I am completely new to the Galactic Civilizations franchise. I just got Galactic Civilizations III Gold but I find a lot of stuff to be really confusing. Is there an in-universe chronological development between Galactic Civilizations I, II, and III (like with The Sims, Mass Effect, or Age of Empires)? I am wondering if maybe my confusion is because I am completely new to the franchise and have not played the previous games. Or can I really get the full experience with just Galactic Civilizations III and never playing the previous games?
Also, what is the in-universe relationship between Galactic Civilizations III and Star Control: Origins? Do both games occur in the same fictional universe?
And like what is a Drengin or a Precursor Shield? And do I really need to know what those things are to be able to play Galactic Civilizations III?
In a nutshell, I got Galactic Civilizations III Gold because I basically just want a "Civilization (V) in space" type of game. I found the gameplay from Sid Meier's Starships to be limited, and was hoping that Galactic Civilizations would provide a richer game experience. But I am not sure how comfortable I am with strong ties to a specific fictional universe. I would like to be able to create my own universe and my own story in Galactic Civilizations III if I can (a universe without Drengins maybe?).