[Feedback] Galactic Constructors III

Posted on Sunday, April 5, 2015

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When I play GalCiv2, I use a mod I made which, among other things, reduces the number of constructors needed in a game, and I only build resource starbases (Morale, Military, etc.).
(In GalCiv2 (standard, not modded), there is already a lot of constructors to be built if the player want to play the game the way it is designed.)

In GalCiv3 there is resources to harvest everywhere...
(It's just like an avalanche of constructors...)


So, I decided to play a game to test the "Request Constructor" feature.

To do this, my goal was to harvest all the resources and precursor relics on the map, and to improve the starbases.

Game settings:

Galaxy size: Medium
Type: Tight Clusters
All others settings to game default.
Playing Iconian against 7 major opponents.

I only used the "Request Constructor" button (except for the first constructors to build the starbases; and I also stole some "requested constructors", on the fly, to build some starbases (initial constructor) instead of directly build them at a shipyard).

I built only 1 Economic starbase for my homeworld (just to do it).

I bought mining starbases (resources and relics) from opponents (less than 5, if I remember correctly).

I had 6 shipyards sponsored by 7 planets to build the constructors (for a total of 13 planets at the end of playing; 6 planets flipped by influence and not used to sponsor shipyards).

I did not built warships (I bought them from opponents (more than 600 warships, if I remember correctly), and thus, I had to manage them (trade for them, and principally to send them to defend starbases, shipyards and planets)), and I built only 5 freighters and around 10 colony ships.

I harvested 66 resources (Elerium, etc.) and less than 10 precursor relics.

So, I built and improved 51 mining starbases for the resources and the precursor relics.

I was also unable to harvest 1 resource, due to others AI starbases positioning (Military and Economic starbases), preventing me to do it (more on this later).

I did not finish the game due to frequent crashes and the fact it was not possible to reload different save files; and it's not necessary to do it anymore.

I would have certainly winning the game, before finishing to improve all the starbases at maximal functionality.


Positive points:

Less clicks are needed to build a constructor; 1 click in the starbase screen instead of 2 clicks in the shipyard screen; and with the high number of constructors needed in the game, this is already a lot of clicks avoided.

No need to remember at which starbase to send the constructor (manage the constructor when it's built), all is done in the starbase screen; this is a big steps forward.


Negative points:

No way to choose the type of constructor the player wants, it's always the default game constructor "up-to-date" to the latest technologies, not the one the player designed for each particular task in the game (short range constructor, long range constructor, rapid constructor, local constructor, etc.).
(Also, the game allow to stack multiple constructor modules per constructor, but the player cannot choose them.)

No way to choose the shipyard where the constructors are built, it's always the nearest shipyard, even if it is busy and other shipyards build nothing currently.


Quoting myself from this topic, point "12) Starbase.":

The "Request Constructor" feature is a step in the right direction to reduce micromanagement, thanks for this feature.

But, there is no way to select the constructor type you want to request (it's automatically the one generated by the program with the latest amelioration available).

And, I have specifically designed a particular type of constructor to upgrade local starbases, so, without the last engine (not needed for this task), or/and without lots of Life Supports (not needed for this task), or/and without lots of Navigational Sensors (not needed for this task).

And, I cannot select the shipyard, located 3 stars systems away, that could fulfill this role perfectly, instead of the automatically selected nearest shipyard, the one who is completely saturated by the construction of powerful combat ships for at least 40 turns.

So, basically, it's good enough as a temporary solution to help reduce the micromanagement while testing the game; but not efficient enough to seriously play the game.

I take this opportunity to include a link to a topic with suggestions to help reduce the micromanagement in the game:


Another problem is that the player must go to each starbase when a constructor is available to select which module must be built.

In some way, the "Request Constructor" feature reduces the micromanagement a little, but merely move it to another location (from the shipyard screen to the starbase screen (1 click instead of 2 clicks)).


During this game, more than 80% of the playing time per turn was devoted to the management of constructors and starbases.

This is really too much.

Less than 5% of the playing time should be devoted to the management of constructors and starbases, I would even say much less than 5%.

What I mean is, it's a strategy game, not a management game.

I want to reflect when I play the game, not do repetitive and uninteresting tasks.

Basically, I want the playing time to be oriented to this:

Should I attack the Drengin now while they are still weak, but also take the risk that the Yor attack me if I do it, because they really seem to be on good terms...

...or should I try to first make an alliance with the Altarian, so, if the Yor attack me, the Altarian will join me in the fight...

...but at this time, the Drengin will be much stronger...


This planet seems to be the right one to build my manufacturing capital, but it may be a little too close to my potential enemies...

...this planet has less possibilities, but it is much less exposed and easier to defend, if necessary...

...I can also build a military starbase to defend the planet... ...ahem!, I will not do that finally...


Should I research more techs for the planet developement...

...or should I start looking for weapon techs... the Iconian start to become exasperated with me...

...or should I buy some warships from the Altarian, they have a lot of warships, and we have good relations, thanks to our trade routes...

...or perhaps should I try to make the Drengin attack the Iconian as they have similar military power... ...and at the same time, both of them will not look at me...

Instead of this:

Build a constructor at this shipyard...
Send a constructor to this starbase...
Build this module at this starbase...
Repeat 1000 times... ...and more...

In the current state of the game, the constructors win.


It should be simple.

This should work this way:

Set the starbase location on the map (construct the "empty" starbase).
Select the starbase model to be built.
Set the starbase to auto-build (optional depending the player game style).
Select the shipyard(s) dedicated to upgrade all the starbases on the map when needed, and set them to auto-send constructors (optional depending the player game style).

Now, we can concentrate on the strategy.


So, the U.I. for constructors and starbases management must be greatly improved, to free certain players from uninteresting and repetitive tasks (for them), but also be made in an optional way, to let certain players more inclined to micromanagement do it.

Quoting myself from this topic:;3527748

What is really significant from a strategic point of view is "WHERE you put a starbase" and "WHAT the starbase DOES", not the management of constructors to build it.

Perhaps a game option would be desirable for the game, "Auto Upgrade Starbases on/off".

So the "strategist" and the "manager" players can play the game the way they want.

The "strategist": I want this types of starbases here, here and here.
The starbases are automatically built without his intervention.

The "manager": I got my new technologies to upgrade my starbases.
So, I have 200 starbases, I need 900 constructors to upgrade them all at this time, I have 97 shipyards... ...hmm... ...let see how I will organize it all.


Some paths to be explored to solve the problems.


Add a quick list in starbase screen.

Quoting myself from this topic, point "8) Starbase.":

Add a "quick list" for the next modules to be built in the starbase screen (it can be located below the available modules list). This allow the player to rapidly select some future modules to be built for the starbase, they are automatically built when a constructor is available (a sort of Manufacturing Queue for starbases).

So, there is less need for the player to go to each starbase when a constructor is available.


1) "Auto Upgrade Starbases" mode.

2) Add the possibility to create starbase models.

Points "1" and "2" from this topic:


With the "Request Constructor" feature, in the current version of the game.

"Manual" function:

Add the possibility to select the type of constructors (the one specifically designed by the player to do this), in the starbase screen.
"Select Constructor Type" button.


Add the possibility to select the shipyard(s) where the constructors are built (the one(s) who will fulfill this role perfectly), in the starbase screen.
"Select Shipyards" button.


Add the possibility to create and load starbase models (point "2" from this topic:


Complementary Automatic function:

Add a "Starbase Auto Request Constructors" button (on/off button), in the starbase screen.

When doing this ("Starbase Auto Request Constructors" button set to "on", so in automatic function mode), the "Select Constructor Type" button, and the "Select Shipyards" button become inoperative (there is no need as it's automatic and the choices are made at the shipyard(s)).
(The "manual" settings (for the "Manual" function) are conserved, not erased.)

The player loads a starbase model (point "2" from this topic:


Add an "Auto Build Constructors" button (on/off button)(relative to the starbases with "Starbase Auto Request Constructors" set to "on" only), in the shipyard screen.

When doing this ("Auto Build Constructors" button set to "on", so in automatic function mode), the player selects the type of constructors he want to use for the task, in the shipyard screen; and then he activates the auto repeat function in the shipyard list, so the shipyard auto build the constructors when there is nothing else to build (the player can add prioritary ships at his will, and it works as currently), and send them to the starbases where constructors are needed.

The program dispatches the constructors in a smart way, and is smart enough to pause and resume the building of constructors when needed (point "1" from this topic:


Other complementary paths.


Reduce the number of starbases needed.

Currently, the starbases are divided into several types, (Military, Economic, Mining, etc.).
This artificially augments the number of constructors needed to build them.

The constructors needed to build the initial starbases ("empty" starbases), and all the constructors needed to protect the starbases (all the modules needed for the defense of the starbase for each type of starbase).

With only 1 unique type of "universal starbase", the same starbase can be Military, Economic, Mining, etc., all types at the same time.
This will reduce the number of constructors needed to only 1 for the initial starbase, and only 1 time all the modules needed for the defense of the starbase.

This will also make a starbase a much more strategic target, as the loss of a starbase becomes more important.


Make the starbases more "powerful".

(All numbers are for explanation only.)

Instead of allowing the building of 10 starbases with each module with 10% bonuses, allow only the building of 5 starbases with each module with 20% bonuses.

Change the cost of the modules to reflect this:

10 times 1 module with 10% bonuses at a cost of 10 per module, becomes:
5 times 1 module with 20% bonuses at a cost of 20 per module.

This will almost cut by half all the constructors needed for a game.

I take this opportunity to include a quote from a topic with feedback about bonuses of starbases:

Quoting myself from this topic, point "8) Starbase.":

The bonuses provided by a starbase are too small compared to an improvement built on the planet.

First, the player has to build a starbase, then construct and send some constructors to get the bonuses.
At this time, the bonus provided is much less than one improvement built on the planet.

Then, the player must construct and send some more constructors to defend the starbase (modules), and eventually construct and send some ships to further defend the starbase.

All of this just to have a bonus less significant than a lone tile (improvement) on the planet.

It's really not worth the effort.

The bonuses provided by a starbase should be much more important, at least the value of 3 or 4 tiles (improvements) on a planet.

***** Added 03/13/2015. Start.*****

It seems that this is not clear enough.
The comparison is for the "% bonuses" (starbase modules and improvements), without taking into account the production bonus (Economic Ring, as the production bonus works for all the "% bonuses").

***** Added 03/13/2015. End.*****


Reduce the number of starbases (problem).

It would not be simple to reduce the number of starbase (by modding) the way the limitation of starbases is currently implemented in the game (minimum distance in hexes between starbases).

And sometimes, the system can be constraining.
Per example, during my test game:

"I was also unable to harvest 1 resource, due to others AI starbases positioning (Military and Economic starbases), preventing me to do it (more on this later)."
(it's now later)

It was not very fun to try to find a spot where to build the starbase for harvesting this resource, and finally, there was no spot available; and I counted the tiles more than I should while searching the free spot with the opponent starbases (and not seeing them all at the same time due to a short radar range with the constructor).

I make a suggestion about this, as counting the tiles on the map to place starbase is not very entertaining.

Quoting myself from this topic, point "8) Starbase.":

Construction limitation of starbases.

I find that the current limitation system based on a minimum distance between starbases is not very convenient. The player need to count the hexes, and this, even with the starbases of the opponents.

And it can be easily abused to prevent the AI to build a starbase near one of your planet or near one of his planets. As the starbases of the opponents are taken into account for the limitation, the player can build "empty" starbases to "block" the AI and protect his planets, and even block the construction of starbases near the planets of the opponents.

I suggest to change the way the limitation is applied.

The limitation should be based on the number of overlapping effect areas of starbases (the number of layers), anywhere on the map.

(The effect areas of starbases increased by starbase modules are taken into account before the modules are researched, so, always based on the max effect areas of starbase available (change in game, modding).)


It cannot have more than 6 effect areas of starbases overlapping for the player, and 6 effect areas of starbases overlapping for all the opponents, near one player's planet.

So, basically, in the example, 6 starbases max per planet for a player's planet, and 6 starbases max for all the opponents for the same planet.
A total of 12 starbases max per planet.

The player can have more than 6 starbases per planet only if he "trade" for a starbase of an opponent, or if the starbase "flip", (or eventually by boarding it, in the future of the game), but the limit is always 12 starbases max.

Much more user friendly; the player wants 1, 2, 3 starbases, he just has to build them on the map without the need to "count the hexes", and the AI cannot be "blocked".

Another solution would be to bring back the "system of areas" used in GalCiv2 (or a similar system), the "sectors system" (1 sector = 15 X 15 tiles) and to set a number of starbase per sector for the player and the opponents (player: 6 starbases max, all the opponents: 6 starbases max).
Don't know if it's easily feasible in GalCiv3.

A "sectors system" is also really needed in GalCiv3 to help the player to evaluate the distances on the map.

***** Added 03/14/2015. Start.*****

Also, a system based on "effect areas of starbases overlapping" (layers) is much more flexible for modding (ex: make more "powerful" starbases and limit them to 1 or 2 starbases per planet).

***** Added 03/14/2015. End.*****

And with a limitation of 1 hex of minimal distance between the starbases to avoid the "wall of starbases" effect.


So, finally, the current system used to upgrade starbases, based on the constructors, needs to be seriously revised, because it requires really too much time during the course of the game.