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Frogboy's Articles
October 11, 2021 by Frogboy
Starting with Galactic Civilizations II, we allowed players to go and watch their ships fight it out in battle in a separate battle viewer screen.  But, what if we could show the battle on the main screen? That is, what if we could just zoom in on a fleet and rather than it being the leader ship with a number by it, it actually changed to show the entire fleet?  So if you wanted to watch a fleet fight it out, you would just watch it right on the map. Thoughts?   _________...
October 4, 2021 by Frogboy
The process of getting a new player into your game and making that process an enjoyable experience can be the difference between success and failure for your game.  If you make a game for a publisher, you can assume there will be a milestone that involves the onboarding.  Let’s take a look at how GalCiv IV does it and what has changed since GalCiv III. Title Screen We went through many iterations for the title screen.  How many buttons should there be? Which buttons sh...
September 7, 2021 by Frogboy
We’re working on a new map pack called The Core Worlds.  They started out based on real world locations and have been subsequently balanced.  Unlike most of our map packs, this one is not really designed for multiplayer but rather designed to make for interesting single player experiences. Part of the appeal of this map pack is having them be asymmetrical.  This means that the map positions - both in terms of geography and resources - are different from player to player.&...
September 7, 2021 by Frogboy
We’re working on a new map pack called The Core Worlds.  They started out based on real world locations and have been subsequently balanced.  Unlike most of our map packs, this one is not really designed for multiplayer but rather designed to make for interesting single player experiences. Part of the appeal of this map pack is having them be asymmetrical.  This means that the map positions - both in terms of geography and resources - are different from player to player.&...
September 1, 2021 by Frogboy
“This is just GalCiv II but with better graphics,” was a comment some GalCiv fans made when GalCiv III was first released. That was no more true than saying Civilization V was just Civilization IV with better graphics, but we understood where they were coming from.  There weren’t a lot of big bullet item changes from the previous version. That was because most of our time and budget was spent building a brand new space 4X game engine. As good as GalCiv II was, it was bu...
August 25, 2021 by Frogboy
With more people coming back to the office work on the console version of Star Control: Origins has picked up.  The first part of this has been to do a pretty thorough revamp of the game’s underlying systems in order to optimize it for the XBOX One, PS4 and also next-generation consoles. During this process we greatly improved the quality of the texture maps throughout the game which includes aliens and ships. [click on thumbnail to enlarge]The team was also able to substantiall...
August 18, 2021 by Frogboy
It has been awhile since we’ve visited the world of Elemental.  The last update to the expansion to Fallen Enchantress (AKA: Legendary Heroes) was in 2019. Hardware has continued to evolve, and with that comes the opportunity to further improve the game. Our story so far… Elemental: Fallen Enchantress – Legendary Heroes is a fantasy strategy game in which the player builds a civilization in the world of Elemental.  This world was nearly destroyed by the War of ...
August 2, 2021 by Frogboy
Somewhere around here I have the original image of the Yor from 1992.  They don’t resemble the modern Yor very much.  When I wrote the Yor origin story back in 1987 (when I was in high school) the Yor followed the common trope of AI servants who rose up against their masters.  Their masters, in this case, were a race of beings known as the Iconians (who are also in the game). The Yor of 1995Yor of 2021As time has gone by, I’ve thought about making the Yor be less Cy...
July 26, 2021 by Frogboy
One of the challenges we have in setting up maps is the question of how quickly should players be meeting other civilizations in the game?  How quickly should things show up? How much should the game direct you? I decided to take a hard look at GalCiv II and GalCiv III to see how different those first 20 turns worked out. GalCiv II: First 20 turnsTurn 1: No on-screen direction but the UI is pretty clean and My ship is already selected to move.Selected ship has an automate butto...
June 14, 2021 by Frogboy
During the development of a game, many ideas will look good on paper only to be found to not work out in practice.  Normally, these ideas get killed off before implementation and even fewer ever get seen by the public. In the case of Galactic Civilizations IV, because we’re going out in ALPHA, you will get to see some ideas fully implemented that we have already decided didn’t work out. Today’s example for discussion: The Ideology compass. Here’s how it wor...
June 10, 2021 by Frogboy
For this entry, we are going to give you a tour of Galactic Civilizations IV as it exists, in alpha state, in June 2021.  We’re very excited. There’s a lot in here but so very much more to do. Note: I’m playing at 5K so I’m smushing my screenshots down so that they’re not quite so huge.   Choosing a Civilization For the Alpha, you can only play as the humans.  This is because we intend to make the civilizations much more distinct than t...
June 7, 2021 by Frogboy
With the benefit of hindsight… Every 4X game I’ve played struggles with the late game.  This is because they tend to become a micromanagement slog where the outcome of the game was known long before.  So how do you address this?  Well, the wrong way to do it is with AI governors or other such “help” from the AI. GalCiv IV flips the concept of governors on its head. In previous GalCiv games, you had to manage every single planet you colonized. ...
May 28, 2021 by Frogboy
So I turn 50 this year.  It's an arbitrary milestone but such milestones gives us an opportunity to take stock in our lives. I wrote on my Facebook page that I get frustrated being a failure.  My friends and family were quite worried and I should have given more context to my feelings which is what I am going to do here. We all have certain personality traits that can get in the way of accomplishing what we want.  Maybe you just want to lose some weight and you just can't...
May 20, 2021 by Frogboy
So how do you make your galactic civilization feel like it’s a living, breathing thing? Put (simulated) living, breathing things in it: characters. We have moved everything that makes sense from being an abstract number to being a character.  Population? Instead of it being 3.2 billion, it's just 3 characters. Every character has stats and background. Every character has a set of skills with numerical values to them.  They also have a backstory and can be interacted wit...
May 11, 2021 by Frogboy
Galactic Civilizations is a 4X space strategy game set in the future right after humans have launched their first colony ship into space.  The popular franchise is well known for combining good AI, free-form ship movement, and a ship designer. The current edition, Galactic Civilizations III, was released in 2015 to much praise from both gamers and reviewers with particular emphasis on its high replay value, extensive technology tree and clever computer opponents. Now, 6 years later, S...