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 2)
on Dec 18, 2016

admiralWillyWilber

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.
sorry had to quit posting early that's why I'm quoting it.

on Dec 18, 2016

admiralWillyWilber

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.

We are talking about the expansion.  

The economy of GalCiv III is being totally thrown out. It'll be a new game basically.

on Dec 18, 2016

TheFunMachine

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?

The AI's capacity for expansion is orders of magnitude better in 1.9.  The map sizes are irrelevant to it.

on Dec 18, 2016

Frogboy

The AI's capacity for expansion is orders of magnitude better in 1.9.  The map sizes are irrelevant to it.

 

This is great to hear, thank you for the response. In the past you have mentioned how AI improvement in games is very often a thankless task, but I very much do appreciate improvements. 

 

The broad list of updates you wrote down for the Crusade in this diary as well has me very excited. The new economic model and faction customisation especially. 

on Dec 18, 2016



  ## 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

 

That's a cool list, lotsa changes I am desperately waiting for (esp. customization, and more sophisticated invasion system)

I'm curious though what "living galaxy" will be about ...

on Dec 18, 2016

Frogboy

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

I am looking forward to that!

But before that, how about the first step: the admin system? Are we gonna get it sooner, as a part of 1.9X or something like that?

on Dec 18, 2016


- Living galaxy (the lifeblood of the galaxy will be visible)

on Dec 18, 2016

jirkaesch


Quoting Frogboy,

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



I am looking forward to that!

But before that, how about the first step: the admin system? Are we gonna get it sooner, as a part of 1.9X or something like that?

 

Re Admin system: IF I can do it myself, then yes.

It's the UI that's the problem.  I have no idea how to modify the screens and we're a little short-handed right now (Christmas and illnesses).

 

on Dec 18, 2016

Thanks for the continued updates. Looking forward to Crusade, perhaps a sneak in the Founder's Vault would be a nice Christmas gift.


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.

Simply restoring Insane won't solve the problem as that map was the least affected. Other map sizes are half of what they were before. Perhaps it would have been better to create new map sizes rather than shrinking them.

 

- New tech tree system

This is what interests me the most. Will specific civilization techs be at last tradable?

on Dec 18, 2016

Frogboy

Re Admin system: IF I can do it myself, then yes.
It's the UI that's the problem. I have no idea how to modify the screens and we're a little short-handed right now (Christmas and illnesses).

Okay, fair enough. Thanks for the hard work, hopefully your staff gets better soon!

I would help myself but as a finance guy, I guess could only supply tea and coffee for those sick

on Dec 18, 2016

Frogboy


Re Admin system: IF I can do it myself, then yes.

It's the UI that's the problem.  I have no idea how to modify the screens and we're a little short-handed right now (Christmas and illnesses).

 

Don't let anyone but yourself rush you.  Us forum folk can wait.  Take the time to do it right and avoid the stress of yet another patch for a patch.  Holidays have enough stress in them as it is.  Have you ever had to run a Secret Santa with a bunch of psychics?  You don't know holiday stress until you do.

on Dec 19, 2016

Digging the changes in 1.9 and am really looking forward to the the expansion.  Hopefully marketing will prove a cool video to drool over soon. 

on Dec 19, 2016

Wow! Impressive changes for upcoming DLC. I'm definatly back on the Civ3 hype train. I'm a 100 dollar backer and GalCiv2-veteran, but really haven't gotten too much time into GalCiv3 yet. Now I'm supremely hyped and excited!

on Dec 19, 2016

erischild

Don't let anyone but yourself rush you. Us forum folk can wait. Take the time to do it right and avoid the stress of yet another patch for a patch. Holidays have enough stress in them as it is. Have you ever had to run a Secret Santa with a bunch of psychics? You don't know holiday stress until you do.

Yeah, but having admin systém in before Christmas would be a very nice present from Brad and Stardock

on Dec 19, 2016

Thanks FrogBoy (Brad) for 1.9, I look forward to starting one up today.  I am not a heavy player but have been a long time fan of the series and Stardock in general.  Being a founder for GalCiv3 I was happy but was somewhat bummed by the some of the features we had in GalCiv2 but lost.  Having said that, I knew the game would continue to improve for years to come and the DLC you talk about proves the point.  My decision to do the founders was based a lot on the value I get from Stardock games over the long haul and my experiences in the continuous improvements.  Am I raging fanboy? No, but for me Stardock has been a consistent producer of games I like to play even if I cannot put in hundreds of hours into them like I use to be able to do.

 

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