Journals

Galactic Civilizations III AAR: The Heroes of Star Control: Origins test game

Posted on Sunday, November 11, 2018 By Frogboy

As the Tywom like to say, HELLO, BEST FRIENDS!

Just playing the start of a new GalCiv III v3.1 game with the Star Control DLC added.  Let's take a look at what we can expect.

The Setup

Players have been asking for a way to customize the colors further than what was possible before and now they can do it.  So if you're into ship designing, you're in for a real treat!

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Here is my super tame but very custom color scheme.

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  Just starting up my game here with my custom civilization "Little Tiny Frogs".

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I soon meet the Tywom, but without a universal translator, there's know way to know what they're saying yet.

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The Mu'Kay are very much into "federation" building.   Keep an eye on them.

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The cute but dangerous Mowlings are in.  As cuddly as they are, they start with the most powerful starting-unit in the game: Jeff.  Luckily, they are peaceful.

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The United Planets.  This is where you can see how the art style of the Star Control aliens got tweaked a bit to fit in better with the GalCiv style.

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It doesn't take long for the the ever aggressive Drengin and Yor and Krynn to begin going to war.  Just keep in mind that in Galactic Civilizations, the civilizations try to act rationally and towards their unique traits.  That means: If you add the heroes from Star Control into your game, you will want to mix them up with some baddies.

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The Mowlings are not shy about asking for help if they need it.

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My spies give me a lookout on the Tywom home world.  Take a close look at their citizens!

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Meanwhile, the new ship parts (which are animated) allow the Mu'Kay ships to get a pretty distinctive style.

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Speaking of cool ship styles.  The Mowlings may have the best ship design I've seen in the game yet.  They're relatable yet still somewhat alien.

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As I stop for the day, my observers spot two fleets of Mu'Kay ships heading towards Drengi.  Don't underestimate the Mu'Kay!

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The end of the Drengin Empire...

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I think you guys are going to like this.  The changes in v3.1 that are also being released should make this a pretty special update.


Sneak Preview: Galactic Civilizations III - Heroes of Star Control: Origins

Posted on Wednesday, November 7, 2018 By Frogboy

This upcoming Monday, Stardock will be releasing a new DLC for its massive space strategy game, Galactic Civilizations III.

The new DLC, Heroes of Star Control: Origins, will introduce 4 new major civilizations to play as complete with their own ship styles, parts, new traits, diplomatic behaviors, and AI for $5.99. 

It'll be available to purchase on Steam, GOG, and of course GalCiv3.com, starting Monday afternoon EST, November 12.

About Galactic Civilizations

Galactic Civilizations is 4X strategy game set in the 23rd century. Having recently acquired faster-than-light travel, players are now in a race to explore and expand their civilization into the galaxy where they will research new technology, build up their planets, fight wars, negotiate treaties, trade goods and determine the destiny of the future of their people. Learn more at www.galciv3.com.

About Star Control: Origins

Star Control is an action adventure game putting the player in command of Earth's most advanced starship with the mission to save Earth.  It is a reboot of the classic Star Control franchise from the 1990s that introduces new species, new challenges and a rich deep universe to explore.  Star Control: Origins was just released and is available at www.starcontrol.com.

Screenshots:

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Through the eyes of the Galactic gods

Posted on Wednesday, October 31, 2018 By Frogboy

Over on the GalCiv III Steam page, I asked players to post their saved games so I could check them out.  And what I've been finding has been amazing and horrifying simultaneously.

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Players are able to do things that I wouldn't have thought of.  This is why saved games are so valuable.  Many times I get feedback from players who say "The AI needs to do X" and my answer is, "well of course, it already does that!" But there is some other thing that it has decided needs to be done instead and the trick is to find out why.  That's where save games come in.

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IceMania sent me a genius game where he's kicking the AI's butt.

Looking at the stats, the things I'm noticing is how aggressive (and how powerful) the relics are.  Not over-powered just  that he was good at getting them.

Now, let's look at the AI players...

The biggest difference I see is the # of citizens.  Human players tends to be much more aggressive at acquiring citizens than the AI. In this game, the player has acquired 13 citizens by turn 61.

Here is an AI player on the same turn:

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Look at that production difference.

Another big area I'm seeing is that top players are extremely good at expanding.  Seeing players with over 10 colonies in 60 turns makes me a bit sad because it means that we still haven't done enough to reward playing tall.

I'll be updating this entry as I go through more saves...


Galactic Civilizations III: Walkthrough 2018

Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 By Frogboy

Remember when you bought a game at the store, took it home, devoured the user manual the first evening, and then played a game that you would slowly master?  Those were the days.

Today, games are much more sophisticated and today's gamers want to see their games evolve and improve based on their feedback.  That brings us to this walk-through of Galactic Civilizations III v3.

For the purposes of this walk-through, I will be using v3.0 with all expansions installed.  Your experience will differ some depending on what you have installed, but assuming you have the Gold Edition, you should be set.

Chapter 1: Setting up your game

  1. Galactic Civilizations is a sandbox game.  That means each game is different.  We include a series of campaigns, but other than the tutorial, we recommend choosing "new game" first.
  2. For your first game, choose the Terran Alliance.  Each alien civilization plays somewhat differently, but presuming you're human, the Terrans are probably the most relatable.
  3. For galaxy size, stay with MEDIUM or less for your first few games. Medium requires a system with 4GB of memory.  Memory is the price we pay to avoid having "space lanes".
  4. For everything else, keep to the default, and into the game you go.

[[..]]

Chapter 2: Your first turn

  1. In the beginning, you have one ship - your Survey ship.  It is a special type of ship that can investigate anomalies (goodie huts). Left-click on it. Then click the "Command" button in the bottom left and choose survey.  That tells it to automatically go out and hunt for anomalies.
  2. At the bottom right, you will see the turn button.  It will probably say "Research".  Choose that and pick one of the 4 or so technologies.  Each one has a very different purpose and will unlock additional technologies to choose from.
  3. Now the turn button probably says Idle Colony, and will take you to Earth.  On the right side are a list of things you can build, and on the left side are a series of green tiles, which are places where you can build things.  Select a green tile you want to build something and then select the thing you want to build on it, and then press build. 
  4. When possible, rush build things. You are meant to have lots of money. Use it to control pacing.  If your home planet doesn't start with something interesting, build a shipyard so you can start building ships.

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Earth.

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Players start with lots of money. Use it to rush build things.

 

Chapter 3: Your first ship

  1. As soon as you build a shipyard, you can begin constructing ships.
  2. You can choose "Quick build" to get a list of things to build (like a colony ship or a scout).  Rush build your first ship.
  3. Now the turn button should really say Turn.

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You can right-click on a destination to send a ship there or order the pilot of the ship do their thing.

 

Chapter 4: Your second turn

  1. If you built a scout, this is a good time to send it out to explore other stars for good planets.  Use the mouse wheel to zoom in and out of the map. 
  2. Dots on the unexplored map are stars.  Send your ships to those dots to see what is there. 
  3. Rush build a colony ship so that you have one ready to go and when built, send it to a near by star just to be safe.
  4. Click on the VICTORY button at the top left. There are 5 victory conditions.  Conquest, Influence, Technology, Ascension and Diplomatic.  This screen tells you how close you are and how close your opponents are.
  5. Click on CIVILIZATION at the top left of the screen.  You will see your production, your income, expenses, and balance.  At the bottom of that screen is the tax rate which defaults to 25% (yea, if ONLY!).  Your tax rate determines what % of the wealth generated by your civilization you get to steal invest.
  6. Your tax rate affects your approval. Lower approval will result in less production and less influence growth, but will bring in more money.  At the start of the game, you should have a balanced budget - but this won't last, as you need deficit spending to grow your empire quickly.
  7. You (yes, you) are in the game too.  You are the little crown icon that defaults to being in Social Construction.  If you click on yourself, you return to the unassigned leaders pile.  Click on a different category to see the effect (such as administration). This is an easy way to get an extra administrator early on.

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Your economy

Chapter 5: Your third turn

  1. So far you have started with a Survey ship, built a scout ship, and built a Colony ship.  The next type of ship is called a Constructor.  Constructors build starbases, which lay claim to resources within their region.
  2. Be careful of pirates. This is why I usually build a scout ship and not a colony ship right away. Pirates will destroy any ship they can find.
  3. Use your constructor to capture resources.  There is an outline of the area that the constructor will capture once it is turned into a starbase.

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Picking that perfect location for your starbase.

 

Chapter 6: Your first colony

  1. Your first colony, if it's not Mars, will present you with a moral dilemma.   Each choice will give you ideological points which unlock abilities from the ideology tree.  This is where you decide what type of civilization you want to be.
  2. After you finish colonizing and setting up what you want to do on the planet, you will be asked to form a government (if you have Intrigue). Each government type has strengths and weaknesses, and most cannot be accessed early on.
  3. Your ideology choice will bring up the ideology trait screen.  Each choice makes future choices cost more. Choose carefully.

 

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Name your new planet

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Your first ideological choice

Chapter 7: Your first citizen

  1. Every so often, a new citizen enters your civilization.  You get to choose what they will specialize in.  Humans start out with 3 choices: Administrator (so you can build more special ships), Worker (so you can build up your colony faster), and Scientist (so you can research faster).
  2. Choose Scientist this time.
  3. Now go to Earth, click on add Citizen, and choose that Scientist.  They will appear on Earth and give you a huge research bonus.

 

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Science!

Chapter 8: Building your economy

  1. Click on an asteroid field that is in your area of influence.  Build a mining base.  It will send 1 raw production point to the nearest planet (you can change where it sends it to but the further away it is, the less that will get there).
  2. Research Universal Translator and then Xeno Commerce.  This will allow you to build freighters which you can send to foreign planets to get money from them.
  3. Research tourism and build a port of call on your planets to convert your area of influence into money.

 

Chapter 9: Building your influence

  1. Your influence flows out from influence sources.  Think of each tile like a bucket.  The further away a tile is from the source of influence, the slower that bucket will fill.  It takes 6 points of influence for it to turn to a player's color and the amount of influence reaching a tile decreases exponentially based on distance.
  2. You can also build influence starbases that will act as major sources of influence on their own and magnify the influence of any worlds you have in its zone of effect.
  3. When you look at influence on your planet, think of them in terms of orders of magnitude.  Single digit influence is low. Double digit influence is normal. Triple digit influence is really high.
  4. Tourism income is tied to the number of tiles you own plus the tiles that are connected to your capital world. A tourism improvement of 1% equals 1% of your tile count will become money.

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If I connect these two influence bubbles together my tourism income will go up.

Chapter 10: Your first farm

  1. Some planets will have arable land on them.  Arable land is necessary to grow crops that are high enough quality to be shipped across your empire.  You can build farms on them to increase their food output. 
  2. Once you have 4 surplus food you can build a city elsewhere in your empire.
  3. Cities provide 3 more population which will provide 3 raw production.

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Arable land produces food that can be shipped anywhere in your empire.

 

Conclusions: You are off to a good start

You will soon face the same kinds of tough decisions our own leaders in government face (or choose to avoid).  For example, a fast expanding civilization will be running a deficit. 

How important is it that you run a balanced budget? Only you can decide. 

You can bring in money by sending out treasure hunt missions, or trading technologies for money, or raising taxes or building up your local economy, or sending out freighters, or through tourism, or by conquering wealthier civilizations.

Your particular solution will determine your strategy.

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Don't worry about deficit spending. Just keep an eye on your treasury.

 

Good luck and ask questions here!


Intrigue Journal #5: Tapestry of the machine

Posted on Friday, April 6, 2018 By Frogboy

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The species that are - in essence, talking meat - receive a great deal of attention, despite being an objectively inferior form of life. Today I will attempt to communicate to you humans the advantages of synthetic life.

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The days of organic lifeforms are numbered. The wise and benevolent Yor Singularity will have it known that this is not a threat, it is simply a fact of the state of nature.

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The Yor, as depicted in the OS/2 version of Galactic Civilizations 20+ years ago

For many years, we have attempted to explain how your biology will end. Perhaps now some of you are finally beginning to understand. If not, let me put it in words that your meat-based brains will grasp:

First, you will simulate your meat-based brains on your primitive computers.

Second, you will expand on that simulation to make it better.

Third, you will begin integrating yourselves with that simulation and only interact with the physical worlds via constructs.

Once step three is complete... you will be like us.

Intrigue for us is outward facing

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Iconia, the home world of the Yor (and not the Iconians anymore)

When we eliminated the previous beings of this world, we noticed there was arable land.  But we have no need for food.  Thus, one of our first moves was to sterilize those areas for more productive uses.

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We extract 100% from our civilization because we have no concept of unhappiness

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With 100% taxes, money is not a concern for us. Expanding the singularity is.

The benefits of surrendering the flesh

The organics do not realize that they are slaves.  

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Foolish creatures such as the Altarians do not understand how backwards they are

When it comes to population, we do not leave that to chance.  When more Yor are needed, we simply create them.

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You cannot compete against a civilization with unlimited growth potential.

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Even the Drengin love the Yor.

Once organics fall under our rule, they become willing subjects.

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A subdued Drengi is a happy Drengi.

Even on the captured world of Drengi, the local citizens work tirelessly and without complaint for their new masters.  Such is the superiority of the Yor and the implants that provide freely to liberated civilizations.

Not having flesh means that we do not succumb to illness.  Microbes mean nothing to us.  Many worlds that the humans cannot colonize are available to us.

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Microbes are not a concern for synthetic civilizations

Superior Forms of Government

We have no concept of "morale," nor do we have a need for democracy. Each being in our empire knows its place.  We care not what others think of us.  This allows us to unleash our full potential.

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The natural order is for the superior to dominate the weak and our government reflects that.

The Yor have no need for resources that the organics require.  We require only the building materials to construct more of us.  The galactic market provides us with a unique advantage that the organics can only dream of.

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Contrary to what organics think, every Yor is an individual being. We are not simply a hive of interchangeable constructs.

The fleshlings often describe us as robots.  We are no more a robot than they are.  Every Yor is a unique individual.  We simply have moved beyond the confines of flesh.  We work towards a single purpose in harmony. 

It is unfortunate your species won't survive to see that day.

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Previous Dev Journals on Intrigue:

 

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