Journals

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).

Anyway...

Playing with the look and feel

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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.

 

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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.

Balance

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).

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And each time I play I find something to improve.

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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...


Exporting your space ships to share with others with Galactic Civilizations III

Posted on Friday, September 15, 2017 By Draginol

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You may not have noticed this before but in the Ship Designer of Galactic Civilizations III you can take the ships you have designed (or downloaded) and export them as a .OBJ file.  This can be used by 3D printers but also on a cool site called Sketchfab.  It's super easy to set up.

Here are a couple I've already uploaded:

 Have fun!

p.s. Bonus one:

https://skfb.ly/6tIOy

 


DasTactic Let's Play of Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade - Part 1

Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2017 By Island Dog

DasTactic started a new Let's Play series for Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade! Check out the video below and be sure to subscribe to his channel for more!


GalCiv III: Drengin/Human Wars VI

Posted on Sunday, September 10, 2017 By Frogboy

Last week I did a one on one test against the Drengin AI set at Normal. It was on a tiny map in which I rushed for invasion tech and killed them.

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This time, let's bump the AI to Genius...

AI at Genius

The 2.5 GalCiv III AI is a lot smarter than previous iterations. It handles fleets better. It researches better. It builds up planets more intelligently.  But it is really difficult, even in human 1 on 1 games, to deal with a rush.

Now, at Genius, the AI starts out with more money so it's not quite a "fair" game but then again, I'm not playing fair either.  Let's see how it goes.
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Differences from War V

This time, I know the map.  I'm playing on the same map as before so I know exactly where everything is.  The AI does not, even at "Genius".  So this should be interesting.

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Because I know the map, I quickly claim the planets.

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I also destroy all Drengin colony ships I can find.

The War

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The AI responded by building Brindle's Observatory which gives it an extra home planet.  So 6 planets to 4 planets.  I picked a Malevolent ideology point to get a free Frigate.  That, with a Commander, allowed me to destroy their shipyard.

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To counter me destroying their shipyard, they built 3 shipyards (one for each planet).  Normally they wouldn't do that but they correctly calculated that I would wear myself down destroying shipyards.

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Having destroyed my fleet with his remaining shipyard, the Drengin then focus all production on the remaining shipyard.  I move my Survey ship, which has weapons, into the Drengin home system and pick off their ships.  Each battle wears my ship down a bit.  It's a question of whether I can get my transports over there fast enough.

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The invasion begins...

I take all but one planet.

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With only 1 planet, they station all their garrisons.

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He follows this up by buying a rather nasty Mercenary which he then puts in orbit.

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I can't take out this guy.

He's going to still lose.  But he's really fighting it.  If I didn't know better, I'd say he was griefing me.

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No.  This isn't that type of game.

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He buys a second Mercenary but I ambush it.

and then take my combined fleets:

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To deal with his powerful Mercenary friend and escorts.

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At last. 

With his last defenses clear, my transports make their way to the kill.

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He buys another Mercenary but it's no use.

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The invasion happens.

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VICTORY!

AAR:

So I was wrong about the AI starting with more money.  He started with the same amount but at Genius gets a bonus to their economy. 

Probably the only way he could have realistically won is if he had simply been handed a bunch of money.  I do have some ideas on how to combat the rush but I'm not sure if it's worth pursuing since this is a 4X game and not an competitive RTS.  The goal here was to see how well the AI reacted to my actions.  There's no script in GalCiv. The AI instead looks at conditions and then values lots and lots of potential decision trees to decide what it should do.


GalCiv III: Drengin/Human Wars V

Posted on Saturday, September 9, 2017 By Frogboy

 

Our story so far...

Every once in awhile, Do a 1 on 1 test on a relatively balanced map to see how well the AI is doing.   I play on Normal or Gifted as that puts the AI on roughly equal terms with me.

I choose  the Drengin because they are a vicious, evil civilization that has few redeeming qualities and they play the game very differently than most people do (they are absolutely amoral).  Their strategies aren't always ideal but they do tend to be interesting.

And so it begins...

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Both humans and Drengin start with a class 14 world (a very nice planet) as well as two habitable nearby worlds.

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The base game really reward rapid expansion.  I'm playing Crusade which rewards fewer, well developed worlds.  This is hard on the AI because the AI is good at rapid expansion and less so at optimizing its worlds which is one reason I enjoy working on Crusade so much, I like hard AI tasks.

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I choose Artificial gravity first because it increases my moves by +1.

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For my home planet, I rush build the Space Elevator, then the shipyard and then the Starport. 

A lot of people rush to the shipyard which I think can be a mistake.  GalCiv games are somewhat different than most 4X games in that players start with a lot of "gold" in order to jump start their opening strategy.  This is why you frequently see new players claim the game is cheating -- if you don't know you're supposed to rush build something at the start of the game, you'll fall behind.  In my case, by rush building structures and waiting a turn for them to build, I greatly reduce the rush costs of subsequent things because they are already partially built.

Not rush building too much at the start also lets me take advantage of special resources I find on new worlds:

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Level 2 computer core rush built gives me a huge research boon right away.  This is on the planet Roscommon, my second planet.

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For my first ethical choice I went pragmatic and then made constructive my ideological choice which grants me 3 Constructor ships.

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I then upgrade one of them into colony ships (again, because I didn't use all my rush money). With the other two Constructors, I send them to claim resources:

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Now you could argue this is pretty unfair to the AI.  The AI is never going to have this specific of a strategy since it's not scripted but instead is reactive.  But I am not here to play fair. I'm here to win.

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When I find the galactic Bazaar I immediately hire a Survey ship now that "The Anvil" is super expensive. :)

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Another world.

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This time, I choose a benevolent path for my moral quandary.

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For my first citizen I choose a scientist rather than an Administrator.  That is because I plan to win this quickly.

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Now, I want Planetology because I want to get farms going.  Now that population produces raw production at a 1 to 1 ratio, cities matter a lot and cities require food.

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Now it's time to b-line to Planetary Invasion to quickly end this.

 

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With my enlightened (benevolent) choices on colonizing, I gain an ideological point that I put into educated which gives me 150 research points which fast-tracks me to invasion.

On turn 22, I have planetary invasion.

Now to destroy the Drengin Empire.

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Step 1, bomber fleet with a scout to increase my sensor range.

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Step 2, built transport with "5 legions of my best troops!"

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Step 3, destroy unarmed orbital defenses.

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Now, the Drengin are quick to react.  They build up a decent little defense.  However, they spread themselves out by reinforcing individual planets (making it harder to invade).  One might argue they should have created a single fleet to challenge mine.  However, doing that would have made their planets even more open to invasion.  They are hoping they have time to build up before invasion comes.  But they're wrong, they are already out of time.

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Ok, this IS unexpected.  The Drengin form a fleet big enough to take out my transport.  Sadly, they just don't quite have enough moves left to attack.

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Not taking any chances, I form up a bigger fleet and take their first planet.

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Any time you conquer a Drengin world you can pretty much assume there will be slaves. This planet has a lot of slaves.

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They're down to the last world. 

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In the battle in orbit of their last world the Drengin have made some interesting strategic choices. 

First, they researched Small Hulls.  I just got that tech so none of my ships are as big as this ship.  Second, he has a relatively advanced beam weapon which will out range anything I have since I'm using "space rockets" (because I rushed right towards conquest and put the base weapons on).

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Meanwhile, the other Drengin ship shot past my ships and attacked my lightly armored Transport. Destroying it.

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So an unexpected setback. 

They're still doomed but it's not quite the walk over I had planned.  Just means I will have to build another rush force.  But I now have 8 planets to their 1.

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My next fleet takes out their defenses.

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And then the invasion begins.

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VICTORY!

So was this fair?

No.  Of course not.  There was never any question of the AI being able to win.  You take two humans, give them equal stuff and one sacrifices everything for a rush victory you will see that victory.  The question is how well does the AI react? And in this case, quite well. 

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They moved to a war footing quite fast.

 

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But as you can see, they weren't able to bridge the gap fast enough.

Other than knowing I was going for a rush attack, there's not much they could have done.   If they had met me a little sooner, they might have been able to tell that I was b-lining towards invasion tech (yes, the AI does analyze what you've researched and then categorizes possible strategies you might be using).  But I was careful to stay away from them.

 


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