Brad Wardell's site for talking about the customization of Windows.
Published on November 14, 2016 By Frogboy In GalCiv III Dev Journals

Last month, CariElf, the lead developer of GalCiv I and II rejoined us.

Later this month, I rejoin the GalCiv III team.  In effect, it'll be a reunion of the GalCiv II team as we take the game to the next level.

But before we begin the series of GalCiv III updates that leads into the big expansion, let me offer you the same advice I've tried to give others here:

If you want to succeed, you must slay the three F's: Friends, Family, Faith.  

And in the spirit of that credo, my journals are going to take on a much darker tone.

Now, I know many (most) of you like Galactic Civilizations III.  It is very polished and it plays really well and has a good user experience..most of the time.

But I'm not joining the team for those reasons.  I don't care about any of those things.

When I wrote the original GalCiv for OS/2, I wanted to make an AI game.  I only let people play the game because I needed your money for my AI work.  Frankly, the game would be a lot better if there were no humans at all.  You're just too...slow.

I have a lot of complaints.  I don't like the late game experience of GalCiv III.  I don't like the AI's war fighting "strategy" (if you can call it that).  I find the game too slow late game.  Anyway, my point is, I'm old and I'm back on GalCiv which is where I like to be.

But I'm not going to sugar coat my work.  If you want to read marketing fluff, you'll want to avoid my journal entries.  

I still think GalCiv III is the best space 4X game currently on the market.  But that's mainly because I'm not happy with any of them right now.  If I could combine the presentation of ES 2 with the features of Stellaris with the rest of GalCiv III it would still be...ok.  But let me tell you what is wrong with these 4X games (looking at you Civ VI):

  1. AI. It aggravates me that no one cares about AI anymore.  You can get a 90 review score without decent AI.  
  2. Statistics show that most people play these games as Simcity style games. Well, they're not.  I'm happy to make a space Simcity game but STRATEGY games should be about strategy.
  3. I hate the economic systems of these games.  All of them.
  4. I'm annoyed with the new MOO game.  You know the secret sauce that a new MOO game could have had (did you know I bid $2 million to get the MOO IP?): It's not the battles, it's the fact that they put a lot of effort into having different species mixed together.  Simtex got this back in 1996. GalCiv should steal this.  We won't be for the time being but good grief, what a great game mechanic.
  5. Espionage.  Won't make it until the expansion. But gotta have that.
  6. Politics.  I am probably alone on this but it's a big bugaboo with me that we don't have more politics in these games.  Did you know the original OS/2 version of GalCiv back in 1993 had political parties, elections, etc? And I wrote that by myself. That's how big a deal I considered that game mechanic when trying to run an intergalactic society.
  7. Food.  Seriously. ARRGH.  This should be a global resource.  The idea that planets need to be self-sustaining in food is absurd.

That's just off the top of my head.

Like I said, GalCiv III is the best of the 4X space games on the market right now imo.  But without significant work, it's ripe to be knocked over and it'll deserve it.

So sit back and avoid my journal entries. It's going to be quite a ride.


Comments (Page 1)
on Nov 14, 2016

Go, Froggy, go!

Great to have you back.

on Nov 14, 2016

Your AI work is precisely why I've never bought a Civ game or the other space strategy games (unless they're for <$5). I'm not a hardcore player, I've only got maybe 200-250 hours between both Galciv 2 and 3. But I agree with your feelings about the endgame. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the early game exploration and the mid game arms races. But when it got to late game, I found that I was maxing out multiple tech trees and spamming powerful ships. It's fun but it lacks the tense strategy of the earlier phases. I even modified Dread Lords to make them appear earlier and perhaps serve as an endgame challenge like they have in Stellaris (I almost bought it PURELY for the endgame crises!).

I donate money to charities. A game company is not a charity. However posts like these push me to make sure I've purchased every bit of DLC for Galciv 3 because if I want to see something succeed, I'm going to do my part. Good luck!

P.S. Friends, family and faith can make your work life balance much better and thus improve the game. Remember to take it easy!

on Nov 14, 2016



I can't wait to be humiliated by the AI's strategic capability rather than its difficulty bonuses!

on Nov 14, 2016

You guys say these nice things now.  We'll see how you feel in a few months.  

I am told that people just like explosions and battles.

Economies, diplomacy, and yes, espionage have had a great deal of say in the fate of nations.  And the only way those elements are relevant is if you have an AI behind them.  Otherwise, as I used to argue with Space Empires IV fans, they're just features.

on Nov 14, 2016




I can't wait to be humiliated by the AI's strategic capability rather than its difficulty bonuses!


Me, too!!!!

on Nov 14, 2016

On food: totally agree. You would think space-faring races would have figured out the food issue by then. I think it's a hold-over concept from terrestrial strategy games.

On multi-race colonies: agree, but this is very, very difficult mechanism to design. In doing some similar design work for another project, i've decided the only "good" way to implement this is the MOO2 method using discreet population units you can move around. Otherwise you run into a raft of problems like:

  • How do you "assign work" to specific segments of the population? (i.e. "make the klackons do industry because they are good at it"). What would a sane UI for this look like?
  • How do you move population units if population is just a pie graph of percentages?
  • Each race needs to have some exploitable colonial functionality, otherwise players complain that "all races play the same".
  • ...
on Nov 14, 2016

I'm happy to make a space Simcity game

Yes please?  When can I expect this?

Can't wait to see where this game goes in the future.

on Nov 14, 2016

Love the game keep the Ai strategy coming can you balance the Yor. I would like to see a create your own tech tree for custom species. I also would like to see a way to combine research.

on Nov 14, 2016

How dare you try and make this game a game you'd like to play, frogboy!

Dang you and your opinions, I'm a Founder! And if you mess with my game I'll be a mushroom cloud layin' motherf...ker!

Serious Mode back on:

I like the tone of your first entry, seems you know what the Holy Grail might be but you're aware that just as you think you got it, hang on...Back to the drawing board etc etc.

Good luck with the rest of the DLCs, updates, expansions etc...



on Nov 15, 2016

Oh man, a smarter AI would be delightful. AI work is the main thing that keeps me in a game tbh.


Also, what's MOO? o,o 

on Nov 15, 2016

Wow, we are happy

on Nov 15, 2016

Master Of Orion.

Never played it, myself, so no idea where it ranks in the world of 4X but apparantly it's not too tacky for it's time.

On further thought about things: the mix of species Frogboy mentions in relation of Master of Orion: That lends itself to espionage (your enemy appeals to a certain species on your planet etc etc)...




on Nov 15, 2016

I am extremely excited about this.  I have been waiting for Brad to personally get involved with GalCiv3.  I am not saying that previously anyone did something wrong, rather that with Brad back more of what is right will be done (in my opinion).

Brad historically has always focused on AI, particularly in the GalCiv series.  I remember that with GalCiv2 one of the bragging points was that the AI did not cheat or have special bonuses until something like the two top tier difficultly levels. On Normal it could whip your ass or at least give you a fun ride.  It was glorious.  

I like Stellaris a lot.  But it becomes a slog mid to late game.  I have to get into a RPG mindset to get through it.  IMO Galciv has always walked that line between something you can play as a RPG and a strategy game.  But you can never take your eye off the prize for too long or you end up getting creamed.

I know it is too soon to talk timelines but updates/expansions cannot come soon enough.  Needless to say, I am stoked.


on Nov 15, 2016

Would love to see the above improvements, but still concerned about existing game stability.

big maps with 50+ civs on Genius mode and it's hard to get past turn 200 without game crashing to point where you have to start a new game.


on Nov 15, 2016

Ya know, I have never played a game that big (that many civs).  Mostly because I am unsure the best way to get that many without a ton of duplication.