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How will we feed our billions?

In Galactic Civilizations III, we presume that by the time we are colonizing planets, our home world has reached an equilibrium between food production and population.  But let's face it: when we colonize other planets, it'll take many years for those planets to build up sufficient farming infrastructure to produce for the kinds of populations you have on your home world.


Surplus Food

Galactic Civilizations III will be treating food a bit differently to reflect the awareness of just how important a large population is on your planets. 

When Galactic Civilizations III first shipped, players built farms on planets and that would increase that planet's population.  Because it was so easy to increase your population, our conversion between population to production was: production = the square root of population.

When Galactic Civilizations III v2.0 came out, we changed this so that food became a global resource that was then consumed by cities.  You could build as many farms as you wanted elsewhere, and then build cities on another planet that used that food. Because this made increasing population more challenging (requiring two tiles -- a farming tile and a city tile), the formula was changed to production = population.  This proved better on paper than in practice because on larger maps, players had no problem dedicating entire worlds just to farming, no matter how terrible the planet or how unrealistic that would be. This worked well for building other planets to huge populations, but it created production quantities that were balance breaking. 

Throughout the v2.x series, we have tinkered with the formulas for what it takes to build a farm and what it takes to build a city, to the point where players were becoming frustrated when they discovered they didn't have the right resource to build something.

For v3.0, we have created a much simpler - and we think, more intuitive - system.  Good planets have arable land tiles.  The better the planet, the more of these tiles it will have.  You can choose to build farms on them or you can bulldoze them and build whatever you want.  This reflects the fact that Ceti Alpha V (a class 6 world) is never going to have farms while even a wonderful planet like Earth (class 10) can't have its entire surface farmed (and we do abstract farming to an extent in that your initial colony is self-sufficient in food). 

Thus, population = production.  Arable land produces food without you having to do anything at all, but you can also build them up with various levels of farms and use that surplus food elsewhere.  Some worlds will have no arable land.  Others will have several.


In this example, my home planet starts with 2 arable tiles, which produces 2 food right away.

Now, unlike other resources, unused food doesn't accumulate.  As my wife regularly reminds me, food spoils and I should stop eating it when it does.  But it does mean that with a few good early planets, you can start building cities on planets without having to have built a single farm.  It's proving to be a really interesting mechanic.


There are two good planets here.  One with 3 food tiles and one with 1 food tile and an elerium deposit.
Which one should I colonize first?

In the above example, getting the Elerium deposit means I can instantly build enhanced lasers, which have military significance.  But if I settle the other planet, I can build a city on my home planet immediately.  This creates some interesting strategic choices that simply did not exist before.

Galactic Civilizations III v3.0 is due for release in April.

Comments (Page 3)
on Feb 24, 2018

I really like this change, a different mechanic was necessary for food because otherwise it is either a balancing calculation or redundant to the specialized money/research/production buildings.

on Feb 26, 2018


Quoting 1Wildcat,

Will the bulldozing mechanism mean that non-carbon civs can do a scorched earth policy on an advancing carbon civ eventually making it impossible for that civ to expand it's population?  Might need a tech or mechanism to establish new or former arable tiles.



What does Yeeep! mean? His post had two parts to it. So yeeep, non carbon civs can scorched Earth? Or... yeeep there will be a way to restore lost arable tiles?

on Feb 27, 2018
My guess is the Yeeep is for the second part.
on Mar 01, 2018

I wonder why the spacefaring civilizations haven't developed methods of lenghty food preservation... perhaps because certain wife had won the influence victory? Stellaris for example haves food stockpiles...

on Mar 05, 2018

Thank God - more opportunity for more food, since it didn't seem possible to generate enough of it at a reasonable rate.

I'm hoping that eventually I can reach a stage where I can colonise a planet and it not take an eternity (since apparently I can't get as strong an economy either in this game compared with GC2...)

on Mar 11, 2018

I'm curious. What happens when you take an agriworld from a enemy? Do their population start to starve to death after going through their food supply? Will the enemy start building new farms?


And will any world that fail to build new farms in time to replace the lost agriworld basically starve them to extinction and what happens to now empty world? does it get abandoned with infrastructure still intact?


Because I'm seeing that agriworlds is becoming prime targets of attack. Because if they get taken, you interrupt your enemy's plan of action to an drastic degree to ensure that population don't' starve to death.

on Mar 11, 2018

Good point.  And what about moral to said population.  Another point about moral and food is that sometimes you conquer/acquire a planet and it ends up having more population than base food amount that that planet can support.  Moral and resistance should be in the tank on a planet like that.

on Mar 12, 2018


The food hasn't changed in the sense some are talking.  Food was always use it or lose it (you can't build an inventory).

To summarize:


    1. Planets now spawn with arable land tiles that give +1 food just for existing. No build up required which means you can build cities without ever building a single farm potentially.


    1. Only arable tiles can be farmed on which increases their food output.  


    1. Arable tiles can be bulldozed over if you don't want them.


The net result is that most players will end up being able to build more cities but you won't (realistically) be able to have hundreds of food per turn anymore by those min/maxing the system.

Sounds good.  I don't need more complex on this mechanism.


on Mar 27, 2018


can these arable land plots regrow? Like if they are destroyed in an invasion, am I gonna have to deal with a big die-off, without any ability to stop it?


Alternatively, can you "re-build" these plots on planets where they are destroyed/bulldozed?

on Mar 27, 2018

This is a good question - some buildings cannot be destroyed, but arable land can be destroyed by the player, so can invading legions destroy them?  I think there are buildings that legions cannot destroy, but players can, I remember noticing that a couple of times.  Otherwise, if there is no other means to produce food, planets with arable are even more important (especially once upgraded).  

My guess is no, as I have not seen a "build arable land" project yet - though I've not been playing a lot.  If this is the case, planet defense and garrisons should be a high priority for these planets.


on Mar 27, 2018

invasion and spy strategy has changed.

destroy AT and watch a civ crumble.

on Mar 30, 2018

Posted this on the the "Strange New Worlds" forum, but I think it belongs here also.  Breadbasket planet on 3.0 Beta does not have any arable tiles.  I would think it should have more of them than any other type.  What is the point to +10% food if it doesn't have any food?

on Mar 31, 2018

Well I have been giving the beta a crack and am quite disappointed with the way farming works now. With the pop cap and and VERY limited farming you can do, a tall build is all but a dead strategy. My first game I went malevolent/wide and was happy enough, but currently I am trying benevolent/tall and hit a roadblock 60 turns in with 3 planets maxing out on just 25 pop. I can work around the farming restrictions but the pop cap is just cruel.


On a little side note, been trying to play around with a privateer with no luck. Upgraded an admiral to "defend" my borders but every action seems to be an act of war ie attacking ships/starbases in and out of my territory is a hostile act. Is it just bugged or am I doing something wrong?

on Mar 31, 2018

Also, any chance implementing destroying cities? I have all these excess cities I am burdened with now as I try to switch to a wide build

on Mar 31, 2018

"Upgraded an admiral to "defend" my borders but every action seems to be an act of war ie attacking ships/starbases in and out of my territory is a hostile act. Is it just bugged or am I doing something wrong?"

Admirals aren't like Privateers.  They're treated as normal warships.  Only Privateers can freely attack without war.