Journals

Galactic Civilizations III: Retribution Journal #9 - Campaign

Posted on Monday, April 15, 2019 By Frogboy

image

The new version of Galactic Civilizations III includes an updated campaign screen that shows the campaigns as part of a timeline. We wanted to help players know where different campaigns take place in the overall story.

It's hard to believe that the base GalCiv III campaign, Crusade, actually takes place in the middle of the stories that were released for GalCiv III!

Our story so far...

During the campaigns of Galactic Civilizations II, the story ends with the human main fleet teleporting to a pocket universe, but not before using a Precursor (Arnorian) artifact to protect the Earth from Drengin invasion.

Galactic Civilizations III deals with the fleet's return from the pocket universe with a new artifact. A powerful orb known as "the bane" that was a weapon used by the Mithrilar (the beings who created the Arnor in the first place). The Terran fleet, armed with Precursor technologies, swiftly frees the people of Earth, who have been busy building their own fleet behind their protective shield.

The humans go on a crusade to free the other civilizations from Drengin thralldom. Their campaign to free the galaxy starts to turn dark as the Thalan, a species introduced in GalCiv I, explain that they are travelers from an alternate future and that the bane exacts a terrible price for its use (which is why it was hidden in a pocket universe in the first place). The bane's user will begin to lose all manner of perspective, which will lead to the destruction of the galaxy.

Retribution is at hand

The Retribution campaign is a 4-part campaign. I will say, at the start, that Galactic Civilizations, being a space sandbox game, doesn't lend itself to story-based campaigns. I generally don't recommend that people play the campaigns until they are done playing the main game (as opposed to the other way around). The campaigns exist to help players know the lore for the world in which the game takes place.

With that warning said, let us begin destroying the universe.

Into the fire

The campaign introduces (or reintroduces) players to the Drath and Korath, who were both eliminated as major powers during Twilight of the Arnor and Dark Avatar, respectively, in Galactic Civilizations II. 

This campaign is the conclusion of the 23rd century era of Galactic Civilizations stories. While I won't promise you'll love the campaign gameplay (they're not my cup of tea), I hope you enjoy the story they tell.

______________________________

Retribution Journals

Journal #1

Journal #2

Journal #3

Journal #4

Journal #5

Journal #6

Journal #7

Journal #8

Journal #9 (Current)


Galactic Civilizations III: Retribution Journal #8 - The Drath

Posted on Thursday, February 21, 2019 By Frogboy

The Drath were first introduced in Galactic Civilizations II. But, the lore behind them was developed in the 1990s during the stories that would ultimately serve as the game's underpinnings.

image

Long ago, the Drath shared their world with the Altarians. They are, in effect, sentient dragons. They are very large, over 4 meters tall.  Physically the strongest of any civilization in the game, they actually have evolved into a subtle and cunning species since they were taken from Altaria by the last Mithrilar thousands of years ago, and placed on their own home world.

You might expect that a species as physically powerful as the Drath would become a race of warriors, but the sheer damage that any violence between their would cause resulted in the species developing in a very different direction. Their unique trait, war profiteering, is, with some irony, the result of their own culture's attempt to discourage infighting. That is, if two Drath clans were battling it out, it was well understood that other clans would economically profit from the war, thus making obvious that those Drath who chose violence would be economically deprived.

Once the Drath gained access to faster-than-light travel via Hyperdrive, they naturally took advantage of the galaxy's turmoil. The Drath, in short, eagerly trade with anyone and everyone they can, and profit greatly from the chaos of interstellar war.

Homeworld

Thousands of years ago, the Mithrilar took the remaining Drath from Altaria and gave them a new world. That world has thrived. It's +1 better than Earth as planets go.

image

Drath Ships

image

The style of the Drath is ornate. They are an ancient civilization. While humans have only begun to realize that there are beings from higher-planes of existence, the Drath, of course, have always known of them. Both the Mithrilar and the Arnor (the Precursors) interacted with the Drath directly in ancient times.

Drath Technology

Being an ancient species, they have a handful of unique technologies that other species, like humans, do not have access to.

image

Probably my favorite is the Precursor Relic Understanding tech.  It gives an early (but significant) boost to precursor relics that are scattered across the galaxy. 

image

Not surprisingly, the Drath will tend to grab up Precursor relics more so than other civilizations.  This was enough of an issue that we had to modify the Ascension notifications, because the Drath frequently win by Ascension victories. Beware.

Drath in action

The play-style of the Drath focuses on capturing and utilizing the Precursor relics. The most common path to victory for them is to ascend to a higher dimension through Precursor artifacts (this was enough of an issue that we had to beef up the notification system to let you know what they were up to). 

The Drath can get 25% more out of Precursor artifacts than other species.

image

This screenshot is just because..holy cow! Durantium, Promethion, and Thulium with a single starbase!

image

Here is an example of where the Ancient ability really comes in handy.  The Precursor Observatory provides +1 for ascension and the Arnorian Relic study gives a 25% bonus.  Any other civilization would only receive 2 total points per turn from this starbase that covers two Ascension relics. But the Drath are getting 5.

image

Acquiring 5,000 points is not easy of course (would take 1,000 turns at this point!), but if you were to capture a handful of additional Ascension relics and keep going down the Precursor tech tree, a dedicated player could find themselves ascending in less than 200 turns.

The Drath also get a large bonus for trading with civilizations that are at war.  Now, the purpose of this is less about making money and more to encourage a strategy of keeping your enemies busy while you collect ascension points.

Good luck!

______________________________

Retribution Journals

Journal #1

Journal #2

Journal #3

Journal #4

Journal #5

Journal #6

Journal #7

Journal #8 (Current)

Journal #9 (Coming Soon)

 


Galactic Civilizations III: Retribution Journal #7 - The Korath

Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2019 By Frogboy

The Korath make no bones about what they're about: Extermination.

They were bred by the Drengin to be the elite shock troops of the empire.  Consider that -- the merciless Drengin Empire felt the need to breed a sub-species of Drengin who are even more brutal than they are.  Let's take a look at the Korath.

image

The Korath are the only canon species in Galactic Civilizations to have the extermination trait. This trait gives them access to a special technology called Spore Weapons.  While other civilizations have to raise legions of troops to conquer a planet, the Korath will simply  sterilize a planet from orbit - it doesn't matter how many legions are on the surface. This makes them extremely dangerous.

To breed super-Drengin, the Korath are raised on a miserable planet surrounding a dying blue star. While the planet itself is productive (class 12), it is a hellish environment.

Playing as the Korath

The Korath are built for war. Unlike everyone else, they can exterminate planets using their spore ships, which bypass any legions on a given planet.

image

The Korath start isn't that much different than other species, except there is one major difference: the Temple of Despair. This improvement vastly increases the player's sensor range on their home planet and greatly expands their influence. It will lead to many beings wanting to visit the world it is on in order to indulge their darker impulses. It also gives a +3 bonus to any manufacturing that is near it, and it provides a commander!  So yeah, it's incredibly powerful.

image

Before the Temple of Despair is constructed you can see the unexplored space just outside the solar system.

image

After its construction, the player can see a vast area around their world.  It also quickly expands their influence.

Korath Destiny

It is very, very difficult to play the Korath as anything other than malevolent. The Korath receive a series of unique and enticing monuments they can construct.  However, constructing them produces a lot of Malevolent ideology points. Thus, if you want to get the most out of the Korath, it means you will likely be a pariah.

They are my new favorite conqueror civilization.  Here's why:

  1. They quickly see anyone around them.
  2. I can still get the early nice benevolent and pragmatic ideological bonuses from early game choices before I accept that I'm going to be a very, very evil civilization.
  3. I can generate a lot of income from tourism because of the Temple of Despair.
  4. I can exterminate planets relatively easily, meaning I don't have to worry much about legions.

Korath Gameplay Example

The Year is 2242. It is time for the Korath to cleanse this galaxy.

In this iteration, my home world of Kora has spawned with Hyper Silicates, which is a rare treat. It also has a Precursor artifact that gives the target planet a bunch of instant production as well as a Thulium deposit.  So, we're off to a pretty good start.

image

Turn 1:

  • Rush Buy Shipyard (pretty typical start)
  • Rush Buy a Colony Ship (pretty typical)
  • Rename Survey ship to "Doom Giver" (I hate the default names)
  • Send Survey Ship to nearby star.
  • Research Artificial Gravity (because it will add +1 to my ship speed)
  • Start building Temple of Despair

Turn 2:

  • Set population of new colony ship to 1 (minimum -- to make sure Kora has a good population for more colony ships).
  • Start building another colony ship.
  • Send new colony ship to a different star than the survey ship.
  • Rush Buy Temple of Despair.
  • Begin building the computer core next to the Hyper Silicates

image

Temple of Despair quickly uncovers a bunch of stuff, including a class 12 planet in another solar system.

Turn 3:

  • Event: I choose pragmatic (doubles the population growth)

Turn 4:

  • I encounter the Drengin, but I don't speak their language (the Korath have long lost that ability).

Turn 5:

  • Artificial Gravity has been researched.
  • Archaic Languages chosen as next project so I can understand/trade with the Drengin.
  • Computer Core has been completed.
  • Nano Fabricator Artifact study chosen.

image

Korath is producing a crazy amount of influence.  If you look closely, you will see 3 stored goods. When a project finishes now, overflow is saved for the next project.

Turn 6:

  • Survey Ship has found the Drengin home world.
  • I compare the home worlds (I'm playing on Gifted). My population is a bit lower than theirs, but my research is better. Their planet started with food, which means they probably built the colonization center (which requires food), something I couldn't do.
  • Survey ship sent to another solar system.

 

image image

 

Turn 7:

  • New colony founded.  I name it Ruin.
  • Event: I make the pragmatic choice, which gives me a Kinetic Augmenter.
  • Artifact that increases planet resistance on planet.
  • Supply Depot is started. It will, however, take 19 turns. :(
  • Planet only produces 3 social construction points per turn (compared to the 6 on Kora).
  • Event: Ancient Device offers to terraform a nearby world. Yes. Yes!
  • With a second planet, I'm asked to choose a form of government (Intrigue expansion feature). I choose Imperial.
  • New planet is named Agony. Also unveils an amazing new planet nearby that I didn't previously know about.
  • Ideology Pragmatism unlocked.  I choose to get 3 free constructors.
  • Kora now has access to food, so I choose to build the colonization center next to the temple of Despair because the Temple gives a +3 production bonus to it.
  • On Agony, I choose to build a supply depot.
  • Constructor 1 is sent claim a Thulium deposit in another solar system.
  • Constructor 2 is sent to claim a Precursor Economic relic, but is also within range of Kora, which means I can make it an Economy starbase that has an Archeology lab.
  • Constructor 3 is sent toward my awesome new solar system.

image

The Korath will benefit from the Ship Construction bonus.

Turn 8:

  • New Constructor is sent towards my awesome solar system that has an unclaimed Precursor world.
  • I set Kora's shipyard to have sponsors from all my planets ,despite that they are far away and much of the production is lost.
  • Archaic languages is completed, so I choose Path to Purity, which will give me the Euology of the Fallen Wonder, something the Korath have unique access to.
  • Survey ship is sent towards another star system.
  • Colony ship selected as next project.
  • New colony ship that just got completed is sent to claim that wonderful Precursor world.

 

Turn 9:

  • I open up negotiations with the Drengin now that I know their language. I trade them Artificial Gravity for money. I also trade them open borders to keep our relations decent...for now.
  • With the money I build 3 asteroid bases near Kora to increase production.

 

Turn 10:

  • New Citizen chosen: Administrator.  Because I will be building more constructors and Hypergates soon.

 

Start of game Status report:

I have 3 citizens (starter, one I got from building Temple of Despair and one I just picked).

image

image

Early game prognosis: Very good.

From here on out, I'll just highlight major events.

Early Game Notes:

  • Kora produces 13, while most of my colonies currently produce 2 to 3.  To get them built up, I send them Supply ships.

 

image

Empire looks like this.

image

The Korath meet the humans.

image

Filthy Altarians steal a planet.

image

During early game Kora gets its default tiles built up.  I move to Aid Economy which I set to repeat until I get some terraforming tech.

image

I use the Nano Fabricator to build up my planets.

image

I construct a Hypergate connection between my home solar system and the "super solar system" to help get supply ships over to it more quickly.

image

Hyperlane between Kora and Ruin.

image

Battles now show damage on screen.

Spore weapons are a double-edged sword.  On the one hand, you get the planet... but on the other hand, the population is gone, which leaves no people to work in the factories or slave pits. It also means any citizens that were on that planet aren't captured. They're dead.

In my game, my home world got captured and I used a spore ship on it.  I got the planet back, but my empire was never the same.

image

Population

image

Research

Mid Game Notes

Rebuilding Kora was a major focus here from my mistake in exterminating the population. The Drengin occupation forces wiped out a lot of what was there, and their initial invasion destroyed my artifact.  Normally, I would say it was a total loss, but I need revenge on the Drengin for what they did.

I also need to research atmospheric cleansing since Kora is now a toxic world.

image

There is something satisfying about seeing the humans and the Altarians fighting...

 

image

The Drengin must be our slaves.  So the invasion force does not include sport ships. At least not for the capital world.

image

Or maybe not.

(sometime later)

image

image

Drengin is now mine!

image

This was satisfying.

Mid Game Summary

 

image

If you want lots of trade, always make sure the Iridium Corporation is a player.  That's all money they're trading with me, which is very nice. It has let me keep my taxes way down.

There are some interesting AI Mysteries here.

Consider these two graphs:

image

Ship Construction

image

Military Power

The Iridium Corporation ship construction is actually better than mine most of the time, but they have basically no military.  They're rich, but weak.  They're at war with the Snathi, but they're a pretty minor power.

The humans are obviously doing pretty well. They're the only ones who really can contest my power. The question is: why?

And that's where the magic of AI programming comes in.  Figuring out the "why".   You can see that they have the ability to build bigger fleets. Look at the Drengin's capability versus their actual military.  Why were they not able to keep up?

image

Kora has built the Technological capital, which unlocks the Aid Research project for just that world. However, it is 100 research for 200 cost, which is a much better deal than the old aid research.  Some people will grumble that you can't do it on all worlds now, but it really messed up the pacing. To balance this, the cost of tech progression has been reduced.

image

The dark gray area in the top left is my territory. The humans are blue. The Snathi are yellow (top). The bottom right I don't have in range yet, so I don't know everything that's there. The Iridium Corporation is orange.

Update:

More investigation makes me think the AI is being too greedy on taxes. This causes unhappy people, which reduces productivity.  So yes, they have lots of money, but they are losing too much production.

image

The red vertical line shows when I modified the AI's tax rate.  This is eadch player's research.  The Korath of course are doing fine already since I built the tech capital.  But as you can see, the others benefited by trading income for productivity.

image

This is each civilization's approval level.  You an see where each one starts to jump up.  100% approval is a waste for your entire civilization.  But if it's less than say 80% and you have plenty of money, consider lowering taxes.

 

The Korath in summary

They are very powerful, but you will, ultimately, end up playing them as a malevolent civilization if you want to get the most out of them.  When using the spore weapons, use them only on planets with low populations already (minor worlds).  Use legions on on important worlds.

 

______________________________

Retribution Journals

Journal #1

Journal #2

Journal #3

Journal #4

Journal #5

Journal #6

Journal #7 (Current)

Journal #8

Journal #9 (Coming Soon)

 

 

 

 

 


Galactic Civilizations III: Retribution Journal #6

Posted on Thursday, February 14, 2019 By Frogboy

The New Technologies

image

Retribution makes the greatest changes to the technology tree since the original release of the game.  Moreover, many of those changes occur at the very start of the game as opposed to late game. Today, we'll walk you through some of the changes and why we made them.

Colonization

image

The most obvious change here is the study of artifacts. We will have an entire journal dedicated to artifacts.  But suffice to say, going up the artifact tree allows players to get more out of the artifacts they find on worlds. There have also been other changes designed to improve the overall pacing of the game.  For example, Colonial Administration introduces farms and cities together.  Moreover, the various multi-choice techs are completely eliminated. Every tech gives you something meaningful.

Engineering

image

Engineering got a pretty big shake-up.  First off, Space Elevators have been moved to "space elevator technology".  At the start of the game, players have some new planetary improvements they can construct instead, like the Colonization Center, or Supply Depot, which help get things moving and provides a bit more time to decide where players want to place their hubs.

This tree also has the Hypergate tech path on it that makes hypergates better and faster.  Like with Colonization, this tree has been narrowed and the optimization/choose 1 of N techs concept is gone.  Starports have been moved to Orbital Manufacturing and, as you may have noticed, Carriers have been moved way, way up in order to make them a viable alternative to weapon systems.  This will also involve improving the carrier concept in general.

Warfare

The Warfare tree has been re-designed to be much cleaner. While there are a few optimization techs in the tree, the pacing of the techs has been substantially improved.

image

Planetary Invasion is much earlier now in the tech tree.  This is partly because, now that stars are more distant, there is a bit more time to prepare for being rushed. 

The weapon improvements have been merged together by weapon type.  So instead of, for example, beam weapons having two parallel improvement tree,s there is only one.  This way, a weapon technology has time to become relevant.  New miniaturization techs have also been added later in the tree to, again, make a given weapon technology have its day in the sun, rather than becoming obsolete in a short time.

Culture

The Culture Tech tree has gotten a major overhaul as well.  It now contains a immigration sub-tree for increasing population growth on planets. Like the others, the tree here is narrower in order to give techs more time to be relevant, as well as make sure that each technology feels important.

image

 

The effect

In the game I'm testing with today, I have 6 colonies.  It's turn 40.  I am playing on a large map. What's happening?

image

My Best Colony

My population is 2 out of a max of 3.   But as you can see, my production isn't that dependent on population now.

image

My 2 population becomes 9.5 production thanks to the Space Elevator placement, Supply Depot, government, etc.  The costs of various improvements and techs have been balanced to reasonable levels.  Moreover, a Supply Ship from Earth...

image

Supply Ship from Earth bringing 100 social production with it (10 turns worth of production).

 

image

On Mars I have "aid economy" on repeat, which is helping me out.

image

My home world, Earth, is built up.  I haven't researched any terraforming improvements yet, so this is Earth's natural state. 

Let's look at Earth

Its population of 7 is getting a lot done thanks to automation.  I have it aiding economy.

You might be wondering what happened to Aid Research. The answer is: that ability is now tied to the Technology Capital super project.  Aid Research is now much, much more powerful, but only can be done on a single planet (which if you use supply ships with rally points you can get a lot done).  This was done because late game, social manufacturing effectively became research, which was not really ideal.

I also feel like there are a lot of interesting things I might want to build on this planet once I have more tiles available.

Back to La La World

The question on pacing boils down to what players would expect to accomplish in 10 turns.

image

La La world got rich!

 

image

 

So what changed?  As you can see, the population didn't, it's still 2.  Raw production didn't change either.  What did change was the construction of the Central Bank, a Supply Depot, and a Market Center. 

But how did all that get built in 10 turns? Answer: the Supply Ship from Earth.

Before Retribution, players would basically just pound the turn button waiting for their population to grow.  And what were their shipyards doing around turn 50? Either spamming colony ships (if it was a huge map) hoping to find stuff, constructors, or treasure hunters. Game in and game out.

Now, Shipyards are deciding between Stellar Architects (hypergates), Supply Ships, Constructors, or Colony ships depending on the situation.  Because planetary invasions are so early now (relatively speaking), players can punish nearby civilizations that are mindlessly expanding by building up their own colonies a bit. And this ignores the effect of artifacts in this formula.

The cumulative effect is that players have a lot more strategic choices to make based on how the map is set up, who their neighbors are, and what resources they want to employ.

 

______________________________

Retribution Journals

Journal #1

Journal #2

Journal #3

Journal #4

Journal #5

Journal #6 (Current)

Journal #7

Journal #8

Journal #9 (Coming Soon)


Galactic Civilizations III: Retribution Journal #5

Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 By Frogboy

I have met God and he's a Slug

image

Some believe that all living creatures have an elemental spark of divinity within themselves. In the case of the Tywom in the year 2246, that may literally be true.

The Sun Sets on the Altarian Empire

On Christmas eve of 2246, the TAS Omega arrived near the orbit of the Altarian Homeworld.

image

The once powerful military of the haughty Altarians had been utterly crushed.  Not by humanity, but by the most unlikely of beings -- the Tywom.

The humans had cooperated in the sense of destroying many Altarian starbases.  This had, however, resulted in the Tywom capturing many new resources while the humans were preoccupied with reaching the Altarian homeworld.

Glory is fleeting.  And while the humans congratulated one another for their triumph over the hated Altarians, they barely noticed a minor headline that came over the networks...

image

The humans had missed the forest for the trees. The Tywom had aggressively picked up the Ascension crystals.  Their strategy, from the very beginning, was to go for that victory path.  Many things can be said about the Tywom, but... calling them 'great warriors' would not be one of those things.  They knew this, and instead pursued a different path.

image

The humans had been destroying starbases connected to Ascension Crystals, which pleased the Tywom.

The Tywom were stymied from their path of galactic victory because of the wars. But, the humans had solved this problem for them by sacrificing entire fleets to take out the fortified starbases that guarded the various Precursor relics across known space.

image

The Human's vaunted Omega class destroyer capital ship was still no match for the Altarian equivalent.

image

As in, not even able to scratch the paint.

Rapture

In hindsight, the trials and tribulations of the Terran Alliance were of no consequence.  Now that we bask in the light of the Tywom, we truly understand what it means to love.  To be completely and fully devoted to something.

image

image

All praise his great moistness!

 

Next up: A feature tour of Retribution!  Now with100% less goo.

______________________________

Retribution Journals

Journal #1

Journal #2

Journal #3

Journal #4

Journal #5 (Current)

Journal #6

Journal #7

Journal #8

Journal #9 (Coming Soon)

View More ∨