Brad Wardell's site for talking about the customization of Windows.
Published on October 30, 2015 By Frogboy In GalCiv III Dev Journals

imageYesterday was the long-waited big update to Galactic Civilizations III.  Version 1.4 added many many AI and UI updates to the game based on months of player feedback.

You can see the news here:



We’re pretty happy with the response overall.  But there is one change I’d like to discuss with you guys: THE WHEEL.

Who am I?

I’m Brad Wardell. I wrote the original GalCiv for OS/2 and much of GalCiv I and GalCiv II.  I also designed those games and wrote their AIs.  On GalCiv III I’ve been more of an executive consultant thus far as I’ve been focusing on Ashes of the Singularity for the past couple of years.  But GalCiv remains my baby. I’ve spent over 20 years with it. So it matters a lot to me.


In GalCiv III 1.0 through 1.3 players could go to the planetary governor and override the global spending priorities on a planetary basis.  This made micro-managers very happy and people who don’t like to micro manage very sad.

Planetary Wheel: Love & Hate

I am in the camp of hating it. HATING it.  Not because of the micromanagement because it completely violates what GalCiv has always been about: You are running a galactic civilization.  It’s supposed to be half simulation, half strategy game.  The wheel is totally gamey.  No civilization functions where last being can be assigned a job by the government. 

I have tried to stay reasonably hands off on GalCiv III but the planetary wheel had to go.  I wanted it out for 1.1, then 1.2, then 1.3 but other things took priority and it was finally killed in 1.4.

It has NOTHING to do with the AI

I read the forums and I see people talking about the change being made to make the AI easier.  That’s a ridiculous argument. Not to be mean but only a non-programmer would say that.  Micro-managing is what AIs do best.  I could write up an AI that could tweak planetary wheels every turn to a level that would make most micro managers weep. 

Put another way: computers are faster and better at math than humans and the planetary wheel was all about math. 

The reason the AI didn’t use the planetary wheel in previous versions is because it was supposed to be eliminated long ago.  So there was no point writing AI for this if the feature was going to go away.

It is my game but it is also YOUR game

Now, that said, I write games for you guys. That’s what motivates me.  I see people who really liked the planetary wheel.  So we need some sort of solution that will make both groups happy.

What I’m going to ask is that a prefs.ini setting called planetarywheel=on be added.  If that’s on, you’ll get your wheel.  However, that won’t be the official version of the game. There will be no in-game UI option to turn it on.  People who are passionate about this feature can still turn it on without everyone else feeling like they have to use this feature in order to micro-manage their empire to the nth degree.

I know that solution won’t make everyone happy. No solution will.  But hopefully this will be a reasonable compromise for most people.

Comments (Page 1)
on Oct 30, 2015

Planetary wheel going away is nothing but a win.  The design of infrastructure already rewards specialization, compounding that just made the game broken with horrendously powerful specialized planets.

on Oct 30, 2015

Brad, out of curiosity do you guys have any in-game data on how many players used the planetary wheel?

I prefer the focus system to the wheel and I'm happy with the continuous improvement of the game. Keep up the good work.

Edit: just one suggestion, could we able to set the focus from the colony list?

on Oct 30, 2015

Brad that would be an acceptable solution to me.  I respect the opinions of those who h8 the wheel.  For me its one of the coolest game features cuz I love to micromanage planets.  I was close to hanging the game up with it gone.  It would be like Ford taking the stereo out of my mustang.  The prefs ini solution works for me.  Would this be a 1.5 release?

on Oct 30, 2015

As someone who works in Public Relations, I must thank you for such a well thought out and kind post. I'm not a fan of the wheel but am sure this will make people happy- just like a no doubt in-progress Diplomacy Update and more DLC will make me happy!


Keep on rocking and rolling.

on Oct 30, 2015


Brad, out of curiosity do you guys have any in-game data on how many players used the planetary wheel?

I prefer the focus system to the wheel and I'm happy with the continuous improvement of the game. Keep up the good work.

Edit: just one suggestion, could we able to set the focus from the colony list?

Yes.  Almost nobody used it.  However, nearly 20% of players who have more than 100 hours into the game use it (Which is a lot).

on Oct 30, 2015

One suggestion...


Can we get the Production slider on the planetary level that lets us focus Civilian/Military rather than just the super project?

There are times when i want to focus more on military or more on infrastructure... and making it so  I can only be building ships at max if I am not building any infrastructure seems to defeat the whole reason we moved the shipyards off of the planets.



on Oct 30, 2015

I think I follow your reasoning Brad and I am glad you made that post. Hopefully that will make things less confusing for many people.

My knee jerk reaction to the removal of the wheel was frustration but I gave it a try and I do not really feel the game to be less enjoyable.

The solution of making the wheel toggable in the prefs.ini is a good compromise. But what about making it a non-default but toggable option at the start of a game? It can have a strong influence on the overall difficulty and style of a game. So making it a permanent choice at the beginning of the game, like AI difficulty and galaxy size makes some sense.  At least it does to me.

In any case thank you for at least making the option easy to toggle back, I am sure some modders will do this justice.

on Oct 30, 2015

Thanks for  the response. I misunderstood the reason for its removal and thought it was to make players on a lvl field with the Ai. 

on Oct 30, 2015

So if we can get 20% of people with 100+ hrs we can dictate where the game goes from here?  Nice to know.

on Oct 30, 2015

I think you should stick by you guns and leave it to the dustpile.

on Oct 30, 2015

Good. I did ask for it to be something we could mod back in when the change was originally announced. This should keep most people happy. I also said there'd be a whirlwind of rage over the change, too... this whole debacle  was fairly predictable and could've been avoided.

on Oct 30, 2015

Brad, you are just too nice to people.  Seriously.  Taking the planetary wheel out was a good game design idea.  A better idea would have been to never let it be there in the first place and people would have never known to miss it.  But, that is irrelevant now and you are just being way too accommodating.  Ah well, I guess that is why Stardock has such a customer centric reputation/history and I don't.

But when you talk about a moddable game, you get serious. 

on Oct 30, 2015

Brad, The wheel is still alive, in my Version of the game    (the 1.4 opt-in final)

also the console is disabled and dosent work in any way.

And the Assault fighter module bug, has come back to life, from the beta Version (0.70-0.90) 

I am in need of great help at the moment, is there any thing i can do.

(here is what i have tried to do)


Install the game again (dint work) (verify the content on steam and validate the files, that also didnt work.)

so PLZ (i am desperate here) i need some kind of support, i havent tried yet that can fix my game to the current state of the game.


on Oct 30, 2015

Very sad to hear this, Brad. I think the planet wheel was an absolutely essential construct for resource generation governance. The new system allowing you a whopping 3 options does not do justice to this games complexity at all.


Is there at least a plan to improve control over the *social-vs-military* production spending percentage on a non-global level?

on Oct 30, 2015

Strumknecht: Have tried going eco? (in the actually game)

Cause i have and i found the best way to make Money. (Your Capital planet + Raw Production and population, starbases spec in eco,)

so what you are saying is very wrong. (the planet Wheel is not needed.

what you need now that the wheel it is gone, is raw Production starbases (eco) population above 30 in the mid game to get good amount of BC Just from the Capital.

(also rush the eco Tech in the age of expansion and anything that can give raw-Production + population.

  at least for me that Works. (also i dont use the Wheel even if i can, but it will ruin my experience of the game for me.