Brad Wardell's site for talking about the customization of Windows.
What you need to know
Published on February 14, 2018 By Frogboy In GalCiv III Dev Journals

One of the biggest challenges we have faced in developing Galactic Civilizations III has been map sizes and the memory they require.

On a number of occasions, we have tried to reduce the the largest map sizes down to improve performance and shrink memory requirements.  And each time we have attempted to do that, we have ended up with a very vocal outcry of anger.

But large map sizes come with a significant memory cost to be aware of.

Galactic Civilizations, like its inspiration, Sid Meier's Civilization, is a tile based game.   Virtually every space strategy game is point based (you travel across the galaxy from point A to point B without going in-between). There's a good reason why they do that: scale.  If you want your space game to appear to have an epic scale, then you need to have stars that appear to be very far from one another.  For Galactic Civilizations to pull off the same thing, as a tile based game, means a lot more tiles and a lot faster (late game) ships.

For reference, here are the map sizes for Civilization VI:

Size Dimensions Players (Default/Maximum) City-States (Default/Maximum) Total Tiles
Duel 44×26 2/4 3/6 1144
Tiny 60×38 4/6 6/10 2280
Small 74×46 6/10 9/14 3404
Standard 84×54 8/14 12/18 4536
Large 96×60 10/16 15/22 5760
Huge 106×66 12/20 18/24

6996

The largest map size would require around 2GB of memory (on average). So, the largest map size in Civilization VI has around 7,000 hexes. 

Let's take a look at Galactic Civilizations III:

Map Size Players (rec) RAM Req (MB) Tiles
Tiny                       3                       967                   2,037
Small                       4                    1,483                   4,157
Medium                       5                    1,939                   6,495
Large                       7                    2,903                12,731
Huge                       9                    3,925                21,044
Gigantic                     12                    5,544                37,412
Immense                     16                    7,246                58,457
Excessive                     32                  16,647              233,827
Ludicrous                     50                  30,729              649,519

That's right, the Ludicrous map size has 100 times more tiles than the largest Civilization VI map.  More tiles isn't better, it just means the maps are much bigger and more to the point, and the memory requirements go way up.

Until you get to HUGE map sizes, you don't really need a crazy system to play Galactic Civilizations III.  But what frequently happens is that people with perfectly good gaming systems will paly on the Ludicrous size and find it very slow. Why? Because you need 32GB of memory to play it well (or else you'll be swapping out memory constantly to disk).

Even if you have enough memory, picture the pathfinding for 50 players (and GalCiv III supports 128 players) if there's 650,000 tiles to potentially go through.  Path finding is what most of your turn time gets consumed by. 

Luckily, GalCiv III has a multicore AI which means that each pathfinding task can be distributed to your CPU.  But again, even if you have 32GB of memory, if you have 50 players but only a 4 core processor, you're going to be in for a world of hurt.

For optimal performance, you shouldn't have more than 2 players per logical processor (usually 2X your cores).  So if you have an 8 core machine with 16 logical threads, you're probably fine with 32 players.

However, I frequently get saved games from players who have 4 core machines with 8GB of memory trying to play on these ludicrous maps with 100 players who have given us a negative review because "obviously" we have a memory leak.

Going forward, I highly recommend not going beyond Gigantic unless you meet the specs above.  In version 3.0, we will be listing these requirements when you pick the map size to help players keep themselves out of trouble.

So now you know why we keep trying to roll back those big maps.


Comments (Page 1)
on Feb 14, 2018

I actually discovered that my RAM was installed indirectly (and therefore not functioning) because I had more than enough RAM for the biggest maps, but the they were greyed out.

on Feb 14, 2018

I've got to admit, while I do like the idea of the ludicrous map size the novelty did start to wear off a bit when I was approaching 300 turns in and had not met a single other empire yet. I'm happy sticking to Immense, or Excessive if I'm feeling really crazy

on Feb 14, 2018

This journal is very helpful. Thank you. I know my system is sub par for ludicrous but I accept the slow down as a trade to the scale of map. Thank you for such insight. 

on Feb 14, 2018

Using the HexSectorSize for the galaxy sizes in MapSizeDefs.xml, I get different, mostly larger, numbers.

 

Map Size Tiles
Tiny 1,261
Small 3,997
Medium 7,651
Large 24,571
Huge 43,561
Gigantic 97,741
Immense 188,251
Excessive 270,901
Insane 751,501

 

So, the current galaxy sizes are larger than shown above, and maybe the RAM requirements are larger, also.

IainDoc

I've got to admit, while I do like the idea of the ludicrous map size the novelty did start to wear off a bit when I was approaching 300 turns in and had not met a single other empire yet. I'm happy sticking to Immense, or Excessive if I'm feeling really crazy

The same here, except I found some before 300 turns.  I didn't have the patience to keep playing on that size, so I quit and went back to playing on Large or Huge.

on Feb 14, 2018

Ludacris works well for moi with 21 opponents - gives time to get defensive/interceptor task forces semi crunk up before running into more enemies than I could handle.

Though, it does seem to slow down a bit around turn 600 (even as me system claims to have the ability to handle it). Enjoying a really epic game and have yet to fire up a new one from scratch with the latest patch.

luceo non uro

on Feb 14, 2018

Old-Spider

Using the HexSectorSize for the galaxy sizes in MapSizeDefs.xml, I get different, mostly larger, numbers.

 

Map Size Tiles
Tiny 1,261
Small 3,997
Medium 7,651
Large 24,571
Huge 43,561
Gigantic 97,741
Immense 188,251
Excessive 270,901
Insane 751,501


 

So, the current galaxy sizes are larger than shown above, and maybe the RAM requirements are larger, also.


Quoting IainDoc,

I've got to admit, while I do like the idea of the ludicrous map size the novelty did start to wear off a bit when I was approaching 300 turns in and had not met a single other empire yet. I'm happy sticking to Immense, or Excessive if I'm feeling really crazy



The same here, except I found some before 300 turns.  I didn't have the patience to keep playing on that size, so I quit and went back to playing on Large or Huge.

How are you calculating your numbers?

 

on Feb 14, 2018

x = HexSectorSize

Total Hexes = 3x^2 + 3x +1

 

on Feb 14, 2018

Frogboy, I think the hardware requirement problem could be solved if we can get GeForce Now to support Galactic Civilization III, then we can all play on Ludicrous with 100 players!  Civ VI is supported.  I've done my part in submitting a request.  But as a developer, you may have more pull.  I urge everyone to also go to the site and request that they support Gal Civ III.  https://forums.geforce.com/default/topic/1014295/general-discussion/request-a-new-game/

on Feb 14, 2018

Wow. I had no idea that RAM requirements were that crazy! I did see a bit of the player count with my CPU though. When I went more than 8 or 9 players, turns took quite a bit longer (4 core cpu). Guess I won't be playing Excessive maps any time soon!

on Feb 14, 2018

I don't know man something about the current build doesn't seem very well optimized.  I've been playing on Huge with 8 players and my rig has been hanging up on loading.   The game itself seems to play fine.  Each turns take a completely reasonable amount of time to process; but when I load a save it takes a freaking eternity and sometimes it just freezes completely particularly if I'm loading from within an active game and not from the main menu.

I've got a Intel Core i7 4700MQ @ 2.40GHz, 12.0GB Dual-Channel DDR3 Ram @ 799MHz and 2047MB NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M.

Not a monster of a rig by any means; but I've never had problems playing Gal Civ III until recently and by the numbers you're giving us I should be able to handle that size map easily.

on Feb 14, 2018

Do you have an ssd?

on Feb 14, 2018

I always felt like the size-selector should pop up a little warning sign when you try to pick anything over Huge. At least then you can say "i told you so".

on Feb 14, 2018

Play on smaller maps but console in more habitable planets.  What matter isn't the size of the map but the number of planets people can colonize.  

on Feb 14, 2018

Looks like immense is my limit. I played once on ludicrous for the achievement, but I had uncommon stars, rare everything else and 10 civs to keep the amount of management I had to deal with down. I played cybernetic so I could mechanic my way to ships fast enough to get around in less than forever. The big empty space between everything really did give it the grand feel of Space.

on Feb 15, 2018

Brad I don't suppose Steam would allow you to post a chart or two with recommended map sizes and player count based on system memory and CPU logical threads in the actual "System Requirements" section of the Steam store page for GalCiv III would they?    Then at least negative reviews on Steam about game speed could at least be referenced to the System Requirements.