Journals

A Timeline of the Evolution of Content in Galactic Civilizations III

Posted on Tuesday, November 24, 2020 By Tatiora

Galactic Civilizations III launched in 2015 just a month or two before I joined the team at Stardock. From my first day here, this particular title was my training ground as I navigated my new job and learned all of the products the marketing team is responsible for. 

It feels appropriate, then, as I pass my 5 year Stardock anniversary, that I take a look at GalCiv III and all of the expansions and DLC we’ve released over the years to continue making it a vast, enjoyable, exciting game for our amazing player base.

Map Pack DLC - July 9, 2015

The map pack DLC released not long after the base game with the goal of adding in several new maps ranging in size from tiny maps ideal for intimate 2-player battlegrounds or gigantic maps, perfect for hosting an 18-player brawl. This DLC is free if you haven’t acquired it yet, but if you’ve purchased the Core edition for the game it’s included, so don’t worry about picking it up individually!

 

 

Mega Events DLC - August 11, 2015

The Dread Lords return, the Peacekeepers declare war, and a beloved leader is assassinated. When we released Mega Events, we wanted to further give the player a sense of real galactic peril with some pretty high-stakes events. This particular DLC is now also included in the Core Edition of the game, because we decided that it adds enough that players picking up the game for the first time should have it included in their overall experience.

 

 

Revenge of the Snathi DLC - September 10, 2015

No race is safe from the true face of EVIL...even if it is as cute as a button! The Snathi are here and they’re out for revenge in what is, honestly, my favorite GalCiv III DLC to have written for. I had a lot of fun with these guys - I remember when they sent me the screenshots I was like, “OMG, they’re...they’re squirrels.” The DLC has an entire campaign you can play through as the Snathi, ships unique to the race, and introduced the new “scavenge” ability. 

 

 

Precursor Worlds DLC - December 9, 2015

Mysterious Precursors, long-forgotten ancient worlds, and unexpected colony events - oh, my! This DLC added new Precursor planet types, several colonization events, and anomalies (which are one of my personal favorite things to explore in GalCiv III). In Precursor Worlds, you can find plenty of exotic technologies like Space Elevators and Orbital Factory Rings, which can boost production, build better ships, or pump up your resources.

 

 

Mercenaries Expansion - February 18, 2016

Mercenaries added one of my favorite elements in GalCiv III, and that’s the Galactic Bazaar. At the Bazaar, you can hire all sorts of mercenaries - from scouts to warships - and send them off to do your bidding. The coolest part for me is that they’re a limited commodity; once someone has hired a mercenary, they’re not available to any other players for the rest of the game. This expansion also added my favorite race, the Torians, who are long-time slaves of the Drengin and are fighting for their freedom. Mercenaries has such key gameplay points that it is currently included in the Core edition of the game.

 

 

Builder’s Kit DLC - June 2, 2016

We wanted to give fans of the game more options for custom ship mods, so we added a ton of new parts! We included core functional parts in shapes like disks and boxes, as well as dozens of specialized parts in unique shapes like cockpits and fins. This DLC is free for everyone, so if you’re into customization and modding and you haven’t grabbed it yet, make sure you do.

 

 

Rise of the Terrans DLC - June 15, 2016

Lead humanity on their first foray into the galaxy and experience the early days of the Terran Alliance! This particular DLC contains a unique prequel story campaign that takes you through how the Terran Alliance was founded and what challenges it faced in its early days. It also gives you a new faction to play, headed by leader Secretary General Mathews. This DLC  is pretty cool from a lore aspect and is worth playing through if you want to get more of the GalCiv story.

 

 

Lost Treasures DLC - July 27, 2016

The secrets of long-forgotten worlds are waiting for you! Uncover lost treasures of the past, discover ancient technologies, and guide your empire into a new age of prosperity. You’ll face plenty of new challenges through colony events in this DLC, most of which have to deal with exploration and the difficult choices you’ll have to make as you unearth ancient secrets.

 

 

Altarian Prophecy DLC - August 23, 2016

The Altarian Prophecy carries on the story you experience in Rise of the Terrans, but this time you must forge an alliance with the Altarians and convince them to join you in the fight against the Drengin. This is must-have for anyone who wants the full scale of the GalCiv III story.

 

 

Crusade Expansion - May 4, 2017

Crusade added a ton of new content that has since become absolutely integral to the overall experience of the game (so it’s included in the Core edition). We added citizens, espionage, two new races - the Onyx Hive and the Terran Resistance - and the beloved Civilization Builder. The sheer amount of custom civilizations that our players have created in the last three years just blows my mind! If you haven’t tried playing a custom faction yet, browse your options on Steam Workshop and give it a try.

 

 

Mech Parts Kit DLC - October 24, 2017

What’s cooler than a mech? Nothing! Take on Kaijus - or just Drengin, I suppose - by creating your very own giant fighting robot. This DLC contains lots of unique parts for fans of ship design, including frames, beams, hooks, heads, and so much more.

 

 

Heroes of Star Control: Origins DLC - November 12, 2018

If you’ve read any of my other stuff, you’ll know that Star Control: Origins is my favorite project from my time here at Stardock. Honestly, I was pretty excited when I heard we were going to be porting over some of my favorite races into GalCiv III - starting with the Tywom, Mu’Kay, Mowlings, and Free Trandals! All of the factions have unique leaders, music, ship designs, and traits and are a great way to add more options to your gameplay whether you’re a Star Control fan or not.

 

 

Intrigue Expansion - April 11, 2018

To lead a civilization to galactic greatness, one must rely on some assistance in the form of government. In Intrigue, we added tons of different ways for you to govern, from diplomat to dictator. You can also establish commonwealths, keep up on current events with the Galactic News Network, and keep your coffers filled with trade on the Galactic Market. My personal favorite detail in this expansion is the way the Government icons look - aren’t those cool?

 

 

Retribution Expansion - February 21, 2019

Major civilizations and a new technology tree are only the start of what make Retribution so great. Hypergates - powerful gateways that you can construct and link to let your fleet travel quickly across hyperspace - and an exciting campaign that comes with a climactic final battle for humanity make Retribution truly fun and unique (so much so that it’s included in Core). My personal favorite addition here are the supply ships, which can deliver goods and services across planets in your control to aid in their development.

 

 

Villains of Star Control: Origins DLC - August 27, 2019

We return to my favorite Stardock game with a few more races moving over to GalCiv III - The Measured, Phamysht, Xraki, and Scryve became playable factions a little over a year ago. All of the unique leaders, music, ship designs, and traits are perfect for adding more fun to your gameplay and offering some new faction options for you to try.

 

 

Worlds in Crisis DLC - May 12, 2020

Our most recent release for GalCiv III, Worlds in Crisis focuses on bringing new world events to your game. The team worked hard on several new planet types and features, providing tons of new options to GalCiv veterans and lots to explore for anyone who was picking up the game for the first time.

 

Phew, that’s a lot of content! We have a lot of love for the title here - it’s really what gave Stardock its start all those years ago. What’s your favorite content for Galactic Civilizations III? Share with me!




Evolution of the Drengin

Posted on Wednesday, November 11, 2020 By Tatiora

I think most people are fairly well aware of this fact, but in case you aren't, there's something you need to know about Galactic Civilizations: it's been around for a really long time

The game's development actually started in Stardock CEO Brad Wardell's dorm room at Western Michigan State University back in 1993. It was just a hobby at first, until IBM heard about the game's development and sent Brad better tools and other goodies to work with. Galactic Civilizations was released in 1994, the same time as IBM's OS/2 Warp 3 - and that, as they say, is history.

Galactic Civilizations III released in 2015 and has definitely seen an improvement in graphics and gameplay from the first game that hit shelves (yeah, literally, back when PC games actually sold in retail stores!) over 25 years ago. Not only has the game as a whole seen quite an evolution, but the races within have as well - including one of Brad's favorites: the Drengin.

Brad has written a lot of blogs over the years talking about how the company got started and where certain races in GalCiv originated. Regarding the Drengin, he wrote:

"Many years ago, when I was trying to come up with a villain for what I called, at the time, Earth Space Wars, I wanted an enemy that was brutal, ruthless and most importantly, inhuman. An enemy that would look at our system of ethics, morals and honor and laugh at them as being hopelessly naïve and primitive." And thus, the Drengin were born.

Below are some photos of the Drengin (specifically, Lord Kona) over the years.

This is an early Drengin image from the 90's. On an old website I dug up that contains some GalCiv history, the caption under this photo says it's Kandar the Drengin from the cartoon series "Drengin Heroes" (which I assume is some Drengin propaganda).

This is a Drengin painting from 1995. This actually was hanging in what used to be the streaming room when I first started here, before I knew who the Drengin were or what was going on in this image. Looks like that human there isn't having a great day.

This is Lord Kona from the first Galactic Civilizations game. Most of what humanity knows about the Drengin comes from the Arceans, who have had a long relationship with the Drengin (and an amazingly peaceful one, given that they are both war-driven races). 

This is Lord Kona a few years later, in Galactic Civilizations II. The Drengin race is old - really old. By our standards, they are completely ancient, having already established star colonies while we humans were still living in caves and hunting wild prey. 

This one is pretty neat - it's an early Lord Kona concept from Galactic Civilizations III. You can see he's blended somewhat with concepts for the Korath (which you can read a little more about below).

And at last, we land on Lord Kona's final concept in Galactic Civilizations III - an elderly Drengin who has seen many years, many wars, and many great, um...feasts. 

Above, I talked about how an early concept for Lord Kona blended some aesthetics with the Korath. The Korath, shown above, made an appearance in GalCiv III later. They were bred by the Drengin to be the elite shock troops of the empire. The Korath make no bones about what they're about, either: extermination.

 

Which GalCiv game was your first and do you like to play as the Drengin? If not, what races do you prefer to play as? Let me know in the comments!

 


Galactic Civilizations III: What Sets it Apart

Posted on Wednesday, October 28, 2020 By Tatiora

With so many choices in games available these days thanks to digital distribution, it can sometimes be hard to settle upon a choice of what to play when you happen to have an afternoon free to yourself. 4X is an extremely popular genre, and there's no question that there are hundreds of 4X-style games available on Steam and other platforms.

Today, I want to talk a little bit about what sets Galactic Civilizations III (called GalCiv from here on out for brevity) apart from many of the other 4X games on the market right now. Let's get into it!

The Scale

Right off the bat, anyone who opens up a game of GalCiv will notice just how absolutely massive this game is. It is one of the largest space 4X sandbox games ever made, and the game showcases this in more than just map size. The amount of options you have as a player when setting up your game - from number of planets to how many and which races you'll be sharing the galaxy with, and more - is just so vast. 

You can be as particular as you want with your settings. Don't like that victory condition? Turn it off! Tired of your opponents surrendering before you get a chance to crush them beneath your heel? Turn on the option that forces them to fight to the last breath. You can adjust resource frequency, planet frequency, and whether or not pirates are constantly beating down your proverbial door. If you're just starting out, you might find it helpful to adjust the game's pacing and the amount of crises that occur. 

The nice thing about GalCiv III is that you can start a game on a massive map and play across the span of a few days, or play a smaller-sized map just to fill an afternoon. Scale in this case doesn't refer to how large or small a map is, but rather how many options YOU as a player have at your fingertips when sitting down to play.

The Ship Designer

From our earliest games here at Stardock, we have always had our modding community in mind. Many of our developers got their start in games through modding hobbies, and we like to be able to support that within our games. GalCiv III is unique in that it has a ship designer built into the game, allowing players to make changes that are both cosmetic and functional.

Ship designing can make or break a victory. Looking carefully at the types of weapons and defenses that are available and applying them to ships in order to directly counter your opponent's forces will grant you a huge advantage during a game. If you're like me, you'll be exceptionally excited to change your ship's colors into cool, eye-catching combinations. 

If ship design isn't really your thing, don't worry - there are thousands of community-created designs on the Steam Workshop. Trust me, you can get lost browsing the ships for hours, there's just so much there.

The Civilization Designer

This particular feature was added in one of our expansions and then later rolled into the core version of the game. The Civilization Designer lets you create your own civilization from scratch, complete with traits, attributes, logo, leader photo, and more. You can modify existing civilizations to create some for yourself, or just like with the ship designs, you can browse all of the player-created civilizations over on the Steam Workshop. 

The traits that you apply to your civilization will dramatically affect how they play. You'll start with points to spend on positive traits, but if you're willing to take a few negative traits as well, you'll be able to add more points to your pool in order to take more traits. It's a delicate balancing act, and it's really fun to try new combinations of traits and attributes to see what works best!

When you create your civilization, you'll also be prompted to select what ships they'll start the game with. Not only can you choose ship style and designs, but you'll be able to determine if your civilization will start with scouts, or perhaps a colony ship, or maybe even something with more guns. The choice is yours.

My favorite thing about the Civilization Designer is being able to write a description for my civilization. I can add paragraphs of text talking about the civilization's background, origin, play style, and more. If you want to share your civilization with the community, you can upload it to the workshop! You can learn more about the Civilization Builder here and here.

 

What sets GalCiv III apart for you? Share your thoughts with me!


GalCiv III: Top Fan Favorite Faction Designs

Posted on Wednesday, October 21, 2020 By SchismNavigator

Kzinti Patriarchy by Airmaster

The race of cat-like aliens originally created by Laren Niven and brought to life for GC3 by Airmaster. This faction pack includes the unique race itself and a wide selection of ships to choose from.

The Kzinti, a large canivourous cat-like species from a world known as Kzinhome orbiting star 61 in the Ursae Majoris constellation. Based on the Larry Niven sci-fi novels Man-Kzin Wars.

The Kzinti Race Civ is a full playable custom civilization that already includes ships set style. No need to subscribe to ship models unless you want a ship class that I was not able to add to ship set style. Otherwise ships may be subscibed to and used for other race factions and civs for player personal use only.

Kzinti Patriarchy on Steam Workshop

Microsoftians by Wally Wombat

A tongue in cheek faction made by Wally Wombat. Inspired by the good old Clippy character made by Microsoft to help people use their productivity software.

Would you like me to: Enslave all who oppose us, become an invaluable trade partner to all races, or help everyone come together as one happy family?

Microsoftians on Steam Workshop

Voufan Creator by Seilore

Part of Seilore’s factions pack, the Voufan are not the best with other civs, but are smart and eager to expand their dominion.

Many years ago as the Vimmite were nearing extinction they explored all options on how to save and extend their lifes. After much exhaustion Vimmite scientists developed an empty entity shell. Shortly there after they began experiments to transfer their minds into the new limitless shells. Successfully transferring their consciousness into this creation they started to thrive. Having no limit on lifespan the Voufan began to spred their new idea of life throughout the galaxy.

Voufan Creator on Steam Workshop

Necrons [Warhammer 40,000] by NEXUS

For your consideration,this Hallowen… some undead space Egyptians. Whilst there are many great recreations of the WH40K races for GC3, I have to admit some personal bias when it comes to these grumpy metal mummies.

Order. Unity. Oberdience. We taught the galaxy these things long ago, and we will do so again.

The Necrons are a race of mechanical warriors, created from the Necrontyr. They have lain dormant in their stasis-tombs for sixty million years. They are ancient beyond reckoning, pre-dating even the Eldar. At long last, however, they are beginning to awaken, seeking to reestablish the supremacy of the Necron Dynasties over the Galaxy once more.

Necrons on Steam Workshop

Denvarien Confederacy by Darkurthe

Here we have a very pragmatic race of starfaring people in the Denvariens.

A proud warrior people whose acceptance of outsiders is minimal, the Denvarans are polite, formal and exude violence when not treated either way.

Denvariens on Steam Workshop


Featured Community-Made Ships from GalCiv III

Posted on Thursday, October 1, 2020 By MindlessMe

One of the greatest aspects of having a mod friendly game is seeing the awesome, creative designs our users come up with. Whether it's a design inspired by your favorite universe, or a unique design pulled from your brain - I'm always impressed. From the smallest designs to the insanely detailed, you can find a ship design for any occasion.

Today I'm sharing some of the most popular designs submitted through the Steam Workshop. With all the content for GalCiv it's difficult to narrow it down to just a handful of ships, but I do what I must. If you don't see one of your designs included today be sure to keep an eye on our social media channels. We showcase user created content all of the time.

Without further adieu, I give you the featured ships:

Overlord Battlecruiser (Warhammer 40k) [Download]
Created by [ph7]Ghazef
A powerful Ship of the Line, seen in many Imperial Navy fleets.

As a huge Warhammer 40k fan, I've had my eye on this ship for some time now. The level of detail Ghazef put into this design really helps to bring it to life. You can easily combine this ship with some of the 40k based civilizations and get lost in the Grimdark.

There are a number of Warhammer 40k inspired ships and collections on the Steam Workshop if you want to bring the universe to life in GalCiv. Just remember, there is only war...

 

Imperial Star Destroyer [Download]
Created by Ya Girl Juniper
A terrifying ship that acts as both a Capital ship and a Carrier. A fleet of these is everything an Empire needs to conquer the Galaxy.

Star Wars is a franchised loved by many, so it's no surprise that people are creating ships and content inspired by the lore. It's difficult to browse the Steam Workshop and not see at least a few designs inspired by the cinematic universe. This particular design from Ya Girl Juniper is one that's been in the workshop for some time now and is still used by many players. The level of detail in this ship makes it a cool one to take a spin around the galaxy, and maybe blow up some rebel scum.

 

SR2 Normandy [Download]
Created by Omnibus
A powerful Ship of the Line, seen in many Imperial Navy fleets.

Mass Effect has solidified its place as a sci-fi favorite regardless of how you feel about the ending of the trilogy. The detail and accuracy of this design makes it unmistakable as the SR2 Normandy as you are commanding it to move through the galaxy. All we need now is Commander Shepard!

If you like this design from Omnibus you can see more here: Complete Omnibus Collection

 

Aeon Mothership [Download]
Created by =SM=Guy Incognito
The Aeon Class Mothership serves as the flagship of the Iconian Navy. A vessel of tremendous size, it is the ultimate guarantee against Yor aggression. Normally operating from the heart of a fleet, lone Aeons have been known to act as a sole naval garrison of some systems, with its murderous laser fire and swarms of fighters and attack craft enough to deter enemy aggression.

When you take a minute to look at the intricate design of this ship, it's no surprise that it's so popular on the Steam Workshop. Guy Incognito did a great job of making a ship that looks very formidable in space. Based on the information from the designer, this ship took about 21 hours to complete.

If you want to see some of the other ships that compliment the Aeon Mothership, be sure to check out the collection here: Iconian Fleet Collection

 

Sovereign Class [Download]
Created by Airmaster
Star Fleet Sovereign Class Heavy Cruiser.

Airmaster is another designer in the community who doesn't really need an introduction. As you can see from the Starfleet ship design, this one is coming in hot from the Star Trek universe. This is one of the many Star Trek designs you can find on the Steam Workshop. There are also a number of civilizations if you are looking to create the entire universe.

You can see more Star Trek designs from Airmaster here: Star Trek Collection

 

Ships, galaxy maps, civilizations and other mods are at the heart of the GalCiv community. I want to say thank you to all the creators out there who spend time making these designs!

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