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Published on March 12, 2021 By Frogboy In GalCiv III Dev Journals

We aren't ready to announce anything specifically yet but I wanted to give you a sneak preview of some of the things we have going on around here.

First, there probably won't be a lot more journal entries for GalCiv III.  There will be more updates to GalCiv III but they will fall under bug fixing only.  The team has been staffed up (and we're hiring more) to focus on "GalCiv Next".

So what are some of the broad strokes?  In no particular order these are the things that have been on our mind:

How to have big maps and play tall. You're going to hear this concept a lot: A map of maps.   

More player actions. We really liked the artifacts as a concept because they let the player actively do things in the world.  We are looking at expanding on that.

Crazy big tech tree without it being a mess to manage. Like every GalCiv game we've ever done, we are going to be trying a lot of different new ways of managing techs.   What I can say is that we would really like to have a much, much larger tech tree in the future.

Invasions. We don't like the invasions in GalCiv III.  It's...fine.  But I feel like I'm popping balloons rather than engaging in some titanic battle for control of an entire planet.

Combat. We would like to see combat move away from being an all or nothing thing in a single turn.

Citizens++. Citizens were introduced in Crusade.  But we would really like the entire game revolve around citizens to the point where population = citizens and it is all about what you do with them.

Much, much, much bigger empires. In 4X games, including GalCiv, I think we've been approaching colonies backwards.  We always default to forcing players to micromanage their cities, planets, whatever and then add some sort of AI manager system to try to automate planets.  As a result, the game designs always try to discourage/punish players for having too many colonies which I find off-putting.

Instead, why not encourage players to have as many colonies as they want but by default, they are just simple resource generators? That is, they provide money, resources, research to their sponsor world.  Then, when you find a particularly interesting world, you flip the concept of a "governor" on its head and assign a citizen to govern the planet which means THEN you manage the planet.   And in doing so, we make sure that consuming a citizen to become a governor is a pretty big deal since that citizen could be doing something else important.  So imagine a game where you have 400 colonies of which say you directly manage your best few yourself?

Because in GalCiv III, we basically made class 1 through 10 planets rare because who wants to manage these worlds? This was a missed opportunity.  Now we can have lots of meh planets that simply act as the raw resource providers to their sponsor world which in turn you are managing to do super awesome stuff (think of the min-maxing going on there!).

Vastly bigger map differentiation.  The smallest maps in the future will probably feel roughly the same as they currently do.  But the largest sized maps will make the maps in GalCiv III look piddly with a lot more strategic depth to it as well.

We want multiplayer to be viable. Putting aside that most people don't play 4X games multiplayer, we would like there to be gameplay modes that you could play with a total stranger in less than an hour if you'd like.  These special modes would be available for single player too.

NO CAMPAIGNS. All the story and special scripting would instead be integrated into the game as events and such to help make the sandbox game more interesting.  

So that's just some thoughts.  We'll be talking more about it in the future.

 


Comments (Page 2)
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on Mar 16, 2021


First, there probably won't be a lot more journal entries for GalCiv III.  There will be more updates to GalCiv III but they will fall under bug fixing only.  The team has been staffed up (and we're hiring more) to focus on "GalCiv Next".

So basically I should stop harbouring any expectations of further improvements to the GC3 gameplay, and really should quit bitching about the current state of carriers like I've been doing for the past month or so?

Alright then. Message received, expectations calibrated. It's a shame, but c'est la vie. Time to shift focus onto the next iteration of GalCiv.


Crazy big tech tree without it being a mess to manage. Like every GalCiv game we've ever done, we are going to be trying a lot of different new ways of managing techs.   What I can say is that we would really like to have a much, much larger tech tree in the future.

Yeah, about that. We know the Ship Builder is already accessible from the main menu. Can I ask for GalCiv4 that the tech tree also comes incorporated with it as well, specifically a version where we can toggle individual techs off and on at will?

It will really help players like me, who like to design entire series of ship module loadouts before starting a game.


Combat. We would like to see combat move away from being an all or nothing thing in a single turn.

Do you guys already have an idea for what that would look like? If not, here's mine; do away with the Battle Viewer altogether, and have all combat take place in the Galaxy view.

Give individual ships an effective range of fire of several hexes, within which they can initiate an attack on an enemy ship. Enemy ships that move within your ship's effective range provoke an Attack of Opportunity; this should make ships "stick" to each other in combat, while giving them the option to retreat if things get too hot.

In addition, restrict stacking such that the number of ships that can occupy a single hex decreases with increasing size, all the way to the point that only one Large or Huge ship can occupy a hex at any point in time.

In place of entire fleets occupying a single hex, make it possible for a designated command ship to establish a "formation" of other ships, which will take up positions several hexes away in a pre-determined location, facing a specific direction. Kind of like how it works in Ashes of the Singularity, actually.

Carriers should probably work differently from other warships; perhaps they could act as "artillery" units, sending fighter swarms to strike individual combatants in an enemy formation from the back line of their own formation. These could be countered by "destroyer" type ships that are built specifically to be effective against groups of Tiny/Small ships.

All this should probably work to give you the "line of battle" I vaguely recall you mentioning some time back.

Let me know if you want me to dabble in Paint or something, to illustrate what I'm talking about.


We want multiplayer to be viable. Putting aside that most people don't play 4X games multiplayer, we would like there to be gameplay modes that you could play with a total stranger in less than an hour if you'd like.  These special modes would be available for single player too.

I never tried the MP, so take my words here with a grain of salt. But have you considered persistent galaxy instances, hosted on cloud servers instead of requiring players to act as the host?

Basically what I'm thinking of here is a 4X version of EVE Online. So an MMO4X? I dunno.

To keep players' required time investment down to a manageable level, you could make it so that all players can only complete one turn every, say, 12 hours or so.

This would get you games on huge maps with multiple players that could last weeks, months or even years. Sort of the epic empire-building experience, instead of quick once-and-done games. But I'd argue that's the point of 4X games like these.

 

on Mar 18, 2021

Frogboy


Quoting DivineWrath,

I've been working on a document that has a lot of my ideas written down. I'll go compile and organize it, then post it later.



I'd love to check that out!



Here we go.

GalCiv 3 bugs and wanted features v4.01.1 (2).odt

on Mar 18, 2021

Just reading through DivineWrath's very detailed report:

First thing that comes to mind: Is it possible to make everything that requires a Resource to work/happen reliant not on, say, a predefined Resource like Durantium, but on the most common resource as created in map generation? So, let's say I start up a game and GalCivIV creates a map with Snuggler Colonies the most common resource in my galaxy. Thulium is second or third most common. The system then tells me that to build a Manufacturing Capital, I need 5 Snuggler Colonies and 5 Thulium, of which there are plenty in the my game's Galaxy, as opposed to how it works now, where a Manufacturing Capital requires 5 Durantium and 5 Antimatter, of which there are approximately nada in the my game's Galaxy. Note: These resources might well be in reality very common in every galaxy ever created by Galactic Civilizations III, I'm just using examples here. I'm sure those always-bountiful resources in III will remain so in IV.

Essentially, everything that requires resources can be built, no matter what the Galaxy setup is. But what you can do, is have a system where the more powerful an upgrade/improvement/mercenary/whatever is, the harder is it find the resource/resources to make that thing work. It does exist in the Galaxy. Somewhere. You'll just have to find it. Or buy it. Or steal it.

From a design point of view, tooltips would need to be redone so that they look at the galaxy created and tell the player "To build this Improvement/upgrade this Improvement/Hire this Mercenary/Do Thing That Is Low Grade Powerful, you need 5 x (MostCommonResource) and 2 x (SecondMostCommonResource)" and "To build this Improvement/upgrade this Improvement/Hire this Mercenary/Do Thing That Is High Grade Powerful, you need 5 x (LeastCommonResource) and 2 x (SecondLeastCommonResource)" when they hover over it in the appropriate screen/menu.

Would it ruin people's "immersion" too much to know on game startup that their galaxy is full of Antimatter and not Elerium? I know it wouldn't bother me in the slightest, I have no problem starting Turn 1 with a fair amount of knowledge (I prefer to regard my Race, whether a Game Race or Custom Race as "I'm taking control as your New Leader" so my Race gained certain knowledge before I took over rather than "I am your First Leader" and everyone's clueless until I tell them to find things out), but others might prefer the "I have no idea what's going on here, I'm just going to hunt for Elerium and hope for the best. Without that Elerium, I'm going to have to think of something else/go without those upgrades." approach.

 

on Mar 18, 2021

That is a good list Divinewrath. I agree with most of it. On the point of Beams. I just removed the resource cost and made the cost for all three types of weapons equal which helps the interceptors. Id like to see carriers removed in GCIV. 

on Mar 19, 2021

I think carriers should exist. They should just be late game units that are very expensive to field. They should only be able to be built in the largest hull size.
Also they need to be kinda like Starcraft carriers where when interceptors are destroyed they needed to be rebuilt. It would make small planets with limited manufacturing into small fighter producers. It would also make it so for your fighters to have the latest and greatest you have to upgrade them.

I haven’t used a carrier since I went on and endless rampage with a single carrier and decided it was broken as fuck. I do buy them from the bazaar just to make sure the computer doesn’t get an early bullshit unit. 

If this can’t be done then or doesn’t feel worth it then they should be removed I hate current carriers. They are overpowered as fuck and have no drawbacks. 


I truly hope something is going to be done about carriers and I don’t think I am alone in that regard.

 

 

on Mar 19, 2021

I don’t know about buildings changing cost based on galaxy creation. I would prefer more balanced galaxies and for the love of god missions for every resource type so at least you can use production to acquire scant resources. I have also voiced my support for a secondary market a black market with overly inflated prices but endless supply. With cost either 4 or 10 times the amount of the regular market so that people won’t use it unless they have to. 

I’m excited about IV.

on Mar 19, 2021

To me you either make carriers are proper mechanic ala WW2 or just keep it to ship vs ship warfare.They just end a mess with either overpowered or underpowered with years of moaning ala like most other space 4x games that have them.

on Mar 19, 2021

ForgottenSlayer

I don’t know about buildings changing cost based on galaxy creation. I would prefer more balanced galaxies and for the love of god missions for every resource type so at least you can use production to acquire scant resources.

I second this. It'd  be difficult to keep track of resources of they're changing names all the time. I would also prefer more consistent galaxies in terms of proportions of resources. In one galaxy I had three sources of durantium (I think, it may have been another critical resource) which reduced building to a crawl, even after I seized two of the three .sources. I was drowning in thulium and antimatter though.

So I think just having more rigid proportions would be beneficial. The forced scheming and war the rarity provoked was fun, but it was too rare, resulting in a very slow game,  and a more rigid ratio of resources would help.

on Mar 20, 2021

I always thought that Master of Orion II as the turn-basd 4X was strongly influential on GalCiv.  But Master of Orion in terms of hitting that optimal spot between less micromanagement but the ability to pivot resources for targeted management was never replicated well in later 4X games.  The AI working alone is fairly consistent and a human is self-consistent, but a Cybrid is tricky to program to have the AI follow the human leader.

 

An empire that is too vast to micromanage is appealing like how Master of Orion late-games were, but the AI standard to avoid frustration or artificially stupid bottlenecks is a hard barrier to overcome.  Also Master of Orion also had a randomized and skippable tech tree.  There was stress involved that with the presented technologies to research, you might not get another pass at it.

 

There is also one feature I hope carries over in terms of Worlds in Crisis where adsorbing a world into your empire might not be as easy as expected.  

 

In terms of the resource issue, I hope that there is a branch of the tech tree/production buildings devoted to ersatz solutions to resource bottlenecks.  I mean in real history, we got the Haber process from Germany being starved of nitrogen.  There were too many random maps where there was just one resource that bottlenecked the campaign and made the map too deterministic.  You want the resource if you can get it, or else, you pay a huge alternate cost for a half-solution.

 

 

 

on Mar 20, 2021

Technologies that could be used to bring about more of a missing resource would be interesting. Also allow a secondary source to reduce bottlenecks. 

on Mar 20, 2021

Carriers should continue to be part of GalCiv moving forward; all types of preferences in space fantasies should be catered towards, whether Star Wars or Star Trek.

As to the role that carriers should play in the game, my opinion is that they should serve as a means of making swarms of Tiny/Small ships more efficient as combatants in the late game.

Which is not to say they aren't viable as they are currently, but fielding an entire fleet of them means that each Tiny/Small ship has to come with their own engines and life support modules, which takes up already-limited capacity that could otherwise go to weapons.

The role of a carrier should be to consolidate all engine and life support needs into a single ship, and give your Tiny/Small swarms the movement/range they need to invade enemy territory without compromising on their combat power.

As for balancing against the power of carriers, I would suggest a new type of module that enables multi-targeting on a ship. It could take up enough capacity to limit the amount of weapons a ship can hold, so that it's at a disadvantage against an enemy ship of the same weight class.

But with the ability to divide its firepower equally between every target in range of its weapons, such a ship could be effective at swatting Tiny/Small swarms out of space, and basically act as the "destroyer" in the fleet. This gives you another avenue for balancing carriers; instead of just buffing/nerfing carrier fighters in response to complaints, you can choose to buff/nerf the destroyer instead.

on Mar 21, 2021

As far as the discussion on carriers.  Yes they should continue in the game, however, yes you should have to stock the carriers, with your tiny ships.  This keeps the tiny ships relevant in mid to late game.  

On a separate Note, Space Stations should support fleets inside their range.  Should someone battle a ship/fleet in the range, the space station will send support ships, cover fire ect...  Because the cover fire may be at extreme range maybe their effectiveness falls ect...

on Mar 21, 2021

Seilore

On a separate Note, Space Stations should support fleets inside their range.  Should someone battle a ship/fleet in the range, the space station will send support ships, cover fire ect...  Because the cover fire may be at extreme range maybe their effectiveness falls ect...

That would mean they could fire across a distance of several parsecs.  For a lot of players, that would be straining their willing suspension of disbelief, even by the standards of a sci-fi game. 

 

on Mar 21, 2021

Something has to be done, though.

  • To defend a planet using starbases, I have to form a solid ring around it, which is prohibitive in cost, especially in Admins.
  • I could have a ship on sentry, but that is triggered by any and every kind of ship that comes within range which means that I get pulled back to that ship within a few turns. I then can't put it back on sentry until the other ship passes, which means either constantly coming back to that ship each turn until the "intruder " passes, or putting it on idle and hoping that I remember to set it back to sentry. Of course, I then have about 10 turns of peace until the next trader ship flies past. If I wanted that aggro, I'd have a chihuahua. 
  • I could have a fleet of ships around the planet, but that becomes very production and maintenance heavy.

Right now, I have the joy of every time someone declares war, playing whackamole because I can't afford to have that kind of defence while attacking them. There is a need for an area denial defence. 

I enjoy the game generally, and loved it at first. I'm finding that I just can't bring myself to play it because my current game has the Krynn attacking me, but they have no offensive ships to speak of. They do have several transports in my space though, and causing havoc because defence doesn't really exist and my production takes ages to build ships, so I didn'thave enough to defend every single planet and have any to defend other installations as well as take the fight to them. It's  become a chore. Defences don't have to be solid and impregnable, but should be enough to at least slow them down while I bring fleets to bear.

on Mar 21, 2021

Please make Space Battles more engaging and interresting but get away of rock paper scissors. Don't make Combat taking several turns! What would be the benefit of that? Especially when it stays so uniterresting like now! Taking over a whole planet by ground forces on the other side would take ages. not that this should take longer in the game. Especially when you want to increase the amount of colonies.

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