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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 7)
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on Apr 20, 2021

Frogboy

That's one of the reasons we are going to end up making alpha versions available rather than Beta.  Because the changes are so dramatic.  No one is going to be saying that it's just III with better graphics or something.

From that I get a sneaking suspicion a new, impoved Ship Designer will not be included bright and early in the development phase before actual game-changing ideas like a new mechanic that underpins the economic system etc,. Fine with me.

I'm not saying I'd be overly thrilled with graphics and sounds that are the equivalent of those in Candy Box or A Dark Room, but I'd take that and decent, well thought out and implemented concepts over flashy graphics and flashy sounds and bad ideas. 

on Apr 20, 2021

Brad,

I have followed Stardock for years and will continue to do so for many more. 

I am eager to assist as an outside player/tester and to give as much productive feedback as possible.

Put me on the list of folks who want a life time price point package and lets get going! 

on Apr 20, 2021

If the release time frame works out I would love to help with the alpha/beta testing.

on Apr 21, 2021

Founders was possibly too good a deal,heh,

on Apr 26, 2021

I have a few ideas; some could help solve late game pains.

 

 

Keeping with planet classifications from 1 to 10 you can say people can only manage planets of class 9 and 10, that way when you grow your empire to 100 planets you only have 20 planets to manage. The other 8 planet classes that you cannot manage are purely to grow your income, population and research points, that way you will be able to grow a wide and tall empire with little micromanagement, even in late game. That would also make smaller planets a lot more valuable.

 

It would be nice to see a bit more with Citizens, possibly there could be some special Citizens linked to ideology. Benevolent, Pragmatic and Malevolent traits could unlock citizens that could provide a boost to your empire. Giving the ability to buy some types of ships, possibly colony, constructor or transport ships with ideology points would help to remove the case where you end up with a huge stockpile of ideology points in late game as you have unlocked all traits in your chosen ideology tree. There could also be more ideology specific buildings, some of the Galactic Achievement buildings could be linked to the ideology tree.

 

Instead of creating trade ships how about allowing the AI handle creating the trade ships after researching trade. Could have other research options to increase the number of trade routes, create convoys to increase the value of the trade routes, research patrol ships to protect your trade routes. Could even introduce trade stations

 

Could have a fleet manager screen listing all of your fleets and their stats, this would make building fleets and upgrading them a lot easier.

 

I would suggest limiting influence range from planets and stations as I find that in late game my influence expands and swallows the whole galaxy.

 

Adding the ability to buy and sell ships on the black market would also be nice.

 

Randomised tech-trees could potentially cause some technologies to become unavailable negatively impacting the AI. Cross dependency links to technologies and restricting certain engines, weapons and modules types to certain Hull sizes could be an idea. Could also have race specific tech-trees.

 

I know a lot of people talk about tactical combat, but given how ship designer works it could be difficult to merge the two. It could even come down to having to choose between ship designer and 3D combat, however I have a fantastic idea that could work. How about a turn based, chess style combat system in 3D, with a set amount of moves per battle. It could be in a grid format, weapons can fire so many squares away, ships can move only so many squares in 1 turn, with options like fire then move, or move then fire, retreat from battle, you can have objects in space that effect movement, firing and all kinds of stuff. That way we could have metaverse tournaments, people could design there owns ships, customise the weapon loadouts and fight it out in a one vs one, or fleet vs fleet or whatever you decide. With an auto-resolve option as I’m sure many people might want to just skip the battle.

 

This is all I could think of at the moment, I’m happy to throw more ideas at you, if you like.

on Apr 28, 2021

I think one big issue is going to be how much time does combat take? Personally as much as I do enjoy tactical turn based combat, it isn't what I play gc for. One thing about auto resolve from another game was it showed you a rough idea of the results and you could either accept them or chose to replay manually then be stuck with those results. Something along the lines of your fleet will be slightly damaged, damaged, heavily damaged, destroyed ect. For those curious the actual game is Thea: 2 and it is largely based on combat card game and I still auto every battle I can without too bad of losses.

If combat takes 2 minutes per planet or fleet that is still hours and hours of it if your talking about a multi hundred turn game. Please don't go the route of forced manual combat.

 

As for trade, it has never seemed worth the bother to me in gc3. I would say if your going to implement diplomatic penalties based on who you trade with that the player should have to agree to be a trade partner, cause the whole galaxy being mad that you didn't notice that freighter heading your way is not a pleasant gaming experience. Or be able to set some kind of rule, allow similar ideology or government trade ships, deny others. Probably in all honesty it could just be done away with and would just make the game better. Replace it with an economic treaty, bam still get money, still have diplomacy options and the players gets more control. You could tie it to government types, ideology ect similar to bazaar and market place.

on Apr 30, 2021

I love the idea of dropping campaigns altogether and having an added value quickie version for multiplayer! As far as micromanaging, a game that reduces it greatly is AOW3 with the vassal mechanic. That would be fantastic in GalCiv.

on Apr 30, 2021

One of the things I really enjoy about AOW and similar games is the turn based tactical combat. Getting invested with your units and watching them level up (possibly with a shot of dopamine each time) makes the game more enjoyable. Galactic Civilizations, though, even though it does have unit level ups, has never had the same kind of investment in individual units, mainly because the emphasis has always been on the 4Xs rather than a hero stack or stack of doom. And for GC4 I think that continues to be the correct emphasis. GC has its own rewards.

on May 01, 2021

I could never get into AoW 3 it was a little slow for me the combat. And playing multiplayer was just ......... not doable for us. Civ 5 strikes a balance with us taking our turns at the same time. We play coop vs AI. I am hoping to get my friend into this game. I hope some consider is taken for people who play 4X games cooperatively I know there isn’t a large amount of us but there is something fun about ruling the world / galaxy with your buddy in a game you invest a few weeks into.

on May 01, 2021

Late to this forum party but a couple of things on my mind that I'll toss in:

 

  1.  Founders.  I feel like it's fine not having as long as it's replaced with a "prebuy all the future stuff" option.  For me anyway this was what I liked about the Founders' ed. the most - not having to screw around with trying to buy some DLC that I didn't have, and then playing the whole waiting-for-the-Steam-sale game...  My impression was that this was the primary objective of all the various Founders' editions that Stardock has done in the past.
  2.  Tech.  I really like the idea of having much bigger tech trees.  A couple of observations about tech tho:
    1. It seems appropriate that some techs should have more than one other tech prerequisite.  So (for example) bioweapons would require knowledge of both biology & munitions, or missiles wouldn't be possible without rocket (engines) and explosive, etc.  That type of thing. 
      1. This also leads to interesting racial differences such as different types of races would naturally follow certain research trajectories, simply because they have better intuitive (ie cheaper) understandings of related technologies.  Like, organic life are good at organic stuff, silicate-based life is better at mining stuff, etc. 
    2. There are 'Game Settings' for universe type currently (how many planets, how many resources, etc).  It /may/ actually be interesting for similar game settings for the TYPES of techs that are POSSIBLE.  For example: here on earth in real life, we don't currently know what techs are possible until we've done the research to figure this out (breaking the sound barrier?  - possible. perpetual motion machines? - impossible.  anti-gravity???.  This type of thing).  'Universe Settings' could be used to limit certain tech branches ultimate power/viability (for example if some people like the ability to use wormhole creation to teleport fleets around the map, and other's hate the idea - it's a good example of an end-game type tech that could certainly be set as 'impossible' under the known laws of the universe). 
    3. The thing that I /really/ find intriguing about the above point #2. is that people could set/limit these perimeters manually to disallow certain end-game techs or even entire sections of tech branches (like capping ultimate ship speed by saying that inertial dampening isn't possible, or FTL isn't possible), they could of course play as 'all science is possible' or (my favorite) 'random blinded tech limitations' which would mean that there's scientific limitations to all techs you can imagine, but you won't know what they are without researching up to a dead-end. 
      1. I think that this makes for VERY interesting research choices - do you want to potentially waste time by researching something that might not be possible but would be awesome, or do you want to play it safe and research something that you know will work?  -- obviously some techs would be viable 100% of the time, and less-likely techs would represent high-risk/high-reward investments.
      2. The first-mover advantage is awesome because dubious-likelihood techs are probably less likely to be researched, but then /using/ these techs as a first-mover in a way that lets other races know that this tech exists would likely cause a tech rush into the field once another race 'knows' that tech XYZ is possible and isn't a waste of time to research.
      3. Xeno artifacts or other loot/events may que a race to know that a tech or tech line is possible because some precursor left some information about it somehow..
      4. Different races may have different intuitions about which techs are likely to actually exist or not due to their own culture/background/particulars.
      5. It also (at least partly) solves the problem of there being community disagreement as to whether tech XYZ is OP or not.  If there's an option to simply play with it "off" then who cares if it exists and other people like it?  (it goes without saying though there would still need to an option to turn some 'on', some 'off', and some 'random'  -- and it wouldn't end community hostility entirely, but would go a long way toward pleasing multiple camps).
  3. Game Pacing:  Yes to allowing slower game pacing than is currently available.
  4. I would like espionage to be a bigger part of the game also. 
  5. REALLY looking fwd to a solid multiplayer experience - MP is a bigger deal for me with covid running amok..
  6. I really hope you're on-board from day 1 Frog.  I have nothing but respect for Paul, Derek and all of the rest (I always loved Paul's friday dev vids), but it's difficult to deny that you've got the midas touch !

 

Those are my thoughts off the cuff.  Happy to hear the news, GC has always been one of my (the?) most favorite series, and I've always enjoyed playing immensely - even when it seemed like it was nothing but complaining on the forums.

cheers,

-tid242

 

on May 01, 2021

@tid242, I like your ideas about the tech tree.

on May 03, 2021

You should keep the simple one for those of us who like management more than fighting.  It's already there, so. should cost nothing.  
It'd be good if you added more detailed combat for those who like tactical play, if you feel like it.

on May 03, 2021

ForgottenSlayer

I hope you guys aren’t going all the way to Crusader kings level of complexity or even endless legend. 

No.  GalCiv isn't that kind of game.  But we do want to embrace the citizen system more fully.  I've been trying to find ways to make the people themselves more important in these games.  

The problem in the past was CPU power.  That is, there was only enough CPU power for one AI per Civ.  But now, we can have lots of AIs per Civ which lends itself to a lot more interesting, non-random events happening as a result of internal power struggles.

on May 03, 2021

Dan Newman

You should keep the simple one for those of us who like management more than fighting.  It's already there, so. should cost nothing.  
It'd be good if you added more detailed combat for those who like tactical play, if you feel like it.

Yea, no tactical battles planned.  If anything, I want to pull back from the battles being so complicated (dodge and whatever) and instead simply make it so that battles don't necessarily have to be all or nothing in a single turn.

on May 03, 2021

MRW1969

Like the sounds of all of this

I have long argued for the combat system you are now proposing

Why combat should result in the complete destruction of one fleet is illogical - it should potentially take many turns - and one fleet should be able to escape (assuming they are fast enough)

Further - fleets should perhaps be limited to the number of each class they can support as well - so you cant just stack a fleet with capital ships (I also like the Stellaris idea menitoned by someone else above)

Also - make sure the UI provides all the information relevant to the action being asked/requested

But the MOST important thing you could do is make the next version multi OS - I want to play this on my Mac 

Exactly!

You know what game did a really good job with this sort of thing recently? Crusader Kings III.  There really should be some articles on CK3's battle system because it's so simple and yet so elegant.  I can't say enough good things about that game.

The ironic thing is that a lot of the new CK stuff works better in a GalCiv type game than in CK and none of it is in Stellaris for some reason.

 

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