DEV Diary: Galactic Civilizations Fall 2017

Posted on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 By Draginol


Winter is coming.  And so is Galactic Civilizations III v2.7.  This version has been in the works for a long time as a general, all around, polish pass on everything in the game.  


New Data Manager

This is a boring feature that most people won't care about, but for those of you who have a lot of custom civilizations, you will find game load times to be much faster.  This is because the data management used to be handled by an external process that was single threaded.  This caused some headaches because some anti-virus programs would flag this behavior.  The new data manager integrated with the game and multi-core. 

Procedural Planet AI first past

This is a feature we've been working on for a long time that is finally starting to get integrated into the public version.  Essentially, the AI looks at the state of the galaxy, its empire, its planet, and uses this data to prioritize what should be built on its planets.  The AI still uses the governors.xml as a guide but is no longer at its total mercy.

Bug fixes

As we've added bigger map sizes, more modding support, and more steam workshop support, we've also uncovered bugs that these features expose.  Thus, the vast majority of the work on 2.7 has been put into fixing things that would come to bite players way late in the game.  This also has a significant benefit for multiplayer fans who will find the game a lot more robust in late game MP.

Fan Service

Features like being able to toggle between turn number and date, making planetary improvements more destructible, more AI focus on farm production, and balance updates have been added based on player feedback, plus lots of other little touches.

Future DLC

Since the game's release over two years ago, we've released 9 DLC and 2 expansion packs for the game.   The DLC does do pretty well, but they cause us a lot of PR grief.

Expansions are made by the engineering team and take about a year to do each.  DLC is made by the artists so that they have sufficient work to do during this time.

Some of the DLC has to do with providing more story based campaigns to fill out the game universe.  In order:

  1. Rise of the Terran Alliance (basically the GalCiv I story)
  2. Altarian Prophecy (remainder of GalCiv I story)
  3. Revenge of the Snaithi (pre-GalCiv II story)

We had planned:

  • Dread Lords (GalCiv II story)
  • Dark Avatar (rest of GalCiv II story, would bring back the Korath)

But like I said, we take a lot of grief online because people just see a bunch of DLC and think the game is just incomplete or something.

So for now, we've made staffing changes and we are currently in full development towards the next major expansion.  We're pretty excited about this as it lets us do some really interesting things.

The next expansion

We will be announcing the next expansion in January. It will focus overwhelmingly on politics and governance. It will also have some goodies for those who have Mercenaries and Crusade. 

The Crusade & The Apocalypse

Most people play Galactic Civilizations because it provides a deep and engrossing sandbox experience.  When I wrote the first Galactic Civilizations game 25 years ago from my dorm room, I thought it important that the game not have random, generic species to go up against.  I was a big fan of Sid Meier's Civilization and my love of history allowed me to instantly connect to the Mongols (those bastards), Gandhi, etc.  Thus were born the 5 core races that make up Galactic Civilizations: The Drengin, the Arceans, the Altarians, the Torians, and the Yor.

I wasn't able to do much work on GalCiv III itself but I did provide the outline for the first half of the story I wanted it to tell.  When I took over the GalCiv III project, I called my version "Crusade" (hence GalCiv III: Crusade).  The second part of the story, which hasn't been told yet, is called the Apocalypse.

If you've kept up with the GalCiv story all these years, you know that the Terran Alliance is a contradiction at times.  The Drengin have routinely commented that the humans are hypocrites because they hold out the velvet glove of diplomacy but underneath it is an iron fist.  For GalCiv I and GalCiv II, the humans tried really, really hard to rise above their more brutal tendencies.  And what was their reward? Betrayal, and near-total destruction at the end of GalCiv II.  

Thus, GalCiv III begins with our main character returning from a pocket universe brimming with Precursor weapons.  The humans are outraged and have the means to exact total vengeance.  Thus between now and when GalCiv III is "completed" - in the sense that it won't have a dedicated dev team on it anymore - some day in the future, the second half of that story must be told. 

Next up

Galactic Civilizations III has reached around 600,000 units sold on Steam alone (not counting other channels like GOG and overseas).  Because of the nature of digital distribution (versus the old retail model), it sill almost certainly become the most successful version of the game yet.  It was also the first game made on Stardock's new game engine (Cider), which is a native 64-bit, multi-core engine.  If one looks at where the game was at 1.0 and where it is today (2.61) it's a pretty dramatic progression thanks to the team getting better and better at using the new engine.  We are incredibly excited about where things will go in the future with it.


GalCiv III: Beyond version 2.6

Posted on Monday, October 2, 2017 By Frogboy


So the team is starting work on the next major expansion pack.  But we also want to keep an eye on the base game.

Right now, the recent Steam reviews for GalCiv are pretty awful with most of the people reviewing it doing so because they don't like some of the changes in v2.5.  So if there are changes you would like in 2.7 and beyond, this would be the place to ask.

The Steam review system is something I have and will continue to complain about because frankly, it absolutely destroys games.  When it's less than 70, a game might as well not exist.  So I'll be explicit, if you want us to keep working on GalCiv III, please leave a Steam review.  If not, don't. If you already have, thank you!

As many of you know, I am AI biased. But I know I'm in a minority because there is another space strategy game outselling GalCiv III and, suffice to say, AI is not its focus. 

It is clear that narratives in games matter.  GalCiv has a quest system ala Fallen Enchantress/Sorcerer King.  But we have tried to avoid doing that because we don't want the game to be a series of scripted narratives.  We don't plan to change that position in the base game but we are looking at releasing DLC that will do that if players want it. 

Now, the next major expansion pack focuses on politics and government.  So we'll set all that aside for now.  Otherwise, it's all open. What would you like to see?

Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade - Humans vs. Multiverse (Part 3)

Posted on Wednesday, September 27, 2017 By Island Dog

In part 3 of this video series, Stardock CEO Brad Wardell plays against civilizations created by the players.

Galactic Civilizations: Humans vs. Multiverse

Posted on Friday, September 22, 2017 By Island Dog

Stardock CEO Brad Wardell has a two-part video series on  Humans vs. Multiverse in Galactic Civilizations III!


GalCiv Journal: September 2017

Posted on Sunday, September 17, 2017 By Frogboy

The big GalCiv III v2.5 update went out.  Most people like it.  Not everyone of course (it breaks save games).  If you're liking it, you know the drill "Like and Subscribe" as they say on YouTube or in Steam's case, please leave a review.  Even if you've left a review in the past, you can delete your old one and leave a new one which will have the "Recent reviews" which matters a lot (a lot more than it should imo but hopefully Valve will update their algorithms in light of recent review abuse on Dota2 and other games).


Playing with the look and feel


I changed the nebula background brightness so that other things pop a bit more.  I also made the fog of war much darker.  You can change the numbers in colordefs.xml and galciv3graphicsdefs.xml and starboxdefs.xml if you want to play with these things for yourself.

A citizen for you

In the next update, Crusade owners will get a free citizen.  This way, at the start of the game, they can make some tweaks to their economy.



This also goes for various technologies.  For example, research Diplomacy and you now get a Diplomat.  This should make cultural influence victories a bit more realistic again (in 2.5, the AI got a lot smarter about detecting aggressive influence star bases).


More Trade

We're slightly decreasing the amount of money from trade routes but substantially increasing the number of trade routes you can have.  This makes trading empires a lot more interesting.


It's no secret that I play GalCiv III a lot.  Since joining the GalCiv III team back last Winter I've put over 1600 hours into the game -- and that's just STEAM hours (my programming hours don't get counted).


And each time I play I find something to improve.


Evil will always triumph because good is dumb

Many of the colonization events are getting a slight rework whereby the "evil" choice is somewhat more profitable than before.  Also, the Malevolent ideology tree in Crusade is being tweaked to give a general bonus in negotiations rather than focusing on minors.

Today's notes:

  • Increased number of trade licenses that techs provide
  • Tiny hull cost increased from 20 to 25
  • Tiny hull maint increased from 1 to 2
  • Tiny hull acceleration increased from 0.2 to 0.3
  • Tiny hull max speed increased from 0.2 to 0.3
  • Small hull cost increased from 30 to 40
  • Small hull maint increased from 1 to 2
  • Medium hull maint increased from 1 to 2
  • Large hull cost increased from 150 to 250
  • Large hull maint increased from 1 to 2
  • Huge hull maint increased from 1 to 2
  • Huge hull logistics cost increased from 12 to 15
  • Starbase maint increased from 1 to 3
  • Trade Route income reduced from 5% of planet income to 3%.
  • Snathi get 4 instead of 3 trade route licenses with Xeno Commerce in order for Stardock to survive their inevitable culling of Earth.
  • More typo fixes.
  • Bureaucrats get 10 instead of 25 bonus administrative points. (Crusade)
  • New Improvement: Diplomatic Corps. Lets player train Diplomats. (Crusade)
  • Players now start out with a leader. (Crusade)
  • Rework to various colonization events to give the evil choice more goodies because evil will always triumph because good is dumb.
  • Awe trait now provides benefit to all civs rather than just minors since you don't trade with Minors in Crusade
  • Interstellar governance now provides a leader upon researching (crusade)
  • Republic government now provides a ldeader upon researching (crusade)
  • Democracy tech now provides a leader upon researching (crusade)
  • Star Federation tech now provides a leader upon research (crusade)
  • Various high end diplomacy techs now provide a diplomat (crusade)
  • Cultural Influence tech now provides a celebrity (crusade)
  • Xeno Economics now provides an Entrepreneur upon researching (crusade)
  • Ephany now costs 2 instead of 1 Spice
  • Central Bank provides 1 wealth instead of 100% wealth (was a bug)
  • Central bank provides 1 wealth per level
  • Starports now cost 1 maint
  • Xeno Farms now provide 0.5 food per level instead of only 0.3 (along with all the upgrades) (crusade)
  • Various recruit projects on planets cost less but now require a special resource. (crusade)
  • You can now recruit celebrities but you cannot yet eject them into space (patience). )crusade)
  • Treasure Hunt mission is now available at start of the game. (crusade)
  • Prototype hyperdrive base cost increqased from 8 to 50 (duh) (Crusade)
  • Beam weapons use slightly more mass (crusade)
  • Plasma weapon cost increased from 60 to 70 (crusade)
  • Phased cannon cost increased from 70 to 90 (crusade)
  • Rapid recharger mass dramatically reduced but cost increased from 12 to 32 (crusade)
  • Energy Accelerator mass greatly reduced but cost increased from 23 to 50 (crusade)
  • Shield leach... (crusade)
  • Harpoon cost reduced from 80 to 60 (crusade)
  • Photonic warhead cost reduced from 150 to 90 (crusade)
  • Triton missile cost reduced from 250 to 120 (crusade)
  • Photon Torps reduced from 300 to 120 (crusade)
  • Kinetic weapon mass substantially reduced across the board (crusade)
  • Kinetic weapons damage slightly increased (crusade)
  • Quantum Driver cost reduced from 120 to 90 (crusade)
  • Singularity driver reduced from 140 to 90 cost (crusade)
  • Rapid reload and other special modules have their cost increased but their mass decreased. Idea is that special modules should be used by wealthy civs. (crusade)

More to come...

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