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March 20, 2018 by Frogboy
In preparation for the Game Developer's Conference we wanted to put a polish pass on the planets in Star Control: Origins.

There are about 3,000 unique planets that are split into roughly 75 different classes.  Each class of planet has its own challenges, as well as its own mineral deposits that you might want to collect (along with ruins, cities, smugglers, creatures, etc.).

Today, I'm going to walk you through how we create our planet classes.

Unique, Procedural and Hand-Crafted ...
March 20, 2018 by Frogboy
The premise of Galactic Civilizations is that you have united your homeworld and are now ready to send your first colony ship off into space.  What kind of alien worlds do you think we can settle?The reality is, many worlds are not going to be safe for us.  We'll have to live in environmentally sealed enclosures at first.  Not because they are too cold or lack the right atmospheric conditions (though that is an issue), but rather because many worlds will have microbes that just ar...
March 13, 2018 by Frogboy
People don't like to be taxed.  They really don't like to be taxed if they don't have a say in it. The principle cause of the American revolution was not taxation in itself, it was that the colonists didn't have a say in who and what was taxed.



Now, let's imagine how this would be handled when you are talking light years. To understand how distances work in Galactic Civilizations, we need to understand Hyperspace Projection.

I'm the map I'm the map I'm the map!Space...as you m...
March 6, 2018 by Frogboy
13 minutes, 48 seconds.  That’s how long it took the Curiosity rover’s signal to reach Earth from Mars - and Mars is in our own solar system.

Intrigue is the name of the upcoming expansion pack to our best-selling space strategy game, Galactic Civilizations III.  It’s not called “Government” or “Politics”. It’s Intrigue.  13 minutes, 48 seconds between responses for radio signals in our own solar system leaves a lot of time for un...
March 2, 2018 by Frogboy
Good afternoon.  Below is the captain's log from the recent Jupiter test of the prototype Emdrive MK I.  As a reminder, all information concerning the Emdrive remains classified.  Please return your Aug glasses to the front counter when you have finished this briefing.

Captain's Log: March 2, 2086…

There are 69 known moons of Jupiter. 

Jupiter is the first planet we’re sending Star Control’s prototype ship to visit. Powered by the Darius Robotics E...
February 27, 2018 by Frogboy
We live in an age where developers actually brag about creating random quests as if that’s a good thing.

In an age of gigabytes of memory the challenge isn’t in how many worlds you have, it is how to make those worlds compelling.

In Star Control: Origins, there are no random missions. 

No episode of Star Trek ever ended with Captain Kirk receiving 14 Dilithium crystals for his troubles.  Star Control is about telling stories in which you are the central character. ...
February 21, 2018 by Frogboy
The new Star Control is moving swiftly!  We expect to release Fleet Battles Beta 2 within the next several weeks as most of our work is focused on the adventure game.

We have been listening to feedback from the fans and incorporated that feedback into the project.

For example, below is a screenshot which shows the updated home solar system:

Our home solar systemSimilarly, the ships themselves have gotten the material system in early.  Originally, this was going to be added lat...
February 20, 2018 by Frogboy
Every few months I write something that incites a twitter mob.  There are people out there are compelled to right the smallest of wrongs by hurling days of abuse at the villain.

As the said villain, I’ve developed many different strategies for dealing with these mobs.

This week’s outrage: A pronoun joke (someone demanding to be referred to as "they" instead of "he" or "she" while referring to the other person as "honey" and siccing her (sorry their) followers on him in whi...
February 20, 2018 by Frogboy
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 di...
February 14, 2018 by Frogboy
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...
February 13, 2018 by Frogboy
Farming I'm not liking the farming mechanic.  It seemed like a good idea on paper but in practice, it's just tedious and exploitive.  Here's how I'd like to see it work: Some planets would have a Arable land tile including all starting planets.  Building on these tiles produces food. The tech tree would have a path for players who want to get the most out of those resources to get a lot of food.  The arable land resource be destructable -- you can destroy it (like you ca...
January 28, 2018 by Frogboy
Humans vs. Drengin. 

AI at NORMAL

In September I played (and beat) a genius AI.  Let’s see how well we do now.  This is on the standard game, no CRUSADE. Version 2.8 (not released yet).


A good start





My first move



Having rare earth metals next to Earth’s capital (heh, Siberia in this game) lets me start with a level 4 computer core. This means I get +1 research for the base core plus +4 research for being level 4.  A very nice star...
January 17, 2018 by Frogboy
In honor of the new forum feature that lets us drag and drop photos into the editor I present you with: The dog thread.

Post a picture of your dog!
January 16, 2018 by Frogboy
Happy new year!

This month marks my one-year anniversary of returning to my beloved Galactic Civilizations as its lead designer.  And since then, we've made a lot of changes much to the joy and angst of many galactic conquerors.

Unintended Consequences

With the announcement of the third expansion pack to Galactic Civilizations III imminent, this serves as a good time to look at where we stand today.

For the past year, I've been going through and weeding out improvements, events ...
January 10, 2018 by Frogboy
I just got my new PC set up.  First new one in 3 years and it's a monster.



I mostly got it for the Core i9 which has 18 cores.  The reason for this is, basically, I compile a lot.  Most of my programming involves AI coding and that means doing lots of recompiling and running.  I highly recommend 18 cores for most people as it's wasted.

The other reason I wanted so many cores is for Nitrous/Cider work which is Stardock's new engine.  I want to make sure that Ash...