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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 3)
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on Mar 23, 2021

I'm a simple man trapped in the body of a six hundred pound gorilla. Your games please me and I am thrilled to see that you are working on a sequel. And your suggestions are pretty cool, especially the "maps within maps" one. That sounds very engrossing. Also sorting out the tech tree is probably a worthwhile expenditure of your time.

With that said, there is really only one thing I would like to see in the next GalCiv game. It is also the one thing that is missing from GalCiv III that prevents me from really enjoying the game the way I like. I am of course talking about Terror Stars.

Yes that's right! Terror Stars need to come back. I still hold out some small hope that they'll reappear in GalCiv III. Maybe... maybe not. But there's something about rolling a Terror Star right up into one of my jerkface neighbors' systems that really caps off the whole "war of retribution" thing. It is also the perfect accent to a genocide or simple, petty conquest.

So please consider bringing back the Terror Star! And perhaps add some other cool super weapons. Maybe a mobile shield projector or some kind of virus comet that you can hurl at planets. Get into your Red Alert 2 roots and implement a chronosphere! Or a time gun that zaps your enemy's homeworld back to the stone age in the most literal sense.

Get as goofy as you want! I would like to see a return of more "active" super weapons as opposed to an option on a dialog panel.


Thank you for your time. I've got to go now.

on Mar 23, 2021


I agree.

I'd like to see starbases placed in or near a planet give protection to the entire solar system with multiple bases giving protections multiplicative for that region. Want to fortify your solar system? Build several bases in it. They should be projections of power or influence and I always felt they were far far underused in GCIII. It would be nice if you could string bases X distance apart and in a 'borders' screen you can draw your empires ownership with them. Whether other races recognize your sovereignty is another matter but that is why we have warships. ...

on Mar 24, 2021

Don't forget also to implement a (much) better pace in the game, proportional to

 -   the starting criteria (slow pace + slow research)
 -   size of map
 -   number and especially type of factions
 -   the difficulty

Like in my Sid Meier's games, I like to play marathon games, and having everything paced accordingly, and coordinated, so then, when you cross the map starting with a legionary, you don't arrive to your destination after a long journey, you meet civs having already researched nukes like you ...

Civs game are well balanced when you reduce the speeds, not GC3.

In GC, it is especially true as the map can be wayyyyy bigger than in Civilizations games. (c.f. blog )

Currently, the pace is totally broken when you choose a combo large map (not especially big though....) + Slow Research + Slow Pace.

It does not work in GC3.

The Ages are as fast as usual and you reach the end of an age after 30 turns, and at turns 100, your have the Age bar fully done.

Here is an example :

I am turn 22 only and 1/4 already inside the Age Of War !!! with only less than 10% scouted on a gigantic map, which is normal.

The "game pacing" is NOT "Very Slow", it is Speedy Gonzales !!

In GC4 :

>>> When the game pacing is slow (even very slow), make it slow for everything, otherwise it is unbalanced, and no fun

>>> When you increase the difficulty (in my case, I use GodLike), it just show more "cheating" from the game. They are not smarter, with better tactics and strategy, they just get harpoon at turn 5 and move hundreds percent faster and muuuuuuuch longer range and know exactly where is everything and all resources in the fog of war, etc. Difficulty should come from AI, and nothing giving the bitter feeling that you do not compete versus a worthy opponent, but just a dirty opponent using cheats.

on Mar 25, 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.

i think this asking for closed borders without a treaty. Please no this never makes a game better. It is always a bummer.

on Mar 25, 2021

Carriers needing to rebuild their stock of tiny ships (taking time and resources to do so) is a good way to put the brakes on them. Keeps them powerful but limits their engagements.

on Mar 25, 2021

I'm excited to see this list... I mostly think it hits the nail on the head of what would be an exciting change in direction.

First and foremost, I like the idea of colonial management being flipped... the "god emperor" that is the player, only manages the "important" places, whilst the rest are simply what they are... the millions or billions of ordinary places and ordinary citizens who simply live their lives and history isn't so much as "made" so much as "happens to them.

Though... it would be nice if occasionally circumstance was random enough to let one of those "fly over planets" suddenly upset the applecart.

I also wonder if "map within maps" is an allusion to an idea I think some of us have also hit upon... that of keeping hex maps, but making those roughly analogous to "solar systems" and potentially a bit oddly shapen (to create tactical variety), whilst then connected those solar systems with a more limited series of hexes, or even star-lanes, that represent inter-stellar space.

That would be a welcome change to your formula.



I'm not personally as excited by the concept of citizens. Don't get me wrong, individuals have mattered throughout history, and while someone like Alexander the Great or a Ghengis Khan were perhaps very special, they were also, likely inevitable. 

I suspect modern society and technological advancement has reduced the ability of such "special people" to influence events as they had in the past, and so I feel it's somewhat ... odd... to focus on limited individuals as the power-base for expanding societies that have billions of people within them.

I know that is very heady, very philosophical... it's just a game afterall... but I really feel these sorts of games work best when they lean into our best understanding of reality and not the other way around. And there is very much an argument to be made in the opposite direction.



But I'd rather see us make GalCiv a game where Civilization is explored and expanded upon, with traditions, and ideas stretching from millennia's past influencing the future, rather than a milieu of player selections equated to certain leaders. I'd rather that a enormous amount of my limitations and powers originate from the historical choices of my civ than on-the-fly leaders. AKA, more tech/factional differences in gameplay from the get-go.



But I'm just rambling a bit, it's very nice to hear about some future GalCiv stuff!!

on Mar 26, 2021

Gauntlet 03, I like your idea of letting a Automatic Resource Generator Planet "upsetting the applecart". Maybe a simple warning every so often "Planet 17 feels you are ignoring them and are considering defecting to the Drengin." So you go to Planet 17, give them credits/build an approval building/schedule a tour there from a Celebrity until the mood improves. Or have Planet 17 (which is Level 5) suddenly becoming more productive than Planet 2 (Level 25) for, say, 10 turns? Which means those people get the love Planet 2 got. Of course, inter-planetary relationships within your empire might take a hit. Like how Liverpool and Manchester are both part of England, but they do not like each other.


Don't really have any strong views on carriers as I've never used them but they seem to me like aircraft carriers in WW2. Small fighter-bombers  are kind of effective against infantry and tanks, but you'd really need to send a B17 bomber to mess up that naval base.

on Mar 26, 2021

Well I think lanes is the next thing that messes up space games; besides closed borders. Personally everyone I actually I talk to face to face doesn’t like it when you automate games. 

on Mar 26, 2021

I never asked for any specific change. Your comments seem somewhat negative to the ideas presented, what are you solutions to the concerns?

on Mar 26, 2021

My guess from your other comment I quoted on. If your not building enough ships. You probably need more hub buildings. Surround them with factories. Research diplomacy techs. I not a big fan but f a quick military, but you need more shipyards to build ships faster.

on Mar 27, 2021

When it comes to using military starbases... what if they could act as a limited form of shipyard, able to build only Tiny and Small ships?

This could make them capable of acting more directly in the defense of your territory, being able to build and field swarms of fighters that could orbit your planets to stave off opportunistic Transports, or even intercept them.

It could also make them more useful on offense, as they could defend themselves against enemy counterattack with the Tiny/Small ships they produce instead of having to depend on ships you could've otherwise used to invade enemy space.

To get the Ship Construction points they need, they could order Supply ships from the nearest proper Shipyard, much like how the ones currently in the game can supply colonies with Social Construction. This means they would not be dependent on nearby colonies like proper Shipyards, and it creates a logistic tail that can be exploited by an opportunistic enemy as well. Never hurts to add variety to warfare, after all.

On another note, you need to teach the AI for GC4 how to build entire fleets.

Sure, the GC3 AI already does that to a limited extent, but most of the time I still see a whole bunch of individual enemy ships scattered across the map, easy pickings for my properly-constructed fleets. It's like playing whack-a-mole instead of a proper war at times.

Just like how the AI knows how to use player-designed ships, the AI should GC4 should take notes on how players create their fleet compositions, and steal them for its own use when it gets the chance.

on Mar 28, 2021

It's been a few years since I played Galciv3.

I posted something back in April 2015 after playing the beta. I'm not sure if things changed. After playing Galciv3 for a few months I made a list of 100+ improvements.

1. "A better tech tree interface/UI - Similar to Endless Space or Civilization: Beyond Earth. Their tech tree is a web going in four directions, left, right, up and down, that means you get to see all techs on the same screen at once, no more clicking/scrolling back and forth between screens in each tech category. Players can zoom out and zoom in, filter by tech, name, search, queue research, etc. The tech interface in GC3 might be good 10 years ago for GC2."

A. As posted before I also like the idea of the next available research being random. Can research multiple techs at once? The tech web will only show techs already researched or is currently being research, all techs on web are blank. Unlimited repeatable techs at end game that can increase everything.

B. I would like to see a religious/spiritualist race/faction that can build shrines and temples that increase research instead of research labs. With enough insight they can get free techs for free once in a while.

C. If faction is a corporation and traders they can purchase techs with money in addition to their own research.

D. Scavengers ability-They can go thru enemy ship debris after battle with a survey ship. If faction doesn't have the tech, the tech pops up on a list ready to be researched.

Just a few different ways that each faction can obtain techs.

E. "After building or researching some structures/techs for the first time. Civilization event pop up with two to four options to receive a one time boost or permanently increase the stats of the structure/tech. I got this idea from playing Civilization: Beyond Earth."


2. No more edge of the galaxy! - Example: When your cursor is at the right middle edge of the galaxy, you can scroll across the edge of the map, it will go to the left middle edge of the map. Likewise if my ships are in the top right corner and I moved them pass the top right corner, my ships will starts to appear in the lower left corner of the galaxy! If I move my ships from the bottom of the map further, they will start appearing at the top of the map. Now every race will be surrounded by other races, no more starting off in a corner of the galaxy.


3. "New intro loading screens. We've been looking at the same Altarian and Drengin one since April 2015. The Crusade expansion intro loading screen only had "Crusade" added to it."


4. "Can create trade routes within your own civilization. If you're at war and playing on smaller maps with few civilizations, players are losing income by not being able to trade."


5. Event log-I really missed the event log from GC2. "The X civilization colonized planet X in year X (turn 10)"


"X civilization declared war on the x civilization in year X (turn 50). If you play Total War: Warhammer 2 you know what I'm talking about.


6. Pirates: Each pirate faction should have their own unique name. They usually spawn bases in asteroids. During mid game two or more of the pirate factions can decide to form a new faction with a new name and start to conquer and invade other factions. This turns into a mid game crisis.


7. "Influence as a currency- influence generated by planets and structures are now used for diplomacy options such as tech trading and declaring war, etc. Civilizations can trade and conduct diplomacy with each other anytime instead of waiting X amount of turns. Players must now make the decision on what to use the influence points on. No more civilization A meeting B and C early game and immediately trading 25 techs between the three civilizations. Influence points can also be used to affect the United Planets. I usually skip influence structures in my games, this change would make influence structures more useful." If faction is a diplomatic race such as humans, they can use influence to buy ships and/or technology.


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

Maybe combat similar to Endless Legend would work if combat is going to be turn based. Combat ends in 4 or 5 turns in Endless Legend, if no side is victorious it ends up being a draw. If combat is real time maybe something similar to Endless Space 2.

9. Mid game or advanced start- mid game start off with about 50% of the galaxy colonized, advanced start 90%? This is for players who like to get to the thick of things. After so many games the early game colonizing phase seems boring.

10. New space bound race and ability - allows race to build starbases (habitats) and live in them similar to planets. They might be able to colonize planets but have penalties. An alternative is they start off in their special capital planet and expand thru starbases only. Or maybe a nomadic ship bound race where they can build structures on their ships.

11. Survey ships - In addition to endless spawning of anomalies, survey ships should be able to survey everything. Surveying asteroids might give you random loot or credits, black holes research, planets random features on tiles or planets, moons artifacts left behind from an ancient race, etc. The explore phase lasts much longer.

12. "Civilization/Colony capitals- I think I heard this 9 months ago in a dev steam, they were going to do something about this. Starting a new game or sending my colony ship to colonize a planet the capital gets randomly place on a planet tile, usually in a corner with no other adjacent tiles or capital is stuck right in the middle of 6 tiles. If you go into your home planet after a new game, pop up will ask where you want to place the civilization capital. Pop up after player newly colonized a planet to select colony capital placement. Maybe an ability to move capital or rebuild capital to another tile."

Colony capitals should be just buildings on a planet where you can upgrade them and not take a tile on the planet.

13. "UI scaling" up to 8k - 0.5 up to 2.0 (4k) or 4.0 (8k?)

14. New race mechanics (ability) for silicon - Slow pop growth. Building structures on planets or ships requires population. Their ships and structures have a much lower maintenance as a result.

15. Structures at edge of map don't get adjacency bonuses. Is it possible for them to get bonus. Maps are flat.
Can move planet screen, map left and right.

16. Wormholes - They required tech to explore once explored, players can travel thru them. Wormholes were a one time travel.

17. New cloning race - Their population grows only by cloning. They are bred for war, can't be at peace.

18. New victory type - find another galaxy, be first one to scout/explore and colonize it or send x amount of military ships to new galaxy. Maybe a new end game crisis with invaders from another galaxy.

19. Hive minds and Synthetic races - They have no need for credits or money.

20. Mega structures - Such as ones from Stellaris.

21. "Exterminator" ability - cannot engage in diplomacy unless it's to insult other races or declare war.

22. ASDW etc  for camera movement

on Mar 28, 2021


When it comes to using military starbases... what if they could act as a limited form of shipyard, able to build only Tiny and Small ships?

Supply ships wouldn't be the best way to supply starbase shipyards. It costs 200 points to build a supply module, but those modules only yields 100 construction points when it lands on a planet. If starbase shipyards got the same amount of build points from supply modules, then it would be more efficient to build the tiny ships at normal shipyards, then send them flying to the starbases that needs them.

Another problem is shipyard congestion. Starbases used to build starbase modules by getting constructor ships sent to the starbase. Each starbase module would cost 1 constructor. When you ordered modules for a starbase, a nearby shipyard would get constructors added to its build queue. Once built, they would travel to the starbase to build stuff. The bad side effect was that shipyards would get their build queues stuffed with constructors so no other ships would get built. It could leave you with few defenses in place when another civ is looking for someone else to attack.

on Mar 30, 2021

OK. I'm sure you will know who I am, and pretty sure you know I'm heavily into designing ship more than almost anything else.

So, naturally, I'd like to see more ship design elements in version 4, and I really want to see more of the 'jewelry' elements we had in GalCiv2. Also, I'd like the ability to create parts to be a little more practical. I just hate it when a part fails to load, particularly small fighters designed to allow simpler additions to heavier ships as 'escorts. Actually, since I think of it, creating small fleets this way, while it is possible now (with a bit of effort), might be nice, even though they're strictly for appearances.

Just a thought..

on Mar 30, 2021

I'm seeing a lot of references to Carriers....Right up my alley, I like these ideas, a lot! Also, range of motion on the tiny and small fighters they carry could be better.

I also like the idea of Military Bases actually defending their home colonies.

Also, would very much like to see the ability for sending attackers Ship to Ship, possibly even taking over the enemy ship (provided the attack is successful).

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