I've sank quite a few hours into your game and I have some major complaints about the gameplay to raise.
Currently in GalCiv3 there is no production overflow. Now, I'm not saying that there has to be production overflow for the game's quality of life to be improved but rather there needs to be an easier way to micromanage the production of your planets if there is not production overflow.
Before I go on I'll clarify really quickly what I mean by production overflow. Imagine a scenario in which you are building a building that takes 30 units of production but the maximum production you can make is 14. In GC3 it would look like this.
- 0/30 - End Turn
- 14/30 - End Turn
- 28/30 - End Turn - Building complete - 12 Units of production wasted.
- 0/30 - End Turn
- And so on
[Now I could be wrong about the mechanic but at the very least this is what I have observed. If this is not how it works then the game has a deeper problem of being too opaque and not showing what happens with those 12 units of production.]
This is very silly for a number of reasons. Firstly it means you basically have to hyper micromanage sliders every turn during the early game as your colonies are growing. This would be perfectly fine if there was a way to lock in exactly how many hammers you want to make per turn. For example, most buildings in GC3 cost multiples of 3/5/15/30. In a small colony if I could lock my hammers to exactly 3 hammers with the push of a button and not have to dick around with imprecise sliders that don't give you complete information until you go back to the main colony screen. That would be one solution to this problem. Being able to just type into the colony a "5" in the production area and then it will distribute the remaining production between research and science. Then I wouldn't have situations in the slider screen where it says I'm making 5 hammers but when I go check my colony I'm actually making 4.9 and the building will take an extra turn and waste like (4.9-(Number of turns it took to build*(0.1)) hammers.
Don't get me wrong, I love the sliders, I think they are cool a fuck! But there are some major problems with them that I will go into later.
Another solution would be to just have the production overflow and decay after a turn. Lets imagine the production overflowed. Similar to the scenario above we will assume that a building takes 30 production and you can make 14 per turn. The Overflow system would look like this.
- 0/30 - End Turn
- 14/30 - End Turn
- 28/30 - End Turn - Building Complete - 12 units of production Overflowed
- 12/30 - End Turn
- 26/30 - End Turn - Building Complete - 8 units of production Overflowed
- And so on
Now an important part of any Overflow system is that there is a decay on the Overflow. What I mean by this, and I'll use a Civ5 example here. Say you know in 10 turns that you are unlocking an important World Wonder. With a badly designed Overflow system where the Overflow production doesn't decay you could just produce extremely cheap units and constantly build up an overflow until the turn you unlock the wonder and get a huge boost of production and nobody could compete with your production unless they were doing the same thing.
How an Overflow decay would work is three different ways I have identified[and there are many more I assure you], but I'm only going to talk about two of them. The first way is simple, the Overflow only lasts one turn. Lets say you make 100 hammers and need to make a veriety of buildings. We shall refer to this method as "One Turn Overflow" or OTO for short.
- 0/30 - End Turn - Building Complete - 70 units of production Overflowed
- 30/30 - End Turn - Building Complete - 100 units of production Overflowed - 70 units of Production decayed.
- 50/50 - End Turn - Building Complete - 100 units of production Overflowed - 50 units of Production decayed.
- 90/90 - End Turn - Building Complete - 100 units of production Overflowed - 10 units of production decayed.
- 100/150 - End Turn - Building Complete - 50 units of production Overflowed
- 50/200 - End Turn
- 150/200 - End Turn - Building Complete - 50 units of production Overflowed.
- 30/30 - End Turn - Building Complete - 100 units of production Overflowed - 20 units of production decayed.
- And so on.
The advantages of this system are that it prevents abusable situations where a player could save up many many turns of production and spend it all at once on some gamechanging thing.
The second method I have Identified is Priority Overflow Decay. The basic concept is that Your base production is used first, and if there is room left the overflow hammers from the last turn are used. If they are not used they are lost/they decay. Similar to the above situation. 100 production making a bunch of stuff. This method is "Priority Production One Turn Overflow" or PPOTO
- 0/30 - End Turn - 30 Production invested - Building Complete - 70 Overflow
- 0/30 - End Turn - 30 Production invested - Building Complete - 70 Overflow - 70 Overflow Decayed.
- 0/50 - End Turn - 50 Production invested - Building Complete - 50 Overflow - 70 Overflow Decayed
- 0/90 - End Turn - 90 Production invested - Building Complete - 10 Overflow - 50 Overflow Decayed
- 0/150 - End Turn - 100 Production invested - 10 Overflow applied
- 110/150 - End Turn - 40 Production invested - Building Complete - 60 Overflow
- 0/30 - End Turn - 30 Production invested - Building Complete - 70 Overflow - 60 Overflow Decayed.
Most game designers should be able to recognise the advantages of this system in terms of game balance over the previous one. Since the overflow from the previous turn is applied after this turns production it prevents a micro case of production boosting that is present in the OTO system.
The third system is called Max Production Overflow, where basically the Overflow will only ever save production up to your maximum output, but that would be an undesireable system in Gal Civ 3 in it's current state. Another system would be to simply cap the maximum overflow at some scaling, or arbitrary number.
Of the two solutions I have provided for the current production micro management problem, I would actually like both to be implemented. A small overflow with an improved UI in the Govern screen. The main thing that is required is to be able to set the production to an integer like 3/5/15/30 etc easily without having to constantly enter and exit the slider screen to check the actual numbers because the slider screen doesn't show ANY[which is my biggest grip with the screen] decimal places at ALL.
These Overflow Complaints also apply to Science and military ship production.
- The Govern Screen - Economy
As for the Govern Screen itself there are numerous problems with this screen.
My First complaint with the Adjust production Circle is that it doesn't have any sound effects tied to it. There should be a subtle clicking noise as you drag the pointer around the sphere.
My second complaint is that the circle is fiddly and imprecise. The pointer is all too floaty and should heavily click into place with each alteration. What I mean by this is that right now it's entirely possible to move the pointer by a pixel and not have it actually effect the numbers. This heavily contributes to moving the pointer being fiddly as when you are looking at the numbers you want as you let go the pointer could jump by a pixel and change from 50%/50%/0% to 49%/50%/1% which is very annoying. Having the pointer definitely click into place at each % integer would make the pointer feel much move usable and precise. It may seem counter intuitive but by making the circle less pixel precise and more restricted to definite integers of %'s then it becomes more responsive and precise to what the player wants to do.
My Third complaint is that there is no way to transfer the settings of one planet's sliders to another planet. In otherwords - I can't create a library of custom slider profiles like "Colony buildup" which is set to 100% Production and 100% social production or just press a button and go back to the "Default" setup of (33%/33%/33%)(50%/50%). You need to let us have a few buttons on the left of the Govern Screen which contains different profiles for slider set ups. The slider screen is really cool but it gets so tiresome adjusting it every few turns to the same few different optimal set ups. Gives us the ability to create custom slider profiles please. While you're at it make those buttons hot-keyed so I can just open up the Govern screen, press a single button like "Q" to reset to default etc.
My Fourth complaint is that the Govern screen only displays Integers and not decimal places which is a huge pain in the ass when trying to optimize your sliders.
My Fifth complain is that there is no way to group planets into categories in the govern screen like "Research planets" "Production Planets" and so on to be able to effect the sliders of a group of planets I have grouped into a category.
That just about wraps up my complaints in the Govern Screen Economy tab.
The overall screen is actually really cool visually and conceptually but it just needs work on it's usability and execution. It feels like the screen is incomplete is the best way I can describe it but the screen itself is really neat and I love it despite how much I hate it.
- The Research Screen - Oh god it burns everything is awful
Joking around aside I do have some complaints about the Research Screen.
Firstly - why oh god oh why can I not zoom in and out on the tech tree screen. Its like my basic instinct as a player to zoom in and out when I'm thinking and want to get an overview of the tree. Instead I have to slow drag pan my way around to examine individual elements of the techs tree.
Secondlly - why oh god why can I not see the all 4 tech trees at once in either screen? I can't do it in the choice screen or the actual tech tree screen.
Thirdly - Too many of the techs are generic or boring. The tech tree needs a revamp big time. It has a lot going for it but some techs are just snorefest.
- Some Ideology choices are clearly superior to others.
- Ideologies are too random in terms of their generation. You get very few events outside colonization that give points in Ideologies. Overall Too reliant on Colonizing to get the points. More events and choices would be better.
Most of the things in the game are fine as is, but until the issues I talked about are addressed theres no real reason to address the other issues I have.[Economy, Planetary Improvements, etc]