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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 8)
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on May 03, 2021

Seilore


Quoting MRW1969,

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



Yeah, and DOS, or Android.  Okay, I'm joking, honest I'm not a troll.  But yes, let's hit as many people as economically possible without taking away from the game.  I do truthfully like the idea of an older or 'more basic' form of a gal civ game would be be created for android.  I'd pay $20-$30 for galciv 2 or 3 on android even if it was smaller maps with more basic features.  Kind of like the way they did it with some of the total war games.

I would love multi-monitor support especially being more and more of the average player are getting multiple monitors.  Make the highest/map/ai count require 128gb of memory, I need a reason to upgrade from 64   Let it use all 32 threads of my processor.  I want to see this beast get maxed.

Anyways, is there a rough time frame, are we looking at first quarter 2022 or 2023, or something sooner like 4th quarter 2021?  How will we gain access to alpha builds with no founders edition?  And I've always been good with testing galciv games as well as some other stardock games, how do I get on the exclusive list .

As someone with a MacAir M1 I am pretty interested in supporting the Mac.   I don't know how easy that'll be.

Mac sales on our games have been pretty disappointing.  For instance, on Offworld Trading Company, for every Mac copy we sell we sell 70 PC copies.   

on May 03, 2021


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.

It's funny you should say that.  Because that's our thinking too.  >= class 10 only.

on May 04, 2021

Frogboy

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.

Oh right, something I forgot to bring up the last time. It's seriously kind of bullshit that Citizens can only be transported between planets with those slow, dinky little shuttles that can only be sped up using hyperlanes, and that we can't even control to move them out of the way of pirates or enemy ships.

Surely, our powerful, resource-rich galactic civilizations can do better than that for our most important VIPs?

For GCIV, Citizens should be similar to how Mercenaries currently work. We should be able to design unique ships equipped with whatever components we want to give them, and be able to control them fully. They could then be sent to planets to confer their bonuses (for those like Workers, Engineers or Entrepreneurs), or even sent to the planets of other Civs to produce their effects (e.g. sending Diplomats to a Civ's homeworld to increase Diplomacy with them, or Spies to a Civ's high-Research world to steal their tech etc.).

To preserve the "shuttle" aesthetic, you could limit Citizen ships to nothing larger than Small hulls. Exceptions could be made for Generals (you could open up the Cargo hull option so unique Transport ships can be built for them), and Commanders (all sizes available up to Huge, so you could build any type of flagship for their fleet from battleships to carriers).


Frogboy
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.

Oooh. Looking forward to seeing what you guys have in the works, in this regard.

 

Frogboy
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.

Interesting. That's some new reading material for me in my off-time, so I can get an idea of where you're all going with this for GalCiv.

Honestly, I'm looking forward to the day when you share more about the new combat system for GCIV. Any thoughts or suggestions I might have about combat just isn't going to be useful until then, when we get a better idea of what you've come up with.

Frogboy

It's funny you should say that.  Because that's our thinking too.  >= class 10 only.

I'll recommend stealing another idea from Stellaris in this regard; specifically, sector management.

You could designate a high-quality planet as the Sector Capital, and build a sector around it that encompasses the closest lower-quality planets around it. These non-capital planet could then supply the sector capital with not just credits/production/research etc., but also Food and/or Population cap (in the sense that low-quality planets are the "rural" areas to the "big city" that's the sector capital, with food being supplied from the former to the latter, and people moving from the former to find jobs in the latter).

You could even adapt an existing mechanic in GCIII for this already; specifically, the Commonwealth mechanic. That would work just as well for designating Sectors, as it currently does for spinning off your own Commonwealths.

Sectors would allow players to designate entire groups of planets as Military/Research/Economic, instead of just individual Planets as is currently the case with GCIII. Heck, you could designate a Fertile World as the Capital for an Agriculture Sector, and using that to feed the Food/Pop of other Sectors in your civilization using Supply ships (which opens up an opportunity for enemy commerce raiders).

This could even allow you to move away from global pools of Resources, and introduce gameplay which involves moving mined Resources such as Durantium to Sectors which need them for building Starbases and planetside, and Thulium/Elerium/Antimatter to Military sectors with lots of Shipyards that need those to build your warships. Again, opens up opportunities for commerce raiding and/or privateering.

on May 04, 2021

I really hope slower fleets can't out run or get away from faster without sacrificing a few ships to keep them busy.

were you aware you send civilans from your civilization capital and that can be changed multiple times per turn for free? mercs/ government ships and some ship spawning events also use it. I agree it is way less than ideal, but atm the transport can literally just be ignored by the human player anyways. 

Custom ships for citizens sounds a little like hero ships from endless space 2 and I liked those. The whole drag drop ship module style they used worked well i thought but that is from someone with little or no interest in the design side of ship editing. I also like the whole cold war idea, it makes a lot more sense to me than i can't shoot you even tho you violated my space without war. It would really change colonizing and exploring if people could attack you in neutral space. Better would be a toggle for this, but I am for that for anything that can be reasonably accommodated either way. And as big a change as that might be, a toggle might not really be possible here, but one can hope i guess.

Most of your Sector Management sounds good too, right up until moving mined resources to sectors that need them. Resource supply/ chain management is really hard to not just be a pain and to be blunt kinda dull and boring. Space anno does sound neat, but can it not be in my tbs 4x please? I'd straight up rather only be able to build stuff that needed it close by than have to deal with hauling it around the map

The mess that is trade resources not spawning as is and not being able to make use of a bunch of buildings or promotions due to it is lame. So something better would be nice but I don't see that change really adding anything. Hopefully with something more planned and consistent in it's vision and direction we get a better system in the sequel.

 

 

on May 04, 2021

Frogboy


Quoting 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.

 

It would be nice to have an additional turn or two to either continue the battle or retreat.

on May 04, 2021

Frogboy

Quoting Fivve,


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.

It's funny you should say that.  Because that's our thinking too.  >= class 10 only.

This is disappointing.  I like several class 16 planets, or even that rare class 26.  These are amazing.  Not many are in the galaxy but when you find one it's like a hidden treasure.  Then again I also enjoy upgrading the planets to 63 with the artifacts...   I personally love managing my planets individually, I like control, I can't stand turning over a good portion of my empire to smaller auto managed states...  I don't care if it takes me 3 months to play, I like long stretched out strategy games.    Please don't take planet management away, please leave it as an option.

on May 04, 2021

I will use the bad ones as a way to jump to others I want. Or I  make a space station. Depending on the circumstances I choose which way to go. It is part of my stratagy and fun.

I will also  see a bad planet witha resource I want and decide I want it regrdless of the cost.

If one only wants to colonize 9 or 10 planets then do that. If another is willing to pay the price to colonize others then let them.

Do you want options to enhance fun or restrictions to lessen fun.

If anything you could make them less favorable economicaly to make and keep.

on May 04, 2021

The gameplay changes we have in mind are a little more..substantial than what I'm seeing suggested here.  So a lot of this doesn't apply because the gameplay is so different (in a good way).  

A lot of the things being discussed here are based on fixing features that were tacked onto GalCiv III with Crusade.  Whereas, in the future, we get to start with "doing it right" the first time.

With regard to combat, here's another way of looking at it:

You have two massive, late game fleets that meet.

Because of the size, it takes, internally 500 rounds for the battle to be resolved.

GalCiv III: All 500 rounds occur and one fleet is annihilated. Turn times increased because those 500 rounds are time consuming.

GalCiv Next: Only 100 rounds occur per turn.  If one fleet can escape because it's faster, it can try. If it's slower, then the faster fleet has the initiative and can attack again or flee.

Now, as most of you know, early on, most battles are resolved in just a handful (like <30 rounds) so nothing really changes.  It's those late game battles.  Where it gets interesting is that 5 turns for a battle means other ships have time to get involved.  This opens the door for some "tactical" elements (on the strategic map) because NOW, you can start to think about fleets that have the ability to engage from 2 hexes away or have some other buff that affects the battle getting involved.

 

 

on May 04, 2021

Frogboy

The gameplay changes we have in mind are a little more..substantial than what I'm seeing suggested here.  So a lot of this doesn't apply because the gameplay is so different (in a good way).  

A lot of the things being discussed here are based on fixing features that were tacked onto GalCiv III with Crusade.  Whereas, in the future, we get to start with "doing it right" the first time.

With regard to combat, here's another way of looking at it:

You have two massive, late game fleets that meet.

Because of the size, it takes, internally 500 rounds for the battle to be resolved.

GalCiv III: All 500 rounds occur and one fleet is annihilated. Turn times increased because those 500 rounds are time consuming.

GalCiv Next: Only 100 rounds occur per turn.  If one fleet can escape because it's faster, it can try. If it's slower, then the faster fleet has the initiative and can attack again or flee.

Now, as most of you know, early on, most battles are resolved in just a handful (like <30 rounds) so nothing really changes.  It's those late game battles.  Where it gets interesting is that 5 turns for a battle means other ships have time to get involved.  This opens the door for some "tactical" elements (on the strategic map) because NOW, you can start to think about fleets that have the ability to engage from 2 hexes away or have some other buff that affects the battle getting involved.

I like that. Seems like it opens the door for hit-and-run tactics.

Alright, I guess you don't want to spill too many more details about combat until it's time to release the GCN Dev Journal on that topic. In that case, I just have a few questions.

1. Will stacking ships in a fleet within one hex work like it does now in GCIII, or will the number of ships you can stack in one hex be drastically reduced?

If the latter, the same number of ships can end up covering a lot more space on the strategic map; that could be a good thing, as it could lead to numerous ships on either side scattered across a line of battle and give it more of the "epic space battle" feel.

 

2. Will combat still take place only across neighbouring hexes? I know you already brought up an example of a fleet that can engage from 2 hexes away, but it may be an idea to make that a more common thing.

It can give the impression of massive fleets firing weapons against each other across a vast expanse of space. Again, more of the "epic space battle" feel. Maybe you can balance ships that can attack only neighbouring hexes, by giving them the 'tank' role that draws aggro from whichever enemy ships/fleets they engage.

Making engagement possible across multiple hexes could also make Military Starbases more useful as defensive 'citadels' when placed nearby a planet.

 

3. Carriers. Goddamned carriers. These things have been a balance and QoL nightmare from the very beginning, simply because whoever designed them didn't seem to have a vision in mind for the role they should serve in combat.

Tell me you have a definite vision in mind for what kind of role they should perform when it comes to GCN combat? If not, I do have the beginnings of an idea in mind...

 

on May 04, 2021

For me, here are two things GalCiv got right.

1. No "truce forced on you" hey stronger foe.........be ejected. (ala Stellaris).

2. Spore weapons, when you just want to start over, again no offense to Stellaris but planetary bombing will always leave 4 pop (The F you say???).

 

Can we Founder this game when it comes out?

 

Kind regards,

on May 04, 2021

Citizens: I hinted at this in an earlier post, but didn't elaborate. The study of human interactions with games shows that game events can cause the brain to react pleasurably with a small shot of dopamine. Level-up events like a hero level up in an RPG or a planet upgrade or tech discovery in a 4X provide these events.

Citizen level ups in GC3 are hohum. Unless you're paying really close attention you don't even notice them. In GC4 if you could add some choices to the level ups players would be more invested in them, guide their destiny as it were. Of course that might be too much micromanagement for some ...

on May 04, 2021

Frogboy

The gameplay changes we have in mind are a little more..substantial than what I'm seeing suggested here.  So a lot of this doesn't apply because the gameplay is so different (in a good way).  

A lot of the things being discussed here are based on fixing features that were tacked onto GalCiv III with Crusade.  Whereas, in the future, we get to start with "doing it right" the first time.

With regard to combat, here's another way of looking at it:

You have two massive, late game fleets that meet.

Because of the size, it takes, internally 500 rounds for the battle to be resolved.

GalCiv III: All 500 rounds occur and one fleet is annihilated. Turn times increased because those 500 rounds are time consuming.

GalCiv Next: Only 100 rounds occur per turn.  If one fleet can escape because it's faster, it can try. If it's slower, then the faster fleet has the initiative and can attack again or flee.

Now, as most of you know, early on, most battles are resolved in just a handful (like <30 rounds) so nothing really changes.  It's those late game battles.  Where it gets interesting is that 5 turns for a battle means other ships have time to get involved.  This opens the door for some "tactical" elements (on the strategic map) because NOW, you can start to think about fleets that have the ability to engage from 2 hexes away or have some other buff that affects the battle getting involved.
 

 

Would you implement a "implement  tactics" system when making a fleet? I'm thinking kind of like the system in Gladiabots, where you tell your gladiabot to withdraw if damage >50%, chase if damage < 50% and enemy gladiabot with damage >50% etc? This system also allows you to tell Gladiabot 1 when to attack the Gladiabot Enemy attacking Gladiabot Ally and from what distance etc.

This would allow a fair bit more strategic depth than GalCiv3 currently has (especially if you implement this system down to Ship Role level: Tell your Capital ships to stay and fight until damage >75% but Support to flee at 50% damage) , but not having to micromanage every little moment like an RTS battle.

 

on May 04, 2021

@Publius Awe thanks Pub - I've always liked you, and you always have interesting ideas..

 

Yes, a citizen leveling up should produce a pop-up screen with cheers, a golden walrus holding a spatula, and blurb about how bigly the citizen is getting!  (I'm being funny, but at least a "citizen xyz leveled up" like Pub was saying makes a lot of sense to me).

Since GC4 is looking like it's going to be a lot different than 1/2/3 in terms of various systems I'll withhold any additional ideas until we have some more idea of what it's looking like.  But I will just throw two more out there.

 

  1. I don't believe this has been touched on, but I would request that game-information (like the wiki or in-game help or whatever) be better.  With 3 it was all not straightforward at all, and I'd imagine that this is particularly frustrating to the non-die-hard-fans and new players.  If you guys are putting all of the stats into .xml files, can't there be a way to just blow those into accessible game-information?  It seems like it should be possible, and it also seems like it would save someone at Stardock the unenviable task of having to try to update boring text files somewhere.
  2. There is already some back and forth about planet management.  Managing vs not-managing level 1-10 planets, for example.  Here's an elegant solution to please both camps. 
    1. Each generated planet gets assigned a hypothetical productivity value: X.  So like, if the AI were to build out the planet at various stages it would produce X resources/money/approval/whatever. 
    2. On planets where the player /chooses/ to manage the planet the game would observe the output and assign it a value: Y. 
    3. On planets where the player chooses NOT to manage the planet the game would adjust that planets generic output by something like [Y/X].
    4. So there's still an incentive to manage planets and manage them well, because doing so will cause output on planets you don't feel like managing to increase, just as though you were managing them yourself.  But you don't have to manage them and generally don't derive much benefit from doing so.  But you can if you /want/ to.
    5. This [Y/X] function could also conceivably be used to adjust AI difficulty settings also (ie AI planet output always "keeps up" with you sort of thing.  Like, standard industry/governance practices across the galaxy are what everyone just uses - which is how it works in real life).
  3.  Ok I said I would only do two, but I'm going to help myself to one last one.  LESS TYPOS AND DISCOMBOBULATED WRITING!!!  I think this is better in GC3 than it was, but there was just too much of it at some points to be justifiable honestly

 

@Frog: You said you're not at the point of any reveals yet, but is there a timeline for the timeline at all that you can share?

 

on May 05, 2021

Publius of NV

Citizens: I hinted at this in an earlier post, but didn't elaborate. The study of human interactions with games shows that game events can cause the brain to react pleasurably with a small shot of dopamine. Level-up events like a hero level up in an RPG or a planet upgrade or tech discovery in a 4X provide these events.

Citizen level ups in GC3 are hohum. Unless you're paying really close attention you don't even notice them. In GC4 if you could add some choices to the level ups players would be more invested in them, guide their destiny as it were. Of course that might be too much micromanagement for some ...

 

Something like CivBE does. You would have specalists in each category. Like mixing your major and minor.

on May 05, 2021

There are times when I have to colonize a suboptimal planet because it has a resource I need. If resources are done differently in 4 then not being able to colonize class 1-10 might not be a problem.

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