GalCiv III Economy 101

Posted on Monday, March 17, 2014

Building a powerful economy is more intuitive in Galactic Civilizations III than in previous titles while still letting players customize their empire’s productivity to the level that hands-on space emperors expect. However, we’ve refined how the basic population input is transformed into manufacturing, research, and wealth outputs. Read on for a detailed breakdown.

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One Slider to Rule Them All

Ever at the forefront of production-slider technology, Stardock has blown up every assumption and leveraged every synergy to bring an unbelievable game-changing innovation to the table:

A second dimension. To the Galactic Civilizations III production control. Minds: blown.

I joke, but changing the mess of sliders for overall/research/manufacturing into the unified production wheel (we really need a better name for it. The Production Palette?) is a huge improvement over the individual sliders of the past.

My favorite part of the production wheel is dragging the nexus around and seeing my empire’s (or colony’s, if I’m managing a single colony’s allocation) production numbers change in real time. I personally tend to start with an idea of what kind of credit surplus/deficit I’m aiming for and a general balance between research and manufacturing, and finding that sweet spot takes only a few seconds with the wheel.

Population = Production

Like most 4X strategy games, Galactic Civilizations III models empires around the production unit. Rather than mere settlements and outposts, we look at entire planets. Each colony has its own population, special attributes, and improvements that determine its output every turn. The way it breaks down in our game is all based on population first and foremost.

Each unit of population (a billion individuals -- ancient fanatics, semi-autonomous calculation nodes, bloodthirsty reavers, or something else depending on which race you’re ruling) produces one production point per turn. This point is then split according to your allocation strategy (see One Slider to Rule Them All, below), and modified by improvements like factories or research labs, planet specials like Ghost World or Bountiful, racial traits, and any other bonuses you might have.

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Numbers, Numbers Everywhere

The formula works like this:

(Population * AllocationPercentage) * (1 + ImprovementMod + PlanetMod + StarbaseMod + RacialMod) = Output

Let’s say we have a Drengin (no production bonuses) colony on a world with an Active Core (50% increased manufacturing), in range of a starbase with an Economic Ring (10% increased manufacturing/research/wealth), with population 10, with two basic factories and three labs (10% bonus manufacturing each) and an allocation of 30% manufacturing, 40% research, and 30% wealth.

(10 * .30) * (1 + .20 + .50 + .10 + .00) = 5.4 Manufacturing
(10 * .40) * (1 + .30 + .00 + .10 + .00) = 5.6 Research
(10 * .30) * (1 + .00 + .00 + .10 + .00) = 3.1 Wealth

Aside from this general concept, you can also dump your manufacturing output into research, wealth, culture, or growth at a reduced rate via planetary projects that boost those numbers rather than producing an improvement or starship directly.

Strategic Applications

Specializing planets is obviously a huge part of building an efficient and deadly empire with this economy model, but bear in mind that while research and wealth are abstracted to a global level (you just have the one research project at a time, and a single treasury), manufacturing is local.

Being able to crank out transports from multiple planets means you can keep your population growing faster during wars of conquest. Decentralized production of warships can be a huge benefit, depending on the map. New improvements you’ll want to build come up regularly as you progress down the tech tree, and those come with non-trivial construction costs as well.

The reduction in flexibility in an over-specialized empire can be a disadvantage as well. An empire of three planets where one is full of markets, another labs, and the last factories has little headroom to switch over to an emergency wartime economy – the industrial world is presumably already tasked with 100% manufacturing, and without factories the other colonies’ output will be stunted.

Coming Soon: Econ 102?

You now have the basic idea of how the economy works in Galactic Civilizations III. We haven’t even touched culture yet, or population growth, or the whole concept of improvement levels and adjacency bonuses. Frogboy is kicking around an idea that hasn’t been implemented yet and may come with some changes to the core economy equation too, so don’t be shocked if things change a bit before release.

We can’t wait to see what our Elite Founders think of the alpha when we open the doors to them on March 27.

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