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

A new beginning

image

The story of Galactic Civilizations is the story of the future.  Our future. 

Galactic Civilizations III is actually our 6th edition that provides you with the framework to tell that story (we made 3 OS/2 versions back in the 1990s).

With each iteration, we get a little bit better at it. Sometimes, like when we change engines, it takes awhile to surpass where we were in previous editions.  For instance, the OS/2 version of Galactic Civilizations was, in most respects, better than Galactic Civilizations II until we made the Dark Avatar expansion for it.

For Galactic Civilizations III, it probably wasn't until we made the Crusade expansion that we finally surpassed GalCiv II.

Galactic Civilizations III: Retribution takes us in a direction that the series has never touched before. It's a new beginning.

The Grognard's Guide to Galactic Civilizations III

From a sheer major feature point of view, Galactic Civilizations III had more than previous versions when it arrived in 2015.  But it was lacking certain features that were a real sore point to players, which we began to address with the expansions. Namely:

image

This is my quickie non-marketing evaluation of each expansion. You can kind of see why Mercenaries was the least beloved. This is, by no means, a comprehensive list of features for each one. Just the ones that I think most players would agree were important.  For instance, Crusade re-did the Invasion system. I don't think that feature is any better or worse than what was there before, so I didn't count it.

Crusade is widely considered to be "the big one," and it's easy to understand why: citizens.

This was a game-changer.  It re-did the game's economy in a way that is both a lot easier to understand, and yet a lot more nuanced. It's one of those rare features that greatly simplifies the presentation of the game without dumbing it down. In fact, it makes the game a lot more sophisticated.

The other two features I mentioned, Espionage and the Civ Builder, are pretty big deals - depending on how you play. The Civ Builder is almost as important to me as the Citizen feature. The espionage part is fine.  But it's not on par with the other features.

So let's take a second shot at this chart, this time assigning a value to each feature:

image

Now, this doesn't mean that I don't think Intrigue wasn't a really good expansion. It just means that Crusade was monstrously good.

So what about Retribution?  As you can see, I don't think any of the new features of Retribution match the importance of the Citizens feature.  Moreover, if you don't really care about the new species (Drath and Korath) or the new campaign, then Retribution only has 15 to Crusade's 16 points. 

Of course, this is just my own rating system, yours might be totally different.

Right from the Start

image

The final version of Retribution should look better.  We're still working on the visuals. But you will notice, right away, some changes.  First, you start with an Artifact.  You always start with one.

image

Your home planets are much different game to game. And if you look closely, you will notice that what's available to construct on turn 1 has changed.

Sometimes, there will be artifacts that can be enhanced so cheaply that you may want to use them immediately rather than building that shipyard. 

The other thing you may notice is that there's a Colonization Center improvement. This is a new, one-time improvement that will increase production, population, and growth.

Population Growth

This will be the most controversial change in Retribution. Default growth has been reduced from 0.1 per turn to 0.01.

image

Population growth can be increased (especially later in the game via the new immigration technologies), but simply colony rushing early on is going to have consequences.

Here's the next thing you're going to notice:

image

The stars are substantially further apart. This makes the star systems feel more vast (before we had them practically on top of each other) and makes Hypergates interesting.  You can still choose to go up the engine tech tree to make your ships faster, but investing in Hypergates provides an interesting alternative.

Same number of techs, more meaning

image

You'll also notice that most of the optimization techs (where you would choose one of three) are gone.  Instead, there are new techs that help flesh out your strategic choices.  For instance, you don't simply get Space Elevators - you research them.  Spatial Manipulation gets you onto the Hypergate tech path. Ignore my spelling mistakes btw, they'll get fixed.

There are many more things you can choose to build than before (potentially), but they are delivered now via the tech tree moreso than before.

image

Space Elevators are important in the true Sci-Fi sense that we just kind of brushed off in previous expansions.  The ability to cheaply get things into space is going to be a pretty big deal.  Besides being able to build space elevators, you'll also be able to build supply ships that can send raw materials to your colonies.  I'll talk about that in a second.

image

Building scouts is a lot more useful now that stars are actually separated by quite a bit of space.

image

Under the covers, we've modified our galaxy generation system so that what's near players when they start is a lot more balanced. So you won't have to deal with games where one player has tons of great planets near them, while you get nothing. Everyone will have a reasonably equally good (or crappy) start.

Building your civilization in Retribution

image

So now I  have a class 12 (Earth is class 10) planet. Wow. That's great! can't wait right?

Except...

image

If you look closely, you will see that its raw production is only 3, so it takes forever for anything to get built. This has been a challenge in all the GalCiv games.  This is why some players find the game a little boring at this stage.  Sure, your capital planet is doing just fine, but your other planets just are a grind to get going.

Before Retribution, you'd just wait for the population to grow, build a bunch of cities and eventually, hours later, it's kicking butt. But from our logs, we know we lose a lot of players during that period because it's just not interesting.

Moreover, if anything, Retribution would aggravate this problem because population growth is 10X slower by default. So you can't just turn-time your way out of this problem. This is where Supply Ships come in. 

Players can build Supply Ships that carry 100 production with them.  When they get to a colony, it's quickly unloaded and used. If there's nothing to build at that moment, it stores that production for later. This is a game-changer because previously, if there was some boon to production, it was wasted after a given planetary improvement was constructed. Now, it gets stored and used later.

Having planets store excess production materials was crucial to add to the game because we didn't want players to have to micro-manage sending out supply ships.

Supplying your civilization

So now you can build up your worlds a lot faster thanks to sending Supply Ships.  However, there's that tricky distance issue. 

Do you design each Supply Ship (which is consumed when it reaches its destination) to have a bunch of engines? That's expensive but it'll get them there.

Or...

Do you build a Hypergate?

image

The Stellar Architect is a new type of ship which allows for the construction of Hypergates.  It takes two hypergates to create a hyperlane between them.  But doing so will double the speed of any ship on that lane.

Hyperlanes

Now you build a Stellar Architect who can construct a Hypergate.  You will need to build a second one to create the other end.

image

image

Once you build that second Hypergate, it will ask where you want to link it.

And now you can fast-track supply ships.

image

image

Using hyperlanes is automatic. You don't have to do anything - just click on a destination and your ship will find the fastest route there, using hyperlanes whenever available.

image

Meanwhile, my planet is still slowly building up, thanks to having some asteroids nearby to help. It's still very slow going, but help is on the way.

image

The Supply ship arrives with goods from Earth.  Each turn, it will use whatever it takes (until it runs out) to finish the current planetary improvement being constructed.

So instead of it taking 12 turn to get through the Factory, Space Elevator, and Shipyard projects, it only takes 3 with the Farm being finished on turn 5 (instead of it adding an additional 14 turns).

Hypergates also make it a lot more viable to send citizens around your territory because they get there twice as fast, which makes traveling far less dangerous.

To conclude: sending a Supply ship built at Earth to Viola drastically reduced construction time.

image

Now this planet is built up enough to be reasonably self-sustaining.

Pacing Pacing Pacing

Hypergates and Supply ships not only expand on your strategic options, but allow you to customize your civilization a lot more specifically while simultaneously reducing the mid-game doldrums of waiting for your planets and ships to be worthwhile.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments! Still lots to talk about.

______________________________

Retribution Journals

Journal #1 (Current)

Journal #2

Journal #3

Journal #4

Journal #5

Journal #6

Journal #7

Journal #8

Journal #9 (Coming Soon)


Comments (Page 3)
on Feb 01, 2019

cbholmes, reading that last post ... the volume level seems high. Maybe that's based on assumptions, but I don't think this has to be a yelling match about ideas--we can all talk about what we like and don't like, what we want and don't want, etc., in a civil way.

cbholmes

To not do that flies in the face of reason.

This sounds like, "If you don't agree with me, you're stupid." Kind of a non-starter for a dialogue.

Anyhow, if I misread your attitude, I apologize.

cbholmes

This approach ignores the other variables at play; spatial/geographic considerations, borders, influence, resources, position on the map. Colonization isn't just about raw production for an empire; that's an overly simplistic view. There's a strategy involved - at least for some of us who have put 1600+ hours into your game Frog.

I won't speak for anyone but myself, but I don't think the issue at hand is necessarily about colonizing as many planets as possible--ultimately. I think it is about the pace at which this happens in the game. So I politely disagree that what Frogboy is saying is overly simplistic. The colony rush is about grab everything you can as quick as you can, and I look forward to something more meaningful that requires me to make hard choices.

cbholmes

Planet quality was already important when it came to prioritizing colonization efforts; you want the Precursor worlds before anything else; food takes priority for a biological race; certain resources (Epimethius Pollen, Armor Spice) can make one planet more favorable than another. 

Do I take the nearby Class 8 planet with Harmony Crystals or do I take the much more distant Class 13 planet that has 2 food? Right now, I'd just take both and not bat an eye. Where is the strategy in that? I know--I can't get administrator blocked/etc. But still, right now, I don't feel like the initial colony rush offers much in terms of meaningful choices. It involves prioritizing all of the planets and getting them right away (relative to the distance of your shipyard to the planet).

cbholmes

Where am I on the galactic map? Which direction do I want to focus colonization efforts toward? Am I near a wall or the center? Is a hostile faction close by (thus shared borders will become an issue)? Does it make more sense to focus survey and colony ships in one direction or another? It usually does, especially to put some distance between you and any hostile factions (which is one reason Eyes of the Universe is so valuable). Geography often matters and this is something that, until now, has given the game a lot of replay value. Never having the same map twice, and having the map matter, has been a fun factor.

I agree that starting location matters. I agree that where other races (particularly hostile ones) start also matters. I agree that geography matters. And I really think the game is doing a good job of that--though there is always room to make things more interesting/add features.

cbholmes

But at the end of all of this, it's still basic math. Real estate is finite and you don't want to give away worlds to other factions. And you especially don't want to give away worlds inside your "borders" to other factions. That's where the geography comes into play. Leaving those worlds to other factions, because now the population has been nerfed, and now you end up with worlds mixed together, borders smashed all over the place, a lot more anger, influence is a total P.I.T.A.... it's messy and frustrating (not fun, just to be clear).

I don't know that in the new system this will mean giving away worlds inside your borders to other factions. They'll have the same limitations and have to make careful decisions, too. This isn't 100% certain to prevent them from taking planets you want, but I am fine with that, personally. I do understand your opinion and respect it, though, because I hate it when another civ takes a planet in my borders.

cbholmes

There's absolutely NOTHING fun about staring at an uncolonized world in your "borders" that you cannot colonize because of what really amount to artificial restraints. Nothing fun about any way you slice that.

The whole game is artificial. All of the restraints and everything that is allowed is arbitrary and ultimately at the desire of the developers. Why can't I colonize a Class 0 world? That's an artificial restraint--build a bunch of domes or whatever. Why can't I use asteroids as a weapon against a planet and totally decimate it from space (e.g., in B5 the Narn homeworld). Everything in the game is constrained in some way by how it has been developed. Having an uncolonized world that you cannot colonize because you don't have the population or resources to do so safely--that is not an artificial constraint, necessarily. It would just represent a change in the way things currently work.

cbholmes

The idea that it should be a superior strategy to ignore worlds and not colonize them and thus allow other factions to colonize them flies in the face of math, logic and reason. 

You can play with elements that make one planet more desirable than another, but you can't escape the math or geography of the real estate.

I politely disagree with the idea that the strategy is to ignore worlds and not colonize them. Again, I think the issue is pacing. And every civ will be on the same footing fighting the same constraints--so it is still a rush to get to those remaining uncolonized worlds. It just requires deeper and longer-term planning, careful prioritization, and some luck.

cbholmes

In the end - colonization is a zero-sum game. You can make some planets more desirable than others, but it's still a zero-sum game, and any person with a modicum of thinking skills is intuitively going to understand that and want to colonize as many planets as possible. 

To not do that flies in the face of reason.  

Any person with a modicum of thinking skills is intuitively going to agree with you? That's a bit arrogant--not necessarily wrong--but in this case, I think your argument has some room for discussion before concluding definitively that you know everything and that anyone who doesn't agree is a simpleton.

I think your points have some merit, but I see some flaws, too. And I'm sure you'll see flaws in my thinking. That's fine--and I welcome your response (be it polite or otherwise).

At the end of the day, I look forward to seeing what the dev team comes up with. I may disagree with some choices, but I don't expect any given choice to ruin what has been and continues to be a great game.

You left off part of Frogboy's post:

Frogboy

Instead, the ideal is to make which planets you colonize matter.  Thus, artifacts, natural resources on them, etc. should be more of a factor and thus, if the early game population growth is greatly slowed down (again, through immigration technologies it gets back to where it was but that's now a mid-game feature) then which planets you choose to colonize matters a lot more.

Again, I don't think this is about colonization and real estate so much as it is about pacing. And that will affect all players. Adding nuance here (new techs/immigration/improvements/etc.) is welcomed, in my opinion. Maybe I'll finally see a need for growth-boosting improvements...

Frogboy

Trust me, it's a lot more fun.

on Feb 01, 2019

Frogboy

The problem with the current "colony rush" isn't the concept of fast expansion. It is more of an issue of mindless expansion.

If any colony, no matter what, will quickly provide 4 raw production, then grabbing the first 10 means having 40 raw production before the mid-game.

Instead, the ideal is to make which planets you colonize matter. Thus, artifacts, natural resources on them, etc. should be more of a factor and thus, if the early game population growth is greatly slowed down (again, through immigration technologies it gets back to where it was but that's now a mid-game feature) then which planets you choose to colonize matters a lot more.

If that is the sole reason for nerfing the colony rush the way you have, why on earth would you not reduce the RP?

        <GlobalTriggers>
            <OnEvent>OnColonisePlanet</OnEvent>
            <Target>
                <TargetType>Planet</TargetType>
            </Target>
            <RandomDurationMin>15</RandomDurationMin>
            <RandomDurationMax>25</RandomDurationMax>
            <Modifier>
                <EffectType>ProductionPoints</EffectType>
                <Target>
                    <TargetType>Colony</TargetType>
                </Target>
                <BonusType>Multiplier</BonusType>
                <Value>-0.75</Value>
            </Modifier>
        </GlobalTriggers>

So simple. Yes I hate the idea of the way the game seems to be going for the next expansion in regards to explore and expand. I am a simple guy, simple solutions usually work the best.

on Feb 01, 2019

Horemvore

So simple. Yes I hate the idea of the way the game seems to be going for the next expansion in regards to ecplore and expand. I am a simple guy, simple solutions usually work the best.

I don't see your solution as totally wrong-minded, Horemvore, but I am not sure I agree that exploration and expansion will be less fun as a result of the proposed change--just different. Now, that depends on play style and whatnot, so I'm not saying you are wrong, nor am I trying to invalidate your opinion on it. I'm just speaking for myself that I like the idea of exploring and looking for a planet that is just right for my next colony--not just whatever I happen upon. This makes exploration more meaningful, to me, and makes expansion more strategic.

Again--that's just me. I also like to play with sparser galaxies, and I know a lot of people like a lot (a lot a lot) of planets.

on Feb 01, 2019

There are three ways to solve the "mindless colony rush":

1) Make most planets uninhabitable without improved colonization technology. This makes the initial colony rush short and sweet, then empires pivot to researching colonization techs to get otherwise uninhabitable worlds. This can spread the colonization phase well into the late game. It also makes the mid game more interesting because you have to balance continued colonization efforts with not getting blown up.

2) Racial Preference. If planet environment was a spectrum instead of distinct "good" or "bad", then each race could have it's own preferred environmental niche. This makes colonization a non-zero-sum game.

3) Danger. GC3 splits colonization and warfare into two more or less distinct phases. That's bad. Unbridled colonization has no consequences. If there were bad guys with lasers in the early game, blindly sending out colony ships everywhere would get you into big trouble. I thought the original Master of Orion did a good job of this, where colonization was more toothy and dangerous.

on Feb 01, 2019

leiavoia

There are three ways to solve the "mindless colony rush":

1) Make most planets uninhabitable without improved colonization technology. This makes the initial colony rush short and sweet, then empires pivot to researching colonization techs to get otherwise uninhabitable worlds. This can spread the colonization phase well into the late game. It also makes the mid game more interesting because you have to balance continued colonization efforts with not getting blown up.

2) Racial Preference. If planet environment was a spectrum instead of distinct "good" or "bad", then each race could have it's own preferred environmental niche. This makes colonization a non-zero-sum game.

3) Danger. GC3 splits colonization and warfare into two more or less distinct phases. That's bad. Unbridled colonization has no consequences. If there were bad guys with lasers in the early game, blindly sending out colony ships everywhere would get you into big trouble. I thought the original Master of Orion did a good job of this, where colonization was more toothy and dangerous.

I like all three of these ideas.

#1 and #3 are more easily implemented--#1 is just XML changes and #3 sounds like adding more pirates.

I'm not sure I understand your entire meaning for #2--this could be partly accomplished via XML changes, but depending on what you mean, I think it would take more than changes to the XML to accomplish.

But all are worthy ideas to consider, I think. And I hope the dev team takes time to think about this.

on Feb 01, 2019

ScrivenerOfLight

#1 and #3 are more easily implemented--#1 is just XML changes and #3 sounds like adding more pirates.

#1 is mostly changing some ratios, yes, but also requires making those late-game colonizations more meaningful. They need to be worth your time.

#3 is not about more pirates. It's about making military options meaningful in the first few turns. Maybe i can't colonize Tau Ceti just yet, but i can shoot you full of holes if you try to settle it first. Or space monsters guard a planet. Or whatever, just... more pew pew. Right now the game is all about turtling until Just The Right Time. I wish it was more of a knife fight from the get-go.

In the original MoO, colonizing in the first few turns is dicey because: 1) Fleets are armed right from the beginning, 2) You can invade planets immediately. Together that means that colony ships get shot down and fledgling colonies are easily swiped if you don't provide air and ground defense. In GC3, you have to research Invasion technology first which means players can colonize with impunity.

ScrivenerOfLight

I'm not sure I understand your entire meaning for #2--this could be partly accomplished via XML changes, but depending on what you mean, I think it would take more than changes to the XML to accomplish.

#2 would indeed require retooling the system, albeit not a huge change. Basically, each planet exists on a spectrum of adaptation and each race has a preferred spot on the spectrum at which it performs best. That way, you're race's garbage planet is my race's goldmine. This instantly creates dynamism in the galaxy because we not all simply competing for the same resources.

If I play an aquatic race and you play a land-lubber, I know that we are not competing in the same space, so it's okay to relax and be good neighbors. Meanwhile the Torians next door live in the same niche i do, so i need to find a way to "take care of them".

on Feb 02, 2019

leiavoia

1) Make most planets uninhabitable without improved colonization technology. This makes the initial colony rush short and sweet, then empires pivot to researching colonization techs to get otherwise uninhabitable worlds. This can spread the colonization phase well into the late game. It also makes the mid game more interesting because you have to balance continued colonization efforts with not getting blown up.

I tried this, the current AI does not handle this very well.

on Feb 02, 2019

mines- even more necessary with greater distance between planets

Huge aid for any strategy , Isolationists and Pacifists.. defend your territory without declaring war ! Make the mines formidable !

1. Deploy and Remove

**** the minelayer (constructor ship with mine units) would have to expend a unit to lay a mine in a hex and likewise to remove it the sweeper (constructor )would have to expend a removal unit it or sacrifice a ship or two to eliminate it... a special sensor (or SPIDER citizen) is  necessary to detect the mines would make the constructor so armed unique ***********

2. effects.. damage

A, B and C strength based on tech level researched with radial effect

a frontier that ships invading take damage depending on the strength of mines or type, chance of damaging certain ship systems like the warp drive etc.. other random effects

invisible to the unfriendly force and detectable with minesweepers , detonates on non-allied or non-friendly ships

mine once layed in a hex, represent a field affecting adjacent hexes as well , lay one every other hex to make your perimeter ,  with limitations on proximity and making enemies if placed too close to other races

3. purpose..defense...keep out trespassers

when it is not our turn - we dont want to be ravaged !!

prevent a wild transport from wreaking havoc.

used to Isolate a resource or planet until it can be colonized , setting up bases , influence , camping out in your space with attackers

stop ships flying right through your space without penalty. .

Defending your commonwealths and allies too !!

----------extra--------------------

The pirates could defend their bases too.

Just imagine putting a minelayer on auto to lay a minefield around your system !!!

How does that sound ?

JJ

on Feb 02, 2019

deleted

on Feb 02, 2019

deleted

on Feb 02, 2019

I think I proposed that years ago, but do it again now in the light of above discussion:

Why is population (of biological races) growth a fixed value and not a function of current population and housing (cities) like in MoO2? Few people can produce few offspring so population growth is very slow right after colonization because of the low starting population. Growth increases until about half of the existing space is filled and then begins to decrease because of people having difficulties to find a place to live.

And there is an other possibility to counter colony rush: make planets dependent on some resources that initially can only produce the home world and that have to be physically shipped (like with the new supply ships) to colonies until they are able to produce this resource themselves, what would require a certain level of development and thus time. Those resources are necessary to nurture the population and/or fuel production so that without the population will decrease / production tends to go down. That would also make everybody think about placing colonies inside another empires "borders" (apart from diplomatic reasons) when supply ships can be shot down easily.

Btw, that brings me to think that placing a hypergate inside the borders of a foreign empire should have massive negative diplomatic impact if your are not on very friendly terms with that empire.

on Feb 02, 2019

 

deleted
on Feb 02, 2019

deleted

on Feb 02, 2019

JJ,

I can understand the in-game reasons for wanting separate Ages, but I also disagree with that kind of limitation, so I changed them... all better now. The parameters are set in TechAgeDefs.xml in the Game folder; mine are set to zero.

Also, taking credit for proposing stargates in GalCiv? Karma -1. [e digicons]:thumbsdown:[/e]  

on Feb 02, 2019

deleted