Brad Wardell's site for talking about the customization of Windows.

Galactic Civilizaions III - Vertical

By now you should have version 1.9 which is easily the biggest update to the game since its original release.

When I joined the GalCiv III team last month, I did a thorough inventory of the code base and decided to focus on 3 things:

1. The AI
2. The Performance
3. The memory use


## Results ##
The result was 1.9. I've seen a lot of feedback on it. Mostly good. There's some complaints that the galaxy sizes are a little smaller. This is true, I did make them a bit smaller but I made the number of stars and planets available much much higher. In response, we are going to restore the absolute largest sized galaxy. I just personally don't like the pacing and didn't think others would care if I made the absolute size smaller if I was giving them more planets to play on. Clearly I was mistaken. It's no sweat to increase the largest sizes.

 

## Whining ##
Some people have contacted us to complain about how much I've been complaining about the game and that I am hurting the game's reputation by complaining.

First, let me say that we are grateful that our fans love the game so much that they want to defend it from me.

Second, Galactic Civilizations has been part of my life for over 20 years. I wrote the OS/2 versions back in the 90s and designed GalCiv I and GalCiv II and wrote their AIs. So I do care very much about GalCiv.

Third, just because "other games" have bad AI doesn't excuse GalCiv III from having bad AI. It was unacceptable and had to be improved -- a lot. On larger maps, I would go as far as to say the AI was just plain broken. It couldn't effectively expand beyond a certain point.

The issue with non-expanding AIs is a scourge on the 4X game development community. It has to do with turn performance. The reason most of these 4X game AIs are terrible is because of perf concerns versus what is considered "good enough".

But we live in an age where people 4+ CPU cores. The AI should be doing your taxes while crushing you. So while the 1.9 AI doesn't do your taxes, it does make a lot of use of your CPU cores.

Those playing the game no doubt noticed the pretty massive perf differences. I didn't optimize anything. I just made the game use your hardware a lot better.

 

## Words and Deeds ##

I thought it pretty important that 1.9 get out before Christmas. Last month I wrote out a litany of complaints about the game. But talk is cheap. I wanted the players to know that we weren't just aware of things we could improve but that we could address them quickly.


## What's next? ##
There is more to do. Some of the memory optimizations resulted in some changes to the way lighting is handled so we need to make some aesthetic changes. Not a big deal but needs to be done.

I want to get the Administration feature in. Just not sure the best way to do it that doesn't require a ton of UI work.

 

## The upcoming expansion ##

The big expansion people have been waiting for is about 75% done now.

It will be handled as a DLC mainly because people threw a fit when we made the Ashes of the Singularity expansion a stand-alone and we don't want to go through that again. So we'll figure out some way to take what is, essentially, a new game and make it DLC.

Broadly speaking:
- Espionage
- Interactive Invasion system with real strategy involved
- New Economy (no more wheels, something much much better - micro managers can micro manage and macro managers can macro and once you see it, you will be mad for no one having come up with this obvious in hindsight system before)
- Civilization Builder (Make whatever civilization you want, assign ship designs, dialog, etc. to them and share them, the AI will use it all).
- Living galaxy (the lifeblood of the galaxy will be visible)
- Tons of other things
- New campaign (of course)
- New tech tree system

Like I said, it's basically a quasi-sequel disguised (and priced) as a DLC. We will be announcing it next month. Suffice to say, we think this expansion will raise the bar on what people will expect in their 4X games (not just space) and some of the features are things that will become expected in 4X I think as they are too obvious not to have them.

That's all for now.


Comments (Page 1)
on Dec 17, 2016


I just personally don't like the pacing and didn't think others would care if I made the absolute size smaller if I was giving them more planets to play on.

This doubles-down on making the game feel smaller, triples down really because movement rates are the same.  More stuff on smaller maps, it's as if you want us to rush past the eXploration and eXpansion and get right into the eXtermination.  Personally, I like the exploration and expansion more than the extermination.  This feels more like Civ Vi where you bump into another civ within the first 15 minutes of a game and it's time to start arming up.  But I guess it also helps the AI if things are a bit closer and easier to expand into. 

The performance improvements are great, but I never saw one post saying "hey, the galaxy is too huge, stuff's too far away, make it smaller."  But hey, it's your baby, as long as you're happy.  Not everyone is going to like every change.

 

on Dec 17, 2016

I wish gamers werent such a hypocritical whiny mob with short term memory. Kudos for trying to make the stand alone a dlc.

"OMG no single player = no buy!! But omg Overwatch is da best!!!"

"OMG game is too easy! But Endless legend is so beautiful, despite AI being braindead"

"OMG microtransaction! You're ripping us off!! but CK2 with $100+ of dlc is totally awesome!"

"OMG microsoft is anti-gamer with their draconian XB1 policies, but they gave us mods on Skyrim? Totally amazing ppl!"


Not that I dislike any of the above games, but it goes to show how gamers can drive developers insane.

on Dec 17, 2016

evalescore2

I wish gamers werent such a hypocritical whiny mob with short term memory. Kudos for trying to make the stand alone a dlc.
yeah I agree on that considering a lot complained about not having a stand alone expansion with needs, so they gave ashes a stand alone, and alot of complaints. That does sounds like hypocrisies. 

on Dec 17, 2016


I want to get the Administration feature in. Just not sure the best way to do it that doesn't require a ton of UI work.

This feature is crucial right now. We just need more options based on tall strategies?

Why don´t you implement it like a another resource, which is required for starbases etc.? Shouldn´t take much of the UI work, me guess

 


Broadly speaking: - Espionage - Interactive Invasion system with real strategy involved - New Economy (no more wheels, something much much better - micro managers can micro manage and macro managers can macro and once you see it, you will be mad for no one having come up with this obvious in hindsight system before) - Civilization Builder (Make whatever civilization you want, assign ship designs, dialog, etc. to them and share them, the AI will use it all). - Living galaxy (the lifeblood of the galaxy will be visible) - Tons of other things - New campaign (of course) - New tech tree system

Politics would be also in, right? Factions, governments, ministries, elections...?

on Dec 17, 2016

I am looking forward to talking to you guys about Tall strategies.

In fact, I think I'll make another post just on tall 4X because I think that is going to be the feature of the expansion that makes GalCiv III the go-to 4X.  

Frankly, it kind of bugs me that I can't talk about it now but marketing would have me killed. And I really like being alive. It's my favorite form of existence.

on Dec 17, 2016


But we live in an age where people 4+ CPU cores. The AI should be doing your taxes while crushing you. So while the 1.9 AI doesn't do your taxes, it does make a lot of use of your CPU cores.

Those playing the game no doubt noticed the pretty massive perf differences. I didn't optimize anything. I just made the game use your hardware a lot better.

Yes, more please


Like I said, it's basically a quasi-sequel disguised (and priced) as a DLC. We will be announcing it next month. Suffice to say, we think this expansion will raise the bar on what people will expect in their 4X games (not just space) and some of the features are things that will become expected in 4X I think as they are too obvious not to have them.

I was hoping for expansion (price) [even though founder] you deserve more $$ (even though I complain too much).  Either way can't wait to see it, any beta testing on this?? lol

on Dec 17, 2016

Here's the main problem of a tall strategy. It's the current class system with limited terraforming. I don't mind the game favoring wide empires. If you could find something else to work the class system, and do the build que like civilization then it could favor tall. I was also thinking of being able to put people into buildings to multiply building bonuses. it would be nice to eventually territory all land tiles. This would help a tall strategy.

on Dec 17, 2016

Frogboy

Frankly, it kind of bugs me that I can't talk about it now but marketing would have me killed. And I really like being alive. It's my favorite form of existence.

Well, maybe you can post severel sneak peaks into the vault?

on Dec 17, 2016

Hey, internal politics are coming back, aren't they?

on Dec 17, 2016

LongDeadFingers

Hey, internal politics are coming back, aren't they?

I definitely hope so!

on Dec 17, 2016

Personally, I think you should make a formal official company policy that the Insane map size is not supported.  Any support ticket or forum post concerning any factor or issue involving an Insane map will be ignored, forever.  People can have whatever fun they want on any "reasonable" map size.  After that, they are on their own.    Given that I am often one of those Insane people, I should make that "we" are on "our" own.  

I am really doubtful of making a Tall strategy work in the GalCiv economy.  It seems contrary to everything I have observed in the game so far.  It will be interesting to see the discussions and how you intend to prove me wrong.

Otherwise, I am in the "mostly good" category of feedback and eagerly watching for further developments.  "Living galaxy" is an evocative phrase that stands out for me amongst all the other very good goodies.  A great AI should be wearing a great set of clothes to show off in.

on Dec 17, 2016

Frogboy

And I really like being alive. It's my favorite form of existence.
No worries, we like better in this state of existance, too.

We are opposed to having your SSDs reformatted.(I am reasonably certain he is AI)

erischild

I am really doubtful of making a Tall strategy work in the GalCiv economy. It seems contrary to everything I have observed in the game so far. It will be interesting to see the discussions and how you intend to prove me wrong.
I love speculations!

Since he mentioned elsewhere administration will limit starbases as well as colonies, I think wide empires will be many colonies and tall empires will be a system or two with many starbases. Given how it played when the separation radius was only 3 I think this may be working out with some tweaks.

Ooh, ooh, or maybe the asteroid belts, dead worlds and gas giants will take more of a role besides having a chance of spawning thulium, promethion and durantium! Prospecting?!

I love speculations

on Dec 17, 2016

jirkaesch
Politics would be also in, right? Factions, governments, ministries, elections...?

Yes, please. I've flirted a little recently with Stellaris. It left me wanting to play GC3 again and imagine that the political economy was almost entirely different than it has been so far.

I tend to sympathize with the "tall" concerns above about both the habitat designs and the economy. Some of the things I've read here & in other forum threads recently make me want to speak up again for the idea of space-based habitats.

Would any other players be interested in a system perhaps loosely modeled on the Culture orbitals and/or mega-ships that Iain M. Banks imagined. A sufficiently advanced technology should be able to transfer planet-based terraforming methods to scalable structures outside planetary or even stellar gravity wells. (That could even lay groundwork to putter with a post-scarcity economics in GC4.)

on Dec 17, 2016

My interest in Stellaris is growing again now the developer is starting to focus more on the political aspect of the game.

 

They also said in the last dev diary there would be a new stat or resource called 'unity.' How much you have of it will determine how stable your empire is tall versus wide.

on Dec 17, 2016

With the release of 1.9 and going forward, how do you think the AI's capacity for expansion has been improved? Will reverting some of the map size changes impact their ability to expand beyond a certain point? 

 

AI sitting around and doing nothing to push their borders and interact with the map has been a criticism of mine for some time. I am playing my first game with 1.9 on a huge map currently, and so far it seems that the AI do interact more, which I think is positive, but I am curious as to what you think, Brad?

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