Brad Wardell's site for talking about the customization of Windows.
Published on May 14, 2017 By Frogboy In GalCiv III Dev Journals

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Long ago there was Galactic Civilizations II, Galactic Civilizations II: Dread Lords, Galactic Civilizations II: Dark Avatar and Galactic Civilizations II: Twilight of the Arnor. 

While Twilight of the Arnor is often considered the best of the GalCiv II series, for many it was really Dark Avatar that took GalCiv II from being a good to a great game.

This month, we released the second expansion to Galactic Civilizations III. Crusade is a similarly major change to the base game's replayability.

[[..]]

A massive expansion in a nutshell

Below is the chart that compares the various GalCiv games over the years so that you can see what has been updated.  With Crusade, we added a double checkbox if that area has been significantly improved.

 

The new economy

One of the most common questions we've seen is how one adjusts their economy.  In the base game, the player had the production wheel.  In Crusade, you use the Leader citizen and move them to the areas  you want your economy to focus on.

Over the course of a Crusade game, the player can gain greater and greater precision over their civilization.  In the base game, you switched between Research, Manufacturing and Wealth.  In Crusade, players can also focus on Approval, Farming, Influence, Diplomacy, Administration, Ship HP and more.

 

Switching between the two

We do intend to update the launcher to make it easier to move between Crusade or the base game. This is particularly useful for multiplayer but there will, no doubt, be players who want to quickly transition back and forth if only to notice the differences.

 

Crusade Complaints

By far the biggest complaint about Crusade is that it's buggy.  To that, I would have to agree.  While there weren't any type 0 bugs in the release, there were an unacceptably high number of what we'd call an unacceptable number of type 2 bugs and a lot of type 3 and 4 that simply slipped by.  In addition, a type 1 bug made it through (stuck turn) which was largely the result of my fixation on reducing turn times. 

While this has since been addressed, I should have left good enough alone by the end of March rather than pushing it and pushing it (I have a local build that has incredibly smooth late game performance but...wait for it...has the occasional stuck turn.

The more CPU cores one has, the more challenging it gets bringing a game turn back together.  That's why I have a 10 core CPU. Not because I wanted it.  But for you.  That is why I made the heroic sacrifice of upgrading to a 10 core CPU...cough.

We have great fans and we are grateful for the support we've gotten.  I apologize for us doing too much too fast.  A lot of this could have been rolled out over the next year.

In an alternative world, where Stardock isn't run by a lunatic programmer, we would have had Crusade = GalCiv III + Espionage + Civ Builder + Interactive Invasions + 3 new races and a campaign and called it good.  Instead, we have...well  you see the above chart and I pulled the campaign so that we could have more sandbox features and allow me to write the Apocalypse storyline with our lead writer, Chris Bucholz, later.

 

Crusade improvements into the base game

We have a thread that discusses what improvements from Crusade should go back to the base game.  Certainly bug fixes and AI improvements.   We want the base game of GalCiv III to be as good as it can be without anyone ever having to buy anything beyond that.

 

Best parts of Crusade

We'd love to hear your favorite features in Crusade.  I love the Citizen system but I think I end up enjoying the missions feature the most as I really hate late game micro. What are some of your favorite parts? What would you like more of?

 

AI loose ends

There's a number of loose ends on the AI I want to button up in the near future.  I finally found the reason why late game you'll see AI ships streaming all by themselves.  They're trying to reinforce other planets that are super far away.  Not a good idea though so I fixed that up. 

There's a laundry list of other things I am hoping to get done in the relatively new future as well.

 

Road Map: Spring 2017

The roadmap for Crusade mainly focuses on making it easier to mod it.  The timeline for it really boils down to how many engineers I can assign. 

Crusade currently has a "mixed" Steam score.  As a practical matter, if our player base doesn't like Crusade, then there's not a lot of incentive to dedicate resources to it.  Once we finish the bug squashing, we'll see where things settle at.

That said, below are some of the upcoming features we have in mind:

Galaxy Builder: Let's people use Steamworks to share tech tree parts, planetary improvements, citizens, promotions, missions, flavor text, player abilities, Starbase modules, components.  We are able to do this because in order to do Crusade as a DLC, we had to develop a way to make it so that a mod could more easily override or extend existing data robustly.

Galactic Empires: This is similar to the system we had in GalCiv II.  There's be an overall galaxy players could play on.  They would have a dedicated civilization for this using cannon traits (no making "god traits") and each day a new "sector" of the galaxy would be made available for people to play. The results would go towards their empire's score with control of the galaxy being based on total scores.

Admiral Battles: We are considering (depending on sales) letting flees that are commanded by an Admiral (a promoted Commander) have tactical control over their battle.  Right now, GalCiv III has tactical battles, it's just that they are forcibly put to auto-resolve (there's no UI to control units of course but if you watch the battle closely, you can see that the plumbing is there).  Only Admirals would be able to do this because GalCiv is not a game where the fate of your galactic civilization is based on an Ender Wiggin like leader.  Just as contested invasions are rare, Admiral battles would be very rare.

Arena Multiplayer: We would really like to make Crusade be a really good multiplayer game.  While Multiplayer wasn't our focus, the Citizen system was developed with multiplayer in mind as it drastically reduces the cheesy gamey exploitation techniques that the base game has in multiplayer.  Arena Multiplayer would be similar to the Galactic Empires except each day, a random, Arena sized map (think very small map) would be made available.  These would be for friends or strangers to play each other in.  There would be 1 on 1 and 2 v 2 maps with the entire match likely to last between 30 minutes to 90 minutes depending on the circumstances.  The upcoming Turn-Time counter would help ensure that the game moved along (see what we do in The Political Machine).

More MORE AI: At this point, I have a pretty good handle on how they did the original AI for GalCiv III and I think most people notice the AI is much better (and in the case of the AI buying lots of ships, with unearned money, this was actually something in the base game that only became apparent in Crusade because the AI got a lot smarter about when and what to rush buy). 

Cheers!


Comments (Page 1)
on May 14, 2017

A lot of the negative reviews seem like a bunch of people with agendas. Not to say all are unjustified at all. However there seem to be a lot of basement dwellers who can't take the idea of a couple bugs or change in mechanics without soiling themselves or were not satisfied by the original game and have resolved to insta-dislike everything that comes out to spite Stardock.

I'm not one for modding. I would appreciate most of all more end game variety such as the Dreadlords making a return or similar end game crises. Or heck, a planet buster that lets me nuke my enemies in vindictive glory. Extra flavor features such as this weren't mentioned in your post but I feel like they'd flesh out the game just as well as any modding tool since the vast majority of players don't mod.

on May 14, 2017

The two broad camps that the negative reviews fall into: those who experienced the bugs and those who don't like the new mechanics. The first is totally fair, the second is for the most part more subjective, and given how much has been revised mechanically, is somewhat expected. Many of the reviews in the second camp have outlined how their favorite exploit-crutch (confusing this for 'strategy') has been removed, or cannot back up the argument with anything more than 'I don't like this so qq'. I would argue that those who take issue with the game will be the first to go and write a negative review, and it is certainly a more cut-throat market with all the competition going on. I just hope that steam reviews don't kill off any chance of future content for galciv 3.

 

Most of what I would like in terms of support for Crusade is QoL stuff. Some misc improvements like traits highlighting how it changes your tech tree; having a 'back' button for viewing other empires planets in espionage rather than clicking 'done' and being dumped back to the galaxy map; more of Brad's AI magic. I personally don't care for tactical 'control' of ships, and that is on my list of most 'arbitrarily' requested mechanics in 4x games. More balance passes and polish too would be great. It would also be great if the AI removed 'detached' shipyards from worlds taken and held from them.

 

Something I would be keen for is a starter planet 'builder'. To my mind, that would really add another meaningful element to custom civs. The galaxy builder is a great idea! I'm also pretty warm on more story content.

 

I also read the updated dlc road map, and I am really hoping those things comes to pass. DLC involving the Drath and the Korath are exciting prospects as well as the small outline for a third expansion.

 

Anyhow, I think Crusade is great. Don't see expansions like that all that often these days.

on May 14, 2017


The roadmap for Crusade mainly focuses on making it easier to mod it. The timeline for it really boils down to how many engineers I can assign.

Crusade currently has a "mixed" Steam score. As a practical matter, if our player base doesn't like Crusade, then there's not a lot of incentive to dedicate resources to it.

That said, below are some of the upcoming features we have in mind:

Galaxy Builder: Let's people use Steamworks to share tech tree parts, planetary improvements, citizens, promotions, missions, flavor text, player abilities, Starbase modules, components. We are able to do this because in order to do Crusade as a DLC, we had to develop a way to make it so that a mod could more easily override or extend existing data robustly.

This is a most welcome addition! Cant wait. I do hope you have read the Community Modding Wishlist . (Tried to link it but there is something funkey going on with links they just take ya back to the post you linked in not the thread you linked too). Bumped the thread instead


We are considering (depending on sales) letting flees that are commanded by an Admiral (a promoted Commander) have tactical control over their battle.

Flees, yep I want to see these flees! Sounds awesome!

on May 14, 2017

I've been waiting for the game's bugs to clear and allow custom civs in multiplayer before I really tear my teeth into the game, but so far I really like what's been going on, and I love that feedback like this is being done. I wish all the dev team goodluck in tackling these bumps in effort to make Gal Civ be the best it can be.

 

The only thing else I'll comment on is the Admiral Battles on the roadmap. While the idea by itself is neat because it opens a new avenue in Gal Civ, IMO I think it's better to go all or nothing when it comes to GalCiv's tactical battles. While you may say that Admiral battles are intended to be rare, if the use of an admiral would give any substantial benefit in fights, then players will exploit the benefit as much as possible. Be very careful on what tools and mechanics you allow players to have, because they will be abused to their upmost limit.

on May 14, 2017

I have been playing GalCiv since the first Windows version.  Crusade is by far the best.  Don't let mixed reviews get you down, guys.

on May 14, 2017

Foggy I have cone to expect rushed releases form you but that is offset by your commitment to fixing issues in a timely manor and your responsiveness to the community.  I have said it before (and often) that buggy rushed releases lead to bad review's by those who expect a more polished release.  Personally i knew what i was in for when i brought Crusade (sadly not a founder) and figured the growing pains were worth all the great changes.  While MANY issues exist, it is a great game and i commend you and your team.

on May 15, 2017

I stopped playing recently until some of the more annoying bugs are sorted out but that doesn't mean I don't plan to play in the future. I know for certain that I want no part in playing  original Gal Civ compared to Crusade. Crusade is far and above better than Gal Civ original. Just like with Ashes, I don't see any point in supporting the original at this point. It seems like a waste of resources. My problem with Crusade falls into a couple of things:

 

1. Bugs. I had a gamebreaking bug happen with an opposing civ. The AI became too powerful. 

2. The missions are great but they have to be re-added every time on every planet when done. It isn't super clear that an actual ship gets sent out. (mine mostly got eaten by pirates)

3. The pirate bases are too hard to destroy. It took far into the game before I could take them on and I still lost ships. When I had huge tech and had a logistic battle fleet of 210 lasers then I stopped losing ships to the battle stations.

4. I tried pumping influence but it ended up not being very strong or useful in Crusade. It was too powerful in Original.

5. The right-bottom map interface really isn't very helpful and I never used it. It also looks, to me, very aesthetically poor.

 

on May 15, 2017



Admiral Battles: We are considering (depending on sales) letting flees that are commanded by an Admiral (a promoted Commander) have tactical control over their battle.  Right now, GalCiv III has tactical battles, it's just that they are forcibly put to auto-resolve (there's no UI to control units of course but if you watch the battle closely, you can see that the plumbing is there).  Only Admirals would be able to do this because GalCiv is not a game where the fate of your galactic civilization is based on an Ender Wiggin like leader.  Just as contested invasions are rare, Admiral battles would be very rare.

Thank you Brad for even mentioning this as a possibility.  I know this has been a hotly contested topic around this game for years and while I'm very much in the tactical camp I see the wisdom in taking the autoresolve approach given the scope of GalCiv.  I'm sure that many of us "tactical junkies" would greatly appreciate it might even bring in a those folks that have sworn off GalCiv precisely because it has no tactical combat.

 

on May 15, 2017

Calling people basement dwellers for thumbs downing a game this buggy is not cool.  We've been delivered an alpha release, entire portions of the game still don't work right after multiple patches.  Synthetic life is hosed, campaigns are hosed, the balance job is atrocious, and the AI is so full of cheats and stupid that it's scary.  Stardock is instead extremely fortunate to be achieving a mixed aggregate for something that, while relatively stable, is even more unfinished than Elemental was.

 

I'd down vote it myself, but I like alpha testing.  The saddest part is a really nice version of GalCiv is hiding under all that crap, and whenever they finally finish a 90's deserving product that truly places the third iteration ahead of it's predecessor, it probably wont get much notice.

on May 15, 2017

So far I like nearly all the changes of Crusade (although I haven't seen everything yet due to the fact that I had to start over several times because of the bug fixes).

Normally I don't like playing betas, and Crusade really feels like one, but since the direction the game is going is so very promising I am inclined to forgive Stardock

The features I like most are the new resource system and the missions, followed by the change that ship weapons now fire individually (although I couldn' see that myself yet since I had practically no fight up to now). Then comes the new starbase mechanic, then citizens. Espionage is good, but not entirely consistent (e. g. espionage by trade; stealing techs at level ultra after calling back the spy). Invasions is better than nothing (haven't seen one myself other than on Twitch), but the mechanic is too simple for my taste.

Overall there is still a lot work to do to improve balance, especially regarding features of the base game that were not adapted to the changed values of Crusade. Also I keep reading about problems with synthetic races and tech tree inconsistencies. And a lot of other problems

Galaxy Builder: sounds great.

Galactic Empires: does not appeal to me very much, but that's just my opinion.

Admiral battles: that I really would like to have.

Arena Multiplayer: I don't need multiplayer, but others might

More AI: the more, the better

And also: the more modding possibilities, the better. Right down to AI decision modding, but for that we would need a script language and access to all functions that provide information to the AI.

I really hope reviews improve with the ongoing bug and balance fixing so that Stardock can keep up maintenance and future enhancements to the game

 

on May 15, 2017

Thanks for this thread, I actually wondered right after Crusade's release: "what will they do now with it, what comes next?" - so this is perfect

 

Re "Admiral Battles"

 

Hm, difficult - if you can control some battles I guess a number of ppl will want to control all of them. Which is not what *I* would like to see. It depends also on the details - how fun/time-consuming etc. would player-controlled battles turn out?

However, as long the current auto-resolve remains a *real* option I would not complain. *Real* here as in: player-controlled does not make battles way easier so that it would always be the first choice.

 

Re "What would you like more of?"

 

1. Keyboard shortcuts, esp. for turning the ship when building it in the designer (I intend to remain a crybaby about this)

2. Customizing fleets - pls. make it possible to replace all designs; I think currently you cannot do this - except via xml I guess

3. I'd like to be able to determine what icons get used for certain citizen roles, like engineer, admiral etc.

(Actually I didn't have that much time to play since Crusade came out, so not sure if some of this is already doable...)

 

 

 

 

on May 15, 2017

Loving most of the changes, so far (especially the citizen mechanic).

As for the list:

Galaxy builder: Great, wonderful, looking forward to it!

Galactic Empires: color me intrigued

Admiral battles: meh, I prefer the strategy part of strategy games, but if it will help with other parts of the fanbase, I can live with it  

Arena multiplayer: will give me better excuses for getting the wife to play   

 

on May 15, 2017

If adding admirals for some limited tactical control (which sounds good) I would also suggest giving commanders some (different) tactical battle options too. Perhaps having both in a fleet for more tactical options or promoting commander to admiral to provide them with the extra options. I'm a fan of a being more hands on with invasions and battles. Perhaps one option could be flee/retreat for when you are surprise attacked by overwhelming force.

Looking forward to seeing what new features come to the game.

 

on May 15, 2017

The Stardock Troopers will have to combat these bugs. Maybe that is why the Fleet need more direct input, for they just do the flying!

on May 15, 2017

psychoak

Calling people basement dwellers for thumbs downing a game this buggy is not cool.  We've been delivered an alpha release, entire portions of the game still don't work right after multiple patches.  Synthetic life is hosed, campaigns are hosed, the balance job is atrocious, and the AI is so full of cheats and stupid that it's scary.  Stardock is instead extremely fortunate to be achieving a mixed aggregate for something that, while relatively stable, is even more unfinished than Elemental was.

 

I'd down vote it myself, but I like alpha testing.  The saddest part is a really nice version of GalCiv is hiding under all that crap, and whenever they finally finish a 90's deserving product that truly places the third iteration ahead of it's predecessor, it probably wont get much notice.

+1

 

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