you don't feel like doing it yourself,) and a preference list would do the trick.

              Voluntary Human Extinction Movement


              • #8
                My wish list for MOO3

                Intercertors/fighters should be a lot more stronger,agile and have longer range than heavy ship armaments(I used to use them for the decoration of my fleet not for winning)
                -this will encourage all the players to equip their ships with lots of point-defense weapons
                A reminder: in Star wars(new hope), the Death star didn't have engough point-defense weapons but huge cannons,etc. That's why X-wings and A-wings are used to attack.

                Wanna see big improvement on ground battle!
                (not too complicated like Star general but with reasonable enhancement)

                few ships can not effectively blockade an entire planet.(but they do in MOO2)

                building a unit at one turn from single planet isn't right. There should be lots of units to produce at single turn when the production capability is hugh(just like MOO1)

                Terraforming should be more difficult

                Too easy diplomacy(maybe bug?)in MOO2
                making non-aggression pact is always possible!(except for the stone-like race, forgot their name)
                1.Offer to trade-if fail->Offer to exchange tech(never fail)then offer to trade again(never fail)then non-aggression pact(never fail).
                2.Or Offer to exchange tech-if fail->offer to trade(never fail)then offer to exchange tech again(never fail)then non-aggression pact(never fail).
                This works 100% except for races who does not have diplomacy skills.

                For ship graphic: bigger size graphic for bigger ships. Big ships should have the apperarance of enormousness and grandness not cute little looking like MOO2.

                Civil war event for big empire

                More space monsters

                Minor/neutral empire or single planet to be conquered.



                • #9
                  Try playing on impossible if you want diplomacy to fail once in a while.
                  Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Obi Wan's apprentice.


                  • #10
                    Some ideas for MOO III.

                    Make the Antarans stronger - they are already strong in tech to start with but with limited production as they only have one system. So give them the ability (as a system on one of their larger ships, perhaps) to draw planets into their dimension as this would give them extra production.

                    Possible random events:

                    Use the unused races in the game as "galactic invaders" with their own fleets or as pirate fleets (in reality not the destroy-freighters random event) or as minor races (as in Birth of the Federation)

                    Also perhaps when you conquer Orion, it sends a signal and a fleet of Guardians return to reclaim their home planet some turns later.

                    Better ground combat is essential - one of the few areas that was still not satisfying in MOO II. Perhaps make a world of regions (say 5-10 depending on the size of the world) and fight for each region. You could have sea, air, tank, infantry and specialized units with upgrades in each unit type available by tech advancement.

                    Multiplayer possibility : multiple galaxies that eventually can link to each other. For instance, you can have two or more separate games each in their own galaxy but in the later game, the galaxies can face off against each other. The problem with this would be RAM and of course time.

                    Fleet battles that took place between systems would also be nice, could take place if two fleets pass within scanning range of each other.


                    • #11
                      Well, I've heard of this quite recently - but I'm delighted they're planning to do MOO III since MOO II was one of my favorite TBS games, including scarce gameplay mechanics lacking in Civ-Smac engine such as tough AI opponents at the end ( especially if your strongest opponent has developed lots of Doom Stars ) and significant difficulty levels ( the gap between Hard and Impossible is considerable...)

                      The only problem for me: time! That's because if Civ III, SMACx II, CtP II, and eventually MOO III ( to name only those I have in mind right now ) are to be released within the same year or so, well, I'll have to choose OR my girlfriend will.....

                      The art of mastering:"la Maîtrise des caprices du subconscient avant tout".
                      The art of mastering:"la Maîtrise des caprices du subconscient avant tout".


                      • #12
                        I'm a little surprised that so many of you found MOO II to be challenging. I very much enjoyed the game, but I was kicking it's ass at impossible fairly early on, and with a very high success rate. I think part of the advantage I had was choosing my race, and a lot of the rest was due to tactical combat.

                        One nice thing I learned fairly early was that you could be Hideous (or whatever it was that made everyone hate you) for free on impossible level, and it really didn't seem to have any sort of negative effect on the AI, who already hates you at that level. I also take Democracy, Creative and Subterranean, with minuses in ground combat (bomb 'em) and ship defense (I kill you first). I have had a few challenging games, but by and large the galaxy is my oyster.

                        He's got the Midas touch.
                        But he touched it too much!
                        Hey Goldmember, Hey Goldmember!


                        • #13
                          Sikander this sounds alot like CIV MGE for that nasty ai who hates you as soon as you start....... i like MOO2 as well and wouldn't mind a forum for it......
                          Boston Red Sox are 2004 World Series Champions!


                          • #14
                            MOoII was fairly easy. After you have colonised all the valuable solar systems right from under the feet of all the other races, victory is assured. But what made the game challenging for me, was my obsession with trying to preserve all the alien races. For instance: if the Meklars were on a galatic annhilation spree, I saw it my duty to recover the soon to be extinct races, colonise their original systems, and have them as part of my grand "collection". If a race got wiped out before I could get to them, I would nearly feel like giving up the game. But even this becomes easy when you simply bully inferior and weak races into giving you one of their star systems.

                            Voluntary Human Extinction Movement


                            • #15
                              MOO2 is like Civ2—it's only challenging when you limit yourself by deliberately choosing truly handicapping negative characteristics. So I never play Repulsive and use either -50% growth or a Food/Prod/Sci penalty. Playing as a Democracy can be a handicap as well, forcing you to build more defensive spies.

                              I find that MOO2 fails to capture the "feel" of managing a space empire. I appreciate that this kind of game has limits due to database size, but space isn't a rectangle with a few dozen stars in it. There are other ways to model stars and planetary systems. But then perhaps the game wouldn't be MOO3 but something new. Nobody wants to do anything new, right?

                              The population model is just way too small. After establishing a decent 10+ colonies one can build up a new colony to max pop by transporting one from each established planet. If you loose a planet to the Antarans it's mainly the structures you miss; you'll have no difficulty evacuating half or more of the population.

                              Population limits and growth should be log scale intead of linear, e.g., Terran limits in the tens of thousands (of million-being pop units). Then it would take appreciable time to build populations of new colonies and population losses would be devastating.

                              Production should be better scaled, too. It shouldn't cost only a few hundred points to terraform or build a frigging planet!

                              I have no real interest in BOTF for the same reason, and probably won't be interested in a MOO3 that doesn't address the sense of galactic scale.