Galactic Civilizations III Support FAQ

Posted on Tuesday, January 9, 2018

How can I get my registration / product key information

Table of contents

General Galactic Civilizations III Troubleshooting

Game loading issues


Errors \ Crashes

Graphical issues

DLC Questions

Getting to the in-game console

GalCiv3 Languages

Performing a clean boot

Purging game installation


General Galactic Civilizations III Troubleshooting

Below is a list of things to try if you are having technical issues with installing or running Galactic Civilizations III. Another resource for seeing if your issue is being addressed can be found in the GalCiv3 forum:

Please also see the GalCiv3 Wiki for additional help with gameplay and other important details:

For a master changelog list, please visit: 

Make certain your system meets the minimum requirements


  • OS: 64-bit Windows 8.1 / 8 / 7 / 10
  • Processor: 1.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo / AMD K10 Dual-Core 
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM 
  • Graphics: 512 MB DirectX 10.1 Video Card (AMD Radeon HD5x00 Series / Nvidia GeForce 500 Series / Intel HD 4000 or later) 
  • DirectX: Version 10 
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection 
  • Hard Drive: 3 GB available space 
  • Sound Card: DirectX Compatible Sound Card


  • Processor: 2.3 GHz Intel Core i5 Processor or Equivalent 
  • Memory: 6 GB RAM 
  • Graphics: 1 GB DirectX 10.1 Video Card 
  • Hard Drive: 5 GB available space  


Game loading issues


Verifying your Game Cache within Steam / GoG Galaxy / Epic 

Many issues can be resolved by verifying you have the most recent files.




Page File Size

Please make sure your virtual memory is set to default:


Update Video Drivers

Please make sure your video drivers are up-to-date. Even if they are current, a full removal, and reinstall, would be prudent; especially if you have recently installed Windows 10. 

Use the link(s) below for updating:



Note: Please perform a "clean installation" if you have an Nvidia graphics card. The below screenshots will help with how to do that: 


For ATI \ AMD driver uninstalling:  


Run as Administrator

Exit Steam\GOG\Epic completely. In a search for any of the launchers, right-click and choose to run as Administrator, ie:

Re-Installing Redistributables

Download the redist files from the links below and install \ repair.




Re-Install DirectX

In the following location:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Steamworks Shared\_CommonRedist\DirectX\Jun2010

Run: DXSetup.exe

Reboot and try to run the game again.  


Create a new Administrator Account

As a test, create a new Administrator (<--Important) Windows account and try to run the game again: 

If that works, for some people, we have seen that permissions for the 'My Games' directory have changed after a Windows 10 upgrade (fresh Windows 10 installs would not have the issue).  If you have recently upgraded to Windows 10, and GC3 will not load \ save \ save your settings changes, please download and run the following: 

If that fails, manually make certain that your 'My Games' directory, under your own Windows user account, has 'Full' permissions (write is the key). 


 We are pleased that MODs are very popular. However, prior to placing a ticket, please mention if the issue you are having is not present if you do not use them (or have them installed).  While we may be able to provide nominal support for why the MOD may not be working, ultimately, if the game works without the MOD, the author of the MOD may be the best resource for resolving it. 

To disable MODs: 

Check for available opt-in updates 

Start by turning off Steam Cloud saving here please:

To opt into the development snapshot, do the following:

Right-click the game in your Steam library
Select “Properties”
Select the “Betas” tab
Choose “Opt-in” from the drop-down menu
Close the Properties window

Example of selecting the opt-in:

Unless otherwise stated (ticket or from a forum post), you do not need to enter a 'Code'; closing will start the patch update.

After opting into the patch, and if your save game still shows to have issues, please verify that they still exist with a new game.  


Multiplayer with crashing with my friend (Epic)
Epic uses the latest version of GalCiv 3. However, one specific issue we have identified is the need to run the game as admin on Windows initially to fix some file permission issues that can affect sync in multiplayer. Note: You should only need to do this once.

Errors \ Crashes

Error: 'Failed to initialize display'

No doubt, you have this somewhere in your debug:

\Documents\My Games\GC3Crusade\debug.err

Debug Message: InitializeGalCiv3DrawManager FAILED to initialize the device.
Debug Message: InitializeD3DDrawManager FAILED
Debug Message: InitializeDirect3D Failed second attempt. Aborting.

Try the following in order:

Turn of Steam Cloud Sync:

Window the Game:

Go to:

Documents\My Games\GC3Crusade

Open the prefs.ini file in notepad. Change




Save and try to run the game.

If that fails, open prefs.ini and change:

DisplayResolution=-1 x -1


DisplayResolution=1920 x 1080

Save and try to run the game again.

If that fails, change your desktop resolution to something other than: 1920 x 1080

Also change the prefs.ini file to match what you changed it to.

Save and try again.

If that fails, update your drivers making sure to remove the old first


Note: Please perform a "clean installation" if you have an Nvidia graphics card. The below screenshots will help with how to do that:

Try to run the game. If that fails:

DirectX and VCRedist:

Go to:

\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Steamworks Shared\_CommonRedist\DirectX\Jun2010

Run: DXSETUP.exe

Go to:

\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Steamworks Shared\_CommonRedist\vcredist\2012
\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Steamworks Shared\_CommonRedist\vcredist\2015
\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Steamworks Shared\_CommonRedist\vcredist\2017

Run vcredist_x64.exe from each

Reboot and try to run the game again.  


Error 'The following folders are in a state of partial install'

Go to wherever your Galciv install is; by default, it is:

\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Galactic Civilizations III

\Program Files (x86)\Epic Games\GalacticCivilizations3

Rename the DLC directory there to DLC.OLD then do a file verification in Steam \ Epic \ GOG

Try to run the game again after the files are reacquired.  

Error: Could not create your Galactic Civilizations Ill user data folder. 

On Windows 10, go to your 'Windows Defender Settings' --> 'Virus and threat protection --> Ransomware protection --> Turn off 'Controlled folder access'.

If that fails, or if you have other supported versions of Windows, see 'Create a fresh Administrator Account' below  


Error: Environment Variable Missing Path'

If you recived the above in-game error', press the Windows and 'R' Key at the same time. A "Run" dialog box should appear, paste the line below and click OK:


The "System Properties" menu should appear. Click the 'Environment Variable' button, and under 'System Variables' select the 'Path' entry and click 'Edit'. (Example:

What we believe may be missing for you is this segment (don't worry about comparing anything else of yours to the example posted above):

Win 7:


If the line above is missing, please add a 'New' line for Win10

For Win7, the full line, C:\WINDOWS\system32; ,to the very beginning of the data in the 'Variable Value' field. Example (not the whole long string, just C:\WINDOWS\system32;):

C:\WINDOWS\system32;C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Windows Live;C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Windows Live;c:\Program Files (x86)\Intel\iCLS Client\;c:\Program Files\Intel\iCLS Client\;C:\WINDOWS;C:\WINDOWS\System32\Wbem;C:\WINDOWS\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\

Click OK to save it, reboot your system, and try to run the game again. 


Crashes \ black wireframe starting screen on non-western language PCs

Please see: 

How do I get the in-game crash reporter to show again?

If you clicked the option to not have the in-game crash reporter show any longer, to get it to appear again to go here in the registry:


And delete the 'DoNotPromptAboutCrashes' key:


'Disk write error' or cannot save game or settings

Often this is the result of the game not having permissions to write to your \Documents\MyGames folder.  Try disabling your AV app and trying agin.

If that fails, try disabling 'Windows Controlled Folder Access' or whitelisting the game there:  



Graphical issues

Also see updating your Video card drivers above.  

Delete Prefs.ini:

In this location:

\Documents\My Games\GC3Crusade

Delete the prefs.ini file and try to run the game again (a new one will be created).

Low Prefs:

For clients with low-end video cards (especially Intel PC's with only integrated Video), try running the game with some lower base settings to see if that resolves some of your issues.

Please download the following Prefs.ini file and unzip it in the location following:


C:\Users\YOUR_USERNAME\Documents\My Games\GalCiv3

Gameplay Settings:

Galaxy Settings:

Try experimenting with these settings pointed out:  

Black Screen while using a Microsoft Surface:

If you're running the game at fullscreen, or a non-native resolution, please change the resolution to the Surface's native resolution or run in windowed mode. 

No text visible

Go to this folder (you might need to make hidden files and folders visible in order to see it).
C:\ProgramData\Stardock\Galactic Civilizations III
C:\ProgramData\Stardock\Galactic Civilizations III - Retribution
And delete these files in it
Try to run the game again.     


DLC Questions

For information regarding DLC for Galactic Civilizations III, see below:

To see which DLC you currently own in Steam: 







What DLC do I have access to for free:

Only Elite purchase would receive free expansions and DLC.  A complete breakdown:


Explore the first playable version


BETA ACCESS (Founders and Elite)


Enjoy additional GalCiv III content we produce


NAME A STAR (Elite only)

Choose a name that will appear randomly in-game

BE RECOGNIZED (Elite only)

Your name will be included in the credits as a special thanks

FORUM BADGE (Founders and Elite)

Show your support on the official forums

$5 OFF (Founders)


Getting to the in-game console

The console is disabled by default, however, you may re-enable it by doing the following:


- Adding "-cheat" to the launch commands through Steam for GC3


Navigate to "Settings > Galactic Civilizations III > Additional Command Line Arguments" then add the line "-cheat" (not quotes).
Whilst in-game, you can press ` (the 'grave' accent - key under the ESC key on the keyboard) to also access it.


GalCiv3 Languages


GalCiv3 is currently only available in English at the time of release. However, we are working with Epic to get that language packs implemented. They are expected to be live soon as a free update.


Clean Boot

Prior to continuing, it would be prudent to make sure the issue you are encountering is not occurring as a result of an application conflict. The best way to proceed would be to try loading under a new Window's Administrator account and in a "clean boot" state.

Create a new Windows Administrator (<--important that its an Administrator) account:

Windows 7:

Windows 10:

Windows 8:

Log in under that account and try. If it fails, and while still under that account, please click the link below for performing a 'clean boot' under it:

After you've loaded Windows in a clean state, please try once again.

Once you are booted into a clean state, you may need to Install the Steam service again. You can do so by trying to start up Steam. If Steam asks you to install the Steam service, simply hit "Install Service" and try to boot up Steam again:


Purging game installation

Please uninstall GC3 from Steam/Galaxy by following the instructions below.

STEAM: Right click GC3 in your Steam library and select "Uninstall...":

You will be prompted to delete the game(Dead Man's Draw is just an example):

GALAXY: Left click GC3 in your Galaxy library and select More, Manage, Uninstall:

You will be prompted to uninstall the game:

***IMPORTANT*** Make sure you've completely exited Galaxy after uninstalling:

Open your Windows notifications window, right click the GoG icon and select Exit 

After GC3 has been uninstalled, please press the Windows key and "R" at the same time. In the window that appears, paste the path below and hit enter:

  %userprofile%\Documents\My Games 

In the "My Games" folder, if there is still a folder remaining called "GalCiv3" please rename it so a new one will be generated.

Once again, press the Windows key and "R" at the same time, and use the path below:


You should see a folder named "Galactic Civilizations III", please rename this as well.

Lastly, please navigate to the path below and delete the entire folder for GalCiv3:

STEAM: C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\Galactic Civilizations III

GALAXY: C:\Program Files (x86)\GalaxyClient\Games\Galactic Civilizations III

Note: The path above assumes you've installed GC3 to the default Steam/Galaxy directory. You may need to adjust the path accordingly if it is installed to a non-standard location.

Restart your computer and reinstall GC3 using Steam/Galaxy. After it has completed the installation, please create a new save and let us know if you experience any further issues.