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Frogboy's Articles
April 19, 2015 by Frogboy
Introductions: The oldest actively developed space strategy game series Galactic Civilizations is the oldest actively developed space strategy game in the world.  The last version, Galactic Civilizations II: Twilight of the Arnor, was released over 7 years ago and remains to this day the highest rated (by Metacritic average) space strategy game of all time.  The series has sold over 5 million copies since its inception back in 1992.

Suffice to say, Galactic Civilizations III has...
April 18, 2015 by Frogboy
It. Is. On!

Our story so far…

As an AI test, I see how well the Drengin do in what would normally be a multiplayer game. I have this map where I play as the Terran Alliance run by those crazy primates from Sol 3 (aka Earth) from the year 2245.

My opponent are those brutal, skin eating bastards from Drengi who recently wiped out their own sub-species the Korath because, they’re just that nasty.

In the previous tests, it’s been a sad sad story of me just wiping out the stupid A...
April 15, 2015 by Frogboy
For those of you who haven't been following Stardock these last few years, it has helped found a series of new studios out in the Maryland and Austin areas.

In Towson Maryland, we have 3 studios located in the same building which is where I am today working on the GalCiv AI.

The people who make up the new start-up studios include many of the leads of Civ IV and Civ V.  So as I'm writing the AI, I am literally feet away from Brian Wade (Civ V AI) and Soren Johnson (Civ III and ...
April 12, 2015 by Frogboy
It was a totally awesome weekend for GalCiv AI and perf progress.

There is a lot new in GalCiv III over GalCiv II but one of the most obvious is the number of players and the galaxy size the game supports.

GalCiv II topped out with 16 players. That was a lot for back then when you’re dealing with a non-cheating, sophisticated computer AI that has to design its own ships and planets.

But GalCiv III tops out with 128 players.  That’s 8 times more players than GalCiv II and the ...
April 9, 2015 by Frogboy
Hey guys!

I’m going to be hard core on the GalCiv III AI this weekend.

For those of you just checking in, I put together a long laundry list of new functions I need to improve the AI. In the old days (when I was younger) I would have written those functions myself but now I’m old and fat and lazy and my far more talented colleagues can put together something a lot less hackish.

So this weekend, I’ll be using these new APIs to vastly improve the AI.  The weather ar...
April 7, 2015 by Frogboy
Starcraft requires a great deal of skill to play.  But not all races require the same skill level to play.  For example, a Platinum Zerg player is probably more skilled than a Diamond Protoss player.

Having both worked on and played Starcraft over the past 18 years, below is a rough estimate of the skill level difference between the different races.

Explanation This chart is, of course, subjective.  I’ve played all the races for many years and love them all in their ...
April 3, 2015 by Frogboy
I’ve been working on Galactic Civilizations nearly my entire adult life.  I wrote the first one back in college starting back in 1992.  I was/am a huge fan of Sid Meier’s Civilization and wanted a game that continued the story of mankind’s expansion into space.  What happened after the spaceship took off? Since then, it has evolved massively.

This article outlines how the game has changed over the years.  Let’s start out with a simple chart that out...
April 2, 2015 by Frogboy
If you’re not familiar with Galactic Civilizations then you are in for a treat this May when Galactic Civilizations III ships.  GalCiv is the ultimate sandbox game. The universe is your domain and you are in charge of a fledgling interstellar civilization.

In order for the galaxy to be immersive, the computer opponents need to be interesting, challenging and intelligent and do so without having to rely on cheating.  You can play multiplayer but we don’t want to have to rely on th...
March 31, 2015 by Frogboy
In order to preserve a more perfect record of the terrible, terrible things I say on a regular basis I am going to post them here, in writing. 

A note for children who may read this:

Grownups have jobs. They spend a lot of time at those jobs and over time they become friends with the people they work with. As a result, they may say things to one another with humor. This is called banter.  Banter is humorous discussion shared between friends that when taken out of context can...
March 29, 2015 by Frogboy
Gameplay notes

Every game of Galactic Civilizations III is different.  You can play as any of 8 pre-made alien civilizations who have their own histories, technologies, etc, or you can literally create your own.  After release, we expect players will share their civilizations with one another.  You can play against up to 128 different opponents but in this case, we are only playing against ~8 civilizations.

This example is just one game.  The infinitely replayable G...
March 28, 2015 by Frogboy
Don’t judge me.

So, in the next public build we should start to be able to give players access to prototype components.  These are components that require one of the special resources (Durantium, Elerium, etc.) that give your ships an early head start.  Since you won’t have many of them, they make those early ships very unique.

I enjoy making odd looking ships just to house these special modules.
March 28, 2015 by Frogboy
By beta 5, it should be pretty clear that GalCiv III is an entirely different beast from GalCiv II.  This post won’t go into the game play differences, which are pretty vast. This is about something a little more dear to many of our hearts: modding.

Why GalCiv II was the way it was

The thing about GalCiv II that I would like you guys to understand is that I wrote nearly all the economic, diplomatic, AI and other code personally.  I enjoyed doing it but it also meant that *I* ...
March 25, 2015 by Frogboy
Who are the good guys?

So we (Stardock/Oxide) have been living in the Singularity universe for a couple of years now and there are a lot of arguments over which side is better. In the original PR for the game, the “Haalee faction” (the leader of the Substrate) tried to describe the game as a battle between the noble Substrate, led by Haalee to save the galaxy from Post-Human predation.  This was ultimately changed to something more neutral.

Game Mechanics

Over the comin...
March 25, 2015 by Frogboy
Windows 10 is coming along nicely. A definite nice step from Windows 8.1 (once the bugs are out).

Still, not all is well yet.

The Windows 10 skin

The Windows 10 skin has some issues. The title bar is thicker than some apps expect (such as Microsoft Live Writer). Stardock’s WindowBlinds has had to tackle this issue for years.  I suspect WindowBlinds will be making a comeback with Windows 10 as the title bar and borders in windows 10 are a combination of not pretty and a ...
March 23, 2015 by Frogboy
As we saw back in GalCiv II we did a number of test AI runs with the Drengin vs. the humans on a special arena map.

I’m happy to report that we are ready to do that again for GalCiv III.

The editor this time around is very very nice. Not that the old editor wasn’t but it wasn’t an in-game editor.






It begins

The year is 2241, one year before the events of Galactic Civilizations III’s story.

The Terran Alli...